Announcing a new mindfulness skills class in Hood River
Looking for a way to handle the stress of life better?
Interested in taking action on the idea of ‘becoming more present in my life’?
New to meditation & curious?
Experienced but looking for a community to practice regularly?
If any of these thought above apply to you, I’m happy to announce the start of a new, weekly mindfulness skills class.
New to Mindfulness Meditation?
There’s no experience needed to come. This is a friendly atmosphere to try out mindfulness meditation and to see if it will be something that will add to your life.
What is Mindfulness?
People have many definitions of the term mindfulness but it can be put simply as the gentle effort of paying attention in a particular way. It is focused on the present moment (instead of getting lost in planning for the future or rehashing the past) and it is non-judgemental. Practicing non-judgemental awareness involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in ideas about a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.
When we allow ourselves to let go of having to listen to our mind’s opinion about if something is good or bad and relieve ourselves of having to prepare for a future then some amazing growth can happen.
Not a religious practice
Although meditation is associated with Buddhism, this is a secular practice backed by many scientific studies that will not involve religion. You are most than welcome to bring your own spirituality to the practice but none will be imposed on you.
Here is more info. Animated mouse explains meditation in 2 minutes…
Great! We’d love to have you too. Each class will be guided but will likely be beneficial to experienced meditators as well.
When: TBD based on interest Where: 409 Sherman Ave in Hood River Facilitated by Scott Rower, PhD Licensed Psychologist
A) to move TOWARD what we want B) to move AWAY from what we don’t want
Very simple right? This makes sense since our brain’s main priority is to keep us alive, to survive. Get safe shelter. Get lunch, don’t be lunch. Find a mate. Stay away from people that want to hurt you. In short, the strategy is to control or avoid potential threats. So of course the brain craves to control as much as possible, it’s only doing its job. However, this instinct can often get us into trouble and can be responsible for some of the most significant suffering possible as a human.
Think of one person you know that is really struggling with a lot right now in their life.
If you think about what’s not going well for them and how they’re reacting to it I bet you can see how they are striving for some type of control. And it’s not working well for them. Yet, they continue to do it anyway.
Part of the problem is that us humans did something no other animal has done – we invented language. With language we had the new ability to communicate about the things INSIDE of us (our thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories). Our human brains that evolved to be motivated by the two rules above now applied to these same rules to our ‘inside the skin’ experience as if they are ‘outside the skin’ experiences (a bear, a storm on the horizon). This is important – your brain has a very, very hard time telling the difference between an emotional or imagined threat (I’m going to be late, she’s not going to call me back) and a physical threat (that guy over there has a knife and is looking at me weird).
Insecurity, anxiety, and sadness are now automatically seen as things to move away from. Joy, excitement and appreciation are experiences to move toward.
Why is this a problem? Think of something in your life that was difficult but was really worth it. Finding a way to be open and trusting with a partner. Going on a first date. Studying hard for an exam. Running a race or completing a hard workout. Quitting cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.
What was it like at the very beginning of these experiences. What was happening inside you? Was it things like…
“This is too hard”
“I’m going to fail”
“I’m not good enough”
“I don’t have time”
Memories of being rejected or giving up in the past
Look at anything in your life right now that is working well and you are proud of (work, relationships, health). When you first started working on getting this didn’t you have experiences like those listed above?
The short-term result of moving TOWARD important, meaningful and rewarding experiences in life is a good dose of uncomfortable experiences inside your skin (thoughts, feelings, sensation and memories). When these experiences get seen as a threat it sets off the whole network in the brain to motivate you to get away (the famous fight or flight system) and it’s quite hard to stay in contact with long-term rewards. Guess what happens as soon as you move away. Sweet relief! It feels good. Procrastination pays off… for the moment at least.
This is the trap of avoidance. Avoidance can move us away from what matters most in life. Life becomes about feeling comfortable and safe. We get instantaneous comfort, relief and satisfaction but suffer ultimately with a smaller, less meaningful and less rewarding life.
The self-reinforcing cycle of avoiding feeling can be called depression. The self-reinforcing cycle of trying to anticipate and control fear can be called anxiety. Thankfully there is a solution to this trap! It is outlined in a brilliant and modern psychotherapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
FIRST – get clear on what values are most important to you (e.g. health, authenticity, simplicity, fun)
THEN – build your willingness to experience uncomfort in the service of what’s important to you. This is a skill. It is a ‘muscle’ that can be built up over time with practice. There are many techniques that can help with this, one of the most powerful is mindfulness meditation.
We can’t have success without risk of failure. We can’t have love without risk of rejection.
If you courageously risk in your life you will feel uncomfortable. You don’t get a choice in that. But you do get a choice of if you move AWAY from fear or TOWARD what’s truly important to you.
I believe that we are all meant to live a life filled with love, peace, and connection. It has been my experience that the only thing preventing us from living our best life, are limiting beliefs that we have been attaching to that simply aren't true.
I help young girls and women feel more confident in their own skin. It is one of my missions to empower women to see their own unique amazingness inside themselves and clear anything that is blocking them from feeling confident, connected, and happy.
As women, we are extremely good at comparing ourselves to others; we think that if we were skinnier, prettier, or more successful, that we would be happier. But that isn't true. Our happiness depends on the tides of our minds and if we cannot be happy with the person in the mirror- ourselves, no one thing or person will ever fulfill our happiness jar. Our job is to find the love and acceptance for who we are, so that we can start living a life that FEELS more purposeful, PEACEFUL, and joyful.
As Shakti Gawain says,"
Everything in the universe wants to be loved and accepted. Our personal work is to find the love and acceptance within ourselves.