When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?
Years ago, my husband had been layed off. We were experiencing financial difficulties. I had also been newly diagnosed with a chronic illness. My physician referred me to the Stress Reduction Clinic at UMass Hospital to help me to cope with my changing circumstances.
How has mindfulness made a difference in your life?
It broadened the way I looked at life and life's circumstances. The practice has given me a larger container in which to handle the discomforts of my illness and life's challenges. It has helped me to look at life in a more honest and optimistic way. It has taught me not to let thoughts, emotions, the past or the future take me away from this present moment by creating stories that can undermine my life's happiness.
What do you do for your livelihood and does your practice of mindfulness affect that?
I am a homeless prevention/emergency services case manager. I don't believe I would be nearly as effective in my position if I did not practice mindfulness. I work with folks each day that have significant disabilities, mental health issues, addictions, poverty, etc. Not only does my practice allow me to be fully present and compassionate to them but it also allows me to be present and compassionate to myself.
Is there anything else you would want people to know about mindfulness and you?
I believe that mindfulness has given me a quality of life that I would not otherwise have. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to have mindfulness training. I am also grateful that I live in an area that has many opportunities to practice mindfulness meditation in a group setting.