The Interfaith Center of Oxford is holding free Mindful Moment Sessions via Zoom every Friday from 11:45 a.m to 12:00 p.m.
These 15-minute meditation sessions are led by meditation practitioner and Interfaith Center board member, Prince Johnson II. He trained at the Cincinnati Yoga School and serves as a guide for Mindful Moment participants.
“Some students and some faculty and staff are also experiencing some type of loss because of the shutdown,” Johnson said. “In a way, it just kinda serves as a place to … show some kind of support or solidarity with everyone.”
Thus far, The Interfaith Center has hosted two Fridays’ worth 0f Mindful Moments with an average of 15-20 participants per session.
“The first one we did, we only had about three days of promotion,” said the center’s program director, Geneva Blackmer. “I think that speaks to the need ... I think people are looking for something like this.”
Blackmer felt it was important that the center’s board responded directly to the novel coronavirus crisis but also offered people a break.
“When you look at mindfulness moments, we're asking you to come into the space and to be present,” Blackmer said. “Don't be thinking about COVID-19 ... don't be thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, just be present in that moment, in that space, for 15 minutes.”
Terri Messman-Moore is a clinical psychology professor at Miami University with research interests including mindfulness and meditation. In Messman-Moore’s experience, mindfulness does have the ability to increase awareness, which can help people cope.
“Mindfulness and being present … should help with anxiety ... [and] depression because you're not thinking about things that aren't in front of you,” Messman-Moore said.
Although Messman-Moore said the repeated practice of mindfulness and meditation reaps the best results, she does see benefits to these Mindful Moment sessions.
“I think that … especially for people who are new, or maybe … thinking about restarting a practice, it's a great way to jumpstart that,” Messman-Moore said. “If you're looking to just reset yourself, it's always going to be great to do a 15-minute thing.”
Two-time Mindful Moment attendee Rhonda Jackson is an administrative assistant at Miami’s Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion.
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Prior to the move to online classes, Jackson had recently reinvigorated her own practice of mindfulness. Jackson says she feels more relaxed after participating in Mindful Moment sessions.
“[Mindfulness] takes the edge off a lot of the stresses that I think all of us are experiencing in this new higher education learning environment that we're all back navigating right now,” Jackson said.
Jackson has enjoyed both Mindful Moment sessions and says she will continue to attend them.
“The ability to gather in community in this peaceful, mindful, meaningful way can bring joy to your heart,” Jackson said, “when sometimes it feels things feel very heavy as they do right now through COVID-19.”