Photograph of tree with several trunks and sun shining through.
Naturally Mindful

Return to the Moment

Cross-posted on my SageWoman blog.

I’ve spent a lot of time planning my future lately. Most of it felt very centered and aligned with my Inner Goddess. Then it started to take on a mind of its own—planning for the sake of planning and agony about the disconnects between my present reality and my potentially brighter focus. For today’s #NaturallyMindful Monday, I want to reflect on my experience of present-moment awareness.

Mindfulness was all the rage when I was in my Ph.D. program for psychology. It has since spilled into the pop psychology world and many other venues, promising an escape from living entrenched in the past and beholden to the future. Most of the inner workings of it are rooted in Eastern thought, specifically Vipassana, a Buddhist practice. I spent over a year attending a Buddhist mindful meditation at least once a week, and it did in fact alter my relationship with my thoughts. It increased my awareness of the separation between my direct experience of the world through my senses and the explanations which I give to my direct experience. In order to rejuvenate my experience of mindfulness, I’ve been deliberate about making more time to engage in it on a regular basis.

When I practice present-moment awareness, I allow my mind to momentarily cease its constant churning through possible scenarios that could occur in the future. As a result of my trauma history, I have an inner program that runs a constant loop of hypervigilant scanning and planning. I recently had an interpersonal conflict that I thought would be ongoing the next time I saw the person. I ran scene after scene in my mind of everything I would say and do the next time I saw them. The person then chose to remove themselves from my life, and all of my planning was a complete waste of time. I fight so many more battles in my mind than I will ever face in real life.

By returning again and again to my breath and body sensations, I interfere with the analytical mind’s focus on the future and allow myself to settle down. Even if I need to spend some time determining my next step, it is different do to so from a place of inner connection versus an unsettled state. As I shared in the past, this is one of the biggest stressors in regards to my house, because I do not know for sure if it is going to be quiet enough for me to be able to feel safe in the present. I have only succeeded in truly finding inner awareness in settings in which I feel relatively safe and secure. With my hyperacusis and misophonia, certain noises seem to be too powerful for me to just simply “notice” as mindfulness requires.

Even though it feels like I have limitations on when and where I can achieve a mindful state, I do know that being in one affects not only me but also those around me. When I am presenting ideas to others, they seem significantly more engaged when I am fully present, rather than when I am internally distracted. I’ve also noticed that I find myself drawn toward people who I sense are slowed down enough inside to notice what the different parts of themselves want and need, instead of ignoring the majority of their requirements for physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment because doing so would require noticing and sensing instead of thinking and doing.

In some ways, I view mindfulness as a skill set which can be achieved through practice. At the same time, I also hold it as an internal reality to which nearly everyone has access, but to which very few of us bother to attend. It is not always pleasant and comfortable, rather, it brings into awareness the full spectrum of life, not merely the happy parts. Simply being with our breath, as we are, grounds and re-centers our purpose.

To what extent have you explored the concept of mindfulness? What are your thoughts on the ways it has been appropriated and commodified in modern American society? To what extent is mindfulness integral to healing as a trauma survivor? What might be its drawbacks?

Photograph of JL Umipig.
Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project

Recommended Author: Jana Lynne Umipig

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about an artist and creative writer who leads interactive workshops related to decolonization and spirituality, facilitates healing through Inner Dance, and acts as a culture bearer for Pinay womxn.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

JL’s work integrates healing and social activism by providing creative sacred space for both inner work and communal gathering, with a special focus on Pinay womxn of the diaspora. She has created the Kapwa Tarot Deck, a 79 card series that incorporates Pilipino wisdom and sacred imagery.

Source: http://www.janalynnecreativeproductions.com/

About the Author

“Jana Lynne (JL) Umipig is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, healer and activist who seeks to elevate narratives of remembering self as a reflection of her own life’s journey toward decolonizing, re-indigenizing and humanizing self.

She has traveled to communities throughout the world sharing her cultivated knowledge of processes that activate and support self and community healing and empowerment.  Particularly, JL has commited herself to bringing the presence of her ancestors from the Philippine diaspora into every space, with cultural teachings and practices being implemented in all of her work. Her invitation to all those that exchange and engage with her is to Re-member, connecting to all the people and places ancestral, present day communal and familial and  descendant that makes us and grows us into who we are.

She is a core member of The Center for Babaylan Studies, an Inner Dance facilitator, and founder of Butikaryo mga Babae, which creates sacred space for Pinay Womxn Healers seeking to learn and remember healing practice and knowledge connected to our ancestral traditions.”

Source: Provided by author

In Her Voice

“Let Your Actions Be Prayer

Let Your Creations Be Prayer

Let Your Life Be Prayer

And May All Your Prayer Be Powerful”

Source: http://www.janalynnecreativeproductions.com/sacred-space

 

“I pray you are patient with all the parts of your self

as they work for your liberation

May their union be a reminder that

In order to create a radically different world

We must survive this one”

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BlbwEt0hGjr/?hl=en&taken-by=jlcreator

Learn More

Website: http://www.janalynnecreativeproductions.com/

Instagram: @jlcreator

Facebook: Jana Lynne Umipig

 

 

 

Photograph of Marcelle Haddix
Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project

Recommended Author: “ZenG Yoga” with Marcelle Haddix

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about a womxn whose work, in addition to her own writing, includes teaching and scholarship as a full-time academic, leading yoga retreats, and promoting literacy which centers Black girls and womxn.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

Dr. Marcelle Haddix not only leads wellness initiatives in communities of color, she’s true to what she champions through her commitment to veganism, yoga and meditation. She authored a chapter in Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change titled “In a Field of the Color Purple: Inviting Yoga Spaces for Black Women’s Bodies” which includes a reflection on her experience as a Black womxn as she completes yoga teacher training and creates ZenG. Her community workshops combine both yogic practices as well as music, poetry and expressive writing to promote self-care and liberation. She also uses writing as as a way to celebrate Black voices both within a school context and in the community.

Sources: https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Body-Embodied-Social-Change/dp/1498528023

https://zengyoga.com/about/

About the Author

“For Dr. Marcelle Haddix, yoga, wellness, and healthy living are deeply personal and political. Known as The ZenG, she is a 200-hour certified registered yoga instructor who specializes in yoga for underrepresented groups and for community-based organizations. She also practices veganism and healthy, soulful living. Her goal is to bring yoga to more communities of color and to challenge the misrepresentation of people of color and yoga, healthy living, and healthy eating.

Why ZenG?  Her sistafriends nicknamed her ZenG because of her blissfully zen yet “I don’t take no mess” attitude.  She is unapologetic about living well and creating spaces for people of color to honor and care for their bodies and each other.  Her community engaged approach to yoga and wellness culminates in yoga and writing retreats for women and couples of color, yoga and mindfulness workshops in urban school contexts, and regular yoga classes and sistercircles in her community.

In addition to her work as a yoga and wellness instructor, she is a dean’s associate professor and chair of the literacy department at Syracuse University and a nationally-recognized literacy scholar committed to centering Black literacies in educational practices and spaces. She directs two literacy programs for adolescent youth: the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban middle and high school students within and beyond school contexts, and the Dark Girls afterschool program for Black middle and high school girls aimed at celebrating Black girl literacies. For The ZenG, living well zen gangsta style is not only personal, it is deeply political.  It is a revolution.”

Source: https://zengyoga.com/about/

In Her Voice

“Self-care is not an end point or something to check off on a list. It is a constant beginning.”

Source: https://twitter.com/MarcelleHaddix/status/1001620377796308992

“Loving and caring for others does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you strong. And, it’s even better when you do so unconditionally, without judgment, and without expectation.”

Source: https://zengyoga.com/2014/03/30/no-day-but-today/

Learn More

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarcelleHaddix

Website: https://zengyoga.com

 

 

Self-portrait of Kayla Rosen.
Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project

Recommended Author: Zines by Kayla Rosen

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about a non-binary author whose work covers a variety of diversity topics, including disability and queerness.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

Kayla creates zines and poetry that deconstruct our understanding of sexuality, gender and ableism using both language and visual art to convey meaning. They’ve produced zines specific to their experience as a nonbinary artist who is transitioning medically; this work includes a focus on the connection between their body’s appearance and their relationships. They also write about themes related to mental health, trauma and healing.

Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/

About the Author

“I’m Kayla (they/them), a 20-something disabled white agender bi artist from Seattle. I make zines, perform poetry, and lead workshops about disability, queerness, allyship within and beyond the LGBTQIA+ community, and art.”

Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/2016/10/22/about/

In Their Voice

“Being a meaningful ally to LGBTQ+ community members takes commitment, effort, and ongoing education.” Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/2016/10/22/workshops/

“In my experience, affirmations are most powerful when they also acknowledge how unpleasant reality can be. I want affirmations that can meet me in the pit of hopelessness and despair to lift me up a little, not ones that ask me to wish or believe my way out.” Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/2016/10/22/my-zines/

Learn More

Esty: http://kaylarosenzines.etsy.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kaylarosenzines

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/kaylarosenzines/posts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kaylarosenzines

Tumblr: https://kaylarosenzines.tumblr.com/#_=_

Website: https://kaylarosenzines.com/

 

 

Photograph of Leesa Renee Hall
Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project

Recommended Author: Leesa Renee Hall’s “Expressive Writing Prompts”

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about a published author whose work promotes inclusivity and addresses racism.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

Leesa’s interactive and engaging Patreon community incorporates both writing prompts as well as podcasts to help participants deepen their inner work. She addresses topics such as unpacking white fragility and navigating spiritual bypassing, vital discussions for those of us in the mind-body-spirit world who desire to take a stand against racism.

Source: http://leesareneehall.com/

About the Author

“Leesa Renee Hall is an author and facilitator who helps spiritual leaders use the art of self-inquiry to question their unconscious biases so they create truly inclusive communities, companies, and corporations.”

Source: https://leesareneehall.com/meet-leesa/

In Her Voice

“Some are loving and lighting right into a spiritual bonfire.”

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkaYGl2gpxA/?taken-by=leesareneehall

“Many are poor in identity because they are rich in other people’s opinions of them.”

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYqRRWSlKgJ/?taken-by=leesareneehall

Learn More

Blog: https://leesareneehall.com/blog/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leesareneehall/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leesareneehall/posts

Website: https://leesareneehall.com/