After 37 years of living with a ‘terrorist’, my prayers were answered. Two of the most wise-hearted people flew into my life (literally) in 2015 offering a way to make friends with the enemy inside my head. Little did I know that these two benevolent teachers would guide me to a place of kindness and compassion towards my own heart that would change my life forever.
And so my MSC adventure began with Steve Hickman and Michelle Becker at the helm, offering me the key to personal peace. Resistant to being a slow learner, desperate to leave that vicious voice behind me, I embarked on a journey that has radically transformed the way I live inside my own skin.
I was preparing to introduce MSC to 1000 teachers in the City of Maroondah, Australia as part of their Positive Education Initiative. Having been a Secondary School teacher for many years and then a well-being-in-education author and trainer, I know only too well how challenging being a great teacher and taking care of oneself is. More challenging still, is being able to carve out time and resources to prioritise well-being, not just for the individual but for a whole school culture.
In January this year, I was blessed with the opportunity to sow MSC seeds in 24 schools. Unsurprisingly, the concepts of MSC were warmly received, however the reality of embedding the elements of MSC in a time starved, highly pressured and measurement-driven institution poses a problem. I believe teachers (and support staff) along with many other caregiving professions are caught in this dilemma – being natural givers they often forget to include themselves in their generous-hearted activities, leaving many burnt out and cynical due to the unrelenting pressures of the system. I wanted to offer them an introduction to what is possible when MSC becomes part of their life. I know my teaching career would have been very different had I had the tools of MSC in my heart at that time.
My mission is make MSC as accessible as possible; so that MSC in everyday life is possible no matter where you’re from, what you do and what stage of life you are in. So far, for example, I have shared the MSC message in the form of talks at events and conferences, offered workshops and tasters at wellbeing events, online and in person and written articles for various magazines. I have given a keynote with the Directors of Nursing for the National Health Service South East (UK), a workshop for prison officers at High Down men’s prison; provided experiential talks for Epsom Mental Health and Well-Being Festival, guided parents and students at MINDFEST, a Dorking Minds mental health initiative and of course introduced MSC to teachers and students in many schools. To say I am an advocate of MSC is an understatement!
I have supported women experiencing domestic violence and trained their counsellors at our local Women’s Centre; guided men and women in the corporate sector struggling with stress and overwhelm and have introduced the importance of MSC in business for self-employed people. I have served many areas of the community, my favourite being the not-for-profit Museum of Happiness in London. Best of all, I spoke at the Mindful Living Show this year! The room was packed to bursting, confirming to me how vital it is we share this message wherever we can, whenever we can.
I hope this little book will help support the work of the CMSC and all its teachers. I pray it will be a helpful stepping stone for all those considering taking the full MSC programme. I trust it will be a valuable contribution to students, teachers, care-givers, health professionals, parents, women in crisis, prisoners and people suffering in pain.
Most of all, I hope this little book will help you shine a blazing light of self-compassion on your community, your workplace, for your friends and family so that we can live together as a compassionate people.
With love, Kathryn x
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Images © 2019 Kind Mind Publishing / Images by Penny Haynes