Guest Blogsreflecting-on-mindful-connections-2

Connections. Yes, I want to share my reflections on remembering all the Mindfulness Association connections and relationships that sustain and nourish me. I’ve also written a wee poem about my experience of creating new connections and relationships whilst facilitating a mindfulness Exhibition Stall in the Scottish Parliament in January 2020.


Maybe like me, you are feeling a lot of uncertainty and fear around the Coronavirus. At such emotionally charged times, I can feel the contraction in the body, and feel the mind can get carried away in stories. A lot of my formal and informal practice is about trying to meet change with my limited kindness, understanding and wisdom. For me, it can be about knowing when and how to be open to both cultivating and appreciating connections as they change. I’m sure you know what I mean, and maybe the rest of his blog will resonate with you too.


Yet when I take time to think of all my good connections and relationships, I’m often aware of feeling warm, having an open heart and a big smile. On Saturday night, I lay on the floor and started to contemplate all the connections and relationships I had made via the Mindfulness Association over the last 8 years. I thought about people from Mindfukness Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and M4L training; teacher training courses and retreats (MBLC and CBLC); the on-line Supervision Course; the CPD weekends and Members Conferences; and the M4L retreats with Vin and Ian on Holy Isle. Then there is the M4L monthly meet ups across the central belt of Scotland. All the people I had met at Samye Ling! I felt very blessed.


Initially I could imagine seeing everyone I had met through the MA at the Members Conference. That is a lot of people. My mind’s eye would then zoom in on faces, conversations and hugs, and I could feel my open heart and the big smile on my face. Then I would try to zoom out and see them as one. Wow there was a lot of warmth, caring, understanding, wisdom and non-judgement in that mass of beings. I don’t know if you have reflected on this too, but it felt really nourishing in my body. I also know that I can Skype, Zoom and email all of these people and even share practice together. It’s a great antidote to feeling separate and isolated. I invite you to do so too.


On that theme, I want to share with you some of the new connections and relationships I have made as we try to bring mindfulness class to the Scottish Parliament. You might remember my last blog on this? I stumbled upon my notes from my last visit to Holyrood Parliament. I had intended to write and share my experience of facilitating an Exhibition Stand, but I have been busy with other projects.


Kristine Janson and I had been available to represent Mindful Nation Scotland for the weeklong stall. It was in the main lobby of the Parliament. It was a perfect spot for meeting MSPs as they went to their offices, meeting rooms, café and Chamber.


Unfortunately, we had to work solo on the stall. So, I was aware of anxiety/excitement visiting my body as I started, but the Guesthouse was not full. I was a wee bit caught up in thinking about meeting all these strangers – the rejection story. Initially, this might have held me back from stepping out and meeting people. So, I just sat and practiced the mantra of Loving Kindness for everyone that passed the stall. And then slowly I started to meet strangers and connect.


As I started to write about this a kind of poem emerged. Maybe it will remind you of the times you have introduced friends, family and colleagues to mindfulness. May it make you smile and remind you of all your mindfulness connections.

Holyrood: Mindful Connections in the Corridors of Power

Sitting in Silence, Stillness and Spaciousness

I can feel this Silence permeate,

I can almost be this Stillness,

It’s like this Spaciousness is me

Then: Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop.

The erupting sound of walking as fast as walking will allow

Running within the confines of walking

“No running in the corridor” I can almost hear echo from the quiet places!

Some juggling papers, pens and Costa coffees

Some with laptops, iPads and staring into bottomless phones

Others walk in slow motion, deliberate steps for deliberating on deliberation

Autopilots know the way to and fro …

Whilst eyes are lost in the sight of holding a motion, objection or promotion

Mouthing words that are being nurtured to a speech or parrying a retort away from defeat

Huddles of people that can move as one

Like a shoal of fish full of intent or is it just fun?

Am I the observer sat watching the undercurrent?

Clip. Clop.Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop …

Ping! Lifts open, voices open.

Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop.

Laughter echo’s and giggling arrives

“Oh hello”, and “Oh, what do you do?” A friendly voice invites.

“Mindfulness!” “Oh, mindfulness?”

“Oh, my mum does mindfulness. It’s great I hear”

“I do yoga too. And sometimes Qi Gong”.

“Is it like praying”

“I love mindfulness. I think everyone should do mindfulness”

“My mind? Oh, it never stops. I’ve so much to do and so little time.”

“Must run. I’m on. There is a debate to be had”

“Oh, hello”, and “Oh, mindfulness … and you are who?”

“Quieten my mind! Oh, that would be good. Bet you can’t settle my mind”

‘When do you start, and where can I sign. Keep in touch”

“This is great. I’ll support this. If we stand together, I’ll put our pic on our feed”

“Must run. There is my TV crew”

“Look it’s mindfulness. If you go, I’ll go too! Yeah, sign us both up”

“Oh, I need this more than you know. When does it start?”

“I’ve just given a speech and it went so well. Oh, I’d love to stop and just stop”

Clip. Clop.Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop …

I can feel the Silence, Stillness and Spaciousness in here again

It is so beautiful

I can almost touch it

If only they knew it’s already here.

Ping! Lifts open, voices open.

Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop.

“Oh hello”, and “Oh, what do you do?”

“Mindfulness! I use it all the time”

And so, it continued for the next five hours

And again, and again the silence arrived

Unseen and unnoticed by the many not the few

Our invitation is to pause and to notice

To break the habits of not being here

To meet with kindness

To truly live more

Wishing you Well

Bill Paterson