The Road to MindHeartfulness….
Life takes unexpected twists. In July 2016, eight months after the death of my lovely husband I retired from working as a geologist at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Research. I spent the next two years reconnecting with my digital art work, which sustained me through the dark days of grief and began to figure out how I could reconnect with my community.
When I came to Socorro as a graduate student at New Mexico Tech, I volunteered for four years at El Puente, the Domestic Violence Program then served for five years on the Board of Socorro Mental Health Foundation. In 2014 I connected with some of the amazing people in our County Health Alliance (SCOPE) working to make our community thrive.
I did not know exactly what it was I was looking for but in early 2019 I came across The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which led me to Thupten Jinpa’s Fearless Heart and his course Compassion Cultivation Training at the Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford. In January 2020 I began an 11-month course jointly hosted by CCARE and the Applied Compassion Academy to learn to teach mindfulness and compassion cultivation in Socorro.
As 2021 rolled around friends were steering me slowly towards teaching in the elementary schools in Socorro. But how on earth could I do this? I had never had kids, babysat only a few times. What the heck did I know about children! But my wonderful New Mexico family kept encouraging me, pointing out that Aunty Maureen had been great with their kids! And sitting around the ranch table having just taught a class on self-compassion to college students, I came face to face with my own inner critic! My not good enough voice and in that moment, I silenced it and embraced the idea that I was capable to teach K-5th graders. And a door was flung open wide, with resources popping up around me including the amazing teachers at Mindful Schools.
So, in 2021/22 I walked into Midway, Parkview and San Antonio elementary schools in Socorro County. In the fall of 2022, I walked into Sarracino Middle School to teach my 5th graders, now rambunctious 6th graders, and continue to teach in the three elementary schools.
It’s been an incredibly joyful journey!