Voluntary Action Camden

Making time for mindfulness

14th June 2016, by Yvonne

My previous experience of mindfulness was; to put it mildly, uninspiring, and had in fact put me off looking further into the subject. But mindfulness has become the latest ‘go to therapy’ for the NHS to use these days and has an important place in slowing down the fast-paced world we currently exist in.

So, with this in mind I was delighted when Maureen invited me to an introduction to mindfulness workshop with Tri from AuthentiCity. I respect Maureen and trust her judgement so knew that the facilitator would be congruent and respectful and I was not disappointed. Tri is a calm teacher and produced a very tranquil feeling within the room.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is the most studied school of mindfulness and was founded by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre.

One of the things that I liked was that Tri concentrated on the simplicity of mindfulness – she didn’t dress it up in fancy packaging or make it mystical in any way -it can be something as natural as waking up in the morning. Tri thinks mindfulness is a simple task; deliberately paying attention in a non-judgemental way, moment to moment.

We were told about the possibility of the thoughts that came up not being positive and that the experience might not be blissful and Tri explained that it’s about learning to sit with the uncomfortable emotions and feelings as they are. And I appreciated Tri’s integrity as so many articles avoid any negative connotations.

In one of our exercises, each of us was given a couple of raisins. Tri asked us to weigh them up in our hands, look at their appearance and asked us questions which led to us examining our raisins in detail. Some of us formed a connection with our raisins and when we were asked to roll it around our mouth and hold it between our teeth, found it quite difficult to do! Personally, I found the sensation of exploring the texture and the anticipation of squishing the raisin exciting, and the result was as if tasting one for the first time.

Mindfulness won’t appeal to everyone and I suspect that not everyone will have a positive outcome, but I think that’s true of each therapy. However, I think that it is safe to say that my experience with Tri was transformational and that I’m a convert to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – imagine having the skill to experience any aspect of life in this way, the possibilities are endless.