Eighty-three-year-old Columbus resident Mary Jo Meadow swears by the practice she has been teaching for over 30 years in the U.S., Scotland, England, Australia and Canada.
Meadow has taught mindfulness classes at hospitals, prisons and various community education programs, but this year will mark the first year that she will venture into the Centennial and White Bear Lake school districts as well as North Branch.
“The practice has been extremely good for me,” she said. “I am 83 years old and I do not exercise because I don't enjoy it, but I have a blood pressure and resting pulse rate to be envied. I do have arthritis, osteoporosis and hearing loss, which most women my age wind up having to deal with, but other than that I am in excellent health.” Meadow added that through mindfulness, stretching and massage, she has been able to manage arthritis and osteoporosis without pain medications.
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. This state encompasses observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Mindfulness can also be a healthy way to identify and manage emotions that are causing problems. It allows people to be more aware of their physical and emotional conditions without getting bogged down in self-criticism and judgment.
Meadow was a professor of psychology and religious studies at Minnesota State-Mankato for several years before she retired in 1998 to pursue a career in teaching meditation/mindfulness/lovingkindness both locally and around the world.
“When I first started teaching mindfulness, very few people had ever heard of it and you had to explain it. Now it is everywhere because its benefits are being recognized,” she said. Meadow has published seven books, written hundreds of published articles and served as the president of several divisions of the American Psychological Association.
“My retirement project is to teach as many people as I can about how to practice mindfulness,” she said. “It is a wonderful practice. So many people talk about how it helps with anxiety, depression, stress, pain. Whatever they have come for, it has helped them. In general, it improves life quality.”
In addition to mindfulness classes in Lino Lakes, Forest Lake and Wyoming this fall, Meadow will also teach classes on the topic of lovingkindness in Forest Lake, White Bear Lake and Wyoming. Meadow described lovingkindness as a “companion practice” to mindfulness, that teaches “how to have gentle kindness toward ourselves and others. It teaches compassion, joy and equanimity and develops self-acceptance, better working with problem relationships and a caring and compassionate heart.”
Meadow teaches classes in both the fall and spring but takes the winters off. For those who have attended one of Meadow's classes, they are invited to attend a free sitting group for follow-up as often as they choose. She currently offers groups four times a month at four locations and said she would be willing to add another location if it makes sense.
For more information, or to register, contact Meadow at email@example.com or visit the local community education websites.
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.