If you have read my book or attended one my live workshops, you know that flowers, though they have been the focus of my career for 20 years, actually became part of my wellness practice about four years ago. In addition, this last year I have also focused more on gardening, yoga and meditation alongside foraging and arranging and the ocassional dive back into sourdough baking when time permits. I would say all five of these things live in my “wellness toolbox” that I reach for when times get complicated, with of course flowers being my focus.
Last spring, I had the chance to meet Jacklyn Denise in Lisbon. She had such a great vibe and I was intrigued with her background growing up in Newfoundland and her work as a meditation teacher. We have been chatting about wellness and nature, and how it can be a coping mechanism right now. I wanted to share a little interview with her on the blog! Jacklyn and I are also teaming up for one of this month’s workshops for a Make and Meditate workshop. Check out the details here.
Here is my chat with Jacklyn!
What is your definition of meditation?
Meditation for me is a few things. It is a journey inward, a deeper connection to Self (even if momentary). It is the ability to move and be quiet still. It is a tool to gain clarity. It is peace, joy, appreciation for all that you can and cannot see. It is soothing. Meditation is a means to tune into what the heart has to say, while creating a more cohesive heart-brain connection. And if you dare, one of the benefits, is calm confidence.
How do you approach meditation in your own life, everyday?
As cliche as it may seem, with a beginner’s heart and mind. Whether we are brand new to a sit, or veterans to our cushion, the best experiences come from the ability to let go and surrender to what we do not know. This calls for a beginner mindset. It is a practice, truly. I remind myself and each of my students of this regularly. No matter how long we have been committed to a practice, it is indeed a practice. A practice of consistent commitment. Though I teach and guide, I am human too, and admittedly, I am not always consistent. I do not always graciously float through life with ease. However, I believe it is possible. And I choose to be in possibility, and to commit to myself — for myself — to keep returning to my practice. I choose to soothe my nervous system, to tune into that calm confidence.
Do you meditate with or in nature? Can you describe the benefits of interacting with nature through meditation?
Occasionally, both. I live in Canada, so for a good part of the year (when I am here) the warmer months certainly make being outside in stillness a little easier. That said, nature truly is medicine. There is something magical about grounding, rooting, connecting to the earth. Even when I am not physically outside, I often like to bring nature indoors, through plants yes, but also through my senses, with indoors being the inner makings of my mind. Whether I am quietly guiding myself through a mindfulness practice, or leading the quiet practice of Yoga Nidra, I love to commune with nature and to invite full engagement of our senses into the journey. There is something freeing about feeling the ground beneath our feet, the soft breeze on our skin, the scent of glorious fresh blooms under our noses — even when it lives only within our imaginations.
What is the best way to get started with meditation?
Be open to possibility. Practice patience with yourself. Explore voices or styles that resonate with you, and know this will change over time. Remember that no matter how experienced you are, every meditation is different. The most “seasoned” meditators still have meditations where we come up against our own resistance. This is why it’s a practice. I think one of the greatest diservices that we can do for ourselves and our practice is to assume that because we’re new, a shorter meditation is “all we can handle”. I hear it time and again, “10-15 minutes is all it takes”, “I can’t handle more than 5 minutes”, “running is my meditation”. While all of this may be true in that moment it’s said aloud, my invitation to you, beginners and veterans alike, is this: why not try? We don’t know what we don’t know. I share this with calm confidence, as someone who has guided countless “first-timers” through Nidra (a full 40 minute practice). People who claim to have never meditated a day in their lives, or for more than 5 minutes. And let me tell you — they journey deep. Because we don’t know what we don’t know. Be open to possibility.
You have such a calming presence. Have you always been that way or is that something you have developed through your work and passion for mindfulness?
I appreciate that, thank you. The truth is, absolutely not. I was a quiet child, with a soft voice, yes. Yet always with a fierce fire in my heart to change the world, and to feel heard. And for one reason after another (sometimes unknown to my conscious self), while my voice felt suppressed, the fire burned. Through my teen years and young adult life, I relentlessly pursued a fast-paced career in public relations and advertising — to the point of total and utter burnout. The irony is not lost on me, that a career built on communications and voice which drove me to exhaustion, is the same voice (leveled up by intuition and belief in Self) that lifted me out of that darkness. Throughout my 20s I found my own practice and for my 30th birthday my gift to myself was a 200hr yoga teacher training, along with additional functional movement training, and meditation modalities, including Nidra. Though trained in movement (as an aside to my PR career), I was most at peace guiding stillness. They say we are called to offer our own medicine. And for me, this couldn’t be more true. I’ve said many times, PR made me feel magic, and meditation became my strongest medicine. Over the last four years of teaching meditation, moving through my own intense health journey, supported by teachers like Dr. Joe Dispenza, I began to connect more and more dots with my love for Nidra and how I show up in the world. All this to say, while this is something I continue to develop, it certainly does feel like my most authentic Self.
Thank you, Jacklyn! If you would like to join us for a one hour workshop that begins with a meditation before flower arranging, check out the details here and book your spot!