What is mindfulness? The next time I’m asked, I may well recommend ‘The Little Mindfulness Workbook,’ by Gary Hennessey, co-founder of Breathworks. The small, compact size of this new mini book is appealing, yet Gary, with his extensive experience practising and teaching mindfulness, introduces many key principles and practices. He captures the essence of mindfulness, which can be so hard to articulate, in a down to earth and friendly manner.Read More
It was a dark winter’s afternoon and I was surrounded by fields in rural Suffolk. I’d lost all sense of where I was when I embarked on my first meditation retreat, but the centre soon enveloped me in its gentle and calm atmosphere. I was at Vajrasana, part of the London Buddhist Centre, in the state of the art ‘intelligent’ building that opened in 2016. Communal spaces, bedrooms and meditation spaces surrounded peaceful courtyards. Each way I looked, a picture was framed by the architecture, changing with the light and dark, and the misty fog that seemed to shroud us until our final afternoon.Read More
There’s a picture that has been hung up with the decorations in my parents’ home for as long as I can remember. It exudes feelings of love, warmth, light and joy. There’s a closeness and intimacy of the family holding hands together; everyone is connected as they share such a special day. Looking at it conjures up warm, cosy memories of my childhood Christmases, but I know for many, Christmas can be a very different experience. Some people are alone, others feel lonely even though they are surrounded by people. The same is often true living with a chronic illness. You can find yourself spending lengthy stretches of time alone through being housebound, unable to socialise or work. You can also be surrounded by people but still feel lonely, perhaps because you feel nobody understands or can truly share what you are experiencing.Read More
I embarked on Breathworks’ ‘Mindfulness for Health’ course with high hopes. I was already familiar with the wonderful work of Breathworks and I was eager to bring more of their techniques into my practice. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, my expectations were exceeded as I deepened my practice in a supportive and inspiring community. Read More
Last week I completed Breathworks’ ‘Mindfulness for Health’ course. Over ten weeks I was able to deepen my practice, be part of a supportive community and witness transformation in myself and others. I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with you next week. In the meantime, I’ve created a mindfulness toolbox to remind myself and others of the practice in an easy and accessible way. Some of the ideas are so simple and take such little time, yet they can have a truly profound effect on your day to day life, whatever your situation. You can find the toolbox here.
I’m waiting for two hospital admissions. I don’t know when they’ll be or how how much notice I’ll be given before I have to pack my bag, say goodbye to my kitties and face yet more inpatient treatment and sleepless nights on a plastic hospital mattress. I have imminent meetings and assessments to review the care I receive, which, given government bureaucracy, can create huge amounts of stress. Not to mention the day to day challenge of managing my condition, living with difficult symptoms and finding ways to enable me to complete basic tasks most people take for granted. It could easily consume me. My life could centre round illness and disability, and all the suffering that accompanies it. That would be perfectly understandable. It might even be expected. It has happened in the past. But I know if I broaden my awareness, there is always something pleasant to experience.Read More
“It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility.”
Those words jumped out at me from an interview I was listening to online. They resonated so deeply, I’ve found myself thinking about them again and again. There is such truth, wisdom and emotional depth in that one simple statement. Let me set the context.