Mindfulness and stress. Is there really a connection between a little bit of mindfulness and easing some of your stress? Absolutely.
Can mindfulness make all of your stress disappear and never come back again? Nope.
Boston-based Rebecca Pacheco, a top national influencer in the areas of yoga and meditation, is the guest in this episode. Rebecca’s a writer, teacher, creative director, yogi, and the author of a wonderful new book, called Still Life: The Myths and Magic of Mindful Living.
Her earlier book, called Do Your Om Thing, was published in 2015, and named one of “the top ten yoga and meditation books every yogi needs” by Yoga Journal.
Listen in as we talk about what mindful meditation can and can’t do for you.
When I asked Rebecca how she defines mindfulness, she offered one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard. She said “mindfulness is living our lives as though it matters.”
In her new book Still Life: The Myths and Magic of Mindful Living, she writes:
Meditation is not self-improvement. It is self-acceptance. It is befriending the self. It heals, resolves, and improves a great many things, which is somewhat ironic. But we don’t do it to fix ourselves. … . To need fixing implies you are broken. You’re not. Your essence cannot break. … The you-est part of you persists. It goes by many names, soul, self, spirit, to name a few When we speak of stillness, it is this sacred aspect of our being that we nurture.
So, if meditation and mindfulness can’t “fix” your stress and overwhelm and anxiety and sadness, what can it do?
Rebecca says that “its grace and usefulness are baked into the practice; they are not performance-based rewards. They reveal themselves in our living and relating — in who we are being. What it feels like to be alive, and how alive are we willing to be?”
Love that question … how alive are we willing to be? How much are we willing to miss of the richness of living this life? Which, yes, includes the sorrows and losses and outrage and occasional overwhelm.
Maybe you’re tried to meditate, and it just doesn’t make any sense. Or even worse, as soon as you give it a go, all sorts of thoughts and feelings overwhelm you.
What can make meditating hard if it’s so good for us? Rebecca writes:
You sit and breathe, using basic tools, and the transformative, stress-reducing, creativity-boosting, peace-inducing benefits avail themselves to you. It’s exquisitely simple but also, you’re right, deceptively hard. The reason why it’s so hard is that we prefer instant gratification and we’re programmed, deeply conditioned, by our thoughts about the past and the future.
It’s also true that, for some people, sometimes meditating needs to be approached very gently, with a trained counselor who has experience with both mindful meditation and psychologically therapeutic strategies (as I am).
I want to leave you with this last bit of writing from Rebecca Pacheco:
Paying attention to people is our magic. How we wrap the cloth around the break. How we unwrap the break and eat. How we listen. ow we observe. How we hold space for all our feelings, not just the pleasant and comfortable ones. … Who we are. Who we are being. … . How we nurture the best in others and ourselves. How we live.
In my experience, how we live and love and work is what determines our levels of stress, anxiety, sadness, and/or overwhelm. If you’re curious about how mindfulness in therapy can help you, please schedule a free 15-minute phone consult with me. I’m here for you.