Gillian: My interest in mindfulness was sparked during my training as an art therapist, where I first learned about it and the use of mindfulness in art therapy. As a therapist, I think the daily practice of mindfulness is important in managing stress, which also helps in cultivating being present at work (and other areas of life) and maintaining a sense of calm.
MiMo: Tell us about your experience in the MBSR program.
Gillian: The MBSR program is quite experiential, and allows you to explore your own responses to it. I tend to have some personal reflection that is quite helpful in gaining some self-awareness of my own stress reactions and how this might impact on many other areas. The practice is not only experiential, but I feel it promotes space for growth, self- forgiveness and love.
MiMo: How has mindfulness contributed to your personal well-being?
Gillian: Slowing down certainly has its benefits! Being more aware of my own pace in life has let me become more cognizant of the choices I make, being less attached to things that do not matter.
MiMo: How has mindfulness supported you in your professional work?
Gillian: It has taught me how to recognize my stress patterns and reactions, and taking that little pause for some mindfulness helps in giving space to let go of thoughts that might be toxic and residual. I find this helps in minding my responses that allow for more compassion to myself and others.
MiMo: How have you incorporated mindfulness into your daily life?
Gillian: I find it quite enjoyable to be able to incorporate bits of mindfulness in simple activities that we do on a daily basis, for example, brewing a cup of tea, when eating my lunch, or even washing my hair.
MiMo: Any words of advice for people who are thinking about learning mindfulness?
Gillian: Go with an open mind! Embrace the opportunity to learn how you can cultivate loving kindness to yourself and others, and enrich your connection to life.
Trained in Australia as a social worker and art therapist, Gillian has worked with diverse populations that include the area of disabilities, HIV work and mental health. A self-taught artist, Gillian believes in the healing power of the arts and is passionate about harnessing the therapeutic value of creativity for social change and good in her work. Currently an art therapist working with the terminally ill in a hospice, Gillian witnesses the tremendous capacity within us for transformation, forgiveness and healing through art. Her work has helped her understand more deeply the need for compassion to self and others in the journey of life.