After obtaining my master’s degree in Criminology, I started working for several years as a social worker for disadvantaged youngsters offering vocational workshops to young people between 6 and 25 years old with difficult socioeconomic backgrounds.
Later on, while travelling for some years around South East Asia, I became fascinated by Eastern spirituality. On the basis of self-study, I started to learn more about it. Reading books and watching documentaries helped me to understand a few subjects theoretically. But following yoga and meditation classes helped me experience difficult bodily sensations and challenging emotions or thoughts and get to use new tools to deal with them. That is how I discovered meditation as a form of self-care.
But the turnaround came after a 10 days silent retreat that I did years ago after a huge heartbreak. This retreat taught me a lot about my behavioural patterns and the negative spiral my mind could be caught in. The causes of my suffering were clearer, but I also realised quickly that it is a lifetime learning process instead of a quick fix.
After this experience my life changed and I decided to follow this path vigorously. It was so helpful that I wondered how I could share this knowledge to help others. That is when I decided to become a mindfulness trainer.
I started by giving meditation classes as a volunteer for refugee women's circles. Working with a lot of activists, made me also very interested in the link between mindfulness and social change, but also embodied activism and how we can bring clarity regarding the importance of self-care in social movements. Often there is this idea that mindfulness is concentrating only on the self and wouldn’t go hand in hand with fighting social injustices. As best as I can I try to share the idea of interpersonal mindfulness, by being in a constant learning and exchanging process with colleagues from different sectors.
I always had a lot of interest in communities that are not so familiar with mindfulness. Especially black and brown bodies. Being raised by a Congolese father and a Polish mother, both political refugees, I find it important to share mindfulness practices that help recognising difficulties as well as practising loving kindness to accept ourselves as we are and forgive others. Growing up in a country where I was part of the minority was challenging in many ways. That is why heartfulness is as important as mindfulness to me.
I work around racialized trauma and for this trained with Resmaa Menakem on somatic abolitionism and with David Treleaven on trauma-sensitive mindfulness.
It is important to realise that mindfulness is not only an individual process and that we can also create community-engaged mindfulness.