Quite a long way from my roots in Holland, I found a homecoming on the beautiful Holy Isle in Scotland in 1999 when I first encountered the possibility of mind-training there in the form of (mindfulness) meditation.
Since getting a taste of connecting to the fullness of experience in a conscious way, I have been a dedicated and at times slightly fanatical meditation practitioner. On Holy Isle I spent four years studying and practising meditation, and took a one-year ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist nun in my full-hearted exploration of Buddhism.
After my time as a nun, I began looking to make the benefits of sustained meditation practice available and accessible to those living their lives in the ‘real world’, exploring a conscious, proactive attitude to life and work. It is a daily joy to do so in the form of offering Mindfulness training in different contexts.
To learn about the delivery of mindfulness, I have trained extensively with Rob Nairn, the inspirational founder of the Mindfulness Association (MA). I feel very lucky to have been a part of the tutor team of the MA since 2010, soon after their flying start, and be involved in providing training in the deepening levels of mindfulness, compassion and insight. On the Teacher Training Pathway it has been a delight to explore with others how to share and embody the practice. The MA has full course tutorship on the University of Aberdeen’s MSc in Mindfulness programme for which I am one of the Honorary Fellows.
Since the birth of my son five years ago, I have become more and more interested in the outer practice of engaged mindfulness: how can I respond to the challenges I see in the world around me? To deepen my understanding and practice in this area, I took part in the Facilitator Development Programme of the Work That Reconnects, and am inspired and encouraged by exploring together with others the big questions around compassion in action.
I am also a qualified art therapist, having earned my BA (Hons) degree at the Hogeschool Leiden in Holland in 2004.
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These days, my Edinburgh life as self-employed mindfulness teacher and mother to gorgeous 5-year old Finbar is a varied one, switching between weekend courses for the MA, practice sessions for mindfulness practitioners with experience in the lovely Salisbury centre, teaching MSc students in Samye Ling and marking their wonderful essays, offering introduction courses in big companies where the employees wrestle themselves away from their computers to learn about pausing and non-doing, phone supervision sessions from the comfort of my couch, attending to a steady streams of adminny things and reflecting weekly on poetry that touches my heart for my MA blog – and then the ongoing loving, meeting, working with this creative, wilful boy and his wonderful dad.