When I was searching for meditation groups in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), I stumbled upon Just Be Meditation. Upon seeing Cassidy’s smiling face in the photos and all the kind words on Facebook, I knew that she was an individual with a big heart.
I got in touch with her online and here’s her story in her own words of how she became a Mindfulness Teacher.
1. How did you first come across mindfulness?
As a young kid growing up in the forests of Ontario, we had little access to pop culture. My Mom was, however, a fitness instructor at the nearest YMCA, and subscribed to Women’s Health among other fitness magazines. I couldn’t wait to read through her magazines when they arrived, especially the rare articles which spoke of yoga, meditation and mindfulness. I remember particularly savoring an article which detailed Madonna’s practice. As fate would have it, in my later years, a family doctor recommended that I try mindfulness and meditation to help cope with an early diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The first time I did yoga, laying in Savasana (corpse pose), I wept. I realized that I had not sat still with my thoughts for a very long time.
2. What does mindfulness mean to you?
Mindfulness to me means experiencing each moment, with an awareness of my thought patterns around it. I consider mindfulness to be an invitation to immerse myself in life as it unfolds, breath by breath, moment by moment, without judgment or attachment. It frees me from anxiety, enriches my experience of the present, gives me hope about what’s possible (right now), and reminds me that I can always choose how to perceive life’s stimuli.
3. How do you instill mindfulness into your everyday life?
I apply the ART of mindfulness – Activities, Routines, and Triggers as reminders to get into the moment. Mindful activities I enjoy include meditation and yoga. Mindful routines include washing the dishes, and walking through the busy streets of Toronto. My mindful triggers of choice are both traffic jams and unpleasant smells. Further to the ART of mindfulness, I also practise mindful listening – listening without thought of how I may respond. Listening to each syllable someone speaks. Listening with my entire being.
4. When you feel stuck in a rut, what do you to do get out of it?
Meditation plays a big role in never feeling stuck. It reminds me that everything changes. If anything, I get stuck in stories – stories of not having enough hours in the day, stories of being an imposter. Mindfulness has expanded my awareness so that I can (often) see my thoughts, and know that thoughts are not things. I am learning to hear my stories, rather than simply take them at face value.
If I were to give my younger self advice about getting out of a rut, I would say, “chin up babe, there’s a lesson here for you, and change just around the corner. Set your intention, trust the universe, then let it go.”
5. Who’s your favourite author, podcaster or blogger(s)?
I am an avid reader, so that’s a tough one to answer. I devour the work of Eckhart Tolle, Michael Singer, Marianne Williamson, and Danielle Laporte. I also have always loved Louise Hay, may she rest in peace. I listen to her guided meditations constantly.
6. If you could tell your 5-year-old self (inner child) one thing, what would it be?
“I love you.”
Just Be Meditation offers mindfulness and meditation coaching in Toronto and surrounding area. Cassidy studied meditation in the Learn to Rest program (under Sara Moncrieff) and will be completing her Foundations of Mindfulness Certificate program at the University of Toronto by July 2018. She is grateful to have travelled to India, Bali, Thailand and other locations around the world learning about the practice and its deep history. She has practiced Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation, mindful meditation and more.
You can find Cassidy at Hoame Meditation Studio (430 Adelaide St W, Toronto). To find out more, visit this page.
All photos courtesy of Cassidy Thedorf & Just Be Meditation Facebook page.