March news-Mindful in the first month of Spring
Hello and welcome to my March 2020 newsletter
A moment to rest in the beauty of Spring in a quiet place and reflect on the year so far….
Common humanity is one of the important component parts of Kristin Neff’s definition of Mindful self-compassion and I would like to continue on from February’s topic on relationships to the wider human connection, where we all have basic human needs and desires-to connect, to be safe, to be loved, to be free from suffering. This is quite timely as we note the global effects of the latest novel virus and its impacts on the whole of humanity across the world.
Whether you have a faith, are agnostic, atheist, or simply striving to live your life in the best way possible, it might be helpful to reflect on your purpose and core values at this time of year. As we move into Spring officially, it is worth noting that it is a well-recognised and celebrated time of renewal and rebirth as the winter months subside and a new energy arises. This is a good time to revisit the goals and intentions you set at the beginning of the year, before the trials and tribulations of every-day life distracted you.
My hope for you this month, and for myself is to discover that energy within that lights the flame of compassion and self-compassion, and a passion for living every moment to the full, as you take a moment to look around, and seek out the beauty in nature, and the common humanity of the shared human experience of being part of this beautiful planet we call home, striving to meet basic needs, fulfilling our true potential for a happier, more rewarding, and resilient life. Jack Kornfield writes that ‘compassion is our deepest nature’ – we all have this in common, and Abraham Maslow talked about ‘a hierarchy of needs’- again, we all have these in common.
There are many ways to, and much importance, for finding some peace and stillness within when the world around can feel oftentimes chaotic and uncertain, so that the miracle of life can be enjoyed one day at a time. Pema Chodrun talks about ‘working with chaos’ .
As we start this new month and springtime unfolds, I invite you to reflect on the changes you want to make, and those that you set your intention to commit to at the beginning of the year. Breaking old unwanted habits and setting positive goals for our health and well-being can be made easy with a step by step approach and keeping things simple, as Dr Chatterjee describes in his new book “Feel better in five”.
The choices we make can help us live happier and more fulfilled lives depending on what motivates you, whether it is losing weight to have more energy or drinking less alcohol to feel more refreshed after a good night’s sleep. The choices you make will help or hinder you as you navigate through the inevitable challenges and difficulties life presents.
At this point I would like to share again my esteemed colleague Karin Siegar’s article on ‘coping with coronavirus fear’ . As I write my news letter today March 4 we are hearing of more cases daily, so it is important that we follow the advice given but also keep things in perspective – if you suffer from Anxiety, Health anxiety, OCD, or other anxiety related conditions then do get in touch to see how I can support you through one to one psychotherapy and do check out Anxiety UK’s website for lots of practical help and advice on managing anxiety and panic.
So, what new offerings do I have this March?
I am really excited to be running another 4-weekly course of relaxation classes in Knutsford, which will include, guided visualisation and some mindful meditation for beginners. Classes run on Wednesday evenings at 98 King street from 6.30pm-7.15pm and are starting again on March 4! This is an evolving programme of settling into the present moment and calming the busy mind to improve your overall well-being, resilience, and happiness.
If you would like to explore emotional resilience further through the mindful self-compassion programme for life-long benefits then why not join me this Spring as I facilitate the first programme of 2020-there are still places available for the Spring intake starting on May 23 but places are limited as I work with small groups and so there are a maximum of 10 places on offer with some already filled. The course teaches how cultivate a daily mindfulness and self-compassionate approach to yourself. I am thrilled to confirm that the venue is Pickmere village Hall, Knutsford WA16 0JU-close to all major motorway junctions and road routes.
Here are 5 quick wins and ways in which you can be mindful and self-compassionate at the start of each day:
- Sun-soaking is a phrase coined by William Bloom who explained that even in the depths of winter, the sun is still powerful and health-giving:
“It does not matter what else is going on in my life, if the sun is out, I make sure that I go and sit in the sunlight for fifteen minutes every day, my face directly towards it. I wrap up warmly, plonk myself in a garden chair and absorb the rays. When I write ‘absorb the rays’, that is exactly what I do”.
- Smile at yourself with tenderness and warmth in the days first glance through the mirror -this is a practice that gets easier!
- Try a three-minute breathing space meditation:
A first moment of awareness as you settle into the present moment and noticing what you notice, a second moment of gathering your attention towards your breath and where you feel it most strongly in your body as you simply breath in and out, and a third moment of expansion as you allow your attention to take in how the whole of your body feels in this moment.
- Have a morning gratitude practice where you think of just three things that you appreciate or make you smile-you are releasing endorphins and starting the day from a positive perspective. This gets you off to the best possible start.
- Set a positive intention for yourself just for the day – e.g. to be well, happy, safe, free from suffering, nourished, kind etc. whatever comes to mind for you. As this is not an affirmation, but an intention then it is more believable at an unconscious level rather than saying for example “I am well” when you are feeling under the weather you can say “My intention is to feel better as the day progresses and I take care of my-self.
The benefits of mindful self-compassion – an interview with Lauren McQuade
I always think of mindful self compassion as a saving grace for me and am passionate about sharing the benefits. So I was thrilled to be invited to talk on radio Stirling online last week with the lovely Lauren McQuade.
The conversation covered many aspects of Mindful self-compassion and we also focused on the inner critic and how self-compassion helps us to discover the ‘wise voice within ‘ which motivates us for healthy lifestyle changes and letting go of old unwanted habits.
I have put the link here for you to have a listen to https://www.mixcloud.com/
Please don’t hesitate, as always, to get in touch, if you would like to know more about Mindful self-compassion and the latest course dates and venues I am offering in 2020!
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to attend a week long retreat “Cultivating Calm in Body and Mind” this Spring with Dave Oldham and Tina Gilbert on Holy Isle
– The mindful compassion partnership has many offerings this year
and I have put the link here for the retreats that are planned and I recommend booking early if you would like to attend as places get filled quickly!
Mindful compassion is also important in our working relationships as these are often the relationships we spend most of our time with, and the ones that are not of our choosing, which reminds me of the Miller Williams poem “Compassion” that I quoted in my article on “Forgiveness”
“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”
More details about my offerings
The dates are confirmed for the 2020 Mindful self-compassion courses and you can find full details and download the application form here.
I am thrilled to be now offering my relaxation class in knutsford, cheshire.
A weekly session of deep relaxation with mindfulness, self-compassion, and guided visualisation.
NB:The next course is now starting on March 11 -but do call ahead or email to confirm and reserve your place.
I have been running these classes for many years now and am pleased to be offering them once again.
You can bring a mat and blanket if you like to lie down but sitting on a chair is also beneficial. The sessions offer a unique opportunity to relax and unwind deeply with experienced and compassionate guidance and learn a powerful technique to help you relax, manage anxiety, sleep well, and generally enjoy an improved sense of well-being.
The venue is 98 King street
When: Wednesdays -the next course of 4 weeks starts March 4
Time: 6.30pm – 7.15pm
Cost: £20 for the four sessions when booking the full four or £7 per class if booking a single class
NB:Places are limited so booking is essential and can be booked up until 5pm on the day.
Payment can be made either via bacs -contact me on 07753 957371 for details
Willersley Mindful self-compassion weekend retreat 2020
These weekends provide a wonderful opportunity to practice self-care and compassion and take some time for you to replenish and rejuvenate and strengthen your relationship with yourself.
This is a beautiful and popular weekend and I am looking forward to delivering this special retreat again this Autumn October 9-11.
NB Deposits are now due for the retreat to reserve your place ! Early booking is recommended as I only have limited spaces so get in touch ASAP and note that just a £50 (non-refundable) deposit secures your place
The Mindful Self Compassion programme 2020 dates now published!
It is good to remember and be drawn to the fact that in amidst the pain and suffering there is always light and enduring beauty when we look mindfully and with gratitude for all that we love that surrounds us in each present moment, all that we accomplish, and all that this precious human life we are given can enjoy.
All MSC courses will now take place in Mid Cheshire and South East Cheshire.
The original ‘six weekly gathering‘ will continue to be held at Disley Quaker meeting in East Cheshire which borders with the High peak. Other gatherings will take place in South Cheshire also as the year progresses.
For more information about this empowering programme take a look here
NB: Places are limited get in touch here to learn more and get the application form. You can also download the application form here
As always, do get in touch if you are looking for support and help. My clinics in Knutsford, Poynton, and Macclesfield are open and I welcome you.
In my private practice I teach mindfulness based compassion focused- approaches alongside psychotherapy and cognitive counselling to bringing about change and improving quality of life and I have the privilege of seeing huge change and success from these approaches. So do get in touch or call me on 07753 957371 if you would like help with anxiety issues, low mood, or other issues you feel I may be able to help you with.
Corporate and Community well-being
I am really enjoying my role as chair of the board of trustees on the board for Anxiety UK. I look forward to supporting AUK and the wonderful staff and board as we move into a very special year next year! I will be offering more discounted courses and retreats to AUK members! and I will be keeping you posted on all the news from AUK HQ!
Anxiety UK is a national registered charity formed in 1970, by someone living with agoraphobia, for those affected by anxiety, stress, and anxiety- based depression.
To read more please Click Here »
As you know, I have the enormous privilege of being the chair of the board of trustees for the UK’s leading and multiple award- winning anxiety charity. This May we will be celebrating 50 years of this wonderful charity and I hope to share news about fund raising and events throughout this year.
I have written a piece on ‘Pure OCD’ for the Spring edition of anxious times which is the magazine for members of anxiety UK.
“The grief collection”
Also this week Karin has put together an excellent article “coping with Corona virus fear”and you can read the article here
My online shopping page is a new venture and I hope to update it regularly adding items of interest and enjoyment. At the moment I have downloads available. I will also be uploading videos and downloads in a free resource section as I get my new website fully up and running, so watch this space!
Wishing you all well and happy, as we look forward to all that life has to offer in the weeks and months ahead.
Thank you so much for your continued support and as I continue to develop my programmes and offerings.