MemberJune 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm
This is my first post as I just created an account, and still trying tp navigate this 🙂 I actually submitted this writing, but it didn’t get in. Can anyone give me feedback? Thanks! (and if there’s a way to post without coping and pasting, please let me know :)). Thank you!
The Space and Pause of Life
Mindfulness is that buzz word that’s getting increasingly popular in today’s vernacular. It’s a popular form of therapy and is being used by many people. At first, I didn’t like Mindfulness. It required a lot of work which I didn’t like. But, as I learnt more about it, I became very fond of it and appreciated its benefits. So, what is Mindfulness, you ask? Mindfulness is defined as focused attention. It’s simply focusing our attention on the here and now; on the present moment. It’s being present and fully engaged in whatever it is that we’re doing. In other words, the goal of mindfulness is to center oneself and feel grounded.
Among many benefits, Mindfulness has the power to increase our ability to focus and offer us an inner sense of peace. When we mindfully engage in daily activities, we feel a sense of purposefulness and are calm, centered and grounded. Personally, I try to practice it when I need a break and to slow myself down. For instance, I practice it when I’m waiting for my bus to come (and I have nothing better to do other then look at my phone ;). I’ll notice the temperature, the green grass, the cars going by, the design of the houses around me and many more aspects of my surroundings. I find that this brief “vacation” gives me the space that I need. It puts a temporary pause on life and brings me back with a clearer mind. I like to think of it as the pause between the stimulus and response.
Mindfulness also has a place in the Torah. In fact, Mindfulness enhances our ability to live as Torah true Jews. Increased focus allows us to perform Mitzvas at optimum level. For example, I try to slow down and focus when davening Shemona Esrai. I like to understand the meaning behind the words and to simply remind myself Who I’m talking to. Similarly, I try to channel my concentration when reciting Asher Yatzar and thank Hashem that I can say it.
However, with all this said, it’s all too easy to let our mind wander (which it does a lot!) and mentally prepare ourselves for whatever we want to do next. For me, one part of me wants to focus on the activity at hand, and the other part wants to get on with my next activity. Both options leave me feeling frustrated and annoyed. If I know that my task at hand needs my focus, then why is my attention in 10 other places? But that’s precisely the challenge of mindfulness! The good news is that the more we practice and refocus our attention, the better we’ll get at it. As they say, practice makes perfect. (I hear my phone buzzing right now, but I’m practicing what I’m preaching and trying to stay focused;)
MemberJune 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm
What is your target audience?
MemberJune 28, 2020 at 9:18 pm
I don’t know who the people are, but it’s for one of the Jewish publications. They have a section to pen your thoughts and voice your opinion on different matters.
MemberJune 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm
Does anyone have any feedback on this writing? I think it’s written well, but I would like to hear some (gentle) critique.
(I sent it to a publication that has this column where you can air your thoughts about all different things. I was told it’s more of a psychological exercise and therefore not fitting for the column)
I find it so hard to break into the writing field!
MemberJune 29, 2020 at 2:56 pm
By now, this is all part of your life. But as you were learning it, what was the biggest chiddush for you?
MemberJune 29, 2020 at 4:50 pm
Yes, this was all very new when I learnt it, and it’s still hard to practice it. The biggest challenge is just being with the moment, not being on a race and living in and with the moment. Kind of the opposite of wondering where 2 hours just went. Almost like just stopping and being.
I’m still (a little) hopeful that maybe, maybe I can publish this is a big, well-known magazine…
MemberJune 30, 2020 at 6:10 am
I can see from this article that mindfulness is very important to you. I can totally relate to your last paragraph; just the other day when I was watching my kids, my mind was being bombarded by different short story ideas, which left me feeling unfulfilled and frustrated, and I really wanted to learn more about how to live in the moment! I think writing about your experiences with mindfulness can be a big chizuk for others.
That said, I think a way to make this piece powerful would be to write about your personal experience more. Write about the internal struggles you faced, in story form, that lead you to discovering mindfulness and then continue to write, all in story form, the ups and downs as you try to weave mindfulness in your life.
Hatzlacha! Hope you get it in! Your determination is inspiring!
AdministratorJune 30, 2020 at 7:50 am
PassionforWriting, firstly, WELCOME! 🙂 We’re so glad to have you here! You can tell us more about yourself and formally introduce yourself, if you’d like, on this thread: https://masterpiece.rivapomerantz.com/forum/topic/welcome-new-members-please-introduce-yourselves-here/
Mindfulness is an amazing tool, a life-changing practice, and it has become very popular lately, baruch Hashem, although the concept itself is as old as Time. I think it’s wonderful that you have adopted it for yourself and you want to write about your experiences to inspire others to try it. I’m sure the magazines would like to publish more on this topic so you’re choosing a very good niche.
I think Elisheva’s advice is great. Nothing pulls a reader in like a personal account, and if it’s too personal for you, try publishing under a pen name; you’ll still build a reputation with the magazine because they’ll know your real name when they pay you ;-). A real-life account can free up the writing style of a piece, making it flow and making it come alive. Often, it’s actually much easier for a writer to pull off a narrative piece than to build an article, so you may find that rewriting it with that in mind just kind of flows out of you effortlessly!
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 7:00 am
I think that mindfulness is a lot like the idea in writing called “show don’t tell.”
For example, I could say, “Chani ate an apple.” or I could say, “Chani opened the refrigerator door, shuffled through the fruit drawer, passing the nectarines, the plums and the mangos. The apple, cool to her touch was green, with a tinge of red and yellow. She sliced it, arranged it into a star shape, because aesthetics are important to her. Standing at the kitchen counter, she made a blessing and took a bite. The sweet tangy juice……”
My point is that in editing this really important article, I would try to make the article incorporate the practice of mindfulness in the words. Grounding yourself in the experience of the words.
AdministratorJuly 6, 2020 at 8:54 am
This is a great tip, Baila! So vivid! Thank you for taking the time to share this.
PassionforWriting, if you decide to rewrite your piece based on all the feedback you’ve received here, we’d love to see it! 🙂
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 3:36 pm
Welcome! Since you recently joined this amazing online community, you missed last month’s event with Shiffy Friedman, editor of Wellspring Magazine. This sounds like something that would interest her. She can be reached at Shiffy@wellspringmagazine.
Hope you get in. It’s a great article and I agree that a personal story or two would enhance it. Good luck!
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 4:50 pm
Hi Riva!! Thanks so much for your warm welcome 🙂
Yes, mindfulness really helps keep me grounded. I will admit that it’s very hard to do, but when I do it and tell myself to stop and slow down, I feel SO much better. It feels so good to slow down and “untangle” myself from a whirlwind of activities. I don’t mind adding/changing it around and adding more (personal) details, but I think I added some, no? I guess I should add more?
And I love Shiffy!! She send out amazing emails on emotional wellbeing which I love, and her magazine! I’m going to run this by her. Thank you for that idea, Springbird!
Baila, good suggestion. Just wondering how to realistically incorporate that since telling is more of my style, lol 😉
MemberJuly 7, 2020 at 7:26 pm
Some writing mentors said that I should give personal examples, but I think I did. Do they mean that I should give more examples?
MemberJuly 7, 2020 at 8:24 pm
I think the examples should be deeper and more vivid — like “show don’t tell” Baila mentioned.
Try to make it more of an experience, a story. Bring me into your world. Show me the power of mindfulness…
I’m standing at the bus stop. All around, cars whizz past — minivans, cars, SUVs — streaks of black, gray, white, and the lone roaring mustang.
I inhale the crisp morning air, feel the sunshine on my cheeks. Its warmth spreads through my bones even as a drifting cloud momentarily hides the sun.
A bee buzzes past. I watch it settle on a cheerful bed of tulips, and notice the drips of dew still glistening on the petals.
A motor’s rumble sounds from the corner. The bus comes to a halt. I get on, my breathing calmer, my mind clearer.
Then you can go to telling:
“I find that this brief “vacation” gives me the space that I need. It puts a temporary pause on life and brings me back with a clearer mind…”
🙂 hope this was helpful…
MemberJuly 7, 2020 at 8:34 pm
Thank you! That’s a great suggestion and I think I have a few examples 🙂
The thing is, should I resubmit it to the same magazine it was rejected by once I change it around?
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