your mindful life podcast with helen marsh
Jul 5, 2019
It was a wonderful privilege to interview Helen Marsh as my first guest on the YML podcast
Wonderful and fitting as under her supervision Helen has helped me deepen and develop my own mindfulness practice.
Helen kindly offered supervision to me when I first started teaching mindfulness, so I’m grateful to her for her time in agreeing to talk about her own mindfulness practice and her approach to a mindful life.
A whole different attitude towards life: In this first part of the interview Helen shares her insight into how mindfulness is something people seek for a variety of reasons. There is an intimacy to how mindfulness arrives for us. As Helen says, most people come to it (mindfulness) not as a blank sheet but having experienced lots of other things. Those experiences are profoundly personal. For Helen, some of those experiences arose as a teenager and in a sense her good fortune was in encountering a person who gave her wise advice. The actions that followed on from this advice set Helen on her own quest to explore mindfulness as a whole different attitude to life.
Christopher: So, thank you once again Helen, really appreciate this.
Helen: Absolute pleasure to do it.
Christopher: So, I wanted to ask you in terms of your mindful life what your story is and how you came to mindfulness?
Helen: I think, like most people, you arrive at mindfulness after trying many other doors to understanding where you are and why, you know, sort of the bigger questions of how we are as we are, how we react, why we react, and when life is feeling trickier, or difficult, or challenging.
It’s interesting with most journeys we make we usually know our destination. But when you’re trying to find your way out of a place of pain and suffering and you’re searching, it’s almost like you’re moving about in the dark and you don’t actually know the direction, and you don’t know the destination. So, looking back you can see the path very clearly but from that point forwards you don’t know where it’s taking you.
So, threading the thread of reflection through how I got to be doing this now I suppose did start as a teenager, and as a child even, having certain struggles and finding life quite challenging and difficult to manage; that sense of wanting to find a solution. I think often people come to mindfulness wanting to solve something or change something, and then we say to them, you know, don’t strive, it doesn’t have to be any other way, just be with how it is,and that can be such a challenge for people because they recognise that something doesn’t quite sit right. They feel maybe not so comfortable in their skin, or things feel overwhelming. And then you say: well do this practice, it might make you feel better, or it might not.And I think that in itself…there’s quite a lot of trust involved there, when you’re inviting people to start the mindfulness journey. Most people come to it not as a blank sheet but having experienced lots of other things.
So, as I mentioned I had quite a struggle as a child and a teenager and found myself at sixteen, sat in the doctors, finding life very difficult, and luckily the doctor didn’t prescribe me medication but suggested that I try meditation instead, and gave me a book on how to meditate. And so I just started meditating with 15 minutes every morning, and fifteen minutes every evening. And the understanding with that guidance - that meditation - was to try and blank the mind; to try and push thoughts away, which as you learn more about meditation and mindfulness as well, it’s not about stopping the traffic, it’s about being among it and noticing it. But what it did do, it gave me that ability to focus my attention. To bring it away from things that were troubling me or difficult and just focus – at the time it was just single-pointed focus meditation – but by doing that it sort of calmed the system down so as obviously getting into the sensing mind and the sensing body: that mode of mind that’s just about being present.
And things started to settle. So I found at college I was able to understand what was going on in class. I was able to produce work. Whereas before, because I was in a state of fight-flight, all the time, it was impossible really to learn. And I suppose a lot of young people coast through school, they manage to get through their GCSEs, more or less, but A levels or higher education can be the challenge that’s just that bit too much; to manage it, when you’re in that state of, sort of, anxiety. So, it really helped me to study, to focus… and just calm things down for me. And I felt better.
And as with most things when you feel better, you stop doing it!
And then there was a pattern really in my life of when things got difficult, I would remember, and I’d go back to this practice of focusing, and meditating. And invariably it made things better for me. And so, there are many doors really to that, but I think the difference between mindfulness and those other meditations and other practices and things I tried was that the mindfulness was encouraging a whole different attitude to life. So, it wasn’t something you let go of when things got easy again. It was something that just became part of who you were. And that ability to check in anytime, not just when you were putting time aside to meditate.
Helen’s experiences as a teacher: This section of the interview shows how a teacher who underpins her practice with self-regulation strategies can help students identify their own emotional weather pattern, and how out of this self-awareness comes true autonomy for the learner. You also get a real sense of how the ability to take responsibility for one’s own learning (the holy grail of teaching) is really found in the cultivation of understanding feeling states, encourages interdependency, mutuality, and a sense of compassion for the well-being of others. This was prior to her discovering mindfulness, specifically through undertaking the 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program. Helen admits that at first she was resistant to the mindfulness approach because it was challenging the association of meditation with ‘zoning out’ and asking of her instead to be with difficulty, especially as it manifests itself in the body.
Helen: As a teacher working with very troubled teenagers, and I struggled to help them to learn because they hadn’t been able to learn through their own – well, you could call it suffering if you wish. Whatever reason, they were as they were. Because I do believe that there’s different levels of resilience. So, some young people can go through terrible things and they are just able to manage with that, and others …it might only be a slight bump in the road but that’s enough to sort of make things trickier. And I think it’s important to recognise that too. There’s no sort of one type of way to be. So, I decided to do some research into… because at the time their difficulties in learning came across as challenges to the system: behaviour, not engaging. So, I did some research into on-off task behaviour and used to do – and I still do in a lot of my classes - a little period of settling and transition as they came in. And at the time that took the format of a visualisation type exercise where I would get them to sit quietly and not worry about anyone else in the room. To close their eyes if they wished, lower their gaze, or even put their head on their arms, and put their head on the desk, just to give themselves that space to connect with who they were. And then I would take them on a little guided journey somewhere else: like on to a beach, or into some nice snowy landscape. Something completely different to where they were in the classroom. And then they would come back. It would only take 5 minutes or so. And it was almost like the reset button had been pressed for them. They had let go off all the stuff they had brought into the classroom.
Christopher: There’s a very interesting learning there, for both of us as teachers. The resetting the dial is this ability for students to self-regulate, and that self-regulation is eminently achievable, it’s something within you, as long as you have this open-heart. You were facilitating their ability to express their needs through understanding: Oh, this is the weather pattern of my mind, in this moment.I think you mentioned last time that a student would come in…because you had given them a number, hadn’t you?
Helen: They would say a number between one and ten as they came in. And ‘one’ would be feeling really stressed and anxious and fed up, and ‘ten’ would be feeling really great, and relaxed, and comfortable being there. And some would come in – as you say, the door would burst open – and say on a negative hundred million today! They would really exaggerate. And then everyone knew where everyone was in the class. So, there was a little bit more empathy and understanding, if someone started kicking off or being mean to others, you know, that all happens in those classroom situations. There was more of an understanding of, well that’s because you’re not feeling great today; that’s because you’re only a ‘one’. And somehow, just identifying with checking in, how did they feel, giving it a number, having a period of sort of transition where they were allowed to switch off or switch on to how they were feeling and let go of everything. Then they were able to sort of move forward into the class. So yes, it was a way of sort of self-regulation. At the time it was using visualisation. I wasn’t seeing it as meditation, or anything. For me it was a coping mechanism. It gave me a chance to connect at the beginning of the class. To know where everyone was at.
Christopher: What was also very interesting about this was that the students themselves – and it comes back to this word ‘recognising’, doesn’t it and ‘remembering’ – and they were recognising “oh okay, you’re not in a good place, are you?’ – and that’s taking away the pressure from the teacher because there’s some empathy going on in the classroom and people were recognising different mind states and feeling states, and then being able to perhaps facilitate for each other some sort of soothing response. So, you were building this awareness.
Helen: Well, I think the levels of emotion were already there. They had brought them in. But by acknowledging it they were becoming conscious of it as were the other people too. And I think it’s that consciousness, that development of that consciousness, then allows a choice. A choice whether to carry on, or whether to do things differently. And somehow it almost took the sort of hot air out of the situation. Because sometimes if you didn’t acknowledge that, and they came in and they were having a bad day and nobody recognised that, or sort of gave them the chance to express it straightaway, it would invariably lead to a massive drama later on in the class. And I’m talking about young people here who were really struggling. Although I’m sure many teachers listening to this will recognise that behaviour anyway. In a regular class there’s always one or two students who are carrying so much that they have to sort of let it out. But then there’s also the others that take that inwards. And what was interesting from the research was that those quieter students that I had were there because they had been school-phobic, they’d had mental health issues, and they were the quieter ones: they may have been bullied at school. They found they were able to manage the more disruptive students behaviour better because they were able to sort of let go of it and - not so much disengage but accept that that’s how that person was and then come away from it and then focus on their own work, so the research that I did – and it was only limited, it was only one case study, one case study – but it showed that all of them felt their attention had improved, and what our results showed was that attendance and achievement also increased through doing this – and I suppose that’s the bit that people – the managers and things - were quite excited about. It was showing it was making a difference for them.
Christopher: So, there’s an interesting journey there that for you yourself as a pupil at school being under that kind of pressure and that anxiety, you were aware that attention…it was actually attention…in fact this doctor that you mentioned– that’s a huge thing – it could have been a different doctor. You could have been prescribed something.
Helen: Well, I found out later – many years later actually – that his wife had really struggled with mental health issues, and sadly had taken her own life, early in his marriage. So, I think for him mental health was more than just a tablet. To this day I wish I could find him and thank him. Because he also – not only did he listen – he also made an appointment to see me again, and in the meantime asked me to write down everything that was worrying me. And I wrote reams and reams. He may never have even read it. But just the fact that that was asked for, I think that made a difference as well.
Christopher: It’s very interesting that he set you on that course, but also perhaps the first stage of mindfulness could be this ability to pay attention. We start with attention. We focus with concentration. But it’s also interesting that you said that you forgot. When things got better. Well, we forget, don’t we? But that at some point you remembered again. I guess the turbulence arose again and you remembered again. And it’s also interesting that it links back to the beginning where you were saying these narratives that we have. It’s kind of like a lens that we see the world through. And we keep on cutting and pasting and editing our story. But through attention and through this kind of open-heartedness we can see what really is. And I think you were introducing that to your students because there was this acceptance going on. And the other interesting thing you were saying is it wasn’t …. because a lot of people say to me Oh yeah, I feel really relaxed after that body scan, or whatever, and it’s like: Okay, well that’s cool. But actually, you’re being very active, and making active choices. But they are residing, they’re habituated in, this resting awareness.
Helen: Well, I think the other thing that used to sort of slightly make me giggle with that group was when things got stressful for me, for example if they had an assignment that they needed to hand in that they hadn’t worked on, and sometimes I’d come into the session and say we haven’t got time to do it now, we’ve got to just get on and get the work done, because I was feeling the pressure of needing to get results. And they would say to me: no, Helen. And then it got to the point where one of them actually used to lead it. And one day I went in and they were starting to pick up just generally on how everybody was feeling, like: what’s wrong, what’s wrong, you don’t seem yourself. And I was actually about to go on a flight, and I don’t like flying. And so, they said: now come on now, now sit down, you know, close your eyes…. They sort of did a visualisation for me. And I just thought that was lovely, really. That ability to – with humour, because it was done with humour, I think the visualisation involves going on a plane actually – they were probably being quite cruel actually, having a bit of fun with the teacher – it still was, the sentiment was there. And I think a lot of what worked for me was that it became part of my classroom culture. So, with every group I started to do that. So, when they came in, they knew that’s what they did when they came in my class. And then through the research I found out about Bangor Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, and went along to their first mindfulness conference, and thought, well why is mindfulness any different from what I’m doing? And I think once that people come to mindfulness from having come from other disciplines and think, well why is this different? Why is this a different approach? And went on an 8 week course myself with a lot of with a lot of resistance: you know, this is no better, it’s all so plain, we’re just focussing on our bodies, we’re not imagining going on lovely journeys or relaxing. This is a different thing. And I personally didn’t like it to start with. I didn’t like focusing in on sensations in my body. I didn’t like the fact that the mindfulness teacher was constantly talking through the guidance. And I thought: this is no good, this is ridiculous, why don’t they just let us get on with it? Because I think sometimes meditation can be a bit of a zoning out too. So, mindfulness invites us to zone in so closely to what we’re experiencing - mainly through what’s rising in the body- that there’s nowhere else to go. This is it. This is exactly how things are. And rather than trying to achieve a different state we’re just coming to the state we’re in, and seeing is that okay? Can I be with this? (20.08)
Awakening to how things are.
This is the tricky bit with mindfulness. Yes, we can pay attention, but acceptance and attuning oneself towards self-care can be challenging. This is why mindfulness practitioners and teachers need to be true to their own story, be authentically in tune with their own challenges rather than thinking that mindfulness can smooth things over. Helen’s advice here shows her skill as a mindfulness supervisor, particularly when she says: I feel as mindfulness teachers it’s important to always remember our own journeys, and that can be hard as well and we don’t all get to a place where it’s all fixed either. You know, everyone is a human being. The difficulties and the joys come and go throughout life and mindfulness is that invitation to stay open to all of it. This is where the conversation turns towards that somewhat elusive quality that mindfulness introduces us to, known as ‘space’. Finding the quality that arrives with experiences, that arises with experience, that enables us to be in a wiser relationship with what is arising. This is where the richness of mindfulness emerges. In a sense mindfulness leaves us with more questions than it answers. But the funny thing is: that’s okay. Practice teaches us this. Tricky moments are, of course, tricky. But there’s a lot to notice in them.
Christopher: So, it seems that you were going from using attention to help you. And then when you decided to follow the mindfulness route – and I assume you did an 8 week MBSR? – and the next stage (and you talked there about resistance, didn’t you?) so the next stage – and it’s certainly familiar to my experience – the next stage is acceptance.
Helen: Well, I think I’ve always been quite obedient. So even though I was quite resistant to the 8 week course, I still did my practice, I still did the body scans, I still did what we were prescribed in the class. And as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, just do it,that whole idea of just by doing the practices – whether you like it or not - you begin to show up to your experience. You begin to awake to how things are. And even if that isn’t very nice or very comfortable, relaxing, or calming, it is how it is. A bit like with the students and how they came in and gave a number to how they were feeling. It’s that recognition of this is where I am right now, and you know, that’s how it is. And it may not be fine, or it may be fine. This is like the authentic truth of my existence in this moment.
Christopher: So the acceptance is difficult. And you said you were finding it difficult locating, or rather being with what was emerging for you in the body and sensations. I mean, is the body a good place to start with that?
Helen: Well I find that this is a very interesting question at the moment, I think, because there’s been quite a backlash against mindfulness because some people feel that it’s the buzzword, it’s everywhere, or it’s the cure-all for everything. But it also can be overwhelming for people. And I know my experience of awaking to body sensations was not pleasant. People might not realising that they might be carrying trauma, and not everyone’s experiences are always good ones. And often that sense of uncomfortableness, or being stuck in fight-flight -all of those sorts of things: anxiety, depression, can be symptomatic of trauma as well. And when people think of trauma they think of massive things, but just little day to day things – for example, if someone has been bullied incessantly through school – that could be enough to create trauma for them. That’s just one example. And then when you start getting close to sensations in your body, those sensations are often around those areas of holding or discomfort which then are often reflections of health or trauma, or house emotional issues. It can be. Not always. This is my own belief from what I’ve studied and what I’ve experienced myself. And then that can become overwhelming because I think there’s a point with acceptance where when people are used to doing what they’re told, or trying really hard to fix things, and then they think well if I just sit with this really awful discomfort a bit longer I’ll be doing this right. But actually, that’s the point where we need to say, this is too much for me, and self-care and compassion says right, now it’s best to come away from there, and direct the attention somewhere else. We wouldn’t poke a hornet’s nest with a stick. And I think sometimes possibly the teacher may not be as experienced, or doesn’t have the understanding, or the person doesn’t have – not the self-awareness, but the self -care necessary that they’re not hearing those instructions to take care. Or if they’re – you know, some people like to achieve and do things right – they can very hooked on doing things the right way and feeling this is something they need to push through – and that is when mindfulness can be not helpful to people but it’s very hard to know somebody could be experiencing that so if you’re teaching in a group, we don’t know what everyone’s experiencing in the room and especially if it is uncomfortable they may not wish to talk about that, or share it with someone because sometimes it can be linked to other things like shame or guilt or other emotions piling on top of feelings of discomfort. So, it’s not all smooth, that sense of acceptance. And I think if we can keep that sense of dialogue open and be true to our own experiences and authentic to our own journey and stay connected to that, even though as I say it’s very easy to smooth over the story and make it seem like a nice clear journey. I feel as mindfulness teachers it’s important to always remember our own journeys, and that can be hard as well and we don’t all get to a place where it’s all fixed either. You know, everyone is a human being. The difficulties and the joys come and go throughout life and mindfulness is that invitation to stay open to all of it.
Christopher: What’s interesting about that for myself as somebody who is teaching mindfulness – and that’s really very helpful, thank you – is this idea (I’m certainly finding it in my own life) is giving yourself permission when you recognise something’s difficult. And the next step -and I wouldn’t say this as an instruction to people- is that good teachers role model and sometimes use their own experiences in a way that’s skilfully conveyed to say it’s okay to say I’m finding this difficult and I think mindfulness can help with that. The naming of things. And sometimes the naming can be very straightforward like Oh, I’m actually frightened at the moment. And that seems to be a first stage – it’s a very interesting balancing act here for the teacher to say, well you have permission to say no, this is just a bit too much for me. This is too difficult at the moment.
Helen: And I think as well it’s important not to get too lost in the sort of the identification – I think there can sometimes be a tendency if we label something too soon we fix it. And maybe that doesn’t invite being able to change. Not to change as in disappear. As you know, emotions change. So one day that might identify as fear, another day it might identify as anger. But what it always comes back to is the sensations in the body. How that lands. And I think that’s the sort of starting point and the ending point really. So, right now, where am I feeling this in my body? And how are these sensations? And am I able to turn towards them? And sit with them or not? And it’s almost like that’s such a simple, conscious choice. When we then add in layers of why or how has that got like that or when I else do I feel like that? or what’s the story around that? then it takes us further away and distracts us from what’s there. However, it doesn’t mean that because it’s there we have to sit with it either. So it’s a strange sort of thing. It’s like recognising the sensations, noticing them, exploring them – bringing that curiosity to them – but not trying to change them but maybe by giving them the space – by having space around it – just allowing it to settle a bit more. It’s hard to explain it in words. I think sometimes when you’re feeling the process it is harder to articulate. You often see that in classes. People are getting it, they know what it is, and then when you inquire they don’t have the words. And then they’re trying to find the words and sometimes that can take them away as well. There’s always that balance between giving people the space to experience what they’re experiencing enough so that they can feel they sense it in a different way maybe, have a different relationship to it, but not too much so that it then becomes too much of a fixed thing.
Christopher: Well, this body is very wise. It’s like the mountain meditation. It’s there. It sits. And it accepts. And in a school context we can’t just say well we’ve just had an experience, let’s just write a short summary of our experience. Let’s have a plenary here. It doesn’t kind of work that way. But that space that you’re talking about is very interesting because I think possibly now – certainly the stage that I find a challenge with is bringing in attitudes of kindness towards oneself. And the kindness might well be “well, that’s enough”. I’m going to be kind to myself now, and give myself permission to say no. And that’s kindness, and self-compassion. We pay attention, and we accept, but we also have to adapt an attitude, and that’s a challenge and perhaps a counterintuitive concept for people to think “oh yeah, I could do with a dose of kindness here.”
Helen: That’s almost where the richness is, isn’t it? And sometimes it’s only through that that you start to notice all the choices available, and that in itself can be: well, where do I go with this now? So, Okay: I realise I need to be kind to myself but how will I do that? Because, again with the sense that things have been fixed for a while, just learning how to be self-compassionate is another whole new sort of learning that isn’t automatic. And people talk about “me time”, go and have a bath, a bubble bath with candles around it. I know a lot of people where that becomes almost “another thing to do”, but it’s not actually serving them, and it’s almost saying to other people “well, you’ve had that time now, why aren’t you feeling better?” It’s subtler than that; self-knowledge and understanding – so that you don’t use that self-knowledge and understanding to beat yourself up again.
Christopher: It’s also a discipline. This ability to recognise. Because you could say, well I’m going to have glass of wine now. Oh really, is that a good choice? And then you go back to attention then. Well, it’s a good choice if you’re paying attention to it! It’s like the Judson Brewer thing where he said he helped people give up smoking because he said, well, pay attention. Oh, and I suddenly realised that smoking is gross and vile and cigarette smells like cheese and I can feel chemicals in my mouth because I was paying attention. So it is this continual journey, isn’t it? Of just starting again, really? That seems to be what we’re getting round to.
Helen: And as I said before, there’s no sort of place that you get to, where you can say Oh, well now I’ve achieved mindfulness! Because it’s now like that. Again, it can come and go. You know, we can have a level of awareness one day, and then the next day it completely goes. And that doesn’t matter. Again, that’s just part of life. And I’ve worked with people who’ve had a long, strong practice, and I’ve challenged them to notice that the practice itself has become sort of autopilot. And that again can be very hard to let go of. I know myself. Over the last six months I’ve been challenging my own practice. I always do a morning practice. It fits in with the day, and stuff. But really noticing that and saying: do I want to do my practice right now? What is it about sitting, half an hour, first thing in the morning when it’s all quiet? What is this actually about? Is it so I can give myself a tick? I’m a good mindfulness teacher, I have a regular practice. I’ve done my half-hour, I’ve done my forty five minutes. Oh, I must be succeeding at this. It’s not that at all! Just doing a regular practice is good, it brings you back. But that in itself can just become a habit of maybe switching off the rest of the time because Oh, I’ve done it well, you’ve done your practice. Set a good example. Although I do feel that the more you practice the more it sneaks in everywhere else. And that I find is the difference with mindfulness. The fact that that awareness is there all the time. I mean, it’s not aware all the time. I don’t mean it is there all the time I mean that it is there all the time for you to be aware of, if you wish.
Christopher: It’s available.
Helen: It’s available at any time for you to check into. I think it’s interesting that you’ve picked interpersonal communication, week 6 (of the MBSR course). I feel it’s often in those interactions, especially with those closest to us, where we don’t show up as much as we do. So it’s very easy to show up if you want a lovely walk in the countryside, or the sun comes out, or you hear the birdsong, or you’re sat with a favourite book and a cup of tea, and you pause and you notice the tea. You know, those times it’s a beautiful thing to check in and notice. But when you’re in the midst of an argument you’ve had many times with that same person and then you suddenly notice and check in. That’s a very different awareness, a very different level of noticing, that maybe we don’t want to notice our patterns around that. You know, I suppose with all things we hope that maybe we’re sort of somehow becoming better through our mindfulness practice. Better people. And then again, you’ve got the layer of striving coming in again. It sort of sneaks its way into everything. So I’m finding more and more, inviting myself into those trickier moments can be very interesting. And not always comfortable but there’s a lot to notice in those moments.
Christopher: Well, thank you Helen. It’s been a lovely conversation. Very fruitful. I was going to ask whether you wouldn’t mind sharing a short practice with us?
Helen: Yes, That’s fine. As we’re sitting here? Yes, okay.
So just taking a moment to notice all of that. All of the discussion, all of the topics that we’ve touched on. Maybe all buzzing around still in the mind. But just dropping in now with what’s landing in the body.
So taking a moment now to find that sense of the ground. Whether that’s feet on the floor, whether that’s the chair supporting you. Your arms resting on your lap. And coming home to whatever’s showing up in the body. Maybe taking the attention to the top of the head, and then gently moving down through the body and noticing what sensations are here, as you move on down the areas that grab your attention, that pull you. And the sensations that aren’t there. The blanks. The gaps in the body.
And then reaching the point of feeling the ground or support beneath you.
And from here turning towards sensations of breathing in the body. So maybe this time as you breathe, noticing that breath as it travels through the whole body, and then noticing it again as it travels out.
Being curious of those sensations of breathing.
From the sensations of air travelling in and out of the body; coolness or warmth.
Even the sound of the breath.
And the subtle movement we all feel when we breathe
The rise of the body at the chest as we breathe in (42.09)
And that settling in to our posture as we breathe out.
And then identifying in your own body the place where that sensation of breathing is most noticeable. Maybe in the diaphragm, right down in the belly. Or higher up in the chest or the throat. And inviting you now to just spend a few moments, a few breaths, here in this anchor of the breath in the body. Doing your best to simply rest the attention in sensations of breath here. And from this focus of attention, this narrow focus on sensations of breathing, widening out the awareness again to incorporate the whole body from the top of the head all the way down all sides of the body to the feet. Noticing those sensations of breathing throughout the whole body. Where does it end and where does it begin? Is it possible to feel that breath right down on the fingers and the toes? Or just in the core? And without trying to change anything, just allowing the breath and the body to be exactly as they are. Nothing to fix or change. Here, present with the breath. Whole body breathing. And taking a few moments now just check in now with how things are in the mind and the body. Choosing to open your eyes in your own time. And just keeping that awareness of the breath and body with us as we carry on with the rest of the day now.
Christopher: So, my thanks to Helen Marsh for sharing her insights into her own mindfulness practice. I think you really got a flavour there at just how skilled Helen is at articulating the intimate quest that is mindfulness practice. How it doesn’t cure or fix challenges, but how it does offer a wiser, more spacious relationship to the reality of moments in our lives. For more information on courses , retreats and the supervision Helen offers just go to www.shropshiremindfulness.co.uk, or to Helen’s listing on the UK Network of Mindfulness Based Teacher Trainers.