First of all I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in my survey thus far. Although it has not yet closed I would like to highlight this response as it validates what I have said in previous posts about people with limited experience offering 'mindfulness' training. If the person who wrote this is reading and would like to get in touch with me, feel free. I am happy to talk to you about this and address your concerns. If you don't want to that's fine but please get some professional help.
'We have had compulsory mindfulness sessions at school, but these have led to me suffering increased anxiety and I have asked to be excused from future sessions. The sessions have been led by external 'mindfulness professionals'. It should not always be assumed that mindfulness sessions are a good thing & they should be optional.'
This is a perfectly normal outcome as most of the time we walk around in a reactive state and suppress that which is painful and grasp onto pleasure. As we go deeper into our experience difficult emotions we have suppressed may resurface. If you have an inexperienced teacher they may not have the ability to hold the space and point their trainees in the right direction. I am now steering away from the word 'mindfulness' and calling it self mastery instead.
Part of my training involves a compulsory one to one session with the head teacher. This is not optional and if they do not want to engage I will walk away. I have actually turned down more work than I have taken on. The reason for this is they need to understand what is involved and what may happen in the session so they are best able to support their staff. I also encourage them to take part in the training too.
The best way to explain anything is from experience. I have been meditating and working on my own personal development for about 11 years now. In August 2014 my ex husband died suddenly and unexpectedly aged 51. My youngest son was only 17 at the time and my ex was still paying maintenance for him. I contacted his employer to see if there was the possibility of any financial help. They told me there was a death benefit payment and as he hadn't expressed his wishes how it should be allocated all potential beneficiaries, including myself, should provide as much information as possible.
The decision wasn't made until September 2015 because they were waiting for all the information about the estate from his second wife. In the event I did not get anything. I realised it wasn't about the money but the fact I felt I hadn't been heard. I spent the next 2 weeks mostly in tears, I couldn't work and I didn't contact them while I was in that state either. I realised the real reason I was upset was not about the money, although that would have helped! It was the fact I had not dealt with the abuse I had undergone in my marriage. When we separated I had just completed my teacher training (because I needed a way to support my family) and was about to embark on my NQT year, I had serious health problems and the following year I was diagnosed with coeliac disease as well as having 3 young sons to take care of. No wonder I left teaching after 3 years! I had put myself last but I didn't know any better at the time.
So this time I turned towards my experience instead of trying to 'put on a brave face.' I was lucky I had savings and could afford to take some time out of work. I sought help from a domestic abuse organisation and they reassured me that what I was going through was perfectly normal. I allowed myself time to heal. I was so grateful that I now had the tools to deal with what I was going through. Ironically ever since that time people have commented how well I look.
Only last month I was on a 10 day retreat where I spent much of the time in tears. Strong emotions had surfaced and I was facing the fact I have come through much of my life believing I am unlovable. No wonder I ended up in an abusive marriage!
So I have no idea what that respondent has gone through in his or her life but that 'mindfulness' session has undoubtedly touched on some raw emotions that they had suppressed. So I hope that you now understand why I am critical of many of these courses that are on offer. Please do your research thoroughly before entering any 'mindfulness' training for yourself or your staff. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I will not try and sell you anything..
Just this morning I saw this resource on TES. I am sure the author has a lot of personal experience and is acting with good intentions as was the person who taught my respondee. The trouble is we don't know what we don't know and we are potentially opening a whole can of worms here. Tread carefully.