Last night Cara Lee shared with the Street Yoga community some basic tools for grounding and protecting yourself in emotionally charged situations. She shared her personal story…

Energy has been the missing link for me to go from chronic pain and dis-empowerment to vital health, joy and freedom. Everything in my life started to make sense when I learned to read the underlying energetic patterns. Energetic healing has been the foundation of my healing process from childhood abuse and fibromyalgia. I feel thankful to have studied with a brilliant energetic healer and I want to share the gifts that many people have given to me.

It is interesting to examine the different words we can use to explain this work. Cara, our facilitator, is an Energy Worker. She identifies with the concept of our personal energy field that expands and contracts according to individual situations, moments, and personal choice. I love how she shared the empowerment she feels with this understanding of being able to exert willpower over this element of our life.

The concept of energy, or energy work may not be as accessible to everyone. Many of us in the room are volunteer coordinators and we brainstormed ways to share this concept. Referring to people’s story is one way. If you are a volunteer grief counselor, you are not trained in therapeutic counseling. A volunteer needs to understand how to listen to a story of grief and trauma, but not take that story into their own lives and make it a part of their own story. Imagery such as a sponge versus a mirror works to highlight how to be helpful and reflect the emotions of your client without absorbing the pain. Another participant shared her concept of holding the story, the space, the client, and visualizing the Universal Consciousness holding that space in its hands, and releasing it into the earth, with out the trauma moving into either person involved.

Cara Lee offers workshops specifically to address this subject of Secondary Trauma. Visit her site for more free resources and training opportunities!

Before the workshop yesterday, I spent some time transcribing a video from one of my favorite modern teachers, Michael Stone, the founder of Toronto, Canada based organization, Centre of Gravity. Please enjoy the following video.

What does it mean to be in the moment? What does it mean to be mindful? Michael Stone breaks down the oft used term and shows how it relates to being mindful about what’s really going on. [source]

“The term mindfulness is an English translation of …. “the verb: to remember”. “to come back to what is actually in present experience”. Being mindful is a great translation of this verb to remember… remember what is important, to remember what is on our path.”

How do I be mindful and plan for my future, or reflect on my past?

Our lives can only happen moment to moment. So what does it mean to be mindful, or to be fully in the pr but to see that as a process of being intimate with the flow of how things happen, not with some Ultimate Reality that is eternal and fixed. So mindfulness really has to do with activity. With walking, with talking, with eating, with engaging in conversation… mindfulness includes everything. It has to do with being present to what is really going on, but not in a stiff or fixed way…

We can only experience the past in the present moment. We can see how we are structuring our experience of the past through the filter of the present moment.

These days there is this kind of idealization, probably because we are so busy, that meditative stillness is really the ultimate form of mindfulness. But that not how the Buddha described mindfulness. The Buddha was an action kind of guy… he really talked about mindfulness as a kind of engagement practice.

I think a better translation of mindfulness, rather than just being aware of the present moment, would be GENEROSITY.

The street level of mindfulness, what it looks like in people’s lives really devoted to practice, is the blossoming, the cultivation of generosity. A generous spirit. When we are less concerned with ourselves. When we are really, in an embodied way involved in what is happening in present experience. The fact is, we are more generous. I think maybe the most generous thing we can do, is just give our attention to what is going on, right in front of us. Not what we think is going on, but what is ACTUALLY happening.

This is something our culture really needs right now. How to be intimate with one another. How to really give people our face. How to really give people our attention, how to really listen deeply. This is the practice of mindfulness.