MindWise is the result of our life journey, so far. We’re Christina and Gerry and we’ve created MindWise to reflect the philosophy of our lives.
My journey towards mindful living began at the tender age of 53 while on holidays in India in 2015, celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday. Taking some yoga sessions in a retreat close to the Himalayas, I found just what I needed, shortly after the death of both of my parents six months before – the ability to inhabit both body and mind and reach a place of calmness and stability.
The discovery of my mind/body connection set me on a path to finding out what it meant to be “me”, eventually leading to my studies in Wales, where I completed my Masters in Mindfulness-Based Teaching at the Centre for Meditation Research and Practice at Bangor University, Wales, one of the most renowned institutions for mindfulness research and practice.
The amalgam of contemplative traditions from Buddhism and Western science resonated with me and has given me an in-depth look into mindfulness and how our minds work, and has deepened my personal practice.
Before this, I had been a Vice President in a large American entertainment company, working in this area for almost thirty years. In 2009, I felt that there had to be more to life than the constant pressure of work – even though it had, in the main, been an enjoyable ride. Having spent 11 years living and working in the Netherlands, I settled in the Algarve for almost 10 years, and am now based in the town of Vilanculos, Mozambique, facing the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago.
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Born and bred in Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands, I started travelling when I was 17 and have always been interested in new paths and adventures.
I fell in love with the African continent in 1995 when I first visited the north of South Africa – then Vendaland – followed by a traineeship at the University of Pretoria in 1996, and have always wanted to go back since.
2020 was challenging and a turning point in many ways. I had always been interested in healthy food and the relationship between our body and mind. I was fortunate to have been able to combine work with a relaxed lifestyle in Portugal for the last 10 years after we left Amsterdam, practice yoga with some wonderful teachers and enjoy the good food there.
Portugal already taught me many lessons. When Gerry and I came to Vilanculos, Mozambique in 2021 we felt that this could be a place to work and bring our experiences and skills together. Moving to Africa felt like a new and exciting path in our lives and for me, a deeper search for our connection with nature and ourselves.
Living in Africa is completely different to being on holiday or travelling around. Life challenges you in many ways and the most difficult thing with mindfulness I find, is living it.
In the West especially, we grow up learning to be very goal orientated and individually focused whilst often forgetting we are all part of a bigger universe and experience. Letting go, learning to trust life and not to worry too much about the future, is one of the hardest challenges. I am no exception. While developing MindWise here in Africa, I feel that we still have so much more to learn from the African people and its nature.
The relationship between our body and mind expresses itself in all kinds of forms. Together, Gerry and I are trying to give shape to that. While Gerry has found his path teaching mindfulness, together we are developing retreats and hopefully in the future, mindful holidays in Africa, as I have always loved to host guests and have people around. Life is a continuous journey.
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Through mindfulness we can discover other ways of knowing – a quieter, wiser voice that is usually drowned out by the over-ruling, louder thinking mind.
MindWise offers various types of mindfulness-based programmes which reflect the many different journeys and paths that we all choose in life. Whether you are seeking a fixed programme, or a more fluid form of mindfulness, whether you want to be part of a group, or individual mindfulness mentoring, perhaps you will find something here for you.
All MindWise mindfulness activities can be conducted face-to-face or online via Zoom, either in group form or on a one-to-one basis, depending where you are in the world and depending on the programme you seek.
“Don’t push the river”
Having a more mindful life can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s a means of reducing the stresses, worries and anxieties of everyday living. For others, mindfulness provides the tools to help with depressive episodes or other vulnerabilities that can be part and parcel of our lives. For many, mindfulness offers a way to experience “being”, rather than “doing” mode of mind in their daily lives. For others, a regular mindfulness practice helps them to approach life with a different mindset.
In general, mindfulness teaches us to be with our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and habitual reactions and to relate to them in a different way than usual. MindWise offers a variety of mindfulness-based approaches that help you look at how your habitual ways of thinking can be an impediment to living a fuller, less stressful, and richer life.
The expression “don’t push the river” sums up how we are constantly just doing that – trying to fix things and wanting them to be different in any other way than the way they actually are right now. Mindfulness helps to bring us right into the flow of the river of life, where we can ride the currents, swirls, and the calm, still waters in balance and equanimity.
“MindWise” – helping to bring wisdom, clarity, space, and freedom to the overly busy and constantly thinking mind.