I Am Woman, Hear Me Be Mindful

By Debra-Lynn B. Hook
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Columnist Debra-Lynn B. Hook cheekily suggests, “If healthy is the new skinny and orange is the new black, living in the present moment is modern woman’s new path to OCD perfection.”

Tribune News Service

My friends and I can go a little crazy being mindful if we aren’t careful.

When we’re not reminding ourselves to chop vegetables with the focus of a monk, we’re working on deep breathing while turning compassion inward.

When we’re not practicing mindfulness meditation or looking more deeply at the mind-body connection, we’re walking in the woods with a Thich Nhat Hahn podcast, going on a yoga retreat, talking about going on a yoga retreat or writing an ode to our deeper selves.

If healthy is the new skinny and orange is the new black, living in the present moment is modern woman’s new path to OCD perfection.

Used to be, the way to feminine nirvana was paved with selflessness: Women were to make nice, not trouble, and always put others first. Even 50 years post-Friedan, we still worked jobs, got out of bed with the flu to make homemade cupcakes for the kindergarten class and nursed our aging parents until we dropped ill ourselves. When people called us “saint,” we blushed with pride.

Enter the age of the New Enlightenment when yoga is more popular than jogging, and mindfulness and meditation are a billion-dollar business, according to market analyst IBISWorld.

Schools teach mindfulness communication, corporations teach workplace mindfulness, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says 18 million Americans practice meditation.

Women are especially interested, because we know a good self-improvement project when we see one, and because our gender in particular needs the anxiety reduction: A University of Cambridge study says more women are anxious than men in part because of the female propensity to ruminate.

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