Facebook Selects Museum of Happiness amongst their Top 115 Changemakers from 46 Different Countries

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In the past few weeks I’ve struggled to find time to write to you all. I promise I do have good excuses, which I’d like to share.

Number 1 - The Museum of Happiness Moved

We recently had to move our beloved Museum of Happiness out of Camden Town in London, partly due to high running costs, and were searching for a new home. After months of looking and many meetings, we found our new partners - 42 Acres. We plan to run events weekly in East London on Friday nights, starting with about 30 minutes of mindfulness meditation and followed by playful workshops bringing the insights from the science of happiness to life. We also plan to run retreats in Somerset in England to help some of you recharge and renew yourselves.

Our long term plan is to work on fundraising to build a large, permanent Museum of Happiness in London in the next few years, dedicated spreading values like mindfulness, kindness, creativity, community, gratitude and wisdom. And also potentially to offer online training so you can start a Museum of Happiness movement in your area!

Number 2 - We won a major award from Facebook!

The Museum of Happiness was selected as one of the top 100 communities in the world making a meaningful difference. This is the first time Facebook has ever funded such ventures. So last week we were flown to Facebook’s Headquarters in California to meet the other winners from 46 different countries and I’ve started a year-long community leadership training which includes support and some funding to work on a one project to continue to grow and increase the impact of the Museum of Happiness. So exciting and such a privilege - we’re so honored.

I was also asked to guide a Kindfulness Meditation to all the global changemakers and Facebook staff, which they all seemed to love. We got to meet the head of Whatsapp and the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. She told us that Facebook’s mission changed last year to help communities to flourish, hence this program. Here’s the other winners selected for the program. And Forbes wrote about it here.

I met so many amazing people in the few days I was there. Some new friends of mine include Rami who works in Egypt and has reunited 1003 missing children there, bringing together the help of 700 volunteers. Paige who runs the Better World Museum, working for a more inclusive and equitable community. And Dave from Yes Tribe, an outdoors-loving community of doers with thousands of members globally who also have a ‘YesBus’ to organise community events.

It’s such a privilege to meet people that want to make a better world…I was so touched. If there’s any changemakers you’d like me to interview from the winners, let me know and I’ll do my best to make that happen!

Mindful Insights

Whilst all these both exciting and challenging times having been happening, I’m pleased to share that I have blocked out time to meditate, and those times have been truly joyful.

I had the obvious but powerful insight a few weeks ago that meditation is the art of loving yourself. Meditation is time to be faced with your own thoughts and emotions and worries and dreams and bodily sensations and crazy ideas. The question is not so much what your thoughts and emotions are, but how you relate to them. Can you begin to meet them with a little bit of kindness and love? Can you let go of trying to meditate and let whatever happen, happen? Can you love yourself just as a wise and kind friend would love you?

These are the questions I’m holding right now.



If you’d like to learn more about my approach of combining mindfulness with kindness, consider my free 7 day course. Or my full 8 week program which is currently on sale - includes 60 mini daily videos and over 15 guided kindfulness audio meditations to try.

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today


One Radically Natural Tip to Reinvigorate Your Kindfulness Practice

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Today I gave myself complete permission to meditate however I wish. And i give you permission to do the same.

I allowed myself to sit in any way I please. And do whatever I felt was right in my meditation. To let go of all ideas of what it means to meditate, and all the postures I see in the media. And all the advice all the different meditation teachers give. Instead, I invited myself to truly be myself.  And do whatever feels right for me or nothing at all.

I decided to set a timer and experimented with my meditation. Rather than ‘me’ doing the meditation, I let the meditation do me!

It was messy and my mind wandered a lot. And I felt excited by the end! Why? Because I’d experimented! I’d tried something new. I felt like I was starting again on a blank sheet and scribbling on a piece of paper like a child, with no worries about the outcome. I didn’t have to try and get relaxed or enlightened or gain insights or anything else. I just let go and went for it!

So I invite you to give that a go. Make your meditation your own. Forget anything everyone has told you to do for meditation, including what you’ve read here. Start with a blank slate. Be courageous. Find out and explore and make mistakes and learn from them. Screw up. Going on a exploration on your own is great fun!

This is the kind of attitude I call kindfulness. To be kindful is to be yourself. To make your own mistakes. To find out what works for you. To trust yourself. To let go. To try something new.

If you don’t start now, then when?

And if you feel like it, let me know how it when. Especially after a few days of trying this radically natural approach. Enjoy!



If you’d like to learn more about my approach of combining mindfulness with kindness, consider my free 7 day course. Or my full 8 week program which is currently on sale - includes 60 mini daily videos and over 15 guided kindfulness audio meditations to try.

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today


The Power of Vulnerability

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Today is my birthday! As my passions are kindfulness, silence, contentment and friendship, I shall use the day to enjoy those values in a relaxed way. We also have an Awakin Circle tonight at the Museum of Happiness, so I’ll be going there too. When people come together to sit in silence, that makes me happy. Join us if  you happen to be London-based - it’s offered as a gift.

As some of you may recall, I was at a retreat last week, in a special place called Plum Village. I learnt two things I'd like to share with you. The power of vulnerability and the power of suffering. Let’s start with vulnerability this week.

Sitting in a Circle with Monks

I watched the talk by Brene Brown. I've even met her. But I didn't fully realise the power of vulnerability until last week at the retreat.

I was sitting together with a group of strangers in a circle. I’ve done that many times before. The difference was, the space was held by two deeply peaceful monks. The serenity on the faces of those monks was greater than any I've seen for many years. Just looking at them, I felt a deep sense of peace and compassion. They didn’t need to say a word.

With this kind of presence in the circle, people openly shared their deepest feelings . As the week went on, I found the courage to share my vulnerabilities too.

My first realisation was that I don’t actually like sharing my difficult emotions with others at all. I prefer to work through them myself. But in this group, with all the others being so honest and sharing so authentically, I was moved to do the same. I shared my moments of sadness and loneliness. It’s much easier for me to practise being silent, or sharing what I’m grateful for.

I somehow feel ashamed for having these and other difficult feelings - which is crazy, I know. But I do. Even though mindfulness emphasises acknowledging all emotions equally, I feel bad for not having let go of feelings like sadness or jealousy, when I already have so much abundance in my life. So much to be grateful and happy for. Again I know this is ‘wrong thinking’, but that’s how I felt if I’m honest.

Having shared my challenges, I immediately felt more courageous. I was looking for the next opportunity to share more! And I was proud to see my sharing gave permission for others to share from their hearts too. Being vulnerable turned out to be a gift for others too.

I experience emotions like sadness, jealousy, envy and shame - and they are part of being human. In my desire to be good and kind and, in some ways perfect, I shy away from sharing these experiences. I want to be able to let them go in the silence of meditation. And they may well go. But there’s great value in sharing these challenges.

Why being Vulnerable is Important

Our vulnerabilities acknowledge our humanity. They remind us that no one is super human and always at peace and joyful. Everyone is imperfect - that’s a law of the universe. And it’s in that imperfection that all living beings exist. Our journey is to move towards accepting our imperfections, not in fixing and moving towards being the perfect person. To gradually learn to see the beauty of our imperfection is our path.

This blog is not about self-improvement - because you are good enough! And I am good enough. This blog is about self-acceptance, self-love and the natural transformation that comes through making peace with ourselves and others.

My journey to learn more about vulnerability continued last night. Yesterday, as part of the world’s first online Mindfulness and Compassion at Work Summit I’m organising, I was honored to interview Dr. Shauna Shapiro. I’d highly recommend her TEDx talk.

Interviewing her was like interviewing myself. She too began her journey practising mindfulness with rigidity and judgment. She too was taught by a monk of the importance of kindness, not judgment in and out of meditation. And she too more recently found in sharing her own vulnerabilities, she gives permission for others to do the same. The only difference is, I look very different to her!

Here’s some tips from my own experience that you may find helpful:

  • Find a friend or a circle where you feel very safe - know that your sharing will be met with care and compassion. This is the first step. You’re creating the right conditions for authentic sharing to arise.

  • Don’t feel you have to share your deepest challenges. Be in the moment, feel the energy of the friend or group and see what arises. When the time is right, what needs to be shared will come up.

  • Acknowledge the power of vulnerability. When you share your challenges, you give permission to others to do the same. You act out of courage and step into living a bigger, fuller and more authentic world.

 



If you’d like to learn more about my approach of combining mindfulness with kindness, consider my free 7 day course. Or my full 8 week program which is currently on sale - includes 60 mini daily videos and over 15 guided kindfulness audio meditations to try.

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today