I’ve read about and met some amazing people, some who have visited exotic lands to spend years meditating in monasteries, others who go on 2-week and even 3-month retreats every year to cultivate their powers of mindfulness, concentration and compassion. I think they’re awesome examples for us all. But my practice is a little different.
My name is Mike Kimball. I’m a full-time parent, spouse, and employee perpetually trying to juggle the demands of my professional and personal worlds. For years I strove, and often failed, to live up to real and imagined expectations – my own and everyone else’s. It took me more decades than I want to admit (to myself or you!) to realize that I had gotten it all wrong from the very beginning. Expecting happiness and peace of mind to happen while dwelling on the past or fantasizing about a future is a dead-end street. I know it’s a cliché, but, truthfully, all we really have is the present moment. And although it often doesn’t seem so, we have a choice whether to squander the moment on rumination and distraction or deeply experience and share it with others.
So, I am now a dedicated mindfulness practitioner and a certified Koru Mindfulness trainer. In addition to Koru’s teacher certification program, I have completed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program offered by the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society as well as residential and non-residential meditation retreats. I am a member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and a member of the organizing committee for the Rocky Mountain Regional Dialogues on Mindfulness in Higher Education.
I also happen to be an anthropologist whose research and scholarship include mindfulness. For example, I co-founded the “Roots Project,” a partnership with a refugee resource center, local history museum, and college and high school students aimed at fostering refugee integration by “being present with the past.” I have also written a forthcoming book entitled Ethnowise: Embracing Culture Shock to Build Resilience, Responsiveness & Connection. In our rapidly changing and globalizing world, I think these skills are more needed than ever!