In the beginning.........
The road to mindfulness has been a long one. Born on the Wirral, I first became interested in the mind when I ordered memory training books from Britannia and attempted to read them all before the end of the 14 day trial. It seems crazy with the amount of information that is now available on the internet.
At around 14 I got a little distracted and fell in love with music, this took me off to Huddersfield to study voice, violin and piano but being a little home sick I returned to complete my degree in Chester.
Here I studied computer programming and loved problem solving, I also couldn't overlook the career opportunities. Whilst I still loved music, the most likely music career was teaching, and my piano playing was so dreadful, I really wasn't school assembly material.
There was a brief spell with psychology here at Chester, but I was interested in what made people tick, not all of those stats! (although the psychology lecturer was impressed with my memory!)
I started my career with a small company and thrived on the variety of work, the travelling and most of all solving problems for small to medium sized businesses.
When I moved to a more corporate environment, I really ran into difficulties because the world stopped making sense. I wanted to get things done and believed that hard work led to promotion and recognition. I didn't really understand the rules of the game and eventually I became stressed and depressed.
So I left the corporate world and went off to open a coffee shop for musicians and artists. I was doing yoga, loving being creative and as a result of some fascinating customers I even started to dip into meditation and learn about the ethos of Buddhism.
My yoga teacher told me that meditating would help me with my stress, but I just didn't have the time. Not even ten minutes per day. I was simply too busy being busy, creating my to do list and ticking things off.
Unfortunately running a coffee shop without a big brand name isn't a profitable endeavour so it was back to the world of I.T for me. I was a lot more laid back on my return but it wasn't long before the old issues started to rear their heads and I became depressed once more.
At times it consumed me and I worried that one day my life would collapse like a house of cards. At best I was existing. As I got older, I wanted more. I didn't want my life to be a series of ground hog days just getting through life.
My friend recommended the Miracle Morning and I really liked the sound of a miracle! I started to meditate each morning and it gave me a mental sharpness. I also began noticing the exact point at which my emotions started to go down hill and quite by chance I discovered that mindfulness and meditation have been used for stress reduction and so a new chapter began.
I attended the mindfulness based stress reduction course at Bangor university and went on to study a masters with Aberdeen university.
From a young age, I'd been labelled moody or stand offish and I was always worried about why I found life so difficult when everyone else just got on with it. Through study, I began to understand the mind, emotions and human evolution. I realised I wasn't broken.
I wondered whether there were other people, who felt the same way and I wanted to reach out and tell them - it's ok.
So here I am teaching. I trained with the Mindfulness Association at Samye Ling monastry in Scotland.
I'm not a therapist or a counsellor, I teach to help people work with their minds in a different way and to live their lives to the full.
Deep down, we all want to be safe and content. This is what mindfulness has given to me.