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Letters from Zeynep: Give Yourself A Big Hug

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Letters from Zeynep

January 10 · Issue #15 · View online
Weekly letters that nurture you to find everyday wellness. https://zeynepesin.com/

Mindfulness is something we co-learn, through sharing and listening. We start believing a calmer, softer, happier life is possible only when we see it in others. Or when we start displaying this calmness, softness, happiness, and someone sees our change and points at it with excitement. “Hey!” they say. “I see you. You would have responded differently in the past. But this time you are more open and relaxed / loving and kind / you are enjoying life more.”
We co-learn it because mindfulness doesn’t belong to anyone. There is no MY or YOUR mindfulness. There is only THE mindfulness. The awareness and compassion we all get to have, lose, find, lose, and find again. The awareness and compassion we all get to remind each other about. The awareness and compassion we create and exist in together.
In this sense, there is no “mindfulness teacher” and “mindfulness student”. There are only guides. Guides who know how to hold space for others or guides who have ideas about finding it when it is lost. 
I know this because as a teacher, I find teachers in my students all the time. Just like I did in Mariana. 🤗
Mariana is a long-time practitioner of mindfulness who participated in my 7 week Introduction to Mindfulness course at the end of last year. In this short video interview, she shares some nuggets of wisdom with her bubbly and loving energy.
Mariana's Mindfulness Journey
What I treasured from her sharing was:
  • Her “desire to dive within” and accept & nurture all parts of herself, including all the parts of herself she doesn’t love,
  • Her practice of giving herself a big hug, giving thanks, letting it go, let it be,
  • How different teachers and traditions (Goenka) came to her over time,
  • How attending a 7-week course allowed mindfulness to spill into all corners of her life,
  • Her intuitive approach to her meditation practice; letting it arise on its own (“It’s meditation time!“). ❤️
This last point is something I am asked all the time: “What is the best time of day to meditate?” To the dissatisfaction of some students, I always answer “That depends on YOU!” 😃
There are a few important things to know about building sustainable habits, as Charles Duhigg explains in his wonderful book The Power of Habit. For example, willpower is a limited resource. We start the day with a lot of it and run out of it toward the end of the day. In this sense, meditating earlier in the day might increase your chances of actually doing it. Another example is that new habits are sustained more successfully when coupled with already existing habits, such as meditating right after you brush your teeth in the morning or right before you leave the office at the end of the day.
But aside from knowing how habits work, when you meditate is entirely up to you, your schedule, your circadian rhythm, needs and desires. What I see is that over time, we stop trying to control how meditation shows up in our lives and start listening to how and when it arises, just like Mariana does. Over time, we understand that the only “good” time to meditate is simply NOW.
I hope you enjoy Mariana’s words & energy, and I hope you give yourself a big hug when she does so right at 3:43! 🙆
Upcoming Mindfulness Courses
Today is the last day to register EARLY to the new mindfulness courses starting at the end of January and get a 10% discount. If the course fee doesn’t seem affordable to you, please come and pay what you can afford to pay. ❤️
Introduction to Mindfulness: A 7 Week Course in Paris
Mindfulness for Experienced Practitioners: A 7 Week course in Paris
Finding Community
If you would like to co-learn mindfulness (either from scratch or adding to what you already know), please join us at one of the Mudita Mindfulness Community meetings!
We meet every Wednesday at 19:30 to learn and meditate together. First meeting is free! 
Mudita Mindfulness Community
What Else?
Here are some things that have nurtured me lately. ❤️️
True belonging. We are so neurobiologically hard-wired to belong that we sometimes sacrifice ourselves in order to belong. But “true belonging” as Brené Brown puts it, requires us to stand alone when needed, and believe in something greater than ourselves.
Sexual health & freedom in long term partnerships. I could talk for days about Esther Perel’s book, Mating in Captivity. It was truly wonderful to find something of myself in the stories of so many other people from all corners of the world. Thanks to this book, I asked myself questions I had never asked before: What does sex mean to me? How do I define love and desire? Where do they intersect?
Writing and sharing your goals & intentions. I religiously write and re-write my goals, intentions and to-do’s. I was happy to learn from Marie Forleo that writing and sharing our goals with others (for social accountability) almost guarantees that we will reach them.
20 min of yoga every day. Adriene Mishler’s yoga videos have helped me tremendously in the last 5 years with healing my back injury, relaxing and strengthening my body, all from the comfort of my home. They also helped me with mindfulness because mindfulness means embodying the awareness and compassion we want to have. I’m on day 9 of Adriene’s new 30 Day Series and it is wonderful. And the group chat I’m in with 6 other people who are also doing the series is proving to me how helpful social accountability can be!
On the sadness of losing a life partner. We lost my father when he was 55 years old. Reading how people find it difficult to cook and eat dinners after losing their life partner made me understand my mother on a deeper level.
A new secularism in Islam. As Islamism becomes more entrenched with corruption and injustice in Turkey, a new secularism seems to be emerging in the more conservative sections. Understanding this was helpful in reducing the anxieties I carry about my country.
Thank you for reading ❤️️
If you enjoyed this letter, please share it with loved ones to help spread the word, and send me a line with your thoughts and feelings. I’d love to hear from you. 😊
With lovingkindness,
Zeynep 
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