We use the term restorative practices, rather than self-care or self-healing, because we wish to emphasize that restoration of wholeness and wellbeing happens not only at the individual level but must include community and nature. This conceptualization accords with definitions of restorative justice, which are restorative practices within community. Although the approach is trauma-informed, we choose to focus on an empowerment model of what is right with us, rather than what is wrong, noting that western mental health practice does not even have diagnostic categories for social trauma yet.
self, others, and the living world
Applied Mindfulness is dedicated to helping individuals and communities tap into their innate resources of resilience and wellbeing through the developing mindful awareness focused on ourselves, through relationships, and in communion with the living world. We observe that mainstream modern western society is experiencing an absence of meaning and wellbeing that manifests itself through unprecedented levels of normalized stress, illness both physical and emotional, existential loss of meaning, interpersonal alienation, and ecological crisis. Humans are more technologically connected than ever, yet the very foundations of the modern western worldview have emerged from disconnection.
illusion of separation
This is separation of the mind and body, separation from each other through dominance and oppression and othering, separation from nature through materialism and extractive economics. This disconnection is infused into the core structures of modern western epistemology and ontology- how we understand ourselves, each other, and our place in the universe. This disconnection is killing us everyday. We believe that the path towards healing and thriving requires cultivation of connection- to ourselves, each other, and the living world.
Traditional and indigenous societies have culturally-relevant bodies of restorative practices, so that when due to threat, stress, or trauma people get disconnected from themselves, eachother, and their environment, they have practices to come back into safety and connection. Modern western culture doesn’t even have a conceptual category for these practices, let alone an awareness of the need for them.
stimulation over connection
Yet in their absence, modern people are moving ever-further in the direction of stimulation and dissociation instead of connection. Yet since we know, neuro-physiologically, that the stress response just happens, and the antidotes to it must be cultivated, this means that our culture is caught in a self-reinforcing cycle moving it further and further into normalized threat states. Our work at Applied Mindfulness asks the question- How did things get to be this way? And- How do we find our way back to a baseline in safety and connection?
Our work is an on-going study of how to use mindfulness to (re)connect ourselves, internally, relationally, and with the living world. We are advised by amazing mentors in traumatology, applied neurophysiology, evolutionary anthropology, social neurobiology, somatic and emotional awareness, relational mindfulness, nature awareness, and creativity.