In this first episode of the year 2024, we just wanted to start the year with just to check in how our practices have evolved, um, what we’ve learned with the podcast and just. kind of a general chat around mindfulness.
After watching, please let us know if this spoke to you. Reach out to us with any follow-up questions this talk has brought up. We hope you will join us again next episode.
Until then, Be well friends!
E24 Evolving Practices
Maria: Hello and welcome to the Becoming Mindful Podcast. Today we are having our newest episode of the year 2024, and we just wanted to start the year with just to check in how everything’s going over the last few years, how our practices have evolved, what we’ve learned with the podcast and just.
Just a general chat around mindfulness. I am Maria.
Jackie: And I am Jackie, and we are becoming mindful.
Maria: All right.
Jackie: we’ve got. A couple years into this podcast, so it seemed , like a good time, the beginning of the year and check in, see how things are going, see where we’re at. yeah, and I really just wanted to have a conversation with you, Maria, see, ’cause we haven’t had kind of a check-in with each other in a
Maria: Yeah, it’s Been a while. We’ve been mostly, with the podcast, but outside of the podcast, it’s been, a little less lately.
Yeah, I don’t know. Why don’t you start? how has it been? Maybe like last year, how have your mindfulness practices been?
they’ve been all over the place for know, having a kid and like the different seasons I’m kind of going through in my everything is always in flux and changing, which I suppose is a practice in and of itself. But my formal practice, kind of just got really recommitted to it. Um, and doing a daily practice of yoga and breath work and meditation and like
Jackie: every time it falls off and I get back to it, I am you’re like, oh yeah, that’s right. It can, it’s, got so many benefits and helps so much. And, fell out of practice for a while, you know, when life got busy and, and I had higher priorities. and. it’s funny ’cause because now I I’m kind of recommitting to it and making it a priority again. And that’s what it takes making it a priority you know, bringing that presence into every day. But when life gets busy, when it’s hard, I feel like. Mindfulness is the best medicine for that.
And it’s like the hardest thing to do. Like it’s the hardest thing to find time for, and it always gets deprioritized, which is crazy because when I prioritize it frees up my time everywhere else. Like it’s just so rejuvenating. And I don’t know, I guess I’m just fighting this like, know, dichotomy of, Actually practicing and remembering it’s a tool that’s there for me. And, um, yeah, making space for it when it’s
hard, I think has been my biggest challenge in the last
Maria: Yeah, I think I feel similarly. So last year,as for you feel like it’s been all over the place. you know, I don’t have a consistent, habit, around mindfulness. It’s springs up. I’m starting a practice and then I’m kind of like losing track of it or forgetting about it.
Things go in the way and I feel like this has especially been a struggle ever since having a child. because I feel like the ability to plan anything goes out the window and, Especially things like meditation, it’s always hard for me because, if my child is around, there’s always interruptions.
She’s gonna come and say something or want something or, here look at this, or, wants to involve me in play or,it’s just unpredictable. So,for me saying, oh, I’m gonna meditate for 20 minutes is almost impossible unless I do it when she’s not there, because I don’t know if I have these 20 minutes.
So, it’s been a struggle for me in the mornings too because I’ve, had, the intention to, journal in the morning or,especially with, I was working on some like lucid dreaming exercises and, a lot of that also has an element to it where you reflect or journal your dreams in the morning.
But that’s, almost like impossible because when I wake up, my child wakes up or she could just wake up if I decide to wake up early. Right. It’s just, there is no.
Maria: Real predictability in that schedule, until she goes to school right then I have some time there. So, like a lunch break or something like that.
But I also feel like that’s a struggle for me in general. It’s like just staying with a schedule because I get distracted or, get like focused on something and then. I lose track of time and then, you are outside of a schedule again, so I’ve been looking at that from a lens of, okay, how can you involve mindfulness in that? Like how can you be mindful about that quality of your life right now? Because, well, okay, so my life is unpredictable and I’m unpredictable in my schedule. How can I look at that as something that maybe isn’t, is this bad? Is this even something that I need to fight against or work against?
is there a way that I can, weave mindfulness into that, where it’s absolutely fine when you have a unpredictability or a spontaneity to it. Right. So, I’m like experimenting with a few things, that I’m looking at. One of the things is working with, restarting or the mindfulness around restarting things.
like when you fall off on something that you’ve planned to do, how can you just bring mindfulness into, or look at restarting as a just part of life? It’s not oh, you’ve fallen off, now you have to beat yourself up. or you can’t achieve the goal that you had, or it’s not gonna be as effective.
But in reality, that doesn’t really matter because, why am I looking at something that is not happening? Like, why am I looking at something like, oh, it could be so much better or more effective if I did this every day while I’m not gonna do it every day. So why am I even looking at it, right?
Like, why am I instead maybe focusing on. Well with the way this is, right, it comes back to the acceptance. How can I still make the best out of that and embrace that a little bit, And, find joy in that as well is like you get to restart something. You get to rediscover something new.
That you’ve maybe not done for a while, right? When you remember it. So there’s also kind of like a, a joy in that as well. So you say oh hey, there was something that I could do, like there’s meditation I can do, forgot about it, and then you can rediscover it again.
Right? So that
sentiment to it.
Jackie: Yeah, I like that. That’s really too. I mean, because when you rediscover something, you’re in a different place. um. You have a different perspective on it. Even so you get that exciting like,kind of a new person rediscovering this, and what does this thing mean to me today versus what it you know, last time I
Maria: Right, exactly.
Jackie: Pretty cool.
Maria: You can bring that excitement of spontaneity into your mindfulness practice. It’s like you’re discovering something. Right? And, and I have that a lot of times when I’m, go out somewhere outside and, I’ve always said oh, I wanna do walking meditation, I wanna do this.
Of course I then I don’t do that. But when I do then go out, then I have this moment of, Hey, I can observe nature now I can feel the sun now, oh yeah, this was here. great, this is awesome. It’s like you found a cool stone or something, like that’s like that feeling of you found something
and, I like embracing that because I know that clinging onto this ideal of.
I have doing something every day and sticking to it in habits, I think, I’ve done that and I failed and beating yourself up and like pushing, no, you can do this. you can be more consistent and not to discourage anyone from pushing against, saying, I can’t do a certain thing. Right. Of course, yes. Push yourself. when something is uncomfortable, still push yourself. You don’t wanna just like easily give up on everything. That’s not the point. But the point is that can you embrace that as well, the flip side of it, because
if I do fall off the bandwagon, I get to jump on multiple times and not just once.
Right. So, , so that’s, what I’ve been looking at it, and I think the other thing I’m looking at is trying to find different ways of scheduling. So instead of having a schedule where I’m like time framing, time slotting stuff, right? In a day or month or whatever,
Maria: to find a different way that works better, to work with like triggers.
Because that’s like how you remember things suddenly, right? oh, I go outside and suddenly I remember this, so then I can have that as a trigger. So when I go outside, this is my trigger to do a breathing exercise in nature or something. Or I get up and make a coffee and now I’m like, have this coffee. And I’m like, okay, so now maybe I can do something around that. So it’s more of a. Not time specific schedule, but like trigger specific schedule.
Jackie: Like the, the, what was that? The bell in, I wanna say Thich Nhat Hanh’s when whenever heard would, pause.
Maria: Or bell like sound.
Jackie: Yeah. any, any bell
Maria: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Jackie: Yeah, I like that.
Maria: Yeah. So, and there’s, a lot of things that happen during the day that you can tie stuff to that you know you’re gonna do no matter what. yes, I’m gonna go bathroom, or I’m still gonna have a coffee or a beverage or something, right?
Or I am going to eat, doesn’t matter when.
Maybe then you can have that as some kind of trigger or something like that. So it you don’t feel like, oh, I’m not adhering to some sort of schedule.
Jackie: Yeah. it doesn’t feel as demanding,
I guess. It’s, it’s more passive but I really like that It got me thinking, of like tying like a mindfulness practice to some points in my day when I know I lose my presence and I lose my mindfulness. I’m, sometimes I’ll get nervous if I’m like leading a meeting or something and like when the meeting reminder comes on, maybe that’s my like take 10
Jackie: something like that. Or when I see my kid waking up from a nap or
something, you know, do some kind of practice to get in the moment and kind of recenter before I put myself into some kind of new situation.
Maria: Yeah. And it can be an internal trigger, some sort of emotion that comes up, maybe if you get frustrated or overwhelmed by something. I definitely have that a lot with cleaning because I’m clutter queen and, my kid has ADHD, so there’s like everything everywhere, all the time.
But it’s interesting because, I just recently watched something about, which is also something that to be mindful around, is that different people have like different levels of overwhelm or different levels of stimulation that is required. So for, ADHD kids, for example, that there’s actually a optimal level of stimulation.
I’m sorry, I’m going off on a tangent here, but it’s just reminded me of that where, they need a certain amount of stimulation to be able to focus. So if you have an empty room, have to seek the stimulation differently by fidgeting and like singing and doing whatever and so then they can’t focus and.
if you have a certain level of stimulation, then they can actually focus better. and I noticed that with her because she puts like a, show on, and then I noticed her, she’s not even watching, she’s like drawing or something, but she needs that noise in the background or something. I’m like, okay.
And it’s not the same for me. I get overwhelmed sometimes by.the clutter or the noise level sometimes. And, I think it would drive her nuts if she would, have my optimal stimulation level around her all the time because it would be maybe lower than what she needs.
Jackie: Yeah. But being aware of. Those different levels of, of the people that you live with and share space like, that’s so incredibly
Maria: Yeah, it also helps, it actually helps coping with it better too, because if I’m starting to feel overwhelmed, but I’m able to think about that she needs this kind of level of, stimuli, then I’m suddenly less overwhelmed by it. Because I know it’s something that is beneficial for her, So.
Jackie: Right. can kind of separate yourself. and I’ll just speak from my perspective, like with overstimulation. If I know I can ignore something, that’s really helpful. Like if it’s for your daughter and you know, you don’t need to pay attention to that. You can kind of tune it out. But I think it takes a lot of really mindfulness to understand that, to notice it, to take in all the stimulus that are coming around you and have that pause and be like, that’s for her and this is what I need to focus on. you know, you can take away, that, demand on you, I guess.
Maria: Yeah. It’s like it’s there, but it doesn’t concern you. you don’t have to somehow deal with it.
Jackie: Right. Like thoughts when you’re meditating and , they come in and you’re like, I don’t need that right now.
Maria: Yeah. It’s just like that. .
You have some stimuli that come in and, Yeah, my thoughts are very similar to that as well.
Jackie: I mean, that’s the ultimate goal of meditation. If there was a goal for meditation, would be to, take that practice out into your life and be able to, not attach yourself to all of the external things that are coming in and create some white space and a little bit of peace even when there isn’t any.
Maria: Yeah, it’s nice.
So yeah, that’s kind of like what I’ve been focusing on. , I’ve actually done an exercise,at the end of the year and I’m finishing it up this month for this year it’s called, a Sacred Bow Exercise. So it’s going through, finishing up with the previous year.
Looking through things that went well or things that didn’t go well and certain intentions you have for the next year and then really questioning them. You’re supposed to formulate it in the way of I should, whatever.
I should do more exercise, for example. Right? And or I should do more meditation, right. And then it is this contemplation about it to say is this actually true? Should I do more meditation? And, if you say yes, then are you really sure?
is it true? Right? So you’re really questioning it. And then you put the two sides of, what happens when you have this thought? what does it do to you? And then how would it look like if you didn’t have that thought, right?
If that was not a thought. So it’s interesting. and then obviously you end up with some sort of. intentions that you wanna set and do that in the future. But, you wanna also curate that a lot, like strip down most so you’re focusing on one or two things.
And I got to what I’ve talked about before, whereas the focusing on the joy of restarting and the trigger-based scheduling. So that’s a kind of a nice exercise.
Jackie: Yeah, I like that. I’ve been doing a practice like that lately as well, kind of when I am kinda stuck in negative thoughts or, going down, just a crummy thought path. just kind of pausing and asking what if. I’m totally wrong about what I think about this. Like what is another way to look at this or what is the other person’s way of looking at it?
I mean, just a more empathetic view, but, like you said, what if this wasn’t true? What are other ways to explain this? What are other angles to look at this? because I think when. We’ve got certain ways of thinking and these habitual ways of explaining things. we can get stuck in a certain way of thinking, and mindfulness is really helpful breaking you out of that by just pausing. And then this practice that you’re talking about, like questioning what’s true, I think that can be. Kind of a, I don’t wanna say like scary thing, but
maybe a little bit, when you are questioning what you believe or what you think or what you think you should do and opening yourself up to other possibilities and it’s kind of uncomfortable and choke you up and I think it’s really easy to hesitate there. So, that’s awesome that you’re going through this exercise and really going through those motions. ’cause I don’t think it’s as easy as it sounds.
Maria: A thought that I had about that as well. When you talk about questioning,these thoughts of what you should or shouldn’t do, it reminded me also in our discussion we had about, how you are like the identity attachment, like questioning that.
I thought that was interesting as well. We were talking about introverts and extroverts and how we’re identifying as introverts more and might be interesting to also question that as is that actually true? or does something like that even exist, Introvert versus extrovert.
Jackie: Right, right. I was wondering if, someone like the Buddha or Thich Nhat Hanh or someone who is very advanced in their practice, if they were, introverted or extroverted or if they were beyond that and we kind of agreed that they were probably beyond that.
Maria: Yeah. Yeah, because if you think about identity, I would say they would rather look at it from the point of how do I react in this moment with this person or in this scenario with these people, and you don’t even label it right.
Jackie: And yeah, as far as whether, they’re more energized being around people or being alone, and I don’t know if you’re completely present and not bringing any of that attachment to social situations, I mean, those labels are just arbitrary. They kind of lose their meaning,
Maria: well, plus I think it might not even be draining then because if you don’t put this on yourself to somehow react in a certain way that goes beyond the capability of your body. You don’t have to, I’m sure they don’t really do small talk unless they want to, and unless it feels right in that moment.
And, like going away from what is expected because.
I don’t know, they’re not worrying about what is expected. I don’t think they necessarily would. So it maybe wouldn’t even drain you because you don’t feel a demand on you then. Right.
Jackie: Yeah, just focusing on what’s right in the moment.
So we’ve been doing this podcast now for a few years and we’ve explored a lot of topics and, um, I know when we first started this podcast, we wanted to help our audience become more mindful and also help our own practices as well, and explore this practice together. how has doing this podcast together, influenced us, influenced you, where would you like to see it going? How do you see your practice evolving in the future? Um, you know, I guess I’ll just open the floor up for what direction are we heading in?
Maria: Yeah, I think that’s a very good question. I’ve thought about this as well.
I think one of the things that, I am missing a little bit is kind of like, input from the outside. So I’m not, speaking on what it’s doing to us and how it’s changing us and how we are evolving through it versus,the other mission we had of, helping others through this.
I’m not sure I can really see exactly what’s required for the listeners. Like what’s the next step that they need out of this, right? Or are we still on course with helping there. I think a lot of the times, or at least from looking at the reception of the episodes, people really like book reviews and were getting something out of that.
and the interviews are nice too, to get some, new perspectives. But, I’m not sure what is something that is really something, um.
You know, would really bring this further a lot for the viewers. personally for us, I think it did help us look at a lot of the, thoughts and, practices. I think, we can definitely continue some of the. Things we’ve already done, like book reviews. even for us, I think it’s,
also enriching because , first of all, we’re reading the book, right?
And then, bringing new concepts and new thoughts into this journey. I don’t knowwhat else,if it’s specific practices we want to discuss or,dive more into the adjacent topics that we’ve mentioned before and we’ve talked about a little bit as well, in, the podcast.
but I think overall, it would be nice to build a little bit more of a community where, it’s more of a two-way interaction. And I feel like right now it’s been more of a, between the two of us and then to the listeners, not as much coming back. I don’t know how you feel about this.
Jackie: Yeah, I agree. I find that. Meeting with you and talking with you once a month about mindfulness has been really helpful in my own practice in looking at it from different perspectives that I may not have and bringing in different knowledge. As far as the books that we’ve read, but also the interviews that we’ve had and we’ve met some really interesting people and, it’s really expanded my limited knowledge of what this practice can be and how it can be executed. but I share your, desire to make it more of a community. I’d love to find some ways to involve our audience and, make it more of a back and forth, more of a conversation beyond us.
Because really like, I mean, I think if we just got like a critical mass of people who were practicing mindfulness or at least trying to practice mindfulness, it would be so powerful and so amazing. every one person I can, help along this path or encourage down this path, is so spectacular because it’s such a liberating practice and I would love to gift it to everyone that I could. but I think there’s gotta be more effective ways than just us two talking. I think, like you said, we gotta bring people in and, make it more interactive or something so that we are helping spread this. further. You did mention like people really, really like the book reviews and really like the interviews. And I think those are really great pieces, um, to continue to do because they find new audiences and we get to hear fresh perspectives and. really expand our knowledge.
But then that second piece, I mean, I think it’s hard to, bring it back around.
Maria: Yeah. And I think that, yes, for the book reviews and interviews, I think, definitely something we should look into continuing. and another thing that came to my mind, because I just started a course, with, this teacher. Indian spiritual teacher called Shadguru andit’s a very interesting, program, that I’m going through.
so I definitely can share about that going forward as well. But I think one of the aims that we’ve expressed before is kind of. Um, the diversification of our sources and, finding more marginalized voices, indigenous, women,other marginalized groups around the topic of mindfulness.
I think that would be very good to maybe,Try and also bring that in more.
Jackie: Mm-Hmm. Yeah, I like that a lot. I think there’s really great wisdom we can get from people like, Thich Nhat Hanh or John Kabat Zinn or any of those names we all know. But um, you know, there’s so much like locked away in those marginalized communities that just don’t have a platform. That we could give additional voice to, as well as get that more rounded perspective so we can hear about these practices from a more diverse group of people. versus, you know, the same voices we usually hear most things from.
Maria: Right. cause that, again, broadens the horizon more, brings in thoughts that, you didn’t think about, because you’re in a certain bubble . And I think that also helps, understanding the struggles and how, different groups can deal with struggles. And, I think it also helps in kind of like a forward thinking, what’s the desirable future that we, want to help create, in the world and in the minds of people that,
goes into this whole topic of solar punk, which I’m like really super
into. I love solar punk. So I think, envisioning, a positive future, right? And how to get there and how to incorporate certain mindsets that, you know, do look at that. and I just recently heard someone talk about, that we need this outlook because usually nothing really happens unless it’s been dreamt of or thought of by someone.
And so if we don’t have these positive visionary lifestyle, thoughts about how people can live and how people can think and how people can be more compassionate and how people can work with the environment and with nature. if we don’t have these visions, then it’s not gonna come to fruition because, the opposite we have everywhere, right?
We have dystopian viewpoints in the media and in books and everywhere. It’s just saturated with that, right? So if you don’t know, or if you can’t think of it and can’t dream of it, then it’s not gonna happen. So I think that it would be a topic that I would be very interested in maybe taking a little tangent into as well.
Jackie: Absolutely, I would dive into solar punk with you. That would be amazing. And I love that you mention that you need to be able to visualize something first. Sci-Fi. Has been a really big part of that in our history. like writers and, um, artists imagining things before they ever were finally conceived. Like 20,000 leagues under the seat was written well before the submarine was invented.
Maria: Yeah, and if you look at Star Trek and all of the things that
Jackie: yeah. You gotta imagine it first. It’s gotta be in your imagination first as a society. And then, people can realize it. But solar punk is such a beautiful way to look at the future because, I don’t know, I see myself as a very realist, like I can really see, a lot of the dystopia that people are talking about, but if you keep your eyes open, like there’s also so much hope, there’s so much potential, there’s so much opportunity because as a people, we have so many resources, so much collaboration, so much shared knowledge, like so many tools, like just think if we pointed those in solar punk direction or something like it could. Do so much.
Maria: Yeah. And it’s also empowering and being able to spread this, through people and building community and, putting more focus on community, which is something that I myself struggled with because, we were brought up in this very hyper individualistic, society.
I mean our parents were probably the first generation to that, but you know, if you think about the bigger community connections that were just there just in our grandparents generation, how people would be so much closer in their community and now,
you’re to the point where you don’t even know how to talk to your neighbor.
This conflict between what I would like to see as a society and community, how to live together versus how it is and versus how I, approach, that as so far in my life, right?
Maria: And even within, within our friend group, I feel that, we are very close, but I think. There is still this, somewhat
silo-ish feeling for like each little family unit it’s like by itself. And sometimes they connect, but it’s not like a, big community.
Maria: Not in the way if I think about soda punk and some of how people collaborate, I feel it’s still a little bit more everyone by themselves. If that makes sense.
Jackie: I think so. I think so. Our society is really, um, designed for everyone to operate in silos really, and I think there’s a lot of systems in place that. Force that. And then there’s also a lot of like virtues that we have, like of being self-sufficient and you know, being independent and everyone making their own way.
And, I think I think maybe we’re seeing some, of the pushback on that. you know, things like raising children in a silo is like impossible. Think like, um, how we used to raise in communities and taking care of the elderly, same thing. It’s, you know, it’s our society’s very set up to ask us to take on the whole responsibility of things instead of leaning on each other and collaborating in a lot of ways.
Maria: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Especially like childcare. I mean, they have that old saying it takes a village, but now it’s two parents.
Jackie: And that’s not a village and that’s not enough. And obviously sometimes you even have, one parent, but like even two parents it’s not enough. And you gotta work and. Everything and it’s just, yeah, I think we could definitely crack that one open a lot deeper.
Yeah. But this individualism is also ingrained,not even feeling comfortable, with that closeness yet, not feeling comfortable, spending a lot of time with others outside of your little family unit for family raising or whatever, Right, whatever your silo is. I mean, were just talking about how we can break out of our silo on this podcast and include more people and. You know, it’s difficult. I think there’s some good examples in our society of collaboration. I mean, you look at basically any company and you’ve got a whole team of people collaborating toward one goal, and people come together in times of need and times of tragedy, people can come together.
I think there’s so much potential there. Like we have a striving to collaborate and to work together and to be community.
Yeah. but yeah, I don’t think , our systems encourage that.
Maria: Yeah, and because we are built for that as well as humans. if you look at from a neuroscience perspective, if you think about brainstorming, but there’s actually like a feedback loop where some of the processing it is actually outsourced to the other person when you work together in a team, so you don’t have all of the mental load even.
So yeah, we’re definitely, humans are made for that. So this is, it is a very unnatural state at the moment, and I think that probably also contributes to a lot of unhappiness.
Jackie: Yeah, absolutely a hundred percent.
Maria: Yeah. And other mental health You know, depression and whatnot. Yeah.
Jackie: That’s where we can take the podcast. We’ll fix it.
Maria: yes. Well, we’ll chip away. at it I guess. Yeah, I think we definitely can. And the only thing is, it’s somewhat blurry in my mind yet of how exactly that path will be,
Jackie: Mm-Hmm, me too. yeah. Yeah, but we can start chipping away at it and some of the ideas that we came up with today even.
Maria: All right. We are nearing the one hour mark.
Maria: I want to be mindful of that time as well. I don’t necessarily wanna go over that too much, so.
Jackie: But I’m glad that we kind of sat down and talked about this, so appreciate hearing where you’re at and what you’re thinking of and the future that you’re dreaming of. I’d love to dive into that a lot more.
Maria: Thank you too. I really love that too, and I always really appreciate our, connection and talks and, uh, yeah.
Jackie: Yeah, me too.
Maria: And I also hope that our listeners have, maybe some thoughts to that have gained some more questions and answers in their mind from listening to this episode. definitely reach out to us. as I said before, I would love more feedback.
Jackie: Yeah. You can find us on social media at Becoming Mindful podcast, or becoming mindful podcast.com and leave us a comment and yeah, let us know how we can use this podcast with you to create a solar punk future. Yeah. But thank you for listening. We really, really appreciate, all of our listeners. And, we,hope that, you follow us and reach out with any comments you have and until next time, be well.