MiMo: How did you get into learning and practicing mindfulness?
Grace: I was practicing meditation through online content and apps. I knew meditation is helpful and was in search of more meaning and to dive deeper. That led me to mindfulness. My initial intention was to learn more about mindfulness and infused it into my work as an educator with youths. I want to help youth form a new habit and let them take it into their career and life after graduation. I deemed it as an essential skill for their well-being.
However, I sustained an injury before I could enroll in an MBSR class. When I was ready, it turned out that practicing mindfulness was hugely beneficial for my healing. I am now prepared to move towards my initial intention.
MiMo: Tell us about your experience in the MBSR program.
Grace: While there was a bigger purpose for attending MBSR, I showed up for each MBSR class weekly with no expectations but to simply show up and practice. Each lesson was immensely beneficial as a self-learning and discovery experience. The sharing among the small group, though brief, often brings up questions I have within too. These helped a lot with my self-assessment and growth.
Erin was very helpful with her succinct comments to our questions and experience. They offer clear directions as well as the space for me to ponder upon. There were times when I was challenged in physical movements or had emotions triggered during practice, and these were all part of the practice where I learn to embrace and be with. Week 3, I experienced an immense shift within.
MiMo: How has mindfulness contributed to your personal well-being?
Grace: Calmer. Happier. I became a lot calmer and was definitely more grounded in all aspects of my life - self, family, and work. One significant role MBSR contributed to this period of my life is teaching me how to sit with whatever is ongoing inside me - a mix of physical, mental, or emotional sensations.
Finally, to be compassionate to self. While I was aware of this theoretically, it was only through the practices that I was able to experience it.
One other significant experience I had was to let the practice through time guide me towards Trust. I began to trust my body and myself again through MBSR practices. This was vital to my recovery from my injury. I learned to sit with whatever I was feeling, be with whichever moment I was in, persevere, and do what I can to support the healing. I am very grateful for this. It got me out of the two years of struggle with this injury, both physically and mentally.
MiMo: How has mindfulness supported you in your professional work?
Grace: "PAUSE" is immense for me. I have been able to slow down, listen, respond and be less reactive. I didn't use to be reactive, but the nature of my work recently shifted me. I am more joyful on a day-to-day basis. I am definitely less hasty and have been more mindful of the time and effort from others and time for myself. I was mindful to practice gratefulness and patience.
The workplace is a hectic environment, yet I can get the same things done, feeling less rush. I think being present is key in my case.
MiMo: How have you incorporated mindfulness into your daily life?
Grace: I have grown to be more aware of how I communicate with my loved ones. I listen to them (differently now) and am making fewer assumptions. I tuned in more, both to them and myself. I realized that calms everyone too.
I am also feeling less reactive in situations I usually will, even though these are not often. Therefore, I am happy with where I am now.
MiMo: Any words of advice for people who are thinking about learning mindfulness?
Grace: You simply have to be in practice to know what you can do for yourself. There are so many levels of discovery and healing taking place. Even if you are not sure what you are looking for or feel like there is nothing broken, come and be present. - be the gift to others and yourself. There is no ready, or not.
It is a survival kit in life, the first aid box that we never knew we needed.
With a passion for impacting the learning journeys of young individuals, I choose to be an educator, a mentor, a life coach to help my students and graduates build successes in life, career, and relationships.
I have been a lecturer in the creative field of Interactive & Digital Media for more than 15 years. I am very fortunate to be in the 'people business', meaning to have the chance to work on people, with people, for people, and continue to affect and impact lives along the way. The impact goes beyond me. They are out there bringing greater positives and contributions to society and the world we live in.
I am a mother to a very sensible boy, and I have a very supportive husband, brother, and mom. I am grateful for them in my life. I love to spend time baking, making art, plating food, and going outdoors to soak up the sun and be engaged in sports. My son joins me in my art and food sessions too. As much as I love engaging with others - listening to their stories and sharing their ups and downs, I love solitude. Time alone is a necessity for me. Quieting down is pure joy - reflect, reset, be with me.