The Mindful Missy, a superb platform created by Meher Tareen, provides a safe space to discuss real life issues that we face as a society ruled by unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection. While the platform mostly functions via its highly active Instagram page as well as its website, it also goes beyond the cyber world and tends to host several events throughout the year. These interactive events focus on practical tools that can be applied in order to manage anxiety and make way for self-healing, including regular group therapy sessions. OK! Pakistan talks to Meher and learns more about this much-needed platform, how The Mindful Missy came into existence, mindfulness, and so much more…
How did you begin The Mindful Missy?
Meher Tareen: The Mindful Missy is a wellness platform that promotes taking care of one’s mental health just like we take care of our bodies through movement and eating right. We do this through our active Instagram account where we discuss real issues like body image, anxiety, trauma and abuse. We also have a website that features inspirational stories from real life heroes who share their journeys. In addition to our online presence we host interactive events where we invite a panel of speakers that provide practical tools to manage anxiety (yoga, meditation, breath work, homeopathy, therapy) and share their personal experiences of self-healing. We also offer group therapy sessions in Lahore led by therapist Tanya Adam Khan and produce and screen short films.
Why did you feel the need to start a platform such as this?
MT: I want to influence our generation to replace mental health stigma with mental health support.
What is the concept behind The Mindful Missy?
MT: I wanted to talk about the real issues that plague our lives but in my own casual, easy to absorb way and so The Mindful Missy was born.
How would you define mindfulness to someone who was a complete stranger to it?
MT: Living in the present moment instead of focusing your thoughts on regrets of the past or worries about the future.
How did you come to start practicing mindfulness?
MT: Through breath work and meditation.
What was The Mindful Missy’s Journey to Wellness event about?
MT: We’ve hosted one in Lahore and Karachi and I’m so grateful to have had such a great turnout and such meaningful conversations.
You can’t fix the person without fixing the society – is that true in your view?
MT: It’s actually the other way around. You can change society by changing yourself.
One of the first lessons we learn in mindfulness is “you are not your thoughts”.
Some people find this concept difficult to grasp. What would you say to that?Would it be fair to say that most people come to meditation out of a state of crisis in their lives?
MT: According to Eckhart Tolle when you realise that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually. The mind is a tool. Who we are is not our mind or our thoughts. Thoughts come and go like clouds in the unchanging sky; we are the consciousness within.
How optimistic are you about mindfulness moving further and becoming a more mainstream practice?
MT: I’m very optimistic because it’s the need of the hour and I feel it’s caught on.
What are you working on right now that has you most excited?
MT: We’ve just wrapped up filming on our second short film with writer and director Marya Javed. Our first short film was about the loneliness and lack of connection you can feel in a seemingly good marriage. Our upcoming short film is about repressed female sexuality.
What is the inspiration behind your digital covers?
MT: By featuring real people who share their struggles and bare their vulnerabilities we hope to encourage authenticity and start a powerful movement towards a more accepting and compassionate community.
How has the response been on The Mindful Missy?
MT: Overwhelmingly positive and for that I’m extremely grateful.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
MT: Exactly where I am.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Areesh Zubair