the pale ground
beneath your feet,
way to begin
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.
We began teaching MSC in our community and have continued to teach hundreds of participants through in-person and online programs. Each program we teach is an opportunity to go deeper into our own practice. In 2018, we joined 50 other participants in Kenya for a 5 Day MSC Intensive with Dr. Chris Germer and Dr. Susan Pollack. In 2019, Zoey Ryan and I co-taught 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.
In 2018, Dr. Kristy Williams participated in one of our MSC workshops, was inspired to take the teacher training, and is now co-teaching with me in Nanaimo. Kristy’s passion for ‘trauma-informed’ mindfulness has added a deeper level of awareness and emotional safety for our participants.
When COVID-19 Social Distancing Guidelines started in March 2020, Kristy and I were inspired to support our community, so we decided to offer Free Live Online ‘Self-Compassion During Uncertain Times’ meetups, in addition to our regularly scheduled 6-week and 8-week MSC programs.
The opportunities to grow, to practice, and to teach continue. I have been certified as an MSC teacher with The Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion and am only one of many international MSC teachers who offer free online meditations as well as ongoing circles of practice for people who have taken the MSC training.
So that is the way it is and that is the thread we will follow. No big dreams. No expansive plan. Just simple connection. compassion. caring. For ourselves and others.
“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.