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Mindful : October 2016
By Diana Winston Illustrations by Asia Pietrzyk “Let’s play Ramona.” Those three words from my six-year-old inspire a deep inter- nal cringe (that I attempt to be mindful of ). “Ramona” is my daughter’s invented doll game, based on the beloved classic book Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary. Beezus is the “good” sister—the dutiful, polite, compliant daughter, while Ramona is the “bad” little sister who locks a dog in the bathroom, scribbles in library books, and cooks her doll in the oven. Mira, my daughter, has worked out the game so that she is Beezus and I have to act out Ramona’s voice, but, did I mention? Ramona is a mermaid doll with pink hair. Ramona threat- ens to do terrible things like spray paint on the wall, hit people really hard, and pee on the rug. Beezus/Mira responds with horror and admoni- tions at Ramona’s plans, and always manages to thwart the evil intentions. “Ha-ha Ramona, you can’t pee on the carpet because I sprinkled magic fairy dust on it!” “Rats,” says Ramona. My mostly agreeable daughter is clearly enjoying acting out her shadow side, or at least watching it acted out by me. For this reason I am willing to play this game, despite the fact that I basically hate it. In order for me to play this game day in and day out, I rely on my best relational mindfulness skills. I offer my daughter (and the dolls) a deep presence. When I get frustrated or bored, which is most of the time, I work with my emotions. When I space out, I bring myself into the present moment. I attempt to show up with authenticity and love. → We don’t meditate to become better meditators. We meditate so we can bring mindfulness out into the real world, and thrive in our interactions with others. BEYOND MEDITATION Diana Winston is the Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and coauthor of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. October 2016 mindful 73 insight