Unsettled’s Mindfulness Program: Q&A With Clara Mastronardi

By: The Unsettled Team

We are thrilled to share a brand new virtual Unsettled offering designed for today’s ever changing world. Mindfulness has been a buzzword in many circles over the last number of years and there is no better time like the present to bring greater awareness and presence into today’s remote world. 

Through this unconventional and collaborative 3-week program, we will check in with ourselves, evaluate our day-to-day routines, and develop the tools to inspire a more present-focused, intentional and meaningful way of living and working in a remote world. 

How? We asked Unsettled’s Mindfulness for Remote Work Program’s facilitator Clara Mastronardi to share what she has been reflecting on these days…

What was your first introduction to mindfulness practice? How did it affect you?

By the end of 2016 I was working for the government in Buenos Aires as the program manager for a very big project that was going to be launched in early 2017. The Ministry of Culture had been invited to a big event in Madrid and I was in charge of this project. It was a very stressful time for me and I got to the point where I couldn’t sleep. I was stressed and anxious and I remember going to bed and having my head flooded with thoughts. I had always been a really great sleeper, so it was a big wakeup call. I reached out to a friend that used to work in the same office and she introduced me to the Art of Living community, and despite the fact that I didn’t end up engaging with the community, it was my first introduction to meditation. Through my research I discovered mindfulness and I started teaching myself how to practice mindfulness through apps like Headspace and Insight Timer and videos. After I quit that job I went to Thailand and spent some time in a Buddhist monastery learning about how Buddhists practice mindfulness — sitting meditation, walking meditation, and service. That was fantastic and introduced me to Buddhism and how mindfulness works. The biggest lesson that I learned at the beginning of my mindfulness journey is, “you are not your thoughts.” Separating myself from my thoughts was a big lesson. The second lesson I learned from one of the monks at the monastery is that we cannot control what thoughts enter our minds but we can choose what we do with those thoughts. That simply blew my mind. It changed the way that I see myself and see others. That we always have a choice about how we react, and through mindfulness we can train ourselves to be increasingly aware of that fact. 

What is Unsettled’s unique approach toward mindfulness in today’s increasingly remote world?

Like all things Unsettled, this is not your typical take on Mindfulness! Rather than working with one definition or prescription, this is a program specially designed to guide you to explore and uncover what mindfulness means to you and how you can integrate it into your daily life and work! It puts you, and not the practice, in the center of this experience – as you are the only one that knows what works and doesn’t work for you. Also, this is a collaborative program, meaning you’ll learn, experiment, and share with fellow Unsettlers along the way.  

 

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Can you share a little bit about your personal mindfulness practice?

One of the things that we’re going to share in the program is that mindfulness can be incorporated in your life in different ways. Like exercising, for example, you can dedicate some time to go to the gym a few times a week, or you can go for walks with your dog and still hit your daily exercise goal! So my mindfulness practice is a mix of dedicated time and some practices that are integrated in my everyday life.

I’ve been crafting my routine for years now, and it took me a while to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t, especially when travelling and working remotely, without having set plans or fixed schedules. So I tried to come up with a kit that can travel with me wherever I go and that can be adapted if needed!

My day is framed by 2 dedicated practices. I try to start every day with a 15 to 30 minute sitting meditation as soon as I wake up followed by a device-free breakfast that helps me focus on what and how I’m eating. At the end of the day, I take some time to do a recap of my day and take a few minutes to make a gratitude practice and identify 3 things that I’m grateful for. And then in the middle of the day, I try to check in with myself and see how I’m doing, feeling and making changes within my day if needed. In that sense, every day is different and so I use different mindfulness tools to keep me on track! 

Why should someone join Unsettled’s Mindfulness for Remote Work Program?

Most of us have had some huge life and work shifts during the last few months. This has inevitably kept us in survival mode, trying to figure out what to do and how to show up for ourselves and others, both in life and work. This program is an opportunity for you to stop, breathe, recalibrate your compass, and reignite your routine. Because a meaningful life is made intentionally, one day at a time. 

Our first Mindfulness for Remote Work Program runs August 15th – August 29th. You can learn more and sign up here today!

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