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Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 01:47 pm

Schedule a day of mindfulness

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Juliet Slack and Eva Muller have conducted mindfulness-based stress reduction clinics since 1994.
PHOTO BY GINNY LEE

An entire day meditating in silence may not be how you usually fill a Saturday, but here’s an opportunity to try something different. Eva Muller and Juliet Slack are leading “A Day of Mindfulness: a Meditation Retreat” Saturday, Oct. 23. They claim that the activity is a calming, healing experience.

And as the cacophonous political campaigns rev up and we try to avoid distracted drivers on the road, a day of quiet contemplation just might be the antidote to everyday stressors.

Slack and Muller have been leading mindfulness-based stress reduction workshops since 1994. A day of mindfulness is typically part of their eight-week stress reduction clinic. It will be a day of “being” versus “doing,” a concept that may seem rather odd to busy, high-achieving Americans.

“There seems to be a felt need for people to experience meditation in a nonthreatening environment,” Slack said recently. Saturday’s event is for those with experience in meditation and yoga, as well as for those who want to learn mindfulness techniques. Trying meditation with others is often helpful to a beginner.

The day will include sitting meditation, walking meditation, a body scan and basic gentle yoga done at a slow pace. Participants must commit to spending the day (9-4:30) at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Church at 745 Woodside Road in Springfield.

Both Muller and Slack have studied with Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Kabat-Zinn is founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“We will learn how to be present in this moment,” Muller said. “It’s amazing how powerful it is to be in this moment.

“We emphasize the awareness of your experience – being present with ourselves as we are. If you feel bad that your back hurts, it’s okay to just sit with it and be okay that your back hurts.

“If people get a little taste of self-acceptance, Muller said, “that’s the seed we want to water.”

Bring a sack lunch and a drink, a yoga mat, meditation cushion, and wear loose, comfortable clothing. Meditation cushions and yoga mats will also be available on site.

Slack and Muller suggest bringing a “beginner’s mind” – curiosity, openness and a sense of wonder. Their brochure reads, “Come with a conscious intention to be present with yourself, practicing mindful, heartfelt attention.”

To register, call Eva at 744-3525 or Juliet at 891-3328. There is no charge, but a “dana” donation to express gratitude is suggested to cover the costs of the day.

Contact Ginny Lee at berginger81@hotmail.com.


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