Moving From Intention Into Action

I feel most inspired and motivated about possibilities–new experiences to improve and expand my life–as my day winds down at night. My  ‘good intention’ list percolates to the top of my mind during that wonderful time of calm and quiet late at night–an opportunity for clarity and focus before I fall asleep.  Then, the sun rises, my day begins–and my personal intentions fade, as the day becomes brighter and I engage and reconnect.

When I think about our first MPTF Deal With It Women’s Conference (September 2013), I easily reconnect with that same late evening feeling of inspiration and excitement about what I am doing or intend to do to make changes in my life that will bring me greater balance, new experiences, new and renewed friendships, and a greater sense of well-being. I had been reading and hearing about mindfulness, and I decided to take a step and I called a friend and asked her to go with me one evening to an introductory class at UCLA on mindfulness.

“Mindful Awareness is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences. Mindfulness has scientific support as a means to reduce stress, improve attention, boost the immune system, reduce emotional reactivity, and promote a general sense of health and well-being.”

We made a plan and off we went. This is just what Dean Ornish, MD, was talking about during our lunch at the Women’s Conference!  He was encouraging us to take small, simple steps to ease ourselves into a better, longer, healthier life in every sense of the word–to “Deal With It Today”.

I loved the class.  Who doesn’t want to be in a place of ‘peace and ease’? Practicing mindfulness is learning how to “pay attention to the present moment of experience with openness, curiosity, and the intention to be with what is.”  I was inspired. I could do this.

My friend is already there. She practices yoga, daily meditations, is appreciative, and is a supportive, inspiring person and role model.  Next, she invited me to join her at a yoga studio closer to home with free parking and a variety of classes to choose from. She called ahead to scope out the best classes to introduce me to yoga–you see, I’m a beginner in every sense of the word, with the exception of meditative breathing techniques. We made a plan; at the last moment, she was not able to get to the class, but I had committed and walked into that studio.

It was a fully enrolled Friday night class–the instructor was welcoming and supportive, as I explained this was all new to me. I did not know the title or proper way to do each position, but I would observe and then close my eyes so no one would see me.  I tried to remember to breathe and I did the best I could do.

It was a humbling, tiring, and enjoyable experience.  My favorite part was leaning into the yoga chair toward the end of the session and practicing meditative breathing with soft music and chimes, and practicing mindfulness that I had learned from my UCLA class. I was feeling proud of myself, as I was walking out and thanking the instructor. He was very nice as he leaned in and quietly suggested I call for further instruction before the next class.  I left giggling, thinking he hadn’t understood what I meant when I said it was all new for me. And I felt proud that I had stepped into something very new for me.

So…what’s next?  I plan to continue on with mindfulness techniques. I am now listening to the CD at the back of our The Spectrum book, titled “Guided Meditations With Anne Ornish and Dean Ornish, M.D”.  And, I think I might try to find another meditation yoga class or perhaps see what Tai Chi is all about. And, in the meantime, I continue to challenge myself to “Deal With It Today” late at night, when it is calm and quiet.

By Lea Pipes, BCD, LCSW

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