You Must Be Present To Win

Posted on December 9, 2014 in Fun by Sandra Bienkowski

Truth be told, I am a little tired of the words mindfulness and gluten. What do those words have in common? They are both overused. Forgive my grumpiness, but when you wake up with twin toddlers (or any child, a job, a business or all of those) how are you supposed to start your day with mindfulness practices? Isn’t it time we start telling the truth about our mornings? We don’t wake up in a yoga position, burning a lavender aromatherapy candle, while peacefully reciting an empowering mantra or setting our intention for the day. Let’s get real. My husband and I divide and conquer this list when we wake up:

Greet the girls with lots of cheerful good mornings and love
Double diaper duty
Let the dog out
Feed the dog
Feed our old cat and give him his medicine
Make coffee
Make the girls breakfast
Feed the girls breakfast
Get the newspaper
Open the shutters
Clean the cat litter
Watch the news and read the paper in interrupted snippets
Make breakfast smoothies
Start a load of laundry

And this is all before 8:30 a.m. Now, would I like to have 30 minutes of total solitude before my day begins? God, yes. But when I wake up, life happens.


Yes, I am a productivity junkie. I’m obsessed with crossing things off my To Do list. I like the feeling of making clients (and me) happy by successfully tackling and wrestling a jam-packed day of professional and personal To Dos to the ground. I get a lot of self-worth from how much I accomplish.

And then one Saturday I felt uneasy playing with my toddlers. I asked myself what was wrong. My husband was doing yard work. We were inside playing chase and having tickle time … but I felt my To Do list calling.

Looming work projects.
A couple of Thank You notes to write.
A meal plan for the week.
A workout I wanted to do.
Some phone calls I needed to make.

I felt uneasy because I was playing with my kids and not plowing through my To Do list. How crazy is that? And that’s when it hit me—the real lesson of mindfulness.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be meditating, doing yoga, sipping Chai tea or watching Super Soul Sunday. Those are all cool things, but the best way to practice mindfulness is to be present for what matters most to you—like your children. Sometimes that means learning how to be okay with not getting things done. Mindfulness means letting go of all of those “should dos” (and any guilt that comes with them) and using the open space to welcome in the fulfillment of the present moment.

Mindfulness is a way of living that reminds us not to live for the future and not to ignore the present. What I realized on that Saturday is this: the most valuable way we spend our time probably doesn’t even make our To Do list.

Sandra Bienkowski

A few words about me
Sandra Bienkowski

Sandra Bienkowski is a nationally published writer and a fun enthusiast, believing every minute of every day is an opportunity to live your best life.


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