Silent Celebration - MPCP's 5th Birthday!
Well, needs must! Our small team, Claire Louise, Donna and Jacky and our esteemed associate Carol from ‘Chatterminds’, have just spent a week on a self-guided, socially distanced retreat in a large bungalow on the Pembrokeshire coast. No one says that one has to suffer on a retreat - but Jon Kabat Zinn once famously wrote ‘Wherever you go, there you are’.
So, in the nature of an idyllic coast and in the most beautiful weather, we took ourselves with us and investigated embodiment, Vedana ( noticing the pleasant, unpleasant and neutral as our senses contact the inner and outer world ) and, of course, our mental habits - on beaches, on cliff tops, form our cottage garden and from the large lounge. We explored body and mind in sitting, walking and yoga. We ‘as best as we could’ mindfully cooked and cleaned.
The experience was at times overwhelming; the scenery so stunning – could we appreciate it without wanting to hold on to it? Could we enjoy it and celebrate it whilst fully accepting it as fleeting and transient? Well, sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t! We are all beginners in mindfulness after all.
One of our tasks at the end of the retreat, when we came out of silence, was a reflection on what MPCP had achieved since Claire Louise and Donna started it off in 2015 – and where we wanted to go. And we enjoyed the sense of what we had managed to do.
Since 2015 MPCP, with our focus on vulnerable groups in our society, have delivered and evaluated a variety of Mindfulness based courses to Health care and medical staff; Foster carers; Adoptive parents; in primary schools to children, young people and teachers; Parents/Carers; Perinatal parents with mental health issues; Parents from BME backgrounds; Dads, Black Carers; and older people.
We have run a number of workshops for Girl Guide Leaders; Somali /Asian parents in an inner-city school in Bristol; Dual workshops for vulnerable BME families working with parents and young people together; young people delivered creatively at festivals.
MPCP has also organised and facilitated three ‘Moments of Mass Mindfulness’ events in Bristol and nationally; hosted the Mindfulness Initiative launch of the Mindful Nation Report and organised Bristol’s first Mindfulness for Parents and Practitioners Conference.
We appreciated the wonderful people that we have met along the way – course participants and the many dedicated professionals in the services we have worked alongside side.
So – it was a rich and amazing retreat: learning from our practice, learning from each other and where our silence was sometimes broken by outbreaks of joyous hilarity. There was much gratitude for all of this.