Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way to begin
the conversation.
from Start Close In by David Whyte

 

 

That’s what we did.  We started close in with long time friends and colleagues. With our own hearts and minds.  With our own personal practice of mindfulness, meditation, healing, and growth. With a sincere desire to be of service and contribute to a more compassionate world.

 

Early in 2014, Life Coach, friend, and colleague Zoey Ryan, asked me to facilitate a workshop for frontline staff who were experiencing burnout and vicarious trauma from their work with women and children who were experiencing partner abuse.

 

 

I invited another friend and colleague, Carol Ranger, to co-facilitate the training with me and while planning we discovered the research showing the protective and health benefits of self-compassion practice for caregivers. We incorporated self-compassion skills into our training and were pleased when participants found it so helpful. This inspired us to study with Dr. Chris Germer and Dr. Kristen Neff and The Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion and to begin to train as Mindful Self-Compassion teachers.  

 


Longtime friend and local artist Johanne Galipeau helped create Self-Compassion Cards as a way to support ourselves and others in practicing and integrating mindful self-compassion skills into our everyday life.

 


We began teaching MSC in our community and beyond and have continued to teach hundreds of participants through in-person workshops, retreats and online programs. Each program is an opportunity to learn, connect and grow.


In 2018, we joined 50 other participants in Kenya for a 5 Day MSC Intensive
with Dr. Chris Germer and Dr. Susan Pollack.  Dr. Pollack wrote a great article in Psychology Today titled “Compassion Goes Global” about our experience.

 


In 2019, Zoey Ryan and I facilitated an 8-day Mindful Self-Compassion Mexican Retreat at the beautiful Pura Vida Eco-Retreat offering participants the opportunity to learn MSC in the morning and to play, rest and explore during the afternoon and evenings.

 


After participating in one of our earlier MSC workshops, Dr. Kristy Williams was inspired to take the teacher training, and is now co-teaching MSC programs with me in Nanaimo.  Kristy’s passion for ‘trauma-informed’ mindfulness has added a deeper level of awareness and emotional safety for our participants.

 

In 2019 I was mentored through the certification process by esteemed Mindfulness and Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher/Trainer, Dawn MacDonald. It is such a privilege to teach Mindful Self-Compassion and to be a part of an international group of certified MSC teachers who offer free online meditations and ongoing circles of practice for people who interested in deepening their practice in community.

When COVID-19 Social Distancing Guidelines started in March 2020, Kristy Williams and myself were inspired to support our community by offering regular Live Online ‘Self-Compassion During Uncertain Times’ meet-ups as a place to slow down, connect and learn new tools.

Now for the fall of 2020, we are offering weekly free drop in self-compassion meditation practice sessions in addition to the new Short Course in Mindful Self-Compassion.

So that is the way it is and that is the thread we are following. No grand plans or expansive dreams. Just following the thread of Connection. Compassion. Caring. Community.

“The Way It Is” by William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.