A Poem Inspired by the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

(Image credit: WorldLifestyle.com)

Today, I would like to share a poem I wrote. It was inspired by the practice of mindfulness, which has helped me cope with depression and anxiety.

I first learned how to be mindful in an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class taught by my husband's aunt, Carol Hendershot, co-founder of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness.

Some of the most helpful techniques I learned from Carol's class included deep breathing, mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful listening, mindful yoga and mindfulness in meditation

The first practice Carol taught us was called the body scan. Lie down on your back and let your mind drift over your whole body, noticing every part of it. We used a CD recording to help guide us through this practice. 

The body scan put me in touch with the areas in which I carry tension; it taught my mind to be attuned to what my body is feeling and doing (or not doing).

This poem is largely based on the body scan, but also includes aspects of other practices we learned in Carol's class.

Meditations on Mindfulness
By Rachel E. Watson

I meditate.
I scan my body,
noticing everything.

My left great toe, my right great toe,
my ankles and joints,
my parts great and small,
the sections that make me whole.

The winter in my heart,
the spring in my brain,
the fall in the pit of my stomach,
when I heard your life-changing news.
The summer I felt when last
we were together.

In noticing myself, I’m here to observe,
not to judge or to blame.
But the factual truth about noticing,
is noticing won’t let me go.

In the rhythm of my breath,
the rise and fall of my chest,
I find new marching orders.

I reach inside and seize my plough,
ripping up those old, worn cow-paths
and seeding the ground
with vibrant perennials.

A garden I sow
in the earth of my mind—
all because of this little thing
called noticing.


The Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness was founded by Carol Hendershot and April Hadley, two longtime local yoga and mindfulness instructors. 

GRCFM teaches mindfulness techniques based on the work of John Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn's work established a scientific basis for using mindfulness techniques to manage chronic pain, reduce stress and promote whole-body wellness.

Free Information/Orientation Sessions for MBSR Classes

The GRCFM's next Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses begin the week of June 8. GRCFM will offer several free orientation sessions to acquaint participants with the specifics of the eight-week course, including rates and scholarship opportunities.

When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 25 and June 1
Where: Holistic Care Approach
, 3368 East Beltline Ct. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

When: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 27 and June 3 

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 28 and June 4 
Where: Energy Touch Center
, 1331 Lake Drive SE, Suite 100, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Note: I was not paid to write this article; I am not in any way affiliated with GRCFM besides the fact that Carol is my aunt. We took her class and fell in love with mindfulness, and that's why I write. Give it a try! It works. 

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Lucy Mitchell said...

Good topic! I started doing some mindfulness meditation at the start of the year and I should go back as it really cleared my brain out. Your post is going to fire me up and dig out my meditation book - thx

Rachel E. Watson said...

Cool! I sort of am at the point where I use it as an anti-anxiety drug on an as-needed basis, lol. Restorative yoga and deep breathing especially, but I also try to eat lunch mindfully and do a lot of paying attention to how my body feels throughout the day. I think the great thing about mindfulness is it's always there when you need it; you don't even have to be a regular practitioner for it to be beneficial.

Anonymous said...

I heard about this. And thanks to YOU, I am going to the intro session tomorrow morning!!
~Mary Dean

Rachel E. Watson said...

Awesome, Mary; I'm so pleased to hear that! Feel free to come back to this thread afterward and tell me what you thought of it. I'd love to hear your reaction.