Learning To Accept The Learning Curve

A huge “Learning Curve” started for me in the 1970’s.

I read a book called the “Relaxation Response” by Dr. Herbert Benson which presented itself again in an updated, more researched version in 2011.

The catalyst was the desire to teach expectant mothers how to mange labor “pain” using relaxation methods in particular – meditation.

Mindful meditation was circulating around and lots of indisputable medical research gave the green light to apply it to childbirth. It made sense and we planned to implement it into our classes at a local hospital where I still teach.

Your Course with Lesly

The only thing was neither myself or my colleague really understood meditation and how to “DO” it (I know now that we all know how to do it because we already do it). How could we teach something if we din’t know or experience it ourselves, right?

The Journey

We signed up for a week long seminar with Jon Kabat Zinn. He is well known, if not famous, for his work in stress management and pain relief using meditation. He coined the term “Mindful Meditation” and this is what we wanted to learn and teach in our classes.

The seminar cost a small fortune! But, short of robbing a bank, and getting a perplexed look from my family, off I went to spend a week away from home (Oh how delightful) and with my colleague, Christine.

Looking back, It was one of the best experiences in my life. However, major learning experiences were coming towards me with no escape…

My friend and I arrived on a rainy day far into New York State country side – beautiful country. The landscape was massive. It included a “Mess Hall” where we had our meals. Near by was a huge garden filled with fresh vegetables that were plucked daily for meals.

Landing Page Builder

There were several small buildings where classes were held on the arts, writing, yoga, and so on. Small cabins lined a narrow paved road where golf carts drove people to and from their cabin. There was also a section where you could camp-out instead of using a a cabin – it was cheaper and more rugged living.

It looked like a tiny village with an “artsy” feel, complete with a cafe, a gift shop and even a spa.  Oh, this place was heaven – beautiful and serene.

The Challenge

Our first order of business was to settle in our cabin, go to sleep, as we were expected in the “Great Hall” by 6:00 AM the next morning, and the morning after, and the morning after that.. and so on for a full week.

Awake at 5:00 AM, showered, dressed, and walked the path to the Great Hall as we heard the early chirping of birds singing to the rising summer sun.

When we reached the Great Hall, a rather large building and hollow inside, we were instructed to remove our shoes before entering. When we walked inside to my surprise there were about 200 other people there for the same reason – to learn meditation. We all sat on the floor and Jon Kabat Zinn sat on the stage and began his lecture.

Our week long schedule was this:

Rise at 5:00 AM
Great Hall at 6:00 AM
Meditate – 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Breakfast – 8:30 – 9:30 AM
Great Hall – 9:30 – 12 noon ( Meditation, lecture, meditation)
Lunch – 12 noon – 1:00 PM
Great Hall – 1:00 – 5:00 PM (Meditation, lecture, Walking meditation, movement, lecture)
Dinner – 5 – 6:00 PM
Great Hall 6 – 7:30 PM (Meditation

sleep ..

The whole week was like this!


The Lessons

The first day I was restless. I sat on the hard, wood floor with flat cushions that did absolutely nothing to support me my back … and so the mental complaining began. I must have looked serene and relaxed to those who were doing the same as I – peeking to see what everyone else was doing (as they looked serene and peaceful to me).

Little did I know that internally they were having the same issues and mental complaints that no one heard: “I can’t get comfortable …”, “I paid all this money to sit on the floor…”.  “I’m not doing anything but sitting ….”, “This is boring …” and so on. The mind chatter blossomed like fireworks – a never ending stream of crazy, useless thoughts twirling around in my head like lit sparklers.

For two days this went on. Mixed with the unpleasantness of eating tofu for a week cooked in every way possible .. I did not know why I came.

By Wednesday, I knew what I was learning: To see and experience how my mind works and how much stress our thoughts cause that contribute to our decisions, choices, life experiences, and health. And there was one simple thing that broke it in an instant.

A single slow, breath….

The lessons were many and emotionally deep. Too many to write about here. But such a profound learning curve to learn how can control my thoughts, I can “let-go” of worries – or worrying about things that haven’t happened yet or never will happen. Of living in the moment. ..

Since this seminar I’ve been able to help so many people by showing them how their minds work and what control they have over their thoughts. Just through a simple practice we all do – we just were never taught how to make it a “skill” to use to develop mental and physical wellness. It’s a wonderful thing.

By the end of the week I had developed an accepting mindset of myself and my life – it was life changing. My whole perception of life, living, relationships, my profession, all changed. A new awareness flowed within me that oozed into everything I did and and would do – my teaching, my family, being a mom. There is a certain peace I experience now and when I get nervous or “up-tight” I can ask questions about what’s happening instead of emotionally reacting.

Whatever learning curve comes your way, let it. It’s temporary and you only benefit from it anyway, what ever it is. You suddenly become what you’ve learned and better.

Lesly Federici




PS: Speaking of health and wellness ….


.ads in wordpress

Spread the love

Lesly Federici

Lesly Federici is a Registered Nurse turned Community and Affiliate Marketer. She is the CEO of the Power Affiliate Club, and known as the "Artistic Affiliate". She enjoys helping people learn, create, and manage the blogging experience. She's also an Artist and Author. Lesly believes the best opportunities in life are those self generated. Be sure to reach out to Lesly as she would love to hear from you ...

26 Responses

  1. I enjoyed this article and i do know that learning is a continuous process which start from meditation to reading gestured aloud http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-marie-williams/college-students-use-essa_b_8773028.html
    .it is in us to develop learning as a habit and explore it with serious commitment.Thanks for this post

  2. Hi Deborah ..
    You are an inspiration to me because of all the changes that have happened to you in your life and what you’re achieving now .. I really believe the best opportunities are the ones we create for ourselves… you’re an example of this I think .. thank you for visiting and your comment.. much love to you 🙂

  3. Hi Barrie,
    That’s a huge learning curve! It’s very difficult to notice something about how you behave and think and then change it. Lots of inner dialogue and insightful thinking going on and it IS a process. But you did it and sound much happier. Blame is unproductive and when you can turn that around I think you actually have more inner strength because you can control and accept what happens, or not, in your life.. thank you for sharing …

  4. Hi Sue..
    That’s excellent! Yes, with practice over time your body and mind learn to respond rather than react emotionally. Everything goes better physically and emotionally with mindful meditation. Must have been a new and surprising experience for you… it works! And you did it!

  5. Sue Bride says:

    I had to visit the eye surgeon today about cataract ops. I’d normally be really nervous while my eye was being poked and prodded. Instead I just became aware of my surroundings and I was really relaxed throughout.

  6. Barrie Evans says:

    Hi Lesly,
    Great to read your experience. In my own I have found that the widest “curve” was the one where I got into the right mindset. I was blaming anyone and everyone for my own misfortune instead of looking at things in the right way and concentrating on being “mindful” instead of constantly “bashing” myself with negativity.
    It was a long road for me, but one that is now bearing fruit.

  7. What a great experience Lesly! Especially how well you recounted it and made us all feel like we were going through it too!

    Change is often stressful. It’s change after all. That means “not what we’re used to.” I try to remember why I chose to do whatever the new thing is and focus on those reasons to get me through to the other side of it.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It was wonderful!


  8. Hi Sazia,
    Wonderful to see you visiting… thank you … yea, you can’t avoid learning curves.. there will always be one and we always grow from them …

  9. Hi Ikechi,
    LOL … I only had a week .. so the pressure was on … right? Wonderful to see you again .. 🙂

  10. ikechi says:

    Hi Lesly

    If I were in your shoes, I would complain for 3 days. However, it is great that you got the message about our thoughts and how restless it can be.

    Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful week. Take Care

  11. sazia says:

    Hi Lesly Federici mam, Great tips and experience on learning curve. Yes when ever new things coming on the way there will be learning curve and we need to keep patience to get the successful result. Thanks for sharing

  12. Hi DeAnna,
    So glad to see you and a member of PAC too! So awesome … congratulations on your new job. The uncomfortable feeling will pass, as you know, and then you’ll blossom into an expert! Wonderful to see you … thanks!

  13. Hi Kathryn,
    Yea, life takes on a different meaning when you learn how to – what I rather call, “Unraveling” (Meditation). You gain a new perspective of self that can’t happen when you’re so wound up with random chatter, or “Monkey Brain”. I am grateful for the experience.. wonderful to see you visiting…. thank you

  14. Hi Sue,
    I think that’s wonderful you’re in this meditation course! It has so many levels of benefits .. nothing tangible, but levels of new awareness in behavior and emotional responses… it can do so many positive things and help to embrace and let go of unproductive thinking .. so great to hear .. stay with it as the gifts will come slowly. Thank you for the kind words too .. you always support me in such loving ways which I appreciate greatly 🙂

  15. Hi Donna,
    Great to see you visiting, thank you 🙂 Those things, experiences, we remember and found meaningful have a way of staying with us always in some form or another. Yea, getting past the “What the heck am I doing” is a great state of being to conquer, right? I really respect and admire the process of slowing down because of all the gifts that can come from it. I am familiar with Chakras – very powerful. I have to say you made me laugh with the “cheat” sheet … lol. But hey, that’s how we learn and remember .. awesome …

  16. Hi Mary,
    Great to see you back again 🙂 It could benefit her greatly. More and more meditation is becoming part of mainstream, in fact – schools now offer it for anger and anxiety management. If she learned how and started teaching a little at a time to the little ones it could help calm things down and be less stressful. …

  17. Hi Joan,
    Wonderful to see you visiting … I think you would like this experience… I’m still putting together my “Unravel” workshop so, when it’s done I’ll let you know…

  18. Hi Mandy …
    You certainly know first had the experience of slowing down. It is interesting to me to see some people really struggle with this. Sometimes it’s easier to not slow down because of all the internal issues that can pop up. Slowing down opens the door to a deeper level of emotional, personal life experiences. They appear when the mind slows down. Thank you for visiting … 🙂

  19. Mandy Allen says:

    Hi Lesly, what a wonderful recollection, I was almost there with you, sitting on the hard wooden floor! It reminded me of a guided meditation exercise I ran at my spiritual church. There were many people there. We only sat for about 12 minutes as they were all new to meditation. At the end I asked each one how it was. Everyone related their experience until we got to the last person who said ‘oh, I didn’t do it, I just kept thinking about all the jobs I could be doing at home and what I have to do in the morning…’ She was totally unable to switch off in any way. Everyone else had managed to move from that place into the meditation at some point. Very interesting.

    Enjoy the journey!

  20. Fantastic post and share Lesly! As I have not tried meditation yet, I really enjoyed hearing about your experiences and how well it helped relax your mind 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your story 🙂

  21. Mary Sloane says:

    Brilliant Lesly!

    I must admit I was never too sure what I got out of meditating, but I became quite good at letting the chatter go and just being. Somehow it never dawned on me that others didn’t do that.

    So that was a big awakening.

    That could a be a real gift for young mothers. I see my daughter-in-law, who has recently added 2 babies to her life. My first grandson is now 18 months old and the new granddaughter just 1 month. Poor Natalie is in constant turmoil over how to be a good Mom.

    I can see how meditation could be a godsend. I keep telling her she is doing great.

    Peace ohhhhm


  22. Hi Lesly,

    What a great share. You brought me back to the 70’s when I started to meditate myself. Indeed, it was a great learning curve. I had to laugh when you shared how at first it was uncomfortable sitting on the floor doing nothing. I felt the same way and all I could think of was “am I getting ripped off?” But after a while, adjusting, and learning is a huge leap.

    Funny how when we apply ourselves to a commitment like you have done, how it carries through our lives. I remember first doing chakra balancing. I had to use a cheat sheet. Now whenever I’m in the shower, I do it in seconds.

    I love learning curves!


  23. Sue Bride says:

    We are of the same mind with our posts this week, Lesly 🙂 Although I’ve attended a meditation course before it was really just about relaxation and not being mindful. I would relax but fall asleep half way through.

    I’m three weeks into a 6 weeks online mindfulness course and I appreciate it’s power already. It really is an eye opener – or should I say brain opener. So far it is making me aware of some unconscious thoughts that are impacting my life. It’s unsettling in some ways but I know the idea is to just accept and recognize those thoughts, and the more we do this the less they intrude. So I have a real incentive to keep going with this.

    I started the course to help me be more productive and it is working! I’m more organized and staying on task. This weekend coming is the first in a long time where I can decide whether to work or not.

    This post has just strengthened my resolve to keep going until I can truly always live in the present. Thank you Lesly. I now have an insight into why you are so wise and compassionate.

  24. Hi Lesly,
    I enjoyed the story about going away from family (getting a perplexed look) and the part about the schedule. I thought about going away to camp as a kid. The learning curve that you learned going from “what am I doing here” to the ultimate control of your thoughts. Letting go of worrying about things that haven’t happened yet and may never happen. Loving being in the moment. You mentioned a certain peace – that when to Abe Cherian’s article. How to have lasting happiness. What is the purpose of life?
    – seeking happiness – Dalia Lama
    Great article!

  25. What a timely post for me. I’m learning a lot of new things right now and it is kind of uncomfortable, but it is an improvement. Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom.

  26. Paula says:

    Yes meditation is awesome. I love silent retreats and need one bad, but certain obstacles just get in the way. Oh well….contemplation is an ancient prayer that arises from meditation….it is a gift and it really is something difficult to discuss. Wordless, love and peace perhaps…..doesn’t touch it. My understanding is most do not exprience that level of prayer (actually is union)….for those who understand, it will BE evident in the Beatific Vision. Phew, I will struggle with my oral prayer, meditative prayer and prayer of silence ( that is no struggle as we are not in control of that gift).
    Thanks for sharing you awesome experience.
    I remember being taught how water is represented in prayer.
    1. First stage u speak, u draw the water from the well with a bucket…discursive
    2. Second stage, a waterwheel dips into water and brings up the water…recollection
    3. Irrigation amd a running stream…this is mystical cause all if focused on God…I,think prayer of quiet is,here
    4. Falling rain….or prayer of union…u do nothing it is infusion from God.
    Anyhow, just sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 + fourteen =

Get The Artistic Muse Newsletter