Spring really seems to have arrived this week. The blue skies, emerging flowers and spring lambs in the fields remind us that everything is in a constant state of change.
We can't do anything to affect the emergence of Spring, it just happens. There are many things we may wish wouldn't change in our own lives - our looks, our bodies, our families, our health...but we aren't necessarily able to control many of these things, however hard we try.
We can understand the fact that things change fairly easily on an intellectual level, but a deeper understanding of that same truth can arise through mindfulness practice. We can then use that knowledge to choose how to live our lives in ways that may be more helpful to us.
That doesn't mean resignation to those changes, but it does mean having a bit more discernment and choice over what actions we take in response to seeing those changes more clearly.
Tenterden Mindfulness Group is changing too!
You may be aware we achieved charitable status at the end of last year and we continue to offer a wide variety of Mindfulness courses, now across Kent.
The first 8 week MBCT course was taught by myself and Marcus Averbeck in Tenterden back in January 2015, and there have been many further public courses, Mindfulness Days, courses to teachers and pupils in Tenterden and courses for GPs along the way since then.
We have come a long way in that time, and thankfully this has coincided with a welcome recognition in society of the importance of mental well-being, not just to us as individuals but to our wider communities too.
Last week I finished teaching 2 8-week Frantic World Mindfulness courses to a group of 25 teachers in Ashford and 15 GPs in Folkestone. We welcomed Julia Lofts, an experienced local teacher, to TMG who also finished teaching last week an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course in Tenterden. Barbara Hussong has just started teaching a fully booked Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) follow-on course which I am enjoying being a participant on myself.
Over 50 new people now have a better idea about what mindfulness is and how it can help us and our communities. But all this cannot be done alone.
As well as a network of local teachers supporting this ongoing learning, we are fortunate to have an excellent administrator Penny, who many of you will have had contact with and who really runs the show. We also have a talented group of Trustees who oversee the running of the charity and an enthusiastic focus group who advise on what it is that would help support your mindfulness practice - that was one of our key charitable objectives after all.
As we all know it is the practice that keeps the learning alive, but remembering to do so isn't always easy. One piece of recent feedback from the Focus Group was the possibility of offering a shorter evening group session, like the new Saturday morning Sit which runs for 45 minutes. So on Wednesday April 3rd I will be leading a practice session at West View, Tenterden, starting at the earlier time of 6 pm and finishing by 7 pm at the latest. It would be great to see some of you there for this trial session and, as always, Penny will send a reminder out nearer the time.
The longer 2 hour monthly sessions will continue (details on the diary page) as we know the variety of teachers and longer opportunities to practice together can be really helpful, but we hope the shorter evening session may suit some people better.
It's so helpful to practice in a group, no matter how your practice has or hasn't been going, to remind yourself of how mindfulness practice can help. We can always come back to this moment no matter where we have been.
So there is a lot going on as we do our best to support mindfulness practice locally. But as I said it's a team effort and I will end with a request if I may.
One of our Trustees has had to resign due to work commitments and the board are looking to recruit new Trustees to support the work we do. We are especially looking for people who may have skills in the marketing arena and also anyone who may have the necessary skills to support the governance issues that a new charity has to address.
Trustees currently meet quarterly and the intention is certainly not for the time commitments to be too onerous. As a Trustee you would not be paid but your contribution will be much appreciated as we continue to offer mindfulness as a way of not just coping with the challenges of this changing world we live in, but of living this One Wild and Precious Life as fully as we can.
It may also be the only meeting you ever attend which starts with a 3-step breathing space!
If becoming a Trustee may be of interest to you please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an informal chat without any obligation.