Mindfulness is the process of stepping out of automatic pilot and paying attention to how we are and how things are in the present moment with compassion and without judgement. It sounds so simple and yet it is a discipline, a practice that needs nurtured day-by-day throughout our lives. Mindfulness has its origins in ancient Buddhism and forms one step on the path of awakening along with wisdom and compassion. However, it has gained in popularity over the past two decades primarily due to the increase in scientific research to back it and also the development of positive psychology, the understanding now that the brain can change (neuroplasticity). Many secular Mindfulness programs have since been developed and have been proven to help people from all walks of life and with different health conditions such as stress/ anxiety and chronic pain. Whilst meditations form the foundation of the practice, Mindfulness is also a practice of becoming more conscious of our world in daily life, whether feeling our feet while walking through the park or practicing deep listening while a friend shares their news. Dedicated, consistent practice eventually can bring about changes in our actions and reactions and bring more compassion into our communications and ways of being.
I came to Mindfulness as a mum of two young children, looking for gentle ways of parenting and relating to my husband during this transformative stage in our lives. I particularly wanted to find a way to let go of habits which I perceived to be unhelpful at the time. From a young age I always knew that “there was something else out there” and it wasn't until parenthood that a good friend encouraged me to follow my heart towards spiritual development and practice. Initially I tried to practice alone and read books by influential Buddhist and secular teachers. Eventually however I recognised the importance of practicing with a group and luckily found the Poppy Seed Sangha in North Fife which is like a second home to me now. Many years on I now co-facilitate the group with a few others. Poppy Seed Sangha is held in the tradition of Plum Village and Thich Naht Hahn. It is a very beautiful practice, inclusive, engaged and progressive and at the same time full of light and joy.
**Please note that due to Covid19, all Mindfulness events have been postponed. However, Poppy Seed Sangha has transferred to an online platform, Zoom. All are welcome to join us there. Please enquire for details. You may also access my own guided meditations at the Vimeo link below for free. Take care of you. Orla **
A Taste of Mindfulness @ Loch Leven's Larder
Inspired by my love of both Buddhist and secular Mindfulness practices I have developed this 4 hour introductory course spread over 4 weeks, which takes place in the beautiful setting of Loch Leven's Larder, Kinross. It is the perfect introduction to this life-changing practice. You can find out more and book a place on my latest course at the link below. Please also follow my Facebook page for new event dates.
Two Feet, One Mind
I am delighted to be partnering with RSPB to offer Monthly Mindful Walks at their beautiful Loch Leven reserve next year. These will take place on the 4th Thursday of the month, 10-11am. We will gather in the courtyard and then meander on a chosen path in the reserve, pausing from time-to-time to enjoy our senses and the present moment en-route. I'll offer guidance and poetry to help us rest in the here & now, replenish our energy and find balance again supported by the natural world around us. Please come dressed in warm waterproof clothes. Booking essential. £2 minimum donation to RSPB.
Poppy Seed Sangha
I co-facilitate a weekly mindfulness practice group which meets on a Thursday evening also at Westbank Natural Health Centre in Strathmiglo, North Fife. You can find out lots more information at the link below. We practice mindfulness and meditation rooted in the gentle Zen Buddhist tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and warmly welcome new practitioners to join us in nurturing seeds of happiness and calm together throughout the year. We are blessed with a beautiful orchard and garden at Westbank and enjoy spending time outdoors whenever we can.
I have recorded a series of guided meditations on Vimeo to allow you to practice alongside me at home. You can access them on the Vimeo app or at this link on your PC. Enjoy!
“Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home."
Thich Nhat Hanh