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The Art of Being Here connects you to mindfulness programs offered by Hannah Marsh and other experienced facilitators in our community. Join us for regular programs like Mindfulness & Creativity and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Mindfulness refers to awareness of the present moment - attending to your direct experience, openly, without judgement. It's a natural capacity of mind that can be intentionally cultivated. In daily life, you might decide to observe the moment-by-moment sensations of toothbrushing, or take in the smells and sounds of a forest walk, or witness stormy thoughts linger and pass, or openly listen to someone with whom you disagree, noticing your own reactions with curiosity. You might also decide to set aside time for mindfulness meditation.


Mindfulness meditation is a practice to train our attention to be here, more often. In the process, we can gain insight into the workings of our mind. We offer mindfulness meditation as a secular practice, as our intention is to keep it accessible for people of all backgrounds. Its roots, however, are Buddhist, particularly from Vipassana or Insight meditation. We continue to learn from our Buddhist teachers, and honour the wisdom traditions through which mindfulness practices have been passed down. At times, we refer to Buddhist principles and perspectives that may enrich an understanding of mindfulness. We offer these and all teachings in the spirit of the Buddha's invitation, "Come and see for yourself." In other words, your own experience is the true teacher. We invite you to explore and experiment with what we offer, seeing what happens in your experience, discovering what's helpful - or not helpful - for you.


Please know that confidentiality and group safety are important to us. For this reason, we do not record or publicly broadcast our program sessions.

Limitations and Risks

All our programs and resources are educational in nature - they are not healthcare interventions nor substitutes for therapy.   

While mindfulness meditation has been of great benefit to many people (the latest research here and kind words from our community here), there are also potential risks. Mindfulness brings us in close contact with our experience, and what we encounter may be pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant - and potentially challenging. While significant challenge can show up for all of us (e.g. heightened awareness of difficult emotions and mental states), those of us with a history of trauma or mental illness may be at an increased risk. Although we take care to offer adaptations and strategies for meeting challenge (some listed below), our programs may not be right for everyone. Depending where you are in your healing journey, you may want to consider practicing mindfulness in brief sessions, or with a trained medical professional, or waiting for a more suitable time.


If you're unsure about your suitability for mindfulness programs at this time, we encourage you to speak with your doctor or therapist, and reach out to us

Window of Tolerance 


Given we all can encounter challenge in mindfulness practice, how might we proceed when we do? We take a trauma-sensitive approach. This means we'll never tell you to just "sit with it." We'll invite you to be curious. To see if it's possible to gently explore what's here - such as the qualities of an intense sensation (tingling, throbbing, dull, sharp; its edges, where it gives way to ease or neutrality) - for a few moments, knowing that if it's overwhelming, you can always step back. An important part of mindfulness is learning how to take care of ourselves, kindly and skillfully. To that end, we'll invite you to use the Window of Tolerance. 

Limitations and Risks
Window of Tolerance
What we offer

Fight or Flight Mode

- Experiencing the urge to flee or leave immediately

- Experiencing overwhelming images, memories, anxiety, or worries

- Unable to learn and take in new information

Window of Tolerance

- Able to safely be with and explore your experience, even when uncomfortable or unpleasant
- Able to learn and take in new information from self and others

Freeze Mode

- Feeling numb or disconnected
- Feeling out of tune with thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations

- Unable to learn and take in new information

Hands Touching

- This guide and the below suggestions adapted, with gratitude, from Dr. Dan Siegel (1999), Dr. Pat Ogden et al. (2006), & the Centre for Mindfulness Studies

If you've moved out of the Window of Tolerance, here are some possibilities you could explore:

  • Open your eyes

  • Stand up, feel your feet on the ground

  • Walk, attending to your feet on the floor

  • Take full in-breaths, possibly with longer exhales (fight/flight)

  • Place a hand over the heart or belly; offer yourself a hug or comforting gesture

  • Drink a glass of water or make tea

  • Wrap yourself in a blanket

  • Name five things you can see, hear, and touch, describing them in detail

  • Splash water on your face or hold ice in each hand

  • Explore other safe strategies to ground and support yourself, perhaps ones that have supported you in the past

  • In class, reach out to the facilitator to let them know you are outside your Window of Tolerance, and are taking time to tend to your needs. Rejoin the group when you're ready.

  • Remember that the facilitators are available for support, and we welcome hearing about your experience in our class discussions. 


Remember, too, that the Window of Tolerance isn't static. It can change from day to day, week to week, and moment to moment. With practice, we may become familiar with the conditions that lead to a wider or narrower window of tolerance. We may find, as we continue to practice, that the window grows and we have an increased capacity to be with our experience.





While mindfulness can provide a wonderful support to help us through challenge, it also has the potential to cause harm. If you encounter difficulty, please know you're not alone.


When engaged in a regular meditation practice, we strongly encourage everyone to have external supports available, such as a therapist, family members, and friends. More intensive programs like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction may require that you have a primary care physician (doctor or therapist) during the program.  

If you have a history of adverse effects with meditation, or are interested in learning more about trauma-sensitive training, Cheetah House is another great resource.

We welcome your questions! If you have questions or concerns, please contact us.

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