Tuesday, December 31, 2013

MEDITATION 102

Meditation: It's Not What You Think !  Meditation 102


Participants do not need to take the 101 class prior to the 102. The 102 class is designed to support your ongoing meditation practice, so it can be taken over and over and over, as many times as you would like to participate in this class. It will cover a brief review of what was taught in 101, while allowing for a longer periods of time to practice meditation in class. The meditations will be both guided and silent, with ample instruction to help support the time together. Class time is also included to discuss any and all feedback regarding what is or is not working for you with practice. Most importantly, it is a chance to do what so many students have been asking for: more time to meditate together as a group, as it is so motivating to do so together.


WINTER SESSION:  Mondays (January 6 (no class Jan 20) class Tues, Jan 21, Jan 27, Feb 3, 10 and 17)  7:30-9 PM

SPRING SESSION:  Thursdays (April 24, May 8, 15, 22, 29 and June 5)  7:30-9 PM

Comfortable clothes/dress.  Seated postures in chairs so no mats or cushions required.  Bring a footstool for your feet if needed, and blankets/shawls for comfort.

(DISCOUNT $10 if you register for multiple classes with Cecilia Howard)

 INSTRUCTOR BACKGROUND:

Cecilia Howard has been practicing meditation and yoga for well over 21 years. She has been teaching MBSR and meditation classes for close to two years now. She was professionally trained to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) the program pioneered by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  This exemplary program combines gentle yoga, along with meditation in a way that encourages people to bring a greater sense of calm and a more focused approach to living.  Cecilia is also the writer of a blog on mindfulness and meditation, an artist and former sales and management leader. She knows what meditation means to her personally, and is enthusiastic about helping others to learn of its benefits as well.

In addition, she leads a monthly, "Taste of Mindfulness Meditation" practice group, which meets at BYPC in Bedford, NH.

Cecilia has also taught a "Mindful Living Series" for the Goffstown Adult Education Program.

So sign up and see for yourself what so many people have already found to be so very helpful to their own lives!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mindfulness Training Bedford NH

MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program 

  Spring 2014

Class Information:
Name: The Traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, MBSR

Date: Consecutive Wednesdays March 5th through April 23rd 
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:15 PM*
Cost: $275 ($100 discount off the full price to any and all health care, day care, school, law enforcement, or fire/rescue employees located throughout the state.)

If the cost for the class seems beyond your reach or puts undue strain on your budget, please let me know. My personal aim is to bring the MBSR program to as many people as I can, by whatever means possible. I am most willing to work with you to make it affordable. Please, do not hesitate to email or call me so we can make it work for you to take this wonderful class together!
Days: All classes held on Wednesdays 7PM to 9:15PM and one Saturday, April 12th 8:45AM to 2:45PM
Venue: Riddle Brook School : ROOM 216
Address: 230 New Boston Road Bedford, NH
Phone: Cecilia Howard
Email: cbhoward@mac.com
Website: The Mindful Matrix See Website for more details and prior posts.

*Orientation, which is required of all participants, will be held on Wednesday February 12th, 7PM to 8:30PM. You must pre-register with the instructor prior to orientation night. Deadline to register is Friday February 7th, 2014.

Should you need to withdraw for any reason please note the following:

A full refund will be given prior to the first class on March 5th.
A 50% refund will be given prior to the start of the 2nd class.
No refunds after Class Two.

The orientation is important to attend. It is a chance for you to hear a course overview and learn some of the history behind the development of this outstanding program.  It is also a tried and true measure of deciding if MBSR is right for you. You do not need to pay in full for the classes until orientation night. 








The MBSR program enables participants to learn and develop powerful inner resources for coping with stress, anxiety and uncertainty while enhancing stability in the midst of difficult situations. The result of which is greater health, balance, ease, clarity and peace of mind.
Participants will experience and learn guided instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle stretching and mindful yoga, methods of mindful communication, as well as both group and individualized instruction. 

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Medical School Professor Emeritus, the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Program is the place where the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) all began. To date it has given rise to over 750 programs worldwide, as well as led the way toward over 30 years of research to substantiate its effectiveness.

This carefully laid out program closely follows the current format used by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It will enable participants to continue on with what they have learned long after the 8-weeks are over. The class itself is highly supportive and well structured and the instructor, who received training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, is well versed in guiding the program.
Potential students should contact the instructor as soon as possible to register, as space is limited.  Please call 603-801-8945 or use the email link above in the information box. 
PLEASE NOTE: This is the traditional, consecutive 8-week program that was developed and launched by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that to date has given rise to well over 750 MBSR programs worldwide. The instructor for this program, Cecilia Howard, was professionally trained to teach MBSR and completed both the practicum teacher training at UMASS Medical School  and the 7-Day MBSR Professional Training Retreat for health care providers and educators: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine led by Jon Kabat-Zinn,PhD. and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA. Cecilia is a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, having practiced both for over 21 years. In addition to this program, she teaches meditation classes for the Town of Bedford, teaches Mindful Living classes at Goffstown HS  through the Adult Education program and runs a mindfulness meditation practice group that meets at BYPC in Bedford once a month on a Sunday from 10AM to 11:15AM. She is also a professionally trained and educated artist, writer of a Blog called The Mindful Matrix and a former banking and sales/marketing professional who in addition to her early management career, developed and taught a myriad of leadership, business development and team building programs. She is a trained public speaker and true motivator. Her humor and enthusiasm,  as well as her open-minded approach to life are invaluable assets to her when teaching or guiding studen

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meditation Practice Group


A Taste of Mindfulness Meditation Practice 
Held MONTHLY* on a Sunday
AT
Bedford Youth Performing Company
155 Route 101
Bedford, NH
NEXT DATE: Sunday November 24th, 2013
(New Monthly Sunday Dates Posted Each Month on this Site)
TIME: 10 AM to 11:15AM
*NEW FOR WINTER TIME ONLY
 January to March we will meet TWICE per month, same time and place
January 5th, 19th, February 2nd and 16th,  March 9th and 23rd 
If you or someone you know has some experience, is new to meditation, or would like learn more, please come out and join our monthly Sunday practice group. Feel free to bring a friend or two along anytime.

Each month we will alternate with a variety of guided meditations, silent sitting time, gentle mindful stretches, and walking meditation. A reading or presentation on a topic relevant to mindful meditation will be read either at the start or end of each practice time.
If you ever have to miss a Sunday, or choose not to attend regularly, not a problem! Come join us any time you are able to schedule the time. If that means one Sunday every few months  or so, that's perfectly fine! Plus, the Bedford Youth Performing Center, who has graciously offered the space to us, is a wonderful and serene place to be. Park out back on the lower level and enter through the back door.
Hope you can make it!
There are NO fees charged, however donations in any amount, are most appreciated.  A portion of these donations will go to BYPC for use of their lovely facility and the remainder will go to myself as the instructor.
THANK YOU!!!!

Contact: cbhoward@mac.com or 603.801.8945 for more information

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sharing a Mindful Moment with Pooh!



A conversation between best friends Piglet and Pooh, taken from the delightful book "Positively Pooh: Timeless Wisdom From Pooh"


"Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"

"Supposing it didn't," said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this....

How many times have you found yourself expecting the worst or anticipating events that may or may not ever happen or become a reality? I know I have done so and will likely continue to do so at times as old habits and conditioned responses are so hard to unlearn or let go of sometimes. 

And yet,  I also know that catching myself, mindfully noticing that I am perhaps making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill, is how I bring myself into present moment awareness and stop the flow that may cause me to climb a mountain when it may only be an anthill!

In the lovely, simple and immortal world of Pooh, even Piglet takes heart and recognizes that thinking of that tree falling down is simply that....a thought. And wise Pooh, tells him in a very succinct way, to recognize the tree may indeed not fall.....so why make it worse?

Can you do this too? Can you let some of those worries and what ifs you too generate be simply what they are and not make them into your mountains to climb?

Sure, there are indeed lots of anthills that do in fact turn into mountains. I am a breast cancer survivor, so I know only too well how a tiny microscopic calcification on a mammogram some ten years ago in a lab in New Jersey, did indeed turn out to be cancerous. But I also know that by keeping true to what was happening in the moment and by mindfully paying close attention to what I needed in any given moment did indeed help me. I was able to find comfort in an otherwise mind blowing time period that I could have easily made up "what if" scenarios until I was too scared to seek answers. I did not though, although I wanted to at times, MANY times, and yet I am here so say in this Breast Cancer Awareness time of year, that meditation, yoga, and mindfulness got me through a tough time that was no easy feat.

Practice continues to get me through a lot even today. Life changes and is unpredictable and the one constant that keeps me meeting myself on the cushion every day is the fact that I am able to catch myself much quicker at NOT turning my anthills (or mole hills as the saying goes) into mountains. 

So, I too agree wholeheartedly with Pooh......"supposing it didn't' is a most mindful response to a nervous Piglet's question....and a lovingly rendered example of the simplicity and peace of mind found in mindful moments.

I could not have said it any better Pooh!

Friday, October 25, 2013

MBSR NH

MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program 

  Spring 2014

Class Information:
Name: The Traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, MBSR

Date: Consecutive Wednesdays March 5th through April 23rd 
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:15 PM*
Cost: $275 ($100 discount off the full price to any and all health care, day care, school, law enforcement, or fire/rescue employees located throughout the state.)

If the cost for the class seems beyond your reach or puts undue strain on your budget, please let me know. My personal aim is to bring the MBSR program to as many people as I can, by whatever means possible. I am most willing to work with you to make it affordable. Please, do not hesitate to email or call me so we can make it work for you to take this wonderful class together!
Days: All classes held on Wednesdays 7PM to 9:15PM and one Saturday, April 12th 8:45AM to 2:45PM
Venue: Riddle Brook School : ROOM 216
Address: 230 New Boston Road Bedford, NH
Phone: Cecilia Howard
Email: cbhoward@mac.com
Website: The Mindful Matrix See Website for more details and prior posts.

*Orientation, which is required of all participants, will be held on Wednesday February 12th, 7PM to 8:30PM. You must pre-register with the instructor prior to orientation night. Deadline to register is Friday February 7th, 2014.

Should you need to withdraw for any reason please note the following:

A full refund will be given prior to the first class on March 5th.
A 50% refund will be given prior to the start of the 2nd class.
No refunds after Class Two.

The orientation is important to attend. It is a chance for you to hear a course overview and learn some of the history behind the development of this outstanding program.  It is also a tried and true measure of deciding if MBSR is right for you. You do not need to pay in full for the classes until orientation night. 









The MBSR program enables participants to learn and develop powerful inner resources for coping with stress, anxiety and uncertainty while enhancing stability in the midst of difficult situations. The result of which is greater health, balance, ease, clarity and peace of mind.
Participants will experience and learn guided instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle stretching and mindful yoga, methods of mindful communication, as well as both group and individualized instruction. 

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Medical School Professor Emeritus, the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Program is the place where the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) all began. To date it has given rise to over 750 programs worldwide, as well as led the way toward over 30 years of research to substantiate its effectiveness.

This carefully laid out program closely follows the current format used by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It will enable participants to continue on with what they have learned long after the 8-weeks are over. The class itself is highly supportive and well structured and the instructor, who received training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, is well versed in guiding the program.

Potential students should contact the instructor as soon as possible to register, as space is limited.  Please call 603-801-8945 or use the email link above in the information box. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is the traditional, consecutive 8-week program that was developed and launched by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that to date has given rise to well over 750 MBSR programs worldwide. The instructor for this program, Cecilia Howard, was professionally trained to teach MBSR and completed both the practicum teacher training at UMASS Medical School  and the 7-Day MBSR Professional Training Retreat for health care providers and educators: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine led by Jon Kabat-Zinn,PhD. and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA. Cecilia is a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, having practiced both for over 21 years. In addition to this program, she teaches meditation classes for the Town of Bedford, teaches Mindful Living classes at Goffstown HS  through the Adult Education program and runs a mindfulness meditation practice group that meets at BYPC in Bedford once a month on a Sunday from 10AM to 11:15AM. She is also a professionally trained and educated artist, writer of a Blog called The Mindful Matrix and a former banking and sales/marketing professional who in addition to her early management career, developed and taught a myriad of leadership, business development and team building programs. She is a trained public speaker and true motivator. Her humor and enthusiasm,  as well as her open-minded approach to life are invaluable assets to her when teaching or guiding students.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MBSR Bedford NH

MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program 

  Spring 2014

Class Information:
Name: The Traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, MBSR

Date: Consecutive Wednesdays March 5th through April 23rd 
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:15 PM*


Days: All classes held on Wednesdays 7PM to 9:15PM and one Saturday, April 12th 8:45AM to 2:45PM
Venue: Riddle Brook School : ROOM 216
Address: 230 New Boston Road Bedford, NH
Phone: Cecilia Howard
Email: cbhoward@mac.com
Website: The Mindful Matrix See Website for more details and prior posts.

*Orientation, which is required of all participants, will be held on Wednesday February 12th. You must pre-register with the instructor prior to orientation night. Deadline to register is Friday February 7th, 2014.

Should you need to withdraw for any reason please note the following:

A full refund will be given prior to the first class on March 5th.
A 50% refund will be given prior to the start of the 2nd class.
No refunds after Class Two.

The orientation is important to attend. It is a chance for you to hear a course overview and learn some of the history behind the development of this outstanding program.  It is also a tried and true measure of deciding if MBSR is right for you. You do not need to pay in full for the classes until orientation night. 





The MBSR program enables participants to learn and develop powerful inner resources for coping with stress, anxiety and uncertainty while enhancing stability in the midst of difficult situations. The result of which is greater health, balance, ease, clarity and peace of mind.
Participants will experience and learn guided instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle stretching and mindful yoga, methods of mindful communication, as well as both group and individualized instruction. 

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Medical School Professor Emeritus, the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Program is the place where the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) all began. To date it has given rise to over 750 programs worldwide, as well as led the way toward over 30 years of research to substantiate its effectiveness.

This carefully laid out program closely follows the current format used by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It will enable participants to continue on with what they have learned long after the 8-weeks are over. The class itself is highly supportive and well structured and the instructor, who was trained at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is well versed in guiding the program.

Potential students should contact the instructor as soon as possible to register, as space is limited.  Please call 603-801-8945 or use the email link above in the information box. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is the traditional, consecutive 8-week program that was developed and launched by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that to date has given rise to well over 750 MBSR programs worldwide. The instructor for this program, Cecilia Howard, was professionally trained to teach MBSR and completed both the practicum teacher training at UMASS Medical School  and the 7-Day MBSR Professional Training Retreat for health care providers and educators: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine led by Jon Kabat-Zinn,PhD. and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA. Cecilia is a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, having practiced both for over 21 years. In addition to this program, she teaches meditation classes for the Town of Bedford, teaches Mindful Living classes at Goffstown HS  through the Adult Education program and runs a mindfulness meditation practice group that meets at BYPC in Bedford once a month on a Sunday from 10AM to 11:15AM. She is also a professionally trained and educated artist, writer of a Blog called The Mindful Matrix and a former banking and sales/marketing professional who in addition to her early management career, developed and taught a myriad of leadership, business development and team building programs. She is a trained public speaker and true motivator. Her humor and enthusiasm,  as well as her open-minded approach to life are invaluable assets to her when teaching or guiding students.



Monday, September 30, 2013

Meditation Class Bedford NH

A Taste of Mindfulness Meditation Practice 
Held MONTHLY on a Sunday
AT
Bedford Youth Performing Company
155 Route 101
Bedford, NH
NEXT DATE: Sunday October 27, 2013
(New Monthly Sunday Dates Posted Each Month on this Site)
TIME: 10 AM to 11:15AM
If you or someone you know has some experience or is new to meditation, or would like learn more, please come out and join our monthly Sunday practice group.
Each month we will alternate with a variety of guided meditations, silent sitting time, gentle mindful stretches, and walking meditation. A reading or presentation on a topic relevant to mindful meditation will be read either at the start or end of each practice time.
If you ever have to miss a Sunday, or choose not to attend regularly, not a problem! Come join us any time you are able to schedule the time. If that means one Sunday every few months  or so, that's perfectly fine! Plus, the Bedford Youth Performing Center, who has graciously offered the space to us, is a wonderful and serene place to be. Park out back on the lower level and enter through the back door.
Hope you can make it!
There are NO fees charged, however donations in any amount, are most appreciated.  A portion of these donations will go to BYPC for use of their lovely facility and the remainder will go to myself as the instructor.
THANK YOU!!!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

MBSR Classes Bedford, NH

If you missed the chance to sign up for the fall session of the Traditional 8-Week MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, I wanted to announce that a Spring 2014 Session will be held. It should run from March thru April, and as of this time, course fees will be much the same as they were/are for the Fall 2013 classes. Stay tuned for further information in the upcoming weeks for more information concerning specific dates and times.

Please read my past Blog posts on MBSR for additional information concerning the program, and check back here in the next few weeks for specifics as to dates and times for the Spring MBSR session in Bedford, NH.

Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment, in a nonjudmental way. It is the ability to stay focused on the task at hand, or the activity being engaged in, without letting the flow of thoughts or distractions take you from the present.

Sounds simple?

Well.....it is, and yet it isn't.

This is why we practice.


It DOES make a difference!




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meditation Class NH

Meditation Classes
 Town of Bedford
McKelvie Intermediate School
108 Liberty Hill Road, Bedford, NH

Meditation: It's Not What You Think!
A wonderful class for beginners

Meditation: It's Not What You Think 101

This class is perfect for beginners or for people looking to refresh an existing meditation practice.  The instructor will be teaching a variety of meditations, as well as discussing various aspects of mindfulness and how it applies to daily life.  It is a fun, informative and supportive place to learn and be inspired to continue with your own practice long after the class has ended.

Wear comfortable clothes/dress.  Seated postures in chairs so no mats or cushions required, but feel free to bring one along if you prefer. Bring a footstool for your feet, and blankets/shawls for your comfort as needed. 
 
FALL SESSION: Mondays (Sept 23, 30, October 7, 21, 28 and November 4th) 


TIME: 7:30-9 PM



This class is such a great way to learn how to meditate in a fun and informal way. I provide tons of helpful information to make sure you feel supported in starting your own practice long after this class has ended. You will learn and "do" in class, with plenty of opportunity to discuss what is or is not working for you. We cover a lot of information in the 6 weeks so if you have been considering learning meditation, this is indeed a "user friendly" way to begin!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MBSR 2016 NH


CLASS IS FULL AS OF 2/4/2016
MBSR WINTER/SPRING 2016 Bedford NH

Learn About MBSR:  The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8-week Program to decide if it "Feels Right For You." Anyone can attend, so bring along a friend, relative or colleague!

FREE Orientation* and Information Session

Monday, FEBRUARY 8th, 2015

(Snow Date Monday Feb 15th)

Riddle Brook School
230 New Boston Road
Bedford, NH
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00PM

The Actual Classes will run on Monday evenings 7PM to 9:00PM.  Some classes run a bit longer, so allow for this in your schedule please:

March 7, 14, 21, 28 April 4, 11, 18 May 2, plus one Saturday April 16th 8:45AM to 3PM

Make sure the dates work for you, especially the Saturday class....if you have to miss more then 2 weekly classes, or the Saturday class, or the orientation, you should take the program at another time. It is important to make every effort to attend classes.......MBSR is not a "part-time" class and in order to receive the best possible outcome, plan on making sure your schedule allows for this 8-week program.

Course Cost for Spring 2016 is $325 and includes all class materials, CD's, and all classes, with an additional  $100 discount offered to any current school employee located throughout NH or MA, or anyone over the age of 65.

Please keep in mind, if the full cost for the actual 8-week, traditional class seems beyond your reach or puts undue strain on your budget, please let me know this fact. My personal aim is to bring the MBSR program to as many people as I can, by whatever means possible. I am most willing to work with you to make it affordable. Please, do not hesitate to email or call me so we can make it work for you to take this wonderful class together! No need to pay for class until Orientation night concludes. Payment is due in full at the end of this night.


*Orientation is required of all participants who intend to enroll in the Spring 2016, 8-week session. No exceptions, so if you cannot attend, you will need to chose another time to take the class.
You must pre-register with the instructor for the Orientation and Information Night. Deadline to register is Friday the 5th of February.


The orientation is important to attend. It is a chance for you to hear a course overview and learn some of the history behind the development of this outstanding program. It is also a tried and true measure of deciding if MBSR is right for you. You do not need to pay for the full program until orientation night.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
The 8-week, traditional MBSR program enables participants to learn and develop powerful inner resources for coping with stress, anxiety and uncertainty while enhancing stability in the midst of difficult situations. The result of which is greater health, balance, ease, clarity and peace of mind.

Participants will experience and learn guided instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle stretching and mindful yoga, methods of mindful communication, as well as particiapte in both group and individualized instruction.

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Medical School Professor Emeritus, the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Program is the place where the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) all began. To date it has given rise to over 750 programs worldwide, as well as led the way toward over 30 years of research to substantiate its effectiveness.

This carefully laid out program closely follows the current format used by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It will enable participants to continue on with what they have learned long after the 8-weeks are over. The class itself is highly supportive and well structured and the instructor, who received training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, is well versed in guiding the program.

Potential students should contact the instructor as soon as possible to register, as space is limited. Please call 603-801-8945 or email me at cbhoward@mac.com.


NOTE: Cecilia teaches the traditional, consecutive 8-week program that was developed and launched by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, that to date has given rise to well over 750 MBSR programs worldwide.  Cecilia Howard, was professionally trained to teach MBSR and completed both the practicum teacher training at UMASS Medical School and the 7-Day MBSR Professional Training Retreat for health care providers and educators:  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine led by Jon Kabat-Zinn,PhD. and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA. Cecilia is a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, having practiced both for over 21 years. In addition to this program, she teaches meditation classes for the Town of Bedford, has taught Mindful Living classes at Goffstown HS through the Adult Education program, and meditation classes for the Manchester YMCA, and currently runs a mindfulness meditation practice group that meets at BYPC in Bedford once a month on a Sunday from 10AM to 11:15AM. She is also a professionally trained and educated artist, writer of a Blog called The Mindful Matrix and a former banking and sales/marketing professional who in addition to her early management career, developed and taught a myriad of leadership, business development and team building programs. She is a trained public speaker and true motivator. Her humor and enthusiasm, as well as her open-minded approach to life are invaluable assets to her when teaching or guiding students.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Meditation Classes Bedford, NH


Meditation Classes: Town of Bedford
McKelvie Intermediate School
108 Liberty Hill Road, Bedford, NH

Meditation: It's Not What You Think!

Meditation: It's Not What You Think 101

This class is perfect for beginners or for people looking to refresh an existing meditation practice.  The instructor will be teaching a variety of meditations, as well as discussing various aspects of mindfulness and how it applies to daily life.  It is a fun, informative and supportive place to learn and be inspired to continue with your own practice long after the class has ended.

Wear comfortable clothes/dress.  Seated postures in chairs so no mats or cushions required, but feel free to bring one along if you prefer. Bring a footstool for your feet, and blankets/shawls for your comfort as needed. 
 
FALL SESSION: Mondays (Sept 16, 23, 30, October 7, 21 and 28) 7:30-9 PM

SPRING SESSION:  Thursdays (March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3 and 10) 7:30-9 PM

Meditation: It's Not What You Think 102
 
This class is for those people who have taken the Meditation 101 class or any other beginner meditation class, or for anyone who is looking to refresh and add new energy to a practice that might need a restart.  There will be longer, in class meditation time, as well as weekly discussions on a variety of topics including the pitfalls and hindrances to practice in an effort to assist people with keeping up their own practice outside of class time.

WINTER SESSION:  Mondays (January 6 (no class Jan 20) class Tues, Jan 21, Jan 27, Feb 3, 10 and 17) 7:30-9 PM

SPRING SESSION:  Thursdays (April 24, May 8, 15, 22, 29 and June 5) 7:30-9 PM

Wear comfortable clothes/dress.  Seated postures in chairs so no mats or cushions required, but feel free to bring one along if you prefer. Bring a footstool for your feet, and blankets/shawls for your comfort as needed.

 To Register contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 472-5242 or visit the website:

Taste of Mindfulness Meditation Practice

A Taste of Mindfulness Meditation Practice 
Held Monthly on a Sunday
Bedford Youth Performing Company
155 Route 101
Bedford, NH
DATE: Sunday September 29, 2013
(New Monthly Sunday Dates Posted Each Month on this Site)
TIME: 10 AM to 11:15AM
If you or someone you know has some experience or is new to meditation, or would like learn more, please come out and join our monthly Sunday practice group.
Each month we will alternate with a variety of guided meditations, silent sitting time, gentle mindful stretches, and walking meditation. A reading or presentation on a topic relevant to mindful meditation will be read either at the start or end of each practice time.
If you ever have to miss a Sunday, or choose not to attend regularly, not a problem! Come join us any time you are able to schedule the time. If that means one Sunday every few months  or so, that's perfectly fine! Plus, the Bedford Youth Performing Center, who has graciously offered the space to us, is a wonderful and serene place to be. Park out back on the lower level and enter through the back door.
Hope you can make it!
There are NO fees charged, however donations in any amount, are most appreciated.  A portion of these donations will go to BYPC for use of their lovely facility and the remainder will go to myself as the instructor.
THANK YOU!!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stress Reduction Program Bedford, NH

UPDATE January 20th, 2015 

There are 10 more spaces available for participants. Also, if you are thinking about taking the class, PLEASE sign up soon for the REQUIRED Orientation and Information night. You must attend this in order to participate in the full 8-week  class. Plus, there is no obligation to sign up for the full 8 weeks. So use it as an opportunity to learn more!


What is it?

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or MBSR is an 8-week program designed to help you reduce the stress in your life by actively engaging in meditation, yoga and more. It is a rich program, full of information that expands your knowledge base, incorporating a thoughtful, systematic methodology.  You will additionally develop awareness of both mindful listening and speaking skills, as well as finding more ways to bring mindfulness into your daily life. This is SO much more than just an intro to meditation or yoga program as each class lays the foundation for skills that will help to increase your focus, concentration, and ability to think and react more effectively to both physical and emotional stress.

When is it being offered and where?
Typically, classes are offered throughout the year, (as well as worldwide) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., developed and introduced the program over 30 years ago. It still remains simply one of the best places to partake of the full 8-week traditional MBSR program. However, if traveling to Shrewsbury, MA weekly to attend a class is daunting, I am offering MBSR at the Riddle Brook  Elementary School located in Bedford, NH, Mondays starting in February.

FREE Orientation and Information Sessions:

You must attend one of two free orientation/information classes being offered:
Sunday February 8th     10AM to 11:30AM
Bedford Youth Performing Center    155 Route 101     Bedford, NH
Lower Level Entrance in REAR of Building

OR

Monday February 16th     7PM to 8:30PM
Riddle Brook School  230 New Boston Road  Bedford,NH
Room 216

ACTUAL CLASS DATES
Mondays       7PM to 9:15PM
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
April 6, 13, 20
PLUS one ALL DAY Saturday Class
April 11th
8:45 AM to 3:00PM
8 weeks total, 9 classes in all, PLUS the required orientation.
Please See Course Fees on Next Page
COURSE  FEES
$295 includes all handouts, workbook, 4 CD’s, teacher support, both in class and outside of class throughout the 8 weeks, and all 9 classes.
$100 discount to any and all current school employees employed in both NH and MA
The course fee is payable, in full,  at the conclusion of Orientation
Refund Policy:
Full refund prior to the start of the First Class
50% refund prior to the start of Class Two
No refunds after Class Two

Please Note: These classes are offered at a cost FAR below that charged at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. As the instructor for these MBSR programs, I am following the carefully laid out path toward certification established by the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS  Medical School and am working toward my certification through this prestigious and highly selective training program, which takes several years to complete.  However, this does not impact my ability to teach, as I am not required to be certified to instruct. In fact, I go above and beyond to provide you with a program that closely mirrors that offered at the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS. The class is taught with integrity, clarity and out of a deep respect for what this meaningful program provides.

Teaching MBSR is a true “labor of love,” and one that I know from first hand experience. In order to teach it, I need to live it. I also want to offer it to people, in as low cost a way as I can, for as long as I am able, as it is a program that everyone should have a chance to participate in, at least once in their lives!

 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MBSR Classes Bedford, NH Fall 2013


MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program 

  Spring 2014

Class Information:
Name: The Traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, MBSR

Date: Consecutive Wednesdays March 5th through April 23rd 
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:15 PM*
Cost: $275 ($100 discount off the full price to any and all health care, day care, school, law enforcement, or fire/rescue employees located throughout the state.)

If the cost for the class seems beyond your reach or puts undue strain on your budget, please let me know. My personal aim is to bring the MBSR program to as many people as I can, by whatever means possible. I am most willing to work with you to make it affordable. Please, do not hesitate to email or call me so we can make it work for you to take this wonderful class together!
Days: All classes held on Wednesdays 7PM to 9:15PM and one Saturday, April 12th 8:45AM to 2:45PM
Venue: Riddle Brook School : ROOM 216
Address: 230 New Boston Road Bedford, NH
Phone: Cecilia Howard
Email: cbhoward@mac.com
Website: The Mindful Matrix See Website for more details and prior posts.

*Orientation, which is required of all participants, will be held on Wednesday February 12th, 7PM to 8:30PM. You must pre-register with the instructor prior to orientation night. Deadline to register is Friday February 7th, 2014.

Should you need to withdraw for any reason please note the following:

A full refund will be given prior to the first class on March 5th.
A 50% refund will be given prior to the start of the 2nd class.
No refunds after Class Two.

The orientation is important to attend. It is a chance for you to hear a course overview and learn some of the history behind the development of this outstanding program.  It is also a tried and true measure of deciding if MBSR is right for you. You do not need to pay in full for the classes until orientation night. 








The MBSR program enables participants to learn and develop powerful inner resources for coping with stress, anxiety and uncertainty while enhancing stability in the midst of difficult situations. The result of which is greater health, balance, ease, clarity and peace of mind.
Participants will experience and learn guided instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle stretching and mindful yoga, methods of mindful communication, as well as both group and individualized instruction. 

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Medical School Professor Emeritus, the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Program is the place where the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) all began. To date it has given rise to over 750 programs worldwide, as well as led the way toward over 30 years of research to substantiate its effectiveness.

This carefully laid out program closely follows the current format used by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It will enable participants to continue on with what they have learned long after the 8-weeks are over. The class itself is highly supportive and well structured and the instructor, who received training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, is well versed in guiding the program.
Potential students should contact the instructor as soon as possible to register, as space is limited.  Please call 603-801-8945 or use the email link above in the information box. 
PLEASE NOTE: This is the traditional, consecutive 8-week program that was developed and launched by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that to date has given rise to well over 750 MBSR programs worldwide. The instructor for this program, Cecilia Howard, was professionally trained to teach MBSR and completed both the practicum teacher training at UMASS Medical School  and the 7-Day MBSR Professional Training Retreat for health care providers and educators: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine led by Jon Kabat-Zinn,PhD. and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA. Cecilia is a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, having practiced both for over 21 years. In addition to this program, she teaches meditation classes for the Town of Bedford, teaches Mindful Living classes at Goffstown HS  through the Adult Education program and runs a mindfulness meditation practice group that meets at BYPC in Bedford once a month on a Sunday from 10AM to 11:15AM. She is also a professionally trained and educated artist, writer of a Blog called The Mindful Matrix and a former banking and sales/marketing professional who in addition to her early management career, developed and taught a myriad of leadership, business development and team building programs. She is a trained public speaker and true motivator. Her humor and enthusiasm,  as well as her open-minded approach to life are invaluable assets to her when teaching or guiding students.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Not All MBSR Classes are Created Equal


For those of you unfamiliar with MBSR, it is a program that takes a systematic approach toward empowering participants to feel more connected and self aware.  The results of which assist people in dealing, much more effectively, with the emotional ups and downs that challenge us all, every day. The class incorporates gentle movement, (suitable for people with mobility issues) mindful meditation, group dialogue/feedback, home practice/homework, and an all day, mini-retreat that further enhances a persons ability to continue along with what they have learned long after the class has ended. The program provides people with a renewed sense of focus. The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where it was developed and launched by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. in 1979, has over 30 years of scientific research to demonstrate the effectiveness of MBSR. In a nutshell, it works!

All potential and existing teachers of MBSR take great care in preparing and training to instruct their classes. Many of the MBSR teachers are not certified. In fact,  the process of certification, as outlined and established at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society is quite long and time consuming, and can take 4 years or more to complete.   More importantly, before a teacher can even be considered for certification they must teach a total of at least 8, complete MBSR training programs,  as well as pursue a myriad of other requirements concerning further personal and professional development. A daunting task, but one that is totally necessary in order to maintain the integrity of both the program and the teacher.

It would seem given the abundance of MBSR classes springing up all over the entire world,  that the terms "mindfulness" and "MBSR" are in danger of commodification,  something that I am most acutely aware of as I move along my intended path toward certification.  As such, I take great pains to reassure all my new and potential MBSR students that I am not looking to use MBSR as a vehicle for anything other than simply wanting the program to be accessible to as many people who could benefit from it the most.  In turn, they can perhaps pass along, through their words or actions, a symbiotic sharing of the training called MBSR.

MBSR classes are not all equal. So please be sure when you are doing your homework looking for MBSR programs near you, that you look for people trained to instruct your class that have been taught at well respected and leading MBSR teacher training programs. The University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society is the uncontested leader in this field as it all started from the Stress Reduction Clinic in the basement of the hospital there, some 30 years a go, and now, worldwide over 750 programs exist. There are other excellent teacher training programs, such as at University of California in San Diego (UCSD )or in the UK, at Bangor University, just to name a few.

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School recently informed a room full of 200 plus current and potential MBSR teachers that the only program that should use the name "MBSR" is those that follow the full, traditional 8-week format. He further clarified this by mentioning that some organizations have asked to use elements or abbreviated versions of the program, while wanting to call it MBSR, or have MBSR in the class title. Jon's response, in brief, "If it isn't MBSR, do not call it MBSR." He stated also that it is wonderful that so many people want to incorporate mindfulness or use aspects of MBSR into programs they too are developing. His request was to name it something more conducive to what it is that you are actually teaching, unless the program follows the traditional 8-week MBSR format.

Sadly, "let the buyer, or in this case the participant beware" as the potential consumerism of mindfulness exists, so one must exercise a bit of care when selecting an MBSR class. The good news is there are PLENTY of high quality trained, both certified and uncertified instructors, out there worldwide teaching wonderful classes. They do so in a well intentioned, and deep rooted awareness of what being an MBSR teacher is all about in the world today. The equally good news, there are an abundance of MBSR teachers and classes yet to come, as efforts are underway to incorporate this program into an ever growing number of schools, hospitals and businesses.

PLEASE SEE MY PREVIOUS POST FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING THE TRADITIONAL 8-WEEK MBSR PROGRAM COMING TO BEDFORD, NH THIS FALL.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MBSR Classes Bedford, NH

OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT 
REGISTER BY END OF JANUARY FOR A $50 DISCOUNT
 
MBSR Winter/SPRING 2016 Bedford NH

Learn About MBSR:  The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8-week Program to decide if it "Feels Right For You." Anyone can attend, so bring along a friend, relative or colleague!

FREE Orientation* and Information Session

Monday, FEBRUARY 8th, 2015 
(Snow Date Monday Feb 15th)
Riddle Brook School
230 New Boston Road 
Bedford, NH
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00PM

The Actual Classes will run on Monday evenings 7PM to 9:00PM.  Some classes run a bit longer, so allow for this in your schedule please:

March 7, 14, 21, 28 April 4, 11, 18 May 2, plus one Saturday April 16th 8:45AM to 3PM

Make sure the dates work for you, especially the Saturday class....if you have to miss more then 2 weekly classes, or the Saturday class, or the orientation, you should take the program at another time. It is important to make every effort to attend classes.......MBSR is not a "part-time" class and in order to receive the best possible outcome, plan on making sure your schedule allows for this 8-week program.


Course Cost for Spring 2016 is $325 and includes all class materials, CD's, and all classes, with an additional  $100 discount offered to any current school employee located throughout NH or MA, or anyone over the age of 65. 


Please keep in mind, if the full cost for the actual 8-week, traditional class seems beyond your reach or puts undue strain on your budget, please let me know this fact. My personal aim is to bring the MBSR program to as many people as I can, by whatever means possible. I am most willing to work with you to make it affordable. Please, do not hesitate to email or call me so we can make it work for you to take this wonderful class together! No need to pay for class until Orientation night concludes. Payment is due in full at the end of this night.


*Orientation is required of all participants who intend to enroll in the Spring 2016, 8-week session. No exceptions, so if you cannot attend, you will need to chose another time to take the class.
You must pre-register with the instructor for the Orientation and Information Night. Deadline to register is Friday the 5th of February.


The orientation is important to attend. It is a chance for you to hear a course overview and learn some of the history behind the development of this outstanding program. It is also a tried and true measure of deciding if MBSR is right for you. You do not need to pay for the full program until orientation night.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
The 8-week, traditional MBSR program enables participants to learn and develop powerful inner resources for coping with stress, anxiety and uncertainty while enhancing stability in the midst of difficult situations. The result of which is greater health, balance, ease, clarity and peace of mind.

Participants will experience and learn guided instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle stretching and mindful yoga, methods of mindful communication, as well as particiapte in both group and individualized instruction.

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Medical School Professor Emeritus, the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Program is the place where the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) all began. To date it has given rise to over 750 programs worldwide, as well as led the way toward over 30 years of research to substantiate its effectiveness.

This carefully laid out program closely follows the current format used by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It will enable participants to continue on with what they have learned long after the 8-weeks are over. The class itself is highly supportive and well structured and the instructor, who received training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, is well versed in guiding the program.

Potential students should contact the instructor as soon as possible to register, as space is limited. Please call 603-801-8945 or email me at cbhoward@mac.com.


NOTE: Cecilia teaches the traditional, consecutive 8-week program that was developed and launched by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, that to date has given rise to well over 750 MBSR programs worldwide.  Cecilia Howard, was professionally trained to teach MBSR and completed both the practicum teacher training at UMASS Medical School and the 7-Day MBSR Professional Training Retreat for health care providers and educators:  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine led by Jon Kabat-Zinn,PhD. and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA. Cecilia is a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, having practiced both for over 21 years. In addition to this program, she teaches meditation classes for the Town of Bedford, has taught Mindful Living classes at Goffstown HS through the Adult Education program, and meditation classes for the Manchester YMCA, and currently runs a mindfulness meditation practice group that meets at BYPC in Bedford once a month on a Sunday from 10AM to 11:15AM. She is also a professionally trained and educated artist, writer of a Blog called The Mindful Matrix and a former banking and sales/marketing professional who in addition to her early management career, developed and taught a myriad of leadership, business development and team building programs. She is a trained public speaker and true motivator. Her humor and enthusiasm, as well as her open-minded approach to life are invaluable assets to her when teaching or guiding students.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mindfulness and Slowly Losing a Pet to Cancer


Does it sometimes hurt inside knowing loss is an inevitable process?
Yes.
Is it sad to watch his body grow leaner as his appetite increases to a feverish pitch that cannot be sated?
Yes.
Does it conjure up memories of the past and how this small, loving, beautiful creature ran across the street into your arms and purred the moment you made contact with its soft, cold, wet snow fringed young body?
Yes.
Does it make me feel warm inside knowing this "stray" of sorts found my husband and I, out of all the other places it could have run to hide from the abusive environment it knew as its only home?
Yes.
Does it change the fact that this cat has been a "whiny, needy, pain in the you know where, maybe we made the wrong decision when we brought him into our home" kind of cat?
No
Does it any way change the fact, that this loving, HUGE, orange tabby cat, with the incessant voice, the deep, vibrational purr and the constant need for attention of any kind, has been with us for almost 14 years?
No.
Will his larger then life personality, and loving nature to just about everyone who has known him, be missed in a deep and heartfelt way?
Yes.
Will I be able to mourn his loss, when it arrives, and know that the last of our "Jersey Cat" connections is gone?
Yes.
Would I have changed anything knowing he had a heart murmur that prevented us from any type of surgery over the years, as it may have caused his heart to fail during the procedure? 
(In fact, this prevents us from removing the growing tumor in his jaw to help stave off the inevitable progression of cancer.)
No.

To everyone, everywhere that has ever lost a pet for whatever reasons, and to all those that will, take comfort, as I do every day that this loss is indeed an inevitable part of life. Doesn't mean the loss is felt any less, but perhaps it means we can allow ourselves to feel it and let it be, not trying to fill up the painful places or the void with other distractions or worse, another pet, to replace the one we are losing. Just be with it: the pain, the sadness, the loss, the joys, the fun, the smiles, the snuggles, the warmth, the annoyances, the sorrows, the liveliness and all the things that make this pet just like a friend and family to everyone whose lives have been enriched by knowing these very special animals.

When the time comes, I will know when to say the final good bye, until then he is one of the most  spoiled, loved and appreciated cats on the planet.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Teacher Training in MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

About nine months or so ago I undertook the first official leg along my certification process route for MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction professional teacher training. This was the Practicum Teacher training held at the Center for Mindfulness Studies at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Campus in Shrewsbury, MA. It was/is a life changing opportunity to immerse oneself in the training process while taking an MBSR class with close to 40 other participants who were program, not practicum, participants. But an important distinction to note here is that while I gained valuable teaching insight from the practicum, I also participated fully in the MBSR class. My personal growth and embodiment of the entire MBSR program  came from my own ability and willingness to face myself each day and look at the places that needed to be examined in an effort to teach MBSR classes one day, on my own, with a clearer focus and direction.

It is not a teacher training program to be taken on whim or undertaken lightly. In fact, the people who both work and teach at The Center for Mindfulness (CFM) take great care in selecting people to enter the program who have demonstrated a solid meditation, yoga and mindfulness practice of their own, as well as a forthright openness about their own insight and personal struggles. In addition, a professional background that demonstrates a readiness to discuss and teach a program that requires a certain degree of competency, fluency and comprehension  of the scientific research regarding the medical, social, physical  and psychological aspects of MBSR and its ability to impact a person's well being. This is necessary in order to decimate the information to inform the teaching process. 

MBSR all started quite humbly over 30 years ago in the basement of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Hospital. I recently attended a second training class in MBSR, this time lead by the two people who are instrumental to the  success of this program as well as champions of the ongoing research that is being carried out today by neuroscientists, psychologists and host of other researchers. These two people are Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Saki Santorelli. Jon and Saki led a 7 day training program in lovely Rhinebeck, NY for well over 200 or so attendees. The program is intensive and the days are long, but the leadership, direction and guidance was inspirational to both myself and others.

People came to this program from all over the world. I met medical professionals, researchers and teachers from as far away as China, Germany, Spain, the UK, Costa Rica, and Canada just to name a few. This particular class is open to not only people like myself desiring to teach MBSR classes, but also people who are interested in learning more about MBSR and how it may impact them in a personal way. These people, like many of us, came to find Jon and Saki's books a beacon of light in the maelstrom of life's storms and calamities. There are also people taking the class who are simply new to this world of mindfulness and are looking to learn more. In other words, all are welcome and the waiting list to attend is quite long, at least 300 to 400 hundred or more each year wait to find if they will be lucky enough to attend. Jon and Saki typically teach this week long class in the USA twice per year. Once in California and once in NY. They also teach this same program in Europe (Austria, I believe this year) and are heading to China, to lead the program. Imagine, Jon and Saki leading classes in a country which for many conjures up images of a populace rife with mindfulness, rooted in long-standing Buddhist belief system. Who better to reignite the path to mindful practice then this authentically embodied duo of MBSR leaders in the world today?

So, my journey toward certification, which can take up to 5 or more years, has begun. I am taking it slow and steady as MBSR teaching, to me, is not to be undertaken lightly. It is a program that has profound and lasting impact on people, and it is so important to recognize that each and every class taught is further opportunity for BOTH the students and teacher to learn more about themselves in a way that enhances the experience for all who attend. Training in MBSR is not a quick and dirty methodology of taking one training class and you are henceforth able to teach the class forever and ever. Just as a the full 8-week MBSR program is open to all participants, it is NOT a quick fix to all life's problems for them as well, no indeed. Neither teachers nor students stop learning after one session of classes. The learning is a life long process, and the skills taught become part of your daily life. Teachers are held to a higher degree of expectations,  and need to be open to themselves and their students. This insures the experience is true, authentic and being carried out in a mindful way, that can change moment by moment. The curriculum being taught is there, but the day to day process of teaching and imparting this information is more organic, in some ways as the participants and teacher both grow, learn, stumble and falter in their own process toward developing a life long practice.

To say I am equal to the challenge of teaching is irrelevant or more importantly, not what I am striving for here . What I am is committed to the ongoing process of learning more about myself in a way that embodies the heart and spirit of the MBSR program. To teach MBSR as taught at the CFM, University of Massachusetts Medical School, in a format that is viewed worldwide as the gold standard in MBSR training is not overstating things in the slightest. Jon Kabat-Zinn started a clinic to help people combat the physical pain in their lives. People who were being discarded by the medical profession as incurable or even worse, disposable to the medical community. What Jon did was introduce a compassionate form of training that did something remarkable: it taught the patient to take charge of their lives in a way that allowed for self healing and growth to occur. From a basement start, in a hospital, where the first 1,000 people were not even charged a penny came the birth of over 750 mindfulness-based programs worldwide that have won the respect and accolades of the medical profession a thousand times over.

Thank you Jon and thank you Saki, Jon's successor and current Director at CFM, University of Massachusetts Medical School, for ensuring the quality and consistency of training MBSR professionals. I am honored to be a VERY small cog in the wheel of a program that for many has shed light into places where no one thought they would ever feel the warmth of healing or a sense of wholeness. What many find is true meaning to the following words: Nothing to fix, no one is broken,  present for each moment in whatever is occurring, here and now,  for us as individuals, in THIS present moment.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Regrets Anyone?

My father's 93 year old brother passed away peacefully a week or so ago. This news struck my father deeply as he is now the only living sibling remaining out of eleven brothers and sisters. Dad was the "baby" of the family through default when his younger sister died at age 13 of Scarlet Fever, leaving my father the youngest of the remaining 10 siblings. His brothers and sisters, including my father, for the most part, all lived some incredibly long and well lived lives, despite their immigrant parents lack of education and in spite of them having VERY little money, in a time when this country was just opening its doors to the poor and destitute of the world.

Image From Ellis Island Archives

My father's father, PopPop to us, spoke in a mysterious accent from his far away homeland of Yugoslavia. He would sit at the kitchen table in his black vest and pants, white undershirt and dress hat when we would come to call. He always had a smile on his face and seemed quite  genuinely interested in us grand kids. It was hard to understand him though,  and I often felt at odds with the old fashioned decor in this Bethlehem, PA row home on the "wrong" side of the tracks as I would hear people in my life joke. I wasn't entirely sure back then what the right side of the tracks was either!

Now, I find myself wishing I had gotten to know him better or had the courage to have broken through the language barrier to ask him about what it was like to travel by boat, leaving behind a wife and children (they came over later) to make his way to America to start a new life. It would seem that this was a very courageous and brave thing to have undertaken on a mode a transportation  that was long and arduous. I was very young though when he was alive and not able to even think of questions like these to ask. Had I even done so, I probably would not have had the bravery to ask let alone comprehend his answers. I settled for smiles and laughs at our interchange as I tried to understand the words coming from his smiling mouth and crinkly eyes.
 
Bronnie Ware wrote a book entitled "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying- A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing." She was/is a nurse who cared for people who were dying: palliative care as it is often referred. The top five are:

1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

In light of my Uncle passing and my father's musing about being the last of his siblings, I thought about myself and what this list meant to me, in terms of my life so far and the life I have yet to live. I am pleasantly surprised to find that I am surpassing all of the above "regrets" in a way that is far more clear then it was in my younger days! 

While I may not have youth on my side, I do have a clearer focus and direction in terms of choosing a career path that is much more authentic to the person I am and have been for all these years. In the past, I was unwilling to meld the two into a cohesive union that allowed for a well-balanced perspective. I worked my proverbial ass off in my younger days in a career that left me devoid of a private life, but no more!  

I also have found myself to be far courageous then I was in my past about expressing my feelings. I feel it keeps things "real" and allows little time for artifice and deception. I do have to work hard though to think carefully before I speak as I can still say things without thinking and as we all know once something leaves our mouth, it is SO hard to take back.

The only area I do have some regrets is in allowing friends to drift from my life. I know now, I was not being truly authentic about who I was at the time, so those people did not see a true reflection of myself, and this caused confusion on all our parts. I thought I knew myself or better yet, thought I knew the self I projected to others....I had SO much to learn. (I am still learning!)

So, my regrets are indeed few....I give an abundance of time to the well being of myself, my son and my husband. My home is a haven for healing and positive growth. My career with meditation and mindfulness teaching, is well grounded in a place I feel most comfortable as it has been part of my life for over 21 years now. I work hard at being content, joyful and connected to life in a way that supports not only myself but the developing intellect of my son and the whirlwind business career of my husband. 

I am both captain of my ship and an anchor for myself as this gives me a solid place from which to help others navigate their own ships, and chart their own destinies.  Sure, there there will indeed be storms ahead, and lives lost in the balance, and yes I know, as in all things, that change is inevitable. So I might as well ride the waves firm in the knowledge that all things must indeed come to end.......might not be easy.....but there is a certain kind of resilience in just simply knowing this fact. 

After all, I descended from some incredibly brave and courageous people who had the fearlessness to step onto a ship with hundreds of other strangers, feeling scared and alone, to come to America and make a life for themselves far from the safety of their homes. They had hope in their hearts and a will to make a better life for not just themselves, but that of their future offspring as well. Hopefully, they had no regrets as I know I am most grateful to my distant relatives for heeding the call to seek out a new life in a new part of the world. Thank you!