You might imagine silence being the predominant feature of a mindfulness workshop. Wrong! Last week ­– teaching at the Camden Society where Breathworks is delivering a mini Mindfulness for Health intervention as part of a longer back-to-work course being run in conjunction with the DWP – we were treated to a ukulele rendition by participant Dan which touched us all. 

We’re frequently sold an idea that happiness is something outside of ourselves – a far-away (and usually unreachable) tropical island or a winning lottery ticket the likelihood of winning is virtually zero. Here, as advertising exec Don Draper reminds us in the hit TV series Mad Men: ‘Happiness is the moment before you need more happiness’.  One important aspect of Breathworks courses is discovering pleasure in the small, everyday things things around us. In a sort of ‘show and tell’ we invite participants to bring in a small selection of personal objects which are pleasant to touch, smell, taste, feel or listen to. Whenever I do this exercise people are always amazed at the sense of wellbeing they derive from simply finding pleasure in the ‘everyday’  – the fragrance of essential oils, the sensual touch of a particular material, or in this case, the sound of a ukulele.  As Dan said afterwards: ‘When the world ends, and all the lights have gone out, I’ll still be able to play myself a tune on the ukulele’. 

Ben Hoff