Do you know you are on a journey with me? Grab your all-terrain boots! There are going to be mountains to climb, waterfalls to swim through, sunsets to gaze at, inclement weather, calm weather, struggles, thrills, laughter, and a TON-O-LOVE!
As I recently completed my 42nd trip around the sun, I am only just beginning a different journey that I know is going to take me into the depths of my soul and lift me back up! I am just at the starting line and I see you next to me!
I’m incredibly grateful! I am grateful you are here, whether you want to be or not, because guess what? I LOVE YOU! I can’t do this alone, and I don’t want you to think you have to “go-it-alone” either! ‘Better Together’ was the title of the photo book my partner gave me for my 43rd birthday, and he is right!
I am grateful for the support systems that I know surround myself and my family. I’m grateful for each of you who constantly show up in this journey of life with me. I’m grateful to Source and to all of my Spirit guides and ancestors who gently direct me back to the path when I go astray.
I’m grateful for the inquisitive, passionate and dedicated journey that has led me to this moment to be accepted into the Mindfulness Meditation Teaching Certificate Program! Not even a quarter of applicants are accepted for the program from the numbers I have been told. Almost 7,000 people applied. Again, grateful. The choice to head into a teaching certificate program over getting a masters degree did not come easy. It was one of the most deliberate, heart-centered, courageous, and analyzed choices that I’ve quite ever made in my life.
I was warming up so I could meet you here at the starting line!
The warm up has taken almost 20 years of teaching yoga, nearly 15 years of Thai massage practice, nearly 15 years of offering life coaching, plus some reiki attunement, trauma informed studies, getting married, having my own children, and, oh yeah, living life with all of its sadness, loss, joys, challenges, pandemic, wins, changes, and other events sprinkled throughout!
I know you know! I have had the honor to be there with a lot of you through some of your pain, challenges, and celebrations! AND, that’s why I had to share this next two year journey with you! Because like all of my growth and learning in the past, this journey is SURE to affect you. I am so glad you have a ‘RAIN’ coat (pun intended from the R.A.I.N. mindfulness practices), sunscreen and a passport! I can help you update your passport! I just did!
MMTCP is my “grad school”. It comes from the UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Sounds True, and the Awareness Training Institute. Created by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, it has dozens of other presenters from Peter Levine to Eckhart Tolle, Kristin Neff to Thomas Hubl, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel to Sebene Selassie, and Joanna Macy to George Mumford, and more! And oh my goodness, the mentors!
I’m grateful for the cohort that I’m going to be with during these 2 years. And, undoubtedly grateful for the incredible array of facilitators who are going to be holding us participants, seekers, and students in their hearts, minds, and bodies as they guide us to become able to teach others more fully in the way of compassion, mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, psychology, and embodying this work in the world in particular to addressing diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility(DEIA).
What I Will Be Bringing To You (What I am Learning):
“The mindfulness teacher training curriculum aims to imbue learners with the transformational principles underlying meditation and guide them in skillfully offering these powerful practices to others. Trainees will learn the application of meditation to relationships and societal change, explore the interface of meditation with Western psychology and cutting-edge science, and develop teaching skills and receive guidance on how to establish classes and workshops.”-MMTCP website
The MMTCP Pillars:
In my own words, this program checked all of the boxes! Neuroscience, psychology, Buddhist psychology, spirituality, trauma informed, mindfulness, meditation, self inquiry, somatics, learning how to bring this to diverse groups, mentorship, practicum in year two, and more.
Here are the pillars as laid out inside the MMTCP site that I will be deep diving into:
-Develop your practice with mindfulness, body scans, movement, concentration, inquiry, open awareness, and meditations that awaken a compassionate heart.
Training in the domains of mindfulness
-Practice awareness as it relates to your body and your feelings, emotions, mind states, and awareness itself. Learn how to expand the field of mindfulness to include wise relationships with others and the entire living world.
-Become skilled and confident in giving talks, conducting individual and small group sessions, guiding meditations, and responding to questions.
-Use meditation to address physical pain, emotional challenges, trauma, relational difficulties, interpersonal conflict, and domains of collective, societal suffering.
The ethics of teaching
-Understand and learn to handle ethical issues that arise in teaching and in the student-teacher relationship, including awareness of, and taking responsibility for, the teacher’s impact on students from diverse backgrounds.
-Complement sitting practices by learning mindful movement, teaching embodied awareness in movement, and engaging students with a rich, grounded, somatic experience of meditation.
-Build the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that will enhance your capacity to teach a wide range of mindfulness practitioners across culture, race, gender, ability, and other societally conditioned divides.
-Transform consciousness by actively engaging mindfulness and compassion to end social injustice, racism, violence, ecological harm, and other expressions of suffering.
-Learn to design and promote classes and workshops with inclusive facilitation skills in order to create a nurturing and caring community of dedicated learners who learn with and from one another.
This is how I know we can create a better world for all beings!
And in fact, I know each of you who are reading this right now offer this kind of love to others that comes unconditionally and without expectation. I pray that each of you are offering that to yourself right now as you read, and that you will continue to offer it to yourself each day.
These practices can be very difficult. Not only offering these practices to ourselves in this way of living life, but it can also become very difficult when attempting to offer this way of being to others, especially when others have hurt you.
And this is part of the reasons why I seek to grow and learn. I feel that my “why’s” represent and symbolize the things that I know you and I are going to be embodying and exploring over the next two years.
- Because I was deeply affected by an experience that knocked me off my center. It’s important to know that this experience had to deal with race.
- How I ” climbed back into my own light” was through many practices I already had, and also starting new, courageous practices that I had not yet fully understood or experienced to the depths of which I now have; and I know there is more.
- Upholding my, and all, ancestors’ pain and suffering. I do this in honor of their deep love and commitment to family and also to the family of humankind.
- Because of my lifelong passion to continue learning. It’s been a while since I took a course to this magnitude, and therefore ….(Read the next reason)
- I always want to try to practice what I preach.
- I know the positive effect of not only my own growth as I learn, but how I have witnessed the incredible growth and evolution of others when I shared my learning.
- Because I believe in the evolution of humanity. And that we can come together and guide the course of humankind towards that which is loving, peaceful, and harmonious. Not only with each other, but also with the earth.
- Because of my commitment to serve others.\
- Because I Believe that EVERYONE has a right to be here! And to be given what is their birthright; support, opportunity, acknowledgement, and to experience JOY and PEACE!
- May this work, may this play, may this exploration, be of the utmost benefit to myself, to you, to us, to the collective, to the earth, and for all.
I share all of this because I hope that it will have a positive impact on your life as well as mine and that of many others.
My/Your Intentions for this journey:
First, take a deep breath. There is so much ahead for you, so much goodness. Can you see it? Feel it? Don’t worry if you don’t sense it yet.
Just breathe and ask yourself how you want to feel in life? I inspire you to set some of your own intentions as you read over mine.
Feel free to write back with your intentions.
*Keep in mind that I cannot read the future, nor can I ultimately see what will happen on this journey. We, you and I, have just been given a road map, but sometimes I can’t see where the road will take us. So, we are going to have to follow intuition, listen to the creatures and wind, trust our hearts, pray, and jump when we must!
In this journey I hope…
- To use what I learn within the scope of what I already do, enhancing and deepening the experiences for all.
- To develop my own understanding about what it is to be trauma informed, truly inclusive, how to make this all accessible.
- What it means to create brave spaces where all peoples are welcomed; how to create that welcoming space and be able to hold that space for all.
- To be even more heart centered, with even more tools to draw from at any given time. And to do this with less fear and more courage, fire, and gumption!
- I intend to stay open, practice deep listening, watch for the next step, be active in looking for the tracks to follow (staying with my journey metaphor here), surrender to Source, and let it all flow.
“The spiritual path is not a solo endeavor. We are in it together, and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.”-Tara Brach
I cannot wait to get started, and we don’t have to wait any longer! The time is now! Here we go! One boot in front of the other, one breath taken together, and the sound of infinite Light vibrations ringing through our collective Heart! Beating together, better together! Don’t forget your water! 😉
Breathe and Believe.