What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about getting Centered in Seconds®. We often go through our lives on autopilot, running from one thing to the next not really being conscious of how we are feeling, where our thoughts are, and whether or not we really need to be doing all we’re doing. Oftentimes this leaves us exhausted because we may be overdoing it – overthinking things we really don’t need to be thinking about and doing things we might really not need to do.
Mindfulness is becoming aware of the present moment. The awareness of the present moment connects your “monkey mind” or “spinning thoughts” to your body and your experience in each moment. This awareness allows you to be aware of and to choose how you want to think, feel, and act in that moment.
Mindfulness allows you to be aware of where you expend your energy (and choose where you want your energy to go!) instead of mindlessly being on autopilot and feeling exhausted.
Mindfulness is true empowerment.
Why become Mindful?
If you struggle with stress, anxiety, irritability, anger, spinning thoughts, trouble sleeping, and dealing with difficult people then mindfulness can be very helpful. Mindfulness involved “letting go” of things you can’t control (as well as not making meaning out of things that don’t warrant meaning.) When you start to let go and become more mindful, you’ll start to feel calmer and at peace in all areas of your life. Doesn’t that sound wonderful!
How does Mindfulness differentiate from Meditation?
Mindfulness is the first and most basic step in meditation, contemplative prayer, and other stillness practices. Becoming more aware of the present moment, striving for a non-judgmental mindset, and creating space for stillness can be very difficult for most people.
The approach we take to mindfulness is very practical, down-to-earth, and easy to use. We strive to make mindfulness accessible to all people, even people who think, “I could never do that!”
The Mindfulness Classes focus more on how the THINK more mindfully so that you can be mindful as you are going about your everyday life. Our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interconnected when we address one, we address them all. When we start with shifting our thinking just 5% we can make a difference in our emotions and behavior as well! And it all happens automatically, without much effort! Super cool!!
Our goal isn’t rigidity or to force anything. We are simply inviting ourselves to pay attention in our everyday lives. The simplest way to start is to begin to notice in each new moment what you are thinking about, how you are feeling, and what you are doing. You are likely already doing this in some form or fashion. Do you notice when the water in the shower is too warm or too cold? Do you notice the taste of a good meal or cup of tea or coffee? Does seeing the sun shining bring a smile to your face or a deep relaxing breath to your body?
We invite you to allow your journey toward a more mindful life to be an organic process. Be flexible and forgiving with yourself. You’re doing your best! Mindfulness is considered a “practice” because it is a gradual process and takes time. A strong, sturdy oak tree doesn’t just appear overnight. It takes time, stillness, sun, water, and nutrients for growth to happen. It doesn’t get mad at itself or want to go faster. It just is where it is in the process of its growth. And so are you!
What if I’m worried that I won’t ever be able to sit still or get my mind to be quiet?
Congratulations! You’re human!
The mind’s job is to wander. With mindfulness, we learn how to pay attention, without judgment to where it wanders to and gently bring it back to where we intended our focus to be.
Be gentle with yourself and the expectations you have for yourself. Often we talk to ourselves very harshly and have very high expectations of ourselves. Guess what, mindfulness invites us to be more compassionate with ourselves (and others). Wouldn’t that be wonderful?! Does that seem impossible? It might feel that way at first. As you stick with it you’ll be building new neural pathways and rewiring the brain. Soon enough you’ll see how freeing being more mindful actually is!
The Story Behind The Mindfulness Classes
In 2017, with 16 years of practicing as a highly sought-after therapist in Texas and Kentucky, Megan Bayles Bartley began the journey that has now become The Mindfulness Classes.
Megan first founded the Louisville Mindfulness Center, a group private practice for therapy and mindfulness coaching. She knew she needed to have a group of providers she could confidently refer people to who worked from a similar perspective as she pursued a new dream. This new dream was to expand her unique mindfulness approach globally, developing and offering tools that transcended the “therapy” room that could be helpful to anyone anywhere, making mindfulness and living an optimal life more accessible to more people.
Megan came to mindfulness through yoga and the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh in the late 1990s. As an avid athlete in her youth, she knew her body was capable of hard work but she had never experienced the connection between body, mind, and spirit through sports. Learning yoga in her early 20s allowed her to better understand the mind-body-spirit connection more fully and help her feel more grounded and self-empowered. Thich Nhat Hahn’s writings on practical mindfulness gave Megan tools on how to think and be more mindful in everyday activities as well as her thoughts and feelings without needing to add more to her already busy life.
After receiving a master’s degree in systems theory, she more fully realized the interconnectedness of all things – mind-body-spirit; thinking, feeling, and behavior; energy; and individuals within relationships.
In her 20+ years as a mental health expert, Megan heard clients reporting feeling of being a hamster on a hamster wheel, going, going, going, with no real direction or purpose which lead them to feel stuck. Or, they would report feeling like they were living life like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog’s Day, where every day just felt like the same day lived over and over again.
She listened and responded as her clients asked for tools in their toolbox to live life more purposefully and optimally. These were high achieving, highly successful entrepreneurs, executives, professional athletes, and others in high-profile positions. She realized they didn’t need more to DO and they certainly didn’t need to be harder on themselves. What they really needed was to simplify, get clarity, and stay focused.
Megan began offering simple, easy-to-use, practical tools that make sense and found her clients respond positively and quickly. She calls these tools the Mindfulness Mindset™ and their purpose is to Awaken Your Autopilot™ and perhaps feel calmer and experience more peace in life overall. These tools are more about a way of BEING than of DOING.
Let’s face it, none of us need more to do. These tools help you look at life in new ways. Once you begin learning these tools, you can’t unlearn them. You now see things in new ways that will forever change the way you view life.
Born in Santa Cruz, California, and raised in Seattle, Washington, with extended stints of time in Arizona, Texas, and now Kentucky, Megan Bayles Bartley is at once the girl next door that can handle a basketball like nobody’s business (even though she doesn’t really enjoy competitive sports) and a “sage yoda” (to use the words of a client) that walks with those she helps out of the dark and into the light.
She earned her Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy (MAMFT) from the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and is the Founding Director of the Louisville Mindfulness Center and The Mindfulness Classes – organizations dedicated to teaching people of all ages practical ways to use mindfulness to live life fully and optimally.
Named one of the Best Marriage Counselors in Louisville, Megan offers an out-of-the-box approach that is both radically transformational and insanely practical. Hands-on, judgment-free and eclectic, Megan is widely informed by her ongoing passion for learning which most recently involves Ericksonian Hypnosis, Reiki, and Quantum Physics, and a healthy dose of international travel (she’s made it to 5 continents so far with the last 2 on the calendar!).
Oftentimes this self-proclaimed “recovering perfectionist” and die-hard “optimist realist” serves as a lighthouse, shedding light to those around her who are looking for direction and to move past obstacles in pursuit of optimal performance.
As a painter, entrepreneur, activist, and published author, Megan continually draws on her keen intuition in all that she does, Megan explains: “…when I listen to my gut, which I’m really good at doing, it never fails me.” Future plans include more international travel, laughing with her family, playing with her two puppies, and writing a book.
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