"You are the sky, everything else is just the weather" - Pema Chodron
Mindfulness finds its roots in Buddhist philosophy and can be traced back to over 2600 years ago. It is a secular practice and can be utilized in any faith based or secular tradition. Mindfulness is what arises through the intentional present moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and surroundings with compassion and without judgment. This can be experienced through meditation but also in any activity throughout the day. Once we drop down into our senses and tune into the aliveness occurring in the here and now, we can manage symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness is also an evidenced-based therapeutic intervention. Through the use of present moment awareness, via meditation, non-judgment, breath work, and supportive and compassionate relating to one’s emotions and body, practitioners experience outcomes such as response regulation, stress reduction, acceptance of self and others, and management of triggers. These practices also teach an understanding of the self beyond imposed narratives, and offer the practitioner more choice in who and how they will be in a world that affords little external control.
I often talk about mindfulness as a pathway to self empowerment. When we are able to sit with what arises and stay with difficult feelings and emotions, we truly see how resilient and strong we actually are and slowly give up other means of avoidance (addiction, busyness, reactivity). We also witness the temporariness of our thoughts and how the mind often jumps from place to place. Through this experience, we begin to become aware that they will pass. We learn to ride the waves instead of being swept off by them. We also understand how we are not our thoughts and are slowly able to let go of unhealthy narratives. In fact, we get to choose how we want to be in our lives and with the people who walk with us.