This whole year has been quite the doozy for me (really everyone) and this past month in particular has proven to be extremely difficult. I have been faced with all kinds of challenges and in hitting these bumps in the road have found myself getting a little too caught up in the business and chaos of life. Our topic on mindfulness was just what I needed and at just the right time. Mindfulness, by definition, is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Last week, during one of our snow days, I was hit with some pretty devastating news. I was heartbroken, grieving, and completely shattered. All I wanted was to escape the world. I wanted to be filled with an overwhelming peace, and I wanted to know that everything was going to be okay. Something that is extremely important to me is my faith. In times of struggle and times of need I always try to turn to the Lord for the peace and guidance that I need. In order to practice mindfulness, I grabbed my prayer journal and I headed out on a walk. After wandering campus for a little bit I found myself at theta pond. I sat down on a bench and closed my eyes. I took deep breaths. I focused on the things that I was hearing, the fountains hitting the water, the ducks quacking, the wind rustling through the trees. I focused on what I could smell, which was pretty much nothing because I still haven’t gotten my smell back from when I had covid, haha. I focused on what I could feel, the metal bench in my back, the wind in my hair, the warmth of the sun on my skin. I opened my eyes, took one more deep breath, and focused on what I could see. I saw the ducks fighting, students walking to class, the leaves that were changing colors and in my lap, my journal. I opened up my journal, slowly and peacefully, I wrote and wrote and wrote. All my worries, all my stress, all my hopes. It was a little more than five minutes, but it was beautiful and just what I needed. I was fully aware of where I was physically, I was aware of my emotions and I was aware of where I was in life. I was truly being completely mindful. 

This week’s other topic about western values was extremely interesting to me. I was put with the “no” group, and upon chatting with my other group members in class, began to think that the “no” reading could have been the easier one. It is easy to understand where the world is doing things wrong, or where we could do better, and when you know that things could be better sometimes it is hard to also look at the positive aspects. I have noticed so much recently that when you know the down side it is hard to focus more on the up side, even though the upside is usually more beneficial to your health. I loved getting to talk to my group, to me it is a great way for me to get to know my peers even though we are over zoom. One of my group members even had her mom come say hi. Another of my group members was very good about asking questions and truly wanted to know about both sides of the argument. This particular group member, in asking all their questions, helped me to better understand the arguments on both sides of the article. I have never been one to enjoy group work, I usually like to do things all myself. However, so far getting to know some of my peers and work hand in hand with them, hear their thoughts, and know their way of thinking has been so fun.

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