MINDFUL ORIGINS, MINDFUL LIVING, & THE MINDFUL WAY THROUGH CANCER
In 1993, as a sophomore in high school, Alex traveled across the United States as a participant in a month-long wilderness immersion program, where he was first introduced to meditation. When the group reached California at the half way point of their journey, they pulled off of historic Highway 1 to hike through a field of wild flowers before gathering at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While seated with the expansive view of the ocean in front of them, they were guided through a mindful practice, absorbing the complete sensory experience of the surroundings, acknowledging the interconnectedness of all things, and attuning to the abundant gift that presence can bring to each one of us. What began as a way to more fully enjoy the view from a California coastline, ultimately grew into a way to live life, love life, and enjoy life.
The seed for mindfulness was planted, but the practice and understanding was not well established for Alex until a couple years later when he stumbled upon a book written by Phil Jackson, Sacred Hoops. In this book, Coach Phil Jackson recounts how he brought the practice of mindfulness to the Chicago Bulls en route to winning multiple NBA Championships. Jackson referenced the expertise of Kabat-Zinn throughout the book, which helped set Alex on the path of where to find more information regarding a consistent mindfulness practice for himself. One decade later Alex received his professional training in mindfulness under the direction of Jon Kabat-Zinn, which enhanced Alex's own practice while also embarking upon a path of teaching the skill to others.
In the spring of 2017, Alex was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, which metastasized in areas throughout his pelvis, and temporarily caused 60% acute kidney failure. The diagnosis was even a surprise to the doctors all over the country who had never seen or read about prostate cancer metastasizing in such a manner for someone Alex's age (39). And so, after almost 25 years of practicing mindfulness, this became the greatest test of performance and resiliency in the face of adversity. The treatments continue to this day, the cancer is in remission, and Alex is confident in the knowledge that his mindfulness practice is one of the key ingredients for saving his life. Mindfulness not only helped save his life, it has taught him how to live life, and that is the most important performance for us all. Through this recent experience, Alex is only more invigorated by every opportunity to teach mindfulness-based strategies to others, helping them maximize their ability to achieve their own goals, from presence, to championships, to life.