Meet Jackie!

Hey all! I want to introduce you to one of my students, Jackie :)  She recently shared with me a beautiful example of how mindfulness has made a difference in her life and so I asked if she would share it with you! Keep practicing and be encouraged!




Betrayal. Righteous indignation. You find yourself muttering, “Google Maps lied!” and vow to start using Waze instead.

The all too familiar dread seizes you as the cars in front of you go from carefree to speed-limit-following to crawling to completely stopped.

Nashville continues to appear on lists as one of the fastest growing cities in the country and is being hailed by some as an “it” city, rightfully so, in my opinion.

As this happens, our stress levels continue to rise, keeping pace with Nashville’s growing population, reputation and traffic.

Last week I was returning home from a meeting and dutifully turned on the side street Google Maps directed me to. As the traffic slowed to a stop, my frustration peeked it’s head out, leaving me to silently curse Google Maps and the updated timeframe it now predicted I would arrive home.

Little did I know things would get worse before they got better. I also had no idea that I would also learn a valuable lesson in mindfulness and creativity that I could have easily missed, had Google Maps gotten me home 40 minutes earlier, as predicted.

Back to my story. As traffic eeks along at the pace of a snail on a Sunday afternoon, I decide to turn to Spotify for a distraction. I love me some Spotify! Have I mentioned that I’m a musician?

I listen to a song recommendation I received at my meeting. Toward the middle of it, the internet starts getting sketchy and the song stops and starts. I make it through the song and let Spotify go to the next song by the same name. Some calming Ben Harper is just what I need! Thank you, Spotify!

Except... the internet connection gets worse and gradually stops. Horrors!

I rub my shoulders a bit and try to stay positive, try to think of what might make my situation feel a bit less annoying and frustrating.

I decide to try a breathing technique I recently learned in my yoga and mindfulness class with Kate of ABC’s of Happiness. I feel my breath vibrate on my lips as I exhale with my mouth open in the shape of a small o.

I continue to do this for a minute or two and I look around and notice the beautiful blue sky. Hmmm... That’s pretty nice! Then I start to notice the landscape around me.

My mind wanders and starts to become curious. I wonder if these grounds ever hosted Civil War soldiers passing through. I think of all the history that has taken place on the very spot I’m slowly winding through. And then, I spot it.

A beautiful old tree, sturdier than those around it, probably older too. It’s very stately and yet completely unique. I start thinking about what that tree has seen and the stories it could tell.

And this wondering leads to inspiration and song lyrics. Most of the time I’m a lyrics first kind of girl. Today was no exception.

And almost the exact moment I finished my creative flurry and had recorded a set of complete song lyrics I loved, something miraculous happened. Traffic began to move again!

This was just a little everyday experience, but stopping to breathe and taking the time to look at my surroundings and be curious transformed my experience from one that would have put me in a stressed out and grumpy mood to one that sparkled with the pride of having created something beautiful to put out into the world.

So the next time you’re stuck in traffic, take some time to breathe, notice what is around you and be curious. You just might surprise yourself and at the very least, your stress level will come down, leaving you to better enjoy the beautiful Middle Tennessee area we are lucky enough to call home.


This Old Tree
Written by Jackie Gray ©2018
Verse 1
The gnarled bark of that old oak
From present day to times of old
Has seen - - - tales we wouldn’t believe
From battle grounds to couples carving
Hearts eternal, blood of the dying
Your skin has touched - - - Tales of misery and love
Year by year you shed your fruit
Your leaves float down into the soot
And silently you weather all our hopes and loss
Standing still - - If only you could talk
Verse 2
With roots so thick who cares if you
Lose some leaves or they prune a limb
You know you’ll smell - - Cologne of spring again
The crickets chirp and spiders spin
You don’t mind making a little room for them
To call home - - - You’ll know you’ll hear them come and go
You’ll taste the storm
Bend to it’s wind You aren’t alarmed
You know calm will come again... ‘cause

Here is the link to my music on Spotify:



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