In The Mindful People Series, we interview people from different walks of life and get them to share their mindfulness experience, as well as how learning and practicing mindfulness have made a difference to their personal and professional lives.
MiMo: How did you get into learning and practicing mindfulness?
Lennan: My mindfulness practice began on the yoga mat. About 10 years ago I had a disc replaced in my neck and yoga not only helped in the recovery it helped with my fitness and strength and sleep and overall health in ways I never would have imagined. Yoga introduced my to meditation, but only in small, 5 minute whispers at the end of some of the classes. The stillness and centeredness brushed up against there made me wish to deepen my practice through more focused and intentional meditation program - and that is when one of my best yoga teachers suggested MBSR.
MiMo: Tell us about your experience in the MBSR program.
Lennan: Right from the first session I appreciated the thoughtful and intentional nature of Erin's class. She frames each session mindfully and guided us through each meditation in a way that was both accessible and expansive. As someone relatively new to meditation I felt very supported and safe and this environment allowed for real growth throughout the 8 weeks. I was not the best student and did not always find a way to bring the assigned practices into my daily routine, but whether or not I had a week where I practiced every day or merely once or twice - I felt there was always something to be gained every time I visited the mat.
MiMo: How has mindfulness contributed to your personal well-being?
Lennan: My own personal mantra is that the truest path to happiness is to do things that make you like you better. MBSR in general and more specifically for me, meditation is one of those things for me. What a book can do for my brain, or a run for my body, meditation does for my soul. It is simultaneously a soul quenching and soul wringing out experience which consistently leaves me with greater focus, clarity and peace.
MiMo: How has mindfulness supported you in your professional work?
Lennan: Anything that makes you a better person, inevitably makes you a better teacher. From allowing yourself to be a student for 3 hours every Saturday to sharing some of the insights in class with my own students, it is essential if one is to be a good teacher that one not only sees themselves as a student, but also allows their students to see them that way as well. Beyond that the focus on taking pauses to better measure responses is also a powerful tool to add to the teachers' toolbox.
MiMo: How have you incorporated mindfulness into your daily life?
Lennan: The most direct takeaway is probably in trying to be a more mindful eater. With the essential nature of eating well for a healthy lifestyle coupled with the ease to mindlessly eat and literally finish meals and look at an empty plate - especially at work - and not remember a single bite. Adding some thoughtfulness to that part of my life - even in small flashes at the beginning of a meal or slowing down in the middle of a meal has been helpful.
MiMo: Any words of advice for people who are thinking about learning mindfulness?
Lennan: I would highly recommend this enriching life experience as being potentially life changing and at the very least a powerful action in taking more control over your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. This is the first step in a journey towards better mental and spiritual health that should be embraced wholeheartedly and embarked on immediately.
About Lennan Macdonald
Lennan has been teaching for over twenty five years in Singapore as well as internationally. He is a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a coach, a player (not that kind of player :), a yogi, a reader, a writer, a singer, a bad dancer, a big fan and an explorer of paths less traveled. Born and raised in Canada, he has spent the majority of his adult life in Singapore where he and his wife, Tracy, have taught some and learned much in both local schools as well as a few of the better international school's on the island.
Are you a mindfulness practitioner or do you know one who would like to share their mindfulness experience on the MiMo blog? Do drop us a message!
About The Author
MiMo founder Erin Lee is a Mindfulness Coach and MBSR Teacher at Mindful Moments, and advocate of mindfulness as the way of life. She conducts the classic 8-Week MBSR Program, as well as the 8-Week MBSR Workplace Program.
Are you a mindfulness practitioner and have meaningful experiences or thoughts about mindfulness that you'd like to share? You can contribute an article on the MiMo blog! Please contact Erin to find out more.