Written by: Patti Chenis, WEC Team Supervisor
Contemplative Practices/ meditation/mindfulness are beneficial ways to strengthen our wellbeing, resilience, and develop a fuller capacity to recognize the healing power in one’s heart to work with stress and difficult challenges.
Mindfulness is knowing what you are doing as you are doing it. It is bring awareness to your present moment lived experience. Bringing our attention to breathing is one of the most widely used objects of meditation and anchor for our attention. Continually coming back to the attention and awareness of our breath brings a sense of precision, (being in the present moment-connecting to our life force of breath) gentleness, (allowing whatever is arising e.g. thoughts, emotions, sensations to be as they are without without judgement and returning to our awareness of breath) and openness ( being curious about the richness and fullness of our experience).
Mindfulness can be developed as a formal practice on meditation cushion, chair, standing up, lying down or walking meditation. The point of meditation is to remember to bring mindfulness (that conscious awareness of being in our present lived experience) into daily life, so you could say any aspect our our lives can be a mindfulness practice.
Her are some thoughts about bringing mindfulness, loving kindness, self compassion and compassion into daily life.
- Deep Conscious Breaths
Taking some deep conscious breaths in the morning or when ever you feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or want a fresh restart in you daily life. Before you do something stress- full, step back and take some deep breaths; research shows deep breaths calm the nervous system.
Walking (especially getting out and enjoying nature), yoga, tai chi, qigong, dancing to your favorite music, laughter (full belly laughs can do wonders for the spirit-try it), singing your favorite song(s); crying (allow yourself to feel the release that crying can bring e.g. tears of sadness, joy) whatever gets your energy moving and flowing.
- Self-compassion and compassion practices
Dispel the myths that self-compassion is selfish or that we are not worthy of love and wellbeing. Research show that offering words of loving kindness to oneself changes our brain and improves our resilience, strengthens our immune system and increases our capacity to be of benefit to others. When we feel resourced and have a sense of well-being our capacity to work with stress and difficult emotions is greater.
Good Morning Practice:
Good morning (put your name here) I love you. You can repeat this in the morning or anytime during the day to interject some good will toward oneself or someone else in your life if it is difficult to say this about yourself at first.
Compassion is not only feeling empathy and emotional connection to the suffering of others but also wanting to relieve that suffering. It is the courage to open our hearts to our own suffering as well as that of others and that we are all interconnected, in the same boat so to speak. We can offer words of care and loving kindness to ourselves, mentors( someone who has been kind to us) friends, strangers, difficult people, as well as to all beings as we open our heart of compassion to include all. May I and all beings have happiness, well being, safety, health and live at ease and in harmony.
“My wife had dementia and needed to be placed in a memory care community in Louisville.
The Windhorse Care partners cared for my wife with compassion, patience and understanding. I felt Christine was safe and engaged and the team brought a person centered approach and contemplative practice. They were a special group.
The team meetings were always about how best to provide for Christine. WEC worked closely with the care community staff to compliment the care from both groups.
I think the most surprising part of this experience was how engaged WEC was from intake, supervision, team leadership, companions to the caregiver support group.” – Harry Lindmark