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For this episode we welcomed a returning guest, Karla Benson Rutten. Karla joined Idelle to talk about a passion of hers, mindful meditation. Karla practices mindful meditation herself and with her family, but she has also incorporated it into her business as a life coach, and into our meetings at Girl Scouts. If you’ve been thinking about trying meditation for yourself, Karla has some great insight.
Mindfulness gives us a chance to think about how we want to be in a day. It’s helpful when we’re overwhelmed, or when we just need to find a place of calm within ourselves. It’s a practice – just like sports, music, or art, you need to practice being present and focus on what’s happening right now. Being mindful is about being fully present to enjoy the things around you that are happy, and also sit with things that might be uncomfortable.
Karla talks about how meditation is based on breathing. It calms our minds and bodies, and helps us make better decisions. Taking a breath physically calms your body, and when you do it intentionally it can help you through times of anxiety or nervousness.
The world and our lives have changed so much throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Karla talks about using all this time at home to practice mindfulness, breathing, and meditation, and feeling like she needs it now more than ever. We’re all stuck inside with our families and everything is on screens, and with all that screen time, mind breaks are important. Little breaks from school, work, TV, and social media can help set us up for a different kind of mood. Think about taking time to focus on things other than the stressors that come from dealing with COVID and everything that comes with it.
Meditation can come in many forms and can look different for everyone – there’s no one way or right way. Karla talks about discovering mindfulness when she was growing up, without knowing it, while fishing with her dad. Being still just to be still, noticing things in nature, being patient in order to enjoy what’s around you, learning to pause and breathe.
There can be some barriers to mindful meditation, like feeling like things have to be a certain way. You might think you need to have candles or special music, set aside a specific amount of time, or have someone to lead you. Karla talks about meditation being much simpler: all you really need is your breath; to intentionally breathe and notice what’s going on in your body. And it can be short, like just a minute or two, or even 30 seconds. You might also feel like your mind is just too crowded. For people with anxiety or busy minds, it can be hard to take those quiet times. Karla talks about using running or other physical activity as meditation, or using music or a mantra to help you focus. It’s all about being in the present.
Karla had some advice for getting started: turn off your devices and sit or stand quietly – just for a minute. Listen, notice your breathing, notice what’s going on around you in the space you’re in. Focus on doing one thing at a time.
To wrap up our conversation Karla leads us in a guided meditation. Try it out and see how it makes you feel!
As always, we hope you’re safe and healthy. See you next time.
P.S. Here are a few mindfulness-related apps we like: