"I read everything I could get my hands on about how to get out of this deep dark hole that I'd fallen into without the use of medication. Everything that I read coincidentally (and consistently) had a common theme:
MINDFULNESS and MEDITATION. I wasn't completely sold on it at first.
Who has time to just BE when I have such a long to-do list?"
Hi, I'm Kim...I am currently the "Us"
behind this website and the Common Humanity Center for Mindfulness.
I am proud to announce that I have completed my 200 hour MBSR Teacher Training in December 2017 at Mindful Academy. The training was a year of reading, meditation, self-reflection and two on site 11 day intensive training sessions (one in March and one in November). My teachers were long time teachers of mindfulness with many years of mindful meditation practice under their belts. They were top notch in wisdom, professionalism and integrity. I feel extremely fortunate to have been guided by Bodhin and his team.
I don't want to bore you with the details of my life that led me to mindfulness, but somehow I think it's important that you understand why I chose this particular career path. I'm not doing this because I believe that mindfulness is the "next big thing". I'm not doing this because I think it will be easy or make me rich. I believe if I do this work with the true spirit of openness, awareness and kindness, I will somehow be able to make a living from Common Humanity.
In my former life, (B.C.) before child, I worked for a Tech company here in Berlin as their Marketing Communications Manager. It held no great excitement for me, but it helped pay the bills. In early 2013 I would have never believed I would be here now. Work was just work, nothing more. I was working for my free time and to travel.
My husband and I chased the dream of becoming parents for the better part of five years. We didn't even start trying until we were almost 40. We faced a roller coaster of emotions as I was pregnant several times and then I wasn't. My infertility defined me for so long, I lost myself in the wanting. I couldn't find acceptance in my inability to have a child, even though I tried to convince myself and everyone else I would be fine. After going to some pretty extensive lengths and trying one last thing to become pregnant, our wish came true. In July of 2013 we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl.
Overshadowing any joy or appreciation for the gift of motherhood following her birth was a terrible and debilitating sadness, emptiness and rage that I had never felt before. I was afraid, feeling extremely isolated and completely out of my depths with a newborn in my care. I was nervous over things that had never bothered me and I saw a side of myself that I had never seen and was deeply ashamed of. I kept trying to use my rational mind to find my way back to "normal" and couldn't comprehend why my rational mind couldn't just FIX it (little did I know that depression cannot be fixed by our rational minds...in fact, it makes the situation worse).
A combination of hormones, sleep deprivation and my inner voice were driving me further and further into a feeling of desperation, helplessness and hopelessness. I kept telling myself I was a bad mother, I had no business being a first time mother at 44 and maybe becoming a parent was a huge mistake. I began to really hate myself and this person I had become.
I sought help in the form of a therapist, but other than going to my appointments and crying for my allotted time, it didn't seem to bring any relief. I was advised on several occasions to take anti-depressants, which I did not want to do.
Short disclaimer: I do not judge anyone that has used or is using anti-depressants. I am sure they are helpful to many...I had just decided it was not the path that I wanted to take at that time.
I read everything I could get my hands on about how to get out of this deep dark hole that I'd fallen into without the use of medication. Everything that I read coincidentally (and consistently) had a common theme: MINDFULNESS and MEDITATION. I wasn't completely sold on it at first. I went through what a lot of people do when they are first introduced to these concepts. Oh, it's a hippie thing. Oh, I can't meditate...my mind wanders everywhere. Oh, it's just selfish of me to sit down and close my eyes for 30 minutes a day...who has time for that?
Another therapist in Berlin who was more mindful-based in her style and also used ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) helped me greatly. I can never repay her for the help that she gave me in such a dark time.
After consistently integrating mindfulness, mindful meditation and Forrest Yoga into my life over the course of the next few years, I could see how they helped me change the way I looked at life, how much it changed the way I interacted with the world and the people in it, and ultimately my relationship to myself. I realized that if I didn't befriend myself, I could never really find happiness and fulfillment.
Now I see that I had spent the most of my adult life in a mildly depressive state; always delaying my happiness until a goal was met or a milestone was reached. I wasn't enjoying much of my life because I was always living in the past or the future. I always felt like I had to be DOING something, and had no concept of just BEING.
Has mindfulness and meditation made my life perfect? Absolutely not. Do I ever lose my temper, say stupid things, hurt people unintentionally? Sure. However, when things do go wrong, I don't spend days beating myself up for it. I don't isolate myself and tell myself I don't deserve to be happy. I don't feel such overwhelming shame for making mistakes and being human. We all struggle with many of the same issues. It is part of being alive.
Somewhere along this crazy journey, I realized the power of my practice and could really feel the profound difference mindfulness and meditation had made in my life. I knew that not only did I need to continue and strengthen my practice, but that I needed to share what I have learned in order to help others find a better quality of life through mindfulness as well. This new career path of teaching MBSR courses, mindfulness workshops and meditation classes as well as building a community and an actual Center for Mindfulness feels right. I feel like I belong here, and I am grateful for the rocky path that led me here.