By Brooke Asbury

This is the last post of our series, Mindfulness in 2015 but the mindfulness won’t stop here. We’ve had some Mindful triumphs over the year… who can forget the truly mind-stirring (i.e. crazy-making) sensations of the Spring Juice Cleanse? That was a good exercise in mindfulness! And there were many others as well. We are just coming to the completion of our 3rd annual Strive for Five challenge during the busy holiday months, and one can only imagine the state of mind we’d have been in over these last few weeks had we not given ourselves the opportunity for mindfulness, the solace of peace and stillness we find on our mats. We have succeeded at being more mindful of mindfulness in 2015. However, I, for one, could stand to continue this theme into 2016 and likely every year after. I guess that’s the point of mindfulness. It’s a lifestyle, a habit, a way of living in the present and staying aware of the things we have around us.

In particular, this next year I’d like to strive for mindfulness in marriage. Well, in all relationships really but I happen to be new at the marriage relationship and am excited to learn the craft of being mindfully married. Like yoga, I know it will be a daily practice. The final expression of each day will hopefully be a little deeper than the day prior. I’m sure to fall out of the pose at some point, many points, and I’ll have to practice getting back in without wasting time sulking or self-berating. Grace and discipline, love and hard work. Just like Triangle posture – the perfect “marriage” between the heart and the lungs.

It took me 35 years to find “the one.” Or more likely, it took 35 years for God and life to form me into the woman I’ll need to be for Clay (my “old man” ;)), and 30 years for Clay to become the man I love and will need him to be for the rest of my life. But either way, there were times that it seemed like a long wait. Though it’s easy to forget now that I’ve found him (like forgetting the pains of childbirth upon holding one’s newborn baby, or so I’ve heard) and seems perhaps irrelevant in light of the blessings I have and had along the way. Still, I like to reflect on those 35 years and spend a moment in homage to the single gal’s life. The spirit of a woman who spends a good part of her adult life on her own has undoubtedly withstood many a test. Whether it be buying a wrench and fixing that dad-gommed leaking faucet on her own or showing up at a dinner party as the only unmarried guest and engaging in “we” talk the whole damn night, it ain’t always easy. Worse, the undeniable, all-too-familiar feeling of disappointment that comes after each lost cause of a potential partner that comes and goes. The utter loss-of-faith-in-goodness-and-love that sweeps in after risking your heart (yet again) only to find that it landed in the hands of someone who didn’t see its story, its worth, clearly at all and never appreciated its spirit anyway. Thankfully, many of us are blessed with incredible friends who support us along the way and let us know that we’re not really alone. They help us to keep our hearts open, when we would rather close up shop and resign ourselves to a life of cats and Netflix. Some wait 25 years, while others wait 45 years to find their person. Our journeys are all unique but I tend to believe, the longer the wait, the sweeter the reward.

On my first morning of marriage, I woke up next to my husband and my heart immediately welled up with joy and thanksgiving. Without a moment’s hesitation, without forcing it or conjuring it up, I looked up to the heavens in my mind’s eye and said THANK YOU!!! It was a moment of true mindfulness, of being present, of allowing my spirit to be free and express what it felt without holding back. And it came effortlessly. I told myself that I better be sure to do the same thing each and every morning, as long as I awake to this gift that I have been given. I guess I’ll call that step one of mindfulness in marriage. Though I am yet to learn many more intentional steps towards being mindful in marriage, I know that I can never be too thankful. And if I start each day looking at my husband as a gift to be cherished, one that came to me after 35 years of hoping and praying, then I may be less likely to be dismissive, short of temper, unforgiving or otherwise lacking mindfulness. In some cases, looking back at your journey, your history, how you got here and seeing it – all at once – from that broad perspective, will help one in that moment to practice mindfulness. Because the path we’ve walked does create the person we are in each present moment. In this case, I want to remember my story as a single woman to make me a better married woman in this next chapter.

Two months into marriage, I still wake up thankful. As someone once told me (and for some reason, they don’t tell you this until after you’re married), being married is the fun part! Deciding to get married is the more difficult task. Though it would appear that I decided to get married quickly (after 4 months of dating), I did not make the decision quickly or take it lightly. Need I remind you of the previous 35 years of life experience and twenty-some years of dating experience? Truly, one can contemplate this decision from a hundred different angles, with the gravity of “the rest of your life” and Mother’s warning of “the most important decision you’ll ever make” and find themselves in a state of decision-making paralysis. But once you are able to move forward, with your person (“the very best one” as Grandma advised), everything really falls into place. Life seems better and easier as a team. Relinquishing your identity as a single lady is really not as scary as it seemed. It’s actually one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

Realizing this truth and the fact that we are always most free when we are living authentically, on God’s path and openheartedly, I am excited for mindfulness in marriage and in 2016. I may have 35 years of stubbornness, independence, and hard-assness to break but this cantankerous ol’ mare is ready to be broken. They say being married is like having a mirror held in front of you… Well, my eyes are open.