Today, we are honored to welcome Ellie Burrows to our Fit List. In her own words, “Ellie Burrows is a writer and personal development coach living New York City and The Universe at Large.” She is also the CEO of M N D F L, New York’s premier meditation studio. We’ve talked a lot lately about learning to love yourself, and mindfulness is one key step in that journey. We love Ellie for her amazing perspective on keeping yourself together even when it feels like the whole world around you is going crazy! You can learn more about M N D F L [here], and if you are in New York (for example for #ConnectToConfidence), be sure to check it out.
What was your inspiration for starting M N D F L?
Honestly, I was struggling with my practice, and I was finding it incredibly hard to meditate in my own home. The studio arose from a deep personal need. I wanted to meditate in a space that wasn’t religious and didn’t involve a weekend-long commitment, a space I could drop into with a community that was interested in exploring meditation in a contemporary context. I loved the feeling of group meditations, and I personally liked the format of boutique fitness studios—reserving a spot online or dropping in and joining class. I was volunteering for M N D F L’s Chief Spiritual Officer Lodro Rinzler’s non-profit, the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. We had become friends and I approached him because I knew that I couldn’t build this special space on my own.
Why should I meditate?
Because it helps you become familiar with yourself and allows you to be more authentic and present in your everyday life. It also provides the body with deep relaxation and in some traditions, even bliss.
What is a meditation class like?
Meditation is a word that’s thrown around a lot lately and at M N D F L we believe there are three main umbrellas of what that word can imply: meditation on an object, contemplation, and visualization. At our studio, all of our classes begin with an introduction, followed by guided meditation and then Q+A. The meditation portion depends on the tradition of the teacher.
Midterms! A huge paper! Girl drama! I’m freaking out!! Tell me something I can do right now so that my heart isn’t racing, and I don’t feel like I’m going to be sick.
First, just take a deep breath. Feel your breath in your body. It can be a very calming and healing thing. Notice the sensations that the breath creates in the physical body. Repeat. A lot.
You traveled the world. What were some of the most surprising things you learned?
There is so much love and devotion all over the planet despite what our news networks want us to believe. It never ceased to amaze me that I could have the most beautiful exchanges, connection and commonality with someone who has walked an entirely different path than me.
Having seen so much of the world, what is your perspective on women’s equality in the U.S. today?
I think generalizing women’s equality is part of the problem. We are all having a singular and unique experience on the planet and on any given day in any given moment a woman can experience discrimination while another experiences equality. The problem is ignorance and unfortunately, there’s still a lot of that. Ignorance is not always about stupidity, it’s about the act of ignoring truths like all humans beings are equal.
Millennials…lazy and entitled? If not, why the bad rap?
Millennials are the first generation to have the world at their fingertips. And, well, that’s a lot of choice. We’re a generation of “experiencers.” We love to share and participate in experiences. There’s so much choice, though, that it can often be paralyzing. People confuse this moment of pause with laziness or entitlement, but it’s much more about confusion and insecurity. We are looking for meaning, community and deep satisfaction. Tall order. And I, firmly believe, we are all entitled to our own pleasure and to own our pleasure.
What makes you feel confident?
Self-love and compassion.
On a day when you aren’t feeling your best, but you still have to be inspirational and motivational, what do you do to gather your energy?
Meditate! Works like a charm.
What does She’s Fit To Lead mean to you? How does someone become Fit to Lead?
I think a leader is someone who has taken the time to explore herself and understands what her strengths and weaknesses are. She doesn’t strive for perfection, instead she knows how to ask for help and support. She is comfortable with vulnerability and knows that it is often best to lead with that. She knows that her greatest lessons come from mistakes well-handled. Her confidence comes from self-love and she gives the kind of love to herself and others that she would like tor receive. In any given moment, she knows where she is standing on the spectrum of fear and love and can lead by example, gracefully dancing between those polarities. Everything is always a practice.
Thank you Ellie for inspiring us. Deep breaths and welcome to the Fit List!
Meet More Of Our Fit List Women [here]