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MINDFUL LESSONS IN PRESENT MOMENT AWARENESS

 

PERSONAL STORY

MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION:  

A Teacher Pathway.

Sometimes growth and change can happen naturally and sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up by some catastrophic event, changed and re-arranged, to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.


In these times, instead of falling into believing - “I am damaged, I am broken” -  Perhaps it would be more fruitful to cultivate a fresh way of being with difficulty,  like a more healing intention  - "I’m discovering myself as I am now and I am starting over."  After all, every breath, every moment truly is a chance to begin again. I came to know this very understanding through of my own lived participation in a MBSR course which had a profound affect on my life.


Ten years ago I experienced a catastrophic event, a serious head injury and with it all the typical symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury,( memory loss, balance and locomotion issues, emotional dysregulation, aversion to bright light) including some strong sensations of pain at the region of the impact at the  back of my head and down my neck. Rather than ride on a course of fairly strong pain relief indefinitely, I searched out alternative paths of getting literally back on my feet again.Word of mouth eventually led me to ‘Meditation For Health’, a popular MBSR meditation program here in Toronto. From start to finish, it was a nothing short of a remarkable 8-week journey. By the end of the course, not only had weaned myself off my dependence on strong pain medications by cultivating my own inner resources for relaxing, and managing my chronic pain, but also to my pleasant surprise, I came to know about different ways of being in healthy relationship with so many other fronts in my life.


The course introduced me to more effective fresh ways of being in relationship with stress and how to make room for new ways of seeing old habitual patterns in my life that weren't perhaps serving me anymore. It awakened me to different perspectives and for taking notice of inter-connectedness of all things around me. As well as nurture a deeper meaning of self-acceptance and cultivate curiosity about some difficult relationships and other struggles.


 Mindfulness more than anything is an invitation as well as a reminder to pay attention moment to moment reserving any judgement that might arise. These are some of the many powerful transformative lessons to be learned studying mindfulness. In the end, it was nothing short of a “coming home” to myself again: a remembering, of sorts, of who I am. It's allowing some time for some rest and slowing down a bit which can be be easily forgotten in this 24/7  fast-paced world full of extreme busyness and a multitude of distractions available to us. 

Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl once remarked,  “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  I came to know through my own formal and informal meditation practice that I have the power to choose my attitude about any circumstance - and thereby lies my freedom for peace, growth and sense of purpose. It’s an on-going process day to day, riding the waves of life, but that is what mindfulness is. It’s about not getting stuck. And taking more responsibility for the emotional pain we might be feeling. That we have actually  allowed. It's about gently letting go of strife and pain, and thereby opening the door to much more creativity and choice than we might have imagined in any given situation. Oh, to be open to the possibilities of THAT - every moment! ;-)   

TRAINING:

I knew I had to investigate this practice  further and eventually teach MBSR. After over 20 years of being a professional actress, (I still act here and there) I returned to school to study Social Work; graduating with honors, followed by a practicum at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. I received a level one Facilitator’s Training Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management under Dr. J Gardner-Nix. I continued my education with classes in Advanced Counseling at George Brown College, as well as taking a Conflict Resolution course at The University of Waterloo/ Conrad-Grebel Campus. 


It was then that I started the highly standardized, long and rigorous teaching pathway in Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction (MBSR) through UMass Medical School Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society and now completing Certification at The Mindfulness Centre Brown University, R.I..  I am deeply honoured to join my MBSR colleagues to safely and effectively deliver the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course. I guide and teach by example, by having a regular daily practice as well as attend extended week-long silent retreats throughout the year. I teach the 8–week group courses in the community, as well as offer mindfulness instruction to individuals on-sight or via Zoom conferencing on line in the corporate sector, as custom one-to-one instruction or group workshops. 

In the coming years, my intention is to continue to reach out to offer this transformative course to benefit healing and growth in penitentiaries, hospitals, and schools.

Since 2016, I have held the role of The Ambassador of Mental Health @ The Sashbear Foundation where I produced a compassionate 14- part documentary series on BPD called 'Having A Life Worth Living now available for viewing on YouTube: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cAmuiFkE8Q

I sit as a member on the CAMH constituency Council.  

TESTIMONIALS:

  • I have and will continue my meditation practices. I feel a real difference in my life already from being able to quiet the mind and take time before reacting. Karen has a tremendous ability to sooth with her calming and reassuring voice. She has a strong understanding of the principles of MBSR and explains all with great ease and confidence. She is a natural teacher who leads the class with great care and gentleness. I highly recommend Karen as a guide for your mindfulness journey…you will be amazed and delighted with her skill set. ~M.P

 

  • I just wanted to share that I no longer fall asleep when listening to the meditation or body scan CD’s. I feel so much more energized and my mind more alert.  For the first time in 7 years, I am enjoying the silence of my apartment.  I don’t feel the need to fill the air with “noise” anymore for company.  I know this is only the beginning of a lifetime journey but I cannot thank you enough for bringing me to the first step. ~.V.B.

  •  I have found the home exercises very helpful in lowering my stress levels. ~C.B

  • I felt very safe and supported. The encouraging e-mails we’re welcomed-warm and encouraging. It was obvious Karen cared deeply about the participants experience and progress. Yet she was respectful of boundaries. She is living the practice and it shows. She modelled and exemplified in her person the qualities mindfulness practice seeks to develop: she is kind, empathetic, and non-judgmental. …She is an authentic and genuine in sharing her own experiences. The course material was clearly presented. Karen was always prepared and obviously familiar and comfortable with the course material. I would highly recommend this course as taught by this teacher. ~M.L.

  • I am getting so much out of your course and I am so grateful for what you have already taught me.  I even rested on some of my learning’s to help me through the last two weeks. Thank you Karen.   ~M.T.

  • Karen, you are very nurturing and a good listener.  Your voice is soothing and your demeanor is kind and open.  Thank-you .You will no doubt continue to build a following.  ~C.M.

  • As I did my yoga early this morning, I thought of you! I also re-read part of the book, Full Catastrophe Living, and reflected that I was really glad to have been apart of your mindfulness classes and to enjoy the resulting increased "peace of mind". ~RM

 

CLASSES & SERVICES

Thank you for your interest in this program where we will be learn to access and cultivate your natural capacity to care for yourself, finding greater balance, ease and peace of mind in your day to day activities.

"Taking some time in your day to drop into awareness can actually be a radical act of love."   ~JKZ 

Mindfulness-Based  Stress Reduction

8-Week Course

Mindfulness:  a simple and direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind-body process to calm and focus awareness without judgment.

As you come to see life as a process of constant change, you can begin to acknowledge all aspects of experience-pleasure and pain, fear and joy-with less stress and more balance.


Welcome to the full 8-week program: MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION ( MBSR). This course, originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is designed to help participants.

discover and utilize their own inner resources for bringing balance, health, and peace of mind to their lives.  

MBSR is an experiential learning program, intended to engage the mind and the body. Through group and individual practices as well as mindful discussions, participants learn a variety of formal and informal approaches for cultivating mindfulness. 

Practical applications of mindfulness in daily life are explored so that participants can meet all the moments of their lives (including times of stress, pain and illness) with as much ease, confidence and resiliency as possible. 

During the years this program has been offered at UMass Medical School / Brown University and around the world, participants have reported benefits such as: 


  • Increased ability to relax 

  • Decrease in pain and increase in ability to cope with chronic pain 

  • Reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression 

  • Improved overall health including a stronger immune system 

  • More energy and enthusiasm for life 

  • More self confidence

  • Stress Resilience in the face of health and life challenges   

  • Greater sense of compassion for self and others 

  • The course is delivered as a series of  8 weekly classes plus a longer "retreat" session on a weekend day (a total of nine sessions ).

  • Each week, ideally on a daily basis, participants practice at home what they have been exploring in class. This home practice is an essential part of the course. It develops and strengthens one's ability to experience mindful awareness in daily life and to access the strength and wisdom that lie within. Handouts, a workbook and recorded guided meditations will be provided to support this practice. Recommended Reading: ‘FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING’

  • NEXT MBSR 8-WEEK COURSE SPRING OFFERING: (Approx. 30 hours)

  • SWANSEA TOWN HALL COMMUNITY CENTRE  

  • MONDAYS: April 20 – JUNE 22, 2020  (No classes MAY 11 & MAY 18)

  • 7:15PM -9:45PM  

  • ‘All-Day’ Silent Retreat : JUNE 20th, 9AM -2:30PM 

  • FREE ORIENTATION /INFORMATION PRE-CLASS: 5th, 8:00 APRIL 15, 8:00PM - 9:15PM 

  • "You Choose" payment options for this course.

  •  Tuition : $565.,~HST included. Payment plans available.

  • For this program, based on honesty and trust you may determine your own tuition payment based on your present financial means, with a minimum of $339.00.  (TUITION RANGE: $565. - $452.,- $339.) For those of you who can afford to, I invite you to make your payment at the true cost of the course.  Thank you.  

Mindfulness Instruction

Customized one-to-one

One hour and 15 minute mindfulness instruction customized to suit your needs and schedule.  In the comfort of your home via ZOOM video conferencing or at a your corporate setting...where ever your place of work might be.  


Mindfulness:  a simple and direct practice of moment- to-moment observation of the mind body process to calm and focused awareness without judgment.

As you come to see life as a process of constant change, you can begin to acknowledge all aspects of experience-pleasure and pain, fear and joy-with less stress reactivity and more balance in the hope that you might achieve a a more wise relationship to all life's experiences, inner and outer. 

The mindfulness meditation instruction will be informed by my rigorous training in MBSR. MBSR was originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and is designed to help individuals discover and utilize their own inner resources for bringing balance, health, and peace of mind to their lives.

You will experience experiential learning, intended to engage the mind and the body. Through practice as well as mindful discussions, participants will learn a variety of formal and informal approaches for cultivating mindfulness. 

Practical applications of mindfulness in daily life are explored so that participants can meet all the moments of their lives (including times of stress, pain and illness) with as much ease, confidence and resiliency as possible. 

Past participants have reported benefits such as: 


  • Increased ability to relax 

  • Decrease in pain and increase in ability to cope with chronic pain 

  • Reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression 

  • Improved overall health including a stronger immune system 

  • More energy and enthusiasm for life 

  • More self confidence

  • Stress Resilience in the face of health and life challenges 

  • A new sense of centered-ness

  • Greater sense of compassion for self and others 

   

Mindfulness Introduction

Workshops and Talks

Available to offer MBSR Introductory talks or workshops at your school or work place with a taste of guided mindfulness meditation. Contact Mindfulness Dimensions for availability and group fee.

        COMING SOON

INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS TALK... What It Is and What It Isn't.  

@ St. Joseph's Hospital, Toronto.

JULY 2, @ 10:30AM

'New Resident Doctors Orientation'   


Come visit with me at the Swansea Townhall Sidewalk Info Table in Bloor West Village (@Windemere) JUNE 14th, 9:30AM - 11:30AM  find out more about my 8-week Mindfulness class I am offering this Fall. Any questions or just curious ...Introduce yourself, I would love to chat about anything mindfulness.  ;-) I look forward to seeing you there!  

LUNCH & LEARN TALKS

On hour - Introduction Experiential Mindfulness Meditation workshop 

Toronto Employment and Social Services/York Humber branch

(by invitation only)   

April 16th @ Noon

 

BRENTWOOD LIBRARY 

'FLOURISHING IN STRESSFUL TIMES'  ~ An introduction to Mindfulness and Stress Reduction   Monday September 10th: 6:30 - 8:00PM.  

To assure your seat plan to arrive early.   

 

KAREN WADDELL,
CFM Qualified MBSR Teacher

Come sit and join me on this remarkable adventure of discoveries. I invite you to subscribe below to help keep us in contact for future classes and other mindful events coming up.  
In the meantime, ...'calm heart, steady mind'...my wish to you all.

Toronto, ON, Canada

 
 
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