The Mindful Goods Newsletter
New classes coming this fall!
Stay tuned for more!
All classes to be held at the Common Room in Vienna, Austria.
Mindful Parenting - This popular course to be held once again in the fall of 2019!
"I would definitely recommend this course!! Since the class began, I've found myself trying to be more empathetic and a better listener. "
This four-part Mindful Parenting Course is being held at the Common Room in Vienna. The course begins with an introduction to mindfulness; examines self-awareness and self-management, and moves into how to connect better with our children through self-compassion, empathy and gratitude. Please click here for more information.
Mindful Parenting: Strengthening Connection Workshop (Vienna, Austria)
Held June 2019
Much of what prevents us from having the relationship we want with our children is happening subconsciously. This 3 hour workshop, held at the Common Room, explored how to strengthen the bond with our children to create an enduring relationship that lasts a lifetime. The workshop opened with an introduction to attachment theory, and then explored both the barriers and pathways to attachment.
Search Inside Yourself at Tvoj Buddy (Bratislava, Slovakia)
Had a wonderful experience teaching Search Inside Yourself to a non-profit in Bratislava called Buddy. Buddy works with the children that most of society forgets about, orphans over age 12, who lack the stable care of a loving adult. Each child is paired with an adult volunteer who provides attachment and emotional support for a period of at least three years. If we want to prevent future homelessness, violence etc in our societies, and give every person some sense of a fair chance, supporting an organization like Buddy is a good place to start. Website is here:
Mindfulness in the News
Meditation and yoga practice linked to reduced volume in brain region tied to negative emotions. A relatively reliable study, with over 3500 participants, shows meditation and yoga results in smaller right amygdala volume. According to the researchers: “Volumetric differences were only found in the right amygdala, not in the left. This is in line with previous smaller studies and is explained by the fact that the right amygdala, as opposed to the left amygdala, is associated with negative emotions and immediate action taking, whereas the left is associated with positive emotions and memory.” Psypost.org
Has mindfulness become just another wing of capitalism? I've seen this posted a few times, and it's hard for me to fully relate as most of the people I know who meditate, or actually all of them, have become more compassionate as a result of practice and not less. Perhaps, we do need critics to keep us in check and in this case, the critic is Ronald E Purser and his book is McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. The Irish Times
The problem of mindfulness. Here's another loaded critique; for the author, mindfulness seems to have made her more confused about her feelings than ever. She says ultimately that it "sidelines a certain kind of deep, deliberative reflection that’s required for unpicking which of our thoughts and emotions are reflective of ourselves, which are responses to the environment, and – the most difficult question of all – what we should be doing about it." In my view, if you get quite literal about it, yes, that could happen. But in the ideal case, mindfulness opens up the space for deep reflection. Mindfulness, indeed, stillness is the gateway to reflection. aeon
Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain On the flip side, Harvard Business Review seems to love mindfulness, calling it a "must-have for executives." They report on two specific benefits of mindfulness, and go on to say, "Neuroscientists have also shown that practicing mindfulness affects brain areas related to perception, body awareness, pain tolerance, emotion regulation, introspection, complex thinking, and sense of self. While more research is needed to document these changes over time and to understand underlying mechanisms, the converging evidence is compelling." Harvard Business Review
Learning to teach mindfulness to children can help teachers reduce their own stress As you may have heard, the UK is rolling out mindfulness in up to 370 schools; however, this study shows it's also good for their teachers. "For our recently published study, which involved 44 teachers from UK primary and secondary schools, we decided to find out how teachers’ mental health and well-being benefits from different mindfulness courses, and what they think about them... We found that both courses reduced the teachers’ anxiety and stress, with MBSR having the added benefit of reducing their symptoms of depression. The majority felt that the course made them calmer, more aware and less reactive, which was also believed to roll over into their teaching." The Conversation UKA number of articles about the "dark sides" of meditation are making the rounds - that some people experience stress, anxiety and fear when they meditate. But this shouldn't be surprising. At least in my experience, the idea is to go deeper into these feelings and begin to understand them better. In many ways, their appearance in meditation is an opportunity to sit with what we've likley been running from, and that can be very healing. Not necessarily easy, but as they say, you have to go through it to get through it. New Scientist.
New meditation app Journey offers live meditation sessions. “You could think of it as a real-life meditation community or studio in the palm of your hand,” (CEO Stephen) Sokoler explains. Instructors greet you when you join a session in the Journey app and can give you a shout-out for practicing multiple days in a row. They help you concentrate on your breath while giving enough instruction to keep you from falling asleep. You can see or hide a list of screen names of other participants that make you feel less isolated and encourage you not to quit. Tech Crunch
Why stop at an app? The $1 billion Calm app has big plans for its future. Says their CEO Michael Acton Smith, “We’d love to do Calm hotels. Our real ambition is to eventually buy an island and create Calm Island, the world’s most relaxing resort.” Fast Company
Have some summer travels coming up? Here are some meditation tips from the NY Times. Says author, Dan Harris, “I’m not saying that it’s wrong to take a selfie or to tell your friends about it. What I’m saying is you probably want to up the enjoyment in the moment quotient and reduce the social status quotient” New York Times