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  • Writer's pictureCarolina Campos Ruiz

Chasing mindfulness with Alessandra Chiareli: How witnessing a solar eclipse can teach us to be present in the moment

Updated: May 16

Alessandra Chiareli on the Speaking of Phenomenal Podcast

In the latest episode of the Speaking of Phenomenal Podcast, host Amy Boyle talks to mindfulness champion Alessandra Chiareli, Ph.D. Alessandra, a 2018 original Phenomenal Woman, shares her journey from stress, burnout and heart issues to finding healing through daily meditation. "I learned so much about myself and about the power of presence to help us make the most of the life that is in front of us." She describes how this experience inspired her to blend mindfulness and leadership at 3M, where she worked for 30 years.

With her unique perspective as a trained scientist and a self-proclaimed “eclipse chaser,” Alessandra shows how events like the recent solar eclipse on April 8 can serve as powerful opportunities to practice mindfulness. She reminds us that only by mastering the art of being present can we effectively manage stress, heal from past and future anxieties and connect with our best selves. "That's what it's all about. How can we be our best to make a difference?" 

But Alessandra's path to witnessing the eclipse was not without its challenges. She and her husband, who had also seen the 2017 eclipse in Nashville, faced an Airbnb cancellation in Mazatlán, Mexico (a popular viewing spot this year), unpredictable weather conditions and an 11-hour last-minute trip to another town. Despite these difficulties, they were able to witness and document the eclipse. "You just keep remembering that it was so worth it."

She also gives practical tips on how to enjoy eclipses:

  • Book your flights and hotel in advance (for her, hotels are more reliable than Airbnb).

  • Research the path of totality and cloud coverage.

  • Don't let the effort to document the phenomenon distract you from what is happening right before your eyes.

  • Be flexible.

As Alessandra prepares for another eclipse adventure, which will take place in Spain in 2026 and should last about a minute, she becomes less worried about documenting it and more focused on the experience. She wants to see the "diamond ring," a flash of light right before the moon covers the sun. She missed it in Nashville and Mexico. "That power of presence to be in the moment, to be there enjoying each second of that amazing experience is going to be something that I'll be cultivating so that I can be my best self open to that incredible phenomenon."

For Alessandra, a solar eclipse is "a moment that pulls all of our attention to being present." But she has also learned how to find those moments in her daily life, regardless of extraordinary phenomena. She practices meditation and breathing exercises every day. "When you're present, you pay attention to your life…and experiencing life is how we enrich our soul, how we feel more joy."

How do you find those moments in your routine?

Carolina Baldin is a freelance journalist from Brazil. Having worked in law, policy and regulation, she is passionate about everyday stories that illustrate larger issues. She graduated from a master's program at Northwestern University in 2023 and became a guest blogger on the "Speaking of Phenomenal" podcast blog in March 2024.


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