The Mindful Enthusiast pages are designed to curate resources regarding elements of mindfulness from the far reaches of the internet.  Each page will include some of my reflections on meditation and evaluation, as well as some reading suggestions and activities to help get folks started.  The plan is to have these pages grow and evolve – like a meditation practice itself.

Clarity is probably the biggest struggle for me.  U.S. cultural glorifies busyness and validates the “I have so much to do” orientation to life.  So meditating and implementing practices for clarity felt very counterintuitive for me at first (and, honestly, sometimes it still feels indulgent or guilt-ridden).  Thinking about one thing?  Feels like a waste of precious multitasking time!  But I found in the moments I could release everything else, what I focused on flourished.    

Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.
Jon Kabat-Zinn

How has this helped me as an evaluator and researcher?

Not to get too “meta” but, for me, clarity in life brings clarity in practice.  In other words, building my skills in awareness and focus in general have strengthened my ability to craft program goals, develop thoughtful questions and measures, and think creatively about evaluation design.  It’s also helped me in facilitating meaningful conversations with community partners and clients in regards to their evaluation process.  

What can be done to cultivate clarity?

Asking questions and giving myself the space to “think out loud” has helped me strengthen my clarity muscle.  I usually start with, “What’s my/the goal?” and that helps me zero in on priorities and extraneous concerns.  Mediation has helped me quiet or rise above the chaos of multi-tasking to the true purpose of the work.  

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.
 – Vincent Van Gogh

Great blogs and online resources:

  • While “Clear space, clear mind” and “bare desk, bright work” may not be well-known idioms, I know they’ve improved my energy and mood at work and at home.  
  • Elephant Journal offers some ways to find clarity using the five energies.
  • Tiny Buddha has a number of great posts on clarity, but I love exploring the 10 ways they offer to boost clarity and balance. #gratitudejournal