I am a Social Services Worker, Animal Assisted Therapist, Life Skills Coach, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Facilitator, with training in Trauma, Grief & Loss from the National Institute for Trauma & Loss in Children, Circle of Security-CPRI, ASIST, Mental Health First Aid, CBT, FASD. Sophie & I are proud to be a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Team and we have added Miss Karma as Sophie's protege in therapy. Karma is a natural therapy dog and loves to console clients by curling up next to them on the sofa.
My Mindfulness Journey
I have had an interest in and periodically practiced meditation for 13 years, but only became interested in becoming an MBSR facilitator upon taking the MBSR course to help me reduce and manage stress in my own life. I realized that I was not managing my stress well, and it was having a negative impact on my personal relationships, my ability to enjoy life, and on my ability to perform to my full potential at my job. I found the course to be transformative and I was hungry to study mindfulness more deeply.
I studied on my own, reading Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn's books and deepended my own practice until this past spring when I registered for the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course. I have battled anxiety and depression for many years, and I understand how these conditions have stolen my joy and ability to succeed at times. I have tried different ways to lessen the effects of the anxiety, but nothing really worked until I began practicing mindfulness on a regular basis. I still have times when my chest will get tight and my heart starts racing, but I recognize this as the anxiety response and now I have the tools to choose to do something different than I would have previously. Instead of the anxiety hijacking me and taking over my thoughts and actions/reactions, mindfulness has given me the tools to recognize when this is happening, almost immediately, and to choose to do one of the practices, or another self care action, instead of becoming stuck in the same old pattern of maladaptive behavior.
I know what it is like to live with anxiety and how painful and at times downright scary it can be, and I am so very excited to have found a way that allows me to take back control of my life. I feel like I am in the drivers seat as opposed to being in the back seat of an out of control roller coaster. I believe that the world would be a much better, safer, more loving place to live if everyone practiced mindfulness! I want to be part of that change. The selfish part of this for me is how incredibly fulfilling it is to be able to bring this course to others, and watch them grow and become more present in their lives, with their loved ones, and enjoying their lives more fully, in this world we are all navigating together!