about me and mindfulness.
Anxiety, perfectionism, and a desire to be in control are just a few of life's challenges that have kept me from being present.
For a really long time I was also always in a constant rush, thinking about the next item on my to-do list before the current one was finished. Maybe you can relate?
The good news is that through my mindfulness practice, I have a greater awareness of my emotions, the way I react to things that trigger me, and a better overall sense of well-being. I have tools to guide me "home".
My journey began right smack in the middle of the US. I was born and raised in Kansas. I know what you're thinking. It's no coincidence right. "There's no place like home."
After moving to Seattle for college (I have a BA in Communication from Seattle Pacific University), I realized the big city life was the new me. I started a career in tv news there and went on to work as a journalist for a major network news operation over the next 15 years, stationed in the LA bureau.
While I loved the rush of traveling to places during breaking news and telling stories that really made a difference in informing the public, my burnout came in the form of my body breaking down. Ultimately, I knew it was time to slow down.
As a long-time meditator and yoga practitioner, I always longed to deepen my knowledge and experiences in both yoga and meditation. I discovered secular mindfulness through UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. There I met my teachers, Diana Winston and Marv Belzer who have become instrumental in my ever-expanding mindfulness practice. I'm a UCLA-trained facilitator and a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher-in-Training, which is the basis for how I teach, but of course it isn't all of it. My influences include Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, among others. I've also been trained in the Mindful Schools curriculum.
I still keep my creative cup flowing through my work as a tv producer and writer.
When I'm not working, I'm usually at yoga, in nature (I love to hike!), at the beach or spending time with the two loves of my life: my husband, Ken Pagliaro, and our pup, Nacho. :)
Ever watch the tv show, This is Us? It's beautiful. I keep thinking about the episode where one of the main characters, who is adopted, very stressed out and overworked (even to the point of getting panic attacks), finally meets his biological father who is dying of cancer. The two had very little time together, before he found out his father was dying.
The son realized his dad's impact on the world because people from all walks of life came by to give their condolences. But it really hit him when the mailman stopped in to ask about the father. Upon hearing about a nearly fatal heart attack, the mailman starts to cry. The mailman tells the son that he had connected with his father through their daily walks. The son never suspected his father even knew the mailman's name, much less that he was walking daily with him.
Not long after, the son walks into his firm and quits his job. When asked why, he says, "Because I want to walk with the mailman".
I can't help but think this tv character represents so many of us in our daily lives: stressed-out, overworked and barely able to spend time with our families or for that matter, with ourselves.
I'm not proposing that we should all go out and quit our jobs by any means. What I am proposing is that being present to our everyday experiences can be used as a powerful tool for many of us to achieve greater insight into our own experiences and even healing. This can lead us to become more compassionate with one another and maybe even 'walk with the mailman' from time-to-time.
That is my mission; to help us heal together through mindfulness.
Images courtesy of Ken Pagliaro, unless otherwise stated.