Mindfulness, It's the latest buzzword, right?
Do you know what it actually is though?
Or how it may help you live your life in a more helpful, happier and engaged way?
I've been practising Mindfulness for six years now and am three years into a Masters degree in Mindfulness at Bangor University (the first in the world to offer such a degree 18 years ago and internationally recognised as the highest quality of training).
I am DELIGHTED to now be able to offer a live, online Mindfulness course that is truly accessible to (almost)* all.
Finding Peace in a Frantic World
What will you learn?
Finding Peace In A Frantic World (FPFW) is an eight week introductory skills-based course, with an initial orientation session.
The course consists of eight 90 minute sessions and includes 20 minutes of home practice per day between sessions. Through guided meditations, group dialogue, individually tailored instructions and home assignments, you will learn the essential principles of mindfulness and techniques to build your personal home practice and access the wide-ranging benefits well beyond the course.
It cultivates the following understandings:
Mindfulness starts when we recognise the tendency to be on automatic pilot, which can rob us of our potential for living life more fully. We begin to practice stepping out of automatic pilot by bringing mindfulness to aspects of everyday present-moment experience that we might normally overlook.
With greater awareness, we begin to notice how often we are lost in our thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness of the body and breathing helps us learn to recognise our thoughts, emotions, sensations, and impulses, gather the scattered mind, and return with appreciation to the here and now.
We learn that when our attention is caught up in the past or the future, we can get trapped in unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. Mindfulness helps us recognise these automatic reactions, understand them as normal human experiences, and bring kindness and compassion to them.
As we cultivate attitudes of interest and friendliness toward all of our experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant, we learn skills for keeping our balance through life’s ups and downs, responding skilfully when difficulties arise, engaging with what is most important to us, and opening up to moments of joy, contentment, and gratitude. We learn to flourish.
What happens during a session?
Sessions follow a consistent pattern.
After greetings and getting settled, we begin with a guided meditation practice, followed by reflection on the experiences of the practice. Then we discuss the experiences of the home practices during the week.
Each session has a theme that is woven into the discussions. We often do another practice or a cognitive exercise and reflect on what can be learned from that.
Near the end of each session, we explain the home practices for the following week.
Whether online or in person, it’s best to arrive a bit early for each session. This helps to ensure a prompt start.
What does home practice involve?
I will provide recordings for the main practices and ask you to practice every day.
You may need to reorganise aspects of your life to fit this in. It might be helpful to talk with family or friends about what is involved.
If you find this difficult, experiment with practising at different times of the day, and remember to keep an open mind as best you can.
You may notice that your experience changes from day to day or week to week.
I will be available to discuss any difficulties you are having with home practice.
What are the challenges?
✡︎ At first, practising meditation may feel strange or unfamiliar. As best you can, keep an open mind.
✡︎ It is not obvious at the outset which practices will be most helpful and you may not see benefits immediately. Practise gentle persistence, and remember that people respond differently.
✡︎ The amount of practice can feel daunting. However, consistent practice may increase the likelihood of benefitting from the course.
✡︎ Some people feel apprehensive about being in a group. However, learning from others and seeing that you are not alone can be hugely beneficial.
✡︎ You may face emotional issues that you would prefer to avoid. Difficulties that arise can be informative and the course will teach you skilful ways of responding to them.
✡︎ You may find yourself wanting to give up at times. This is common. Please speak to me about any issues that are making things difficult for you.
The course cost includes one hour's orientation session on March 29th and eight 90 minute sessions, beginning April 5th, all audio recordings and a course journal sent to support your home practice.
It is essential that you source a copy of the book "Mindfulness: a practical guide to Finding Peace In A Frantic World" by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, to support you on the course. It comes with a CD and mp3 downloads of home practices.
It's also available (with the home practice recordings) as an audio book on Audible if you prefer
Also available is the Mindfulness App which includes the home practice recordings. It's available for both Android and iPhones.
Monday evenings: March 29th, April 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, May 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th 7.30pm - 9pm
I strongly feel this course should be accessible to all who are interested and do not want finances to prevent this. I am acutely aware that the current pandemic has affected some more than others financially.
After careful consideration I am offering a sliding scale of course rates to, hopefully, accommodate all.
Please pay what you can and rest assured that the course offering remains the same whichever rate you pay.
£220 - standard course fee | £150 - reduced rate | £80 subsidised rate
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I just read the book and follow the CD myself rather than joining a course?
A: Of course, this is entirely down to your own preference. People can get a huge amount of value from simply following the programme in the book by themselves.
Others may find that they develop a much richer and practical understanding of mindfulness by committing themselves to a structured process of learning that supports them from the beginning of the course to the end – and beyond.
Consider the following aspects of learning in a teacher-led group environment and whether these would help you to maximise the value of the course:
✡︎ Guidance from a trained instructor who is experienced in coaching beginners, ensuring correct technique and able to answer any burning questions you may have, helping you set firm foundations in your practice and supporting you through any challenges you experience along the way.
✡︎ Motivation and sustained momentum – Attending weekly sessions helps to sustain your focus on the programme and stick to it.
✡︎ A formal commitment – Making the most of a mindfulness course is all about making a commitment to yourself to follow the process through from start to finish. For many of us this commitment to be disciplined and stick to it comes a lot easier when we have a formal arrangement to attend a group every week.
- Learning with and from other people – One thing that surprises most people who attend a course is how powerful it is to learn mindfulness alongside other people. Hearing others speak of the stress arising from common problems (busy and uncontrolled thoughts, the strain of personal or professional commitments, the demands of a world requiring us to be constantly switched-on) helps us recognise the common burdens of human existence and pressures we all share. This can lighten the sense of being alone and alienated in the problems we face and help us shift toward a healthier perspective in which we can learn, even laugh, and let go of certain things. The mutual support of a group environment can be more inspiring and influential to your learning than ‘going it alone’.
- Are you prone to ‘shelf-help’? – Many of us are guilty of starting an exciting new personal development plan and, with the very best of intentions, find our motivation soon fizzles. That self-help book ends up back on the shelf and the opportunity is put on hold. Motivation to begin is essential - but - consistency and commitment is critical to making meaningful change. We have to be honest with ourselves and ask ‘what are the best conditions for me to make progress?’ Often having the support and structure of a course removes obstacles and frees you up to direct your energy into learning and moving forward.
Q: How is the ‘Finding Peace in a Frantic World' course different from MBSR or MBCT courses?
In a nutshell - time commitment
The Finding Peace in a Frantic World Course contains shorter weekly sessions (90 mins) than MBCT/MBSR (2-2.5 hours) and shorter daily home practices (about 20 mins per day, 6 days a week - compared to 45 mins per day, 6 days a week).
Many people interested in learning mindfulness find the Finding Peace In A Frantic World (FPFW) option a more realistic prospect.
There are many overlaps with MBCT and MBSR but there are important distinctions too. Whereas the MBCT course is aimed at supporting people with depression in more clinical settings, the FPFW course is focused on providing simple, effective and powerful support for managing more day-to-day anxiety, stress and mental and physical exhaustion. That is not to say that most people would not find benefit from the MBCT course or that individuals with clinical depression would not find value in the FPFW course – rather, they have each been designed with distinct purposes and groups in mind.