How in the world did Siri end up teaching Mindfulness?
When asked why she chose to teach mindfulness, Siri is often stumped for words, not knowing where to begin as there are countless reasons. It would take too long to explain the different avenues that lead her to where she is today. Some reasons were intentional, some accidental, and some serendipitous.
As a Third Culture Kid (TCK), growing up in Thailand to Californian parents, she was always interested in what made people tick. Why are people so different? Why do some people have optimistic joyful personalities, always seeing goodness in others and the world around them? Why are others perpetually grumpy? Why are some more resilient? What makes a person arrogant or humble? The list of ‘Why’s’ going on and on.
Because of this curiosity, Siri ended up pursuing a degree in Psychology. To her surprise her psychology professors ended up being some of the most unbalanced and unstable people she had ever met. So, she ended up also getting a degree in Education and worked as a classroom teacher in international schools for 15 years. Teaching was enjoyable and satisfying, but there was an unsettled feeling lingering in the background, pulling her in another direction, a more contemplative direction.
Photo Credit: Metta Visions
At the age of 18 she attended her first meditation retreat. It gave her a taste of what it’s like to have clear and steady mind. She experienced, if only for a few moments, what deep genuine happiness felt like – the happiness that doesn’t arise from what you get in the world, but rather the happiness that comes from within, what you bring to the world.
A few years later, she ended up in Nepal, teaching summer school to local Nepalese children. She wandered into to a café in the guts of Kathmandu. Looking out of the window she noticed a group of Tibetan nuns and monks walking down the street giggling, smiling, and laughing – radiating joy. The thought arose, “Why do they always seem happy? I want some of what they have.” When she went to pay her bill, she saw an advertisement on a bulletin board behind the cashier. It was an invitation to attend a weekend course on Mind Training, taught by Robina Courtin, an Australian nun in the Tibetan Tradition.
That weekend course left Siri feeling like she found a philosophy and way of being she deeply connected to. The teachings were practical, realistic, and made more sense than any psychology course she had taken at University. Robina, an eccentric, passionate and energetic woman, explained the teachings in a way that was engaging, hilarious, realistic, helpful and fully applicable to life. Siri was hooked.
Finally, in 2010, while attending a Cultivating Emotional Balance teacher training in Phuket, Siri found out that mindfulness was beginning to make its way into schools. It was being taught as a researched based training; taught in a secular way (non-religious). This convinced her to branch off from her profession as a full-time classroom teacher to devote time to learning how to bring mindfulness to children and teens.
At first she focused on teaching youth, but soon realized if she wanted to reach students, she needed to also reach parents and educators. Her teaching then expanded out to the general adult population. She is now qualified to teach a variety of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI’s). To read about her qualifications please visit: https://www.mindfulnessth.com/about
It’s been an adventure seeing how research-based mindfulness has flourished around the world over the past two decades. Siri feels blessed to have been part of of the community of teachers who was able to be there before mindfulness became ‘popular’.
She’s passionate about sharing the wisdom of her teachers, bringing it to life in a practical way. We are facing difficult times, why not have a way of being that can help us journey through life with more ease, less suffering, and increased well-being.