Questions often asked:
Why do I need a class? Can't I learn how to be mindful by myself?
To answer this question I am going to quote a recent participant of one of my groups:
"No amount of reading in a book can take the place of being in a room with other people who are all "travelling on the same path". Well said.
And from another participant: "Your enthusiasm and gentle,kind spirit, Barbara, certainly made for a pleasant and safe group experience." Thank you.
I believe it is impossible to compare the difference that a group can make. There is a stronger energy, there is validation, there is camaraderie, there is fun, there is support and encouragement.
"I hated school and the thought of a "class " brings up bad memories for me."
Not to worry. I didn't like school either. In fact I hated it. The funny thing is, of course, that I became a teacher and taught for many years. I am well aware of all the parts of school and teachers that many of us disliked. Therefore I make the classes as informal and 'light' and fun as possible. Ask anyone who has taken one of my classes and they will tell you that at no time did they feel pressured to perform or talk in front of the group, that at no time were they made to feel like a "failure". If anything they left each night, having learned how to learn in a fun and positive way. Learning takes place easier and better when we are comfortable and relaxed and highly motivated. This often just did not happen for us as children in classrooms.
"It's really hard for me to walk into a room of strangers for the first time."
This is hard for me too. In fact, this is hard for just about everyone I know , though some people put on a "cooler" front than others. My room is relatively small and the maximum number of participants is 12. Seating is really informal. Mostly we sit on pillows scattered around the floor. For some of the practices, we lie down on the floor. Often by week six, folks are bringing in blankets and pillows off their beds to be super comfortable. Some people bring in lawn chairs and I have a couple in the office myself for anyone to use. The whole point is to learn how to relax and this cannot be done in a tense environment. I keep the lighting fairly low, the atmosphere light, and the energy relaxing.
"What if I am really scared to talk in front of people?"
While sharing is encouraged by those who want to share, it is not urgent or even important that you share. The sharing from the others might help you to feel you are not alone, however. I often have people work in pairs. When you focus on the person you are listening to, it is easier to forget your shyness. Remember that the point of coming to the class is to learn to help yourself. Do it for yourself.
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