Mindfulness crept into my life about 12 years ago after I completed a Mindfulness Based Reduction for Stress Course [MBSR], offered by my workplace, a Hospice. The teachings touched a need in me to want to experience life in a calmer and more enjoyable way; to find ways to be present helpfully to the way my life was unfolding rather than engage in battling with the automatic behaviours with repeating conflicting thoughts and emotions, with all the attendant emotional and physical fallouts.
This was not an overnight conversion. The 8 week course was the start, a peek into the possibility of living with kindness and compassion to myself and others. Over the following two years I realised that when I gave myself time, even just 10 minutes a day, and practised a meditation or spent time in Nature or mindful movement, the sense of dealing with life became easier and more enjoyable. Allowing the stress and anxieties a place to be felt and addressed with compassion was a revelation. It did not stop the angst in my life happening, but it enabled helpful changes to how I was, and am, with what happens in life. With coming alongside life using mindful approaches, it was wonderful that it also let the door open to discovering the joys of the smallest of things; a little like the approach of a child, who finds the slow snail fascinating, the gnarled tree bark beautiful, the feel of mud underfoot absorbing.
Finding a Mindful approach to life so helpful, I was prompted to bring Mindfulness into my workplace. With the help and support of Breathworks I trained as a Breathworks Teacher and have over the last 8 years delivered a Mindfulness programme, from one to one sessions, to 8 week courses, regular Mindfulness drop ins and all day retreat practices for the service users, and wider communities, at the Hospice. This is a poignant and tender journey for myself and the people I share Mindfulness with.