My name is: Polina Aronova-Cahn.
My stomping ground is: I live in NYC.
I’m known for being: I am a mother, a writer, an editor, a student, a traveler, a teacher—in other words, I’m a multi-dimensional human being (just like every other human) who strives to live consciously by honing an acute self-awareness in my words, relationships and actions.
I'm talking about: The mindfulness work I do is about walking my talk and living in a state of awakened truth. I admit it’s hard to speak on this subject without sounding a bit wonky. Being mindful is not a thing you do for x amount of minutes, and then proceed to be an a-hole for the remainder of the day. Mindfulness work is infinite, the constant excavation of oneself in the service of being a more present, aware, engaged, compassionate i.e. a better person in this world. In other words, mindfulness is not a thing you do; mindfulness is how you do everything.
You can find it at: The channel I am currently using to explore mindful living is by engaging others through my writing. Specifically, I am interested in telling the stories of creative thinkers who are building new realities across art, fashion, design, gastronomy and hospitality—people who are creating products, spaces and experiences that are beautiful and impactful, sustainable and intuitively human. Inevitably, it takes a mindful perspective to achieve this balance. As a culture, we are consumers, there’s no way around it, so I am interested in exploring the joys of design, utility and pleasurable experience and where that intersects with impact work. Combined, they are the lifestyle and consumption pillars of our future.
You can check out my work at polinaaronova.com.
Before I started this mindfulness work, I was: Life is long, and I have learned to go with the flow of its peaks and valleys and listen to my intuition when it guides me down a new path. That said, my early career was in fashion. I began in communications, then moved onto show and event production, followed by a decade and a half as a stylist and editor. As I evolved as a person, meaning I got older, I became more focused on a healthy and balanced living and became a parent. The hierarchies and attitudes in the system no longer gelled with the way I wanted to live my life. I began to pursue what filled me. Firstly, I committed to knowing myself better. This began with a physical practice. The physical led me to mental/emotional work, which taught me the importance of breath. In the end, I got certified as a yoga instructor, went to business school and I recently completed a mindfulness meditation teacher course.
For the past eight years, I have been exploring ways to combine my experiences in order to share the value of living in a more awakened state, and showing people the abundance of possibilities open to them when approaching life through a mindful lens. To do good work and be a good person, you need to start with yourself, then be a beacon of your self-discovery that radiates outwards.
My interest was sparked when: Committing to the rituals of practice: morning meditation, regular movement/exercise, healthy eating, changed me. When I shifted how I cared for myself, talked to myself and created space to acknowledge (note I didn’t say “remove”) my spiral of negative thoughts, my perceptions and responses towards others also changed. I discovered a world more vast within, and thus began seeing it in others.
At first the shifts are small: I’m conscious of the leaves dancing in the wind as I speed-walk down lower Broadway to a meeting, I can hear and feel the story my friend is telling me without a need to interrupt nor inject myself into their experiences, and time becomes malleable and expansive. (I’ve come to understand that things happen when they are supposed to happen, whereas rushing and grasping only slows you down.) Much of this seems obvious and logical, but it’s quite difficult to transcend one’s self-centeredness. It takes work, regular, daily practice. When I lapse, I quickly see my old habits and reactions creep right in.
One moment when mindfulness helped me was: Once I was able to take a beat, a breath in a triggering moment, in order to respond in a thoughtful manner, I knew the self-work I was doing was paying off. With a regular practice, I have become less reactive and more responsive to the inevitable annoyances and frustrations of every day life. P.S. This does not mean becoming passive.
One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is: I have two truths I would like people to consider:
- The only thing you can control is yourself: your actions/reactions, your words/silences and your responses to others. Nobody makes you react in a particular manner. Every interaction is a choice, and it’s all you. A regular mindfulness mediation practice gives you access to those flashes of introspection and pause in order to avoid a mindless reaction.
- Each of us is a mirror. What aggravates you within someone else is likely a trait you possess. Ask yourself why you’re bothered by someone else’s actions—something to contemplate and sit with, and that too is a mindfulness practice.