Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the beauty and healing of silence and stillness...

I had my last Mindfulness class last Tuesday and boy oh boy oh boy did I fall in love with this class. I'm about ready to sign up to take it again in the fall. If it weren't for my impending coaching duties, I just might - I'm already thinking of signing up after basketball season to reclaim some of the calm that I'm sure I'll lose as I dive into the craziness of another season. But anyways, I digress....

It's not the first time that I've written about how crazy last year was and whew, by June I was feeling physically and emotionally run down. If I'm honest, I admit that I was not always graceful at coping with the stress and had my fair share of minor and major breakdowns. I felt as though my usual resilience had been depleted. The challenges that I would usually be able to take in stride were harder for me to face, overcome and then recover from. And ultimately, I was feeling so tired that it was harder for me to do something that I usually pride myself on, and that is being open to the beauty that I do believe is all around us.

Enter this Mindfulness class - what lovely timing! The class helped me to reclaim my ability to tap into and appreciate the beauty all around me. And more than that, I think that the reason I was so moved by this experience was that it showed me that not only is beauty all around us, so is healing.

For me, one of the big takeaways was that we are each our own greatest healers. A big part of the class revolved around developing a meditation practice and call it hippy-ish, soft or whatever you want, the first time that I laid down to do the 45 minute guided body-scan meditation, I felt like my body had found exactly what it had been craving -- stillness and deep, deep, deep breaths. Now you all know that I love my fair share of go, go, going - there is just too much in life to do to be too still, but Sweet Georgia Brown, this stillness thing has spoken straight to my heart.

And it's funny right, because even after doing just one week of this stuff, something in my body and brain began to crave the feeling of calm and rejuvenation and non-judgement that I now realized I was able to get from just being still and conscious of myself and my breath. I'll admit that I haven't been super disciplined about keeping up with my meditation practice, although I still aspire to, but since taking this class I find myself turning to the tools of meditation multiple times in my daily life. I feel more conscious of my breath throughout the day, more aware of when I am beginning to feel stressed or anxious and as a result I feel better able to respond to these things instead of reacting to them. Overall, I just feel a little more present and it feels wonderful. To be doing something, whether it is cooking dinner with Joe or going for a run, experiencing something joyful or even painful and to feel like I am actually there to experience it, appreciate it and learn from it, well, it just feels good. I'm still far, far, far from enlightenment of any sort, but it's so empowering to have these tools at my fingertips.

One (of the many) of my favorite things about the meditations that we went through in these classes was the way that our teacher would end each session, he would say...

"May you know peace.
May you be free of suffering.
May all beings know peace and be free of suffering."

I could go on and on and on about all the wonderful pearls of wisdom our teacher shared, but for now, I'll hope that these bits and pieces rise up and find their way out in future posts.

Peace to each of you and all your loved ones too!

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