Celebrating one year of zooming…

Thursday 19 March 2020 was my FIRST ever online zoom mindfulness class.

Little did any of us know that we’d still be zooming exactly one year later… I had no idea how it would go but I have to say it has been so rewarding, really amazing how much community and connection can be built online, through mindfulness classes.

In fact, I would say that meditation class is the perfect subject for zoom classes. I’ve been able to have people join me from all over the UK and Ireland – though mostly the classes are made up of Northern Ireland folk or those living elsewhere who are from NI or have a NI connection.  We form of sense of ‘knowing’ each other. People have been so open, so willing to share and connect in the classes. It’s been privilege and a pleasure.

So little has happened this year in terms of events and celebrations and yet for me also so much! We got Buddy the cockapoo love of our lives and we got pregnant, a big bump soon to be a little person, giving us more opportunity to love 

I’m not sure either of these momentous beings would have been able to come into our formally busy lives if it hadn’t been for lockdown and the slower pace of life and of course zoom…. Because of zoom I was no longer running around the country teaching in different venues, and I was able to stop, calm, rest and heal.

I started offering free morning and evening meditations on the 23 March 2020 – these continued until the end of June 2020 – again it was another experiment to support people to continue teaching and the ripple effect was just wonderful. 

Due to my ongoing pregnancy and the overwhelming feelings and emotions that have come with it I haven’t continued the free classes – too much commitment for my varying energy levels, but I have continued my 8-week programs, my monthly workshops and my Thursday night 6-week course. The 6-week course has become like a weekly sangha (I also continue my monthly sangha from 2007!) with rich sharing and connection as well as transformative practice.

I really feel very grateful for zoom and despite the repeating lockdowns and all the concerns of COVID we have been able to continue to meet, meditate and connect.

On 16 March 2020 I had a two-page feature in the Belfast Telegraph with my top tips to help people though the pandemic and on the 17 March, I was in the Radio Ulster Studios in Belfast with Nuala McKeever to share with her listeners more ideas for staying well in lockdownAll these tips are still relevant though we are nearly, hopefully coming to the end of lockdown, with a tentative return to normality…

In May 2020 I was back on the Radio with Nuala and unlike most shows which are only available on BBC Sounds for a month this conversation about kindness and its benefits is available for over a year. You can find a link for it under the ‘info’ section of my website in ‘in the media’.  I also have a five-minute YouTube video for coping with lockdown anxiety that you can access through my YouTube Channel. Or you find on my IGTV

In fact I recorded (on my YouTube channel and Instagram) about 14 ‘stories’ from Ajahn Brahm’s book ‘Who ordered this Truckload of Dung?’. At the time lots of people really encouraged me as the stories were what they listened to as they tried to get to sleep… most of the time I was in my PJ’s recording them too… What a crazy time those first few weeks of lockdown were!

And from the first lockdown I also added 12 FREE meditations to the free app @InsightTimer so do check those out if you haven’t already.

But for handiness and as you’ve read this far…I offer these 10 quick tips:

  1. Breathe. Put your hand over your heart, take a big deep breath and say to yourself a mantra like ‘breathe, it’ll be ok’ repeat x 3

2. Sit in meditation for 5 minutes every morning and every evening.

3. Go outside every day.

4. Do some gardening.

5. Remember positive mental attitude.

6. Eat well.

7. Make sure you get enough sleep.

8. Use this extra time or downtime to do all those things you keep putting off – seize the opportunity. 

9. Look for the good.

10. Practice gratitude. 

Please do get in touch if you would like more information on my last few classes before maternity leave or if you would like me to come speak to your organisation or group – though zoom of course!

In love and zoom

Bridgeen x

I’m expecting a baby :)

Buddy’s gonna be a big brother! 🐶

Right now he’s my number one baby I told him his sibling was coming soon and he ran to the window and door to look for them 😅 I hope we’ll all be able to adjust ok. 🤰🏻

Every pregnancy is an exciting and scary time but with COVID and the the fact I’m turning 47 a month after baby is due to be born makes it easily anxiety provoking for me 😌

People say ‘sure you’ve got your mindfulness’ yes and thank heavens for it 💝 but being a mindfulness teacher or a mindfulness practitioner doesn’t mean you don’t feel the same emotions as every human being does🥰

Thankfully so far at almost 26 weeks it’s all good 🙏🏽and baby is due at the start of June which is why I’ve been saying I’ll be talking a LONG break from teaching – so sign up to my springtime classes now 🌼💛🌱

I believe my mindfulness practice 🧘🏾‍♀️has helped with conceiving and keeping this wee baby healthy though it all came as a unexpected shock 😃 Over the past few years I’ve experienced a number of miscarriages so the fear is very real 💔🌈

I know some people my age are already grandparents so if you know any fellow older mums I’d love to hear from them 🥰 But right now we’re enjoying our lockdown bubble.❤️ #Buddyandababysoon#buddysabigbrother#lockdownbaby#oldermum#impregnant 💖

(This post was first issued via my instagram on 5 March 2020)

They call it puppy love…

For Valentine’s Day 2021 I put the a pic of my hubby and my puppy up on Instagram (click the link to see the pic), basically a wee tribute to my cockapoo Buddy and the joy he has brought us…:

Not sure which one I love more?!❤️ I mean only one of them in the past few days: broke my favourite cup; ate my concealer; stole the toothpaste; knocked over a plant spilling soil everywhere; chewed the table; ate a whole soda I’d taken outta the bread in for breakfast and slabbered all over my new slippers I’d bought to replace the the two pairs he chewed to death…. But you know that’s love for ya… As the good book says ‘love is kind, love is patient, love does not keep a record of wrongs’ (though I just did for purposes of illustration 😅) 💖.

Puppy love is def strong in my life right now even though he is a torture! I have to recommend a dog to anyone who would like more love in their life 🥰🐶. If you’re lonely, if you need more exercise, if you want a child/baby substitute, if your preparing for a baby arrival one day, if you’ve just gone through a break up, if you want a friend for your child or yourself, if you want something to bring the whole family together, if you like affection, if you like to play… then really – get a dog! 🐩 🥰

I never had a dog in my life ‘till I got Buddy and now he’s now my 100% bestie. I’m sure lockdown has accelerated our relationship and I’ve no idea how we’d cope with having to leave him in normal life but really what he has brought to us is nothing but love (and mayhem 🥰).

This was meant to be a happy Valentines post about my two loves but really it’s the best advice I can give. Get a dog, get and give more love 💗 🐕 🥰 Of course these two aren’t my only loves, chocolate is way up there 😅 🍫 I made this ‘Valentines cake’ for our romantic dinner last night but we were to full to eat it! 😋. Don’t worry I won’t fed it to Buddy knowing that chocolate is toxic to dogs! #itsawholenewworld 

Lastly, don’t forget to love yourself too… our love is incomplete if we don’t include ourselves. All love stems from self love. So take care of yourself today. If you’d like a whole day of caring deeply for yourself I have a retreat day on offer next Saturday 💕💕

I offer mindful self-compassion workshops every month x x x

 #puppylove #happyvalentines #getadog #myloves #dontforgettoloveyourselftoo

(This post was first issued via my instagram on 14 February 2020)