When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?
I started meditating in 2003. I was facing depression, anxiety and health issues and it was suggested by my psychiatrist.
Did you take a class? If so, what sort of a class did you take?
I took the introductory “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” class at Jefferson with Diane Reibel and Geri Santini in 2003. I also took and advanced class with Diane and Geri on Radical Acceptance (based on the teachings of Tara Brach). Last year I took part in the year-long “Mindful Journey” with Diane Reibel and Trish Magyari. I continue to see Diane for private guidance and teaching.
How has mindfulness made a difference in your life?
My practice has made a huge difference in my life. I am able to face my health challenges withmuch more clarity and calmness. Living in the moment is a huge gift that makes room for much more joy in my life. I have discovered that I have a powerful ability for imagery in meditation which has helped me see issues in my life in a different light. I also have much more compassion for myself and am able to care for myself in ways I never thought possible. Mindfulness has also improved my parenting skills and my ability to be more open with my spouse.
What do you do for your livelihood (e.g., homemaker, teacher, firefighter) and does your practice of mindfulness affect that?
I am currently a homemaker, although before my illness I was an archivist specializing in preservation. In my daily life as a homemaker and mother I am aware that mindfulness has made me much more calm and joyful, and able to “respond” to issues rather than “react.” Although I don’t manage this 100 percent of the time (who can?), I see a huge difference and so does my family!
Is there anything else you would want people to know about mindfulness and you?
I think I said it all!