We can all be “Rock Stars of Mindfulness”

Len Delony1Last week I attended a “Mindful Life” Conference that had over 700 people from around the country (and world) who have been doing research and working intentionally about “being present in the moment” in ways that help for deeper listening. Many were like “Rock Stars of Mindfulness” and, among other things, presented fascinating brain research about what happens when we engage in a process that helps us let go of our reaction to stressful situations (with the fight-flight-freeze-faint reaction from the amygdala) and instead have what I sometimes call “second breath prayerful pause” that creates enough flexibility (in the frontal cortex) to discern and respond from a deeper awareness. (Dr. Daniel Siegel who teaches at the Medical School at UCLA was one of the most fascinating presenters.)

I think there are so many ways we can take insights from amazing research of the last 10 years, combine it with the deep wisdom of our faith tradition and some of our prayerful, contemplative practices, and apply them to help us be a more healthy and healing community . . . one in which we discover together ways that God is working with us for good through all things “in life, in death, in life beyond death.”

Tuesday night became a wonderful example of how we can gather as a healing community. Over 30 people gathered that evening for a monthly “Mind Body Spirit Connection” dinner at the Cancer Care Services building (on Henderson next to Harris Hospital and Trimble Tech.) Dace Sultanov joined us and shared her inspirational story of passion, heartbreak, and healing.

Afterwards we took time for mindful meditation while Dace played cello and I read the following excerpt from a poem by David Whyte:

(ALSO — Come join us for Dace’s concert on Sunday evening, May 22!)

Len

VULNERABILITY

is not a weakness, a passing indisposition,

or something we can arrange to do without,

vulnerability is not a choice,

vulnerability is the underlying,

ever present

and abiding under-current

of our natural state . . .

The only choice we have as we mature

is how we inhabit our vulnerability,

how we become larger

and more courageous

and more compassionate

through our intimacy with disappearance,

our choice is to inhabit vulnerability

as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully,

or conversely,

as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful,

always at the gates of existence,

but never bravely and completely attempting to enter,

never wanting to risk ourselves,

never walking fully through the door.

— David Whyte

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