Passions & Pursuits

Mindfulness and Presence with Lena Franklin

How would you describe a ‘Mindfulness Lifestyle?’

Lena Franklin: A mindfulness lifestyle is about embracing your whole life as a meditation. From the moment your eyes flutter open in the morning, you set the intention of being non-judgmentally present to each experience in your life, no matter how challenging. When we align with the intention of mindfulness, we practice what I call "slow doing" rather than continuing to perpetuate the frenetic pace of daily life. We can be productive and have full schedules without allowing our inner rhythms and thoughts to fuel stress. Each morning, I take some time for stillness and silence. Typically, I read a book passage and go into a 20-minute meditation to align for my day ahead. Using the power of our intention, we can align with the energy of peace and presence before jumping into emails, texts and other tasks that require our attention. When we sit down to a meal, there's an opportunity to connect with the sun, rain, earth and the farmers who helped to bring this meal into existence for us. Mindfulness is about being devoted to cultivating gratitude, love and a sense of interdependence for the manifest Universe around us. Choosing to live a Mindfulness Lifestyle is choosing to live fully and deeply.

Your special event is entitled, ‘Inviting Presence.’ How would you describe a mindful presence?

LF: Mindful presence is cultivating a mind that can attend to the present moment experience, intentionally and without judgment. Mindful Presence is a practice of training our mind to embrace the gifts of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch because we experience our magnificent world through the senses. When we intentionally rest our awareness on the present moment, our nervous system automatically shifts into parasympathetic dominance (a state of rest and relaxation), releasing chronic stress and opening our sense of heart-centric connection with the world around us. Presence is our true nature as human beings, it's just that through stress and busyness, we become perpetually forgetful of the truth of our inner power and light. This event invites you to step into Mindful Presence through various meditations, other ancient Eastern healing practices and time being immersed in nature. The presence you tap into during this event will allow you to live with deeper meaning, increased joy and expansive resilience.

What inspired you to seek this as a career, and how did you become a Mindful Healer?

LF: As a child, I was innately compassionate, and growing up in a hybrid Buddhist/Christian home was the birthplace for learning the lessons of acceptance, altruism and mindfulness. Whether it was meditating at my family's home altar with ancestral pictures and incense wafting, traveling with my mom to her homeland of Vietnam or going with my psychologist father to church on Sunday, I was gifted the spiritual intentions of helping other humans through service. I always knew that serving humanity was a huge part of my calling but I didn't necessarily know what that would look like.

I ended up earning a scholarship to play soccer at the University of Georgia and then went on to earn my Masters of Social Work at UGA as well. During grad school, my mother died of a sudden stroke, propelling me onto the path of my own inner healing. The lessons of mindfulness and meditation that she taught me years ago became the inner refuge I needed to come back home to the essence of myself. Beyond the pain of grief, I found that my meditation practice allowed me to befriend my suffering, using it as spiritual serum for personal growth and awakening – because, as humans, none of us are exempt from pain. As I began starting my psychotherapy practice, it became clear that I wanted to offer ways for clients to heal beyond traditional talk therapy because I knew the truth, that healing happens through the body. My passion was ignited, and I began teaching international mindfulness retreats and workshops while seeing clients individually. The term Mindful Healer is not just a reflection of my role, but it's the truth that exists within each one of us. Through the Art of Presence, we can excavate our own Mindful Healer from within, stepping into lives overflowing with joy, abundance and meaning beyond our wildest dreams.

This is your first event to host at Blackberry Farm. How excited are you to host Inviting Presence at the Farm?

LF: I'm beyond ecstatic to be hosting my first event at Blackberry Farm! I believe that environments are external representations of our inner life. The first time I visited Blackberry Farm, I felt an electric energy pulsing through my body. From the stunning land to the wellness focus to the incredible culinary intention, Blackberry Farm is a true embodiment of mindful living. Each sight, smell, sound and taste is an invitation for you to indulge your senses in history, connection to nature and a deep love for living. When we practice the Art of Presence in a place like Blackberry Farm, we enhance our healing capacity and awaken our spirit to a life of abundance. I'm grateful to be holding sacred space for an amazing group to experience Inviting Presence in January.

How do you hope this event impacts Blackberry Farm guests and their lifestyle?

LF: After experiencing Inviting Presence, Blackberry Farm guests will return home with specific meditative and mindfulness practices that will help them manifest their deepest intentions for living, throughout 2019 and beyond! During our time together, guests will receive a newfound understanding of their innate power of presence from within and easy-to-implement ways to cultivate presence in day-to-day life. Many of the mindfulness practices will be lifestyle-based practices that can easily integrate into current routines. Most of all, the interconnectedness that guests will experience will inevitably leave them changed, enhancing their healing, wellness and motivation for mindful living.

Book now and join us for Inviting Presence.

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