Last week, I attended and participated in the Mindfulness Association’s week long MBLC Teaching Skills retreat. There were a mixture of emotions presenting themselves, but mostly, I was looking forward to some time away from a very busy house.
The retreat started on a Tuesday evening and I was weary from travel. There were a number of new faces mixed with some of my MSc colleagues. Somehow, my self -critic kicked into overdrive. What was I doing here? Who did I think I was? ‘These people’ surely had more experience and knowledge than me.
Heat started to rise up my neck anytime I imagined myself presenting lessons (for assessment) to this group. There were university and college lecturers, people who had been teaching MBIs for the NHS, university colleagues and mindfulness practitioners whose levels of embodiment shined from their every pore. There was no way that I could ever hold a stick to them.
However, as we were split into our two tutorial groups and we began to share, I soon discovered that ‘these people’ were no different than I was. We were all suffering from performance anxiety, we all had our strengths and weaknesses and we all wished the best for one another. ‘These people’ soon became an ‘us’.
On top of the common humanity that became apparent between ‘us’, the level of supportive guidance that was offered by our tutors was inspiring to ‘us’ as teachers. Moreover, the depth of comprehension and skill in articulating the teaching points and rationales behind the practices that we were learning to deliver was extraordinary. Our tutors provided an environment that not only demonstrated the importance of understanding the ‘why’ behind the MBLC practices, but they drew out the innate wisdom that each and every one of ‘us’ participants have in relation to our own practice of the elements of the MBLC. It was a transformative experience!
As the week progressed, I still endured the heat. However, I also felt that I was being held with kindness in a safe environment. I learned so much from each and every one who was present. I developed my teaching skills. I deepened my practice.
Did I escape the busyness of my house with this retreat? No. It was full on from morning to night. Nonetheless, I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I encourage anyone who is considering teaching mindfulness to do the same. The MBLC Teaching Skills retreat enriched my practice and provided me with the confidence to take my knowledge of mindfulness out into the world for the benefit of others. What more could I have asked for?
For more information on the Mindfulness Association Teaching Skills courses: http://www.mindfulnessassociation.net/Courses3.aspx