After a long period of heads down, focused concentration on the craft of teaching adults, two milestones will be taking place for me this year – all things being equal – and I’m very excited to share them with you here today.

1) Mindful ELT online workshops

Late last year I ran a Mindful ELT online practice workshop pilot called “Introduction to Mindful Teaching” for teachers wanting to incorporate mindfulness practices into their classrooms, private lessons and day to day lives to enhance the quality of their teaching and overall experience. I received full support for this undertaking from British Council Mexico, especially my line manager, as I explained the vision of offering a series of online workshops to English teachers worldwide. She then put me into contact with a Norwegian web designer with whom I’ll be working from end of February.

The pilot was attended by volunteer teachers in Mexico and the UK and the feedback I received throughout and after completion was insightful and very helpful for putting something together that will inform and support teachers looking to benefit from the regular and engaged practice of mindful awareness.

The workshops themselves encourage reflection, spontaneity, creativity and are aligned with our deepest values. Mindfulness has turned into a buzz word over the last few years, but the benefits can only be reaped when it’s put into practice. We can talk endlessly about the wholesomeness of exercise or healthy nutrition, for example, but until such a time as we exercise or eat healthily, we cannot know what the benefits are.

Also, mindfulness practices are generally (and rightfully so, to an extent) associated with religion – Buddhism in particular – which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially in the world of ELT, and so Mindful ELT workshops will offer a lay and secular approach to the practice.

The first 28-day Mindful ELT online workshop is due to start on 3rd June, so watch this space for that and please wish me well.

2) Camino del Norte

Upon my return from an Educators’ retreat at Blue Cliff in upstate New York last August, I received a kind invitation to join a group of mindfulness meditation practitioners for the journey of a lifetime from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela from 6th-19th October. Having been on my mind to embark on some kind of pilgrimage for years, I received the invitation as a sign of something I must do, especially as it’s with a group of like-minded practitioners, so I didn’t hesitate to register right then and there. Participants are offered “a distinctive opportunity to reflect intentionally and purposefully on the big questions of life before, during and after the pilgrimage.”

The preparation process starts today with the sharing of this post with you, dear friends, as well as doing some research on hiking gear and committing to the suggested training programme including:
  • gradually increasing walking distances until they’re 10 miles (16kms) twice a week in August
  • contemplative practices
  • cross training
  • yoga, and
  • rest
The challenge is to steer all future-based fantasies and anticipatory excitement towards focusing on preparing mentally, physically and spiritually in the present moment.
Thank you for reading and keeping me company with this and please help me focus by sending me frequent present moment reminders to prepare 🙏
Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? Please share your experience with us by commenting below.