June 2019


After what feels like the longest, coldest, snowiest winter ever, it’s uplifting to see the freshness of green shoots coming up from the earth and beauty of flowering trees.  The sunshine and longer days are the perfect antidote to winter blues.
It’s also the perfect time to practice being mindful of so many of the wonderful things that springtime has to offer. Mindfulness of being in nature assists in remaining calmer and more pain and stress-controlled, despite the challenges of everyday life.
Taking the time to be in the now with the tasks we do daily, such as preparing meals, taking a bath, or exercising, is helpful.  In thinking about the brightness of spring, you can be adding new moments to be mindful of, such as…
...seeing the flowering trees and cherry blossoms
...being mindful of how we bend and twist as we garden
...planting a garden and getting dirt under our fingernails
...ensuring not to injure after the inactivity of Winter
...sitting outside a cafe
...visiting the farmers’ market and buying fresh vegetables
...picking strawberries—if we can!
...getting caught in a spring shower and not minding
...watching bumblebees at work in a garden
...listening to the birds singing
...really looking at a spider’s web

It’s a joy to experience the weather warming up and everything turning green.  So, shedding that winter coat and getting started on a list of ways to mindfully enjoy the spring season will warm up all aspects of our life!


Can Mindfulness Hurt?
Panel presentation at “A Mindful Society” Conference, May 24 to 26, 2019
Mindful leaders from around the world came to Toronto to share keynote speeches, research, workshops, panels and mindfulness practice sessions at the 5th annual A Mindful Society Conference 2019.  The conference welcomes participants from many backgrounds to explore different applications of mindfulness. 

In its 5th conference, it has grown to become the Canadian gateway into the national and international mindfulness community in health care, education, business, technology, and beyond.
Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix co-presented a panel with David Treleaven, PhD (author of Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness) and Dr. Allen Steverman (physician at Le centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal) entitled:  Can Mindfulness Hurt?  Designing a Trauma-Informed Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness Course for Chronic Pain Populations.
Mindfulness has long been touted to calm and confer resilience on those who practice.  But for those who have experienced trauma, meditation can elicit traumatic sensations and memories.  Mindfulness practice can greatly help, while incorporating modifications, and preferred languaging in enquiry.   The participants’ learning objectives were to:
  • Learn the potential hazards of Mindfulness practice for those who may not have presented with, or been known to have, PTSD;
  • Build an understanding of how to manage, proactively and reactively, the arising of trauma-related events in Mindfulness group facilitation;
  • Learn that chronic pain populations have a vulnerability to chronic pain suffering from past traumatic experiences;
  • Build an understanding of the importance of trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive languaging in Mindfulness facilitation and enquiry, especially for chronic pain populations.
The panel was very well attended and promoted much discussion lasting long after the end of the session.

A Mindful Recipe:  Contemplative creativity?

A Recipe for Success - or Breakfast
from Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix
I am not much good at drawing, yet my contemplative creativity appears when I concoct recipes.  It’s also hard for me to pass recipes on to others as I don’t measure  things out, and I make them up as I go along, but the results can be very tasty!  

We are all so unique that what works well for one person - digestible, tasty, and affordable - may not for another.  Recipes need to be suggestions, readily modifiable to switch to ingredients which you find digestible, affordable, and easy to find.
So, as the saying goes in our course guidelines, speaking from my own experience…

This is one of my favorite breakfasts, which feels good for me, and my husband.  
I make up some oatmeal using steel cut oats and, when simmering them in water or almond milk, I add a tablespoon of almond flour, a few dried cranberries, some dried gogi berries, other dried fruits such as cut up apricots or dates, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a good pinch of salt (because we don’t have health conditions which deny us salt and it definitely improves the taste!). 
When it is cooked, I add a heaped teaspoon to a tablespoon (depends on quantity of the oatmeal) of almond butter, stirred in well, a teaspoon of maple syrup (or to your taste), and enough almond or oat milk to make it, well, milky. 
Spooning it into a couple of bowls, I finish it off with one ripe pear or mango sliced over the top and shared between bowls, a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, and a sprinkling of ground chia seeds.
I serve it warm and eat it very mindfully.


The ingredients sound pricey, but they last for a while in the fridge as we eat this perhaps one to two times a week; so it may only be the initial outlay that feels like a splurge.  
Any of the suggested ingredients can be omitted and anything you prefer can be added - and there is your art piece.  We don’t always need paper…!

Mindfulness Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPM™) Course Locations
...learn the principles of mindful meditation, the importance of living in the moment, and how these relate to suffering less pain.


Mindfulness Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPM™) @ University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies

MBCPM™ Practical Training Immersion
...learn from chronic pain sufferers how mindfulness gives them tools to live a better, more pain-controlled life

MBCPM™ Curriculum Training Intensive
...learn how to facilitate our evidence-based trauma-informed curriculum that has already benefited over 10,000 chronic pain patients

MBCPM™ Curriculum Implementation and Development
...eleven weeks of online classes exploring language, theory, practice, delivery, and outcome measures of MBCPM™ teachings and practice
We are again offering a Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management Professional/ Facilitator training [MBCPM™] prior to the Pain Society of Alberta [PSA] annual conference in Chateau Lake Louise, on October 15, 16, and 17, 2019. This program will be facilitated, as in 2016, by Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix, Associate Professor, Dept. Anaesthesia, at the University of Toronto, Ontario.  Click here for training and costs.

Rooms at the Chateau Lake Louise will be available at the PSA conference rate $199 plus taxes for a standard room from October 14 and the rate ends October 23. Conference rate rooms are going very quickly!  Click here for booking rooms.

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness Facilitation with Dr. David Treleaven
...Dr. David Treleaven (author of the book Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness) has started a series of free live discussion sessions via Zoom about TS-Mindfulness facilitation.  Over 60 people from around the world joined his first session, including three of us from the MBCPM™ facilitator community.  His next Zoom session is scheduled for June 19 from 8 to 9 pm Toronto time.  Go to his website for notifications of these sessions, as well as his trainings.


A Mindful Book Review:  The Awakened Company, by Catherine R. Bell
In collaboration with Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos

Is the way many people work today working?   What’s refreshing about Catherine Bell’s book The Awakened Company is that it responds to the new business era question, “How can we impact big businesses so that they operate with more awareness?”  Too many of today’s work environments drain people’s energy, creativity, health, and happiness.  Leaders operate in high stress and high impact environments that can lead to narrow-minded, even egotistical state-of-minds where personal vision becomes central, and creativity, collaboration, and brainstorming is secondary or even non-existent.  The Awakened Company provides examples of individuals who have created corporate cultures that promote well-being, a broader definition of success, even fun, and effectively combine business and mindfulness.

Using clear examples and well-researched principles, Bell guides us into the understanding that it’s possible to have both meaning and profitability in our workplaces. She interweaves business-based principles, state-of-the art research, quotes from business leaders and visionary thinkers, and concrete real-life examples with mindfulness, understanding of personality traits, yoga, and more.

She makes the case that, to create great and transformative leaders, senior management and business owners must cultivate one-on-one relationships within organizations instead of self-preservation, separation, and isolation.  For example, by relying on group meetings to interact with their team, they may be getting face time, but not the kind of quality time that leads to happy, engaged employees.  Bell suggests that by fostering deeper connections we can create “awakened relationships” that enable higher employee satisfaction, greater productivity, and broad company success. 

The simple idea of taking each member of their team out for lunch or tea, finding some to regularly connect 1 on 1, should be a priority, not a bonus.  Mindfully recognizing employees for what makes them unique and valued on a regular basis can transform business relationships, making their time at work one of the best parts of their day.  This is leading with mindfulness, compassion, and trust.
Bell recognizes that companies can be a force for energizing social change, beginning with the transformative leader.  When leaders and owners treat their business as a community, it will transform them for the better, awakening their teams to an inspiring new concept of success in the workplace and beyond.
About the Author…
Catherine Bell co-founded BluEra and has helped build many great Canadian companies. She understands business, and her passion for helping companies identify and retain top talent inspired her to create BluEra. She holds a degree from Western University and an M.B.A. from Queens University, Ontario and has more than a decade of international executive experience in industries including renewables, oil and gas, power, infrastructure, high technology, and private equity. Renowned for her ability to build high performance teams, Catherine speaks frequently on leadership and careers to both business schools and companies. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Mindfulness Based Chronic Stress Management (MBCSM)
...learn how mindfulness gives you tools to increase wise-mind and resilience; enhance the mind-body connection; and, enhance relationship skills


The Michele Chaban Inspiration of Leadership Award
Recipient Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix

At the final panel of keynote speakers and closing ceremony, Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix was awarded one of the three first ever Michele Chaban Spirit of Leadership Awards (The Spirit of Leadership:  Recognition & 2020 Visioning) which were presented by Michele herself.  The Conference Committee, which had selected the panels and workshops, had created a set of criteria used to select three recipients.  We were thrilled that our own Dr. Jackie was one of them and, when accepting, she recognized the contribution of the NeuroNova Centre team, in particular our longest serving volunteer, Kendra!   She was also given the opportunity to speak to the NNC mission.  She received a set of books signed by the authors, three of whom had given Keynotes at the conference:  The Dalai Lama, Dr. Dan Siegal, Thupten Jinpa, PhD, and Valerie Brown, JD, MA, PCC.
Congratulations, Dr. Jackie, for this well-deserved recognition of innovation and leadership in mindfulness-based pain and stress management, outstanding contributions to mindfulness practice in the medical, professional, and business sectors, and continued guidance and direction in trauma-sensitive programming.

Do you have a personal experience or general feedback you'd like to pass along to us? 

The NNC Team values hearing about the successes, learning experiences, and viewpoints arising from your mindfulness practice. 

Consider dropping a line to us!

                                                  - Dr. Jackie and the NNC Team
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NeuroNova Centre for Mindful Solutions Inc. · 1403 - 75 The Donway W. · Toronto, ON M3C 2E9 · Canada