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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
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Mindfulness and the LGBT Experience
Recently, the practice of mindfulness meditation has become a major focus of integrative health and holistic practice. This practice, which psychologists agree can help overcome suffering, reduce stress, and tap into natural wisdom, focuses on increasing awareness of the current moment and assessing the practitioner’s current mental, physical, and spiritual state. Mindfulness meditation focuses on being present, paying precise attention to the mental and physical sensations experienced by simply sitting and breathing while allowing thoughts to flow.
What does this have to do with the LGBT experience? According to many practitioners, quite a lot: while some meditation has focused primarily on healing the trauma experienced by many members of the LGBT community, a more recent idea is that mindfulness can help form a stronger identity by connecting LGBT practitioners with internal truths about themselves, their experiences, and their current concerns.
#Mindfulness #meditation can overcome suffering, reduce stress, & tap into natural wisdom. Click To Tweet
Finding Clarity through Mindfulness
For many members of the LGBT community, the idea that a person is rigidly defined by their sexual identity can be a source of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty: who wants to be defined by just one aspect of their life? By practicing mindfulness meditation, members of the LGBT community can move beyond this idea and towards considering how many parts of their lives interact. This doesn’t mean setting aside LGBT identity, but instead thinking about how that identity interacts with other aspects of life:
- Spirituality – Mindfulness meditation can help to find the connections between spiritual and sexual identity: by allowing thoughts to freely flow while meditating, practitioners gain a better understanding of their own thought processes and connections between parts of their lives.
- Clarity – Through mindfulness meditation, reflecting on the past can help bring clarity to a current moment: for example, an LGBT practitioner might consider how they overcame an earlier obstacle, and how they can use the lessons from that experience to deal with a current stressful situation.
- Connection – For practitioners who feel like their sexual orientation is keeping them from connecting to other people, mindfulness can be an excellent way to consider shared experiences and experiencing a moment together.
Mindfulness #meditation, reflecting on the past can help bring clarity to a current moment. Click To Tweet
Mindfulness meditation’s focus on compassion and empathy can also have many benefits for LGBT practitioners, including greater clarity when it comes to reconciling self-identity with outside perspectives and navigating the world as an LGBT individual.
Using Mindfulness to Get Out of “Autopilot”
We’ve all had one of those days: get up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat, watch television, fall asleep so you can do it all again the next day. That feeling of “going through the motions,” being busy without being engaged with anything you’re doing, is an easy trap to fall into, but mindfulness can help refocus and re-energize to avoid feeling like you’re on autopilot.
Because mindfulness meditation focuses on the current moment, many practitioners view the act of meditating as a way to ground themselves and focus on living life, rather than letting whole days pass by without pausing to take in what’s going on.
Opportunities for Mindfulness
If you’re interested in integrating mindfulness practice into your life, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to learn how to practice. Many gyms and community centers have begun to introduce meditation sessions into their regular offerings, and in some cases, these sessions even focus on integrating the LGBT experience into mindfulness meditation.
- Local Groups – Local groups are an excellent way for beginners to learn the basics of mindfulness meditation and meet like-minded practitioners. Some groups, like Los Angeles’ Queer Mindfulness and Akron, Ohio’s OutBreath, specifically focus on the LGBT community.
- Retreats – For practitioners who want to experience mindfulness in a more focused setting, retreats like those offered by the Garrison Institute can provide opportunities for intensive meditation. In April 2015, the institute will host an LGBT-focused weekend retreat called “Waking Up Free, Whole, and Fabulous.”
- Self Practice – You don’t necessarily need a group to practice mindfulness meditation, and many people prefer to practice on their own. There are many resources available for beginners to integrate mindfulness practice into their daily lives, including apps that will guide you through the process.
Some sessions even focus on integrating the #LGBT experience into #MindfulnessMeditation. Click To Tweet
With so many options for practicing mindfulness, beginning practitioners can try meditating in a variety of settings to find what works for them, and LGBT practitioners have options for finding a group that considers their sexual identity when considering how to be present in the current moment.
Mindfulness as an Aspect of LGBT Healthcare
Mindfulness meditation is now a major aspect of integrative health, and more healthcare providers are recommending the practice for patients dealing with chronic pain, along with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Since LGBT individuals tend to have higher rates of depression than the general population, along with greater instances of chronic pain due to the long-term effects of HIV, it’s easy to see how mindfulness can have a huge impact on quality of life for LGBT patients.
Have you tried mindfulness meditation? How has the practice enriched your life? We’d love to hear from you about how mindfulness affects your life and self-identity!