When I first heard about this “mindfulness” business, I thought to myself, “Bologna.” I don’t even think that I cared enough to give it a full “bologna” – I think I thought “Bolo -” and then my cat walked by or something and I just lost interest. The mindfulness literature I had read (okay, when I say “literature,” I probably mean someone’s peace-earth-love blog posted on their facebook page) felt vague and hard to grasp. When it came down to it, however, mindfulness – the idea of living non-judgmentally in the present moment through meditational practice – was just too incongruent with my fast-paced, hyper-stimulating reality for me to have even imagined, much less experienced, its efficacy.
After having joined the SCC Feminist Committee, Dr. Fran Mervyn, our amazing Dean of Students, hooked me up with Dr. Janet Surrey, a feminist-identifying psychologist who teaches at Harvard, to help her type out and edit her book chapter on relational mindfulness. Serving as the editing sidekick of this amazingly insightful woman forced me to commit myself to learning about mindfulness practice, as well as the robust scientific literature corroborating its viability. I was won over.
Given that my second-year practicum site, a college counseling center, also avidly promotes mindfulness, I have now been able to actively recruit mindfulness as a means to support some of my clients, providing them with take-home meditational techniques and overall relevant psychoeducation regarding its physiological impact (It’s hard to get someone excited about, for instance, staring at a candle flame for ten minutes unless you explain what the heck it’s doing). Most of such clients are now reporting a reduction in feelings of stress, attributing their autonomic shift, at least in part, to mindfulness practice.
Anyways, even though it took me like three hours to write this post because I got distracted by “binders full of women” blogs and some youtube video where this guy pets a real-life liger… I’m having fun trying to incorporate a lil’ more mindfulness into my life, whether to benefit myself or my clients. A big grateful shout-out to all of those, especially Dr. Surrey and my practicum-site supervisors, who have educated me about and encouraged me to further explore this mindfulness