Do You Mind(Fully)?
Do You Mind(fully)? was named #2 Meditation Instructor in NYC 2015 & 2016
In 2010 I was a completely different person than I am now. Anxiety ridden, over medicated, fearful and content to stick my head in the sand rather than participate in life. My idea of hell was spending time alone in my own mind. That’s where the enemy lived. That inner monologue that told me I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, or good enough. That voice told me that I didn't measure up, and shouldn’t bother trying. And who wants to listen to that?
As a child, to avoid thinking, I would read comics while eating my Lucky Charms or have on hand dozens of books, cds or magazines for a short weekend trip. Growing up it translated to always needing headphones at the gym, reading material for the subway, and eventually using substances like drugs and alcohol so that I wouldn't have to be present. God forbid I just be alone with me. That kind of mental gymnastics served me well for a time. The need to have constant distractions was an asset in the working world. I would throw myself into tasks and multiple projects during the day, then go to business dinners and client events at night. The unending demands were a welcome diversion but it didn't actually change the inner dialogue. I was still comparing myself against my peers only to be found lacking. And burning the candle at both ends eventually led to the inevitable cliche: burn out.
In 2010 I was offered a trip to a Yoga Center in western Massachusetts. I had never done yoga before and really had no interest in their hippie aesthetic. But I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, and I was desperate enough to be willing to go. I remember attending one of their guided meditations. I had tried to meditate numerous times growing up with no real success other than a good nap. I went in with lots of judgement and preconceived ideas that this would not work for me: "My mind races too much, I can’t just sit, I have gotTHINGS TO DO!!!" But then something happened. This was not the standard “focus on nothing, clear your thoughts, just let go” style meditation. This was specific, visual, contextual with a practical methodology that I could actually follow with my crazy busy brain. I had about 30 seconds of Peace for the first time in years. I learned later that this was “Mindfulness Meditation”. This Meditation practice, along with yoga, and 12 step meetings slowly changed me from the inside out. These tools have helped me in ways I can’t begin to enumerate. But we’re a results-driven country so I will try:
Using these tools I learned to slow down my breath, reduce my heart rate, increase my patience, feel compassion for myself and others, let go of resentments, think more clearly, and hear my inner voice guiding me to more authentic decisions. I am genuinely happy. That last one is a game changer. My inner voice no longer goes directly to “YouSuckVille”, but instead lands somewhere in the garden of “Compassion and Tolerance, for myself and others”. Not every day, not every minute. I am 100% human. But you know what? I can ride the subway sans newspaper and not have a panic attack. I can have a bad day and not believe I am useless and a failure. I can have an argument with someone and see that maybe the other person is going through a difficult time, which has nothing to do with me. I can eat something and taste its flavors. I can witness my thoughts and change their course. Would you like to try? Do you Mind(Fully)?