I asked myself this recently while traveling in the Sierras. Perched high on majestic slabs of granite overlooking Kirkwood Lake, I couldn't understand why I was still agitated, exhausted and not able to really see the beauty before me. To really drink it in. It just seemed flat, but I didn't know why. Why?
Having Greta, my dog, has brought a lot of joy and connection to my life, but it's also brought a lot of extra tasks and focused attention needed to train and care for her. My life was a lot different when I had Shyla, and, since I got her when she was just a pup, the training happened over many years. The learning curve with Greta has been huge, particularly because she is a rescue and I don't know her history, she has occasional other dog aggression and separation anxiety issues. It has been intense and I don't seem to recognize how much so until we're apart from each other, where I can breathe a bit without having to attend to her.
As I settled into the space and into the inquiry, "What WOULD make this moment sacred?" I began to feel my body actually present on the granite--the hard, rough and rugged texture, the coolness permeating my bottom, the soft, cool breeze sweeping past my skin. The stillness and distant sounds of wind threading through pine needles evoked a familiar sense. I had lived in Tahoe for five years in my early twenties and it was where I discovered my favorite smell (warm pine pitch) and sound (wind wending through conifers).
As the stillness settled in, Greta still sniffing around and familiarizing herself with the territory, my senses heightened and my body began to feel rested--a deep breath released tension in the chest and within minutes it felt like I had taken a nap.
And then it hit me...
With the next iteration of my work emerging, there arises a need for a new way of presenting it. Welcome to the new site and the new blog space. (If you are interested in viewing previous blog posts that arose from my first book, Companioning the Sacred Journey: A Guide to Creating a Compassionate Container for Your Spiritual Practice, you can access that blog HERE.)
My work with compassion-based mindfulness is springing forth from the personal journey I took a few years back when my canine companion, Shyla, transitioned out of her four-legged body. That journey as propelled me on a journey of compassion, mindfulness, joy and now service.
Today, in the next tier up the spiral, my work is grounded in evidence-based scientific discovery of the power of mindfulness and compassion in individual lives. From reducing stress and stress-related illnesses, helping with depression and anxiety, allowing for more freedom of choice, clarity and emotional ease, compassion-based mindfulness is a powerful change agent.
It has also prompted me to change my mission--I am now dedicated to helping bring more mindfulness and compassion to everyday life through my work as a mindfulness teacher, life coach and consultant.
Stay tuned for more posts from my forthcoming book, Compassion-based Mindfulness for Peace, Clarity and Freedom. And, may you find the presence, spaciousness and clarity that comes from living a mindful and compassionate life.
JoAnn Saccato, MA is a mindfulness teacher, author, life coach, educator, and consultant in Northern California. She is author of Companioning the Sacred Journey and Mindful and Intentional Living: A Path to Peace, Clarity and Freedom