Mindful Moment

Ever feel like you’re exactly at the right place at the right time? I had one of those moments today.

As I stood in that high school attendance office, growing impatient and thinking about how this errand was taking way longer than it should, in walked a bald lady with a radiant smile on her face. She didn’t know me but yet gave me a big happy hello when our eyes met. I knew immediately the battle that she was facing.

Without even introducing myself, I told her that I knew what she was going through. She asked how I could know that. I shared my story with her – right there, right then. For that brief moment, I forgot why I was at the school in the first place. I forgot that I was running late to my next destination. I forgot that I had to be anywhere else but there at that very moment.

It turned out that this teacher battling breast cancer was in her first year teaching at that school during my senior year there. I invited her to join my breast cancer support group.

This was a great reminder to be mindful and not overlook the opportunities in front of you, even when your mind is already full. Because at the end of the day, helping someone else along their journey was far more important than anything else I had going on at that moment.

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Hello, Mindfulness!

Life after cancer: Awesome!

Celebrating life after cancer (and reintroducing myself to mindfulness) in Puerto Rico

I recently celebrated a birthday, as well as my 1-year cancer-free anniversary, with a family vacation in Puerto Rico. While on vacation, my iPhone got wet and stopped working. When I realized that the communication device that I use to stay connected to the world may be damaged, I was initially upset. After all, I had our entire vacation planned out on my phone – complete with daily itineraries, maps, etc.

Since beating breast cancer, I dabbled with the healing powers of yoga and meditation and have tried my best to practice the art of mindfulness, or living in the moment. At first, it was quite easy. While recovering from cancer treatment, it was the small, ordinary moments that I appreciated the most. However, as I navigate toward my “new normal” in life after cancer, I often find myself getting caught up with the details and stresses of life again. As a new mom, entrepreneur and dedicated community volunteer, I’m sure this is quite normal. In fact, as I departed for vacation, I received news that I was recognized by Enlist Moms with a Motivated Mom Award for “The Mom Who Does It All.”

With my phone now inactive, I struggled with the fact that I may not be able to do it all while on vacation. Fortunately, the resort’s activity schedule was posted in our room and I was still able to catch the yoga activity that day. Yoga by the beach – it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. As I flexed my body into challenging poses, decluttered my mind and took notice to the sound of crashing waves and smell of the ocean breeze, it dawned on me: I was truly in paradise and I didn’t want to miss another minute of it!

It all could wait until I returned from paradise. And it did – and I went on to have one of the most relaxing, mindful vacations ever. In conclusion, I don’t recommend submerging your phone into the ocean while on vacation, but I do highly recommend that you take a moment to truly live in the moment.

For more on mindfulness, visit Pyschology Today’s Mindfulness Basics.