What is mindfulness to you?
Mindfulness is the unbiased awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and actions; a conscious view of the holistic YOU. It is the practice of being awake in the present moment and the process of using that intellectual data in intuitive analysis of the human experience.
How do you use mindfulness in your work, research, or practice?
As a student and intern in Integrative health, mindfulness is a lens, through which, I am ever-evolving my perspective of the world. I see our society as one that can be healed by becoming more mindful of the source of illness and opportunities for maintaining wellness. In my patients, I take an individualized approach to healthcare, raising awareness of alternative and complementary options as well as promoting self-responsibility for their own well-being.
As President of META, mindfulness is a tool for provoking new thought patterns through the use of philosophical questions: How are our realities existing in paradoxical states of consistency AND diversity? If the universe extends beyond the reaches of science, what about our own human experience could exist without us knowing? Through open-minded discussion, we shed the limited perspective that we have reached our human potential and use our mindful awareness to see our daily lives differently.
As a dancer, mindfulness is what I embody. It is no longer just a mental awareness, it is a bodily expression of harmony between my inner being and the external world. I am mindful of both the macro and microelements in my environment: the lighting, temperature, and openness of the room, where my body is in space with respect to the other dancers, how the instructor is speaking with language and with the body, and how the movement feels in my body as I dance to improve my technique and creative process.
How has the practice of mindfulness affected your life (personally and professionally)?
Mindfulness has been an ongoing journey ever since I discovered it with the Art of Living Foundation at ASU. I began using mindfulness in my yoga practice, then in silent meditation, and am currently working on mindful walking and conversation. It has brought me to new levels of awareness that I never knew existed. Because I am mindful, I recognize my mindless habits in the moment they happen and can consciously choose to take a new path. I eat healthier, exercise more often, stress less, and don't procrastinate because I want to do good things for my body, mind, and spirit.
Mindfulness gives me a sense of confidence and a look outside my own body. I realize that I have a lot to offer the world as Miquella Young, but there are always a million other people out there willing to help and support me if I need it. Mindfulness continues to help me turn my weaknesses into my strengths and step out of my comfort zone. I have formed valuable networking connections, landed an internship that aligns perfectly with my goals, and found joy in engaging in professional development activities. For me, mindfulness has been a mechanism for sustainable change.
How can mindfulness transform society?
Mindfulness brings understanding, a clarity to each individual that practices it. It brings a deeper empathy and compassion for one another. With these insights, mindfulness can expedite the process of self-development. It can evolve human interaction. It can elevate our health as well as our planet's.
What does the future hold for the practice of mindfulness?
In a future where mindfulness continues to be recognized, people will choose to take equal time to care for their minds as they do their bodies. Just as we make personal hygiene and exercise part of our daily routines, so we will with meditation and self-reflection. Our minds are just as much parts of our being as our bodies are. The more the gift of mindfulness is shared among our own families, peers, and coworkers, the more contagious practice will become.
Student Update: What are they up to now?
Miquella graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Integrative Health and a minor in Dance. She is currently enrolled at National University of Natural Medicine to continue her studies for the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine programs in Portland, Oregon. During her new academic adventure, Miquella hopes to discover innovative ways to integrate her passion for mindful movement with her clinical practice.