Mindfulness is being in the present moment in an open and friendly way. It's both mind-training and heart-training.You can start right where you are.
Hi, my name is Joy, and I’m glad you’re here. Mindfulness is true medicine. Small steps have big impact. To learn more, watch this short video:
Over 15 years, I've made huge leaps. Yet each leap contained countless small steps. My path—from self-aversion to self-compassion, from non-stop striving to intentional being, from anxiety to relative ease—was gradual.
In prison last week, I shared about an important yet difficult relationship in my life. I spoke about the clutch in my heart and my belly. How I need to set boundaries and be honest, but I don’t want to cause harm. Mindful speech is truthful, helpful, and kind.
Twenty years ago, I would have characterized my mind as a “worrying mind.” I worried anytime Mark traveled. I worried anytime I was on a plane (fearing a crash). I had middle-of-the-night worries about work: Am I prepared for class? How will I complete this seemingly endless to-do list? Will I get tenure? What if I’m rejected?
Years ago, when I was working long hours, feeling stressed, and focused on externals, I declared, “I just need to let go.” A wise friend looked at me and noted: “Joy, you can’t, all of sudden, let go. What’s one small step you can take?”
The year after my mom died, I inhabited a raw, tender, vivid state of grief. I looked around at people’s interactions—in coffee shops, classes, activities, and workplaces. And I noticed two things:
I volunteer in prison in two capacities: leading a secular mindfulness meditation group and holding one-on-one visits with prisoners. The sharing in group is powerful: courage, wisdom, and vulnerability. Yet the sharing in pastoral visits goes deeper.
Years ago, during a bike ride from the Farmer’s Market, we spotted drawers stacked on the curb. Once home, as I unpacked produce, Mark wordlessly went out to the garage. Ten minutes later he was home with a pile of drawers. Within an hour, we had a “squirrel drawer” hanging from the maple tree just outside our back porch.
I have lists of blog ideas from my unplugged sabbatical experience, but when it comes to writing, I need to describe what’s alive for me in the moment. Right now, it’s fear. The fear isn’t strong or overwhelming, but it’s present.
Love is both beautiful and complicated. When our heart is open and spacious, love flows naturally without conditions. When our heart is constricted and controlling, love is blocked.
On Thursday, Mark and I travel to a small island in the West Indies. We stay for five weeks in a little cottage by the ocean. Our time is “unplugged”: no Internet, news, TV, email, or screens. We get to the market via bikes, no car. It’s an unconventional life that nourishes our spirits.