For our blog, we wanted to take a closer look at one of our member’s experiences. We hope you enjoy getting to know Ellen a little better
What’s your background with mindfulness?
I am very new to mindfulness, but practising with the The Heart Movement has shown me that I have been naturally bringing small mindfulness practices into my life and work for many years, I just didn’t have a name for it! In 1999 my eldest suddenly sister died, and a work colleague gave me a book on Buddhism. I found the practice very interesting, but I never quite found the time or the right setting to take it further. In 2017 I found my way to the Heart of London Sangha, which is part of the Plum Village Community. I occasionally attended some meeting over the next couple of years, but intuitively I knew I was looking for another way to practice mindfulness, not just by attending different courses, but to also be part of a community like Plum Village.
How did you get involved with The Heart Movement?
In April 2020 the Heart of London sangha meetings were held online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I hadn’t attended a meeting for ages, but thought I would give the online practice a try. It was there I met Plum Village UK Dharma Teacher, Michael Schwammberger, who was also connected to The Heart Movement.
The Heart Movement were offering morning mindfulness sessions which I immediately registered for. Quite soon I realised I had found the other community I had been searching for.
How do you use the app as part of your practice?
I really like the the app. I use it nearly everyday and I really appreciate the Heart Movement team for recording all the morning mindfulness sessions and Living Deeply workshops. It’s really great to be able to have all those resources easily available.
I use the app when I cannot attend a session or I want to re-listen to a workshop I particularly appreciated, to connect with other members, or if I just want to practice alone. I really like seeing the posts from members all around the UK and beyond. I live in London and although we have fabulous parks and opens spaces, we don’t have the sea, the mountains and the countryside. so it is really great when people share these .
This month we’re focusing on balance– what would you say about your relationship with balance? Has your mindfulness practice impacted this at all?
Generally, I feel like I am pretty grounded , but as Winnie the Pooh says, “Just when you think you know where the goalposts are someone moves them!.” Some changes are easier to roll with than others. Practising and learning about mindfulness with The Heart Movement community has really supported me to stay grounded and balanced throughout this last year, not only relating to the pandemic, but also with some personal challenges that I have faced.
Do you attend our morning mindfulness? Can you share a little about your experience of this?
I could never have imagined myself practising mindfulness in community on a daily basis. Now, I cannot imagine my life any other way. I find it quite hard to describe the magic I experience being part of the morning community. It is a really welcoming and supportive space. We are guided by a different Heart Movement Ambassador each day, so we experience different styles of being guided. Practising regularly in this way, especially in the morning, sets me up for the day. Up until now, I have never had a very good relationship with resting and pausing, I didn’t see this as an important way of taking care of myself. Now, within an hour or so of waking in the morning I am resting with the morning mindfulness group and I am becoming more able to allow myself the vital pauses throughout the day to support my well-being.
I find it quite hard to describe the magic I experience being part of the morning community. It is a really welcoming and supportive space.
If you’ve attended other workshops, or listening spaces – what would you say to someone who’s never been to one before?
Each Friday after morning mindfulness I attend the listening space; an opportunity to listen to each other and to ourselves. There is no obligation to speak, but whenever I do I always feel truly heard and held and sometimes healed a little too! I would encourage anyone to try out the listening spaces a few times it they haven’t already and maybe experience some of the magic our morning community too!.
Over the last year I have attended some of the Living Deeply sessions, I found these a really good way to explore a topic in a little more depth. More recently I have been trying out the Heart Math and We Add Heart sessions which I am finding fascinating.
All of these courses were offered in the most unpressured, spacious, inclusive way I could have imagined.
Is there anything else about your experience with The Heart Movement that you’d like to share with others?
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone in the Heart Movement Community Since joining The Heart Movement in April 2020.
I have experienced quite subtle, but profound changes in myself which are supporting me to continue to lead a fulfilling life.
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Ellen a little better. We’ll be having more conversations with members of our community and can’t wait to share them with you soon. Don’t forget if you want to keep up to date with our latest blog posts and community news you can sign up to our newsletter here.