Mindful Through the Times

I am a “Yes-woman.” I will say yes to just about any project that either involves interfaith activism or advocacy for the underprivileged, for those that are marginalized, or for the general common good.  Often times serving my community I would feel overwhelmed, physically spent, and emotionally drained because of the amount of work that I knew that had to be done to create change, so I started to run. I found that with running I was able to find a sense of peace, contentment and release of those gloomy feelings and submerge myself in nature’s beauty. I always looked forward to my daily run, especially if it was at sunrise. This was great up until I sustained a knee injury and had to have surgery. When I sustained this injury, I wondered how am I going to find that sense of mindfulness, presences, and peace without running?

Clare 1
This injury was a wake up call for me. I would like thinking it was the universe’s way of forcing me to slow down and really evaluate my life. What am I doing for society, why am I doing it at such a fast pace, and more importantly how I am carrying out these initiatives that I believe to be important and necessary to the surrounding community. I began to follow some of Thich Nhat Hahn’s teachings on mindful-meditation so that I could learn from my healing journey and acknowledge that it was happening rather than plow through it. The integral part to this experience has been to acknowledge the present moment. Over time, I have learned that meditation is not sitting and being still in silence. Thich Nhat Hahn offers this:

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We don’t have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. We don’t have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child.
Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy.”

 

Clare 2       Mindful meditation to me is a pro-active, conscious acknowledgement of the present moment. For instance, when I am doing my physical therapy, I am solely focused on the being able to lift my leg in a controlled movement, keeping my form, and allowing small movements that are helping the building of strength I need to recover. Feeling and sensing what I am doing in the moment with intention. Not splitting my attention between what I am doing and what I need to do in the next 5 minutes. Recognizing this has helped me start on a journey of finding presences and patience within the moment. Practicing mindful-meditation has given me more than I ever could have imagined. I feel calmer, more patient with others, and more importantly, patient with my self and less overwhelmed with what needs to be done. The added bonus I see even more beauty than I did before in my community, such as the greenery that we call earth.

Acknowledging where I am in the now-moment not only helped me grow emotionally but it also helped me heal quicker. Since starting my practice I have become more conscious of my body’s movements.  I have become more patient and let my body heal the way it is suppose to, which has paid in dividends. Today (September 8, 2015) I am 4 months post-op and I am pain free for the first time in 12 years and I am about 3 weeks away from starting my back to running program again. Mindful meditation has the power to reorient, restore, and awaken the body’s senses.

Mindfulness or meditation isn’t about being still. It’s about the acknowledgement of now and choosing to accept it, not plowing through the moment.Clare 4First Side Plant since March

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