I wanted to reach out and share a little bit with you all about mindfulness. It's a topic that has become increasingly near and dear to my heart. As I see my career moving forward, I see myself moving more towards incorporating mindfulness and instructing people in this valuable tool. Sometimes I call it a tool because we’re all comfortable with that sort of cognitive-behavioral language. It seems tangible and practical that way—and it is! But really, I think of mindfulness as much more than a tool. The principles of mindfulness–things like acceptance, openness to experience and not judging–are spiritual principles. They’re about being connected to something larger and embracing a set of values as you go through life. They’re about letting go of control where we don’t have control anyways. Mindfulness is all about accepting and dealing with life on life’s terms. It won’t coddle you. It’s not going to tell you everything will be ok and you’ll get a fairy tale ending. But it will tell you you’re here now. You’re breathing. Your heart is pumping. You can apparently read ; ) And this is the only moment we have. So, right now, you’re ok. You’re ok even if you’re in emotional or physical pain–because pain is not inherently bad. We just label it that way and tell ourselves we can’t handle it and must escape. On the contrary, I find when I sink into a difficult emotion, it softens. I’m yielding to it rather than putting up a cold hard shield of resistance. Holding up that shield of resistance is what is actually difficult and draining. So, I allow the feeling and become curious about it and I’m always surprised when it dissipates more quickly than I could have imagined.
While I don’t think i’ll ever master them, the principles of mindfulness have become ways for me to slow down and recover from my own Type A tendencies and to navigate life with less resistance and more peace. Mindfulness has taught me to accept things that seemed frankly unacceptable (i.e. anything imperfect!) and now, instead of my inner drill sergeant taking over, I’m able to accept my own struggles more and appreciate my progress. To read more click here.
If you’re committed to personal growth and self-care, if you're interested in learning how to incorporate these gentle practices into your daily life, and if you're wanting to share this journey with smart, like-minded people . . . then come join us for the launch of our new signature program: Get Happy! This 6-session holistic wellness program kicks off with our Mindfulness topic on 9/8 from 7-8:30pm. You can sign up for 1 topic or the whole bunch for a discounted rate. And as a special incentive to take care of yourself (and build supportive community!), we’re offering an additional discount for registering with a friend; you’ll each receive 35% off the program. Click here
to register now!
________________________________________________________________________ Heather Shannon is a counselor and health coach working in private practice in Chicago. She works primarily with "Type A" clients and takes a holistic approach to counseling, incorporating nutrition and lifestyle education into her work with teens and adults.