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A Great Pilgrimage

A teacher named Kabir one said "I felt in need of a great pilgrimage, so I sat still." I was seeking a great adventure so I sat still for 10 days. As a new mindfulness teacher, my mentors said how important it is to take a stretch of time to deepen mindfulness practice. They said it was vital for a teacher to do and I

convinced myself that it would be professional development. So I headed off into the forest and began my intentional practice of mindfulness daily for 10 days. My intention to remember what mattered and to keep that as the guiding light in my practice was the key to my practice. I would wake at 6 am daily and alternate mindful walking and sitting until dark. The first 6 days I experienced intense body pain with waves of discomfort shooting down my back and legs. The practice invited me to stay with experience if possible and if not, bring compassion. I found that in some moments, the pain was too intense, so all I could do was lay down in a way that felt a bit more ease inducing. When the sensations were manageable I tried to bring friendly caring attention to the areas of the body. I began to notice the changes of intense discomfort to more neutral sensations. I tried to be on my own team and say to myself 'this is challenging' and 'I’m here for you' as opposed to in the past where I may have said 'I can’t believe this is happening' or' how did I let this happen?'. Each moment of being in the present was a training on how to work with the inevitable discomfort that awaits down the road. After day 6, the discomfort began to subside and the mind began to pick up the slack with thoughts of doubt and fear and boredom. Again I returned to my intention. Why do this practice? I told myself that I was training my mind to be here for life as a friend. I used mindfulness practice such as paying attention to the breath and noticing body sensations, and nature connection practices such as listening to sounds and acknowledging the living beings around me. By day 10 my mind had settled considerably, and at one point I was able to watch my breathing as a friendly witness for about 6 minutes. Thoughts had subsided naturally, and I was attuned to the present moment. It was a moment of feeling more connected with life than I had ever experienced. Of course, soon after a thought came in that said 'this is great we should do this again.' I smiled at the thought and thanked it for I had developed a relationship with my mind as more of a friend.

Come join me in developing your mindfulness practice and learn how to access the press, befriend your restless mind, and find clarity, focus and joy in the midst of an ever changing world.

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