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Dear Colleagues, Associates and Friends,

We have much to report in this newsletter. The most significant change is that the Mindfulness Network has decided to no longer offer mindfulness-based courses for the public. This will enable us to better focus our mission and activities more fully on services that will support mindfulness teachers to conduct their work to the highest standard. We had been moving in this direction for a while when we began to offer only retreats that enable teachers to adhere to Good Practice Guidelines and meet their annual retreat requirement for inclusion on the UK Network’s Listing of Mindfulness Teachers. You can read more about this refocusing in the supervision and retreats updates below.

In North Wales, high-quality mindfulness-based courses can now be accessed through Bangor University. If you live in another part of the UK, though, we recommend that you find a teacher through the UK Listing of Mindfulness-based Teachers. If you are interested in commissioning a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course, or a bespoke mindfulness course for a workplace or other context, please email us at info@mindfulness-network.org.
Supervision Update
A large part of the Mindfulness Network’s mission has always been to provide high-quality Mindfulness-based Supervision (MBS). Since our early days in 2012, this vision has even grown stronger. With the growth of Mindfulness-based Interventions (MBI’s) comes a tension to meet this rising demand, whilst also maintaining integrity in training and ongoing development processes for mindfulness-based teachers. Supervision is a key part of these processes.  

Our key visions for the development and integrity of MBS fall are as follows:
  • To have a website where mindfulness-based teachers can apply for supervision knowing that they will be receiving the highest quality of MBS. Our group of experienced and trained mindfulness-based supervisors are senior in the field and are committed to offering depth and integrity. They all meet the high standards and guidelines that can be viewed on our website.
  • To provide a community for our mindfulness-based supervisors so they can develop as supervisors and contribute to the emerging understanding about the place of supervision in training and ongoing development.
  • To ensure that the expertise of our supervisors and core staff team is folded back to the mindfulness field, e.g. via the development of national guidelines for mindfulness-based supervision (in development). Our core team of staff have dual roles, also working within training organisations at the Universities of Bangor and Exeter, and we work closely with our colleagues at the University of Oxford.
  • Alison Evans and Cindy Cooper, who lead our supervision team, have a particular interest in training supervisors in MBS (through the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice). We see this as a reciprocal feeding of what is learned in the Mindfulness Network into the training events and vice versa to benefit all (for example the revision of a model for MBS with our colleague from CMRP, Jody Mardula. Click here to see the model.
  • Alison is currently engaged in research on MBS, which will also support deepening of understanding.
In summary, we see the increasing need for clarity around ongoing training and development of teachers through: MBS; the relationship with the mindfulness-based supervisor; and identifying the specific skills, embodiment and practices a mindfulness-based supervisor needs to hold and develop within this complex role.  The Mindfulness Network plays a key part of this growth and development.
Retreats Update
We're very pleased to welcome Bridgette O'Neill as our new Retreat Lead to further develop our programme of retreats for mainstream mindfulness-based teachers. Here is Bridgette's vision for our future retreats:

Retreats offer a wonderful opportunity to simplify our situation. By letting go of the usual demands and activities of our everyday lives, we can deepen our practice and access new learning and insights. This is a powerful support for ongoing mindfulness practice and teaching, and for our well-being.
 
Our retreats are grounded in mainstream mindfulness-based approaches, independent of a specific religious outlook and are intended to be accessible to all. Facilitators bring a depth of experience of mindfulness practice and are also skilled teachers and trainers of mindfulness-based approaches, with extensive retreat experience.
 
Over the last year, we have provided retreats to support people with different levels of experience, including those relatively new to a mindfulness approach, established mindfulness-based teachers and those training to teach. Our current offerings can support mindfulness-based teachers to work in keeping with the UK Network’s Good Practice Guidelines (http://mindfulnessteachersuk.org.uk). Our programme has proved popular and we are keen to build on this and extend our provision further. We are currently planning for the latter part of 2017 and 2018 and will offer retreats in a broader range of geographical locations including the South West and North East of England. 
 
Details of our programme until 2017 can be found on our website at https://www.mindfulness-network.org/retreats.php, and we have listed our current offerings at the end of this newsletter.
 
We are also keen to develop the range of retreats available to support mindfulness-based teaching practice. In 2018, we will offer retreats that are tailored specifically for those currently engaged in teacher training. These retreats will integrate teaching on the primary and key underpinnings to mindfulness as it is taught within mainstream mindfulness courses, with the support of a retreat environment to enable sustained experiential engagement with the practice. More information will be coming soon.

We are very excited by these developments and committed to continuing to offer a range of high-quality mindfulness-based retreats. We hope you will be inspired to join us.
Our Guest Retreats

We are very privileged to have two guest retreats, scheduled for 2017, led by such eminent teachers. For the third year in a row, Melissa Blacker and David Rynick will lead our highly popular seven-day retreat, Waking Up in Every Moment, at Trigonos in North Wales from 22-28 May 2017. This retreat will provide an opportunity to refresh and deepen your personal meditation practice, with a particular focus on the possibility of waking up to life as it is in every moment. 

Christina Feldman and John Peacock will lead our brand new seven-day retreat, Mindfulness, Insight, Liberation: MBCT/ MBSR Foundations, at Buckland Hall in Powys, from 18-25 August 2017. This Insight Meditation retreat, which is particularly relevant to those teaching or training in mindfulness-based applications, will explore the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. It is a profound teaching that encourages us to place the path of freedom and compassion in the classroom of our lives, nurturing a heart that is receptive and unshakeable.

For mindfulness teachers who wish to be included on the UK Network Listing of Mindfulness Teachers, both of our guest retreats will help you fulfil the requirement to attend an annual mindfulness retreat.

Inside the Heart and Mind of a Mindfulness Teacher
Rosalie Dores (Mindfulness Network supervisor and teacher)
 
In each newsletter, we ask one of our associates to share insights with us about their personal and professional experience as mindfulness teachers and supervisors. We are grateful to Rosalie for discussing how compassion and a lifelong love of learning have influenced her personal practice and role as a mindfulness teacher. 

What drew you to mindfulness?
It began twenty-four years ago. I was in my early twenties, and waking up unenthusiastic about life. I somehow knew that life wasn’t meant to feel this way, and began to look for ways to support myself in feeling better. This took me to India, to my first ten day meditation retreat. The retreat was really tough, but it helped me establish a strong foundation of practice. I left the retreat knowing that meditation was helping me, and this led to a very committed ongoing practice. Fourteen years later, and I was once again in India, taking time out from ten years of working in higher education, and searching for a new life direction. While I was in India, I understood that I wanted to teach people meditation. The practice had been so beneficial and life-changing for me, that I wanted to offer this to others. On my return to London, I discovered, to my surprise, that there was a Masters degree in teaching mindfulness at Bangor. I couldn’t believe my luck. It was a perfect next step for me.

What does mindful teaching mean to you?
Mindfulness teaching is my vocation. It is a natural expression of what is most important to me, being present, aware and supporting people in waking up to their potential and the rich texture of life. The phrase comes to mind, ‘We teach, what we most need to learn.' In mindfulness teaching, there is this process of mutuality best expressed as, 'I am teaching, and learning from participant’s, it is such a privilege to work in this way.'

Tell us about your personal practice and how it influences your life and work.
I have a very committed personal practice, of both Yoga and Meditation, and am also an avid student. I consider myself a life-long learner. I love learning, particularly about ways of being, that enables us to tap into our innate resources and resilience, the richness that life has to offer, including both it’s joys and sorrows. I read a lot, listen to podcasts and attend both relational and personal meditation retreats. The German philosopher Heidegger said, ‘We convince by our presence,’ my personal practice infuses my professional practice. How could it be otherwise.? For me, study and ongoing learning are vital to my capacity to offer the best possible quality of presence that I can to my course participants.

What is your experience of compassion within the teaching process?
The root form of the word ‘compassion’ means ‘to tremble with.’ The way I understand this, is that compassion is the capacity to feel with another, to be touched by their experience, particularly experiences of difficulty. It’s impossible to feel with another if we are not present, available to our own experience. How will we know what we feel, or another feels, if there is, as it were, ‘nobody home.’ From the very beginning of a mindfulness course, we learn how to become curious about, and intimate with, life and with ourselves. We learn how to become present through systematic training, returning the attention to the present moment, again and again, and we learn particular attitudinal qualities that inform the ways in which we relate to our experience. Compassion is innate to the experience of mindfulness, it cannot be separated.

As my life has presented it’s inevitable ups and downs, I have learnt that the practice of mindfulness is one of ‘holding’ a receptive, open and, to the best of my ability, unconditional attention towards whatever is arising in my experience. Jon Kabat-Zinn has described mindfulness as a radical act of love. I know this in my own experience, and I know this in my experience of the mindfulness classroom. This way of being with myself, we could call it compassionate or loving, infuses the language with which I teach meditation practices, and the way I communicate with course participants. I love this phrase, 'words are the fragrance of the heart.' And so it is, that my practice is one of an ongoing cultivation, of a heart that has the capacity to meet all experience unconditionally, and with kindness.
Facebook Page
We post news items and information about courses, retreats and recruitment opportunities on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mindfulnessnetworkcic. "Liking" our Facebook page will ensure that you are kept up-to-date. 
Retreat Listings 2016-17

We regularly add new retreats so please click HERE for our most up-to-date list of retreat offerings and prices. 

Seven-day Retreat (Note to mindfulness teachers: this retreat will fulfil the UK Network's Good Practice Guidelines regarding attending an annual retreat)
Facilitators: Mark Bowden and Sarah Silverton
Where: Trigonos in North Wales
When: 25 March - 1 April 2017

Waking up in Every Moment: A Seven-day Guest Teacher Retreat (Note to mindfulness teachers: this retreat will fulfil the UK Network's Good Practice Guidelines regarding attending an annual retreat)
Facilitators: Melissa Blacker and Davi Rynick
Where: Trigonos in North Wales
When: 22-28 May 2017

Mindfulness, Insight, Liberation: MBCT/ MBSR Foundations (a seven-day guest teacher retreat)
(Note to mindfulness teachers: this retreat will fulfil the UK Network's Good Practice Guidelines regarding attending an annual retreat)
Facilitators: Christina Feldman and John Peacock
Where: Buckland Hall, Powys
When: 18 August - 25 August 2017


Staying Mindful Five-day Retreat (Note to mindfulness teachers: this retreat will fulfil the UK Network's Good Practice Guidelines regarding attending an annual retreat)
Facilitator: Annee Griffiths
Where: Trigonos in North Wales
When: 2-6 October 2017

Commissioned Mindfulness-based Courses

Although we no longer offer mindfulness-based courses for the general public, we do offer commissioned courses in NHS and non-NHS settings. These bespoke courses, including Mindfulness in the Workplace, are tailored to meet the needs of each group and organisation. If you wish to discuss the possibility of developing a commissioned course, please email us at info@mindfulness-network.org.

Our Contact Information
 
General queries info@mindfulness-network.org
Retreat admin (Halley Cohen and Esther Elize) info@mindfulness-network.org
Halley Cohen – Communications coordinator and general admin
halley@mindfulness-network.org
Supervision admin (Halley Cohen) supervision@mindfulness-network.org
Finance queries and invoices (Ian Phillips) finance@mindfulness-network.org
Postal address Mindfulness Network CIC, 21 Penlon, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, LL59 5LR
 

When possible, please direct emails to the appropriate email address. If you are unsure whom you should speak with, please send your query to info@mindfulness-network.org and we will triage your email to the appropriate person. Our telephone is staffed on a very part-time basis so we recommend that you email us for a speedier response.

Mindfulness Network CIC
Email:
info@mindfulness-network.org
Web: www.mindfulness-network.org
Tel: 01248 295 205 
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Directors: Alison Evans, Rebecca Crane and Sharon Hadley  |  Company No. 8216404
Registered in England and Wales  |  Registered office: 33 Queen Street, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 8HG  VAT No. 225 9471 92
 






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