Your course has done me good. I have tried many ways previously to engage in the mindfulness approach by reading but being there in the sessions really made the theories come to life and become very meaningful. Consequently I was able to put things into practise more easily.
The last book that I worked with was ' Mindfulness - a practical guide to Finding Peace In A Frantic World ' by Mark Williams and Danny Penman which I now turn to with a greater understanding & in a more willing way. Jennie March 2015
I attended Barbara’s three week introductory course In July last year. I had not heard of Barbara or Mindfullness. However, I was looking for help in dealing with myself, my stress, anxiety, grief and the effects of intense change. I knew I certainly did not want to become involved in anyone telling me how to behave, or anything that might smack of institutionalised practice.
For me the healing which comes with “Mindfulness” is entirely natural, comes with no “Rules” and at my own speed. No mantras, no hierarchical structures, just me and practice and guidance if I want it.
How are you right now, this actual moment? What do you feel, see, hear, touch, taste and smell. If you’re happy, content and calm, congratulate yourself warmly. If you’re upset anxious, unhappy, and that self-critical, harmful voice is wheedling in your ear, recognise it. Say hello and congratulate yourself warmly for having done so. With the kindliness which is an intrinsic part of “Mindfulness” slowly, gradually you will become more acutely aware of right now.
Being more acutely aware of right now brings you closely in touch with what is real. It throws into relief those often harmful thoughts that are not real. Over time, they will become old friends rather than old enemies. Steve
Just wanted to send you our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year and to thank you for your
wonderful Mindfulness course at Cowdray. We have been practising regularly and this has helped
us cope with some difficult situations already. We hoped to join you in Chichester for a practise
session before Christmas but couldn't make it. Hopefully we will see you in the New Year.
Sure we'll have a more peaceful Christmas this year, because of our Mindfulness training and hope
you and your family do too.
With our best wishes,
Lyn and Peter
"I've never really mentioned this before to you but I'm very grateful for you introducing me to mindfulness. Your patience in the classes & sence of calm was infectious. I can't imagine being without it now & feel like a whole new world has opened up to me. I always felt there was something in meditation so I'm glad it's part of my life now". Sue
Witherdens Hall Weekend Retreat September 2014.
"I stand by my feeling that your mindfulness retreat is the best thing I have ever done. I feel very comfortable with the concepts and find practising mindfulness life enhancing. I am using what I've learned so far in the most unplanned ways with enlightening results. Don't laugh but I cleaned the shower mindfully last week! I didn't plan it but once I started cleaning I found such a calmness and beauty in taking each little area at a time and making it look the best I could with no time pressure or outcome expectation. I had nothing in my mind other that what I was doing but I don't even mean I was thinking about cleaning the shower. I wasn't. It was much smaller and open than that. I was looking a the smallest details and recognising them - seeing them for the first time (even though I have used that shower daily for two years). It is very hard to explain well enough to do any justice to the experience but it was so fulfilling that I have given some consideration to changing my career to one of domestic service! Hahaha!"
"Thank you Barbara for what was a magical, meaningful and sometimes painful weekend retreat for a novice mindfulness student. You have opened my eyes to a new and exciting way of living and your kindness, quiet dignity and thoughtful guidance were an inspiration and a blessing. It was a shock to realise the lack of compassion I have had for myself until now. And to register how loud that nagging voice has been in my head. It is also a joy to realise that I have all the tools to find a better way of living. I know there is much practice ahead, but I feel I am now on the path to enlightenment and am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to kickstart my journey with an intensive weekend of learning facilitated by you.
You picked a corker in teaming up with the generous, adorable and mind-blowingly talented Louise Cox Chester. Having her with us was a delight as was being in the surroundings of her beautiful retreat. Every detail was taken care of, the place was a homely haven and the food was delicious and nourishing. It was also fantastic to have the ethereally beautiful and serene Sacha leading a series of gentle, flowing and soothing yoga/movement sessions that blended so effortlessly into your programme. May you have every success in continuing and expanding these valuable retreats, especially if you can reach out to other newbie recruits to mindfulness and compassion like me. This is important and life-changing work. Thank you again."
"Thank you so much for giving us an insight to mindfulness and the warmth you radiate to us all".
"Thank you for sending the Lao Tzu poem 'always we hope'. ~ I love the way you use poems within your mindfulness teaching and support. This one speaks to me and I shall add it to my special collection. It was also lovely spending the time with you and I am very grateful for your kindness, wisdom and support through the last two months. I'm so pleased your leaflet fluttered out from under a pile of books at a time of need. As we discussed earlier this week, the course has come to a close but this is just the beginning of my mindful life and I shall practice 'to really live the life I have and live it as if it truly matters'. I will certainly look forward to attending some more of your courses either another day of silence or perhaps some of the mindfulness evening meetings".
"It was marvellous to spend the day , with you all , on Sunday. We really found it so effortless to be silent , it was so funny , it sounds strange, but I felt so enlightened, so full of joy, I kept laughing inside, I cannot really describe it, really wonderful, we were silent all the way back to Andover, I was looking at the world, the trees, aware of so many things. We of course all have different experiences I suppose, mine was really relaxing and happy. I am now reading about equanimity. So there we are , carrying on, on that wonderful journey, that we call life, jumping in the pot holes full of water, not avoiding them, and carrying on. Wonderful day, and lovely to sit with you, and feel, your peace, and non judgemental attitude, what ever, we do".
"I was inspired by your courage and centredness in teaching us last night. Thank you for practising what you preach".
"I am missing the course, practising together has a different power and energy. The guided meditations I found very relaxing. There is something about your presence attuned to us as a group, which has an energy which is palpable".
'I have been finding our time together very helpful and am enjoying learning about mindful practices. At a meeting today I was able to say some important things with inner strength but without any uncomfortable emotions - thank you for your guidance and support'.
'It is amazing how effective the Three-part Introduction to Mindfulness Course for those with Cancer is. I wouldn't have believed that after just three sessions I had almost stopped thinking about possible negative outcomes of my cancer condition. Taking the learnings from the sessions and incorporating them into my daily life, I'm now experiencing joy in such tasks as preparing breakfast each morning, dead-heading the roses, choosing paint for my bedroom walls, and eating my meals. Life has calmed down and has definitely become more enjoyable and satisfying. I now wish to attend more workshops and live more of my life in the present welcoming every moment'.
"Your wisdom and experience in the group has come back to me many times since the group, and helps me with my practice"
Barbara, Just a short note to say Thank you so much. After spending much of my life struggling with anxiety, low self esteem and stress I feel awakened to a whole new world. I feel like at age 42 someone has finally given me the instruction manual to life !!! You have been such an inspirational teacher and I am privileged to have been so expertly guided on this personal journey. (which has only just begun !!) I would also hope that one day in the future there is a chance to catch up with the complete group and find our how everyone’s journey with mindfulness is going. I wonder if there maybe an opportunity for a reunion meeting with the group at some point in the future (e.g In 6 months time ?) so we can all share our news and join again for the powerful group meditations ?
"I am looking forward to the monthly meetings. You have the great gift of holding the group together with love, kindness, firmness, clarity and humour, and bringing out the beauty in all of us".
Many thanks for the inspiration, kindness and gentle motivation you bring to your teaching. You have transformed meditation for me.
With much love
‘You were a shining example of Mindfulness in the face of such deep grief’. Brenda
"I was telling a relative the other day that doing the 8 week course has changed my life, how the course has worked for me and how I find that taking 20 minutes a day ‘to be’ is not taking away from my life, but adding to it".
"I shower every morning as part of my getting ready to go to work. When I started showering mindfully I could actually feel the water on my skin. It was great, it felt like a massage and it didn’t take any longer." Adam
Huge thanks to your for such an enjoyable eight weeks. Thank you for all your gentleness and skill....I cannot imagine my life without mindfulness being an integral part. Sonia
I took part in one of Barbara’s 8 week courses earlier in the year and found the experience to be very enlightening, interesting and informative. To me, the system of mindfulness makes a lot of sense. Bringing the mind back to the present moment several times a day is a very effective way to stop it from spiralling to possible imagined future events or back to the past. It is a simple exercise but takes dedication, however, just the smallest attempts and application can bring benefits. I have noticed that focusing on the breath helps me in stressful situations and my friends see a difference in me. They see a stronger person who is more able to cope. I have found that the course has given me tools to apply at work where situations can be challenging. Like all things, mindfulness requires practice and patience (with oneself above all things) but it is all very worthwhile. I found the course to be gentle and kind to the individual. I would recommend to anyone wanting to enhance their lives.
"Thank you so much for the CD’s. It is lovely having your kind, compassionate voice". Pat
"Since taking the course, I find I am building the informal practice into my day almost without realising it. Little things like filling the kettle, repotting flowers. Little things that can actually be lovely things to do if you do notice what you are doing. I find that I am practicing it, doing it before I realise that I am doing it. It can make an awfully tedious and boring thing into being rather than a chore, an ‘experience’." Valerie
'In 2007 it was suggested that I study Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy in order to combat the anxiety and the increasingly negative ‘self-talk’ that I usually experience before becoming clinically depressed. I purchased books by Prof. Mark Williams and Jon Kabat-Zinn together with the relevant CDs from the Oxford MindfulnessCentre. I soon realised that this practice was absolutely what I needed. Learning to ‘observe’ my thoughts and understanding that such destructive thoughts as ‘You are totally useless’ and ‘You fool’ had no more significance than passing clouds or transient noises was an enormous revelation. I practised the meditations regularly but skimped parts of the eight week course which seemed to me difficult and ‘tedious’ – like the body scan. Also the many references to ‘being kind to oneself’ and ‘kindly’ treatment of oneself defeated me. What actually did that mean? Sounded dangerously ‘self centred’ and all those other ‘self’ words that some parents teach their offspring to abhor!!
In the summer I saw that Barbara was running an eight week course locally this autumn; I rushed to enrol and I am so glad that I did. Each of the sessions ‘fleshed out’ the practice. I understood how each part of the programme developed my ability to pay attention to the moment and become especially aware of how my body was responding to different thoughts and feelings. The support of the others in the friendly, courteous group greatly widened my understanding of their difficulties and also illuminated my own situation. I was able to discuss exactly what being kind to myself entailed and that it was absolutely necessary to treat myself as I have always treated family and friends. The whole attitude of the practice is kindly, gentle curiosity of what is here now. It approaches life in an experiential way- ‘What is this?’- which seems to open life out rather than close it up in fearful apprehension. There seems more ‘space’ in which to choose how to respond. The subtlety of watching my thoughts is teaching me to recognise that those ever-present doubting messages – ‘Not meditating as well as yesterday!!’ – are old critical habit thoughts and just part of what is here now. Now that my course has finished I have the opportunity of attending Barbara’s Mindfulness Days and evening groups so that I do not feel on my own as I did before. I know that I gained greatly by joining one of Barbara’s courses and I would recommend anyone else to do the same rather than ‘going it alone’ with just books and CDs'.