When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?
In April 2000 I took a full day Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation class with Jon Kabat-Zinn. My sister, a social worker, had read one of Jon's books and thought I would find the session interesting. That was the understatement of all time.
Did you take a class? If so, what sort of a class did you take?
Since that first one-day introductory class, I have deepened my practice by attending the 7 day professional training with Jon, and have completed a practicum which included the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program and advanced teachers training at Jefferson University's Mindfulness Institute in Phila., PA.
How has mindfulness made a difference in your life?
Practicing mindfulness has changed my life forever, ever since that first eight-hour class with Jon back in 2000. When Jon explained how we have a tendency to live in the past or future, through his examples and instruction I saw myself clearly for the first time.
I believe I'm much more compassionate and less judgmental of a person thanks to my daily practice.
What do you do for your livelihood (e.g., homemaker, teacher, firefighter) and does your practice of mindfulness affect that?
I currently work for a global health care organization in their training department, and I also teach mindfulness meditation at lunch and at departmental meetings for my colleagues. It has been very appreciated, especially in the challenging economic times that have effected us all.
My mindfulness practice provides me with a way to observe the stressful situations around me and not become caught up in them.
Is there anything else you would want people to know about mindfulness and you?
In my classes I frequently ask if anyone can remember a time in their life when they were very present and remember a particular experience very clearly. The hands-down winner is always when a woman will mention child birth and everyone will laugh.
It's sometimes hard for people to recall an event. This is no longer the case in my life. I try to savor each and every moment. When I walk down the street now, I'll stop and notice the flowers on a tree. When I'm in the shower, I'll pause and notice the water on my body and how frequently my mind will want to shift to planning instead of experiencing showering. If I find myself caught with a worry about a future event that may never happen, I smile and take a breath and return to the present. And then notice what not worrying feels like in my body. I feel ease...the opposite of dis-ease...it's why I practice and why I teach this to as many people as I can.