This morning I did the shopping for my elderly mother. I took it to her back door. We did not touch or come close to each other. She sat at the back door, and I sat outside on the deck, keeping a reasonable distance from her and wanting to hug her. I reflected that COVID19 is redefining the nature of care: suddenly, it seems the best way we can care for others beyond our immediate households is to keep our distance. Social distancing is redefining what it means to be connected
I highly recommend the Buddha patch. It is fast, quick and effective! It costs next t o nothing and takes no effort. If you don't believe it, well, you might be better off booking into an MBSR course.
Mindfulness courses like anything else that is marketed are often sold on their positives. They promote a self-improvement slant. You'll be more productive, more appealing, calmer, a better person! You can read a few of my blog posts to get rap on some of the substantiated benefits of mindfulness Post1, Post 2 and these benefits can be real and have an strong evidence base.
But the state of the world right now is difficult and perhaps the capacity of mindfulness training as a way of "being with the difficult" is more important than it's shinier surfaces.
A lot of people say to me, "I have tried mindfulness and I can't do it". I teach the acclaimed 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course and have never met someone who can't learn to be more mindful. There are many ways that your practice of mindfulness can go astray when you are learning. I've found that it helps to clarify what mindfulness is, how it is is good for you and what it isn't. Read on for some answers to these questions.
Nothing terrible has happened to me, and it has been a difficult month. What does difficult mean? Well, life throws forward many challenges. All of us will face loss, all of us will have our hearts broken, we will all suffer ill health, and many of us will experience unwanted pain in our lives.
It is inevitable that life will throw both personal and external changes and difficulties in our path and that we will need to navigate these challenges because they are unavoidable. How skillfully we navigate these moment or events often flavours of our lives. Approaching difficult experiences, mindfully can help.
In the last month, I have faced 2 challenges, one personal and one shared with many of you.
As you read this newsletter, I am trekking in Nepal. I walked in the Himalaya in my 20's and 30's and am visiting the mountains once more in my 50's before time takes me to an age and body where this is no longer possible.
One of the things I love in Nepal is the greeting “Namaste”. When I first heard the word, I loved the sound itself thinking it meant hello, how are you. Later, I learned that the meaning is, “From the divine in me, I acknowledge and bow to the divine in you”. I have never been very comfortable with
We have just had week 7 of our current MBSR course and there is one week to go. Something magical happens by Week 7 where a disparate group of people who were strangers just a short time ago develop a shared intimacy in the class. It is not as if we know each other well...we don't, but we have gone through a process of self-exploration together and thus appreciate the effort it takes to participate wholeheartedly in a course like MBSR.
The varying styles of mindfulness
I’ve been practising mindfulness meditation for about 30 years. In that time, I’ve come across so many different, flavours, styles and nuances.
Read on to discover 3 different approaches; the mindfulness marathon, the mindfulness jog and the mindfulness stroll.
Edition on Mindfulness
The August issue of Current Opinion in Psychology is dedicated to mindfulness and is a resource worth having. The downloads are free till 30th October. There is a zip file of the entire issue at the top of the page so you can avoid downloading each file separately
There is an ongoing experiment where people are phoned at random times and asked 3 questions. What are you doing? How immersed are you in what you are doing? How satisfied are you? Consistent results show that those people who are fully engaged in present moment experience in an accepting way (mindful), are generally more satisfied than those who are distracted, regardless of what they are doing.
This means that someone who is mindfully washing the dishes is more likely to say they are happy than someone on a cruise in the Caribbean who is distracted. Or someone dealing with a difficult situation may be more satisfied than someone having a day off work but thinking about the past or the future.
Mindfulness practice not only offers the possibility of greater satisfaction but a way to engage with the present moment, without becoming overwhelmed - think the current fires, difficult relationships and just the daily stress that life throws at you.
I've just had what feels like a mindfulness sabbatical. After 6 years of teaching MBSR I've had 2 terms off. While taking a break, I've been immersing myself in the wonderful world of mindfulness podcasts.
I have listened to some wonderful talks and have been refining my thoughts on teaching MBSR in Sydney, Australia in 2019. Most of the presenters talk about the overlap between contemplative buddhist informed ideas, western psychology and neuroscience.
Many of these podcasts have been thought provoking and I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.
Tienne Simons is a therapist and the founder of HeadRest Mindfulness training. She did her training in MBSR when she became convinced that the program was not only a useful add on to therapy for many but sometimes a more appropriate way to support people than counselling. She has had a mindfulness practice for about 30 years- well nearly!