Hello world! I’m so excited to finally have a web presence. I figure about ten people will read this blog but hey, that’s ten more than zero!
I suppose an introduction to Myndtree would be an appropriate first blog posting. While Myndtree has existed in my mind (or “mynd”…get it?!) for the past two years, somehow the website seems to give it more of a form, a reality.
I have been teaching parenting classes for the past three years on an ad hoc basis and have enjoyed it very much. After a very left-brained career in healthcare information technology, the realm of teaching and facilitating classes on parenting, empathy, mindfulness and other “touchy-feely” stuff was daunting to say the least. The more I did it, the more I began enjoying the process and the richness of the interactions in our classes.
Here was the curious thing. My heart always felt full and I had a deep sense of “Wow! That was so great!” after each class. Parents in the class reported the same feeling. When I examined this feeling, I realized that it came from the fact that we long for authentic interactions with people, where we allow ourselves to be seen and accepted for who we are. Our classes offer a safe space for parents to connect deeply with what is alive in them and with the others in the class. It is a very consciously created space where we bring presence and non-judgment to our interactions – something we want our parents to take back home with them when they interact with their children. We feel each other deeply. We try to guess what the other is feeling and needing. We offer empathy, appreciation and gratitude to each other. Without going to a church, temple or mosque, we suddenly seem to have entered a sacred space.
It made me wonder, if this feels so good, why can’t we create such sacred spaces in our day-to-day lives in our homes, schools and work places? Why can’t we be more present, accepting and open throughout our days in all our various interactions? Surely we would all enjoy ourselves more if we could do this more consistently. It also became clear to me that this sacred space had nothing to do with a physical space or a parenting class. It is an inner orientation – one that is grounded in ease and connectedness.
The programs and classes Myndtree offers will all be geared towards cultivating and nurturing this inner orientation using practices of mindfulness, empathy and nonviolence. We can do this in a variety of ways. Parenting classes is our first step. I can think of no better place to start than in our homes, with the ones who are dearest to us. (Turns out that the home is also the hardest place to apply these practices!).
Becoming familiar with our inner landscape is a pre-requisite for these practices to work. In the future, Myndtree will offer classes in yoga, meditation and pranayama (conscious breathing techniques) – practices that bring more awareness to the body, mind and breath. I would also love to start contemplative study groups where we can explore ancient wisdom texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, Tao te Ching and the Yoga Sutras, or the writings of modern thinkers such as Eckhart Tolle, Marshall Rosenberg, Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh. Contemplating these works deeply also has the potential of cultivating and nurturing that inner orientation I was speaking of earlier.
For now, it’s parenting classes. Paraphrasing Gandhi, “Let’s begin with our children”. Watch this space for details on our fall classes.