New group teaches mindfulness to mamas

JACKSON, WY — Just after noon one Wednesday in January, nearly 4o moms gathered in St. John’s Episcopal Church. Some brought their kids, others were taking a lunch break. All of them were there to learn about one of wellness’s newest buzzwords: Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a practice that works to promote intentional awareness of and in the present moment without judgment. Kirsten Farney, a mother to two children under five years old, saw the need to bring mothers into the mindfulness community last summer. Farney saw the need for a space where mothers could come together. “When I really thought about what was fueling connection in my life and filling my cup, I kept coming back to these very real and raw conversations with fellow moms,” Farney said.

The idea of the group is to listen to what moms are hungry for and meet them where they are. “We offer open hearts and minds, and a safe community to share our experiences and feel like we’re not in it alone. It’s also a time that is infused with tools that help us rediscover meaning and purpose and empower us to use our gifts to live our most authentic lives.”

With aspirations of supporting the well-being of mothers in our community, the group gathers around mindfulness practices while creating opportunities to connect. There are noon and evening events twice monthly to increase accessibility and inclusivity. At the inaugural gathering, attendance reached nearly 40 women with children ranging in age from zero to adulthood.

Farney says mindfulness was the first practice that allowed her to accept the myriad experiences that life was sending her way and face them without judgment or expectation. “Mindfulness helps me — a lot. I want to share that with others,” she said. But she doesn’t want them to feel pressured or judged. “I don’t ever want these women to feel like we’re trying to sell them something or tell them that they’re doing it wrong. There is already a wealth of wisdom in our stories.”

The response from attendees and facilitators alike has been overwhelming, Farney said. Previous meetings covering Tough Conversations: Parenthood & Marriage; Motherhood & Career; and Pregnancy & Birth, have been facilitated by various practitioners from the Jackson Hole community and proved an unquestionable desire for meaningful connection amidst a culture that often depicts unhealthy expectations for what life as a mom “should” look like. “I get the sense that we are all in the same boat, but when it comes to the day-to-day grind it feels more like we are a million tiny boats trying to stay afloat on a turbulent sea of emotions, responsibilities, expectations, and identity,” Farney said. “It’s obvious that we need something to bring us together. We hope that this can be the community and practice that does it.”

The group meets every third Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. in Hansen Hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Additionally, there are evening meetings scheduled for moms that cannot join during the weekday. The next lunch event will be on Monday, April 17 and focused on “Building the Tribe.” Moms will form small groups centered on accountability and mentorship, fostering a way to check in with other moms in the community.

The next evening event is Monday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Hansen Hall with Rachel Wigglesworth. The evening session is called “Keeping calm in the storm: Managing strong emotions while parenting.” Wigglesworth has a Masters in Education in parent and family education. She provides guidance to parents and caregivers through classes, workshops, and individual sessions at GrowingGreatFamilies.org.

We encourage anyone with an interest to get involved to come to a meeting, reach out to us at info@stjohnsjackson.org or (307) 733-2603 and find us on Facebook.

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