“Where do you feel fear in your body?” Emily Smith, Therapist from Des Moines’ Prairie Wellness asked a crowd of Lifelong Learners at the Perry Public Library.

Silence filled the room, accompanied by the shuffling of feet against the linoleum floor.

Smith moved her hands to her abdomen, squeezing them into a fist.

“It’s like a tightening in my solar plexus,” Smith described. “It’s like, I want to get rid of it as quickly as possible; I don’t like this.”

Mindfulness Meditation takes time to understand, Smith explained.

Over the course from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Lifelong Learners crowd learned about the process of focusing entirely on the present.

The group of twenty participated in multiple breathing activities that allowed them to focus on specific aspects during the activity: body parts, background noise, inner thoughts.

After each activity, group reactions were discussed by members, addressing areas they found interesting or learned about themselves.

One group member realized she relies heavily on breathing through one nostril in contrast to the other. Jill Cook, Media Librarian, became aware of an arch in her heel, later causing stress to her feet.

Smith led a discussion about issues group members face in their everyday lives. Politics, family members, work, money and health issues were brought to attention.

“Being human is difficult,” Smith told the group as she guided them into discussion.

The two-hour session was designed as a shorter segment of the mindfulness programs Smith typically holds.

For those dealing with stress or find themselves walking away from an argument, Smith told the group how focusing on a certain element can alter your mood.

“Just find ten minutes,” Smith said. “It could really make a difference in your life.”

According to Cook, the Perry Public Library has books about the meditation process as a whole for those who are interested in learning more.

The next event for Lifelong Learners has yet to be set.