Just Breathe: Bay resident Eliza Wing launches new book
Looking for peace and calm in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle? Bay Village resident of 25 years, Eliza Wing has the answer in her recently published book, "Just Breathe: A Simple Guide to Mindful Meditation."
Wing, who is a longtime meditator and is trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, teaches workshops and classes in the area. When asked about how long it took to for her to become proficient in meditation, Wing is careful to emphasize that there's never a finished perfect product. "It sort of presupposes an 'end state,' so it's a tricky question."
She also includes that you can feel results no matter how long you've been on the journey. "I will say this – many people report that they can sense the benefits even at the beginning of their practice. Research has shown that people who regularly practice meditation gain results within weeks. The key is to remember that it is a practice – there's always something new to experience and learn."
The book itself is pared down and has a simple approach. This was done with purposeful design. "I really wrote this to be as clear and simple as it could be," explains Wing. "I've read a lot of books about meditation and it seems as if some authors want to justify the book by making it looooong. Well, that's daunting! It's daunting enough to think about starting to meditate – why make the instructions overly complicated? Meditation is simple but it is not easy."
As part of Wing's practice, she has attended several silent meditative retreats. This is what has aided her experience in being able to write a comprehensive-but-simple book. "I have done several week-long silent retreats and some shorter ones." For those unable to attend a retreat, or too early in the practice to consider it, there's hope. "We can practice even in the midst of our busy lives. It is not necessary to go meditate in a cave."
Part of the appeal of the book is the artwork by Karen Sandstrom. "I am a big admirer of Karen's," says Wing. "Her art is intelligent and approachable (as is she). When I came to her with the idea of having a seated figure throughout the book and the movement of the bird across the pages as another element – she got it immediately and was very open to it."
The book talks about self-criticism being a hurdle to experiencing meditative qualities, and Wing has a strong outlook on that. "The biggest thing about self-judgment is to drop it. All it does is make things more complicated. Think about it. There you are sitting and you have an itch. Without thinking you scratch it. Then you think to yourself – wow I shouldn't have done that! Why didn't I just mindfully observe the itch until it faded away (or didn't)? See what happened there? You just added another layer to your experience; another story. Our mind loves to tell us stories – sometimes they are self-critical. When you notice that just take note – and move on."
The book is available at the BAYarts shop, as well as her Etsy store, www.etsy.com/shop/awakenedheartshop.
Jessica Stockdale is the Marketing Manager at BAYarts.
BAYarts is a cultural arts campus that features education, exhibition and events.