Mindful with Irene (9)

‘If only every day could be the same.’ Irene, together with Astrid, is the founder of Flow Magazine and each Friday she writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in daily life.

I’m not so good when it comes to going away on a trip, particularly when it’s for work. Now that Flow is becoming such a success abroad, I‘m spending more and more time in Hamburg (Flow’s German headquarters) or Paris (where our French head office is), and more recently, we went over to New York and Toronto to promote the International edition of Flow. It’s all very special, and I am very glad that we have such opportunities, but it does also always lead to a lot of inner struggle. Because, deep in my heart, I would prefer everything to be safe and small and pretty much stay the same every day. Thinking up beautiful stories, writing a bit, searching out illustrations, and spending my evenings on the sofa with the kids: that’s what an ideal day looks like to me, one where it all falls into successive place perfectly. But I also know that I grow and get my energy by doing things that are outside of my comfort zone. The only thing is that I often realize this in retrospect, which is a shame.

Take the trips to New York and Toronto, for instance. Before I set off, I found it very hard to shake off the sense of unease that I wouldn’t be there for my two children for a whole week. What if they got sick? Or fell off their bike? Or simply missed me? Again: you get the gist… And then there’s this thing with flying (fortunately, I overcame my fear of flying, but it still costs a lot of energy for me to travel this way), and all those draining business meetings and presentations to hold. All whilst thinking to myself: “Make sure you enjoy it too!” Not to mention the numerous SMS’ from friends also telling me “Make sure you enjoy it too!” Which I do, and I am genuinely delighted that I can just pop out for a Sunday morning run in Central Park. But I also have to do my best to make sure I do. And it’s times like that that I remember the most basic mindfulness lesson: live in the moment, stay in the now, now is what counts.

Between you and me, I am still happiest after the “now”, when I’m sitting on the sofa, watching Expeditie Robinson with my kids. It’s then that I’m really “in the moment.” It’s then that I’m completely satisfied, sitting there with a grin on my face, thinking “I weathered that storm well, what a special experience.”