At Mindfulness Academy UK, we are offering a new way of working and learning that embodies transparency, equality, and autonomy.
is the story of how Elaine came to create MAuk.
After 20 years of working within further education institutions and 3rd sector organisations, I was feeling unfulfilled by success within the organisational structures. I became aware of a growing discomfort with the way authority had the trump card over everyone. Even being in a place of power myself became problematic: I would find myself fixing and finding solutions for people rather than supporting their own potential for learning. I saw that although teachers were experienced and qualified, they were still restricted by bureaucracy and subject to the frustration of jumping through hoops, as were the learners themselves.
I began to realise that within a traditional organisation, you are accountable to values you may not have played a role in creating. My values began to go through a process of change. At that point, I came across Frederic Laloux’s book, “Reinventing organizations”. When I read his book, I was excited to realise that there was another way of being in the world and of organising. It would not be an exaggeration to say that finding this inspired me and saved my life!
My head was buzzing with “What If’s”: what are the possibilities, how would I fit into that and how would it work? I saw that I wanted to work in what Laloux calls a Teal organisation: an organisation centred around creating opportunities for human beings to self-actualise and be authentic. At the Teal stage, people grow into their true nature and work toward their calling. This is in contrast to Orange organisations – the predominant frame of reference in management thinking today – which involves organisations functioning as machines and recognising success solely in terms of money and recognition.
Wanting to find out more I researched companies to contact, and the research revealed that there are not really any Teal organisations in the world – but I didn’t give up. I came across “Evolving Oganisation”, who were talking about Holacracy and how to get a Teal system into your organisation. I went to their all day workshop and found myself sticking out like a sore thumb in my togs and slippers at a really corporate gathering with CEO’s, banks and NHS staff among other attendees.
But although all I had done was open myself up to this new information, listening with complete attention, I had a total awakening from that workshop. I walked out into dark central London and was hit with the fact that everything I looked at was an organisation. The only things that weren’t organisations were the sky and the human beings. For days, I was incapable of not seeing the effect of organisations and authority on our world, and how it all trickles down to us. I was completely broken open.
I joined EO as a visiting partner for a year so I could learn about holacracy, which is a tried and tested way of changing organisational systems. Holacracy is a set of rules that everyone has to play against; everyone agrees on the rules, and there is no CEO or manager. It is experimental in that the people who are energising the roles will experiment with them. But holacracy is also evolved enough for big companies like Zappos to try it out. It is live and it’s running and ready to rock. Knowing that I simply couldn’t fit back into this box anymore, I felt an enormous sense of responsibility.
At the same time as this transformation and transition was happening, I was becoming involved with what is know as the Red Tent. “Red Tents are a global movement of women coming together and finding time to just be where they are, meet other women in their community and enjoy a the opportunity for women to share in a deeper way than they might usually do.” Red Tent Directory. Being with other women and hearing their stories and been able to be heard and seen telling my own, gave me a sense of fulfillment and service. I have begun telling new stories!
I have started moving into the unknown with trust and courage, as I know that if I was not accountable for what I am creating in my life now, the only option would be downheartedness: checking out and going numb. It became clear that I need to use my life long experience of training, education and mindfulness to start an organisation that is going to change the way of organisations, and to support women in their own personal and profession development. This is all part of changing consciousness, creating structural and cultural change, and finding out how to show up differently as human beings in our work and the rest of our lives, with acknowledgement of the manipulation of our human conditioning. It’s about being able to call that conditioning what it is, and say “This is what is happening here.” My question is: how can we freely show up in our organisations and society with light and shadow?
I believe that, rather than separating out the practical and academic, we can go to a place of innate human capacity. Authority and creativity are all there to be used. My own journey has included achieving a Masters degree even though I had never thought of myself as academic and had my own inner struggles with organisations and hierarchy. I know that it is possible to transcend the limitations of old ways and build something new. I invite you to join in this exhilarating vision of transforming our organisations, our way of working and our world – all as we embody mindfulness principles.
Call to action: Join the community.
Elaine Rose Leela.
Contributing to :
6 years involvement of Brighton Red Tent and a member of its steering circle.
Contributed to setting up the Red Tent Directory
Apprentice of Women’s Quest – Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer
Master of Science (MSc) in Mindfulness-Based Approaches – School of Psychology Bangor University.
Mindfulness for Women’s Self-Care through their Menstrual Cycle
Mindfulness- based Cognitive Therapy (mbct)
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (mbsr)
Certified Mindfulness in Schools .b Teacher
Certified Mindfulness in Schools .b Foundations Teacher
Train the Trainer – Mindfulness CPD
Mindfulness -based Supervisor (CMRP Mindfulness Supervision CPD)
Mindfulness Teaching one
On going retreats to deepen understanding and experiential practice of Mindfulness processes
3 month mindfulness retreat at Plum Village
PGCE- Training & Education
5 Years self study of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory
3 Years self study at Nassim Haramein’s Resonance Academy
RSA Certificate in Counselling
2 year Scaravelli Yoga Teacher Development Course
Registered Mindfulness Teacher at UK Network for Mindfulness Teachers
Registered Teacher on Be Mindful – Mental Health Foundation Mindfulness website
Adhere to –
UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers Good practice guidelines for teaching mindfulness-based courses
The Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness Supervisors and Bangor University’s Mindfulness Supervision Pathway Framework