WebCam Mindfulness*

*No camera required

30 minutes to check in with yourself

Made up of 15 minutes of quiet and 15 minutes of conversation

No way to do it wrong

No need to say a thing

No pressure

It's the noticing that counts

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By Simon Payn

When I was eight years old, I went on a school trip to the British county of Derbyshire. Our youth hostel was in spitting distance of the village of Eyam, which in 1665 quarantined itself to stop the Bubonic plague from spreading.

But let's not talk about the plague thing right now.

It was one of my first overnights. I remember a seeping tide of bedtime discomfort in the dormitory of loud, jumping boys.

I ignored the feeling for a while, but then something snapped and I burst into tears. From then on, I was consumed by my emotions.

It took a teacher in a fuzzy sweater to calm me down.

Fast forward to pandemicky March 2020. I was sitting in the passenger seat, scrolling through the news and its stories of exponential curves and all-round disaster.

When suddenly, I felt like I had been hit in the chest. I let out a wail. It was as if the seat beneath my thighs had disappeared.

But this time there we no tears. I caught myself.

I paused. I breathed. And life went on.

There's a gap between trigger and response we seldom notice. For the most part, we go from one to the other in the way that a flipped switch turns on a light.

But if we practice noticing - if we look at our minds like a detached observer - we can see that gap... and use it to decide how we want to respond.

That's what happened in the car. I got a reality check and broke the circuit.

That - despite the brief flirtation with panic - was a massive win.

Because it's the noticing that counts. And with practice, the noticing comes more naturally.

Led by Simon*

*Not a guru

I’m Simon Payn. I’ve been practicing mindfulness for five years. I live in Haliburton County.

I’m not (yet) a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, but I have attended the 7-Day Teacher Training Retreat, Level 1, organized by the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice of Bangor University in the UK. This means I’ve had training in leading mindfulness meditation and in the “inquiry” process afterwards.

More importantly, I aim to embody mindfulness – when I remember.*

*I am far from perfect. I fail more often than I succeed. But that’s OK because that’s how life is. 

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That’s me in my chunky knitted sweater. I cropped out the orange monk’s robes.*

*I don’t wear orange monk’s robes.

The format

The idea is to carve out a few minutes for ourselves. Consider it a pause in the day (or an alternative to reaching for that bag of chips.)

The sessions are on Zoom. You can use your computer or you can call in on your phone.

Arrive a few minutes early, then after everyone has settled in, we'll have a 15-minute guided meditation. Don't worry if you don't have a cushion, a stool or a statue of Buddha - a chair will be just fine. The idea is to be alert yet comfortable, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep and start snoring all over the place.

There's no way to meditate wrong. You don't have to "quiet the mind". All you have to do is notice what's going on.

After the meditation, you'll be invited to share how it was for you. What was the 15 minutes like? What showed up? Do you have any questions?

You can share, or you can stay silent. It's up to you. (The reason we talk about our experience is because it's the best way to build on our practice.)

 

There's no way to do it wrong. No need to say a thing. No pressure.

One rule

What happens in WebCam Mindulfness, stays in WebCam Mindfulness. Please don't share anything you hear outside the group. Haliburton County is a small community (yes, that was me you saw social distancing by the deli counter in Foodland the other day) and I want this to be a comfortable space for everybody.

One more thing

Although mindfulness can be helpful if you are suffering from depression, I am not qualified to offer therapy or medical care. If you currently have a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, you might want to talk to your doctor or therapist before attending.

When, where, how much

When:

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

8 a.m.

Come as often, or as un-often, as you wish

I will add more days or change days, depending on what people want

Where:

At home, on your computer or by phone

(After all, it's not like we're going anywhere right now)

How much:

Completely free*

*But if you wish, I'm sure the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation or the food bank would appreciate a donation

Questions?

Please contact Simon at simon@simonpayn.com.

Sign up here

Fill out the form and I'll send you an invite to the Zoom calls.