Are you curious to know more about how to apply mindfulness professionally? If so, I can relate. I was in your shoes 23 years ago when Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli began offering training in mindfulness to healthcare professionals through the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The Director of the hospital-based wellness center where I managed health promotion programs saw it as a new revenue opportunity, and I was invited to attend. Always open to exploring new possibilities, I was eager to participate. However, I was completely unprepared for the level of personal transformation. That training planted the seeds for a new way of “seeing” and “being” in the world. It also laid the foundation for all of my current ways of working. My career shifted in a completely new direction.
When Kabat-Zinn autographed my copy of Full Catastrophe Living, he wrote, “…may your mindfulness practice continue to grow and flower and nourish your life and work from moment to moment and from day to day.” It has truly been a gift to experience the deepening of practice over the years and witness how mindfulness has grown and spread worldwide in all kinds of settings. While mindfulness offers a wonderful way to stay connected to what matters most to us, it has also helped many people suffering or wishing to enhance their lives somehow.
People are being hired to deliver mindfulness-based interventions in person, telephonically, “live” online, and through pre-recorded programs and apps. Patients, teachers, students, athletes, coaches, therapists, customers, business leaders, employees, actors, writers, artists, spiritual leaders, and more are benefiting. The application continues to spread as more people experience the practice and understand its potential. Decades of research help validate the value of this practice and continue to make funding available for further exploration.
The “inside-out” approach of mindfulness may feel radically different. Slowing down and paying attention to our own experiences to learn more about ourselves and make wise choices on our behalf is not exactly a cultural norm. Those brave enough to run the experiment, though, are often richly rewarded with the relief that can come from unplugging everything from our digital devices to deeply rooted beliefs about who we should be and how we should be in the world. There is a possibility of creating spaciousness and opening up new vistas in ways we may not have previously imagined.
If you are ready to the exploration of your mindfulness practice (either as a beginner or wishing to deepen) and are curious about how you might bring it to your paid/unpaid work in the world (or see clearly at the moment how that could happen), join us for Duke Health and Well-Being’s Mentoring Mindfulness – Deepen Your Practice this fall. This training teaches foundational mindfulness practices that can be creatively organized and offered in various settings. Remember: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (often attributed to Lao Tzu). Who knows where this next step might lead you?
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