Mindfulness – noticing our thoughts and feelings without attachment or judgement. Huh?? For the longest time, I was unable to wrap my head around this concept. When it came to meditation, I felt I was “doing it wrong” when I couldn’t quiet my mind for 5 or 10 minutes.
When I decided to try mindfulness meditation in a group setting, I joined Jere for his Wednesday evening class at A Mindfulness Life Center. This class became the catalyst for what has blossomed into a daily meditation practice.
I showed up at Jere’s class a bit skeptical, with many questions. I wanted to know if this mindfulness stuff really helps. Jere had the perfect answer for me: “Just think of this as an experiment. Don’t have any expectations of the outcome and see how you feel in 30 days.” I could do that. His response took the pressure off, so I gave it a try - I was able to embrace the process.
Within two weeks, my sleep improved. After that, my dreams took on a more peaceful and beautiful tone. I was hooked.
I’ve come to learn that mindfulness is simply awareness. Being present at any moment. Not stopping ourselves from thinking but noticing our thoughts. And if we’re absorbed in the past or concerned about the future, gently giving ourselves permission to come back into the moment, the present, while understanding the past cannot be changed and the future cannot be predicted. What a relief for someone like me, who tends to ruminate in the past and worry about what may happen in the future. This practice of mindfulness has led me to increased acceptance, self-compassion, and much less anxiety.
I credit Jere for the start of this journey. Had he not addressed my skepticism with patience and kindness, I may never have explored, and begun receiving, the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Thank you, Jere! - Gina Calisesi, Scottsdale, AZ