"Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment." John Kabat-Zin
We call the kind of moment awareness invoked by tuning into your breath and to every other aspect of your life MINDFULNESS. It is developed by purposefully paying attention in a non-judgemental way, to what is going on in your body and mind, and in the world around us. Staying in touch in this way from one moment to the next, this shift in awareness, may lead to your seeing things somewhat differently, perhaps to feeling less stuck, or to a sense of having more options, more strength and more confidence in your possibilities, more wisdom.
….Mindfulness has given me the ability to create a safe place when things become too much. When I practise mindfulness it helps me to stop avoiding the difficult stuff in my life and manage it in a constructive way. It helps me to stop running from pain, fear and anxiety and to stop striving and wanting. I think the best way it does this is by teaching me not to judge myself and others, which is such a relief! It helps me to accept my limitations and to live in the moment instead of fretting about stuff that doesn't matter. It has strengthened my relationships and helped so many of my family and friends. It is a constant journey and I hope to continue to learn and share this amazing way of living.
Jackie Coventry is a passionate advocate of Mindfulness, having discovered it several years ago whilst looking for ways to manage her fibromyalgia - a chronic pain condition. She is also an amputee since birth and has great empathy for people who have struggled with pain, disability and loss.
She trained as a registered nurse eventually specialising in infertility when she worked as a senior sister in an assisted conception unit. Jackie then trained as a couples counsellor with Relate, specialising in domestic violence. She went on to work with families and young people with the youth offending team and family group conferences. This new career chapter comes after obtaining a teaching qualification from The University of Bangor.
Jackie wants to introduce mindfulness to a wide range of people, to help manage stress, pain, mental health conditions, and also simply to boost happiness.
The Sky Garden retreat setting is a unique and beautiful space with wonderful views of the chalk pit. The interior is warm, welcoming, and a stylish mix of Morocco and Asia, which reflects Jackie's love of travel style and colour.
The science of mindfulness
The most recent review of 183 pieces of research done into mindfulness concludes with the statement, "The evidence supports the use of MBSR and MBCT to alleviate symptoms, both mental and physical, in the adjunct treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, depression, anxiety disorders and in prevention in healthy adults and children"  .
Other studies show that mindfulness practice actually leads to structural changes in the brain, increasing the size of regions responsible for attention, emotion, and memory [2, 3, 4].
In addition to this, very recent studies suggest that mindfulness has the ability to delay or even prevent the development of mild dementia and Alzheimer's disease .