Mindful Self Compassion 8 week online course

Mindful Self Compassion 8 week online course

2nd February – 23rd March 2021

Tuesdays, 6.30pm – 9pm (UK Time)

Retreat half day Sat 6th March (time TBC)

 

Led by:

Lucy Chan & Mel Wraight

VENUE:

Online via Zoom (pre-course guidance available)

COST:

EARLY BIRD (register by 30th December): £265

Regular price: £305

FACILITATED BY

I’m really excited to have been asked to collaborate with Lucy Chan of Mindful Living Retreats to facilitate this life changing course online.

 

Lucy Chan (she/her)

Lucy teaches mindfulness, self-compassion and Buddhism internationally. She is part of a nationally acclaimed team delivering mindfulness for burnout retreats, and has been trained directly by the internationally renowned pioneers of self-compassion Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. She also works as a doctor in the NHS; self-compassion practices helped her meet the challenges of a stressful job and her passion is to help others incorporate these practices into their lives.

 

Mel Wraight (they/them)

I have been teaching mindfulness and self-compassion to individuals, groups and businesses for 8 years. I trained at Bangor Centre for Mindfulness and with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer, the creators of Mindful Self-Compassion, to teach the 8 week MSC course. Also a psychotherapist in practice for 23 years I hold group spaces with safety, skill, humour and compassion. I also facilitate LGBTQIA+ international mindfulness spaces.

 

Lucy and I agree there has never been a more important time to learn practices and techniques to help cultivate stability, calm, grounding, connection, and uplift. This course will allow you to develop the resources needed to help support you in meeting the range of emotions you may be feeling at this time, and beyond!

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported, 8 week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion.

Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.

Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional well-being, less anxiety, depression and stress, and satisfying personal relationships. And it’s easier than you think!

AFTER THIS COURSE, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Practice self-compassion in daily life

  • Understand the empirically supported benefits of self-compassion

  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism

  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease

  • Transform challenging relationships, old and new

  • Manage caregiver fatigue

  • Practice the art of savouring and self-appreciation

This 8 week training qualifies as one of the pre-requisites for MSC teacher training.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Class activities include guided meditations, short group discussion, and home practice.

LOCATION

We’ll be using the platform zoom. Lucy and Mel are both experienced online teachers and have found that this form offers a beautiful chance for people to connect deeply with the practices and group, but with all the comforts of home. Online we offer the same practices, exercises, and small group work just as you would find on our in-person courses. The joy of joining us online is that anyone from across the country (and the world!) is welcome – a rich part of the practice can be to understand that common humanity extends beyond seas and boundaries.

 

Everyday Mindfulness for the in between bits of life

I want to catch your attention with the ordinary rather than the extraordinary in this blog. It may feel like meditation or mindfulness is some special or rarefied activity. Maybe you like it to be special. The right clothes, the right cushion, chair, posture, the right space may all be important to you and that’s fine. I met someone who had a little meditation retreat hut built in her garden and this was her sanctuary. People often spend time and money going off to meditation retreat centres in beautiful parts of the world. Again, this is a good thing to do now and again. I go on retreat at least once a year to deepen my practice with a concentrated period of meditation, contemplation and reflection.

But what if you don’t have time to do this? or the funds? Or even the inclination. Mindfulness has huge benefits to unlock in your life but it is a practice. You won’t get the benefits by just reading about it (even this blog), buying the right clothes/cushion, magazine or jewelry. You will only experience the benefit by actually meditating. Then it will change your brain and probably your life too.

So, what is everyday mindfulness and what are the “in between bits” of life? Mindfulness can be a moment, just a moment of being absolutely present. The mind opens with relief like a flower in the sun when it finds this presence. It is a mental-break, peace from the relentless chatter, busy-ness, planning and worrying of the mind. It is entirely possible to find that the mind is on the go all day, from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep without giving you a moment’s peace or presence. How do you feel on a day like that? My guess would be mentally shredded and exhausted by it! Or maybe you are more the person who thrives on being busy, for whom stopping or slowing down means being left with your own thoughts and you don’t like that. Maybe status derives from being relentlessly busy. If you are 100% happy with that then you can stop reading now and get on with more productivity. What I keep in mind though is that at the end of life people do not generally say “I wish I had spent more time at work”, they say “I wish I had taken more time to experience the journey”.

When the late Nadine Stair of Louisville, Kentucky, was 85 years old, she was asked what she would do if she had her life to live over again.

“I’d make more mistakes next time,” she said. “I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

“You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, and a raincoat. If I had to do it over again, I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds and I would pick more daisies.”

Let’s think about the in between bits for a moment, where could they be? Try observing them just today. They are usually moments of inevitable pause, times of waiting. Waiting for the kettle to boil, waiting for the shower to run hot, waiting for the bathroom to be free, waiting for the elevator to arrive, waiting for the lights to turn to green, waiting for your turn at the checkout in the supermarket, waiting for the bus, train or tram. Waiting for the car park barrier to open, waiting for someone to answer the phone, waiting for your lunch to heat through in the microwave, waiting for the meeting to start, the dentist to call your turn, the rain to stop. Or the in between bits might be routine, daily activities like cleaning your teeth, shaving, applying your makeup or taking a shower. Instead of letting your mind race off to listing and planning why not take the time to just be present, experience what is going on in you and around you? As you stop to wait take note of your breath and feel it moving in and out of your body. Notice any tension building up in the body and breath into that part of the body, choosing to soften or relax there. Try just smiling and notice how the muscles of your face soften and rearrange themselves. In that tiny, in between moment become more present in your life. Live every moment, live more lightly.

Mel Wraight 2019

www.stillpointmindfulness.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/stillpointmindfulness/

Five books for a happier life

Five books for a happier life

My five favorite books to bring you sunshine!

There are a few books I have read in my life that I find myself recommending time and again to people. These are the books that I think can make a real difference to how to see and live life. With summer coming and time to read and think I hope you enjoy my selection of 5 books for greater happiness in life.
The Happiness Hypothesis: Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt draws on ancient wisdom, philosophy and modern psychology to describe what they all agree are the things most likely to make us happy in life. This provides a well-written and engaging manual on how to improve your experience of living. Best of all his style is easy to read and understand.

The Consolations of Philosophy: Alain de Botton.

De Botton is a philosopher for modern times who has turned his attention to many of the difficulties of our lives; mood, love, work, religion, status anxiety and even architecture. In this book he explores the ancient philosophers and draws out wisdom which holds true across the centuries in an accessible and engaging style.

Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food: Dr Jan Chozen Bays

Dr Bays is a medic with a deep understanding of mindfulness. This book helped
me meditate on and understand why I eat what I eat. I love food and this book didn’t tell me t
restrict myself but to pay attention to what really nourishes me and keeps me feeling well. It includes a CD od lovely practices some of which I have adapted and recorded and made available on my website: https://www.stillpointmindfulness.co.uk

The mindful path to self-compassion: Freeing yourself form destructive thoughts and emotions: Chris Germer

Dr Germer is an american clinical psychologist who alongside Dr Kristen Neff has pioneered much mindfulness work in the area of developing self compassion. I use this book to help me with overly self-critical thoughts, thoughts that I am not good enough and with just allowing myself to be human and vulnerable! It helped me understand what self-compassion looks and sounds like.

Hardwiring Happiness: How to Reshape Your Brain and Your Life: Dr Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson is a clinical psychologist who draws on personal and professional experience and his research in neuroscience. This book provides practical strategies to overcome the tendency of the mind to focus on the negative in life and build up our capacity to “take in the good”, however tiny in our day to day lives. I love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Is there a difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness includes meditation practice drawn from Buddhist traditions. When teaching the skills of mindfulness it is common to teach meditation techniques that focus primarily on observing what is going on in the body or mind. This kind of meditation makes its focus the “felt experience” of the individual. This can be affirming and empowering as one’s own experience is always with us and is used as a healthy ground for learning about living in the moment. It helps people develop increased emotional regulation (the ability to manage emotions up or down) by introducing them to what is going on in their bodies, minds and emotions and helping them see how to stay with that experience long enough to respond wisely.

This meditation is sometimes called “formal practice” is often of a prescribed or decided length, done sitting or lying or standing in a deliberate posture, with or without guidance to stay with the practice. We are practicing directing and sustaining the attention and in doing so developing the muscle of attention and becoming familiar with our capacity for awareness and unawareness.

But formal meditation is not the only way to practice mindfulness. The quality of awareness cultivated in formal practice can also be brought to daily activity by becoming “mindful”. Research suggests that about half the time we are not really aware of what we are doing http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/does_mind_wandering_make_you_unhappy, instead our actions are on autopilot while our minds think about something else. It’s a useful state to be able to enter but if the mind is, for instance, constantly worrying about the past or the future it can be exhausting and demoralising. We literally miss the experience of living the life we have in the moments we have.

Informal practice or becoming “mindful” might include might include really listening to our children or friends as they ask us questions or tell us their thoughts rather than thinking about chores that need to be done or what we will say next. It can be dropping in to present moment experience while washing up: feeling the hot water, the weight of the plate and watching the water run off. It can even be just stopping to feel our feet on the ground as we stand waiting at the bus stop or zebra crossing. Informal practice typically lasts for shorter periods of time but is done more frequently than formal practice and can bring a real sense of the joy of being alive.