Mindfulness, Paradigms, & Sustainability, Oh My!

Mindfulness, focusing on the here and now, letting my thoughts come and go like the ebb and flow of ocean waves. I anchor my thoughts of our impending doom, my growing pile of homework, how tired I am of going to work, how tired I am of being a broke college kid, and I let them flow away on my metaphorical ocean. After our exercise, I felt better, more relaxed.  I wish it was this easy to solve all my problems. This week, we learned about mindfulness and how it can help ground us and make us more sustainable people. I really enjoyed doing the mindfulness activities in class, and I’m very much looking forward to doing more of them in the future.  

I contributed to the learning community by talking to my partner about what we found for our mindfulness assignment in which we had to search the internet for three points about mindfulness. I brought up to my partner that mindfulness is about being in the present, and not worrying about the past or the future. She said that she had some of the same stuff that I did. Later that week we sat in our “YES” and our “NO” groups and discussed the reading that we read on western paradigms and whether they could be compatible with sustainability. I was in the “NO” group, and I argued that the beginnings of our unsustainable habits didn’t happen in the 1900’s but rather in the 1600’s as stated in the article that the “NO” group read. I also argued that it takes a while for these habits to build up which is why I said that it began with the end of the feudal era rather than post World War II.  

One of my biggest takeaways from this week is that our cultural paradigms influence a large part of how we live and the decisions we make. I hadn’t really thought about it being a cultural problem, but rather a single entity being responsible for the climate crisis. This week helped to reshape my view on why these wicked problems arise and how putting the blame on any one group can be incredible problematic and grossly oversimplifies the problem(s) at hand. Another big takeaway was the mindfulness techniques we learned during class. After we were done with our exercise in class, I noticed that I felt a lot calmer and more level-headed. I think that learning these techniques will be incredibly beneficial in the future.  

For my five-minute mindfulness activities this week, I sat in my room with low light and just sat and listened to nothing. No music, no T.V., no distractions. Just me, myself, and I. It was incredibly affirming to just sit and be with myself because I’ve always had a hard time liking who I was. After I finished my exercise each day, I said to myself, “You are loved, you are valid, and you are worthwhile. This has really helped me to feel a little bit less overwhelmed about everything and helped me to focus inward before reacting outward. I really look forward to continuing to do these exercises. 

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