‘This is not about fixing it, it is about letting it be’

Practicing mindfulness meditation helps improve interpersonal interactions, self- compassion, encourages self acceptance

The+League+of+Women+Voters+of+Pullman+met+for+a+presentation+on+mindfulness+Tuesday+at+the+Neill+Public+Library.+Lydia+Gerber%2C+a+clinical+associate+professor+in+the+WSU+Honors+College%2C+led+a+six-minute+meditation+for+attendees.+
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‘This is not about fixing it, it is about letting it be’

The League of Women Voters of Pullman met for a presentation on mindfulness Tuesday at the Neill Public Library. Lydia Gerber, a clinical associate professor in the WSU Honors College, led a six-minute meditation for attendees.

The League of Women Voters of Pullman met for a presentation on mindfulness Tuesday at the Neill Public Library. Lydia Gerber, a clinical associate professor in the WSU Honors College, led a six-minute meditation for attendees.

ALANA LACKNER

The League of Women Voters of Pullman met for a presentation on mindfulness Tuesday at the Neill Public Library. Lydia Gerber, a clinical associate professor in the WSU Honors College, led a six-minute meditation for attendees.

ALANA LACKNER

ALANA LACKNER

The League of Women Voters of Pullman met for a presentation on mindfulness Tuesday at the Neill Public Library. Lydia Gerber, a clinical associate professor in the WSU Honors College, led a six-minute meditation for attendees.

ALANA LACKNER, Evergreen reporter

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The League of Women Voters of Pullman hosted a presentation on mindfulness which highlighted the importance of self-compassion during meditation Tuesday at the Neill Public Library.

Lydia Gerber, a clinical associate professor in the WSU Honors College, said she refers to her mindfulness approach as “puppy potty training.”

“Any time you notice your mind is slipping into some other space … really carefully and with love get your mind back to where it’s supposed to be,” she said.

Gerber said she believed one of the most difficult things for beginners is their desire to be perfect and to never let their mind wander.

Instead, she encouraged participants to be understanding and compassionate toward themselves. She said they should let thoughts and sensations happen.

“Our tendency is that when we feel something [is] wrong, we need to fix it,” she said. “This is not about fixing it, it is about letting it be.”

Gerber led a six-minute meditation for the group and encouraged acceptance of circumstances, thoughts and self.

“We look at our bodies … we see what we hate, what should be different, what should be bigger or smaller, all of that,” she said. “We fail to appreciate what a miracle we are — our uniqueness and our ability to engage with the world through our bodies.”

Karen Kiessling, LWV member and former mayor of Pullman, said she enjoyed Gerber’s presentation and felt a familiarity in it.

“I’m almost 79 and I grew up with adults, teachers, parents, family [and] friends saying ‘Pay attention. Pay attention,’ and this is ‘Pay attention,’” Kiessling said. “It’s pay attention to your breathing, pay attention to your body, pay attention to where you’re walking.”

Gerber also spoke about mindfulness having the potential to help participants with interpersonal interactions.

“There is always something that stirs our heart,” she said. “There is always something where we can connect, and it can be very small, and it relates to our humanity.”

The event had approximately 30 participants, many of which were LWV regulars.

Kiessling described LWV meetings and events as an important point of connection for members of the community.

“You see people hugging each other, excited to see a friend they haven’t in a long time,” Kiessling said. “In a way, we’re like the produce section of Safeway, you bump into people there.”