In today’s blog, we talked to Melissa Camilleri, founder and creative director of Compliment Inc., a gift company with a twist. They sell “gifts that uplift” and each item purchased comes with a small personalized note that reminds the receiver that they are loved, beautiful, missed, and special. It’s such an amazing idea!
Melissa started off as an English teacher and has always believed in the power of words and our ability to create our own world. Her mindful practice includes meditation, long walks alone, and journaling.
Read below for more on what this practice means to Melissa!
(SE) What does Mindfulness mean to you?
(MC) Mindfulness, to me, means being present and in the moment and living life on purpose.
(SE) What tools do you think are essential for living mindfully?
(MC) Meditation, access to healthy foods (if you can grow them, the better!), a journal or somewhere to reflect, the outdoors, and libraries for learning. The rest is just either a bonus or a distraction.
(SE) Do you have a mindfulness practice, if so, what does it look like?
(MC) It's definitely a practice (not a pro at this yet, nor probably will I ever be), but I meditate with my fiancé some mornings before work and most evenings before going to bed. During the day, I help myself stay present by breathing deeply and reminding myself to take things just one moment at a time.
(SE) Sounds delightful! When did this practice begin?
(MC) About three years ago.
(SE) How did you get started?
(MC) I was in a very very low place personally. I was grieving my divorce and the loss of three family members. I changed jobs, I moved. It was a lot of upheaval in my life and it shook everything up. I was spread so thin and felt like my life had spun out of control in that nothing turned out how I had so carefully planned. My fiancé, who at the time, was just a dear friend, invited me to meet him at an afternoon meditation retreat. He knew how I was just existing. I had lost sight of joy. The retreat was so powerful in helping me to let go of old stories I'd been telling myself, to accept the pain of loss, to forgive, to be ok with just being in the moment (as opposed to always jumping to "what's next." That was such a pivotal time in my life. I find myself being able to get back to center much more quickly, now that I have the tools to help me live a more mindful life.
(SE) What has this practice done for you as a person?
(MC) It has given me strength to be vulnerable in scary situations. It has helped me forgive and let go. It has helped me stay calm in the midst of chaos. It has allowed me to really and truly find joy in the process of everything, not just the end result or the achievement at the end. It has helped me choose my words carefully in all my interactions. It has made me less risk-averse. It's helped me to be brave enough to love with my whole heart.
(SE) What advice would you give to someone who would like to incorporate a mindfulness practice into their daily routine but cannot find the time or the headspace?
(MC) It's tough, but don't be so hard on yourself. Your mind doesn't have to go blank to be in a mindful state. That may come with time, but it might not. Instead of feeling like you have to devote an entire quiet half hour, maybe just start with five deep breaths. You might do this in the car before you walk into a meeting, or when you lay your head on your pillow at night. Feel how the breath feels in your body as it enters, and your lungs and your tummy expand. And then how it feels when you exhale. Just that act can bring forth a ton of peace and is actually physiologically proven to relax your nervous system.
(SE) Is there a particular practice you would recommend to cultivate mindfulness?
(MC) I prefer guided meditations with a countdown.
I also recommend going for long walks and getting your breath in a rhythm. If you can do this by yourself, take advantage. That is a huge luxury. Walking with friends is a wonderful gift, which I love. But walking by myself really helps me clear out the clutter in my mind and get to a present state.
(SE) Can you list three, everyday things that we can do to stay in the present and live a mindful life?
(MC) Breathe deeply, move your body, eat well.
(SE) Do you offer any type of mindfulness training? If so, can you provide details?
(MC) My fiancé is a mediation coach! It's such an amazing blessing to have him as a partner. He has changed my life for the better in a million ways, mindfulness being one that permeates every aspect of our lives. He can be found at www.nickanicich.com
(SE) Are you currently working on anything you would like to share with the Soulful Essence community?
(MC) I am the Founder of Compliment, Inc., a brand that hand makes "gifts that uplift." (www.shopcompliment.com) Each piece of jewelry, or home accessory comes with a compliment, personalized for the recipient to spread a little more love, positivity, and kindness in the world. Compliment began as a fundraiser for my students (during my tenure as a high school English teacher) and so since Day 1, we've donated 5% of our proceeds to the Compliment Scholarship Program which benefits girls with great potential for success, but little means. This year we were able to bless three girls with $1000 each! As the company grows, so does our opportunity to give back to our community.
(SE) We love what you are doing with Complement. It’s very inspiring to see what words can do! Is there anything else you would like to share?
(MC) I think that's it! Thank you so much for the opportunity!
Thank You Melissa, we are so happy you participated in this with us!
What do you think about Melissa’s practice? Have anything to share? We’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.
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