Starting 2019 Learning Mindfulness

Gig Economy Podcast S2019 E1: Featuring Windy Gancayco

 (.mp3) – 27 minutes

LB: Hi, good morning everybody –or good evening, wherever you’re listening. Welcome to our second episode of the podcast here with Lorna at Yoveo. And today I’m pretty excited. We’re starting the year with a lot of reasons to be excited and thankful. So I’m joined today by my good friend, Windy Gancayco, who’s my teacher at Reiki and mindfulness. So today we’d be talking about my experience and I have some questions that I’d like to post to Windy for those of you who are thinking about how to address the multiple stresses that affect us in our everyday lives. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Windy. Hi, Windy.

WG: Good morning, Lorna. So happy to be here with you.

LB: Yeah, I’m happy to be here too. Jeebs is supposed to join us today, but he got –the show must go on. So that’s one of the things that we plan to do this month is to not just attend Windy’s mindfulness course, but also to learn more about what led her to teach this course and put it online for us. I mean I’m a great believer in virtual learning and so, Windy, to start off, I have a curious question about what was your experience –you know deciding to push through with bringing this mindfulness course online ?

WG: Oh, sure. Thanks for asking, Lorna. So basically I ran this course in my healing center here in Cebu in January and February of 2018. So the way it was is that we had a group. We were there with nine students, plus me, so 10 of us met every Wednesday evening during the course of six weeks and we explored what it meant to be mindful, different applications of mindfulness. So we had a lot of group activities, individual activities and so on and so forth. The people who attended were very happy with the course. A lot of them went on to take further studies with me and when I tried to run the course six months later, I found out that a lot of people had a hard time committing to such a long length of time, the six weeks. Also the traffic had worsened and that a short amount of time near the street in my neighborhood, and so I just –I’ve been wanting to bring something online just because I am an avid user of online courses. I find them convenient because of flexibility of schedule and so on. So I said, okay, maybe this is really the time for me to do this. And I kept kind of procrastinating because I was out of my comfort zone. I had never done such a thing and, later that year, I was going with my aunt to a trip to Vietnam and Singapore and one of my friends who is –he is also an entrepreneur and works a lot online and he was kind of pushing me and saying, “Hey, what are you doing? What about your goals?” and this and that and I think he gave me that push that I needed to say, okay, you know what, I’m on vacation but I can –I’m still going to get some stuff done and I felt like before the end of the year I could make this happen and so I started researching and I just went with that momentum and set a date and I worked backwards.

LB: That’s a great way to end the year, no?

WG: Yeah, I worked backwards and –because if I say after the holidays, I’ll just do that after the holidays, that’s just –that’s already a lot of time. And yeah, people take –in January, it takes a bit of time to get back into the groove, into the full swing of things so I just set myself a target, knowing that I had the content at hand already. So of course when I started converting the content into individual and online, it was a different ball game altogether and I pretty much rewrote everything. But in the meantime, I also –one of my projects is to write a book and so it was like –oh, so this is going to be for my book in the long –yeah, it’s like a long-term thing. So so many beautiful things came out of that and, yeah…

LB: Thank you. You know guys, it’s one thing to end the year with a plan for the next year, right? So you try and keep to your current status and just procrastinate, to Windy’s point, but it’s good because late last year, towards the end of November, when I started the course, it really helped me just be introspective and be really –and really think about or process what my thoughts and emotional triggers are. So but for some of you who are first-timers in this kind of topic, who are curious about mindfulness, maybe we should also help define what is mindfulness really and how does it benefit a regular Jane like Lorna, who’s working 10-hour, 12-hour, 15-hour days?

WG: So this is one of the topics that we’ve discussed in the course, how do we define mindfulness. And there are actually so many different definitions. But what I really like is when you’re just fully focused in the present moment and accepting it without judgment. So for me that’s a nice definition. It’s general enough but at the same time it’s quite precise because it’s so easy to not be accepting of the current moment. So just going back to that simple thought, it’s easy to remember –sometimes easy to apply–

LB: That’s true.

WG: So I loved what you said about ending the year with that because holidays is usually a time of high stress. We end up in situations that sometimes we don’t choose –family reunions, there’s a lot of pressure to tie things up, and start with a fresh start. So I thought this was really timely and mindfulness for me is really for everyone, no matter what your situation in life, whether you’re old or young, or working or stay-at-home mom, everyone can benefit from that more self-awareness, more staying in the present moment, more looking at yourself with compassion rather than judgment and it almost sounds simplistic but, for me, whatever your challenge may be, whether it’s anxiety or whether it’s a relationship or even financial, when you take the time to really –okay, what’s happening in this present moment, you really realize, when you take a breath that there’s actually nothing you want in this –and just this instant when you stop and just feel it, it’s actually a perfect moment.

LB: Correct.

WG: And then, of course, we have to get things done, so we –it’s normal, right? So we have to plan, we have to learn from our lessons, but when we keep going –that’s such a peaceful, powerful place that everybody has access to. And that’s really pretty much the main message.

LB: Right, right. Thank you. And I’d like to add to what you said because I –my experience was that, you know, taking a step back or a deep breath when I’m starting to get pulled in ten thousand directions at the same time, it’s that one breath of fresh air that you take and then it –having the starting point of my mindfulness practice also with this course is that I’m more in tune with acknowledging is one part, but also like deciding to give in to pressure all around us, it’s so easy to be sucked in to the demands of our family, our friends, our schedules, our work. And as a newbie, I’m pretty new to this thing, I’m all for saying yes all the time so it was a challenge for me to apply. It was not an easy practice like saying no, you know, and coming from a good place when you say no or when you decline or when you reject –you know, when you say no.

WG: How did you– what –can you give an example of when mindfulness helped you? For me, that’s setting boundaries, like healthy boundaries…

LB: Yes, one clear example was when –I work with local clients and overseas clients and sometimes when a meeting is called for that’s out of schedule and I know I have set a limit to how much I work in a day, right, but before I started learning about mindfulness, I would say yes even if I was stretched or I didn’t have time to eat, sleep, so I would eat on the go, sleep on the go –if there is such a thing, but that’s to me –learning mindfulness allowed me to just say I’m sorry the schedule doesn’t work at the moment, but here’s a better schedule that would work for me. Does it work for you? So if I was more confident, comfortable just acknowledging that this isn’t going to work for me and verbalizing it in a way that is not hurtful or not brash.

WG: So how did that work for you?

LB: Well, it worked pretty well because I didn’t realize that people are willing to bend backwards and oh, yeah, sure okay. Let’s find a better time. Would this work? So people are willing to communicate and reach an agreement. So it’s just we’re putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves by forcing ourselves to say yes. But what our body, what our mind was telling us is that you know it’s going to deprive you of four hours of sleep going to this, in and out the city, and having a two-hour meeting whatever. So it’s also –in my house, my sister and me –we’re –I’m not going to speak for her but with me, I will say yes all the time. My sister has also told me because she knows I’m going through my ( ) first and she said, you know, if you don’t feel like going to the grocery, it’s okay, I can go. Or if you want to go with me, we can push it back for tomorrow or whatever. And so I appreciate that because here I have somebody that really reminds me –about mindfulness because I can see in your face that there’s a struggle, that you’re not jumping off your chair to go run an errand, right. So yeah, that’s been my experience and I’m very grateful because also in acknowledging. It’s very humbling. Being mindful is a very humbling experience for me because now I can apologize without judging that –okay, you’re less of a person because you know, you stepped forward and apologized. But it’s –to me, it’s making me feel a lot more human, just okay, mindfulness is not a quick-fixed solutions. We all want to be the best version of ourselves, but I feel like it’s a daily practice. It’s like all your dealings when you’re practicing mindfulness, every word, every –you’re not judging the other person, you’re preparing how to respond. So it’s a lot of internal work, which you’re so not used to because —

WG: Yeah.

LB: React, react, right? So it’s not the response that would be natural to me. It doesn’t come naturally to me, being mindful. And so I always go back to my journal, to mindfulness journal and you learn about this when you enrol in the course. So it’s a lot of work but it’s really a lot of self-discovery. So okay, that’s my experience. And another question I have for Windy is, you know, why online? In a mad rush, people are always in front of their phones, on their computers. What is –are they expecting something different when attending a course like, you know, go to a yoga session or whatever? How different is this from an actual meditation practice? Is it any different? Is it a mix? Is it technical?

WG: Okay, so meditation plays a really important role in mindfulness. And this course –I actually asked myself the same questions because there are a lot of available courses online and this one is really –it’s just my own personal experience with a different challenges and tools I used to deal with them. So it’s kind of like a synthesis of all these different mindfulnesses. I mean it’s very personal. That’s why I really try to offer different tools and then what you do is you take what works with you and, for example, the journaling seems to have worked for you. So not everyone is going to resonate. Maybe someone will try something and be the one to have deeper meditation practices. I offer increasing in time, so we start with 3, then 5, then eventually end up with I think 10. So if that’s what you’re drawn to, you’re going to maybe focus on that. Or if I also have a few videos with little bits of yoga and that might be also where you’d be geared towards. And so I try to make it accessible, not intimidating. It’s really –you don’t need experience whatsoever to discover this. Like you said, it’s about self-discovery and everyone can take that step when they’re ready. But yes, meditation is a big part because that’s –it’s like when you’re able to put your mind –it’s like a gift to your mind or it’s like giving a massage to your body.

LB: That’s exactly how it felt like.

WG: Yeah, and from that meditation practice, we’re able to kind of spread that meditative energy to the rest of our day. So as we deepen our meditation, the rest of our day also is imbued with it to extend to. So we have different practices to support our daily mindfulness. Is that answering your question?

LB: It is, it is. For those who are wondering, is this a –will this affect –because a lot of people would be intimidated by the fact that oh, it’s mindfulness, it’s like not for me. I can read a self-help book. And to your point and based on my experience, this is a conscious decision that you make. It’s not a force like hey, this strikes my fancy, I’m going to enrol and —

WG: It’s the start of a journey.

LB: Correct. To me, it’s a lifelong journey and I think I’ve told a couple of friends about it when –on my first two weeks that whenever I go to my mindfulness session module, it’s on mind, yes, and I watch a video, yes. But part of my mindfulness practice is turning off all distractions because a laptop can ping a lot of notifications.

WG: Yes, turn off everything else.

LB: Turn off everything else and it’s as if you are on a retreat. Because it’s very dangerous also when you’re on your mobile phone and you’re just getting started on the program, on the module, and then here goes your friend calling you, right. So it’s also important to be at a place or a time where you’re able to just be quiet. Quiet is very important when you do this course. I mean it’s not you’re chatting with a friend and cooking lunch and then going through. I mean, to me, I had to make a conscious decision also –and most of the time I work from home –to turn off every distraction. If I need to go to my room, then I do that so I can really focus, and write, and really process, and internalize what’s been taught in the module. I’m on my 4th now –4th week! Yay!

WG: Congrats. Hahaha.

LB: Thank you, thank you. So yeah. And then another question is –so we talked about what mindfulness was and who it’s for. In the course of time that you’ve been running your sessions, Windy, on mindfulness, this is for individuals, right? But what about if there’s a group? Could this be used as a temporary –well, not temporary, but it’s agnostic. You don’t have to be in any one place to have the resource, right? So if I were, say, in an office and it’s just an activity that I do with my team, would you recommend this to be –you know, instead of a working lunch, you know, that kind of struck my–

WG: Yeah, that’s a great idea. You could –if you have a space in your office, like a meeting room, I think you could schedule for six weeks and then you listen to it together and then you have time to discuss it. I actually tried to find a –strike a balance between in terms of length because I know everyone is very busy, so I try to keep the modules long enough that the information is there for you to kind of allow to marinate over the course of the week, so you’re supposed to get one module per week, but short enough that you’re not overwhelmed like when am I going to find the time to listen to these for three hours of lessons and lectures. So that’s for people in general, but I think it would be a great idea to have a group session where you start, you listen to the audio clips that are kind of broken down and then do the worksheet together. So there’s a video, then the worksheet, and the transcript, and the audio. So I think that’s a fantastic idea.

LB: Yeah, because I work in the digital space, so a lot of our time is spent on conference calls and brainstorming sessions and really hectic deadline eating type of work. And the pace is just so crazy that you forget to take a step back. And it’s no different, really, from practicing the mindfulness in my home, when I tune out all distractions. But I think having my experience with my sister, giving me feedback on how to practice mindfulness and she’s not even –I’m just talking to her about the course right? So it would be awesome –I just picture this if we’re able to do this in teams so that it’s –we’re all helping each other practice.

WG: Like being accountable to each other, yeah.

LB: Right. So I think that will affect the way we communicate, the way we interact, the way we deliver the message across, right? So it’s not a quick-fix solution. I mean, it’s not going to take care of personality disorders or differences in opinion, but I think the relationship we have with people will improve because it really strikes a balance with how we express our thoughts, our emotions to other people. So it mirrors when you have an accountability person –for example, if you have a 4-man team and you’re all going through this. Imagine how beautiful it would be to come to the office and be mindful of just how we interact with people, right?

WG: Yeah, that’s a great idea.

LB: That’s my vision while going through this. I was sharing with my sister and with my flatmate and we’re talking about it and she said, you know, I could use something like that. But she’s at sales so she’s on the road all the time, meeting clients. But she said, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I got back to the office and talk to the marketing team, give them feedback, or the tech team when they’re rolling out the project, if we can come together for a brief 15 or 20 minutes and just talk about this, right? That gave me an idea.

WG: I love it. That’s giving me ideas.

LB: Yeah, because this is a virtual course and it can reach anybody who has internet and we can even –if your internet is not so great, you can –Windy has given us option to download the course and watch it offline so you’re not at the mercy of bandwidth. So to me that’s very helpful and I can read back the transcripts because, again, it’s six weeks long. It’s six modules and I know that there’s going to be a point –correct me if I’m wrong, Windy –but how I see it is even during the –in the middle of the course I find that I’m –okay, what was it that was taught in the first module —

WG: Oh, you want to go back, right.

LB: Right. So there are instances and situations that call for me to go back to the starting point and so, okay, now I remember. So it’s really a practice. It’s like a reference point for me, what was –what highlights did I –what did I glean from the first module versus the second module and the third, and how can I apply it now going to my fourth.

WG: Right, right.

LB: So yeah, for those of you out there, I think it’s a perfect gift for yourself. I consider it that because Windy gave me that gift November and I just can’t wait to have more and more people learn about mindfulness in a way that is taught by someone who teaches meditation as a practice. So yeah, if you have other questions, please feel free to go to zarawindy on Facebook. You can find her on Facebook, on Instagram…

WG: Twitter.

LB: YouTube. And we’ll be –stay tuned. Because this year, Windy and I will be working together to help spread the awareness about mindfulness and how it benefits a regular Joe or Jane. Any last invite, reminders, Windy, or thoughts that you’d like to give our listeners?

WG: Well, I just want to thank you for your feedback. We never really talked about this before and I am so grateful that what you’re sharing is really what I hope for anyone who joins the course. I mean, I think you are someone who has humility to begin with, but the whole setting healthy boundaries for ourselves, say no, managing your energy. I wish they were taught in school. I wish mindfulness was taught in school. I know some forward-looking schools replaced meditation –instead of detention, they have meditation. In Thailand, they teach kids at a very young age and that’s really my vision for the future.

LB: It’s transformative. It’s very transformative, guys. And I’m not there yet. It is a work in progress, like, every time I learn something new about mindfulness, I’d have to check back on how it resonates with me, with how I am as a person, and it’s going to be different for each one of us. But yeah, thank you, Windy. This has been awesome.

WG: Thank you.

LB: I can’t wait to see more people just experiencing what I have so far. So alright, guys. Thank you. We’ll leave you with a note to just be –it’s not a Monday but stay tuned because we’ll have regular videos that we’ll be pushing out Mondays and once each month we’ll be coming out with a mindful tip. We’ll have more of Windy in the coming days. We’ll hear more from her and then hopefully the next time you join us, you’d be sharing with us some stories that you’ve experienced for yourself. Thank you, guys. Have a great day. See you next time. Bye.

WG: Bye.