Why mindfulness?

Why did I choose mindfulness as one of the niches of my freelance writing business? Simple. I am a sucker for learning and I have noticed that nothing helps me grow more than practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is more often than not associated with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. It is based on meditation techniques and that’s one reason why many are discouraged from discovering the various ways we can bring mindfulness into our lives.

As someone born and raised in Europe in a down-to-earth family, I had nothing to do with this world until I started university. I opted for Tibetan and Mongolian studies, not being aware of how this single choice would affect the coming decades. All I wanted was to get to know these colourful and seemingly distant cultures that I could only meet in coffee-table publications before. The story is somewhat longer and more complex but what matters is that I have got so much more than what I signed up for. I have got access to a worldview entirely different from what I knew up to that point.

At the start, you wouldn’t have noticed that these new cultures truly reached my mind and heart. I enjoyed learning, I did my exams, and I translated materials from Tibetan and Mongolian daily, nearly all heavily influenced by Buddhist thoughts and wisdom. I even managed to give back their meaning in translation but there were too many concepts, words, and ideas still foreign to me. The focus of the curriculum was elsewhere. In my second year I had the opportunity to study in Mongolia where at last I could feel and experience what I read about so much. Being in Mongolia was easy for my mind and my soul, and I needed that calm. I returned several times for my research and I even managed to find work in the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts in Ulaanbaatar, that was truly a unique experience. It took many years though to understand and fully appreciate the path I have unconsiously stepped onto.

Most of us need a tool or a technique to reach a level of awareness that would start positively influencing our lives. Then, years and struggles later, we realize how simple the concept of mindfulness is. It means to be present. Just witness anyone who creates, how immersed they are in their work. See a painter in front of their canvas, a craftsperson tinkering their time away with tiny bits of jewellery. See a musician on stage, eyes closed, seemingly playing or singing for you but they couldn’t be farther away from you. They are within themselves, the outside world ceases to exist. Isn’t it beautiful that what we, outsiders admire so much is the result of their presence in this continuous moment?

My first tool to unconsciously experience this state of being was goldsmithing. It let me step out of my then reality that I didn’t particularly enjoy being in. I spent hours at my bench creating, without looking up or caring about what’s next. Then, already at university, came yoga that stayed with me until today. I took classes and I attended retreats with many teachers and I let them all go, no one felt right after a while. Except Isabell. We live in different countries but I try to meet her at least once a year either in the UK where I first got a taste of her classes in 2010, or I travel to one of her retreats. We have been together in Morocco and Spain, and Turkey is our next destination.

A photo from Finca del Alamo in Andalusia, showing the lush vegetation with brightly vivid white and pink flowers, and harsh green mountains in the background.

I took this photo in June 2022 at the beautiful Finca del Alamo in Andalusia on a retreat. A perfect background to a luxury trip where you can enjoy the sun, sipping cocktails, isn’t it? It certainly felt luxurious but a yoga retreat for me is always about dying a little to be reborn. I am not sure if it takes courage or a good portion of masochism to be willing to go through all this. I do it anyway.

Thankfully, once you are over an eventful initiation period, whichever way it happens, you will know that cooking a meal that would nourish your body instead of causing a heart attack, taking a shower to wash away impurities of all sorts, or having a chat with someone kind enough to listen, are all facets of mindful living. After a while, you may notice that you don’t need the many tools you relied on for so long. You keep them because you enjoy having them but you don’t necessarily need them to help you get over a day. I find it important to dispel the fog of mystery that surrounds the subject of mindfulness so no one feels intimidated by the topic anymore.

If you would like to share your work that focuses on an aspect of mindfulness, its effects, and its significance, but you don’t find the time or willingness to write about it, I would like to hear from you. Let’s see if we can assist one another.

The topics I like to read and write about:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • Buddhist traditions
  • nutrition
  • healing the body through nutrition
  • mindful eating

Let’s connect.

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