“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”   — Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Over the past few years,  I have been curious about why some people handle adversities and tragedies in such positive ways often showing remarkable inner strength and resiliency.  Yet others seem to fall apart at the slightest bump in the road and have great difficulty bouncing back.  I was drawn to the book written by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, entitled “Flourish” (A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being). Dr. Seligman is commonly known as the founder of Positive Psychology and has accomplished decades of research at the University of Pennsylvania.    Flourish should be required reading for anyone interested in self-improvement and personal growth.  What intrigued me most was the chapter on turning trauma into growth.

In spite of a very difficult childhood without much love, trust and security, both my brother and I are upbeat, positive people and we view the glass as half full most of the time.  Although we have both faced a lot of adversities in marriages, jobs and tragic losses of loved ones, we are steadfast in optimism, kindness and respectfulness.  Our deceased brother did not possess these traits and lived a troubled, unstable and addictive short life.  What made the difference?

My strong desire for a greater understanding about what makes some people thrive while others get in their own way often thwarting personal happiness lead me to mindfulness.

Turns out that while striving to learn more so I could help others be more positive, I discovered I had a lot of my own personal improvement work to do.

Through mindfulness, I became aware of a lifetime of conditioned responses and buried emotions that often don’t feel very good.  Mindfulness enables me to examine my feelings, my responses and my decisions in a non-judgmental way.  It empowers me to live fully in the moment, create new healthy habits and strengthen my core attributes.

My goal is to share some of my experiences with mindfulness practice in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others .