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:
I love doing yard work. It’s a chance to be outside, move my body, and connect with nature. My many garden beds bring me joy. Gardening is a wonderful mindfulness practice. Yet I’m equally happy to mow lawn, clean brush, and trim hedges. On Saturday, while Mark raced his sailboat on Long Lake, I embarked on an afternoon of yard work.
On Saturday, I completed an 8-mile, 25-obstacle Tough Mudder race. My team consisted of people I love: my niblings EJ and Mandy, and my close friend Steph. Our support crew included more people I love: Mark, my dad, and my sister Jenny. It was a love mud-fest!
Two weeks ago, I asked for your help: Tell me how and why my prison stories inspire you. You, my FB followers, and my Y meditation class shared beautiful, wholehearted words. I entered prison Monday with two pages of genuine well-wishes from the “streets.”
On Monday, I co-led a meditation retreat in Oshkosh prison. Our mindfulness group met for extended practice, all members staying the whole 2.5 hours, deepening their awareness, feeling vulnerable yet safe, and practicing peace.
In 2011, two years before I left academia, I embraced creativity. I took a poetry course, a self-portraiture class, and a path-finder tutorial that included daily writing and exploration. I dove into these experiences. They helped me understand and see myself differently. They awakened my heart.
On Saturday, after the farmer’s market, we sat on the back porch reading books. Currently, I’m rereading Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart.” It’s the most dog-eared book in my library. I found it 20 years ago, while reading scads of self-help books. Pema’s words were so real and true.
A story from my last year in academia: It's the first week of term, students wrangling to get into my over-enrolled classes. After a long day, I receive a phone call from my sister: "Dad's in the hospital. They think he had a stroke." I start sobbing. Jackie quickly replies, "Joy, he's okay. The doctors are doing more tests, but it's probably a mini-stroke. He's okay."
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?