Meet One of the 12 Most Powerful Women of the Mindful Movement
If you’re feeling stressed, and you want to live a healthier life in body, mind and spirit, Cheryl Jones will inspire you to do just that through the practice of mindful meditation. In this week’s Happy Hour Podcast, she explains how mindful meditation is about awareness and being in the moment. It can lower stress, keep you focused, happier and improve relationships. And she has a FREE mindful meditation every Monday. Listen in to the podcast and read her article below.
by Cheryl Jones
We’ve all heard about mindfulness. But do you feel like you understand what it truly is and how it can help you?
In this article, I’m going to unpack mindfulness and show you how to get started with a simple, sustainable practice. I draw upon evidence-based principles and teachings which I’ve acquired through formal education and training over the past 30 years.
I also share from my personal experience. Mindfulness helped me to navigate the most turbulent time of my life when I suffered multiple losses some of which included divorce, my ex-husband’s incarceration, and bankruptcy. I write about all of this in my book, Thriving When Your Cosmic Egg Is Cracked: A Mindful Journey.
I believe the sad state of affairs here in the U.S. has caused our collective cosmic egg to crack. Mindfulness matters more than ever, and I hope what I offer will help you to feel empowered to thrive forward.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a particular way of engaging in life. It involves noticing what is happening within us and around us in the present moment with openness and curiosity.
We all possess this natural capacity for awareness. It is innate within each of us as human beings. It’s both a skill and a way which can be strengthened through mindfulness meditation.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is an awareness practice where we explore objects of our attention including breathing, thoughts, feelings, sensations, and surroundings. We take 10 to 20 minutes daily to sit quietly, tuning in to our present moment experience with openness and curiosity.
How is mindfulness meditation different?
It is not a focus or concentration meditation like Transcendental Meditation. We’re not visualizing being anywhere else. There is no mantra, chanting, or bowing. It is secular and appropriate for almost everyone.
Is there a breathing technique?
In mindfulness meditation, we don’t change or manipulate the breath in any way. We are simply aware that the body is breathing. We note things like whether the breath is shallow or deep. We notice sensations like the air at the tip of the nose or movement at the chest.
Why can’t I stop my thoughts?
The mind is always busy thinking thoughts. Mindfulness practice is about noticing thoughts, not blocking them. We notice a thought, let it go, and bring the attention back to the breath, back to the present moment. This is how we patiently retrain our brains.
What if I get overcome by feelings?
Mindfulness meditation involves a willingness to let ourselves feel however we feel. It’s about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. If any feeling is a little too much, we can always rest our attention on just the breath. This is how we compassionately build resilience.
Will this help with pain management?
During mindfulness practice we lovingly tune in to strong sensations within the body. In fact, we bring our awareness right smack into the middle of it. And breathe. We discover how sensation ebbs and flows. This is how we create a different relationship with our pain.
What are the benefits?
There are myriad possible blessings that may come from developing a regular mindfulness practice.
- Ease anxiety and build resilience to deal with constant change and uncertainty.
- Prioritize self-care and create a sense of balance between self, family, and work.
- Listen better and notice how our words impact others, improving relationships.
- Over time, discover new ways of thinking, seeing, and behaving.
In closing, I never thought I could be a meditator. For starters, I had all kinds of preconceived ideas about what I thought that meant. Plus, I was deeply rooted in exercise science and lived a highly active lifestyle. I didn’t think I could sit still. But Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, Wherever You Go, There You Are changed everything.
What I love about mindfulness practice is that it helps me to know myself better. It gives me a clearer window from which to see my life. One of the main attitudes of mindfulness is “beginner’s mind”. This means that in any moment and with each breath, we can begin again.
Mindfulness meditation is simple and practical, though not so easy. That’s why it’s helpful to be part of a group now and then. So, if what I’ve shared resonates, I’d love to welcome you to our mindfulness community.
Click here to sign up for FREE sessions Mondays at noon and discover what just 15 minutes can do for you. Hope to see you soon!
Cheryl Jones was voted one of 12 Most Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement. She is the former Director of Mindfulness at Aetna, a health care company, and has undergone extensive teacher training in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program.
She holds a master’s degree in health education and exercise science from the University of Connecticut, a Certificate in Spirituality from the University of Saint Joseph, and is the author of Thriving When Your Cosmic Egg Is Cracked: A Mindful Journey.
Cheryl’s mission is to provide health empowerment experiences which support the whole woman, helping her to thrive in all areas.
Happy Place: Hiking in New England with her two adult children.
Fun Fact: Early in her career, she was a personal fitness trainer to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.