My Own Personal Hero’s Journey

My Hero’s Journey Way back in 2007, I was working long hours in corporate banking and had no idea how my life was about to change. I’d worked in banking for 28 years, since I left school at 16, and always thought that would be me until I retired. Then, one day, one of my close friends and colleagues who was working similar hours died suddenly of a heart attack… and I woke up. Suddenly I was questioning everything I thought I wanted from life. I realised that all I was doing was working. I’d stopped doing all the things I used to enjoy, like climbing, hiking and skiing, and was seeing less and less of family and friends. First steps to a different life After much soul searching, and over the next couple of years, I left my job and trained in NLP and hypnotherapy. I moved from Edinburgh back to the Scottish Borders where I come from, and where my family still lived, and set up on my own as a hypnotherapist. Having worked in banking for so long, it probably won’t surprise anyone when I say that I was still in my head a lot. Back then I didn’t realise this; all I knew was that, even though I had made these changes, something still didn’t feel right—and I didn’t know what it was. Then I went to one of Stephen Gilligan’s workshops in London. I was very new to this world and have to admit I didn’t really understand much of what he was talking about. My body, though, seemed to get it! This was...

New Mindfulness course dates, easy-to-attend workshops and free introductory sessions – something for everyone!

Everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from mindfulness. That’s why the Live Mindfully programmes come in such a wide variety of formats; there really is something for everyone: Want to ‘dip your toe in the water’ and get a feel for what mindfulness is all about? Try a free introductory session – an excellent way to experience mindfulness training for the first time. Ready to gain all the benefits of a full eight-week mindfulness course? Book onto a new course starting in August or October. Want all the benefits of face-to-face learning but can’t commit to eight weekly sessions? You can get all the content of an eight-week course in two workshops. Love learning online and can’t wait to begin? Start when you want and work through the course in your own time. Ready to take your mindfulness practice to a deeper level? Try a six-week course to help you deepen your practice and keep it alive! Free mindfulness introductory sessions Free introductory sessions last around an hour and a quarter and are open to everyone interested in mindfulness. (If you’re considering booking an eight-week course, this is a great way to find out more about what you can expect during the course!) The next introductory sessions are: In Melrose on 4th August and 6th October At the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh on 26th July and 27th September. Eight-week mindfulness courses in the Borders and Edinburgh New eight-week mindfulness courses start in Edinburgh on 10th August (Wednesday evenings) and 17th October (Monday mornings) and 19th October (Wednesday evenings). There are courses running on Wednesday evenings in the Scottish Borders, starting...

Three things the press (sometimes) get wrong about mindfulness

It’s all too easy, if you catch just the last few minutes of a news report or a brief glimpse of a headline, to acquire a whole range of misconceptions. Even when you read the whole article or hear the full interview, though, you can still be left believing that myths are truth. This post examines some of the misconceptions about mindfulness that have appeared in the press recently. We’ll also suggest ways you can learn the full story about mindfulness and work out whether the practice is right for you. Misconception 1: Mindfulness is just the latest money-making industry! With all the publicity surrounding the benefits of mindfulness – and with the abundance of mindfulness books, apps and courses now available – you might be starting to wonder whether mindfulness is no more than a trendy, money-making industry. That word ‘mindful’ just seems to be everywhere – and is sometimes used in the most unlikely of places! When a word becomes over-used, though, that doesn’t mean that the original meaning or idea behind that word has lost its value. As Barry Boyce, writing on mindful.org, says: “Once a word gets trendy and over-used, it can grate on the ear; but because ‘organic’ has been over-used doesn’t mean that genuine organic food has somehow become a shallow thing of no value. Just so, with mindfulness.” Mindfulness is not new. The practice dates back 2,500 years. Modern mindfulness is simply a practical life skill you can develop to help you cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. It’s right, of course, that we should analyse the true value...

Start from where you are

There will be many times in your life when you find yourself in a situation you simply don’t like. Perhaps you find yourself stuck in a job you no longer enjoy. Perhaps the place where you’re living is far away from where you really want to be. Maybe your health is not as good as you’d like it to be. In some situations, you’ll be able to take action to change things; in others, change may be – for the moment at least – outside of your control. When we’re in a situation we can’t change, what are our choices? Author and mindfulness meditation teacher Dr Arnie Kozak sums up our options with a simple example: There is a basic choice we have in every moment of our existence. I can be with whatever is happening or I can want to change it…. If you are sitting in a room and it is hot, get up and open the window…. There is no particular virtue to remaining hot when a simple action can change that. However, there are many situations in life where a simple action is neither feasible nor possible. You are outside waiting at a bus stop and it is hot. There is nothing that you can do. You are stuck waiting. In this situation, acceptance is an option; resistance is another option. When you are hot, you sweat. That’s an experience. As long as you are not at risk of heat stroke or dehydration, it’s not a problem – unless you make it into one. Yet we often turn our experiences into problems by wishing things...

Be mindful doing what you love!

What do you do to relax in your spare time? Whether your favourite hobby, sport or pastime is creative, energetic, relaxing or nurturing, you can get more from doing what you love by practising mindfulness while you do it! If you love home-baking… You can be mindful of the textures of the different ingredients. Bring your awareness to your hands and really feel the dough you’re kneading or the consistency of the butter as you’re rubbing it into the flour. Then use your nose – what do the ingredients smell like, before, during and after you take them out of the oven? Don’t forget to eat your creation mindfully too! Take time to really savour the end results of your baking instead of eating your cake while you’re working at the computer or watching TV. If you love running or walking… Once you’ve warmed up and gotten into your stride, think about the rhythm of your footfalls. Start with the sound your feet make as they connect with the ground. Really listen. Is the rhythm constant or does it alter as you go up or downhill? How do the changing surfaces you’re running or walking over sound different? Next, become aware of your feet. Concentrate on what you feel as each foot touches the ground, as you transfer your weight onto that foot and then push away from the ground again. Then gradually move your awareness up from your feet, through your ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs and hips, at each point feeling what the muscles and joints are doing. You can carry on moving your attention up...