Community-building at C&W through Shared Experience and Mindfulness
Michelle Man, Communications, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia & BC Children's Hospital | February 12, 2020
A seed was planted for an idea after a brief conversation in passing with a colleague in the spring of 2018.
We were talking about what we had done over our weekends and I had mentioned how I looked forward to my weekly yoga class with my favorite teacher every Saturday morning. This class was so special in that it incorporated 30 minutes of mindful meditation and breath-work before the one hour Vinyasa yoga class. I always left inspired from the weekly message and so calm and grounded.
This teacher’s class was so popular that you were often packed in like sardines but something magical happened in that room every Saturday morning that was the result of the energy that was generated from the unified breathing, movement and shared experience of the group.
I approached my supervisor with the idea of holding a weekly one hour lunch and learn series with guest speakers that were experts in Mindfulness in the hopes of creating a community across the C&W campus.
The idea was approved as it complemented our existing fitness programming. The 2018 Fall Mindful Communal Lunch & Learn Series was launched and it ran for 6 weeks. A catered meal was provided free of charge and each week the group explored different topics with a variety of speakers. The series was so successful that we ran the 2019 Spring Mindful Communal Lunch & Learn Series with our partners at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHR) and the newly formed BC Children's Hospital Centre for Mindfulness. Our 2019 Spring Mindful Meditation & Stretch Series at the Congregation Beth Israel soon followed to complement the series.
In the fall of 2019, Everyday Mindfulness Lunch and Learn Series explored how you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Whether it be a mindful meal, gardening, movement or a cup of tea, the lunch and learn series aimed to deepen participants' understanding of Mindfulness and the profound impact it can have on reducing stress levels and building resilience. Each session began with a reading, followed by an activity, and concluded with a meditation. To complement the workshops we continued our Mindful Meditation & Stretch Series.
In January of 2020, a group from the 2019 Fall Mindful Meditation & Stretch Series took flight as an independent program, self-organized by participants, called Stretch Meditation with Miranda. Through their own initiative, the participants have a weekly mindful movement community class to look forward to.
On January 30, 2020, A Mindful Journey through the Seasons launched as a joint initiative between the Department of Pediatrics and the Spiritual Health Department. This 4-part lunch and learn series explores different themes of Mindfulness through the lens of the changing seasons and will run from early winter to spring.
Stretchy lunch also launched late January as a joint collaboration between the Department of Pediatrics and the Congregation Beth Israel. The Stretch Lunch series represents the first series of joint programming between the hospital and synagogue community groups around Mindfulness.
Based on the feedback that we received, we are currently planning a Mindful World Tea series for the fall of 2020 between the two community groups.
Through a combination of grants, department support, in-kind donations and collaborative partnerships, we are now in our third year of Mindful programming.
It has been a joy and a privilege to be able to help expand the Mindful community at C&W and into the community through the support of my department and the BC Children's Hospital Centre for Mindfulness. For more information about these programs, please email email@example.com