Meet the Teachers
Voraciously curious about the shared human experience across cultures and circumstances, I have spent much of my personal life exploring themes of belonging and connectedness, resilience amidst adversity, and the power to self-determine. My mindfulness practice has illuminated my way, and it was the rigors of parenthood (and wise counsel by caring mentors) that ultimately prompted me to add a dedicated self-compassion practice into the mix.
After my first MSC course ended, I recognized that I was at the beginning of a longer journey. Hearing the same need for continued practice echoed among many MSC colleagues and peers, I conceived the Community for Deepening Practice (CDP). In partnership with Bal de Buitlear and with the support and guidance of the CMSC senior training team, I offered the pilot program in 2016.
In addition to my involvement in the mindfulness community via my independent web development work (I built and administer the CDP website, among others.), I am also on the 2017 Program Committee for Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth conference as well as the creator of the Mindful Kids Kansas City Facebook page.
In service of the CDP’s Creative Invitations, I bring a lifelong love of art-making and writing; beyond that, I have a deeply earned respect for the process of creative expression. I experience it as a powerful way to bypass the noise in the mind and come into direct communion with the heart, and I hope to offer the same opportunity to participants of the CDP through the invitations. To my teaching, I bring a spirit of curiosity, playfulness, and a deeply earned respect for the power of self-compassion.
David Spound, M.Ed., is a meditation teacher and consultant based in Northampton, MA. where he offers courses including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) through his company Valley Mindfulness (www.valleymindfulness.com). David also enjoys creating new and customized training programs, leading silent meditation retreats, and exploring possibilities for online education and training. David is a former staff member and trainer at the UMass Center for Mindfulness, the organization founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and he has co-led programs for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.
I teach Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and it keeps teaching me. How wonderful it is to truly say I teach MSC for a living – this is in no way relating to $, it is in every-way relating to my aspiration to keep learning what it means for me to be compassionately human. I am continually learning and growing my understanding of personal MSC practice, curious at any given moment what this may look and feel like. A key to keeping me curious and inspired is community – often called sangha. I feel so delighted to be joining Aimee and David and this Community for Deepening Practice. Practicing MSC asks me to be self-reflective and to have humility. Connection is the key to my humility. Desmond Tutu uses an African word to describe this: Ubuntu, ‘Ubuntu is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion.’
The practice of self-reflection requires receptive listening — compassionate listening both to myself — but also to others along the way.
Prior to teaching mindfulness and then MSC I had a background of working within health and education with diverse populations in the roles of Kinesiologist, Health Care Worker, Rehabilitation Counsellor, Health Educator and Emergency Paramedic.
These days I spend of lot of time practicing with my three Zen masters: my young grandchildren. Some of my favourite places are in the bush, the beach and my garden. I am also fortunate to teach regular MSC programs, be a Zoom host for new MSC teachers, a MSC mentor and teacher trainer.