My Journey with Mindfulness…
I came to mindfulness exhausted, burned out, and disconnected. I had started a mindfulness practice as a way to deal with stress in law school. At the time, I never imagined this practice would give me the tools to become my own refuge, teach me a deeper reverence for myself and others, and equip me with the know-how to better tend to the challenges of work and life as well as my own heart.
I’d been practicing for several years when I witnessed the true power of these profoundly simple practices. It was a year where I felt like everything that could happen to me did. It was a year that humbled me and brought me to my knees before life and before myself. I was working at a fast-paced immigration firm doing meaningful work but I was running on fumes. While I loved doing immigrant rights work and executed it with great care and passion, I hit a wall.
Burn out caused my body to break down. I found myself constantly getting sick and facing many health issues. I was feeling disconnected from all the things I was passionate about, and perhaps most scary of all, I felt a deep and profound disconnection from myself. This was followed by a series of personal and professional challenges that left me feeling like my world was falling apart and my life was looking more and more like one of those ugly multi-car pile-ups on the freeway then anything I’d ever actually envisioned for myself.
It seems almost funny now, but amidst this growing, nightmarish pile-up, I did the only thing I could think of, I breathed. I reached for my mindfulness practice again and again and again. I managed my work schedule better so that I could take meditation classes and committed even more deeply to my practice. During triggering moments and difficult conversations, I grounded myself in my breath and my senses. I used awareness practices to tend to difficult emotions and to reconnect with my body to hear the messages I’d been ignoring all along.
When I was overcome with stress about a deadline or an altercation with an immigration official, I paused and invited myself to come back to the present moment. I relaxed into the tension I felt in my body and found the space and energy to deal with stressful situations more skillfully. I learned to practice self-compassion, and through the stress, losses, and conflict, I learned to be my own best friend. I developed more self-awareness and started addressing unmet needs in myself and living a more balanced life. I found a deep and necessary healing.
I became a better attorney; a better advocate for my clients, as well as a better advocate for myself. I found myself dealing with conflict and stress more easily; I became a better listener and was more present and connected with the people that mattered to me the most. I found a depth and beauty in simply sharing a cup of coffee that wasn’t there before. Mindfulness became not just a way to deal with stress, but a deep part of my spirituality and a new way to engage with myself, others, work, and life.
I fell in love with mindfulness and became fascinated by it’s ability to help us thrive. I saw how it could help us work with our thoughts and emotions and incorporate more wellness into our lives. I became interested in how it could be used to engage the personal, professional, and the political in ways that not only made us more empowered and present for them but more present for ourselves. I learned firsthand that external advocacy needs to be accompanied by internal advocacy and became interested in what it meant to confront internalized oppressive structures, social conditioning, and unresolved traumas and needs. I started thinking more about the importance of healing, self-awareness, and wellness in not just sustainable advocacy and activism but also more broadly in what it means to live a full and meaningful life.
This fascination, along with my increasing love of mindfulness and a longstanding interest in psychology and the intersections of healing and advocacy work, led me to take a break from the legal world and pursue a Masters in clinical psychology and a Mindfulness Teacher’s Certification. Sharing these teachings and this work with others and engaging them in their own processes around these issues has become another passion and calling near and dear to my heart alongside of my legal advocacy.
My vision is to use my education, work experiences, and specialized training to advocate for both individual and systemic healing, empowerment, and change. I want to share tools and strategies that can help us show up in our personal and professional lives with more power, ease, compassion, wisdom, and presence during both good times and bad. In the end, the truth of the matter is no matter who we are, where we are, or what field we work in, we can all benefit from coming back to ourselves and being a little more here right now.
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go.”