At the end of a dirt path hidden on an ordinary street in Millwood there is a stretch of sand that leads to a small private lake. Every few weeks throughout the summer months this becomes the location where a group of mindful moms take their meditation practice outdoors. The beach is quaint, the lake reflects the trees, sky and clouds; the sun shimmers and sparkles over the surface of the water. It is the ideal setting to bask in the present moment.
Jodi Baretz, a mindfulness-based psychotherapist and holistic health coach, and author of the Amazon best-selling book Mindful is the New Skinny, has made it her life’s work to help people maximize joy through meditation and other mindfulness techniques. For almost a decade, she has worked to help clients with stress, food issues and relationship problems so they can feel and look their best. She offers individual therapy and coaching through The Center for Health and Healing in Mt Kisco and has pioneered several successful mindful mom’s programs, including her new program: “Club Mindful – A Gym for the Mind”. Baretz developed the summer lake meditation series several years ago and it has grown to become a highlight on the calendars within the local mindfulness community.
“There are so many benefits to practicing mindfulness. I have become a better partner, mother and friend. I have always found water to be so calming so the lake meditations have been a wonderful addition to my mindfulness practice.” says mindful mom, Tamara Leopold from Armonk.
Inspired by the beauty and peacefulness of the private lake as well as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) founder Jon Kabat-Zinn’s well-known lake meditation, Baretz facilitates her outdoor meditation program surrounded by nature’s beauty. All that is needed to participate is a towel, a bottle of water and the desire to destress. Sitting on the lake’s beach with legs crossed, eyes closed the sunshine can be soaked up. The winter is long and opportunities like this are rare and valuable.
The image of the lake evokes peace and tranquility. We are reminded that there is something larger than ourselves which allows us to find humility in the grand beauty of nature. Zinn’s meditation offers an awareness of what the lake can teach us symbolically; “carrying a vast reservoir of mindfulness within your heart, we can be the lake in silence.”
Baretz has been known to incorporate a variety of meditations into her lake series. Sometimes there is a walking meditation or a body scan meditation. She often reads inspirational parables that encourage the mindfulness practices of living in the present, practicing non-judgment, compassion and gratitude. Regardless of what form the experience takes it is a relaxing way to spend an hour doing something most people don’t get enough of. It is a time to restore and appreciate the beauty and goodness of life.
Baretz feels that “meditation takes on a whole new level when you’re outside in nature. You are able to immerse yourself and pay attention to the beauty that you normally miss by being busy.”
More information on the lake meditation series and other mindfulness programs can be found at jodibaretz.com