Interview: Danielle Kirk, Wellbeing Magazine Deputy Editor
1. What led you to meditation?
I’m a thinker and a worrier. My mind is always going at full speed and I find it hard to switch off. When I was younger, I experienced a couple of episodes of depression — I had some very negative beliefs and thoughts about myself and the state of the world, and I just couldn’t get a balanced perspective. A friend introduced me to meditation in my early 20s, when I was volunteering on the Thai-Burma border, so I gave it a shot. I found it helped me find peace through focusing on the present moment, and also gave me some distance from my thoughts so I could look at them objectively and assess their merits.
2. What value has practising meditation brought to your life?
Meditation allows my brain to get some R&R! It brings me into the present moment and gives me distance from my thoughts so that I can focus on one thing at a time. I’ve also started to think about my life values every morning, and that’s helping me to live more authentically.
3. How has meditation supported you in your professional life?
I’ve found meditation to be a great way of managing stress and it also helps me to focus. If I feel my shoulders going up around my ears or get a little angry about something, I try to take five minutes to focus on my breath. It’s just five minutes, but it boosts my energy a bit, calms me down and helps me to work more effectively.
4.What are the biggest obstacles to your practice?
I tend to make the excuse that I lack time. Yes, I do have a lengthy commute and work long hours, and like to exercise or catch up with friends in my spare time, but my main obstacle is my mind. I find it hard to sit still and to turn my mind inward, so my mind makes up excuses for me not to meditate! When I make a habit of meditating though, even for just 10 minutes a day, I don’t have a problem fitting it in.
5.What is a quote that most inspires you and why?
I like the John Lennon line, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” It gives me goosebumps, because it reminds me how important it is to live fully in the present, and not put life on hold. I also think it applies to meditation because when you meditate you’re concentrating on each moment and living it intensely. You then carry that mindfulness with you afterward and can focus more fully on your life and what you’re doing with it.
6.What is a book that has opened you to new ideas and inspired your growth, why?
A friend loaned me the Louise L Hay book You Can Heal Your Life when I was at uni, and her ideas about the power of the mind have stuck with me.
7.What Mindful Music do you listen to (ie. music that grabs your full attention and brings you into the moment.)
Classical music, opera or anything by The XX. Music really helps to calm me down, and I love to listen to a bit of classical on the train to and from work.
Wanna be more like Danielle Kirk? Click here to find out more about Mindful In May and how you can get involved.
"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."
- DR ELISE BIALYLEW
about the HOST AND FOUNDER OF
MINDFUL IN MAY:
DR ELISE BIALYLEW
Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.
A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.
Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.
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