Posts Tagged ‘Niroga Institute’

ABC'sBy Alan Delery

No! I’m not talking about a standard set of letters that represent the sounds of the spoken language. My assumption is that, if you are reading this post then, you know the ABC’s of the alphabet. Often when we use this expression, we are talking about knowing the parts of a subject or activity that we have to learn first because they are important and basic. In my case, I am asking if you know the ABC’s of mindfulness, in particular,  the ABC’s of Dynamic Mindfulness. 

Chances are, you don’t know these ABC’s and you are paying the price for your ignorance. I say this because while the term mindfulness is popular today, many people are really not familiar with what it means and some shy away from it for a variety of reasons and continue to struggle with the physical and emotional toll of stress and anxiety.

This takes me back to the focus of my recent post. I was talking about many people in our society who have not learned how to manage stress and regulate their emotions. To be honest, I have been one of those people. I’m not saying that I had an anger management problem. I’m saying I had a problem managing my thoughts and feelings. I have the tendency to internalize my behaviors while some people’s thoughts and feelings are put on exhibition for the world to see. Both can be problematic. 

Dynamic Mindfulness, as I have learned through the Niroga Institute, has taught me how to regulate my emotions through Mindful Action, Breathing and Centering. They call these the ABC’s of mindfulness. Today, I only want to concentrate on Mindful Centering. 

Simply put, mindful centering refers to a nonjudgmental focus of attention on the present moment experience. We notice our body sensations, thoughts, and feelings without feeling swept away by them.

I don’t know about you, but that is an important skill for me to develop. Especially at times like these. I invite you to learn more about mindfulness by reading up on it on your own or joining me on Monday nights where I lead a weekly mindfulness session with others who are interested in this topic. I am a Dynamic Mindfulness Certified Trainer with Niroga Institute and I would love to see more people in my community developing these skills to take care of themselves and their community amid stressful times.

You can learn more about these sessions by going on upliftnola.biz. We had been meeting together at the Uplift NOLA studio, but I am also experimenting with virtual sessions with those wanting to continue to learn and build community together. 

Even if you can’t join in on an online session or in person, when we open the doors of the studio back up, I encourage you to reach out with me so that we can talk more about mindfulness. This is the perfect time to learn your ABC’s. 

#stay peaceful

Hamster-wheel-manBy Alan Delery

In my previous post, I talked about the value of mindful breathing. This was the result of consideration of what I wanted to say to my readers, as our country has stopped to deal with COVID-19. Many around the country have been told to stay at home and limit our face-to-face contact with others in our communities. We have been advised to practice “social distancing.” This can cause many to become stir-crazy and others to become depressed.. 

I want us to take advantage of this time and practice personal mental and emotional hygiene so that we are able to recover from stress and trauma and not be so “foul” to those around us. (Yes. Many of you are offensive to others by your attitude and actions.)

As I want to keep this post as short as possible, let me jump into today’s main thought.

In the late 90’s I was trained to be a trainer in conflict resolution in schools. We trained teachers to work with their students on social and emotional learning, in particular, how they could resolve conflicts creatively. We wanted schools to begin to develop skills, in their students, that could help them with their relationships. Out of the hundreds of teachers trained, few actually implemented this program because there were so many competing school initiatives and academic requirements being placed on them. While the school district’s intent was admirable, it fell short at making real social and emotional changes.

Twenty years later, I was still working with schools to help them with implementing conflict resolution and ways to repair relationships when harm had occurred. I helped schools implement what is called restorative justice. In this approach, we ask people to come together with those who they were in conflict with to reflect on what happened and repair harm that may have been created by their actions.

What I discovered when I asked young people to reflect on what happened in the conflict, they were not prepared to do so. Either they weren’t aware of their thoughts and feelings during the escalation of a conflict or they didn’t know how to communicate them. Sometimes they just weren’t willing to do so. This proved to be problematic when trying to resolve conflicts and repair harm. 

The interesting thing and the reason for today’s post was that when I was asked to facilitate similar “restorative conversations” between adults, they often were not any further along than students, in their ability to deal with conflicts. Often, their ability and/or willingness to sit down and productively talk with the other person was more challenging than that of the young people I worked with.

As I looked around, I observed all kinds of conflicts that were not being resolved peacefully. Harm was not being repaired and people were walking around stressed with unmet needs. As a result, it appeared to me that society was getting more divided and violent. People were walking around with unmanaged stress and trauma. Many simply did not know how to take care of themselves.

As I considered how to move people to a place where they could be more self aware and able talk about their thoughts and feelings, I was introduced to Dynamic Mindfulness. Dynamic Mindfulness is a type of mindfulness practice that helps with stress resilience, self awareness and emotion regulation. 

While I first got into dynamic mindfulness to help others, I discovered that I needed to develop these skills in myself. In 2016 I received training in mindfulness and started this journey of transformation. 

I was a Christian and understood the importance of meditating on the scripture to renew my mind but I was ignorant on how to manage stress using movement and focused breathing. I wasn’t aware of how I was carrying stress in my body. I wasn’t aware of how stress was impacting my brain. I wasn’t aware that not only could my mind be renewed by the Word of God but my actual brain could be rewired through a regular mindfulness practice. I am still learning but since I have started practicing mindfulness, I have noticed a difference in how I react to stress and want to invite others to learn more for themselves.

During this Coronavirus crisis, I will continue to post about what I have been learning over the past couple of years. I believe if we took the time to develop a regular mindfulness practice, we would be more equipped to deal with the stressors of life. Now that we have gotten off of the hamster wheel of our stressful routines, we can focus on taking care of ourselves.

Thank you and please continue to share these posts with your friends and family.

In the meantime, re-read Matthew 11:28-29 as you keep God’s Word as your primary focus.

#stay peaceful