Using Mindfulness as a Tool for Effecting Change

Added June 4, 2020

The #GrinnelliansTakePause team met this week and asked ourselves what it means to take pause in this moment, to turn toward rather than turn away. This group was initially started to help people cope with and process a pandemic. The pandemic once again put a spotlight on the longstanding, glaring health inequities across race and ethnicity in this country. The violent deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Tony McDade in Florida, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia have come tragically in the midst of this global crisis that disproportionately affects people of color, and particularly African-American communities in the United States. The health and well-being of our communities are incumbent on us addressing the issue of systemic racism.

The President of the College has written a letter to the community, both sharing his own experience of this moment and committing to ongoing efforts by the College to address issues of equity and inclusion. We, too, see the need for action and reflection in this time, and subsequently have gathered materials on using moments of pause as a tool for effecting change.

It is important to note that being mindful doesn’t mean clearing your head. It is about sitting with what is going on in your head and your heart, whatever that may be. Additionally, being mindful doesn't mean passive acceptance. Mindfulness allows us the opportunity to distill down and "hear" what is important to us, and to sit with discomfort, so we can work to make a difference both internally and externally. Below are a few resources that you may find helpful during this time.

  • Addressing difficult topics such as racism and inequality can be emotionally exhausting. Find your balance to be able be stay in it for the long haul. These Resources for Black Healing” are specifically geared toward health and well-being for Black Americans and includes some content that may be useful to allies as well. For more general self-care strategies using pause, you can find a range of activities here on our page.
  • Here is an exercise for dealing with difficult emotions through meditation. Additionally, yoga teacher Michelle Johnson offers how she uses yoga as a practice for learning to sit with discomfort, particularly in the context of oppressive systems. Please note that the article contains descriptive references to police violence that may be triggering for some.
  • This article featuring renowned meditation instructor and law professor, Rhonda Magee, addresses how we can use mindfulness-based awareness and compassion to do our own inner work to fight racism.

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.