By now everyone has heard of the newly required Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative. But how many have actually completed the requisite seminar, art project, movie screening, or “activity?” Bwog Internal Editor Britt Fossum managed to get a spot and reports back on the effectiveness of the session.
Sick of hearing classmates and friends complain about the Respect workshops they weren’t registering for, I decided to make my life easier and fulfill the requirement as far ahead of the March 13 deadline. The option that fit best into my schedule and seemed the most relevant for me was called a “Mindfulness Group” on Tuesday of this week. The description on the website was simply, ” For students interested in cultivating non-judgmental awareness and being more present for one’s experience,” which appealed to me. I didn’t want to sit through something as passive as a film screening and all the workshops had filled up within the first few days of availability, so this seemed the perfect choice.
The group was held in the Lerner CPS office conference room, and even though I thought I knew my way around I still got lost looking for the right room and was almost late to the 11:00 session. Thankfully I made it on time: a sign on the door said that the room would be locked starting right at 11 although the leader of our session let people in up to the ten minute mark. Attendees sat in chairs arranged in a rough circle around the wall. Most of the people attending the session seemed to be a bit older than college aged–mostly graduate or law students based on the conversations.
Our leader introduced herself as one of the psychiatrists at CPS and that she had chosen to lead several sessions of mindfulness workshops for survivors and those whose lives are effected by sexual violence. She assumed at first that our group was supposed to be made up of survivors as well–the group quickly corrected her saying that the description on the website was open to anyone who wanted to cultivate mindfulness. She was a bit surprised but then said that the meditation we were going to do would be useful for anyone. She asked the room if anyone knew what mindfulness was. Several people called out answers and she came to the conclusion that mindfulness is “intention, acceptance, and completely non-judgmental.” She then asked if anyone had a meditation or yoga practice. Several people, myself included, raised their hands. She smiled and said that we probably already knew what to do but that she was going to guide everyone through a meditation for the rest of the session.