Be Present to the Moments of Life with Mindfulness MeditationFeb 28, 2023 11:06AM ● By Linda Sechrist
After 30-plus years working in Lee County’s Early Childhood programs, Maggie Stevens decided to enjoy the second chapter of her life as a mindfulness meditation teacher. In 2019, she enrolled in the two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification training with Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., who has been teaching meditation since 1974, and Tara Brach, Ph.D., psychologist, meditation teacher and author of Radical Compassion. She has completed her training and now belongs to Caloosahatchee Mindfulness (formerly Hearts Path to Mindful Living).
“Mindfulness is paying attention to your life in this present moment without judgment. It has also been called clear seeing and friendly attention to the present. When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being. Everyone can benefit,” says Stevens.
“I was part of the second cohort of the Jack Cornfield and Tara Brach teacher certificate program. We were 1,400 people from many different countries, and different beliefs—Catholics, rabbis, Christians, Buddhists and more,” advises Stevens.
In 2019, Stevens joined Caloosahatchee Mindfulness, started by a several dedicated individuals, including Maggie Mullins, Mary Robinson and Kathy Leitch. Trained in Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program they offered Meditation in the Lee Health cardiac rehab and in some adult living facilities in the area until COVID-19.
“In 2010 members of Caloosahatchee Mindfulness formed The Caloosahatchee Rising Tide Sangha. It’s in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. Our Friday morning sitting meditations at 10 a.m. and at 5 p.m. are for one hour on Zoom. They include a 20-minute meditation with initial guidance and then silent sitting. After the meditation, there is a group discussion, five-minute silent reflection, and then a thought for the week and check out. These meditations and the sangha are free, and no experience is necessary. All are welcome,” says Stevens, who adds that annual membership in Caloosahatchee Mindfulness is affordable (student/seniors $20, individual $20, and family $60). The goal is to provide mindfulness to the community as a way of helping with well-being.
Beginning March 9 at Lotus Blossom Clinic, located at 6710 Winkler Road, in Fort Myers, Caloosatchee Mindfulness is offering an orientation to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and an eight-week course. The MBSR consists of eight 2-1/2-hour classes and a 7-hour retreat practice day between weeks 6 and 7 or between 7 and 8 (date and location to be determined). A home practice commitment of approximately 45-60 minutes daily (on days the class does not meet) is asked of all participants. Practice recordings will be provided to participants to guide their home practice.
The course combines systematic practices of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga with an interactive exploration of patterns of behavior in thinking, feeling, and action. These practices and explorations help participants cultivate attention and emotional regulation skills, helping to reduce rumination and worry. Clinical research conducted over decades suggests that MBSR has potential beneficial effects for both mental and physical well-being.