Mind full or mindful? That phrase has been on my mind a lot lately. I am very rarely in the present. I am the type of person whose brain is always elsewhere, and it had never really occurred to me that I wasn’t really “in the moment.” I try to call and talk to my dad everyday to just fill him in. And like usual, I called him on the day that the mid full/mindful slide was shown in class. I was stuck on this mind full or mindful question when my dad said something that really resonated. He said, “when are you going to start living your days for today? You spend so much time thinking and doing for tomorrow, that you are losing today.” Between those two things, it had felt like I had gotten gut punched. I knew which side of mind full or mindful on which I stood, and I knew what my dad was saying was true. I had always equated mindfulness of being mindful of others, but it seems like I missed the most important part: being mindful of myself.
I am at a time in my life that I have been forced to do a lot of personal growth, and I think that has made me more receptive of these conversations on mindfulness than I would have been a few months ago. Marc Cohen’s talk was one that was particularly impactful. His thoughts on wellness, and how that your wellness is affected by the environment and the people around you. As well as how wellness isn’t boiled down to do just being physically healthy, or as he called it, average health, but advanced health and wellness is reached through complementary medicine (diet, exercise, relationships, etc). This was something that really hit home with me. Also, Marc Cohen’s statement about how we are both whole, part, and participants is something that I found very interesting. People see themselves as a whole and that the world and universe does things to, but we often forget that we are also contributors and participants in the world. And as participants, we have the authority to change what happens to us and the world. These kinds of thoughts were also brought up in the ‘Mindfulness and Sustainability’ reading. I found it really interesting that complementary medicine like meditation was backed with scientific research.
I am not one to mediate. I struggle with insomnia and have used meditation to help me sleep, but other than that I have always found it to be a “waste of my time”. I could never justify it to myself to “just sit there”. I was brought up with the idea that if you’re not doing something productive it’s a waste of your time. The reading was really eye-opening for me, backing meditation with scientific research proving that meditation can help to relieve stress, depression, and pain; as well as has proven to improve empathy, compassion, and sustainable behaviors. It gave meditation a purpose and doesn’t feel like a waste of time anymore. With everything I have learned about meditation recently makes me want to try it again. I’m just not sure if I’m doing it right. I just don’t know if what I am feeling and doing is right. I always end up questioning if what I am doing is truly mediation. I’m sure I just need more practice, but sometimes it’s hard because I just don’t know where to start or what I am doing is right.
Mediation was something that I initially wanted to do Activity2 over because I wanted to learn more. However, since it doesn’t fit in with my major so I decided to focus on a broader, more applicable issue. People spend roughly 87% of their lives in a building, so you would think that the materials that they are made of would be safe. The building industry continually uses materials that are extremely toxic for the environment and the people that come into contact with them, both during and post manufacturing. Some of these are supposedly “better” alternatives or fire-resistant materials. Building materials are loosely regulated and manufacturers are not required to inform consumers of the chemicals in the materials; therefore, leading to ill-informed designers polluting our built and natural environment in the name of “better” alternatives. Due to the loose regulations, blatant disregard for providing clarity of products between manufacturer and designer, as well as the continued development of new materials with unknown effects on the body and environment are what makes the toxicity of building materials a wicked problem.