Denise Padilla de Font is a professional Art Therapist specializing in women and healing arts practitioners. She uses a transpersonal form of Art Therapy to help women experience mindful, empowered pregnancies and birth experiences, helping them navigate through labor, postpartum, and parenthood with confidence. We were so lucky to have a chance to talk to he and get insight and wisdom on living mindfully. She also shares her personal practice with us.
Read today’s blog for more with Denise.
(SE) What does Mindfulness mean to you?
(DP) To be, in every sense of the word, AWAKE. Not simply waking up from sleep, but really being awake and alert to the possibilities of the present moment and all it has to offer. Asking yourself the question, “Am I awake in this moment?” If not, “what do I need to do to wake up”.
(SE) What tools do you think are essential for living mindfully?
(DP) I know that mindfulness practices call for concentration on the present, and I agree. However, our connections to our past seem to get a bad rap nowadays. To me, knowing your past, your history, your ancestry, are essential for living mindfully in the present. It helps us better understand why we do what we do and why we feel what we feel in the present and prepare us for the future.
(SE) Do you have a mindfulness practice; if so, what does it look like?
(DP) Meditation and ritual.
Being in nature as often as possible- and literally getting my hands and/or feet in it: in the earth, in the water, on the grass to ground and connect.
Aromatherapy to wake up my senses, change my mood, and tap into my memory bank.
Honoring my ancestors and spiritual practice
Deeply listening to people. Asking them questions and being fully interested and engaged in what they have to share with me.
(SE) When did this practice begin?
(DP) It began when I started making art and noticed the impact it had on me holistically.
(SE) How did you get started?
(DP) At the age of 16 I met an Art Therapist that told me to make a sculpture out of a little ball of clay that represented how I was feeling that day. Boom! Magic.
(SE) What has this practice done for you as a person?
(DP) It has woken me up to life and helped me listen more to my instinct and less to fear. It has brought me authentic joy and satisfaction in life. Overall, mindfulness has made me a better human so that I may listen, care for, befriend, and love more deeply.
(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?
(DP) Be gentle with yourself. Start with what you already know and go from there. The answers to how to begin already lie within you. If you need some guidance to get started – don’t be afraid to ask.
(SE) Is there a particular practice you would recommend to cultivate mindfulness?
(DP) There are many mindfulness methods that all have something valuable to share. I would definitely begin by practicing deep listening. This can mean deeply listening to others, or deeply listening to the space you are in, be it alone in the woods or in a crowded market. Also, find others, both personal and professional, who will deeply listen to you. It’s important to release stagnant thoughts, feelings, and memories that flood us in order to move ahead with clarity.
(SE) Can you list three, everyday things that we can do to stay in the present and live a mindful life?
(DP) Ask yourself at least once a day, “Am I awake to this moment.” If the answer is, no, follow up with “What do I need to do to wake up?” See if the answer lies within you or in your environment. Eventually, you will notice when you’re not “awake” and can say to yourself, “wake up!”
Engage in nature at least once a day. If you live in a big city or work in a small office, look out a window and really “see” the sky. Notice while walking down the sidewalk how tiny plants break open the pavement to sprout. Walk out the door and feel the sun, wind, or rain on your body. We re-energize in nature.
Practice empathy by paying attention to what your state of mind brings to your surroundings. It is so easy for us to be self-involved that we don’t realize how we affect our environment and the people in it.
(SE) Do you offer any type of mindfulness training? If so, can you provide details?
(DP) Yes! I am a Women’s Life Counselor, Art Therapist, and Pregnancy/Postpartum Mentor. My entire practice involves helping people deepen their self-awareness and live more mindfully; weather you are wanting to create a more mindful experience during pregnancy, use art making as a tool for healing from the past, you are a woman experiencing a challenging life transition, or you are a healer yourself and want a safe space to deal with stresses from your work, I am here to offer you my deep listening and empathy to help you “awaken” to the moment and ultimately change your life. You can learn more about my services and me on my website: riverwaterhealing.com
(SE) Are you currently working on anything you would like to share with the Soulful Essence community?
(DP) I’m happy to say that I am now offering my services virtually (via phone and Skype) nationwide in addition to in-person in Durham, NC as well as seasonally in Miami, FL.
(SE) Is there anything else you would like to share?
(DP) Thank you Jessica and Soulful Essence for engaging a community in such a meaningful conversation. In the end, it’s not just about being more mindful, but what you do with that deeper self-awareness to help your community and your world that really counts.
We are beyond grateful to Denise for joining us and sharing with us! For more on Denise visit http://riverwaterhealing.com
What did you think of our conversation with Denise? Is there anything you would like to add or to ask Denise? Feel free to leave a comment below!