Last Wednesday, the Mindfulness Project hosted a night of meditation and reflection on the lawn of Bellarmine Hall.
The Mindfulness Project is fairly new to Fairfield; it was started a month ago by Wylie Blake, campus minister for service.
“I’ve been working in Campus Ministry for a while and I get a lot of students saying that they’re spiritual, but not religious,” explained Blake. “I could see that there is a hunger for a religious connection. I wanted to offer them a space to step back from their busy lives, take a breath and reconnect with themselves and the beauty around them.”
The Mindfulness Project meets every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. Each week, the activity alternates between meditation, yoga, reflection and a prayer service. All faiths are welcome in this opportunity for quiet reflection.
“We haven’t talked too much about [our faiths],” commented Blake on the amount of non-Catholics in the Project. “That’s not the focus of why we’re there.”
A group of three students gathered to reflect on the beauty of nature with multiple calming songs and a few prayers of thanksgiving.
“It’s a project unlike any other club or activity at Fairfield,” said Brittany Kritis ‘16 on the Mindfulness experience. “A lot of the questions that are asked are more spiritually-based and more demanding of expressing your personal goals and values.”
Kritis is interested in making the Mindfulness Project a club and having a leadership position in the future.
Blake also wants to expand the Mindfulness Project, borrowing ideas from Dr. Paula Gill-Lopez, associate professor of psychology and special education, who says that mindfulness is all about your senses.
There is a possible future focus on the five senses. Blake plans a Mindfulness tasting, where different foods will be cooked, tasted and reflected on.
Blake says she isn’t really sure what direction this project will take her. But, wherever it goes, she is happy to be along for the ride.
“I’m at the beginning of the journey,” said Blake.
Fairfield alum Gregory Pagnozzi ‘13 is also at the beginning of his own Mindfulness journey.
After going to two meetings, Pagnozzi is looking forward to attending more.
“It allows me to tap into my spiritual side and be closer to God. It gives me inner peace and allows me to keep going.”
Pagnozzi encourages everyone to go, including those of different faith traditions and those without a faith tradition.
“It’s not about preaching. It’s about connecting to the grand unifying force that Christians, Jews and Muslims call God. But all faiths have that force, even if they don’t call it God. [The Project] spans over a broad array of people,” said Pagnozzi.
Pagnozzi wishes that more students would attend Mindfulness Project meetings.
“Do it when you have the opportunity. These kinds of things aren’t offered at parishes, mosques or anywhere out in the real world. So, it’s really a wonderful opportunity here on campus,” added Pagnozzi.
Blake also recommends that more students come and check out the Project.
“We need to take time to just be quiet and be in the present moment,” said Blake.