While life on this planet has never been stress-free, it's fair to say that never before in our lifetimes have stressors been so global, acute, and threatening to safety, livelihood, and well-being. And it's not just the pandemic, and the layers of loss, financial crises, illness, and uncertainty that have come in it's wake.
It's also the way in which the lowered volume of busyness has allowed for seeing more clearly than at any time since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, the violence and suffering that come with social injustice.
It's the way we're being called to engage proactively with our own blindnesses regarding privilege and the dire consequences in terms of healthcare, safety, and sustainable work for those without it. We're being called to reflect, consider, and educate ourselves so that when we take action, on a local or global level, it's in the service of minimizing harm, and maximizing well-being for all human beings across categories of race, gender identification, sexual orientation, and income levels.
It's the way we're being called to listen. To open our minds and hearts to others' experience that is different from our own. To learn and grow in our own understanding of all forms of oppression, and affirm that we stand in support of dignity and justice for each and every one of us.
All this in the midst of a viral scourge that is changing where and how we work, socialize, connect with our families, and support ourselves and one another.
Could there be a better time to learn skills for steadying our minds, for befriending ourselves?
Right in the midst of the chaos and confusion of our times, it's not only possible, but may be critical to cultivate our deep internal resources for clarity, kindness, and durable well-being.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) is a means of doing just this. An 8-week, evidence-based, experiential training, MBSR was designed precisely for coping more effectively with the vast array of challenges, demands, and both ordinary and extraordinary stresses of daily living. It offers intensive training in mindfulness meditation and mindful movement, and in integrating course learnings into everyday life.
Research consistently shows that mindfulness practices result in significant short and long-term benefits, including increases in self-awareness, compassion, and emotion regulation, reductions in anxiety, depression and chronic pain, and positive changes in risk factors that may lead to more serious chronic ailments.
The MBSR curriculum integrates trauma-informed guidelines that reflect current 'best practices' in the field. These guidelines have grown out of the recognition that many of us are, on any given day, coping with traumatic stress arising from events such as sudden loss, diagnosis of disease, accidents, assault, or military combat, as well as from on-going encounters with systems of discrimination, violence, and marginalization.
The intention of this course is to bring every possible benefit that mindfulness offers to all participants, including those who have experienced the full range of joys and sorrows that accompany our being human.
Please join us in exploring how mindfulness might support you in living with greater ease and well-being, right in the midst of the difficulties now present.