Everyone loves Sophie, it's hard not to. Although she's fairly new to mindfulness and has only been practising since 2013, she's has already cultivated a high degree of compassion and is instrumental in the development of the project. Sophie is a living testimony to the power of mindfulness and the possibilities it offers. She's turned herself and her life around under really challenging circumstances and done it pretty much all on her own.
Sophie is a great friend of The Now Project, she's our web-master, graphic designer, mindful artist, photographer and mindful mother of three. How she does it all and maintains any degree of mindfulness baffles me, but she does. It might be nice to tuck yourself away in a monastery or a cave in the mountains to cultivate mindfulness but the real test is maintaining mindfulness in the full stress and strain everyday life, Sophie has transformed herself through her mindfulness practice using the challenges and adversity she faced as a vehicle to deepen her practice and self awareness. And that's the real test!
Sophie also helps teach mindfulness on our retreats. She teaches mindfulness through the medium of art. She can help you to see the way a mindful artist sees, to look with a beginners mind, to see colour, light, shadow, geometry and definition, she can show you how to see without words, judgement or analysis and to express your conscious self through art. When you see the world through mindful awareness a new depth to nature and the world about us comes into focus, but there's little point in trying to explain, you really need to see for yourself. Sophie can show you.
Sophie's Personal Story
Like the rest of the team, I stumbled my way to Mindfulness at a particularly difficult period of my life. Sitting here now writing this profile is testament to the power of Mindfulness and the impact that Adrian and the Now Project has had on me.
I always thought I had no right to think and feel the way I did, I was brought up in an amazing family full of love and have 3 fantastic children of my own and so my self loathing and guilt were crippling me – my solution was to attempt the impossible – to run away from myself.
I invested a lot of time and money into trying to think or talk my way out of the black hole through counselling or attempting to block it all with anti depressants and substances. After searching the internet one day for help I happened upon a site that suddenly made perfect sense and within moments I'd filled in the contact form. I hit the send button and I vividly remember my first conversation with Adrian – a very brief phone call in a supermarket but he quietened my anxiety from that first moment. I felt I was in safe hands and that was to be the beginning of a journey that I'm gratefully experiencing, every moment in the now.
Learning to live in the now through practicing mindfulness and meditation has allowed me to truly live. It helps me in practical ways with everyday life situations and as a single parent it has allowed me to enjoy being a mother again. It's reawakened me to the power of Mother Nature and a depth to life that means I can be creative again.
This path is not always easy and I am learning to tread it gently. Letting go of your past, future and your ego is liberating but can also be quite scary but with the love, compassion and support from others it's worth every up and down. We are all connected and when you feel that connection there is no greater comfort.
The summer retreats were where I got a real feeling that I wanted to get involved in using mindfulness to help people, not just with everyday life problems but to aid something much bigger. That feeling only gets stronger as my practice deepens and so here I am, honoured to be passing on the skills that Adrian has blessed me with and ready to help others in the way Adrian and the rest of the Now Project team have helped me.
If you've ever said the words 'there must be more to life than this?' then yes there is and NOW is the time to wake up.