When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?
I've been practicing off and on for years at the recommendation of a therapist I had as a teenager. Only recently have I started becoming more serious in my practice. I think it's because I've finally grown up enough to see the benefits and appreciate them.
Did you take a class? If so, what sort of class did you take?
No, although I do plan to take an insight meditation class.
How has mindfulness made a difference in your life?
It's helped me be calmer in the face of frustration. For example, I recently had a rather large plumbing disaster at home. Previously my response (based on a similar experience a few years ago) would have been to shut down, and either cry a lot, or become almost catatonic in the face of the stress this caused. I would put on a brave face, but I wouldn't sleep, I wouldn't eat, and when alone, I would fall apart. But now I'm able to maintain my wits, and work through the problem instead, which though expensive, was not nearly as bad as I feared it was. I didn't fall apart. I was able to sleep (not well, but I did sleep) and I didn't completely lose my appetite. And in the end, I felt better when it was all resolved.
What do you do for your livelihood (ex: homemaker, teacher, firefighter) and does your practice of mindfulness affect that?
I'm a Budget Manager for the State of California. Surprisingly, my practice does help, as I'm able to keep a more objective mind when dealing with some of my more frustrating programs, and maintain a sense of perspective (for example, during the continuous budget crisis).
Is there anything else you would want people to know about mindfulness and you?
I think mindfulness helps keep me a bit saner than I would be without it.