I have incorporated a nice 1-mile walk to work into my daily routine and I have to say it has been life changing. Recently, I switched from listening to 90s Hip Hop and R&B to being slightly obsessed with Podcasts. Someone put me on to Invisibilia, which discusses the “invisible forces that shape human behavior” in a witty and fun way. Normally, I only make eye contact with dogs on the street but the episodes How to Become Batman and Fearless in particular has now led me to actually look at the people walking the dogs.
Today I switched to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Podcast and randomly chose to listen to Beauty is Truth-Truth is Beauty. All of a sudden, I found myself making eye contact with everyone, non-dog walking humans included, on the street. The podcast speaks to this notion of mindfulness. Notably, he begins his talk with a quote by Thich Nhat Han, “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Dr.Dyer goes on to state that basically mindfulness is a practice of putting your mind and your consciousness into exactly where you are in the moment and being able to find beauty. This really spoke to me and in that present moment, I set the intention to find beauty in all people, places, and things I saw during my morning walk.
Although this is a topic I have read and learned about for a long time, I quickly became obsessed with mindfulness and finished the entire podcast by the time I reached my desk. I went to grab water and standing there was my spirit animal, GSS Faculty member and Accidental Icon, Dr. Lyn Slater. She warmly greeted me and immediately offered to share a short film she was just in called Watching YouWatching Me. I watched the short film on her phone and was overcome with the true beauty it exuded. The film essentially gives a voice to this idea of “otherness.” Dr. Slater made a comment that she was watching me, watching her on this film and we shared a quite magical moment. She said, “I tell my students all the time, it is okay to have these judgmental thoughts about ‘others’, you are human, it does not make you a bad person. I just tell them being aware of it is the first step to eliminating these micro-aggressions.” In this moment, I realized everything I just listened to including the title of this podcast, “Beauty is truth-truth is beauty” just came to fruition.
I then decided to form my own definition of mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, actions both positive and negative and finding beauty in all of it. I guess in my mind for one to practice mindfulness, you had to be all Zen sporting cute Lululemon yoga attire with a messy yet perfect bun all the time. While that is still on my #lifegoals list, for now I will practice watching others kiss the ground with their feet to make my daily commute that much more enjoyable.
If my definition of mindfulness peaks your interest, join me in spring 2017. I will be teaching “Namast’ay Mindful in Your Practice” in the Continuing Education Department at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.
Alby Tello, MSW, LCSW Director of Career Development Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service 113 West 60th Street New York, NY 10023 email@example.com