I started meditating in 1996 and have found so many benefits over the years, including an increased sense of spaciousness and calm in my heart and mind, improved relationships with others, increased enjoyment of life as well as healing from past pain.
I started yoga practice in 1998 and continue to find it enjoyable and an excellent complement to sitting meditation.
I also love to be mindful in nature, observing the beauty, relationships and constant change.
I have a regular sitting and yoga practice, and attend retreats regularly at Gaia House, as well as spending time at Chithurst Buddhist Monastery (A Thai Forest tradition monastery) – not a silent retreat, but time where the focus is on mindfulness in everything you do, and the whole community are dedicated practitioners of mindfulness.
I also greatly enjoy regular retreat days run in a friend’s home, as well as public retreats run by Bodhi Tree Brighton where I am also a meditation group leader and trustee.
I am currently on the Community Dharma Leader programme run by the Gaia House Teacher Council, mentored by Jenny Wilks.
Influences on practice
I have been practising since 1996, when I met the now Sister Canda in Ladakh in North India, who inspired me to start meditating, a practice I had always been drawn to without really knowing what was involved.
With her encouragement, I started practising with Buddhist meditation with SN Goenka doing intensive 10-day retreats; after the first one in 1997 I felt such a transformation and sense of freedom that I knew I had found what I had always been looking for.
After a year though I felt I needed a different teacher and sought out the Western Insight tradition, sitting long retreats in India with teachers from Gaia House and Spirit Rock and spending extended periods on retreat, practising yoga and spending time with other practitioners, between 1997 and 2003.
In 2003 I moved to Brighton, hearing that it was a hot-spot for meditators and I have been delighted to find many friends on the path. I am a founding member of Bodhi Tree Brighton and run one of the weekly meditation groups.
In 2006 I heard about secular mindfulness and immediately knew this was my vocation; I signed up for the MSc programme at Bangor where I did the four teacher training modules and wrote my thesis under Willem Kuyken at Exeter University about what helps people establish and maintain a home practice, a topic of great interest to me both in my own life and in teaching.
My other big love is nature and I find great joy in gardening, observing nature and my allotment. I find there are so many allegories between practice and gardening – patience, joy, letting go and staying interested in the organic process.