Archived Blogs 2013

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Friday,  04 | 10 | 2013

 
October 2013 Autumn Blog Summer   holidays   allow   us   time   to   step   out   of   our   daily   routine,   to   reflect   and   enjoy   time   with family   and   friends.   With   mindfulness   we   notice   ‘if   I   do   this,   this   happens….or   if   I   do   that,   that happens’.   For   me,   I   had   been   aware   that   a   close   family   bereavement   last   summer   depleted   my resources   at   a   time   I   would   normally   be   taking   a   break.   This   had   a   knock-on   effect   last   year;   while   I was   able   to   function,   I   was   aware   that   I   was   not   ‘firing   on   all   cylinders.’   Accepting   this   and   being kind to myself along the way, I prioritised a longer break for summer 2013. For   parents,   summer   holidays   can   mean   a   special   time   to   be   with   children,   time   away   from screens   and   busy   schedules,   time   to   really   notice   our   children.   Watching   and   sharing   their   joy   as they   play   in   sand,   splash   and   swim   in   pools   or   the   sea,   collect   shells   and   pebbles;   time   to   notice the   sunset,   and   with   younger   children,   the   sunrise!   Times   to   chat,   laugh,   sing,   to   feel   the   warmth of   the   sun   and   a   cooling   breeze...   That   feeling   of   ‘nowhere   to   go   and   nothing   to   do’   reminding   me of the poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, often sung before mindful walking (below). Now   in   September   and   ‘back   on   the   rollercoaster’   as   I   have   heard   many   parents   describe   the   new term,   a   time   to   ask   the   question-   have   I   replenished   myself   for   the   busy   months   between   now   and Christmas   and   the   shorter   days?   If   no,   what   do   I   need   to   do?   I   recently   read   that   ‘it’s   not   what   you do   once   in   a   while   that’s   important,   but   what   you   do   day   to   day.’   Mindfulness,   or   awareness   of our   present   moment   experience,   will   help   us   to   notice   the   little   changes   that   make   day   to   day   life easier.   Perhaps   leaving   a   bit   earlier   rather   than   rushing,   eating   healthy   snacks   rather   than   sugar with   the   dip   in   energy   which   follows,   or   reducing   caffeine   (and   wine!)   so   we   sleep   better   at   night. Are   there   people   we   can   ask   for   support   when   we   need   it,   rather   than   plodding   on?   Importantly, remembering   not   to   give   ourselves   a   hard   time   when   we   get   things   ‘wrong,’   but   rather   paying attention   to   our   experience,   with   a   kind   and   curious   attention,   ‘non-judgmentally’   as   Jon   Kabat- Zinn defines mindfulness. And   so   now   to   autumn   with   its   beautiful   colours,   conkers   falling   to   the   ground,   the   sound   of   leaves crunching   underfoot   and   rain   on   a   window   pain;   the   soothing   glow   from   a   candle   or   a   warming fire   or   perhaps   a   brief   return   of   summer   warmth...   I   am   looking   forward   to   meeting   the   challenges ahead, with mindfulness of course and hope you are too. Karen Neil September 2013 with thanks to Kerry Manera Happiness by Thich Nhat Hanh ‘Happiness is here and now, I have dropped my worries Nowhere to go, nothing to do No long in a hurry Happiness is here and now, I have dropped my worries Somewhere to go, something to do, But I don’t need to hurry.’
May 2013 The last few months have been very exciting in the world of mindfulness. In March, I attended the Mindfulness in Society Conference in Chester and was ‘blown away’ by the momentum and enormous and far-reaching potential for the benefits of mindfulness. We had an amazing day of practice and dialogue with Jon Kabat-Zinn, over 500 people packed into the ground floor and conference room of a hotel from 9.30-6.30pm and yet it seemed like only a few hours.  Thankfully I resisted the temptation in my excitement to tweet that I was meditating with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Not long after this thought, he joked not to tweet ‘I am meditating with Jon Kabat-Zinn’ because ‘no you’re not!’ There were inspiring talks by Dr Shauna Shapiro, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale and last but not least, a standing ovation for Jon Kabat-Zinn. During his key-note speech he highlighted government policy areas for mindfulness: healthcare, education (adding value to the more cognitive SEAL programme), the military (supporting troops and their families), criminal justice, leadership, economic and social policies. He recommended a book by Jeffry Sachs ‘The Price of Civilisation.’ What was particularly inspiring was the commitment and dedication of these leaders in the field and the teams at Bangor, Oxford, Breathworks and others, to do their part with such energy, authenticity and integrity. There was a palpable buzz of excitement as we listened to a passionate pre-dinner talk from the MP Chris Ruane, during which he discussed the importance of mindfulness for the political agenda in the UK. He reminded us of the shocking mental health statistics, in particular the number of 16-25 year olds prescribed antidepressants. The place of antidepressants on ‘fast mover shelves’ of Community Pharmacies has long been one of my motivations for teaching mindfulness. Important parliamentary meetings with Jon Kabat-Zinn and others followed after the conference (for example, see this report in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/07/zen-buddhism-nhs). I returned from this meeting of minds with even more conviction and determination to pursue this work with my own authenticity and integrity, to play my small part from a firm base of my own mindfulness practice and training. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says ‘the quality of MBSR as an intervention is only as good as the MBSR instructor and his or her understanding of what is required to deliver a truly mindfulness-based programme (no pressure!!) He points out that ‘Mindfulness can only be understood from the inside out. It is not one more cognitive-behavioural technique to be deployed in a behaviour change paradigm, but a way of being and a way of seeing that has profound implications for understanding the nature of our own minds and bodies, and for living life as if it really mattered.’ I’ll leave you with a quote by Albert Einstein, which by coincidence, Jon Kabat-Zinn read in the New York Times, the month and year I was born. ‘A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such attainment is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.’ Karen Neil

Sunday,  19 | 05 | 2013

Tuesday,  26 | 02 | 2013

 
February 2013 With the first signs of spring comes a fresh new look for Mindful Medicine. I am extremely grateful to Phil Dowling for his continued hard work, inspiration and support with the website and my work. I feel extremely privileged to be training people to be more mindful and to share in their amazing journeys. I am also thankful to the many wise teachers I have met, and continue to meet, on my own journey into mindfulness. 2013 has already provided many opportunities for teaching and learning, with a trip to London to assist my dear teacher Patrizia Collard, and the company of the lovely Jake Dartington on the current 8-week course. It is wonderful to see Jake bringing his vast experience as a meditation teacher to 8-week courses in MBSR/MBCT. I enjoyed a day of mindful reflection on 2012 and planning for 2013 with my dear friend Katie Bonner O’Brien, an inspiring lady and experienced mindfulness practitioner. Katie has walked alongside me throughout my training and continues to inspire and support my work. I am looking forward to working with a network of mindfulness teachers in the Midlands, providing ongoing practice sessions and retreats in the area to support people with their practice. The opportunity to practise together is an enriching experience and I continue to be inspired by the wisdom and insights which come up during group practice. I have a lot to say (!) but will end with insights from Saturday’s day of silent practice. We again noticed how mindfulness practice provides space for ideas to ‘bubble up’ and creativity to flow; we appreciated a nourishing ‘time out’ away from our busy lives and we left with calm faces, happy smiles and a reminder how mindfulness can help us to navigate through life’s difficulties. Here’s to a mindful future! Karen Neil
© Mindfulmedicine.co.uk. All Rights Reserved   

Mindfulmedicine.co.uk

 

enabling awareness for all 

White Flowers Is that a smile Mr Robin Mr and Mrs Mallard taking time to wake up 9am 7th May Lowry-style fun in the snow below Wollaton Hall Deer winter scene Nottingham University Park Kite flying in Seaham North East University of Nottingham Trent Building Imprint in snow Field of Wheat or Oats Pink Beauty Autumn Leaves
enabling awareness for all
Mindfulmedicine.co.uk

Archived Blogs 2013

Click Images to enlarge

Friday,  04 | 10 | 2013

 
October 2013 Autumn Blog Summer holidays allow us time to step out of our daily routine, to reflect and enjoy time with family and friends. With mindfulness we notice ‘if I do this, this happens….or if I do that, that happens’. For me, I had been aware that a close family bereavement last summer depleted my resources at a time I would normally be taking a break. This had a knock-on effect last year; while I was able to function, I was aware that I was not ‘firing on all cylinders.’ Accepting this and being kind to myself along the way, I prioritised a longer break for summer 2013. For parents, summer holidays can mean a special time to be with children, time away from screens and busy schedules, time to really notice our children. Watching and sharing their joy as they play in sand, splash and swim in pools or the sea, collect shells and pebbles; time to notice the sunset, and with younger children, the sunrise! Times to chat, laugh, sing, to feel the warmth of the sun and a cooling breeze... That feeling of ‘nowhere to go and nothing to do’ reminding me of the poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, often sung before mindful walking (below). Now in September and ‘back on the rollercoaster’ as I have heard many parents describe the new term, a time to ask the question- have I replenished myself for the busy months between now and Christmas and the shorter days? If no, what do I need to do? I recently read that ‘it’s not what you do once in a while that’s important, but what you do day to day.’ Mindfulness, or awareness of our present moment experience, will help us to notice the little changes that make day to day life easier. Perhaps leaving a bit earlier rather than rushing, eating healthy snacks rather than sugar with the dip in energy which follows, or reducing caffeine (and wine!) so we sleep better at night. Are there people we can ask for support when we need it, rather than plodding on? Importantly, remembering not to give ourselves a hard time when we get things ‘wrong,’ but rather paying attention to our experience, with a kind and curious attention, ‘non-judgmentally’ as Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness. And so now to autumn with its beautiful colours, conkers falling to the ground, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and rain on a window pain; the soothing glow from a candle or a warming fire or perhaps a brief return of summer warmth... I am looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead, with mindfulness of course and hope you are too. Karen Neil September 2013 with thanks to Kerry Manera Happiness by Thich Nhat Hanh ‘Happiness is here and now, I have dropped my worries Nowhere to go, nothing to do No long in a hurry Happiness is here and now, I have dropped my worries Somewhere to go, something to do, But I don’t need to hurry.’

Tuesday,  26 | 02 | 2013

 
February 2013 With the first signs of spring comes a fresh new look for Mindful Medicine. I am extremely grateful to Phil Dowling for his continued hard work, inspiration and support with the website and my work. I feel extremely privileged to be training people to be more mindful and to share in their amazing journeys. I am also thankful to the many wise teachers I have met, and continue to meet, on my own journey into mindfulness. 2013 has already provided many opportunities for teaching and learning, with a trip to London to assist my dear teacher Patrizia Collard, and the company of the lovely Jake Dartington on the current 8-week course. It is wonderful to see Jake bringing his vast experience as a meditation teacher to 8-week courses in MBSR/MBCT. I enjoyed a day of mindful reflection on 2012 and planning for 2013 with my dear friend Katie Bonner O’Brien, an inspiring lady and experienced mindfulness practitioner. Katie has walked alongside me throughout my training and continues to inspire and support my work. I am looking forward to working with a network of mindfulness teachers in the Midlands, providing ongoing practice sessions and retreats in the area to support people with their practice. The opportunity to practise together is an enriching experience and I continue to be inspired by the wisdom and insights which come up during group practice. I have a lot to say (!) but will end with insights from Saturday’s day of silent practice. We again noticed how mindfulness practice provides space for ideas to ‘bubble up’ and creativity to flow; we appreciated a nourishing ‘time out’ away from our busy lives and we left with calm faces, happy smiles and a reminder how mindfulness can help us to navigate through life’s difficulties. Here’s to a mindful future! Karen Neil

Sunday,  19 | 05 | 2013

May 2013 The last few months have been very exciting in the world of mindfulness. In March, I attended the Mindfulness in Society Conference in Chester and was ‘blown away’ by the momentum and enormous and far- reaching potential for the benefits of mindfulness. We had an amazing day of practice and dialogue with Jon Kabat-Zinn, over 500 people packed into the ground floor and conference room of a hotel from 9.30-6.30pm and yet it seemed like only a few hours.  Thankfully I resisted the temptation in my excitement to tweet that I was meditating with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Not long after this thought, he joked not to tweet ‘I am meditating with Jon Kabat-Zinn’ because ‘no you’re not!’ There were inspiring talks by Dr Shauna Shapiro, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale and last but not least, a standing ovation for Jon Kabat-Zinn. During his key-note speech he highlighted government policy areas for mindfulness: healthcare, education (adding value to the more cognitive SEAL programme), the military (supporting troops and their families), criminal justice, leadership, economic and social policies. He recommended a book by Jeffry Sachs ‘The Price of Civilisation.’ What was particularly inspiring was the commitment and dedication of these leaders in the field and the teams at Bangor, Oxford, Breathworks and others, to do their part with such energy, authenticity and integrity. There was a palpable buzz of excitement as we listened to a passionate pre-dinner talk from the MP Chris Ruane, during which he discussed the importance of mindfulness for the political agenda in the UK. He reminded us of the shocking mental health statistics, in particular the number of 16-25 year olds prescribed antidepressants. The place of antidepressants on ‘fast mover shelves’ of Community Pharmacies has long been one of my motivations for teaching mindfulness. Important parliamentary meetings with Jon Kabat-Zinn and others followed after the conference (for example, see this report in the Guardian: www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/ 07/zen-buddhism-nhs). I returned from this meeting of minds with even more conviction and determination to pursue this work with my own authenticity and integrity, to play my small part from a firm base of my own mindfulness practice and training. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says ‘the quality of MBSR as an intervention is only as good as the MBSR instructor and his or her understanding of what is required to deliver a truly mindfulness-based programme (no pressure!!) He points out that ‘Mindfulness can only be understood from the inside out. It is not one more cognitive-behavioural technique to be deployed in a behaviour change paradigm, but a way of being and a way of seeing that has profound implications for understanding the nature of our own minds and bodies, and for living life as if it really mattered.’ I’ll leave you with a quote by Albert Einstein, which by coincidence, Jon Kabat-Zinn read in the New York Times, the month and year I was born. ‘A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such attainment is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.’ Karen Neil
© Mindfulmedicine.co.uk. All Rights Reserved   

Mindfulmedicine.co.uk

 

enabling awareness for all 

Deer winter scene Lowry-style fun in the snow below Wollaton Hall Imprint in snow White Flowers Kite flying in Seaham North East Field of Wheat or Oats Autumn Leaves
enabling awareness for all
Mindfulmedicine.co.uk