Mindfulness Matters

Hello Readers, this blog post comes from one of my students, Cricket Cooper. All of my students have been invited to post a guest blog entry. For my  musings on all you can eat buffets see my blog post from the summer of 2010.

Recently, a friend of mine lost a significant amount of weight, under a doctor’s supervision, by taking a controversial appetite-suppressant drug.  It is one of those miracle cures with which many people have experienced astonishing weight loss, and so it’s popular despite its dodgy reputation.

The tricky part, for my friend, is that although she’s at a comfortable weight, she’s nervous about stopping the drug.  What will life be like without it?  What about all those folks who lose huge amounts of weight, only to gain it right back… and more?

So I was thinking that a Mindfulness approach to eating and stress might be a wonderful support for her, loosening her feeling of need for the drug while helping her find new ways to roll with life’s inevitable ups and downs.  With high expectations that I could find a support group near her, I “googled” the name of the metropolitan area in which she lives, and the words “Mindful Eating.”

What I got, in this order:

1) An ad for a steak house

2) An ad for a website that included some helpful mindfulness books to purchase

3) A website of an author/life-coach gal whose work looked interesting, but whose website focus was on Christian entrepreneurs… something that would not appeal to my friend

And (drum roll, please!):

4) A list of all-you-can-eat restaurants, in the town in question

REALLY?  Hello, is it just ME?  Is there anything mindful about an all-you-can-eat restaurant?   It is so easy for me to forget that just because it seems like there is fresh research every day supporting the efficacy of a mindfulness approach to life, just because everywhere I look I see information supporting mindful meditation and awareness….. nevertheless, my experience is not the “norm.”  I live in a hip little New England city, where every menu I peruse has vegan and gluten-free options, where you can grab a cushion at a downtown meditation studio on your lunch hour and sit in silence with mindful strangers, where professional people commute to work on bicycles~ during snowstorms that would close down Washington DC for a week!  I’m surrounded by like-minded people, moving gently through their days, mindful of the power of words, actions, thoughts.   In my comfortable bubble, it can feel as though The World is Like This.

When a search for mindful eating brings up a list of all-you-can-eat restaurants, I am reminded that although Mindfulness may seem ubiquitous right now, it’s not yet mainstream by any means.  At the risk of sounding like some creepy televangelist, help me get the word out to more people, invite more people into a fresh relationship with themselves, with their lives, and with this world.  I want everyone who needs support to have access to willing and gentle teachers.  I want everyone who is angry or depressed or lonely or hurting to experience the healing power of three deep breaths.  Teach just one person how to spend more time eating that raisin than it currently takes to devour an entire “Happy” meal.

Let’s not ride this bubble down the back of the wave~~~ instead, let’s take our energy and enthusiasm and use them to change the tide for good.

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