You know that feeling of electricity when someone tells you something—an amazing story or fact—that is so interesting, you can’t wait to share it? It’s like a bolt of energy and excitement that needs to make contact and keep spreading.
Zero the Mind
That’s what I felt hearing neuroscientist Amishi Jha and Lieutenant General Walter Piatt of the US Army talk about the impact of introducing Jha’s mindfulness program to his soldiers prior to their deployment to Iraq. I was riveted as General Piatt told the story of a very young soldier who was able to “zero the mind” (military parlance for being in a state of hyper-focus) using his mindfulness training and make a series of lifesaving decisions under the extreme pressure of a dangerous, high-stakes mission. He also shared how mindfulness helps his troops transition back to civilian life and has played a pivotal role in his own work trying to forge peaceful solutions.
Jha and Piatt’s work—and its effectiveness—immediately sounded like a story for Mindful, and my mind zeroed in on finding the right editor, writer, and photographer who could bring it together and share it with you. So, on the cover this issue is neuroscientist Amishi Jha, and journalist Barry Yeoman and photographer Stephanie Diani take us to meet General Piatt and his troops at Fort Drum, New York. Online, you’ll find an exceptional video in which Jha guides you through the foundational mindful brain-training exercise she uses in her lab to train warriors to sustain and strengthen their attention—and which you can use, too, no matter what kind of stress you’re facing.
Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement
Another bolt of editorial lightning struck Heather Hurlock, Mindful’s digital editor, for this issue’s story on women in the mindfulness movement. For the past three years, Heather has been working on the Mindful30 program, our 30-day online mindfulness event featuring top mindfulness teachers and experts. “Every year, when I reach out to our network to see which teachers we should feature for Mindful30, the list of names that people rattle off first is always very male and very white,” Hurlock explains, “and I wanted to claim space for a diversity of mindful women to share their power, perspective, and wisdom.”
Sex and more…
There’s also an illuminating piece on how mindfulness can help you come back into your body (and away from the mind and body numbing chatter of your To-Do list) to enjoy more sensual, sexual pleasure.
Plus, you can read or listen to a sweet story by new Mindful contributor Stephen Petrow on what his snippy, aging terrier taught him about acceptance (something we can all learn).
I hope you feel a similar bolt of excitement as you read these stories and that you’re struck by the urge to share them with people you meet.
Slowing down for summer…
And, as summer moves into place, my wish is also that you are able to take it slow and downshift your attention to those quiet moments where what really matters is revealed.
Last summer, I stumbled upon a new way to savor the simple abundance of being alive. My teenage daughters and I discovered the joy of putting beach towels on the driveway at the end of the day and laying down on them as the evening lightning bugs came out and later as stars filled the sky overhead. As the warmth of the sun, soaked up during the day, radiated through the towels, and the cool evening air descended, we looked upward at a magnificent night sky, looking for shooting stars, and sharing stories late into the night.
This summer, I’ve got my beach towels ready — hope you do, too, in your own beautiful, summery way.