Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I met recently with a grown woman, that had only been diagnosed with ADHD in recent years. She had so many compensatory skills, that it took a long time to get the proper name for what had always plagued her. She is successfully managing it now due to the right med, and what she referred to as behavioral modification.

"What, specifically, is the modification to your behavior?" I asked, having several people in mind I could hardly wait to suggest it to, whatever it was.

"Mindfulness," she said.

"Wow," I said. "I love that. But how does that look, exactly?"

"I ask myself, 'What am I doing, and why am I doing it?'"

We went on to talk about lots of other things that have stayed with me in the weeks since our meeting, but none more so than the two questions she asks herself. I've watched videos. I've read books. I've listened to interviews. I've taken yoga. I thought I understood what mindfulness was and how to attain it, but having it boiled down to those two simple questions, has proven to be the most helpful. I find myself asking those questions of myself, many times a day, especially when I start to get amped up about something.

"What am I doing?"

"Why am I doing it?"

Usually what I'm doing is something compulsive, and why I'm doing it is to relieve anxiety that has nothing to do with the task at hand (which I can control) and everything to do with something else (which I cannot control). Dishes in the dishwasher = everything will be fine.

There is no judgment with mindfulness. No "shoulds," just simple observation and focus on the present moment, noticing it - gently.

"What am I doing?"

"Why am I doing it?"



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Carrie is a parent and advocate of a child with special needs and even more special gifts. She blogs at where this is pretty much her favorite topic. Carrie’s book, WIL OF GOD: Embracing the Relentless Love of a Special Child, is available in print on Amazon and all e-readers.


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