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Headspace Q&A: Justin Jarel

You woke up this morning and the first thing you thought was…

I am grateful I get another day to make change, and learn.

What is your typical morning ritual?

I wake up, meditate, journal, and read the day's passage from The Book of Life.

What keeps you up at night?

Lack of presence. Thinking about that which I cannot control and being addicted to that mind flow.

What advice would you give someone sitting down to meditate for the first time?

Be open to coming back over and over. Practice makes better, it's not perfection, it's work.

When and where do you like to meditate?

AM, first thing, bedroom. Gym, anytime, evening, before bed. Nature, beach, mountains, etc.

How does your mind feel before you meditate?

Sometimes full and frenzied, sometimes calm with no focus.

How does it feel after?

Focused, intentional, active.

What’s your favorite Headspace pack?

Relationships. Initially, it wasn’t what I was looking for, but it ended up being a favorite. It offered insight on dedication, as well as reflecting on when something passes. Some of the mindful tips say we are quick to acknowledge when anger rises, but do we notice when it passes? This pack emphasized not just dwelling on the commonly noted negatives.

What has meditation helped you with the most?

Focus on the now, and actively realizing when I am acting in a reactionary manner.

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What’s the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

A video of me eating it hard mid training. It’s the perfect example of believing you are totally aware of a situation, and in complete control, and 2 pounds of pressure in the wrong direction, and you fall backward. I was adjusting the weight differently than I normally do, and it was like someone blew on me, and I just fell. You have to be able to laugh at yourself, it makes life a lot easier if you can.

What’s the kindest thing someone did for you this week?

I’m between places, and a good friend is putting me up in their house. Wonderful people.

Who or what is the current love of your life?

My dog, Malcolm. He’s a 4 ½-year-old pit bull, with a big old blockhead. Loves balls and sticks and playing fetch. I share custody with my ex. The next place I find will be a dog-friendly place, for sure.

Have you ever experienced a life changing moment?

When my grandmother passed. I had just turned 16, and I had been hospitalized for a blood born pneumonia, and at the time my grandma was going through metastasized breast cancer. She was in the hospital the same time I was, but we were unable to see each other. They didn’t tell me how serious my pneumonia was, but it looked like I could die. After a month in the hospital, it took me two weeks to walk again when I came home. I’d been home for a day or two when my mom told me my grandma had passed the night before in the hospital. I didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye. I didn’t know she was doing poorly because they didn't want it to affect my health. I didn’t have the tools necessary to process that, even after going into therapy. There’s not much that can be done to say goodbye and to get that time back. It helped me realize the preciousness of the moment. I don’t have a lot of relationships I don’t care about. I don’t stay close with people unless I want them to be a part of my life. And as a result, the friends I have are family.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To be present and enjoy the small things. Life is often made up of the details. Enjoy them and laugh. Life is made for having fun. Do so.

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