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Religious & Spiritual Life

Mindful Moments Prompts

The weekly prompts below are presented newest to oldest. 

Nature as a Guide for Resiliency Jenifer Ruby

There is so much that we gain from nature.  In addition to all that ways it nourishes our bodies, it gives us an abundance of ways to find calm, inspiration, and peace.  My favorite mindfulness practice is spending time in my garden.  Whether I am sitting calmly watching and listening to birds or tending to the flowers and plants, I am grounded by my appreciation of the colors, the signs of growth, and the cycle of life that nature provides.  This last year I was treated to some of the miracles found in nature.  One of these included a visit to my bird bath by a painted bunting bird – a multicolored bird in the Cardinal family.  They are rather rare and only seen in Central Florida during their annual migration.  I was having a rough day when this bird appeared.  I took it as a sign to me to stop and appreciate the wonders around, taking my mind from the stresses I was feeling.  Another miracle was the cycle of the monarch butterfly.  I had hundreds of monarch caterpillars on a giant milkweed.  From these caterpillars countless chrysalises formed and eventually monarchs emerged.  While not all of the caterpillars survived to the stage to of a chrysalis nor did all the chrysalises emerge into monarchs, observing the resiliency of those strong, healthy chrysalises also grounded me.  This year (and my garden) has proven both how fragile life is and how resilient we are.

View this week's Mindful Moments video by Jenifer Ruby. 

CICI Mindful Moment Abby Hollern & Team

Our final Mindful Moments prompt for the semester is provided by the incredible staff from the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement (CICI). CICI is part of the MM committee.

Abby Hollern suggested taking time away from your everyday schedule and simply try a new recipe. Abby enjoys trying new cookie recipes by looking at what she has in her pantry and putting something fun together. Robert enjoys getting out of his normal routine and disconnecting for a little. He takes a drive out to his favorite restaurant and enjoys a great meal. Sam takes another approach by writing everything down and creating manageable lists. Manageable lists make things feel achievable and smaller.  Lastly, Alexandra goes back to the basics by taking a deep breath and dancing like no one is watching. She returns to her first love and either practices her discipline or just lets loose. Taking a mindful moment is simple, it just takes practice. Thank you for taking a mindful moment with the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement! 

View this week's Mindful Moments video by the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement. 

Loving Kindness Missy Barnes

It has been a gift to study mindfulness and to incorporate this state of being into my life over the past 20+ years. I spent many years living with depression and anxiety, and mindfulness practices have allowed me to learn how to live in the present moment with a heightened state of awareness and gentleness toward myself and others.

Mindfulness invites us to fully connect to the present moment, with open awareness, kindness, curiosity, and releasing all judgment. As humans, we are naturally inclined to look for the negative, to assume that something is wrong. What if we could attend to our state of being with gentle compassion and acceptance that our current experience is one single moment in time? When we observe our experience without amplifying the negative, we are able to sense our inner sense of calm.

Take a moment to notice the support of whatever you are standing or sitting or lying on. Allow yourself to more fully release into the support that is underneath your body. Releasing into gravity helps us let go of muscular tension. This in turn can lead to a softening of unwelcome mental or emotional activity.

One of my favorite practices is the Loving Kindness meditation. This practice has roots in several ancient cultures. You can access a wide range of versions of this practice on YouTube as well as via other sources.

Take a moment to settle yourself into a comfortable position, to release into gravity and the support underneath your body, and allow these thoughts to enter your conscious awareness:

May I be peaceful

May I be joyful

May I be well

May I be grateful

May I be compassionate

May I be filled with loving kindness

Now think of someone that you love and offer them these thoughts:

May you be peaceful

May you be joyful

May you be well

May you be grateful

May you be compassionate

May you be filled with loving kindness

Now imagine a large group of people, or even all sentient beings on the planet. Offer them the same thoughts:

May you be peaceful

May you be joyful

May you be well

May you be grateful

May you be compassionate

May you be filled with loving kindness

Now bring your thoughts back to yourself and affirm:

I am peaceful

I am joyful

I am well

I am grateful

I am compassionate

I am filled with loving kindness

I engage in this practice everyday, and it brings me great peace and comfort even when I am living under stressful conditions. May the rest of your semester be filled with peace, joy, gratitude, compassion, and loving kindness.

Professor Barnes leads virtual Mindful Moments sessions on Mondays at 4:30. See the Weekly Mindful Sessions tab for more information.

Thanksgiving Micki Meyer

"I'm grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I'm grateful to know that it exists.” ― Maya Angelou

Thanksgiving gives us time to reflect, to breathe, and engage our hearts in gratitude toward self and others. Orienting our mind and spirit toward gratitude and thanks are powerful states of being. In my mindfulness practice I take time each day to hold space for those things that bring me joy--my family, friends, colleagues, students, animals, and Mother Earth. I give thanks for the lessons I learn that might not always be easy or comfortable. I relish in the opportunities for great growth and expansion. When we focus on gratitude and thanks we tune into the great abundance of life and all it's beauty. Our good thoughts multiply and become our main point of attraction. Contentment and peace flow. On this Thanksgiving how will you intentionally hold space for gratitude this week? 

  • Spend time outside and enjoy nature. Close your eyes and listen to the birds and trees swaying in the wind. With each breath in say to yourself "I'm with you"...each breath out "I give you my thanks"
  • Take some time every night before bed to write down three things (or people) you are thankful for. On Sunday read your reflections. Pause and breathe.
  • Look through photos from this year on your phone and recall the good times. Give thanks for opportunities for community, family and lessons learned. You've accomplished so much and have done hard things. Honor your growth and grit.
  • Commit to letting people know how much they mean to you this week by sending a texts or notes of thanks for their friendship and love.

This Thanksgiving you will all be in my heart and prayers. I am thankful for our Rollins family!

View this week's Mindful Moments video by Micki Meyer.

Moving Water Shalini Roy

Mindfulness is the practice of attending to what is happening, to what you are doing, and to the space you are moving through in THIS moment.  When we are present in this way, it helps us to be less reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. Although it can be helpful to listen to mindfulness exercises while sitting or lying down comfortably - this is not a requirement. Even tuning in while taking a walk or cleaning a room can begin a practice of paying attention in a different way. When we are mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others well- being.  Practicing mindfulness is a way to “drop anchor,” grounding and steadying yourself in difficult situations.

View this week's Mindful Moments video by Shalini Roy.

Reflecting on "Sonder" Jacqueline Bengtson

It is no doubt that this past week has brought great stress and uncertainty during such a historical election. The emotions that you have been grappling with are valid and honored as real. Challenging emotions, however, can grow heavy on the heart. While the world may seem so divided, it is important to reflect upon how all beings are alike.

This week, I encourage you to reflect on the word “Sonder.” From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, it is a noun that refers to the “realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.” To lift the weight that can burden our hearts, I encourage you to become fully aware of those around you; try to say hello to everyone you meet. While it may be hard to smile with your mask on, don’t be afraid to wave to a passerby, hold the door for a stranger, or reach out to a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Despite our differences, we are all connected, as everyone is trying to navigate this crazy, beautiful, troubling, and fascinating world. In this way, we can cultivate compassion for our friends, family, a passerby, and even those who challenge us.

View this week's Mindful Moments video by Jacqueline Bengtson. 

Noticing Small Things Mattea Garcia

We are faced with great uncertainty and stress and it can be all too easy to collapse into our tvs and phones, barely lifting our gaze or our hearts to what is around us. We scroll mindlessly or we binge a show and before we know it another day is over. There is nothing wrong with these activities; in fact, they might even be necessary sometimes. Without guilt or judgment, ask yourself how you feel at the end of your days. What is serving you? And what isn't.

This week, to help you reconnect with the world around you, I encourage you to notice the beauty around you. Notice even the smallest things. A bright blue sky. Your closest friend's laugh. The strength of your own body as it carries you through the day. The sound of birds in the morning. The warmth of your blanket in bed. Each day this week, center your attention, for just a moment, on the joy and beauty that can be found in the everyday things. It doesn't take long before you start to notice more or longer. I encourage you to try it right now. Treat yourself to a mindful moment in this very one. Please check out Dr. Garcia's video on mindfulness.

View this week's Mindful Moments video by Mattea Garcia.

The Kindness of Thaddeus Seymour Grant Cornwell

Though not the tallest president in the history of Rollins College, Thaddeus Seymour’s stature, beaming smile and theatrical voice could be heard all over the campus. He was a man of the community, happiest when he was visiting with students, giving an occasion magic trick, eagerly cheering on an athletic competition, and of course, in the classroom encouraging students in a life-long journey with poetry, his favorite subject. Thad loved the beauty of the Rollins Campus, so much so that he was known to reward students for being good stewards of the campus with a silver dollar, one of several he carried in his pocket for just such a purpose. As you seek for a way to honor Thad’s memory on this one-year anniversary of his passing, consider doing what Thad would do: be kind, be encouraging, keep the campus beautiful and show gratitude for being in this special community.

View this week's Mindful Moments videos by Grant Cornwell and Peg Cornwell.

Setting Out on a Mindful Labyrinth Walk The Labyrinth Project

Walking the labyrinth as a reflective practice is a perfect metaphor for our journey through these present times. If you take a moment to visually follow the labyrinth’s intricate design, you may initially perceive that the path seems incredibly random. But look longer. Yes, there are twists and turns, blind curves followed by relatively straight stretches, then more twists and turns, but there are no choices (unlike a maze) and no decisions to make. There is one path to follow - and it leads to the center and back out.

Take a few moments to gaze at the labyrinth path above. Reflect on a question or intention that comes to mind as you continue to navigate through the academic year. When you have this question or intention in mind, place your finger the entrance to the labyrinth path. Pause for a moment and allow this question to or intention to guide your finger, a pencil, or your eyes as trace the path to the center and back. (You will find a larger PDF copy of this labyrinth pattern attached to this email.) Listen for the ideas, thoughts, and feelings which may emerge or arise for you as go into the center and back out. Take as much time as you want or need.

When you complete your walk, you may want to write or journal about your experience with this question or intention and where it took you as you walked. These may be seeds for further meditation, writing, or another labyrinth walk.