I remember a regular column in a local paper called the ‘Seen and Heard’. I think it was about happenings in the Skibbereen area. Reflecting lately with some of my groups on what gives our lives meaning, I was reminded of these words but in another context, how it feels to be really seen and heard, the importance of saying hello and valuing people, really seeing people, and equally, being seen yourself. We need to find opportunities to be able to share our experience, our feelings and sense a connection between ourselves and others. We have been through a lot of change and upheaval over the last 18 months, and to learn the skills of rest and recalibration can help us to boost our wellbeing as we move beyond Covid.
Dr Brene Brown defines connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” I don’t think it matters so much where, how or with whom the connection exists, it is the feeling of connection that matters, that sense of belonging, that ‘felt-sense’ in your body that someone cares, that you belong, that you are welcome here. For me, this is the magic that happens when teaching mindfulness in groupwork settings. What joy I have felt lately to be returning to in-person work and in the most simple and down-to-earth setting, in every sense of the word, Myross Wood.
With the exception of a few wonderful in-person encounters in outdoor spaces between lockdowns, the majority of my work has been online since March 2020. I love the sense of community that has built up between all the people dropping into these online sessions, whether participants are from Beara, Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny, Indiana, or anywhere else in the world, the connection feels no less real than if they were sitting in the room beside me. I believe that now, more than ever, we need to find ways of connecting with each other in meaningful ways, to be really seen, to be heard and to be valued by our fellow human beings. Whether this connection is online or in-person, for me, isn’t so much the issue, but rather whether the encounter or exchange feels meaningful, authentic and sincere.
As we go about our everyday lives are we really seeing each other fully? Are we listening properly? What are we paying attention to? Or are we just about managing our own lives with very little to spare for another and maybe even less for ourselves? I believe that mindfulness boosts our ability to listen and builds our capacity to receive and ‘be with’ whatever we see or hear. When we learn to manage our own stress response and become less reactive, we have enough space in our minds to take in new information and more fully relate to, or at least empathise with the situation of another, without taking it on as our own. By pausing to turn inwards and connect with our deepest selves, we have more capacity to care for ourselves and others. Notice how you feel this week when you are really being listened to, or how it feels when the opposite is true. Are you being seen and heard? And valued? How are your own listening skills?
When I started teaching mindfulness at first, an aunt of mine, well into her 90s, would ask me, “what is that thing you do again? meaningfulness?” I think maybe she was on the right track! Mindfulness meditation adds a deep sense of meaning, comfort and connection to my life and to the lives of so many people. If you would like an opportunity to connect with yourself and others in a meaningful way, I am delighted to be guiding drop-in mindfulness sessions at Myross Wood, Leap on Tuesday mornings from 10-11am. Please get in touch if you are interested in attending. I am currently developing a programme for carers, a group of people close to my own heart, so please get in touch if you or someone you know would like to get some support.
My online meditation sessions via Zoom continue on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm, please do consider joining in, whether you have tried mindfulness meditation before or are new to it. These small group sessions are personal, down-to-earth, informal and donation based. Individual or group sessions are also available.
If you need any support to begin or to deepen your meditation practice, please feel free to get in touch. For more information on upcoming workshops and courses please like my Facebook page (Mindhaven) or feel free to get in touch by phone: 087 2700572 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org