Sometimes when you are looking for something or someone its not there. The same goes with this interview I was wanting to conduct with one of my mentors and she was never available. Possibly there is a time for everything. And then came the lucky day when I could sit down with my mentor, Donna Whitfield and seek inspiration from her journey on Mindfulness. Donna was a long known acquaintance via a Facebook Group and then I chose her to be my Mentor and now she is an indeed good friend. So lets drive straight in and gather some pearls of mindfulness as we do this much awaited interview.
Me : Hi Donna, Hope you are doing well.
Donna : Hi Tarun, Yeah I am doing fantastic. How are you cruising along?
Me (Gasping a breath) : Quite well. Hoping for this interview for long.
Donna : Well, Here we are. Aren’t we? Shoot right away.
Me : Cool! Please share with us something about you and how you got into Mindfulness.
Donna : Well, I am a wellness coach and I specialize in Mindfulness. I got introduced to Mindfulness through a course I did which was designed by Jack Kornfield, a pioneer in this field. But this was much later, it was a couple of 10 day retreats which added this new chapter in my life.
Me : Okay! Tell us something about these retreats. I am sure they had some impact on you and were key in making you choose this path.
Donna : Well, Certainly. The retreats had a huge impact on me. I had never experienced anything this intense before. Never dreamt of sitting for 10 hours a day in what was called as Samadhi in yesteryears. I somehow survived the 10 days, given the intensity of the course. But later to the course, it was as if a new life had begun. I felt so much more lighter and life started to become effortless. I really started rejoicing in this and began to look for other alternatives to ensure continuity. That is when I came across Mindfulness. And slowly and steadily that led me to the path of becoming a wellness coach.
Me : That’s a great start. So do you still go back to those retreats?
Donna : Well, to be honest. They are intense in their own might but to spare 10 days wherein you are not allowed to do anything but meditate requires some amount of planning from your everyday life. So I try to attend these 10 day retreats atleast once a year when I feel I am drained out and need a boost to start all over again.
Me : Thats quite some commitment Donna. What advice would you like to give to someone starting out in this field?
Donna : I would say to have interest in such disciplines, you need to have a mindset. Best place would be to start with reading books on the topic of mindfulness and can take it from there once you become interested in it.
Me : Any particular book you have in mind?
Donna : One can start with, The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. Or any book by the same author for that matter. He has a very playful style of writing that is very easy to understand. So I definitely do recommend reading him. Another classic that comes to mind is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. These would be a good place to start I would say.
Me : Besides the books would you also recommend anything else?
Donna : Well, there is a whole lot out there to discover and get absorbed with. One could get started with any of these beautiful apps which are both free as well as paid and that alone could be a great introduction to Mindfulness. Apps such as Calm and Insight Timer are a common place and have some very good content to get one started in this field.
Me : Is Meditation a necessary thing on the path to Mindfulness?
Donna : Yes, I would surely recommend meditation as an integral part to mindfulness as it helps to bring along the much needed stillness required to lead a mindful life. But it should be done with an intent to apply it in your daily life so you live your entire day mindfully or in a meditative state.
Me : Do you recommend anything else besides Meditation?
Donna : Well! Meditation is just a way to condition your mind and make it more stable. Throughout the day you should rely on walking mindfully, eating mindfully, bringing your attention to breath every now and then, as thats an important anchor and helps in staying more mindful throughout the day.
Me : Thank you Donna. I guess we have covered a lot of ground today for anyone wanting to start on this path. Looking forward to more of these enlightening sessions with you.
Donna : Sure thing. And I had a great evening too. Salut!