1. Tell us something about your background and experiences.

Originally from London, I moved to Spain in 2012 to live in a Mindfulness Retreat Centre in the Marina Alta to be their cook for a year. I left a 10 year career in the NHS as a Speech Therapist for an adventure as a cook living in a caravan in the mountains of Alicante, which is not something I was trained to do. It was a wonderful and life- affirming experience. After a year, I decided I’d had enough of cooking and moved with my half French, half Valencian partner to Alzira.

I was lucky enough to be offered yoga classes at the Buddhist Centre in Valencia and I decided to complete my mindfulness training in Spanish at around the same time with ‘Respira Vida Breathworks’. After separating from my partner, I recently moved to Valencia and set up ‘Mindfulness con Pasión’ (mindfulnessconpasion.com) with my colleague and friend Alen Ribera.

2.  How does living and working in Spain compare to England?

It’s so different, especially for me, as I’ve gone from working for the third largest organization in the world to working for myself in a foreign language. One of many many, many challenges. The security of working for the NHS in the UK and all that comes with that, cannot compare with the insecurity of trying to make a living in a country still in economic crisis. However, the low cost of living here, gives me the opportunity to do what I love and am passionate about. I’m not so sure whether it would be possible to do what I do in London and be able to pay my rent. The other big change is from working 9-5 to more indeterminate hours, allowing me the luxury of working on my computer in the Botanic Gardens enjoying the sunshine, for example. The quality of life here is so much higher for working and living and that is precious. 

3. What is mindfulness?

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” a complete definition from the Godfather of Western Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness originates from Buddhism, and since the 1970s has been offered as a secular practice in the format of an 8 week course.

Mindfulness practices are a series of formal and informal practices including meditation that help us to become more present and to achieve certain attitudes such as; acceptance, letting go, non-striving, patience and so on. Mindfulness is a way of getting to know our interior world in a kind, non-judgmental fashion and thus it can be said it is a way of returning to ourselves, inhabiting ourselves and our lives more fully. It’s also an established, evidence based practice for depression, stress, anxiety, and a host of other ailments and common problems. Personally, it brings me calm, tranquility and a sense of inner well-being, greater resilience to difficulties and a more skilful way to relate to myself, others and life.

4. Are we evolving spiritually in Europe or are we going backwards?

Great question. As a late flowering practicing Buddhist and born into a Jewish family, I would say probably a bit of both. Before I found mindfulness and then Buddhism, the extent of any spiritual connection began and ended with nature. The consumerist and capitalist model, which dominates Western society and economy has little in common with spirituality, and puts the individual first and community and spirituality last. However, the way mindfulness and yoga, amongst other practices, have swept through the Western world is testament to a society hungry for something more than the latest car or computer, as we realize these things bring fleeting pleasure and not true and lasting contentment. Our diet of quick, easily obtained highs and constant striving for more is exhausting. A desire for a quieter happiness, a connection with something other, and something we cannot explain is common, I think, for all human experience and people look for it in different places and in different ways. It seems that the more we go down the political and economic routes of capitalism and neo-liberalism, the more we see how and where they don’t work and the more there is a thirst for that something else, or that something other. Is this spiritual evolution? Hopefully…

Mindfulness for Stress in English

A comprehensive programme destined to help manage stress, anxiety and other negative mental states. Effective and simple techniques based on meditation and self-management to live with less tension, more control, balancing your life and opening you to your true human potential.

During the 8 week course we will learn how to pay attention to the present moment, focusing on one thing at a time. We will begin by developing awareness of ourselves: of our body and of our feelings and thoughts. We will introduce the idea of confronting more difficult or unpleasant bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts. This self-awareness is developed via formal meditation practices and informal practices of mindfulness in daily life. As the course progresses we will expand our awareness to learn to live our experiences from a wider perspective including awareness of our environment and of others. Kindness and self-compassion form an important and core theme of the course.


Interview by Owl

Please contact Jackie on 636201076 or at mindfulnessconpasion@gmail.com

For more details see: http://mindfulnessconpasion.com/evento/mindfulness-for-stress-in-english/

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