Week 8: The End!

by mandy lipka

To open our final class we started with a short silence a little standing yoga and then moved into a body scan. From there, we did a 20-min silent sitting meditation. And then A opened the floor for reactions about our last week of practice or how we were feeling today. She does a great job of keeping us at bay when we want to be talking about the “big stuff.”

Several of us shared how we literally take our practice with us — on the train, to the doctor for a long appointment, in the car. Others said they find solace in the idea of always being able to begin again (myself included). Some folks mentioned it’s much easier to integrate into their daily lives when they take 2-3 minutes to meditate a few times per day. And then others said being in the classroom feels like being at home. Those who attended other classrooms said they don’t have the same warmth or connectivity that we do and it comes as a concern. Will it still feel like home when we leave?

A moved us on to a guided reflection before we filled out our end-of-program forms. Once we finished, we got to take a look at our mid-course forms to compare. The difference was pretty surprising. For me, many of the symptoms I had been feeling disappeared. I’m now nearly symptom-less. In the beginning of class, I expressed a whole lot more judgment toward myself and that too melted away. I’m much more compassionate toward myself and others now. It feels great. Another test revealed that I was previously much more nervous and stressed, feeling like at times things were getting out of control, or that I was less on top of things. Now, I’m more secure, relaxed and present.

We moved into pairs and discussed our results and what we expect to do with this practice in the future. My surprising results motivate me to keep it going, without judgment, in whatever capacity works for my life. And I definitely look forward to attending future all-day retreats.

From here, we went around the room telling the group why we would miss the class, what we learned and how we expect to move forward. We all laughed, cried and shared some very touching moments I will never forget. Each and every one of the students in the class is like a star in my mindfulness sky. Something to admire.

And so I end with sharing my three goals for starting the course to keep them in mind as I move forward on my own:

  1. Fortify work I’ve been doing (particularly in the last three years) with formal training
  2. Enjoy the journey toward what hopefully will form a new career
  3. Learn from others and myself — help myself to help others

Photo courtesy of: Tom Jolliffe

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