I attended the Mindfulness Conference at the Cradle of Humankind on the 22nd to 25th of March 2019, hosted by the Institute for Mindfulness South Africa (IMISA).

I can tell you about all the amazing topics and inspirational speakers- of which there were many, but let me start with how I felt while I was there!

I felt overcome with love, connection and humility and also by a profound sense of sadness for our people in our beautiful country who have been severely traumatised.

The theme of the conference was: Mindfulness Approaches in an African Context. The conference was held in the Maropeng Conference Centre which is directly above the Maropeng Museum housing the ‘bones’ of our ancestors. Outside the venue is an exhibition of sculptures called: ‘The Walk to Freedom’, with life-sized, detailed bronze sculptures of all the leaders in their quest for freedom in South Africa: extremely moving.

What else can I share with you? My mentors Jon Kabat-Zinn (via streaming), the father of MBSR and my teacher of MBSR, Linda Kantor were there, and it felt as if I was home! The Chair of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), Rhonda Magee, was there in person and greeted me as part of her ‘other family’. She spoke beautifully about mindfulness, identity and social justice. It was such an inspiration to listen to her talking about healing our wounds: personally, internationally and collectively. Mandaza Kandemwa from Zimbabwe honoured the earth and welcomed the ancestors in a very moving way.

I learned about karmic debt, the cannibal of capitalism and African contemplative practices and how we can change our attitude to caring, mindful consumption and a mindset of abundance, vs ‘addiction to consumerism’.

Mindfulness in the workplace was very eloquently discussed by Megan Reitz of the U.K.: ‘Speaking Truth to Power…..mindfully’. Awesome stuff!

Ruth King discussed her new book: ‘Being mindful of Race: transforming Racism from the Inside out.’ It just makes so much sense!

I learnt a lot from David Treleaven’s presentation about ‘Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness’ and he answered many of the questions I experienced with my work with traumatised patients and he shared various resources generously and which I find very useful and practical, not to mention his beautiful slideshow, so professional.

So; having been emerged in the SIYLI teacher’s training now for a year and ‘neglecting’ my MBSR colleagues, it was quite profound to see how MBSR and SIY came together at this conference and it felt as if the circle of learning is now complete. Also, my personal journey with mindfulness has matured into the context of the South African community and I can now say I am ready to make a contribution on a social and community level.