– written by Alison Evans and Julia Wallond
The muting of an idea
For several years, a group of mindfulness-based supervisors who are part of the Mindfulness Network (MN) have met each year for a few days to connect as supervisors, share experience, practise together and give ourselves some dedicated time around mindfulness-based supervision. Because of the tremendous value of being alongside each other as fellow supervisors, we wished for longer and more spacious time. The idea of a supervisors’ retreat was suggested. Although it was a lovely idea, we weren’t sure, however, if we could make it happen.
Since that time, the MN has developed its provision of retreats and now has the capacity to organise such an event. So when our Retreat Lead, Bridgette O’Neill, asked me (Alison) if I’d like to go ahead, it took me about five seconds to say yes! I am delighted to have Julia Wallond, who has been a supervisor with the MN since its beginning, to join me.
Supervisors play an important part in the training of mindfulness-based teachers. They are crucial in supporting the ongoing development of mindfulness skills into the real world of teaching in a way that is embodied and unique to each teacher. While supervision is often a very rewarding and interesting part of our work, it can also carry a depth of responsibility and feel quite a solo endeavour, post initial training. Although supra-vision offers important support and connection, gathering together in a retreat setting will provide this even more. This protected time – out of one’s usual ‘professional role’ in a retreat setting – will give a valuable opportunity to connect more deeply with each other and ourselves, so that we can enliven, explore and inquire into our practice as supervisors, and the ‘person’ of the supervisor in mutually supportive ways. The intention is that we will be doing this from the immediacy of our meditation practice and experience together.
From intention to booking the venue
We have a beautiful venue booked at Emerson college in East Sussex. The retreat is on the MN website and open to applications at www.mindfulness-secular-retreats.org.uk/course-information/?id=620. Places are starting to go, so we suggest booking soon if you would like to come.
Planning the structure of the retreat
This retreat is a new venture for us, which brings excitement plus some of the apprehensions that arise with anything new. We are at early planning stages. We have an overall picture at the moment that will be shaped by the applications.
Our intention is for this retreat to offer a different way to exploring supervision. As with many other retreats, we plan to create an atmosphere of practice and space with other experienced practitioners. Alongside the silence will be an invitation to work with each other in relational mindfulness practices, exploring overarching themes that may deeply inform our practice of supervision. We will offer different threads, found within mindfulness-based supervision, to hang these inquiries upon.
The opportunity to reflect on supervision in this way is possibly quite rare for many supervisors outside of supra-vision. Life has a habit of being quite full, so we are quickly onto the next thing in our day, whereas on retreat we have an opportunity for words and explorations to resonate, settle and be distilled as we drop from words back into silence. Being in relationship with other supervisors in this mindful container can allow a ‘seeing’ more deeply into our relational patterns, in life and our work.
We welcome all mindfulness-based supervisors who have a long-standing mindfulness practice, have taught MBIs for a number of years, have completed a two or three-day mindfulness-based supervision training, or equivalent.
Do take a moment if interested to read more and let other supervisors know – new ventures take a while and some effort to be visible. If you’d like to tell others about this retreat, feel free to download a printable version of our retreat flyer by clicking on the link below:
Five-Day Supervisor Retreat (The Mindfulness Network, Aug 2019)
To find out more about the retreat and to apply: