Jenine Camins is a friend, neighbor, mother and now champion of teaching mindful-ness in an effort to empower. But what does that mean exactly? We were able to learn a bit more about her new practice.
You’ve recently embarked on a career in the arena of meditation and mindfulness, which seems more relevant now than ever. How did you start down this path and what were you doing before?
I always say meditation is the tool that I didn’t know I needed. Like many people, I had become accustomed to how I handled stress and the busy pace of life. In hindsight, I can see how much I benefited from it, but the initial interest came as a parent. There are a lot of pressures on kids and they’re growing up in a distraction filled world. I thought getting the training could help me help them.
A collection of small moments kept feeding my curiosity of meditation. A friend passed along a book. I attended classes of my friend Ali Sweeney, a wonderful meditation teacher. Her style was different than anything that I had tried in the past which piqued my interest in what other techniques there were to learn.
I was so fortunate to find Sarah McLean, an incredible teacher who created a comprehensive program to not just teach you about meditation but who trains you how to be a teacher. My first career was as an elementary school teacher before having my daughters. I loved my years in the classroom and thought this would be a great way to combine two of my passions, teaching and meditation.
You point out that resiliency and mindfulness are more than just buzzwords, but important life skills. For those of us who have survived the last twelve months, this speaks volumes. Can you walk us through your approach and services?
People come to meditation and mindfulness for different reasons; stress management, anxiety, health issues, help creating life balance or harmony, or even curiosity because they read about the benefits and want to try it. There are so many wonderful and free resources out there, but sometimes, we all need a little support. I love deconstructing the practice in a way that makes sense to the individual and helping them figure out how to incorporate it into their lives. In my own practice, I love variety and it’s exciting to be able to share different techniques with clients helping them identify what works for them.
For organizations, I offer mindfulness trainings on a variety of topics including stress management, increasing engagement, reducing burnout, and mindful leadership as well as providing support after the training. It’s an especially stressful time with the pandemic and more and more companies are offering mindfulness as part of their wellness offerings.
The really rewarding part of sharing this work is, how if you take the trendy terms away, it’s attention training, awareness of your awareness. Whether you’re practicing mindfulness or meditation, when you lose focus and choose to bring your attention back, you are strengthening that skill. Your brain changes. Your nervous system is less triggered by stress. You are less on autopilot and in more control. That’s very empowering.
You are a working mother, how do you find balance and what advice can you give all of us working parents trying to juggle work, school, domestic duties, the list goes on and on.
Balance can be a hard goal. I aim for harmony. Maybe each day isn’t equally divided among family and work, but it all works out. The truth is life is busy. Somedays we feel like we’re rocking it and others, we don’t. Having an involved partner has been key. My daughters are also my biggest cheerleaders. I try to stay tuned into my stress levels and take mini breaks when I need to. Before learning mediation and mindfulness, I would often joke that as a parent, I teetered between Snow White and Maleficent. If I’m not careful, and I don’t create that space to respond vs. react mindfully, those horns can make an appearance!
Meditation seems to hold the key to so much of our stress and worry. If only more people would take the time to pause. How does one overcome the need to be in constant motion and take a break?
At first taking a pause can be scary. There’s so much to do. The idea of sitting and “doing nothing” can be stressful! However, there’s power in the pause. It’s the space between thought and action. Pauses help develop your ability to respond versus react. It changes the way we treat ourselves, other people, and how we approach life.
There’s an idea of meditation as the calm beneath the waves of the ocean. If you go deep underwater, there may be some movement from the waves, but it’s calmer. It’s the same for us. When the outside world is turbulent and uncertain, we always have that quiet space to go when we turn our attention inward. As you get used to breaking the habit of being in default busy mode, going into that quiet space becomes not something that you have to do, but something you choose to do, because it works.
You’re originally from New York, how did you land in Denver?
My husband, John is from Arvada. After having our daughters, we were still living in Manhattan and deciding what life would look like with me returning to teaching and him traveling for work. We came to look at Denver through the eyes of future residents. It was February and a gorgeous 70 degrees! We ate lunch outside and played cornhole. That pretty much sealed the deal!
How do you fill the spaces in between work and home life?
Admittedly, with the pandemic, those spaces between are pretty tight with everyone home and me starting a new business. There’s a lot of game-playing, seeing family that live close by, movie-watching and outdoor adventures. Pre-pandemic and hopefully again in the near future, I look forward to traveling, going to museums, and spending more time with family and friends!
We all seek to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves. If this can be accomplished with improved focus and less stress and anxiety, while making a deeper connection with others, it sounds like a winning combination. If you would like to learn more from Jenine, visit her site at uqmindfulness.com