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Article – The Gift of Mindfulness by Elaine Patterson

The Gift of Mindfulness

By Elaine Patterson

“Remember that mindfulness practice is a radical act of love. This means that compassion and self compassion lie at its root”
Jon Kabat- Zinn (1990 pg 303)

A Gift to Myself
This Christmas I gave myself the gift of mindfulness. I decided to immerse myself in the practice and discipline of mindfulness by participating in an eight week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR) with colleagues at Penna. The programme was run by Karyn Prentice. Karyn is one of the Coaching Supervision Assistant Directors and Founder of fletcherprentice & associates.

Background to MSBR
MSBR was originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachuetts. MSBR
is a secular programme based on Buddhist principles of mindfulness mediation. Through practices based on the focused awareness of the breath in our bodies we learn how to become fully present to ourselves and to our experiences in the here and now. Research has shown how this can help to reshape the neuroplasticity of our brain and hearts to help us find more joy, peace and ease in our lives. As Kabat-ZInn said:
“you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf”

My Discoveries
I came to the programme after a series of sadnesses looking for healing. I left finding a new way of living my life. The programme made me rethink some of my discoveries.

  1. Mindfulness is a radical act of love and compassion to ourselves. It enables radical acceptance of what is without judgement and without needing to change it. This is very liberating as needs and wants dissolve as we let go of our ‘should’s’ and ‘must do’s’ to embrace the here and now.
  2. Mindfulness is a coming home to ourselves in a quiet and stillness which is an antidote to our frantically striving, noisy and busy 24/7 world. As coaches we often give the gift of our presence to our clients but can fail to extend the same kindness and compassion to ourselves and our own well-being. Mindfulness gives us a chance to reacquaint ourselves with what makes each of us uniquely human.
  3. Mindfulness is not a ‘giving up’ and a “surrender”; but a way of resourcing ourselves so that we can better choose our responses. At its best is creates a pathway for us to reconnect with our innate creativity.
  4. Mindfulness can become a powerful tool in any relationship because it just takes one person to take a mindful moment in order to have the potential to change to whole dynamic of what is occurring.
  5. Mindfulness is a slow burn. It is not a quick fix and there are no short cuts. Regular practice is required to lay new neural pathways in the brain and heart, which open us to developing new levels of loving kindness, appreciation, ease and creativity.

Happy new year!
Elaine Patterson

Elaine is an accredited Master Coach whose passion is bringing our shared humanity into the heart of leadership and coaching practices.
Office: +44 1895 635734
Karyn Prentice can be contacted via her website

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990) Full Catastrophe Living: Using the wisdom of your mind and body to face pain, stress and illness. New York, Delta Paperbacks.

Other Resources
Hanh, T. H. (2008) The Miracle of Mindfulness. London, Piackus Books Ltd. Great Britain, Rider. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness Meditation for everyday life. Siegel, D. (2010) Transform you brain with the new science of kindness. London, Oneworld Publications.