I advise everyone, yes everyone, who asks for coaching, mentorship or just plain advice from me to meditate. And yet, my practice of meditation is less than consistent! Since I was on vacation from my “day job” this week, I took the opportunity to talk the talk AND walk the walk… or should we say hop the hop!
My meditation coach and treasured friend Debbie describes meditation and mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose in the present moment non-judgmentally” using the body and all sensory systems. Start as simply as her directive of “Just Sit.” That’s where the magic happens. Believe in the potential or not… you know it’s worth a try!
Debbie trained at The University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness under the direct guidance of the incredible Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, so there’s plenty of legit science behind all of this spiritual practice. Accompanied by fellow Rabbit Rescue volunteer Nicole, I attended a talk Debbie gave this week at Turn of the Corkscrew in Rockville Centre. Armed with my notebook and my renewed commitment to my own practice, I soaked in all of the goodies from Debbie’s wise words and guided meditations.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and its approach to a mediation practice fits well into my human experience. It’s not the type of practice where you have to run off into the woods with no shoes on and clear you mind completely for hours to reap benefits—quite the opposite. Debbie reminded the attendees throughout her talk that mindfulness meditation is an exercise to strengthen our brain. And just like any other muscle or body system, the brain needs work to see progress or change. You aren’t going to lose weight by eating differently for one day. You aren’t going to get sick abs by exercising for one week. It’s all a practice. In this case, it’s a practice of “lifting emotional weights.”
And this practice is one that helps us to “respond skillfully rather than react,” which is an invaluable skill for me in both my day job and in Rescue. I receive emails, many of which seem or are urgent, and calls about cases that are literally life or death situations for abandoned rabbits. If I react, I’m in an ineffective panic. When I remember to breathe, then respond skillfully, cases are appropriately prioritized and more lives get saved.
Toward the end of her talk, Debbie said, “It’s not about getting rid of stress—it’s developing a new relationship to it.” And that’s a refreshing truth that I think will resonate with a lot of you reading this. No matter what passion and path you are hopping, walking, trotting, whatever, stressors are real. Obstacles appear and sometimes persist. A meditation practice, even 2 minutes a day, can be the key to surmounting those stressors. And since I advocate so heavily for the practice, I will hop the hop with you. Just sit. And as Debbie says, “Trust in the wisdom.”
“Like” Debbie’s page on Facebook, please.