Shut Up and Sit - How to Get Mindful
Friends – Do I have a treat in store for you today!
Are you familiar with mindfulness? Do you want to live more in the present moment and not be so caught up in the past or worried about the future? If so, then you must read Yedda Stancil’s fantastic book Shut Up and Sit. I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Yedda this week. I could have spent hours listening to her talk about the power of mindfulness and I’m excited to share some of her wisdom here with you today.
Hi Yedda! You are consciousness coach, consultant, author and founder of the mindfulness bar. Your Book Shut Up and Sit helps unravel the secrets to living in the present. Have you always been mindful and was this always your career path and how did your idea for a book come together?
Well, first of all I am dyslexic. I thought, I don’t know how to do this – writing a book. But then I ran into a woman who transcribes and said I could tell her my story. I am verbal, so I told her my story over the phone. This started out as content for my website and it turned into a book. I said I want this vibe to be Audrey Hepburn goes zen. This content turned into a coaching manual and workbook and then finally into the book Shut Up and Sit. It is a story told over two years that has my life story embedded into it. Its part science, part poetry and quotes. I wanted to create something that was part Tiffany catalog and part Vanity Fair magazine because you are shopping for the most expensive thing and it’s YOU!
I wrote this book after my father died of a drug overdose which I think is an unconscious way of suicide. So, I was dealing with and working through my grief. I managed my grief by learning. I wanted to save as many people as possible because I could not save my dad. I learned about narrative release and narrative coaching through a teacher named David Drake. How do you behave so you can think differently? What I also learned is that grief is always with you.
We are all mindful. As we grow older and we fall into ego, suffering and societal norms, we forget that. We are not always conscious to it. We may numb it. But we are all born with mindfulness. When I was a kid, I was super mindful and imaginative. I always dreamed of being on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I was a high schools drop out with a mother on welfare. I though no one would bet on me. Then I started showing up and paying attention on purpose which is total acceptance. I had to forgive people to survive. One needs to come to the present moment with curiosity and wonder. For me mindfulness showed up as creativity. By paying attention to present moment, we accept and find joy. Suffering woke me up. I was living two lives. Suffering had silenced my creativity. This all came to be through a breakdown. Later, I met Deepak Chopra at a retreat. Things were going well. Style Magazine had done a piece on me having the first integrative practice in the state. At the end of the retreat, I heard a guiding voice telling me to go out to the courtyard. I did and right then Deepak came out of a secret door. I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. He asked me, “What do I want. He said be prepared for ignorance.” I had to learn how to integrate all parts of myself back together. I had to learn how to do this.
I loved that you said, “ You’re a masterpiece. You are not broken.” So many people think that they are. One of the false narrative people with depression tell themselves is that they do not matter. Here on my website Try to Matter I want people to understand that they do in fact matter. How can you quiet fear driven voices and messages like this one?
Fear driven voices say things like you don’t matter. The fact is you exist and that is enough. Stories you’ve told yourself becomes your identity. Mindfulness and Eastern philosophy and teachings teach us that everyone matters. Right here in the moment is enough. I am enough, even in my suffering, I’m enough. So how do you get out of this way of thinking? A pivot. Catch the thought and examine it. Write it down. Is this true? This is a way for people not too caught up and deep in their narrative. Also, social norms. Being around people, places and things. There is an energy, a vibration. Like attracts like. With depression, you might not know how to get out of the vortex of negative story telling. We must do our part. Make deep connections with your friends and loved ones. Check in on them and create a support system. Often people suffer in silence and do not reach out for help. You can’t just think your way out of depression. You need compassion. Today, reach out to one person. Pick up the phone and call them and tell them you are not alone. In this way, community can help rewrite the narrative.
Mindfulness gives up space to ask questions with curiosity. Humans have a limited ability to think past their own ego. I’m careful in saying this. But learn to sit in your suffering and there can be awakening. You will learn what else is available. This will help you heal and grow and will help others to do the same.
A belief is just a thought we keep telling ourselves. It’s a story – a reflection of what we believe. There is a man named Victor Frankel. He was a prisoner at Auschwitz. He had the papers to be released to the United States but he chose to stay with his family. They were all split up and his entire family was killed. In the most dire circumstance, he held hope and optimism. He found gratitude for dirty water and fish heads because it was what was keeping him alive. This belief was later termed tragic optimism. In trauma, there can be optimism and you are allowed to have hopes and dream. This is a waking up and realizing there is another story I can tell. Don’t believe everything you tell think. You live in your own mind. Deepak said mindfulness should be called mindlessness. The hardest part about mindfulness is facing suffering. My father was one of these people who suffered. It was unreal the amount of drugs and alcohol it took him to disappear. He died homeless in a hotel where he was robbed by strangers. People suffering need you to reach out. Be mindful, show up with kindness, acceptance, love and caring. Know that you are not alone.
How is it possible to say yes to life in despite of all of the suffering? Tragic optimism. Pain, guilt, fear and death are held beliefs where there is not positivity. You have to choose it. What is the belief that we hold about trauma? There is a book by Neale Donald Walsch called The Little Soul and the Sun. Its premise – what if everything is not happening to you but for you? There is light and love in me and I see it in you. We all have light. Even in mental illness, the light is still there. Even when you live in darkness and we forget the light is still there. Wake up and remember who you really are. It’s interesting how we grieve in the United Sates. In other cultures, and countries death life and death is celebrated. The West believes in self centric support. At the deepest sense of selfishness, we get self-absorbed and our ego can’t find its way out. We have multiple selves – our wounded self, our survivor self and our shadow self and our healthy self. We are living a fragmented life.
You can see this in the world if you look at entertainment and books. It shows how we are working the shadow self out – the hero’s journey. Look at the show Ted Lasso. He says Be the goldfish – live in the moment. Listen to what people tell you and what you tell others. Tell a new story to get a new belief. Change your narrative. Just be quiet. Find some space and sit in silence. Bring mindfulness to all that you do. Do not think of it as a job.
You have mentioned in your book that trauma has the power to heal us. People visiting my blog and website are often survivors of suicide having faced tragedy in a violent way and many times out of natural order. How can mindfulness help one stay in the present instead of reliving past trauma and how does changing your beliefs also help?
Our wounds become our wisdom. What story do we want to tell ourselves? For years, I had a victim story. It was when my dad died that I came to the realization that if I didn’t stop my destructive lifestyle of drinking and drugs that I would die too. At that point, I stopped my path of destruction, stopped drinking and doing drugs and went back to school. I wondered, what other story could I tell myself that would allow me to grow?
There is a chapter in your book on gratitude. How can a practice of gratitude help one be mindful?
Gratitude shows us need of want or desire. It shows us that we can grown and evolve. It helps us realize that our basic needs are being met. Gratitude shows us that there is more right in the world than wrong. Look around and notice how many things are going right, people doing the right things. Get out of your head and the old story. Know that you have all that you need. I have a roof over my head and air to breathe. Then expand that and look at desire – a continuous creation of joy. Gratitude gives us that. I recently went outside and was one with nature, I was thankful for the air, the birds. I looked around and saw that the construction workers had all of the supplies they need to build. I was full of gratitude for all that was around me.
Joyfulness, loving, accepting, blessing and gratefulness are all a part of gratitude and is expansive all around us. All of existence is sheering you on. Get out in nature. Find joy in the birds.
Many have a broken fragmented sense of self. We try to fill it with things, but what if everything is ok just as it is? Just sit with it. Start a gratitude journal. Write down five things you are grateful for each day.
Why five? It takes five times as many positive thoughts to outweigh a negative one. We have a negativity bias in our brains. Our survivor self relies on this for control. Our healthy self can change this through cultivating gratitude. Gratitude over comes this and it the safest way to invite the ego into another way of being.
How can our audience connect with you? Tell me about the classes you offer and the mindfulness bar.
There are lots of ways to connect. You can purchase my e-book on www.suasebook.com anywhere is the world. I also offer online learning that is free and also offered at three different levels in a course format with a workbook. You can find this information at www.suascommunity.com. There is group and one-on-one coaching. You can also visit yeddastancil.com and go to the connect tab where you will find coaching and my podcast available on Apple and Spotify. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in. I wanted to create something for everyone. There are different formats to meet people where they are. You can get more information through stages of change. Locally you can come to the mindfulness bar which is online at mindfulness-bar.com where we offer mindfulness and community yoga classes.