Do you ever find yourself stressed and feel like you have nowhere to turn to? Have the social and academic pressures of life on campus ever made you feel anxious or overwhelmed? Have you ever wished that you would be able to “take a step back” from everything for a little while? Then look no further than meditation!
Every other Tuesday and Thursday, students looking to destress can head over to the Fairfield University Art Museum in Bellarmine Hall from 4:00-4:30 p.m. for free “Mindfulness and Meditation” sessions with certified teacher Jackie DeLise. DeLise, who has taught meditation classes at Fairfield for the past year, understands the high pressures of college life and encourages all students to join her classes to learn the fundamentals of mindfulness, meditation and breathing.
“I am fully aware, highly sensitive to and deeply understand the high level of stress and anxiety we are all experiencing with our 24/7 technology connectivity, societal expectations and fast paced lifestyles,” DeLise said. “My training and studies prepared me for teaching from a neuroscience perspective, so I share what is really happening in our minds and bodies when we are stressed and anxious…and [aim to] enhance our overall emotional, physical, and mental health and wellbeing.”
DeLise has a long history of experience in the field, including two national certifications to teach, and boasts 200 hours of graduate level studies as a certified meditation and mindfulness teacher, with a neuroscience research focus. She also has completed 100 hours of studies based on the foundational principles of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and Google’s Search Inside Yourself mindfulness, emotional intelligence and leadership mastery programs to become a “Certified Mindfulness@Work Teacher.”
To achieve these certifications, DeLise studied with world renowned Hay House author and teacher Sarah McLean for two years at the McLean Meditation Institute, which was formerly located in Sedona, AZ before moving to Santa Barbara, CA. She has also worked with Deepak Chopra and other Meditation and Mindfulness luminaries in the spiritual and wellness field.
“I was motivated to teach at Fairfield University for a number of reasons,” DeLise said. “My family has a 35-plus year history of graduates there, the campus is beautiful, and Bellarmine Hall and the Art Museum are tranquil, ‘sacred’ spaces. I want to contribute to the students (and other members of the community) by teaching what I have learned and share a few moments of stillness, quiet and hope from within each of us to live a happier, more balanced life,” she said.
Before moving into the realm of physical meditation, each session begins with a brief monologue from DeLise and an overview of the “five essentials” of meditation. Although DeLise’s specialty practice is breath awareness, the classes also cover other meditation topics such as self inquiry, guided visualizations, and much more.
DeLise believes breathing is a big key to meditation and acts as a center point of “calm” and “peace” in every person. In each class session, seasoned and beginner students alike have the opportunity to comfortably sit back and navigate the inner terrain of their mind with DeLise as their guide. By the end of every class, DeLise hopes students walk out feeling a sense of tranquility they hadn’t felt before after having settled their minds and bodies.
“My classes are inclusive and open to all, so come as you are, and learn the fundamentals of simple, easy everyday practices and techniques based on ancient wisdom,” DeLise said.
Mindfulness and Meditation sessions will continue to be offered for the rest of the semester to all students every other Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00-4:30 p.m. in the Bellarmine Art Museum. Prior to attending classes, interested parties should register online through Life@Fairfield. While Tuesday sessions are limited to just those on campus, students are encouraged to invite family members and friends from the larger Fairfield community to the Thursday class sessions.