Day 6: Be Mindful

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Marga Odahowski leading students of the Morven Summer Institute in a “mindful eating” activity.

Today students of Block B of the Summer Institute were treated to an introduction to Mindfulness, led by UVA professor and Director of Studies at the IRC, Marga Odahowski.

Mindfulness is a valuable tool for anyone, but can be particularly helpful in an academic setting. Being present, aware, and mindful in class and in one’s academic study can lead to increased learning and retention of information. Being mindful of who or what we are studying can make us more compassionate and holistic thinkers and actors.

Marga made an important point during the mindfulness class today, that unlike some other forms of meditation practices, mindfulness does not only help us to reflect inwardly about the inner-workings of our own minds and bodies but also outwardly about our surroundings and interactions with others. The cultivation of compassion and awareness towards others is a valuable component of mindfulness.

I’d like to take a moment to encourage us all to be mindful of the “others” that we may encounter here or on the way out to Morven, especially those others who may not belong to our own species. These beautiful hills and valleys that surround Morven are home to many a small critter and furry friend.

On any given day out at Morven or on the way here, one might see (or hear) deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, butterflies, cicadas, songbirds, geese, and, most recently, a number of box turtles crossing the road. Be mindful on your drive out here. Pay attention to who may be trying to cross or fly alongside of the road and, most importantly, slow down. Slowing down, and really taking in these sights will not only help these small critters, it will also enhance your own experience of this beautiful and wild place we call Albemarle county.

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