Ruth Sequiera – Mindfulness & Compassion Training & Retreat Lead

Ruth Sequeira

I grew up in a small bohemian town in the Midlands. From an early age my experience of family life, and perhaps just an innate something, lead me to develop an interest in people, how we manage our internal worlds, and the conditions for genuine happiness and contentment. I went on to study Psychology at the University of Manchester, I travelled a lot, doing voluntary work in various countries, and then with a desire to contribute towards a better world, came back to London to work out what to do with my life. During this time I dabbled in meditation, yoga, and chi gung and increasingly got a taste and a thirst for the wisdom, insight, and fruits of these practices.

My work experience in the voluntary sector further developed my interest in human suffering and happiness, and how we manage our internal lives and relationships. I went on to train as a Counsellor/Psychological Therapist initially working in addiction and mental health services. After a few years of embracing the full catastrophe of London life, my draw to the sea got stronger and I moved down to Hastings on the south coast which also coincided with a move into motherhood with the birth of my two daughters.

For 15 years I worked in a busy NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health service. I loved working with children, families, and particularly adolescents, a time in our lives when questions about who we are, where we belong, what we want to do with our lives, and how we manage our messy and wonderful internal worlds really come to the fore. A few years into this work I was lucky enough to be offered to join a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Course for NHS staff. Having developed my interest in Buddhism and attended various workshops and retreats I came to the course curious but sceptical. I found the MBCT course hugely valuable personally and was incredibly impressed at the beautiful and wise intertwining of ancient teachings and practices from contemplative spiritual traditions with modern therapeutic, physiological, and neurological understandings. This was also the first time that I managed to sustain a consistent, ongoing meditation practice and got to experience and discover the value of this, a journey that continues.

I became increasingly interested in the possible benefits of teaching mindfulness to the adolescents and parents/carers I was working with and was fortunate to gain a place on the Sussex Mindfulness Centre teacher training course for Mindfulness-Based Approaches. From here my love, passion, and commitment to teaching mindfulness grew and flourished as I continued to teach Mindfulness to adolescents, parents/carers, NHS staff, education and care sector staff, and in my local community. As time and experience went on I trained to offer Mindfulness Supervision with the Mindfulness Network and then completed an apprenticeship Train the Trainer year to become part of the Sussex Mindfulness Centre Teacher Training team, an organisation that I very much respect and value. I also became more involved in the world of retreats as my experience of being a solo parent lead me to a wonderful annual family-friendly retreat the BuddhaDharmaSangha camp which I went on to coordinate.

After years of juggling my Mindfulness work with NHS mental health work, and grappling with the challenges of increasing demand, pressures, and funding crises in NHS mental health services, I am now gratefully and enthusiastically stepping further into the Mindfulness world as the Mindfulness & Compassion Training and Retreat Lead at the Mindfulness Network. I am passionate about the value of mindfulness practices, formal and informal, for myself and other individuals, for relationships and communities, and for the world at large. I am also committed to bringing compassionate awareness to inequalities within the mindfulness field and beyond, and increasing meaningful inclusion.

Outside of my working life I enjoy seaside runs, dabbling in creative endeavours, opportunities for closeness and silliness with my adolescent daughters, and connecting with friends and community.