Moving on to 2018

I love this week between Christmas and January 1. For me, it's a time of quiet, taking stock and slowly moving forward. New year, new possibilities, out with the old and in with the new. 

2017 was full of changes, and a lot of what happened seemed scary and threatening or perhaps like we're going to hell in the proverbial hand basket. Things just seem a little (or a lot) off-kilter. Having a mindfulness practice can help with the uncertainty, anxiety, fear  or whatever arises from not  knowing what the future holds. But we've never known what the future holds, ever! And while mindfulness is about being in the present moment and with what is, that doesn't mean I stick my head in the sand and ignore what's going on in the larger world around me.

Here's the good part, the practice of mindfulness allows me to pause, notice what I'm feeling and then either react or respond. There is a choice here. For most of my life, I've been a reactionary but that's so draining and counterproductive. During that pause, which may be seconds, minutes, hours or days, I can take in new information, perhaps see the bigger picture. Several things came my way this week which have helped me see that bigger picture and my place in it. One was an essay by Parker Palmer which you'll find here.  Another essay, this one written by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, carried a similar message, In Praise of the Telescopic View.  

I love podcasts, so the next 2 inspirations come from that medium. Rob Bell's Robcast Christmas show this year, beautiful music, beautiful message. 

And the last is a Jerry Colonna quote from on his podcast REBOOT,  

“I can trust that the moral arc of the universe bends slowly,

but it bends inevitably towards justice.”

And so I head into this New Year with hope and the knowledge that although there are many people and events which might affect me, it's largely up to me to create my world.


On Becoming a Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting Teacher

Bright and early yesterday I spent a couple of hours (through the magic of online meeting spaces) with other Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting teachers. It's a mentoring group and participating in a group like this is one of the steps to certification to teach MBCP. Two members of the group are senior teachers and 3 of us are on the path to certification. We will meet as a group every Friday morning for 9 weeks. As a novice IBCLC almost 10 years ago, I didn't have a formal mentoring relationship or group but definitely felt the need.

What are other requirements on the pathway  to becoming an MBCP teacher?

• Completion of an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course
• A personal daily mindfulness meditation practice, including both formal
and informal practice of 6 months or longer
• An ongoing mindful movement practice, such as yoga or qigong
• A recognized core professional training in physical or mental healthcare,
such as medicine, nursing, midwifery, psychology, childbirth education,
infant development or a related field. Additional specialist training in
perinatal health if it was not integral to one’s core professional training,
including understanding the physiology of childbirth and its social and
cultural dimensions is essential.
• Attendance at at least one or more 5-10 day silent, teacher-led
mindfulness meditation retreat(s). While this is not a requirement for
application, this must be completed before beginning to teach MBCP.
• An ongoing commitment to one’s own meditation practice sustained by
yearly attendance at a 5-10 day silent retreat for as long as one is
actively engaged in classroom teaching. 
• Attendance at a Mind in Labor weekend workshop for healthcare
professionals and/or a 9-week MBCP course and/or a 6 Day MBCP
Professional Training Retreat if available.

As you can see this isn't a see one, do one, teach one kind of training. It requires a high level of commitment, continued learning and self evaluation as well as peer evaluation. I'll also submit a video of me teaching a class for the mentors to review and critique. This helps me improve and ensures that my teaching stays within the boundaries of the MBCP curriculum. While MBCP may be therapeutic, it isn't therapy and we teachers have to be alert to blurring that line. One of the guiding principles of MBCP is that everyone has what they need inside them but it's often buried under layers of conditioning, judgments, shame, and stories. The job of the MBCP teacher is to be with and provide space while the student unearths that still, quiet place.

“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” Lao Tzu