We had our annual Board meeting for the Mindfulness Association in Edinburgh yesterday. I travelled over there with Choden from Lockerbie and Norton travelled down from Aberdeen for the day. Kristine, who lives locally, and who is going to be taking on half of my management role in the new year joined us in the afternoon.
We have all known each other and worked together since the very beginning of the MA ten years ago.
We were all either participants or teachers on the first mindfulness course with Rob Nairn at Samye Ling in 2008. We are fortunate in that we have strong friendships and mutual trust and respect developed through years of work together. This comes in handy when there are challenging business decisions to be made. It can be difficult to balance our wish to benefit our communities and to remain financially sustainable.
It was a very inspiring meeting! Our vision for the future is around supporting communities and we are approaching this in different ways. The first is to set up more days of practice to support our community of practitioners. We are beginning this in the lull between Christmas and New Year with some online mid-winter retreat days, with Kristine who will be teaching from the Salisbury centre in Edinburgh. I am happy to be supporting the online participants on the first of these three days on Friday 27 December.
We are planning an online practice day, led by Fay in April and Choden is planning some practice days later on in the year at Samye Ling, which can also be joined online, by those who cannot make it in person. We are hoping through this to give more support to our community of like-minded mindfulness practitioners who can come together in friendship and mutual support.
Our aim is to create a safe space where every experience is met with an attitude of allowing and acceptance, or as Rob Nairn would say ‘nothing wrong’.
Our vision is also to support compassion-based mindfulness practitioners to cultivate the skills required to navigate these difficult times with compassion and equanimity. To not be overwhelmed by life, but to keep going, because as Coldplay say in their excellent new album ‘Everyday Life’ in order to be a ‘Champion of the World’ then ‘Giving up won’t work’.
Kristine and Fay are leading this with their excellent Engaged Mindfulness courses, our online ‘Mindful consuming’ course and I am doing my bit next year in promoting a compassionate approach to the food we eat, so as to promote our health and the health of the world.
We are working with Dean and Aesha Francis of the Urban Mindfulness Foundation in London to promote diversity and inclusivity and to make sure that our community of practice is open to Everyone. Part of Kristine’s new role within the MA is to promote this.
We are providing a taste of each of these approaches in our 10th anniversary membership weekend and retreat in May next year. All at the Board meeting are appearing in the documentary that is being made about the first decade of the Mindfulness Association, which will be premiered at our 10th anniversary members weekend in May next year. I hope you can join us.
If we can each cultivate the skills to navigate the world with an attitude of joyful determination to make our world a better place, then we can each be a beacon for our families and communities at home. The only way I know to do this is through Compassion Based Mindfulness.
So our invitation, as always, is to come practice with us! If we can each transform our own corner of the world with kindness and compassion, all the corners will link up and our world can be transformed.