Today Ete sits down with Tanji Wolfert of Kind Wise Mind.
Tanji Wolfert, founder of Kind Wise Mind, has a very personal reason for teaching mindfulness. She has experienced the benefits of mindfulness practice firsthand. Tanji grew up in Sandy, UT. At 11 years old, Tanji, the oldest of 3 siblings, suddenly and tragically lost her mother.
While all the adults in her life were "falling apart," Tanji quickly took up the mantra, "I have to be the strong one." And while the just-push-your-way-through-it-and-keep-going approach to life got her through the difficulties, by her mid-thirties, she knew that white-knuckling her way through the challenges of life was no longer working. The stress of all those years trying to outrun grief had caught up with her. She fell into a pattern of getting by okay, then falling into depression and dysfunction, then regrouping, then getting by okay, then falling into depression, then regrouping, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Tanji began searching for something that might help her when she came across a concept that changed her life forever, "my thoughts aren't real." As she began exploring this idea, she started seeing a new word popping up in her research: "mindfulness."
Today, through her practice Kind Wise Mind, Tanji teaches people–children, teens, and adults–how to use mindfulness to improve their lives. According to Tanji, most simply stated, "Mindfulness is awareness." In many cases, this awareness includes recognizing, looking at, and challenging deeply-held, destructive beliefs and the thoughts that have fed them. "You don't have to believe your thoughts," says Tanji. "You don't have to take them seriously." The same goes for "big emotions." You don't have to live your life as if they are real, the truth. You don't have to run from them. You don't have to battle them. You just have to look at them mindfully and then let them go. Thoughts and emotions are, after all, like weather patterns, as Tanji puts it. They come and go, ebb and flow.
Learning how to do this is a skill that can be developed by anyone. Tanji as a mindfulness teacher and coach, helps people learn to practice mindfulness by working with individuals, and through workshops and online classes, including the 8-week course on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
And she definitely loves her work. One of her greatest joys she finds in teaching is hearing that students/clients love mindfulness as much as she does. She also describes the satisfaction she's received from hearing students say, "I'm okay being with me." Her great passion is to bring this sort of transformation through mindfulness to the people of the Heber Valley specifically.