If it is available to you, notice your body's posture, without judgment, adjusting only if it feels right to do so...thank you and thank yourself.
Hurricane season is almost over, snowbird season is just beginning, the days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping (albeit minimally) and the Holidays are approaching. Most of us are back to the busyness of work, school, and the ‘routine' activities of our lives. Fall in So Fl has arrived.
And we have the craziest political scene I have ever known. Plus the 2020 Presidential Election in full swing, or should I say, has come out swinging! I hope that the news coverage and social media commentaries do not detract you from paying attention to what is important and has heart and meaning. And that none of this is keeping you from continuing your mindfulness practice. Remember, by practicing mindfulness, we improve our attention and concentration facilitating our capacity to know what to focus on and what really needs doing. Where our attention is and what our attention is on affects us, our relationships and what we do, since we tend to advance what we focus on. In a sense, what we give our attention to creates our lives, that is, it's not 'we are what we eat' but, 'we are what we pay attention to!'
Also, there is something about mindfulness that is an antidote to society's hyper-connectivity, always on news and social media and the constant exposure to politicians, talking heads, and big business’s tendency to scare us into feeling we need to be more, do more, and to have more, making us feel like we are STUFFOCATING. Ironically, their constantly reminding us of “our problems” and then offering us their solutions has pushed many of us away from them, possibly because as we know from research and experience, mindfulness helps “our problems” better than what they are promoting.
On another note, this Fall, despite the increase in (authentic) MBSR and mindfulness offerings, our classes are more fully attended than in the past. Perhaps this is because of the above -- that mindfulness is medicine for our dis-ease. Or perhaps this represents an unconscious need to remain sane and grounded with the all the current issues affecting our community at large. Issues such as school violence, mental illness, addiction, trauma and the fear of an active shooter. Or the increased attendance in our classes is about the growth and mainstreaming of mindfulness in So Fl that has reached a critical mass, a tipping point, with more people throughout So Fl finding the benefits of mindfulness for themselves and are becoming part of our growing local mindfulness community. Whatever the reason(s), this is a good thing.
Notably, the growth of mindfulness in South Florida has largely been an organic grassroots movement - we have not had a commercial enterprise, political organization or government mandate that has pushed mindfulness on us. Most come to mindfulness by way of word-of-mouth from our family members, friends, and co-workers who have benefited from our classes contributing to the flourishing of our community. It is also affirming that we will be visited by internationally known “mindfulness celebrities” this Fall. Jud Brewer, Tish Jennings, Sharon Salzberg, and Jon Kabat Zinn will be offering workshops in our area.
And yet South Florida has been called the Wild Wild West of mindfulness by some from other parts of our country. But now So Fl is settling into a credible and flourishing community of mindfulness teachers, researchers, practitioners, and supporters bringing wholeness, healing and vitality to our community, although there is more work to do to be more inclusive, diverse and socially conscious, so we can come together to address the challenges we face now and in the future.
And while we are visited by national mindfulness celebrities and we have our own local mindfulness rockstars, the shining stars of our community are you. Without your practice and support, none of this would hardly matter, indeed little of this would or could happen. So a huge thank you, a deep bow, and un abrazo fuerte to all of you for attending our classes, lectures, workshops, events, and for simply reading this email.
And give yourself and each other a round of applause…we may not always be on the same page when it comes to our backgrounds, experiences, philosophies, politics, or religions, but as we come together in the spirit of the common intention of addressing our individual issues and our collective hurt, we gain access to that part of us which is never broken. As we practice by and with ourselves and each other, we come to know our Wholeness and interconnectedness, so that we may extend sanity and compassion to our Governments, institutions, and corporations; indeed to all of our society. Martin Luthor King, Jr said, “We may have all come in on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now.” Nowhere is this more unmistakable than in So Fl with all the transplants from other parts of the country and all the people from other parts of the world...reminding us that we are stronger because of our individual differences as we are bonded by our common vulnerabilities.