DTES Mindfulness Group

Repeats every week until Mon May 31 2010 .

A Mindfulness Group for Service Providers in the Downtown Eastside

For many of us, working alongside people who are facing serious issues like mental illness, substance misuse, and homelessness can be experienced as both inspirational and demanding. Supporting our own mental wellness is a way that we can show compassion to ourselves, so that we can continue extending it to others.  Mindfulness practices, including meditation, can be a helpful way to sustain us in this work, and helps us to respond more skillfully to situations at work, rather than simply reacting.  
Starting January 11th 2010, Brian Williams (MA, CCC) will be facilitating a mindfulness group specifically for service providers who work in the Downtown Eastside, or from other areas who work alongside people facing similar issues.  There is no cost beyond a completely voluntary donation after each class.
In this group we will be doing ongoing training in attending to our present-moment experiences with greater awareness and empathy.  This will include breath-awareness and body-awareness meditations, as well as loving-kindness meditation (a means of generating greater friendliness towards oneself and others).  These practices are based in the Theravadin Buddhist tradition, but there is no requirement to abandon one’s own spiritual beliefs (or non-beliefs – atheists and agnostics are welcome!).  The practices are based in one’s direct mind-body experience, and there is no requirement to call on any particular god or goddess, to ‘leave’ one’s body, or to pray.  We will be practicing basic attendance to our present-moment experiences.  Doing so allows us to adopt a more receptive and accepting state towards ourselves, and many find this assists with the alleviation of stress, managing substance use, as well as reducing depression and anxiety. Additionally, mindfulness practice can enhance and sustain our ability to serve others in our work as service providers.  This is a drop-in format, so feel free to come check it out for one session and see if it fits for you.  People from all agencies, professional disciplines, and levels of meditation experience are all welcome to attend.  
May we all find greater happiness, peace, and freedom.
Time:  Mondays 5:15 – 7:00pm (door locked at 5:30pm).  
Location; Lookout training room, Suite 206 – 524 Powell Street (above the Living Room – enter through street level on Powell, go upstairs and turn right – room is on the right side of the hallway)
BYOC (bring your own cushion): something comfortable to sit on (sitting on one of the chairs in the room is fine too), and a warm blanket or sweatshirt.

Questions?  Contact Brian here: 604 760 8107 , [email protected]

Facilitator Bio:

Brian Williams (H.BA anthropology, MA counselling psychology) is a Canadian Certified Counsellor who works with the RainCity Housing First ACT Team. He has been practicing meditation for nine years, and has facilitated meditation/mindfulness groups with high-risk youth, at OnSite, and at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.  Four years ago, Brian helped initiate DIY Dharma ( www.diydharma.org ), a peer-led meditation group for ‘freaks, geeks, and outcasts.’  His masters thesis was an inquiry into people’s lived experiences with using meditation as part of their recovery from substances.  Brian is currently involved in meditation facilitator training with Noah Levine ( www.dharmapunx.com ), in Los Angeles. He also attends meditation retreats regularly throughout the year.  In his professional practice, Brian has served as a youth worker and program director at Dusk to Dawn Street Youth Resource Centre and the Youth Futures R3 program, and a concurrent disorders counsellor at the Burnaby Centre.  Brian lives with his partner, son, and extended family in East Van.  His facilitating style is casual, honest, and collaborative.


Lookout Training Room
Suite 206 – 524 Powell Street
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