I am so glad you are here. There's just so much I want to share with you, but one of the most important things is how...
Learning awareness and compassion-based practices has transformed my personal and professional life with greater well-being.
After graduate school, I hopped around from assignment to assignment trying to find that perfect school-based job and where I fit in best as a new speech clinician. Right when I thought I found my ideal work site and position, it only took a few weeks in this new role to realize my external environment was not going to create my happiness.
A few co-workers shared their first impressions and beliefs about me to one another, based on a misunderstanding around a tattoo, a black ink sun, that was visible on my foot during an assessment.
One morning, I was called into the director’s office regarding the team’s worries and concerns about my values. My brand new job was on the line, my new relationships were on the line, and I was heartbroken hearing the inaccurate thoughts and rumors about my character that were circulating.
I immediately felt devastated, alone, and nervous to be on campus. These feelings continued to show up each day at work. On one particular day, I left my desk to sob in my car. I wanted to lash out, quit my job, and numb my pain. I wanted to run home and sulk on my couch, and never look back at this assignment.
While sitting in my car, highly emotional and reactive, my phone rang. It was the new OT calling me to collaborate on a shared client. Bursting into tears, I told her that I was not available to be in a work conversation at that moment.
Naturally, she asked me why, so I poured my heart out to her.
Trying to catch my breath between words, I explained the story with raw emotions.
It didn’t feel fair that this was happening to me and I wanted to close off.
Something happened in that vulnerable moment, sharing my experience with the OT, where everything changed. She helped ground me, recognizing where I was in that moment without judgment or blame. She swiftly guided me through my pain and suffering using mindfulness and compassion-based strategies to help me focus and re-center myself. Her first simple method, stop and take a breath, halted my victim train dead in its tracks.
The OT's mindfulness and compassion-based strategies, at that critical moment, were transformative. I stopped resisting what was happening to me, and I opened up to the life I was presently experiencing. I was released from my defensiveness, and the obsessive emotions and thoughts around the story. I arrived at a place of present-minded awareness and self-compassion, a place of calmness, clarity and wisdom.
I was able to find my center, use wise speech and advocate for myself to the team without coming from a place of negativity and blame. I spoke from a place in my heart, a place of wisdom and compassion. This was a place where I could be received and heard by others, and a place where I could be open to feedback. I didn’t throw judgment but rather curiosity and interest in the team's perceptions.
We were able to peacefully open the dialogue to understand each other’s views. We were able to come to the truth and a mutual understanding, one of respect and consideration. This made for more productive collaboration with the professionals at the school site for the rest of the year.
I didn’t need to run home to my couch to solve this.
I needed to run “home” to that place in my heart, the place of belonging, the place of living from and being right where I was in the moment.
As more challenges came my way, I longed for that feeling of calm and ease that came from practicing mindfulness and compassion-based strategies. I longed to get “home” to that grounded feeling where the world wasn’t spinning out of control under my feet. Mindfulness was truly the door for me getting "home".
Since that pivotal moment in time in 2011, I have deepened my practice with mindfulness, compassion-based practices and meditation. I discovered and read books on the topics. I took numerous courses when they came up. I got a life coach. You name it, I sought it.
I completed an online 2-year training in Awareness and Compassion-Based practices. I hold a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification, provided by Sounds True in partnership with the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
My instructors include some of the world's most respected mindfulness teachers of modern day: Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Ruth King, Kristin Neff and so many others.
I’ve experienced firsthand the transition from being emotional, reactive, and a stressed out SLP, to being a more compassionate, intentional and a patient SLP, who knows how to establish boundaries, advocate for my needs, show up with more wisdom, clarity, and care for my emotional and physical well-being.
More than anything else, I want the same for you.
I place a strong value on health and well-being, work-life balance, compassionate communication, sustainability, and self-development. I place a strong importance on thankful appreciation, generosity, and kindness. If you align with my value system, or any of these core principles, then I invite you to stay connected with my resources.
If you’re a professional seeking more ease in your personal or professional life, deeper understanding and more meaningful and fulfilling relationships, you owe it to your future self to experience firsthand the emotional and physical, science-backed benefits that mindfulness and compassion-based practices provide-- and to take real, tangible steps to transforming your life as well as the lives of those you touch. It's a personal revolution, and it starts with YOU!
ALL my gratitude,
Stephanie Michele Sweigart M.S. CCC-SLP
Stephanie Michele Sweigart is the leading expert on mindfulness and compassion-based practices in special education. She is certified as a Teacher of Mindfulness Meditation and as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Stephanie Michele is a presenter for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s national convention 2023. She is the founder of a woman-owned Non-Public Agency, Golden State Speech Pathology Services, Inc. since 2013. Stephanie Michele is the author and creator of the popular course, “ShiftMakers: 1.0” and “The Framework to Becoming a Mindful Speech Clinician”. She is also a speaker and YouTube host for SpeechTherapyPD.com. Her insights have been featured on numerous podcasts including “Keys for SLPs” and “Speech Science Podcast” where she shares her passion and thought leadership on professional holistic practices. She believes in the mission and is a supporting member for The Center for NonViolent Communication. Stephanie’s unwavering dedication to empowering individuals to use clear and compassionate communication underscores her mission to make a profound impact in the world of special education.