Heading Upstream Together


Photo  by Deniz Altindas

The CDC reports that the prevalence of suicide has been increasing across most all demographics for nearly 20 years. According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide. Rates of anxiety, substance use/abuse, interpersonal and domestic violence, and addictions to distractions and numbing in various forms appear to be resulting in epidemic levels of disconnection and loneliness.

It seems that our “downstream” approach of seeking connection to ourselves and others in a culture that offers short term solutions that ultimately leave us unfulfilled, frustrated, and ill equipped to cope with the struggles of our individual and collective experiences is simply not working.

At the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness (MAM), we believe that the time is NOW to head upstream, and we are spreading the word in the Kansas City community about available alternative resources that we offer for those seeking sustainable solutions. We are inspiring a revolution from the inside out toward greater presence and awareness along with the reduction of mental and physical suffering in daily living.

Mindfulness is an emerging critical social determinant of health – individually and collectively. The concepts and practices are at the core of developing resilience, reducing the prevalence of individual and collective violence, enhancing emotion regulation, reducing reactivity and stress, and improving clarity, vitality, and equanimity.

Mindfulness is also at the core of providing trauma-informed care, and together with our partner Alive and Well Communities (formerly Trauma Matters, KC) we are working to cultivate meaningful dialogues and strengthening the community from the individual and the structural levels.

In our contemporary cultural climate, we appear to be losing the ability to engage in meaningful and respectful dialogue and instead many are retreating into tribalism and fear-based behavior. Cultivating the attitudes and qualities of mindfulness allows us to harness the power of our nervous system to work FOR us rather than react ineffectively in the face of overwhelm and perceived threat. As Brene Brown wrote beautifully in her book Braving the Wilderness, “We must find our way back to each other, or fear wins.” We believe that the cost of fear winning is being experienced in these epidemics of depression, disillusionment, addiction, violence, and disconnection. In the language of behavioral economics, the billions of dollars being spent trying to address these issues downstream is simply not working. We need another way – we need a paradigm shift.

MAM was founded by a group of advanced practitioners (many of whom are also licensed mental health care providers) and offers a variety of resources, including:

  • Weekly community mindfulness practice groups
  • Classes for adults, parents, and families
  • Mindful study groups/socializers
  • Community activities including film screenings and mindful mixers
  • Continuing education for mindfulness informed professionals
  • Mindfulness based programs (MBSR, MBCT, MSC, MBRP)
  • Workshops and retreats

If you agree that our mission is a compelling one, please spread the word about our services throughout our community and beyond. Together we can be part of the solution.

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