.… is that tattered rag in the cleaning bin; the one that melts your heart with its softness and cloudy stains; the one that can handle the world’s dust and absorb all tears.
As winter MBSR begins, we are committed to learning practices that inevitably challenge our habitual ways of being. To spend 20 minutes eating a raisin, or 45 minutes moving attention, inch by inch though our bodies is for most, a departure from the familiar. Awareness, opens us to thoughts, sensations and emotions, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. In the process we rummage deeply to find that “rag in the bin” that can take care, no matter what the joy; no matter what the mess.
Feeling a little house-bound? Need a new perspective on life? Most of us do this time of year…Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) may be just the “new view” you’re looking for! This evidence-based course teaches skills of attention, calm alert focus, emotional regulation and self compassion-the ingredients that ultimately help us connect with ourselves, others, and our world in more effective and positive ways.
The course is based on the MBSR program pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical school. Since 1979 thousands of people and organizations have benefitted from this training in areas as diverse as education, medicine, law, social welfare, sports, military, clergy, art, parenting, caregiving-anywhere that our lives call us to discover and use our built-in sensitivity and goodness as human beings.
Saturday August 6 was just another amazing day, spent silently by all who attended the All Day MBSR Silent Retreat. Skills were learned and practiced throughout the day: sitting, walking; eating; stretching; all with awareness, and as needed, self compassion:
….may we be at ease with ourselves and the circumstances of our lives…may we see clearly when we have given too much or too little……may we always feel free to begin again…..
If you missed this All Day Retreat, plan on attending the next one, April 29, 2017. To be held at Beltrami Electric Cooperative Community Room, 9:AM-4:pm
……and come to the MBSR All Day Silent Retreat! All MBSR participants past and present are invited to the All Day Silent Retreat Saturday, August 6, 2016. This guided all day retreat is part of the Summer 2016 MBSR curriculum. It gives a great review and reboot to anyone who has taken MBSR in the past and wants to review mindfulness skills or begin anew with daily practice. No lists, no pens, paper or electronics. Just bring yourself and your lunch.
Where: Beltrami Electric Community Room 4111 Technology Drive Bemidji, MN
When: Saturday August 6, 2016 9:00am to 4:00pm Come a few minutes early for Coffee and conversation, and so you can settle in for the day.
What: Bring a lunch you have packed yourself to eat at noon; bring layers of clothing for comfort, and any extra pillows blankets or props you need for comfort.
Water, coffee and tea and healthy snacks will be provided!
Cushions, blankets and chairs will be provided.
E-mail Geri at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on coming. If you decide to come when you wake up Saturday morning, COME on over!
MBSR Class is currently working with body scan practice. The body scan, like most things we find daunting, is just a series of moments, and moments themselves aren’t all that complicated. These are my left toes….this is my right knee….these are my fingertips….this is my chin.
But let’s be realistic. Most of us are not used to the body scan’s pace (really slow) or the subject matter (this body). We often face the unfamiliar with a worried quality of mind, like: “I’m not used to this–I’ve got all this other stuff to do…..this is really wacko…what will people think….jeeminy how long is this going to take”….fill in the blanks for yourself. How can we work skillfully with our thinking to make the body scan more accessible?
One way is “beginner’s mind”….deciding to approach each moment (ie. right knee, now) as if for the very first time, with openness and curiosity. Like this:
“Hmmm, what is going on in this knee right now?”
Forget how goofy this may sound….remember you don’t have to justify it to anyone, and your MBSR classmates, (past present and future) are in it with you!
Another way to work skillfully with thinking is simply to notice thoughts as they arise…( a story, a memory, a grocery list…) and, gently redirect attention back to body scanning:
“What is happening here with this knee ? What is happening here with this hip? And what are we having for dinner?…..oops, what is happening here with this hip?…..pork chops? baked or grilled….gravy would sure taste good….. oops, now what is here in the hip?…….etc.”
Simple but not easy! That is why we practice in class. And why we practice with recorded instructions at home. Hang in there…….the body scan has much to teach. New skills will emerge.
Summer MBSR is underway! We explore our “basic equipment”: eyes, ears, nose, mouth and body (fleshy sensations arising from skin/muscle/joint/bone). It’s slow going by usual standards, but everyone in class is engaged as we look more closely at actual felt experience of life moment by moment. We spend a half-hour eating a raisin; we linger for almost an hour scanning the body, noticing and observing from toes to crown of the head. This kind of attention is rich with thought: memory, anticipation, insight and new perspective. And with thought comes emotion: warmth, nostalgia, longing and worry. It’s all the stuff we are made of, and knowing this is the point of mindfulness practice. So on we go, with sincere intent to practice daily, carefully and kindly observing, fine tuning our amazing capacity for awareness.
…linger over the peaches and nectarines at the grocery store, just to smell them. Look up and see every variation of green in the trees and know what is happening in the sky. Its summer in northern Minnesota, full of experiences we can overlook if we are overly stressed, emotionally or physically. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teaches us to round out our everyday experience, learning to acknowledge stress and its causes, and also to be more open to the vastly interesting world that surrounds us even when we are stressed! Get more life out of your life….try MBSR this summer. Subscribe to this site (bottom of the right side banner) for an automatic reminder when the summer 2017 MBSR class schedule is finalized.