Monday, 15 August 2011

Launched: a mindful pilot

Sunday 14 August was a big day.  Yesterday saw the launch of 'Living Better when Living in Limbo' (LBiL), the program I have been responsible for designing, and am now overseeing the implementation of, alongside the Charity, Missing People. 

For the organisation, this represented a big step in the direction they have been seeking to go for quite some time.  I feel enormously privileged to be involved with this initiative.  Being a 'pilot', the intervention I am currently responsible for delivering, is an experiment, and with that comes both nerves and genuine excitement. 

Experimental and experiential...

I tried to put aside inevitable expectations, to be as present as possible, with the experience that unfolded.  It was an incredibly humbling, and enriching day.  As a mindfulness teacher, I walk alongside those I am introducing the tools to.  Whilst it would be inauthentic to deny that I was nervous about how yesterday might work out, I came away from it feeling nourished, having benefited from the practices I was guiding others through. 

As a therapist, mindfulness is without a doubt one of the most useful tools I have available to me.  My approach is informed by it, and it has a significant bearing on all aspects of my work.  Yesterday was a clear demonstration of that, and my ability to recall so many moments of the 4 hour workshop bore testament to the precious present. 

I tried to practice the principles in my preparation, and on my journey to the venue yesterday morning. There were hurdles along the way, with two major sporting events causing extensive road closures and convoluted diversions, I noticed my temperature rising: a wonderful opportunity to pay mindful attention to the situation and my response to the many things over which I had not even an illusion of control.

Inevitably there were further unforeseens to be contended with.  A contend with them we did; in a mindful fashion.  The clear priority was to create a safe and supportive environment in which participants might feel comfortable to approach the material with an open and curious mind.  Part of this was my own attempt to leave assumptions at the door, making a commitment to remain open to whatever emerged. 

Yesterday was a gift.  Together, as a group, we created something very special.  As a result, I feel that learnt as much as I taught.  

I came away from the day feeling very hopeful.  We have, together, begun something which will now assume a momentum of its own.  In time, I hope that any individual and family who has been affected by the issue of missing will have the opportunity to participate in Living Better when Living in Limbo should they feel they would like to become more familiar with aspects of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy on their journey through the maelstrom. 

A lifeline when someone disappears

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