It has been a long time since we have sent a newsletter, and we hope you have managed to survive and perhaps even find moments of thriving during Covid times. The Center for Mindful Awareness has continued its work during the pandemic, albeit in a different form, and we wanted to provide an update and let you know we are well.
We have just completed year one of a two-year project, funded by the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund. This project, called the Mindful Awareness Mentoring Initiative (MAMI), mentored professionals who work in infant, child and maternal mental health programs. Our focus was to teach a select group of mentees mindful awareness and self-compassion skills, first for their own practice, and then to share with their colleagues and directly with the young families they serve. The practices were ultimately shared by the mentees with more than 250 individuals. This helped both staff and families to better anchor themselves, and cope during these VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) times.
We worked with both individual and group calls throughout the year. Allowing the mentees to be deeply heard, and naming the Covid-related pain and frustration they were experiencing, invited them to find strength within their vulnerability. This provided inspiration and courage to continue and deepen their work. Each mentee greatly appreciated our honoring and responding to their stresses, and reminding them of the grounding power of these practices.
The benefits of this work were powerful. In the mentees’ own words:
- “It has been really special to be able to offer support in a way that is different and really sustainable, and allows the client to feel like they have the ability to be in a bit more control of what is going on with their bodies or minds.”
- “… this mindfulness work has been the grounding force for me. This is such a meaningful community, providing us grounding, especially in times like these. I have greater confidence in my understanding about the background of mindfulness; its traditions; and how to trust what I know and offer it to others. I have greater steadiness, peace, and awareness.”
- “This is a lifetime journey . . . the answers are not outside, but inside. The biggest gift I’ve received from this work is permission to be with myself without judgment.”
- “Our individual sessions are so impactful; they shape how my day, my work, how my life is going. What I’ll take away from this project is a lifetime reward.”
- “I’m super proud of how I’ve been using mindfulness, how I’ve grown and evolved. I’m speaking my truth about what I’m feeling, and recognizing and labeling my feelings; I used to be reactive; now I’m more responsive.”
- This work has been “indispensable for dealing with difficult/dangerous situations.”
It is clear that this focus on mentoring has proved to be productive and empowering. Accordingly, this is the new direction that the Center for Mindful Awareness will follow in our future work.
This poem, “School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman, was the final piece shared in our MAMI mentoring project. May it serve to inspire you as well!
In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
To support people in being “architects of peace”, if you or someone you know might be interested in learning how to establish or deepen a practice, and share effective, science-based mindful awareness practices with others, please be in touch. At this time, we are accepting a limited number of private mentoring clients. We would love to hear from you!
To what one breath can do,
Amy Bloom Connolly, Founder