Some common responses are:
Compassion! Who needs compassion? Why on earth would I want to do a course about compassion? This is a good question and is we begin the Living Mindfully With Compassion course by asking, "What reasons can you come up with for not participating in compassion training?"
Some common responses are:
How many times have you made a New Year resolution not to keep it? How often do you think about something you’d like to change and you don't change it or do and you don’t do it? How many times have you resolved to begin or maintain a regular meditation practice and not done it? Perhaps now is the time to book an MBSR course. This 8-week course allows you to start, get hesitant and start again. It offers the time, structure, teacher and group support needed to begin to develop a habit.
One of the writers I love who speaks about making the changes you want to make is a sassy presenter, Kelly Mc Gonnigal. She’s practical, funny, full of ideas and very entertaining. She’s good to watch and good to read.
She has a useful book called ,”The willpower instinct”. She dispenses with words like procrastination and speaks about “willpower challenges”. Try this on! Say to yourself, “I’m a chronic procrastinator” and feel into the impact on you. Now say, “I’m facing a willpower challenge”. Which is the more empowering. For me, it feels like there is definitely more possibility of dealing with a will power challenge.
In 2018, I wrote a 5 week willpower course based on her work for procrastinating university students . The course combined her tips with procrastination, heaps of entertaining research antidotes, bits of procrastination brain science and a weekly short mindfulness practice.
When you come to a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, you learn many mindfulness practices that build on each other.
We begin with body practices (body scan, yoga and walking). What we learn in the body practices informs our breathing practice, and from there we move to an open awareness practice.
It is important to experience all of these practices, to learn what they offer and to emerge from the course with a capacity to work wisely, choosing and mixing the different meditation practices to best "meet yourself at the moment". The meditation jargon calls this, "working with skilful means'.
Here are 8 Tips to be more skillful.
For the last 2 years, I have run a February follow-up course to MBSR - a compassion course. In the first year, 15 people came along. Last year, six of those fifteen came back for the second time and some have said they will do it as a yearly event. So why do people come back?
There’s a Zen saying: “Kindness is the fruition of awareness, and awareness is the foundation of kindness.” The group consensus is that this course adds to MBSR which has an explicit focus on awareness, by bringing an equally explicit focus of kindness to the fore!
The Dutch founders of the course, Eric van der Brink and Frits Koster thought that MBSR/CT was too short for many people. They felt that this was particularly so for those of us who are either experts at being self-critical, perfectionistic, prone to being driven (striving), or uncomfortably familiar with shame. Almost everyone really!
Recent research adds credence to their decision with self-compassion practices being being increasingly documented as having many benefits. I'll speak more about these in future newsletters.
In this world of interconnectivity and instant results, cultivating patience can feel almost antithetical.
I was talking to an impatient new mum yesterday and remembering how many stages my son went through as a baby and how each step seemed to persist for a very long time. The crying at 1.00am seemed to go on forever. In reality, it was probably over in less than 12 weeks. The throwing food on the floor stage lasted …, well a few months.
In retrospect, I would like to say to the younger me, "relax, be patient, enjoy". "Whatever you do, however you respond, these stages will pass, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly."
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
Quotes! A good quote can capture a key idea in just a few words. It can stay with you and nurture you. Read on for a compilation of quotes by Jon Kabat-Zinn the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction that I've put together to reflect on how mindfulness adds to daily life.
The importance of paying attention to small moments
Mindfulness is a way of learning to pay attention. When we pay attention and we are not on automatic pilot we get to notice the texture of life- whatever that may be. JKZ says, “The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.” The more mindful we are the more we catch the small moments that make up life.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress or simply struggling to adjust to changes in life, you might be looking for something to make a difference. One option might be to consider seeing a counsellor, another might be to go to 8-week mindfulness-based-stress reduction course.
The first randomised study to compare the options of individual cognitive behavioural therapy or an eight-week mindfulness group for people with moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety found that there were no statistical differences between the two treatments.
I work as a counsellor in practice in Marrickville and have been teaching mindfulness-based stress reduction for ...
"Stress is inevitable in life in life and how we approach it will flavour our experience."
Jill Bolte- Taylor
In the MBSR course, I teach we begin by using a 16th-century definition of the word stress.
"The sore pressure or strain of adversity, trouble, hunger, sickness, pain, or sorrow; anguish or affliction affecting the body, spirit, or community."
I like this definition for many reasons. It honours this phenomenon of stress, elevating it to distress. We often fob off the experience of
I've just spent 4 days on a mindfulness retreat, recharging my internal batteries. A new participant asked the teacher a great question. She said, "sometimes you tell us we should slow down our breath to bring about a state of relaxation and at other times you tell us just to notice it and not change it. So which is right, changing the breath or letting it be?"
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.
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!