This morning as I was showering, my mind was busy with all sorts of things. I had just woken up. But my mind had already jumped on the wagon of worrying about work and house chores.
My mind was on fire
😟 "I should have written more blog posts this week."
😲 "The baby has literally no clean bottoms to wear today."
🤗 "I am so pumped up about this new idea that I have! I should better start building a prototype for it!"
🤔 "What to make for lunch and dinner today?
😳 Oh, today is the weekly market. I should better hurry to get some greens before the good ones run out."
After the shower, I got dressed. The next thing I know, I was in front of the mirror combing my hair. At that moment, it stroke me: I had zero memories of my shower. Had I shampooed my hair? How warm had I preferred my water this morning? What about the length of my shower? Had I done a quick rinse or a fine rub? Zero memories!
Who doesn't like a warm shower in the morning, right?
You stand underneath the running water.
First, it drips down to your face. You slightly help the water by rubbing your face, washing away the grease from last night.
The water gently massages the top of your head. The pressure is just right to stimulate your nerves. It gives you a gentle wake up.
As the water runs from your shoulders down to your legs, it washes away the weariness of the morning, leaving a vitalized feeling behind.
The warmth is just right. The steam opens up your pores. Your vessels relax and blood comes rushing to the surface, carrying life to your skin.
You grab your shampoo. There's a unique scent to it. Your brain associates this scent with cleansing and getting energized.
Massaging your scalpel with your fingertips is like pushing the reset button of your brain. It's as if you pack whatever wears you down in those shampoo molecules and let them run down the drain.
When you turn off the tap, you are left with the simplest, cleanest, purest form of you.
So many sensations. So many, that it seems almost impossible not to catch at least a few.
Yet I had missed the entirety of it. My body was in auto-drive, moving me from action to action. My mind was everywhere else but inside my head. It certainly wasn't standing there with me in my bathtub.
Where is our mind located?
In our skull? If so, how had it been absent the whole time I was showering?
Is it a muscle that brings visions of our past and future, a rewind/forward button of some sort?
It's interesting how the mind does not have a working definition in psychiatry, psychology, or even philosophy. Here's how Dan Siegel, the renowned professor of psychiatry with pioneering books on the brain and the mind has come to define it:
"The mind is an embodied (throughout the entire body, not just in the brain) and relational (not just in a single person, happens in relationships) process that regulates the flow of energy and information."
In front of that mirror, the realization of where my flow of energy and information had taken me was so stark that it got me thinking: Had I been missing other sensations in my day due to my wandering mind?
Because of the work that I do, I put conscious effort into my parenting-related awareness. You might remember reading in 🍇 Child as a raisin how intense an experience it becomes when we observe our children as if eating a raisin for the first time.
But attention is a scarce resource. We can only hold it together for so long. I obviously don't watch my child with total awareness 100% of the time, but I practice it as much as possible.
This morning's shower showed me that if I don't practice awareness enough, it's crazy easy to slip into auto-parenting, just as it is easy to slip into auto-showering or auto-eating.
If I practice it enough though,
👀 I can pay more attention to how he looks: his evolving facial expressions and his ever-growing skillfulness.
👃 I can pay more attention to how he smells: the milky smell of his breath and the chocolatey smell of his hair.
🖐️ I can pay more attention to what he feels like: the softness of his palms when he touches me and the silkiness of his hair when I touch him.
👂 I can pay more attention to his voice: his expanding song repertoire and his angelic syllables.
👅 I can even taste him. ;)
As I watch my 15-month-old's bare chubby arms that look like two sausages, I can't even bear the idea of looking in the mirror one day, realizing I have so few memories of my sensations with him as a result of a mind that runs around.
After all, everyday parenting, just like a good shower, is a series of intense sensations.
🥄 Nurturing my favorite moms and dads
Here is an article I recently posted on the blog. As I said, "I should have written more blog posts this week." 🤷♀️
Resilience theory & what parents can learn from it: Resilience is a skill we all want our kids to have. The term became highly popular among parents in the early 2000s. A secret sauce to make our children protected against life's hurdles? Yes, please! I went through resilience theory and collected 5 C's that produce resilient children.
NOTE: You might have noticed that I dropped the "the" from the name of this letter. From this week onwards, you'll be receiving Apparent Letter without the "the." Plain and simple.
Thank you for reading. ❤️
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Until next Saturday!
Love, Basak (founder of Apparent)