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We got to take some time for a conversation with eloquent and inspiring Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, about her work and how the Art of Living practices have opened up new directions for her.
How I’ve Changed Since Art of Living
The Art of Living course was life-changing. Prior to Art of Living, when I would get upset I would turn to a brownie or a donut. And my voice would get really shrill. Post Art of Living and my sister Mona (although we don’t share Moms, we share a connection, so I will introduce her as my sister), things that used to frustrate me do not anymore. I come from a very Zen place now.
Just recently I finished a tour for my second book, Leading Lady Legacy. It was my tour date, and I was an hour and a half late. When I got there I was just so mellow. People could not believe it. My husband could not believe that I was not hopping out of the car. There was no cursing or fussing. I was just saying, “Oh I’m just so happy to be here safely.”
The interstate was shut down, there was a fatality on I-20, and they closed both sides of the highway. All I could remember thinking was, “God is so good because that wasn’t me and my baby in that accident.” Yes, we’re an hour and a half late but guess what, we got here! We got here!
I come from a very Zen place now.
What Art of Living Does
The Art of Living encourages you to focus on you and the things that you can do to calm yourself with your breathing and meditation, just by being silent. It’s not something that’s encouraged much in our culture here in the US. The busier you are, the more you multitask. Those are the things that are glorified and exemplified in our culture.
It’s truly counterintuitive because the more you focus on yourself, the more you can say, “I’m being quiet. I’m going to listen to what self has to say. I’m going to listen to what God has to say about certain situations.” That helps you to resolve whatever issues are going on. It makes you much more productive. I mean, I attended my first Art of Living class [Happiness Program] in January of 2012 and since that time
I have written two books.
I have published a magazine.
I am launching a TV show and soon
a radio show as well.
It is a wonderful blend of empowerment, love and devotion to self that is absolutely needed and necessary.
The radio show will be a broadcast of the TV show. The TV show is called Leading Through Living Today or LTL Today. We launch in March of 2015. Now that is one little thing about me. My birthday is big for me so every year I give myself something. And so this year the thing I’m giving myself is the TV show and that’s why we’re launching in March and it is focusing on helping people to become the best people they can be.
It’ll be a talk show structure. There are three hosts, myself, CV Daliay and Saji Willingham, and we’ll go through social issues, love and relationships and things that people like, like contests and prizes and things to make them feel empowered. We will see other people overcome obstacles and talk about ways to become more profitable, but not at the expense of others, really by tapping into self.
I think that I’m able to do all of these things because I’m a much more centered individual and instead of picking up a donut, I now just sit down to be silent and prayerful and to pray and meditate, as Sri Sri would say.
Going To India: Listening to God
I had the opportunity to attend the International Women’s Conference in Bangalore last year, and what Sri Sri said was, “The difference between prayer and meditation is that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is listening.” Prior to that, I probably didn’t do a whole lot of listening to God. I did a whole lot of telling Him what I wanted and what I thought I needed, whereas meditation allows you to be silent and listen. You are forcing all of these external thoughts out of your mind so you can actually hear what is coming to you, which I believe is God. I believe that because I was able to hear his voice, I could hear what he wanted for me, my life, and my life purpose. That’s how we wound up here now. My experience in India was amazing. I’m trying to round up a delegation of 10 women to go because it was just that impactful for me. It was just 5 of the most powerful days of my life. I’ve made friendships there and although I’ve not seen those women since I left, we’re still in contact, thanks to social media, and they were huge in helping me launch Bold Magazine and making it international. It’s been wonderful.
Art of Living has helped me find my purpose by allowing me to listen to what God says. Prior to Art of Living, I was very much a “these are things that I want to do with my life, and God, if you’re on board, that’s great and if not, you’ll show me at some point in time by it not working out.” It worked OK up to that point because I have accomplished a lot.
But after that, because I learned how to center, be silent and listen, the methodology changed from “this is what I want and this is what I’m going to do” to “What do you want? What’s the best way to accomplish that?” And, “I know that you’re with me even when I’m scared.” I feel that Art of Living has helped me to become more spiritual and it has helped me to help other people do the same.
Learning About Seniors
I’ve also seen these programs fostering community in various ways. Here, locally, I did the Art of Happiness Happiness course. I believe it was early this summer, or spring, and our facilitators had us go out to an assisted living facility in downtown Atlanta. God bless those seniors’ souls.
They were in bad shape. It was sad, because we bought food and other resources for them, but there was a feeling that “I would like to do so much more.” So when we got back, while we were happy we had done what we could, we just felt like we had not done enough.
When working through those feelings, we concluded, “it’s important that you did what you could.” Because you helped them in that way and sometimes that is what is necessary at that moment. You shouldn’t not do anything, just because you can’t do everything. If everybody just does a little bit, the world will be better. That’s absolutely right.
The fact that we now know what their situation is means we now have the power and knowledge to do something else if that’s what we wish to do. I see that on a large scale with Art of Living and all of the programs that it has, like building restrooms for women so that they’re not holding their bowels all day, which then leads to urinary tract infections. It’s something so simple that people just don’t think about as being important, particularly not in the US. But it has huge, life-altering implications.
I am very grateful for the Art of Living. Anyone who feels that the things that are taught in the programs would be contrary to their teachings, particularly Christianity, is not correct. It is a wonderful blend of empowerment, love and devotion to self that is absolutely needed and necessary. It is an opportunity to focus and empower oneself.
It reminds me of something that I grew up hearing that I’m sure a lot of people have heard, “When mama’s happy, the entire house is happy.” Well, when you’re happy, you’re able to share that with other people and they want to know what it is. I would say that a lot of that, for me, is Art of Living. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go and experience that for themselves, however they need to make that happen.
We travel all over Atlanta it takes an hour and a half to get wherever we want to go. If it takes you two hours to get to an Art of Living facility to take one of the courses, it is the best investment you will ever make. We invest in our purses in our shoes, but we really need to invest in ourselves.
Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell is an attorney, CPA, and Certified Christian Life Coach. Lynita enjoys utilizing her skills, resources, and network to help others build their business empires through her keynote speeches, as well as the workshops, magazines, books, TV and radio shows produced by her company the Leading Through Living Community.
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Art of Living faculty combine their passion for teaching with years of ongoing practice and volunteering in the service of others. Inspired by their own personal experiences of transformation and joy, teachers around the world (in over 150 countries!) have been sharing Art of Living's signature practices and insights into the human mind for more than 35 years.