Meditation has been a part of my life since my teenage years, growing up in a Quaker family in Nova Scotia. Nineteen years ago, meditation became my daily practice when my youngest child turned six, and I needed to learn how to respond rather than react to his shenanigans. Meditation provides a way to ground myself, and I find daily practice sustains me. As my mindfulness journey continues, I am becoming more and more convinced, in my inner and my outer life, of the value and possibility of living of life of peace and integrity through paying attention to this present moment.
I am a family doctor, and I have longed to share the solace of meditation with my patients. After learning about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), I recognized that this program not only teaches participants how to meditate, but it is also solidly grounded in the medical scientific literature. There is abundant evidence that meditation changes our ability to be more fully in the moment without judgment.
I first took MBSR as a participant, and then chose to pursue MBSR teacher certification. First, I journeyed to the U Mass Center for Mindfulness for eight weeks to act as a student observer during an MBSR course taught by Carolyn West. Other required training experiences included Mindfulness in Medicine, a week-long course with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, the Teacher Developmental Intensive, an eight day long course at the Center for Mindfulness, and five silent retreats, each lasting between 7-9 days. Additionally, I was supported and deeply challenged in my teaching of MBSR through intensive supervision with Lynn Koerbel.
This training process has increased my sense of how to be with each class as we experience the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction curriculum together. It is truly an honor to be with participants as they learn to be with the suffering in their lives without judgment and as they develop or deepen their practice of meditation.
In the summer of 2017, I was honored to learn that I had been certified to teach MBSR. I am the second teacher to be certified in Maine, and one of 112 teachers in the country. The Center for Mindfulness takes the training and selection of their teachers very seriously, and they select only people with a mature and long standing meditation practice as well as yoga practice. I feel lucky to be among them!