How training to teach mindfulness with the OMF changed my life’s trajectory in the most unexpected way.
Dorota Stuker is a mother, psychologist and mindfulness teacher. During her 12-month teacher training in MBCT-L with the OMF, Dorota was so inspired by the topics discussed that she decided to bring mindfulness closer to children by writing mindfulness books which would help them to manage their emotions.
In this blog, Dorota shares how the teacher training helped to change her life and shape her future as a children’s book author.
Moving around the world can be fun, exciting, enriching and even exhilarating at times. There is, however, the other side of the coin that is often not talked about much. The uncertainty, distance, loneliness and the need for yet another self-discovery is as much part of the expat life as is exploring new trails or tasting new cuisines. Once the excitement of the new place wears off and the honeymoon phase is over, questions like “Who am I in this new place?” and “How do I fit into this place?” start popping up.
Eventually, it comes down to recognising and deciding what parts of the self one has outgrown and is ready to let go of, what part of the self are essential and are here to stay and what new parts of the self are being formed as a result of the move, encountering new culture, new language, new people, new climate etc. I am a new me with every move.
Paris in summer is sweet and charming. There was I surrounded by the ‘summerish’ Parisian beauty, sitting on the chair in our dining room, warm sun rays coming in through the window, watching my beautiful two-year-old playing. Everything around me seemed just fine. But I wasn’t fine. It was just six months since we moved to Paris from Bucharest and I struggled. A LOT! When the sunny days started to feel really grey inside, I decided to reconnect with mindfulness, which I had come across during my university years. Not knowing what to expect I had embarked on my mindfulness journey with the first stop being the Oxford Mindfulness Foundation (OMF) Summer School.
A few years, a few moves and many more practices later I decided to take my mindfulness journey further and train as a mindfulness teacher with OMF. Little did I know that this course would shape my life’s trajectory in the most unexpected way. I remember the exact sentence to this day that sparked the idea – “Sometimes we just need a bigger anchor”. So simple and so true! Sometimes life gets so hectic and stormy that we really need a bigger anchor.
A few years, a few moves and many more practices later I decided to take my mindfulness journey further and train as a mindfulness teacher with OMF. Little did I know that this course would shape my life’s trajectory in the most unexpected way.
Being in the thick of the pandemic at that time, everyday life felt somewhat surreal. The pandemic was taking its toll on all of us, including the smallest ones. I often heard parents talking about their kids’ wellbeing and their increasing struggles with disrupted sleep, worries, anxiety or even depression. Being a mum and a psychologist, I had many questions and I kept asking myself “How can we help our kids to become more resilient?”.
As the course went on, I greatly benefitted from all of the knowledge, community, friendship and shared experiences, and I knew that at the core of it all was my ability to anchor myself, to ground myself in the present moment.
At that point I was a mother of two little ones, temporarily staying in Slovakia, while waiting to move to Saudi Arabia. A lot of changes and uncertainty on the horizon. There were times when I “just needed a bigger anchor”. Knowing my anchor was always available became very reassuring. I wanted my kids to also have something they could turn to when the going gets tough, so I told them about the anchor and about their superpower to decide. I told them about mindfulness and about emotions. I held them when they needed it, I role modelled, I listened and I learned from them. And we have practised …a lot… we have practised feeling the waves of our breath in our bellies and turning the focus from anger to anchor. And sometimes we all just needed a bigger anchor to navigate the storm.
Our talks turned into pictures and pictures turned into more words until eventually THE STORM RIDERS: A STORY OF MINDFULNESS was born. This beautifully illustrated mindfulness children’s book turns kids into SUPERHEROES. It explains to big and small the importance of naming emotions, awareness of the present moment, anchoring and pausing. It teaches kids what an anchor is, how to find it and how to use their superpower to decide. It allows kids to search for, experiment with, and examine anchors hidden on the pages the book as well as those hidden in their bodies. The Storm Riders is suitable for those who are new to mindfulness as well as those who have previous experience with mindfulness. It guides kids through a set of simple steps to teach them how to calm any emotional storm and become more resilient.
When I embarked on my mindfulness journey and started my teacher training with the OMF I would never have imagined that one day I will become a mindfulness children’s book author.
Kids from all over the world are now finding their anchors and their superpower to decide. The Storm Riders is being used by teachers in several schools across Norway with a hope of further reaching and benefiting many more kids and adults around the world.
When I embarked on my mindfulness journey and started my teacher training with the OMF I would never have imagined that one day I will become a mindfulness children’s book author. Through mindfulness I have discovered the new self that is here to stay wherever I find myself in the world to be. The new self that brings comfort of stability and peace into my ever-changing expat life.
There is a saying in Norway: “There is no bad weather just bad clothing”. While we can’t stop the storm from coming, we can put on a warm woollen jumper, rain jacket and drop the anchor whenever needed.
Signed copies of THE STORM RIDERS: A STORY OF MINDFULNESS are available for purchase from Dorota’s website www.throughmindfullens.com (applies to EU & UK markets only).
Available worldwide on Amazon.
Dorota Stuker is mother, psychologist, mindfulness teacher and an author of THE STORM RIDERS. Dorota has a background in neuropsychology and well-being research and is currently giving talks about emotional intelligence and mindfulness in companies and schools in Norway, where she currently lives.