Written by Danny Jolly, who attended the MBI:TAC Level 2 – Supporting Others with the MBI-TAC: Cultivating Competence in Supervision and Training in 2023. Danny is a mindfulness teacher, participant, volunteer and bursary recipient, and generously shares his own reflections to inspire others, below.
It was wonderful to have such a diverse and rich international group to engage with on this training. This is one of the many tangible benefits of participating in Mindfulness Network (MN) online training events. The potential for the connective and normalising impact of common humanity is so much deeper, when I feel resonance with what someone has said, who is thousands of miles from me and of different ethnicity. Long may this continue! With the work around EDI that the MN pursues with such diligence, integrity and care, I remain hopeful that people of colour will be more widely represented in the mindfulness community, with time.
It still amazes me how well Zoom lends itself to a training environment, whereby I feel part of, and connected to, the group. Not the same as being in-person, but online delivery can still be very effective, in its own way. There are obvious benefits of practicality, no travel, and the ease and familiarity of being somewhere I know. Being able to feed the dog or have him in the room – creature comforts… literally!
The trainers maintained an authentically mindful approach to the teaching throughout, balancing the emergent needs of the group with the planned curriculum. There was a carefully crafted balance of instrumental and non-instrumental approaches. From the outset, time was given to group development, creating a safe and stimulating environment for us to learn within. I felt a light but sincere touch to the delivery, and also sensed integrity was at the heart of the intention for the training. The peer group home practice work, between sessions, was thoroughly prepared and clear instruction given, with time for any questions around that.
Coming together in the peer groups was such a valuable opportunity to get other perspectives on the teaching observation, which helped us to moderate our assessments and feedback. This helped to develop the learning muscles required to observe the teaching as objectively as possible. Inevitably, different teaching styles may land more with us, so there was an opportunity to notice and mindfully explore our preferences. The meta awareness which developed for me is that there is not one way to correctly observe teaching, but to embrace the complexity of the MBI teaching process. So, to acknowledge the present moment tension of having to watch the video (and participate in the teaching), whilst also focusing the assessment on the multiple interdependencies of the MBI:TAC domains – when the reality is that our limited attention could land on one competence and be reduced on others.
Foremost, there was an invitation to be kind in assessing teaching practice and offering feedback. In this way, I could cultivate and feel respect for the teacher I was observing (and their participants) for offering the recordings and allowing me the opportunity to develop my skills. There was also an open invitation from the trainers to disagree with and critique the ‘actual’ assessment which had been provided for the teacher, without judgement.
Lastly, (but by no means least!) the Mindfulness Network does an excellent job of making bursary places available and communicating that availability. After the challenge of funding my Masters degree and training following a sharp decline in my ‘other’ professional work, I am extremely grateful to have been granted a bursary place for this training. This cultivates an authentic community feel, for me as a teacher – in a role which is individual and can feel isolated sometimes.
So, there is this lovely sense of connection with the MN, where I also derive such personal value from volunteering to support Mindfulness Network Community Friends (MNCF) events. There was great care taken by MN to ensure that the efforts made by the ‘Friends of Bangor’ (FoB)* committee are now upheld and recognised through MN’s bursary offerings, and that, as a previous FoB member, I had the opportunity to benefit from that membership.
Thank you Mindfulness Network!
Find out more about the MBI:TAC Training Pathway HERE!
Apply for a Bursary to support you mindfulness and compassion Training, Retreats or Supervision HERE!
* Bursary support was available to Danny through the Friends of Bangor Legacy Fund: In 2021, the Mindfulness Network and Friends of Bangor (CMRP Alumni Group) merged to become the Mindfulness Network Community Friends – an initiative to engage the wider mindfulness community and reach new audiences through donation-based events and opportunities to practice, led by a committee of volunteers. This community is now open to all, not a membership. However, previous FoB members who paid a membership fee are eligible to access a legacy fund to support their continued development, until such time as this fund runs out.