I had a moment of panic before the workshop on Saturday: What made me think Stress was a good idea for a first topic?!
Was it wise to wade into this terrain with a group of (largely) new(ish) meditators? To lean in, to be with, to examine, what stress feels like?
They rolled up their sleeves and dove in. We meditated, we contemplated, we journaled, focusing not so much on the stories, but on what our internal experience is when we’re in a stressful situation. I felt this in my body, I felt these emotions, these are the thoughts my mind was creating—true, untrue, maybe true?
We shared our experience with one other person, then some shared their thoughts with the group. I was inspired by how insightful people were, how generous and kind with each other and themselves….
Not everyone finds meditation relaxing; some find it anxiety-producing. I was awed by the courage and vulnerability it took to share this, which sparked a conversation around how in meditation we are welcoming all of ourselves. What we like, and what we find difficult, what we try to push away. What’s truly intolerable, and what can be tolerated for just a bit longer than we thought. And that sitting down is only one way to meditate. We practiced walking meditation, noticing how it feels to be fully present for each step, each breath….
Next Saturday’s topic is self-compassion, something many people really struggle with. We come up with all kinds of reasons why it’s not important, or why we don’t deserve it, and when we sit down to practice it, we notice our resistance to it. And this is all part of it! That’s why self-compassion is a practice. It’s a habit we can create. A healthy one.
Beej Christie Karpen (Insight Out Coaching) is a Qualified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) Teacher, trained at the University of Massachusetts Center For Mindfulness, in the lineage of Jon Kabat-Zinn. She received her Buddhist Meditation Teacher qualifications at The Interdependence Project with Shambhala Shastri Ethan Nichtern, and has studied Zen Buddhism with Teah Strozer, a Soto Zen lineage holder. Beej is an NYU Certified Coach, and received a Certificate in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy from The New School, with Dr. Andrew Tatarsky and Dr. Jenifer Talley. She trained in Mindful Eating with Judson Brewer, and is currently training as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. A sought-after mindfulness teacher, Beej teaches regular classes at dozens of corporations, as well as NYU and Columbia Law School. She is also the creator and leader of the NYC Women’s Moderation Management Group. In her other life she plays the oboe professionally, on Broadway, Carnegie Hall, etc, and as a singer she made her ascent from the pit to the stage in the Broadway production of “Coram Boy.” www.insightoutnyc.com