British School of Meditation - Blog from Ann Ward
As a result I have always felt very connected to nature and I see nature as meditation in motion. I was first introduced to meditation 22 years ago when I attended a one-day course in Dublin. I only truly realised the power of the gift when I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2010.
I had just moved from Belfast to Omagh to start a new job on a peace building project and on day two of the job I was diagnosed. I was devastated and felt like my whole life had been turned upside down. This was when I really trained myself to be present. I knew intuitively that this was a coping strategy. I used visualisation to see myself as truly healed beyond the operation, which I am so grateful took place 3 weeks from diagnosis, especially when we look at the strain of today’s NHS system and the added pressure of covid 19. I used positive affirmations to support healing aswell as spending time in nature and in particular Slieve Gullion forest which is near my family home. I am delighted to be back home full time since 2013.
In 2015 I decided I was strong enough and ready to share the powerful gift and began my training with the British School of Meditation (BSOM) and said up my company Xhale https://www.xhale.biz/
I had seen lots of courses advertised but was delighted to find one that was accredited. I also got the chance to spend time in beautiful Cheltenham which added to my adventure. During training my dear brother in law and friend received a very sudden diagnosis with weeks to live and I was able to support him, my sister and myself to cope with this dreadful news. Meditation and nature have continued to be special gifts in my life, which have enabled me to cope with sudden loss, grief and the challenge of annual appointments. Mindfulness is at the heart of this evidence based wellness practice which evolved in Japan as a stress prevention intervention in the 80’s. Nature brings me deep comfort and feelings of safety. Each day I have to have my daily dose of vitamin N, which is as important as eating and exercise.
I have been blessed to share these gifts with so many including very vulnerable groups e.g. people living with dementia and aids. I have been able to support them with coping strategies which bring hope during the darkest moments, particularly living with the uncertainty of COVID-19. Meditating in nature has led to my latest qualification as a Forest Therapy Practitioner. I have also been developing immersive experiences, sharing the gifts of meditation and the landscape with visitors, to support them to become more connected to place and self. I want to say a big thankyou to BSOM for being a special part of my healing journey and that of others whom I support.