Build Resilience by Staying in the Moment

Jenée Johnson leads a practice to foster returning to ourselves whenever our mind wanders.

I’m the founder of the Right Within Experience where we herald and celebrate the power of reclamation, the spirit of Sankofa, an Adinkra symbol, and Akan word from Ghana that essentially means go back and get it. Our time together is to support you in reclaiming the disparate pieces of yourself, calling yourself back to yourself, so that you can have the life of clarity, calm and well-being that you desire. Today we will work with the concept of staying on the spot.

Minding the Business That Belongs to You

I want you to stay with yourself in the meditation experience so that you can more consistently do so in daily life. Returning to yourself whenever you notice that your mind is wandering is training your attention to come home to yourself. In our world there are so many temptations to leave ourselves and what is really important to our well-being. We end up getting distracted and sucked into another world. Staying on the spot is a lot like minding the business that belongs to you, tending your own garden, and making the soup that tastes really good to you. We will use our meditation practice to cultivate being with ourselves on our own behalf.

Build Resilience by Staying in the Moment

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Listen to the Audio:

Build Resilience by Staying in the Moment

  • 6:15

Follow the Practice:

  1. Sit comfortably. Find a comfortable way to sit, back straight, not tight, alert but relaxed, hands folded on your lap or gently resting on your thighs.
  2. Come home to yourself. Be here and now, close your eyes or drop your gaze. Notice your breath. We will treat the breath like a welcome mat, reminding us to come home to ourselves, reminding us that we are welcomed here. If your mind begins to wander, that is exactly what we want to notice. Notice and then return to the welcome home mat, bringing your attention back to the breath.
  3. Relax and stay with your breath. Breathe in and out, relax your jaw and relax your forehead. Follow your breath. To help you stay with your breath you can say, “Breathing in, breathing out,” or you can count every exhale until you get to ten, and when you fall off, simply start again. The key here is to bring yourself home, don’t stay out all night. Come back to the spot. Stay on the spot. This is your home base, stay with your breath. Let’s sit and continue for a few minutes. Bring your mind back to your breath if your thoughts wander.
  4. Thank yourself. On the next breath, gently and easily with your hand on your chest, thank yourself for being with yourself—for exploring what it’s like to stay on the spot. Once again when the mind wanders, notice the distraction and then gently and easily bring your mind back to the breath. This noticing is called meta attention, it’s paying attention to how you are paying attention.
  5. Returning and continued practice. Open your eyes and return to the space. You are home. Continue to practice this strategy as you please, with eyes closed or gaze dropped, sitting still, bringing your attention to the breath. When the mind wanders, come back to the spot, the welcome mat of the breath.

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About the author

Jenée Johnson

Jenée Johnson is the Program Innovation Leader: Mindfulness, Trauma, and Racial Equity at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.