For the past 25 years, Dr. Lisa Firestone has been a practicing clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. Lisa works as the Director of Research and Education at The Glendon Association and a Senior Editor at PsychAlive.org. She is the coauthor of several books most recently The Self Under Siege (Routledge Press) Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships (APA Books) Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice (New Harbinger Publications) and Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion: The Wisdom of Psychotherapy (APA Books). We caught up with Dr. Firestone to discuss mindfulness, essential BuDhaGirl qualities, and the benefits of daily intention setting.
BuDhaGirl: BuDhaGirl’s purpose is to affect cultural change by turning routines into rituals. BuDhaGirl is also a fashion company. Were you surprised by the concept of BuDhaGirl?
Dr. Lisa Firestone: I was, and it took me a little bit to get my mind around it when I first heard about it. But it’s really interesting, I think the way you guys have implemented it has been a nice mix.
BDG: Why is “mindfulness” entering mainstream society now?
LF: Contemplative practice is a very ancient practice that most major religions had at one point or another. It’s an essential part of being human, and we’ve lost track of that in the modern world - that may be why it’s appealing to people, the idea of slowing down and being present, being able to have that peace and equanimity is so hard when everything is grabbing our attention the way it is nowadays.
BDG: How can setting intentions at the beginning of the day affect us?
LF: I think a practice of meditating at the beginning of the day leads to a more calm day and a more purposeful one as well, and the same in terms of setting intentions. The research on intention setting is pretty good – when we set an intention, or visualize ourselves doing something, we’re much more likely to be able to do it and carry through. Otherwise, we live our day with our intention being caught by whatever is screaming the loudest or what we’re being bombarded by, instead of, how do we intentionally want to come into our day, how do we want to be in our day, I think that is really, really important.
BDG: What techniques can we use to de-clutter and refocus; or what steps can we take daily to increase our brain function and heighten creativity and focus?
LF: Taking a couple of minutes to breathe and check in with ourselves, even sometimes before you get out of bed, just laying still for a minute and checking in with your body and and doing a body scan. One I really like that learned from Tara Brach at a conference, at Wisdom 2.0 actually last year, is not just a body scan, but sending positive messages to every part of your body. We usually are mad at the part of our bodies that hurt. Instead of wanting to avoid this part or be angry at it, just have a kind attitude toward ourselves and our body,
BDG: What actions do people take that might be compromising their brain health?
LF: Certainly standing in front of the mirror and being self-critical, a lot of our work and my work as a psychologist, is dealing with the ways we are self-critical. I think that there is a lot on a subtle level we’re listening to that and paying attention to, and that is hurtful to our day. Also, we think that we have to push ourselves through our day rather than paying attention and checking in with ourselves about how we’re feeling during the day.
BDG: What do you do for ultimate relaxation?
LF: For me personally, sailing is part of that, partly because you’re disconnected and it used to be way more so. Now because of phones and communication being what it is, we’re not all that unreachable even at sea. Sailing is a really nice break, water is very calming in general whether that’s a walk on the beach, or being in water, or being on the water like you are when you’re sailing and seeing the world from that perspective is incredibly calming. It takes you away from the barrage of input that we can have. In general for me too is being in nature, where there are trees and an ocean I’m happy.
BDG: Who is the quintessential BuDhaGirl to you? What qualities define a BuDhaGirl?
LF: That’s Jessica. She brings an elegance to it and it’s combining wanting to look elegant and caring about fashion with wanting to be mindful. Obviously those two things are very important to her, and she’s found a way to wed those two together, which is unusual. We usually think people who are into fashion as being shallow, or then there are people who are mindful and they’re hippies and don’t care at all about how they look. There are people who embody both, and I think that is what BuDhaGirl is about.
BDG: What’s your favorite piece of BuDhaGirl jewelry?
LF: I don’t know if I could list one piece as a favorite, I’m always interested in the new things you’re coming out with. I’m always looking, and I think that’s my approach to fashion. I like to look and see what’s catching my interest now.