Mindfulness: The art of paying attention with openness and curiosity to the present moment.
Last weekend I was on a personal and professional retreat practicing Mindfulness Meditation with a large group of teachers in a beautiful setting in West Marin, CA. First of all, it felt so good to completely unplug from the world and leave a message on cell and land line that I would be unreachable for 4 days… Also I put an auto-response on my email letting people know that I would not get back to them until after the weekend. Wow! Just that alone was an accomplishment for one who is usually glued to a “crackberry” 24/7.
Anyway, the professionals on the weekend retreat were teachers from pre-K through university level and beyond. The objective was to have partly a personal retreat as well as a training for bringing more mindfulness awareness techniques into the classroom setting. It was wonderful to learn fun ways to teach students about relaxation, presence and bringing a calmer focus to the learning experience. My objective was to expand my own practice of mindfulness techniques as a powerful tool in guiding clients to a deeper experience of their authentic inner beauty.
Stillness and the simple act of practicing being in the present moment is a powerful way to be more present in one’s life, to oneself and is for me, the foundation of true beauty>BEING PRESENT. People with great presence are fascinating people to be around. It is especially evident with great actors who may not be stunningly gorgeous on the outside but who command attention because of their incredible presence. The reason is that great actors are highly skilled at being present in the moment with whomever they are working with in a scene…
Diana Winston, one of four teachers for the retreat weekend is the director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) http://www.marc.ucla.edu and has written a book with Susan Smalley, PhD entitled,”Fully Present”, http://www.fullypresentthebook.com . It is a wonderful book that explains why meditation is so effective and how it can be helpful in enhancing health and wellbeing. I highly recommend it as a useful guide with practical tips and exercises to help start and sustain a meditation practice. “The research exploring mindfulness, although still relatively new, is demonstrating that repeated practice can lead to changes in our lives, including:
- Reduce stress
- Boost the body’s immune system
- Ease chronic physical pain
- Cope with negative emotional
- Increase self-awareness
- Cultivate happiness”
*Embracing Deep Beauty Thought:
Are you WILLING to find 3 minutes each day 3 times a day to STOP and just BREATHE and OBSERVE what you are feeling in your body in the moment? Can you meet the present moment in that practice with openness and curiosity?