If you are new to my blog you may not know but I use the term mindfulness often throughout my posts and social media accounts. What you might not know either is I have never written a post exclusively on my own journey with mindfulness. I thought what better way to talk about mindfulness than to share my own story.
I am a clinical social worker and registered yoga teacher working in private practice in Dallas, TX. My first introduction to Mindfulness was about 7 years ago when I was working in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. There was a woman who attempted to admit to the facility on multiple occasions but we could not admit her due to her high blood pressure and every time we had to send her to the emergency room. What I also learned through the multiple times we attempted to admit her, she was reporting high anxiety and throughout the day as we moved along with the admission process hoping her blood pressure who lower it was going higher.
On of these times we attempted to admit this client I was desperate to do whatever was possible to help with reducing her anxiety level and maybe that would reduce her blood pressure. So I googled ways to lower anxiety and this article popped up with a mindfulness guided meditation. I decided we had absolutely nothing to lose and why not give this a shot. Of course, her blood pressure was too high for us to admit her safely into your facility so I let her sit in the dark and quiet in my office while I read a scripted meditation exercise. It appeared to relax her and she reported feeling a decrease in her anxiety. Unfortunately, her blood pressure still remained too high for our facility and she was once again sent to the emergency room.
Even though the result was not what I had hoped for and as a complete novice to the idea of meditation I had no idea that the result I hoped for was way too grandiose. I was desperate and I did not like feeling like my hands were tied. I was consistently working with folks with high anxiety and no way to emotionally regulate. I was a relatively brand new and big eyed baby social worker who didn’t like feeling helpless.
I was intrigued by the article and my one experience I had with mindfulness and thought I need to learn more about this. Circa 2010 -2011 mindfulness was not as hot of a buzz word as it is now and I defiantly had not learned much if anything about it in my education. I began downloading guided mediation scripts and learning about other ways to use mindfulness. I began incorporating mindfulness into my group therapy sessions. It was amazing to begin to see woman who had been so uncomfortable at first with the practice of meditation. The rehab was located in the middle of downtown and we didn’t have any outdoor space but I had wanted to take the group on a mindfulness walk exercise. We walked around the parking lot and I will never forget my co-worker’s faces watching us from the window.
Fast forward to 2017 this would not all seem ridiculous and mindfulness is common practice for most mental health and substance abuse facilities now. Not that long ago though it was giving my team a good laugh. Where am I going with this story? Well, basically I am being upfront and honest that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I knew what the research was saying and I knew I had to figure out how to integrate this model into my therapy sessions. I read and I read and I read and then I went to trainings' and did online modules and I read some more. I got educated and the more I got educated the more I knew this was really something and about the same time so did the rest of the world. It seemed Mindfulness started popping up everywhere I turned. I was being asked about it at job interviews and random Huffington post articles were mentioning it.
What I hadn’t figured out yet was I also needed a mindfulness practice in my own life. I needed mindfulness just as much as my clients needed mindfulness. The way my story goes is I came to my yoga practice before I began my own mindfulness practice. Yoga was the entry door for me to begin understanding my own mind body connection and how necessary mindfulness was to that connection. I was struggling with burn out and compassion fatigue and when I thought seriously about leaving the field that I had once been so passionate about that was when I found my mindfulness practice.
It doesn’t matter what brings you to mindfulness or what your story looks like it, it just matters that you honor your story and your journey and your practice. I know that I would never have sought out meditation on my own. I know that mindfulness would never have been in my vocabulary if it hadn’t been for that client who I so desperately wanted to help and was willing to try anything. I am thankful for that experience and I am thankful for my mindfulness and yoga practice.
Today my practice is still exactly that it is a practice. There are days that I don’t connect in any purposeful way to my mind and body. I remind myself that my practice isn’t about perfection (recovering perfectionist here) it’s like anything else and it is a progression. I was listening to a podcast recently that I really related to when the part about meditation being hard that it isn’t all about bliss and glossy pictures that we see in the media. That sometimes you don’t want to and your brow is furrowed and jaw is clenched and that is just how it is. The important part is that we showed up and practiced. That right there is, my mindfulness journey.
Hello! Welcome to my Blog on self care . I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Yoga Teacher.
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