The term mindfulness has been part of the spiritual conversation for thousands of years through Buddhism, Hinduism, and even in the Muslim/Christian and Judaic traditions. But secular mindfulness – mindfulness devoid of any spiritual quest is what I’m talking about here and that conversation has its roots in healthcare over 35 years ago. It was integrated into the institutional environment through Jon Kabat-Zinn who developed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. His work over the past thirty-five years according to the UMass medical center website, http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/stress-reduction/history-of-mbsr/, “has shown consistent, reliable, and reproducible demonstrations of major and clinically relevant reductions in medical and psychological symptoms across a wide range of medical diagnoses, including many different chronic pain conditions, other medical diagnoses and in medical patients with a secondary diagnosis of anxiety and/or panic, over the eight weeks of the MBSR intervention, and maintenance of these changes in some cases for up to four years of follow-up.” While mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditative traditions called Dharma the practice of mindfulness (dharma) is universal which is why Jon uses dharma with a little ‘d.’
Since the start of his program over 22,000 people including me have completed the MBSR 8-week program. MBSR has received massive coverage being featured in: “Bill Moyers’ PBS documentary Healing and The Mind, NBC Dateline, ABC’s Chronicle, The Boston Globe, CNN, and in various national print media. It is the subject of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s best-selling book, Full Catastrophe Living and Saki Santorelli’s book, Heal Thy Self. The central focus of the program is intensive training in mindfulness meditation and its integration into the challenges/adventures of everyday life.”
Now that’s what I’m talking about. Mindfulness meditation integrating into the challenges and adventures of our everyday lives.
So what is mindfulness exactly if we separate it from the spiritual quest of connecting to something higher and from the notion of being better than someone else?
Jon describes mindfulness as, “being fully awake in our lives and perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment.” Through meditation he states that, “we feel more alive. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.”
Psychology Today describes mindfulness as, “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
The notion that sitting in a mindful position noticing each sound in our environment and sensation in our body has a ripple affect on our lives is powerful.
What makes it so powerful?
For me the life-changing aspect of bringing mindfulness into my every day life is that in each sitting we learn to create space between stimulus and response. Mindfulness is sandwiched in the middle. Where normally we would feel the stimuli and then respond, after spending time in a mindful practice we are able to consciously decide what we want to do with the feeling that comes up.
Each stimuli triggers a story. Sitting and noticing the sound of birds may trigger an event where you heard similar birds or that you wished you heard birds at some other time or that these birds are really annoying like so and so and on and on it goes. In mindfulness we learn to look at the story attached to the sound and then bring ourselves back to the present to the sound itself and then into the body of what sensations come up. It’s all very simple, yet may not be easy. It takes practice and in that practice – in the space – we sit in awareness and in conscious decision-making outside of the judgment zone.
To me mindfulness is about the awareness, awareness of what is and without any judgment. I get to sit with each sensation or noise and the story it conjures up and look at it as I feel it. If I’m angry I see it as such. If I’m self-pitying…guess what? It’s self-pitying. But then something amazing happens in that 30-minute “sit.” I see the me outside the story looking at the story and the emotion drifts away. The Mindful School curriculum describes emotion as either impulsive or responsive response motions and mindfulness “creates the spaces replacing impulsive reactions with thoughtful responses.”
The other day my oldest daughter Alex spilled sauce all over the kitchen cabinets and she commented that I was so chill about it. “Wow.” She said. “You’ve changed, Mom. Years ago, you would have jumped all over me or at least made a face and mumbled under your breath depending on what mood you were in. And now, you just got a rag and started cleaning up.” I guess a mindful ‘sit’ allows me the space to not sweat the small stuff. I’m still me. But I’m chill!
Mindfulness is the first M in my 4 ‘M’s that are the cornerstones to the LifesPath approach.
What are the 4 ‘M’s? They are:
- Mindfulness: The Awareness of instilling focus, clarity, and presence to carry you beyond your days at work and into your life. There is no work/life balance. There is only life. Mindfulness gives you the space and the framework to reach the dreams that well up inside you by living in the moment fully conscious today.
- Movement: The Process of deepening the relationship with yourself in the present moment for a sense of calm and well-being because aspirations are fueled by a body that’s ready to receive them. And a body ready is a body aware.
- Mindset: The Intention of a total alignment of thoughts, words, and actions sustainably, while maintaining the thought patterns that make aspirations realizations.
- Manifestation: The Practice of restoring the daily rituals to intuitively release toxins and attract energy. Receiving and giving to create the harmony to be fully balanced. Understanding the nature of attraction through the physics of vibration and know that like attracts like. So now it becomes even more important to stop seeping bad vibes because we know that it will push your goals to the side.
These four cornerstones are designed to open you to thrive on your LifesPath and live a life you love. The first step is to create space for the practice of mindfulness which in turn creates space for the conscious thoughtful response to life rather than a quick impulsive reaction to life. So ask yourself, “Are you still living small?
Juliette Taylor has played a lot of roles over the years that led to her transformation as an intuitive coach and oracle to your inner true self. With her years of experience in economic development, real estate, start-up building, total staff management, fundraising, corporate sales development, wellness, and food sustainability as COO of Wholesome Wave, Juliette has learned what it takes to get people to perform at their best. Juliette holds a BA from the University of California, Irvine, a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from Cornell University, a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, and a Mindfulness Teaching Certificate from the Mindful School, giving her an upper hand at dealing with the issues we face in our daily lives. Life shouldn’t be a struggle. Nor should you wait until you retire or get your next raise to try to live your dreams. Contact Juliette today to shed the skin you’re in and finally live your life. Fabulously. 203.305.8091 firstname.lastname@example.org.