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Mindful : October 2014
4 mindful October 2014 To learn about future issues and upcoming events, sign up for our email newsletters at mindful.org. To share your feedback on this or other issues, email us with your full name, city, and state or province at mindful@ mindful.org. You can also visit facebook.com/ mindfulorg or tweet us @MindfulOnline. For subscription questions, email subscrip- email@example.com. Letters chosen for publication may be edited for length and clarity. All submissions and manuscripts become the property of The Foundation for a Mindful Society. you answered How does mindfulness help “ free” you from responding the same way to the same old emotional triggers? I’ve learned to stop and feel the emotions in my body before reacting, and bring my attention to my breath. That helps me get out of my head and ground myself. Jennifer Nuwer Depew, New York Mindfulness helps me “decatastrophize” so I can help where I can, when I can. In order to be my best self— mother, wife, friend, etc.—I need to be awake and aware. And worry a bit less! Sonja Brown Parkin Queen Creek, Arizona Mindfulness opens up a gap where we can choose how to respond—incredibly import- ant for unlocking creativity. Anton Dahlgren Skellefteå, Sweden Mindfulness allows me to experience emotion and make choices. By allowing emotions to happen, I can validate my experience non-judgmentally and that takes some of the punch out of the emotion. I am a counselor and I see this so often. When the nervous system is highly activated, our frontal cor tex can’t be as engaged. With mindfulness, focusing on allowing instead of resisting or judging can reduce nervous system activa- tion, as can focusing on the breath, so the “choice maker” can be back online! Angel K. Jernigan Birmingham, Alabama connect you wrote in Thank you for mentioning the Berger brothers’ Zen Driving (“Driving to Distrac- tion,” August 2014). What a treasure for drivers! Personally, I found one of their most true obser vations is: On the road, “ there is no territor y to defend.” Bonnie Greer Cornwallville, New York Thanks for sharing the “RAIN” practice (“Finding Inner Peace Through Self-Ac- ceptance,” August 2014). Anything that allows us a second for perspective rather than just flying off the handle is handy in a stressful situation. Ignacio Sanabria Seattle, Washington What a great read (“The Art of Con- versation,” August 2014). I could not agree more with the idea that we need to reconnect with the larger idea of what conversations really are—relational, not just transactional. Lauren Bigelow Menlo Park, California The run-of-the-mill images used to illustrate mindfulness often disappoint me, and mindful.org used one the other day with an online stor y about the new mindfulness group in UK Parliament. A woman was sitting blissfully in the street while people whizzed by. We need to get the message across that mindfulness is an ordinar y, ever yday activity that can be done by people who are not par ticularly bendy or beautiful. As a mindfulness teacher, I also worr y about the notion of thrusting mindfulness in people’s faces. I like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s saying, “If you ever feel tempted to tell someone you medi- tate—go away and meditate some more until the feeling passes.” Jeannie Mackenzie Renfrewshire, England Q: How do you avoid turning mindfulness meditation into just another self-improvement project? JENNIFER HORTON Chapel Hill, North Carolina A: At the hear t of the “meditation project” lies a paradox: You wouldn’t be doing it in the first place if you weren’t motivated— if you didn’t think some benefit would accrue—and yet if you focus on benefit, the ver y benefit you seek eludes you. The trick, if you can call it that, seems to be when you notice the striving for self-im- provement, when trying is over taking just being there, let go. And that process will happen again and again and again. And, oh yeah, give some thought to benefitting ever yone, not just yourself. Trying hard not to try hard is a little tricky—remember to just let go. VOLUME TWO, NUMBER 4, Mindful (ISSN 2169-5733, USPS 010-500) is published bimonthly for $29.95 per year USA, $39.95 Canada & $49.95 (US) international, by The Foundation for a Mindful Society, 1776 I St, NW, #90046, Washington, DC 20006 USA. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, DC, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mindful, PO Box 469018, Escondido, CA 92046. Canada Post Publication Mail Agreement #42704514. CANADIAN POSTMASTER: Send undeliverable copies to Mindful, 1660 Hollis St, Suite 701, Halifax, NS B3J 1V7 CANADA. Printed in U.S .A . © 2014 Foundation for a Mindful Society. All rights reserved. ILLUSTRATIONBYJASONLEE your thoughts you asked