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Amanda Angelicá: Make a Commitment to Yourself

Florida
Amanda is a hard-working mom of three that uses mindfulness to lead with presence and compassion.

Tell me about your mindfulness journey. When did you start focusing on mindset? Why?

My mindfulness journey started way before it was a “thing”. As a child, I grew up in a single-parent household. My mom was {eh hem, still is}, my hero. Every Sunday evening, she would spend hours in her bedroom, on her own, uninterrupted. During this time she would read the Bible, read books, take time to pamper herself (nails, facials), you name it! She did this because all week long she was busy parenting, working, going to school and busy being a mom at a young age. Spending her Sunday evening in this way, served as an outlet for her. It was a way of devoting time to herself and gaining alignment before the new week began all over again.

As a young adult what I learned from my mother’s practice was that she was spending time aligning, being mindful and intentional. For me, mindfulness is a moment in which you focus your energy and attention on one thing at a time, you are present and uninterrupted. I would even go as far as saying, you are focused on being truly alive. No distractions. No interruptions. Just committed to whatever you are focusing on. I have adapted this practice of taking time for myself. I am very intentional about being mindful with moments in which I need to re-energize or just plain old “be present”. It is too easy to get caught up in the hustle/bustle of everyday life and it is very easy to lose yourself or better yet, neglect yourself as a result.

What are your daily mindfulness rituals now?

My daily mindfulness rituals vary, depending on my schedule. I can share with you that the one practice I do not compromise on is my morning reflection.

As a mom, wife and boss babe, it is hard enough getting out of the door in time, but being intentional is critical. When I say morning reflection I mean that I take a moment to express my gratitude for another day of life and start my day on a high note. Sometimes it’s journaling, sometimes its as simple as meditating while stretching and when I am feeling really ambitious and time allows, I fit in a viniyoga routine. I always take a moment to do something that I love – stand/stretch outside on my back deck and take time to listen to the birds chirping, appreciate my garden and the nature around me. This for me is profound and helps to set the tone for the rest of the day.

If I know the day is going to be long or very busy, I try to squeeze in a few extra minutes. These rituals are invaluable to me and quite frankly do not require you to spend an enormous amount of time, but rather just the right amount of time. I travel a lot and I am currently in a new role in my company, while managing two separate non-profit ventures, not to mention my most valuable roles, being a mommy and a life partner, being aligned is key if I plan on being productive and effective.

Aside from my morning reflection, I am very intentional about my morning routine with the kids, which I will share more about in a bit. Lastly, walks throughout the day are a game changer! If you are anything like me, your schedule can be over-the-top and unruly at times. I started a practice of walk/talks with my staff where I would host my 1:1’s walking and talking with them around the office campus or even walking to a local coffee shop near the office. By doing this, I noticed that it created an open environment and every single staff member appreciated their undivided 1:1 time. It was a win/win for everyone.

I get outdoors if I know I am going to be on a conference call for more than 1/2 hour. I plug my headphones in and walk around the campus or grab a table outdoors. Nature is soothing for me and enjoying the outdoors brings me peace. Walking away from the indoor distractions like IM’s, emails and my office line ringing is also very healthy, it helps me to stay focused without those kinds of distractions. It helps me to remain focused on the task at hand and ensure I am being mindful of the topic or item being discussed.

How has your mindfulness practice changed after having children and how has it affected your parenting?

After my children were born, it was obvious to me that it was going to be critical to stay aligned with my mindfulness practices and help instill these rituals or practices as part of their everyday life.

Mindfulness moments are infused as a part of our every day, the kids are accustomed to it. Again, these moments do not have to require a lot of effort or be uber grandiose. The key is for these moments to be intentional and uninterrupted. Simple, yet meaningful moments, such as talking to them about their school day with no interruptions, our commitment to having a family meal together every single evening and more importantly our family walks or bike rides. These are all ways I have managed to stay in alignment with the mentality of enjoying the little moments and being mindful along the way. As I mentioned earlier the one ritual that I am grateful for is after my morning reflection, I commit a few minutes of the morning to each of the kids 1:1. Starting with a good morning, cuddles and then having them set their intention for the day. Believe it or not, it only takes a few minutes for each of the kids and they actually look forward to it.

The kids have embodied these practices and will even ask for “mommy/me” time, which I love. My daughter and I have a standing engagement – our mommy and me in-home spa Sundays. Sound familiar??? Rather than me having the in-home spa day on my own, I make it an “us” thing. The boys and I also have dedicated time and they get to pick the themes as our “dates” come up. Again, it’s about being present and uninterrupted in the moment.

This has had a profound impact on me, as a mother and on my children. Time is a precious gift and I am trying to maximize it and savor every moment. I hope they carry this with them as they get older and as society continues to apply pressure during the age of “busy”.

What have you learned about yourself throughout this journey?

Remain committed. Regardless of the everyday demands on us as women/mothers, remain committed to your mindfulness practices. I have felt that my biggest reward as a result of my mindfulness journey is the long-lasting impact these practices have had on those around me and more importantly on me as well. The days where I do not practice mindfulness, I absolutely feel the difference and yikes – it’s not good.

We are not robots, we were not created to grind, grind, grind till we die. Remain committed to loving yourself despite the multiple demands and it will pay off in terms of your overall well-being.

What advice would you give to any mother who thinks she’s too busy to put any energy towards mindfulness?

Listen, Linda… hehe, there is no such thing as busy. Ever heard that saying, we are only as busy as we want to be for things that may not matter to us? If so, then this should definitely matter, pencil it in!

All jokes aside, if you are feeling as though you cannot spend a few minutes to practice mindfulness, do me a favor, ask yourself one simple question… “where have I spent 10/15 minutes of my day, where I could have spent it on practicing mindfulness?” Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Let me help you with that… Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Housewives of whatever season… pick your poison. We have all been there (I am looking into the mirror across my bed as I am typing this – I am just as guilty)!

Make a commitment to yourself. Spending a few minutes a day will make you want to spend more time practicing mindfulness along the way. You will notice a difference. I can tell you that it has helped me to lead a more productive and enjoyable life by being present in the moment.  You owe it to yourself and those you love most.

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