There are times of year possibly more conducive to reflection than others, like these Winter months and mindful reflection can help us to notice precious moments or times in our lives when things seem to be in sync, knitting together, merging, and flowing. November is traditionally a month for remembering loved ones who have passed on, which might prompt us to reflect on all that gets passed down through generations, whether gifts, wounds, hurts, or strengths. Perhaps it was remembering in November or a nudge from my ancestors that urged me to do something that has been percolating for a long time, the creation of a mindfulness resource.
Before I came to learn the skills of compassion-based mindfulness I would say that I spent a lot of my life suffering from what is known as Imposter Syndrome. Having a sense that I was somehow undeserving or not up to the mark and that someone at any moment would see through me. If I’m honest, I still have unexpected moments of feeling ‘not good enough’, but I am learning to meet such moments, when they arise, with self-compassion. Mindfulness has opened a new way of life for me and given me great courage. So, as I continue to emerge slowly from a prolonged period of grief, loss and change as well as navigating some new health challenges, I feel ‘good enough’ to take a leap forward in life. I read somewhere recently that if you are feeling fear plus excitement about a new venture that you’re probably on the right track, so here’s hoping!
In many ways I have been “putting myself out there” for years by writing these monthly pieces for West Cork People, but this is a slightly new departure for me and there are certainly feelings of fear and excitement. I have created a book/journal called ‘Mindhaven: A Space to Reflect’ which contains a selection of twelve mindful reflections chosen from almost five years of monthly mindfulness columns written for West Cork People. There is a reflection relevant to each month of the year, followed by space for you to journal and, because there are no dates, you can begin at any time of the year. My books are being handmade on Sherkin Island and are available for sale by ordering directly with me or at different locations including the Courtyard Collective, CECAS at Myross Wood House, Leap and Baltimore Craft Fair. They are priced at €22 each and gift boxed for €28, perfect for posting.
And if, like me, you enjoy being read to, ‘Mindhaven: A Space to Reflect’ has 12 guided audio reflections, recorded to accompany each written piece. These may be listened to in a relaxed way and include the reading of excerpts from each month with some gentle guided meditation, poetry and some reflective questions to consider. These audios were recorded on Cape Clear Island and are available to purchase on my website www.mindhaven.ie. I take great pride in the fact that these resources are made locally, inspired by people and places in lovely West Cork. My motivation for compiling this book has come from all the lovely West Cork People readers who have given me such positive feedback over the years. Special thanks to each one of you and of course to everyone at the West Cork People for offering compassion-based mindfulness this monthly platform.
Finally, the message at the centre of it all, Mindhaven conjures the idea of the mind being a safe place and I truly believe that the regular practice of compassion-based mindfulness can support us to find this refuge inside ourselves, strengthen our minds and create our own safe haven within. Haven literally means ‘a place of safety or refuge’, and for me the word has special meaning being a native of beautiful Castlehaven, where many reflections were written over the years. The name deliberately gives a nod of respect to my roots and influences, and I want to place this poem here, ‘I Am My Ancestors’ Dream’ by Nikita Gill, that it might inspire you to reflect on or share the skills, qualities and talents that you have been gifted with or inherited.
“Your ancestors did not survive everything that nearly ended them for you to shrink yourself to make someone else comfortable.
This sacrifice is your warcry, be loud, be everything and make them proud”.
Weekly drop-in compassion-based mindfulness practice sessions continue at CECAS, Myross Wood Leap on Tuesday mornings through-out December (5, 12 and 19) from 10am – 11am. €10. All are welcome to join this wonderful community of practice.
For more information, phone: 087 2700572 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org