Dear Borders friends and those a little further afield too,
WOWEE: we have experienced a magical time of offering mindfulness over the last 24 months or so in the beautiful Scottish Borders. We've hosted drop-in sessions, 8 week public mindfulness courses for well-being and mindful self-compassion courses too. We've worked with Macmillan Cancer Support, Berwickshire Housing Association, St Peter's Primary school and Galashiels Academy. We've brought the neuroscience of mindfulness to the young folk of Peebles (by way of our AMAZING BRAIN workshop, with LIVE Borders) and we have been humbled and privileged to work, on a one-to-one basis, with some great people during that time too.
Humbled and privileged doesn't even begin to describe the feelings of joy, connection, sense of gratitude and amazement I have felt when I've seen how learning skills to be a little more mindful can really change people's lives for the better....just as it did for me some years ago now. I've seen anger replaced with patience, calm and understanding. I seen a fear of speaking in public blossom into confidence and self-belief. I've seen a lifetime of caring for others transformed into the understanding that self-care and self-compassion is as vitally important. I've seen crippling anxiety flourish into courage, bravery and growing potential. How blessed I am to see such beautiful transformation and change, alongside the clear recognition in others that just because they have thought, felt, spoken and acted in a particular way nearly all of their lives doesn't mean they have to continue that way... Change and reaching our true potential is available for all of us.
However, moving through a changing landscape can be challenging too. It takes great courage to acknowledge and truly be with what is tricky for us.
We at Mindfulness Skills4Life are experiencing a landscape of significant change right now. Due to major and unplanned changes in my husbands work, our family, our mindfulness offering, our connections to home, friends and life in the Borders and indeed Scotland is changing. We have had to come to terms with the 'loss' of his career in Edinburgh and the down stream impact on our lives. The securing of a new career for Andy has meant that we are on the move, in fact to the flat geography of Lincoln.
I've noticed a major impact on how this unfolding experience has been met with (much) resistance over the last 15 weeks or so. I've seen and felt how the inner processes of my own thinking, feelings and emotions have been affected. I've noticed how easy it is to be hijacked by a tranche of automatic thoughts and thinking patterns and how these are related to the mood state I am in. I've seen how collectively this has impacted on my actions and behaviours. Whilst complex at times, this is the work of mindfulness, the observing of and feeling our experiences as they happen, regardless of whether they are wanted or unwanted. Being mindful is me seeing clearly my relationship with painful experiences and how suffering results from my wanting things to be different from what they are.
In the midst of all of this uncertainty, I have drawn on my personal practice for stability, coming as best as I am able, to the breath, breathing and quiet sitting. I have been becoming very familiar with what's going on a deeper level. From this broader perspective, I have felt fear around the uncertainty, vulnerability about being isolated and alone and grief at the loss of the life I had 'planned' in the Borders for myself, my family and friendships.
I am sharing this personal experience for two reasons:
Firstly, I would like to offer some insight gathered from my own immediate experience and from the wider context and experiences of others I have worked with over the two years. That is, that personal transformation, growth and opportunities truly arise from the tricky stuff of life: the unwanted experiences, the behaviours and parts of ourselves that we'd want to change and fix. Just as is told in the beautiful story of the 'Lotus flower and the mud': no mud - no lotus....We need this stuff in order to grow, growth is supported by changing environments and the gentle attitudes that we try and cultivate in our mindfulness practice too: the patience, trust, kindness and compassion, curiosity and acceptance by the bucketful.
Secondly, I wanted to say there will be no 'goodbyes' from us here at Mindfulness Skills4Life. We don't lose or discard friendships or connections simply because we are not in the immediate locale. We gather, harvest and store friendships, experiences, memories, conversations in our hearts and mind, for these too are the gifts we can offer to others. It is your being that is our growing and will continue to support the growth of others too.
We will be keeping in touch with Facebook / FaceTIME, I am still offering 1-1 sessions and individual 8-week courses using SKYPE and guess what...embracing a new-found bravery I am even going to have a go at doing live videos and sharing practises that way (more on that later....YIKES!).
So until our next news update, thank you all for the enrichment you have offered me both personally and professionally. I am lucky and grateful for your kind support and friendship in the midst of this changing lanscape. with love, Sandra xx