Life-changing is a word I rarely use. But it is one that we apply to mindfulness. Mindfulness is ‘a way of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally’. For anyone whose brain is always caught up in thoughts from the sublime What’s is all About? to the ridiculous Where did I put my Keys this Time?, the great liberation of mindfulness is that is says: okay, you’re thinking, that’s what minds do. By paying attention, you can come to see the thoughts as thoughts; recognise that a lot of the time you are on autopilot, and slowly learn to bring your attention to the richness of every day life. Doing this can enhance the quality of your life and relationships – and improve the way you communicate.
I trained through the Centre for Mindfulness Research at the University of Bangor to teach mindfulness when a serious illness forced me to slow down and think hard about what I wanted to do with my ‘one wild and precious life’. Mindfulness (and creative writing) were two answers to the question and I continue to explore and deepen my practice through vipassana and insight meditation.
I offer both the formal eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses originally developed by Jon Kabat Zinn at the University of Massachusett. I also draw on the approaches in my coaching and run less formal mindfulness training for groups and individuals.