Life-changing is a word we rarely use. But it is one that we apply to mindfulness. Mindfulness is ‘a way of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally’. For anyone whose brain is always caught up in thoughts from the sublime What’s is all About? to the ridiculous Where did I put my Keys this Time?, the great liberation of mindfulness is that is says: okay, you’re thinking, that’s what minds do. By paying attention, you can come to see the thoughts as thoughts; recognise that a lot of the time you are on autopilot, and slowly learn to bring your attention to the richness of every day life. Doing this can enhance the quality of your life and relationships – and improve the way you communicate.
I (Jane) have been training through the Centre for Mindfulness Research at the University of Bangor to teach mindfulness since 2006, when a serious illness forced me to slow down and think hard about what I wanted to do with my ‘one wild and precious life’. Mindfulness (and creative writing) were two answers to the question.
Since then I have been offering both the formal eight week mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) course originally developed at the University of Massachusetts, as well as running less formal mindfulness training for groups and individuals.