Finding peace in a frantic world - an 8 week mindfulness course
About this event
Mindfulness Made Easy: Finding Peace in a Frantic World (FPFW).
Free taster session Saturday 17th October. 9am-10am
Eight-week course dates: Saturdays, 7th November - January 2nd 2021 (missing christmas week, but still eight weeks). 9.00am-10.30am (I.5hours per session).
FPFW isn’t group therapy, rather a skills-based course, supporting the growth of mindfulness. It allows us to notice when we are on automatic pilot which can take away our potential to live life fully.
Firstly, the program allows us to step out of automatic pilot and focus attention mindfully to the present moment, that way we start to see things we might normally overlook. This can help us notice if we are caught up in a world of thinking and feeling. It is with mindfulness of the body and breathing that we can recognise our thoughts, impulses, emotions and sensations and gather the scattered mind and return back to the present moment. We can then understand that when our attention is caught up in the past or the future, we can get caught in unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting.
Mindfulness helps us recognize these automatic reactions, understand them as normal human experiences, and bring kindness and compassion to them. As we cultivate an attitude of interest, friendliness and curiosity toward all of our experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant, we can 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 sessions?
There is a free one-hour taster session were you can decide if this course is right for you or not. This will take place on Saturday 17th October 2020 at 9.00am until 10.00am.
Then if you chose to take up a place, it will run for eight weeks from Saturday 7th November 2020 until January 2nd 2021, there will be a one week break over Christmas. Times are as follows; 9.00am-10.30am- via Zoom.
A link will be sent upon purchase of your ticket.
Sessions will then follow a consistent pattern during the eight weeks. We will check-in and get settled, then commence with a guided meditation practice, then a reflection on the experiences of this practice. Moving to discussions of the experiences of the home practices during the week. Each session has a theme that is woven into the discussions. We often do another short practice or a cognitive (thinking) exercise and reflect on what can be learned from that. Near the end of each session, I will explain the home practices for the following week. It’s best to arrive a bit early for each session. This helps to ensure a prompt start.
If you choose you can purchase the 'Mindfulness; (a practical guide to) Finding Peace in a Frantic World' book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This is widely available in bookshops and online. It comes with a CD of the practices we will do.
What does home practice involve?
As a teacher I will provide online links to recordings for the main practices and ask you to practice up to 20 minutes each day. You may need to reorganise aspects of your life to fit this in. It could 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.
Who is the teacher?
My name is Rob, I am a mindfulness teacher listed on the British Association of Mindfulness Based Approaches (BAMBA). This means I meet the UK Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness-Based Teachers; i.e., I am suitably trained, committed to continuous professional development, hold appropriate insurance and are receiving supervision for my teaching. I was taught this course from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. I am also qualified in a two other versions of mindfulness.
What are the challenges?
I know my profile is called 'Mindfulness Made Easy'; this doesn’t mean mindfulness is simple to do. 'Easy' refers to the attitude I bring to classes, like a relaxed and settled vibe: 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. Gentle persistence is best, remembering we all 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 really 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.
Please try to attend every session, as they build on each other. Let me know if you have to miss a session. I will try and help you catch up with what you’ve missed. If you miss a session, it may feel difficult to come back. But please come anyway!
Wear comfortable clothes and dress in layers. Sessions may include sitting meditation, lying on the floor (if you choose), simple stretches, and gentle walking.
You will need: Yoga mats and meditation cushions (if you wish to buy one).
You will be attending an online course via Zoom, therefore, where possible please use a private space where you will not be disturbed so that you and the group can achieve the highest levels of participation and confidentiality. Where you are not in a private space, to support confidentiality we ask that you use a headset or earphones rather than the speakers on your device and as much as possible have your screen facing away from the others in the room.
Please note before purchasing tickets:
This is not a simple course, the term 'easy' means I offer mindfulness with a relaxed, laid-back approach. Sometimes, mindfulness practices can bring-up things we weren’t expecting, therefore, please read the following:
Is this course right for you? Is it the right time to join?
The mindfulness courses offered by Mindfulness Made Easy are aimed towards the general public and are not helpful or suitable for everyone. When you apply for the course, you will be asked a series of questions in the application form that will help me to understand if the course is likely to be safe and beneficial for you. Sometimes, I could advise that you consider either waiting a while to take the course, or that you explore other options, including more specialist mindfulness-based programmes designed for people experiencing specific difficulties, or support from a GP or mental health professional.
Below I have listed some of the issues that I have found can reduce and prevent some people from benefitting from my public mindfulness courses. I know everyone’s situation is slightly different and I encourage you to speak to me, after reading the information below, if you have any remaining concerns or questions about the suitability of the course for you.
Suicidal thoughts, self-harm or mania?
The courses offered are not suitable for you if you have experienced a manic or hypomanic episode in the past six months, if you are currently self-harming or if you are currently experiencing suicidal thoughts. It isn’t that mindfulness will not be helpful for people with these conditions – in fact we know it might very well be, but it would need to be delivered in a more specialist group. If you are feeling suicidal I would strongly recommend you speak to your GP or another mental health professional. We are unable to give specific advice or support to those with individual mental health problems. If you do need to speak to someone urgently, the Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90.
Alcohol and drug use?
Practicing mindfulness through attendance at a mindfulness course involves completion of up to an hour of daily home meditation practice and other activities and it is essential that this practice takes place when your consciousness is not impaired. If you are drinking a lot of alcohol or using other drugs please consider carefully whether you will be able to find time each day to complete your practice when you are not under the influence of alcohol, drugs or their after affects. If this is likely to be difficult to you then the mindfulness course will not be suitable for you at this time.
If any of the situations described below apply to you, please contact me before applying.
Are you currently experiencing depression?
If you are currently depressed, to such an extent that it is difficult for you to manage your everyday life, it is probably not the right time for you to do the course. We know from experience that people coming on the course need to be reasonably well. The course involves some daily home practice and finding the motivation and energy to do this whilst feeling very depressed will probably be too challenging.
Recent bereavement – in the past year
If you are recently bereaved it is helpful to have come to terms with some of the grief before starting an eight-week course. It can be difficult to recognise and work with pre-existing and longstanding habits of mind, when the bereavement is still very preoccupying. The one year period is a notional time (and people will differ a great deal in when they feel ready to begin a course) but our experience suggests it is often helpful to have gone through all the ‘significant’ dates of the person who has died before moving on to start something like an mindfulness course.
Other ongoing psychological treatment
Mindfulness is not a ‘therapy’ as such. However, it is often confusing or impractical to engage in two ‘psychological treatments’ at the same time. Mindfulness involves a big time commitment and adding it on top of another ongoing therapy may be difficult.
Stressful life events – current
Taking a mindfulness course, strange though it may sound, can at times be quite stressful. There is a big time commitment, since in addition to the weekly sessions and whole Saturday session you will be encouraged to do daily practices at home which take about an hour each day in total. If there’s too much going on in your life right now (change of job, job loss, loss of home, moving, relationship breakdown, too many work commitments etc.) adding mindfulness to the mix may not help.
During periods of meditation the body may become relaxed and for some people, over time, meditation reduces stress. This may in turn have an effect on blood glucose and insulin requirements and may potentially result in a need for adjustments to pattern of insulin administration and dosage. Please let your GP or other healthcare professional know that you are doing the course and discuss this possibility with them.
Hosted by Robert William Hawkes
I am Rob, a qualified Mindfulness Teacher in MBCT-D, MBCT-L and Finding Peace in a Frantic World. I am accredited with BAMBA. Also a mentor for teacher in training (Oxford Mindfulness Centre). A CBT therapist & supervisor- accredited with the BABCP. Along with this I am an Accredtetd EMDR practitioner and a state registered occupational therapist.