Monthly Archives: June 2020

my week of mindfulness – teaching online

So today, as I continue an intentional week of online mindfulness events, I was teaching a group of unpaid carers mindfulness skills. During lockdown I have been a complete convert to online teaching via Zoom. Of course it’s not the same as being together in a room but actually these virtual communities are the next best thing. And as a teacher who is used to arriving at dusty unloved community halls with little in the way of IT support or functioning projectors, what I have noticed is that screen share on Zoom is 100% more likely to allow participants to see my lovingly crafted powerpoint presentation than the previously mentioned dusty community halls.

And we have breakout room technology to allow participants to mix and mingle and by the end of a short online course and especially an eight week online course, there is a sense of community, a sense that we have shared a meaningful journey together – we have practiced, we have connected and shared and we have had a bit of nosey into where we chose to sit for each class. Perhaps this glimpse of our homes and lives is more authentic than the self we often show in a community hall or at work, perhaps that’s why these groups feel meaningful and reduce the sense of social isolation that we can all feel during lockdown.

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Online teaching is not the same as face to face classes but it’s an important resource and support to those who are feeling isolated and disconnected as the lockdown and social distancing continues into the future. For this reason I am now offering more online content in the coming months. Follow this link for details of the Mindfulness-Based Sleep Hygiene Course, an affordable and practical course rooted in the latest research around sleep hygiene supported by journalling and daily mindfulness practice thismindfullife.net

And for this reason I am proud to be working in partnership with and supportive of unpaid carers in Hertfordshire during the uncertainty of lockdown.

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my week of mindfulness CPD

It was this week coming that I was due to go on my annual retreat to Gaia House. It won’t come as a surprise to hear it has been cancelled this year.

Each year I spend time choosing which retreat to go on, like choosing from a luxurious box of chocolates, I look at the group retreat programme and feel spoilt for choice as I work out the logistics of which week I can do, which teaching speaks to me and which teachers I feel I might connect with. This year’s choice would have been particularly welcome – run by two women, both of colour, neither British – this was not your business as usual stuffy old white man assisted by a svelte younger woman dynamic that can dominate many retreats. I was looking forward to it.

 

But part of my lockdown has been noticing the small (and sometimes not so small) wins. As a result of lock down BAMBA, my guiding body, accepts that I and all mindfulness teachers, cannot go on retreat this year. I have faithfully gone on retreat every year for the last five years – to finally have a year off, especially when you have a young family, is actually quite welcome. Gaia House dutifully returned my deposit within a week of cancelling it and I don’t have to stump up more money on train fares and extra childcare.

As I am now on a year long sabbatical from my day job to focus on my therapeutic training and family life, on a practical level this reduction in costs is also quite welcome. Couple with that the fact that many mindfulness events and conferences are being offered online this year (and are mostly free) I feel like this is win-win-win – no CPD fees, no trains to pay for and no missing time with my family.

I am getting better at the old work-life balance and lock down has played no small part in it. I have been mindful not to go mad booking myself onto online training – there’s so much out there that I am back to feeling like the kid in front of the box of chocolates all over again. So I have been ignoring a lot of it and just walking in nature instead.

But this week I plan to engage in a virtual mindfulness retreat and some CPD events. Just one week long burst and then I will retreat back to nature and living mostly offline. It kicked off tonight with a free CPD from CMRP Bangor. Their conference usually costs around £500, way out of my budget and too far away to travel to as well but this year it’s all free and all online. Why wouldn’t I take them up on that? So I signed up to Mindfulness Based Science CPD tonight, excused myself from the kids bedtime and immersed myself with my mindfulness teaching tribe. to check in with how science can better support my teaching.

Embracing some online CPD and a retreat for the next week feels good but after that I know will go back to my low fi approach in nature and my garden and with my daily walks, which feels 10 times more mindful than staring at a screen.

Total Mindfulness Practice time today: 45 minutes