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  • Janaki J Pucadyil

A tiny Teacher: lessons in Mindfulness from a toddler

Last Sunday, our friends, new parents to a delightful 22-month-old girl, brought her along for a visit. Witnessing her exploration unfolded into an unexpected masterclass in mindfulness.

Perched on the couch between her parents, she made a deliberate decision. "Climbing down!" she announced, her voice filling the room. Every movement was purposeful, a slow descent that spoke volumes about her focus and control. Reaching the floor, the urge to conquer the couch once more took hold. "Up!" she declared, narrating her journey as she meticulously climbed back up, each movement a testament to her unwavering determination, despite the obvious challenge for her small frame.

Emboldened by her success, she embarked on a voyage of discovery. Pointing at various pieces of furniture, she sought confirmation from her attentive parents. Their constant support and encouragement were evident, with gentle additions of words she hadn't yet grasped to her growing vocabulary. This beautiful cycle of climbing, naming, exploring, and learning continued for a blissful hour.

Her experience was a captivating lesson. The sheer effort required for these seemingly simple actions served as a powerful reminder: life is a journey with its fair share of hurdles. There are no guarantees, no promises of an easy path. Yet, within her determined exploration, I witnessed the potential for adventure, for breaking down challenges into manageable steps, one climb at a time.

Despite the physical exertion, her enthusiasm remained boundless. Curiosity, the driving force behind her exploration of movement and the joy of acquiring new words, fueled her energy and determination. Unburdened by the constraints of time, she wasn't focused on speed or achieving vocabulary milestones. Her world was one of pure experience, a complete immersion in the present moment. In that moment, she embodied the essence of mindfulness – a state of being fully present, aware, and engaged with the experience at hand.

This tiny explorer, through her unwavering focus, her unbridled curiosity, and her complete present-moment awareness, offered a profound lesson in mindfulness, a reminder to embrace life's challenges with a sense of adventure and to savor the simple joys of exploration and discovery.

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