Making the Most of Mindfulness

Since the mid-term blog, I have gained an even greater sense of compassionate curiosity within the field of sustainability where I feel I have acquired a much better understanding of what makes a problem wicked. This learning process has been somewhat of a frustrating, emotional one that at times was very difficult to understand, but as the course went on, along with the participation in practicing mindfulness, I have been able to look at these issues in a more compassionate way. I came to realize how important it is to understand the wickedness of each problem we covered throughout the course as every single one has a huge impact on us and our planet. Although they are a lot to unpack, it is important to break down each part of the problems to really grasp the reality of their effects on our environment. It is equally as important to know why these problems exist even though it is a harsh realization that some people refuse to recognize due to the fact that we as humans are the ones to blame. For most, this discovery is a hard pill to swallow and many people want to ignore it as they refuse to accept that we are at fault making the issues even more difficult to solve. When discussing these issues, it is important to keep an open mind to be able to view them in a humbling way in order to achieve direction on how to solve them.

Through my meditation practices, I have found that the best way to fully comprehend the complexity of wicked problems is by having a clear mind before observing each aspect and listening to other viewpoints on the issue. Our minds are very powerful tools that naturally wander in all different directions and if we are not in full control of our thinking, we can lose sight of what is important. When this occurs, we must bring our thoughts back to focusing on the present which I found can be done by deep, concentrated breathing. Practicing this has helped me to develop a strategy to use when I find myself overthinking. Overthinking can completely throw off rationality and practicality which is why it is so important to bring the mind to ease when trying to comprehend or come up with possible solutions for a wicked problem. Sometimes when I find myself in a situation like this, I take myself outside to get some fresh air and surround myself with nature. It is times like this that I truly cherish in being able to step out and capture the Earth’s beauty and connect my senses to the surrounding environment. On one occasion, as I began to concentrate on my thoughts and the world around me, I could not help but to focus on the fact that not everyone has the opportunity to step out into nature in order to relax their mind due to the fact that the conditions they are living in may be poor due to environmental degradation. In this moment, I began to tense up as worry crept into my mind over the idea that I could potentially find myself in that position. This idea angered me as I realized I was worrying about myself being in the harsh position that someone else is already struggling in. I was so frustrated with myself but quickly realized I had to once again come back to my senses and not let the anger take me over because nothing can be rationally solved that way. I just wish that everyone had the ability to surround themselves in a peaceful environment to calm themselves down when feeling overwhelmed as it plays a vital role in who we are and how we appreciate things. This is why it is so important to me that we care for our Earth by keeping it clean and although other people may not feel the same way, I feel it is my personal duty to express these feelings to others in hopes to educate them on the benefits of engaging in practicing sustainability.

As of right now, being a young college student can at times feel like we have little power in generating change in our society. It can also seem like a lot of pressure on top of our busy schedules with work and school. Because of this, I currently struggle to view myself as an influencer of change as it seems there is only so much that I can do, but as I learn more about sustainability and what can happen if we do not enforce it, I think I will be able to gain more confidence in my understanding of the issues that humanity brings upon the Earth and express my knowledge to my surroundings in hopes to generate curiosity and change. I definitely want to incorporate the teachings of mindfulness to whoever I come across as I have found it to be very helpful in gaining the ability to grasp ahold of my thoughts when they spiral. I think that everyone can benefit from meditating as it is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, allowing for better focus. If everyone were able to achieve this, problems could be solved quicker as people would be looking for solutions in a more compassionate and thoughtful way.

Throughout this course, I have discovered through a deep analysis in the team infographic project and the readings how effective the fashion industry is in harming the environment. After making this discovery, I was left in complete shock and disbelief along with a great feeling of guilt knowing that I have played a role in contributing to this wicked issue. As I work my way into the industry of fashion, I want to be sure that my goals remain loyal to maintaining sustainable motives through my career and that I stay on that track throughout any transition I experience. By gaining a clear comprehension of how harmful the fashion industry is to our planet, I want to be able to have a voice in wherever I end up working to make sure that I am not involved in contributing to the excessive amount of pollution it produces. I want to be able to contribute to guiding the industry into a healthier way of functioning for the sake of society and the protection of our planet.  

Overall, I am grateful to have experienced this course as I can say I have a new perspective on how I view the world and am more mindful of what I say, think and do. I want to continue this journey by maintaining a consistent meditation practice as well as enroll in more sustainability to courses in the future. I also want to conduct more research on wicked problems to find out ways that I can avoid contributing to their growth. Throughout this course, I have been more aware of my actions and more conscious of how I dispose of things. I am always encouraging my friends to recycle and even convinced my mom to do a better job of it. I know that this is a small step but by educating and encouraging people to live a more sustainable lifestyle is the first step in generating change.

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