Early January saw me venture into darkest South Wales with Bangor University for the Mindfulness Teacher Training Retreat. There were 34 students being led by 4 lecturers.
It was an excellent eight days with much thought-provoking material presented to us all. I learnt far more than I had expected and it has set me up well to present future courses.
There were several periods of silence across the retreat which I wasn’t looking forward to – and on one occasion we had a 24 hour silence. Actually it had a significant impact on me. That meant we didn’t have to look at anyone if we didn’t want to; we didn’t have to be polite over the meal table (you know, offering to pour someone a glass of water when they were just as capable as I was of lifting their arm but you have to do it to ‘show manners’ as my Mum used to say). It was a time to just be me. From dreading it, I ended up loving it. After 5 days of meditation my heart rate dropped from 60 beats per minute to 46!! As you can see I was very relaxed.
During the first part of the day we were taken through different sessions of a stress reduction course followed in the afternoon by all of us leading meditations (and being assessed on them).
But the surprise of the week was the number of NHS staff who were on the course, who were there to learn how to run a Mindfulness course as a part of their work. It seems the NHS in Wales is taking Mindfulness courses very seriously as a part of treatment for ‘service users’.
This month I began my year-long (and most probably much longer truth be told) training in Spiritual Accompaniment. Nine people sitting in a group all knowing what they are there for and all of us not knowing what this journey would entail. All of the interactions are confidential of course (you wouldn’t expect anything less would you?) but the content of the day involved discussions, reflections and an hour of silent prayer. All the people I met were very interesting and had much to add to the discussions.
Mindfulness course at Mirfield
This has been a really good time. I’m sharing the leading of the course with someone else and although it’s early days, it has been a very positive start and I hope those on the course have enjoyed it too. We have twelve participants and a good spirit in the group.
The Lepton course is the next course to run which begins at the end of February – and it’s already full.
Last week I was approached quite out of the blue to run two more courses so we will see how that works itself out.
So that’s it for now. Lots of other exciting things happening where God reminds me to keep on keeping on – this is an excellent project to explore as I hang on to the coat tails of Jesus.