“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”
― A.A. Milne
Mindfulness can no longer be seen as just a trend— it has now become a cultural phenomenon. The mindfulness and meditation industry has now reached over $1 billion in the U.S. alone. As with anything that gains in popularity (and in this case, a new collective welcome I’m grateful for) there will be an influx of devotees and experts. Now, my sincere hope is that because the benefits of mindfulness and mindfulness-meditation are so incredible, those who have experienced such only want to share in their found experience and knowledge. Certainly, that is what happened to me. That is why I changed careers and life-trajectories to become a mindfulness and meditation instructor. And, there is certainly enough suffering in the world to accommodate for anyone who wants to share these practices. Unfortunately though, mindfulness is an unregulated industry and despite the efforts of many new and established teachers and organizations to maintain best practice, there will be many who disregard the sanctity of these ancient traditions— even if bringing them into the modern, more secular world.
Mindfulness is an embodiment practice— a lived experience. When looking for a teacher, it is important to find a practitioner for whom mindfulness isn’t just a method or means, but instead a way of life. Mindfulness is like any skill you wish to learn. Would you hire a soccer coach who has never played, but instead just talks about game theory? Or, perhaps a piano teacher who no longer practices? I think not. You want them to understand their skill— their medium—inside and out. You want them to believe in what they are teaching with both intensity and humility.
For me, mindfulness is just that… a way of life. Since coming to the practice, my life has profoundly changed. It has changed for the better, and in ways that is hard to briefly describe here. But, incase you are interested in the “fuller story,” I wrote a few paragraphs about it (just scroll). And, if you’re interested in the more “corporate story,” I wrote that too (keep scrollin’ some more…).
Now, since I was aiming for brevity (unfortunately, I think that ship sailed a few paragraphs back…) I’ve compiled a list of my qualifications as a mindfulness and meditation instructor which you can find below. And finally, of course, I always want you to keep in mind that mindfulness is free. In order to practice, you just have to stop and practice. It is as innate and immediate as taking a breath. You don’t need me to do that. But, should you want encouragement, guidance and support along the way… it would be my honor and joy to provide it.
I hope to practice with you soon.
I am Qualified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as designated by the University of California San Diego Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (UCSD MBPTI).
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LMSW) with a Masters of Science (M.S.) from Columbia University, and additionally hold a Masters of Music (M.M.-Temple Univ) and a Bachelors of Music (B.M.-Ithaca College), with honors.
I have 700 hours of formal mindfulness facilitation training, to date have cumulatively spent months practicing mindfulness-meditation on silent retreat, and continue to go on such retreats for a week or more every year.
I’ve trained with Breathworks UK and seminars taught by renowned teachers Jack Kornfield and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Since I believe learning is life-long, I’m always seeking to enhance my knowledge and understanding of the practice.
I was lucky enough to spend 1.5 years teaching and studying throughout East and Southeast Asia— what many consider the birthplace of mindfulness-meditation.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve had a practice for over a decade now— I hold a daily mindfulness practice both formally, sitting in mindfulness-meditation, and informally trying to incorporate mindfulness into all of my life.
I believe in these practices, and it is my sincere wish that I may help bring them to you.
There is both a profound wisdom and trepidation in stillness. I am lucky enough today to know both, yet until about a decade ago I only knew the latter. I was only able to recognize the unease that can come when we are forced to be with things exactly as they are. I spent the first 20+ years of my life in fear— running from this unease, running from stillness. My highly-sensitive soul, coupled with my high-performing ego, found it difficult to experience the glorious unpredictability of life. So, I ran. Or, more appropriately, I numbed. I numbed with busyness, obsessiveness, habits of excess and scarcity, and relentless judgement. I did anything I could to keep from feeling. At the time I was pursuing a career as a professional opera singer— a profession that is all about conveying emotion. Ironically, I wanted to feel none. I guess I really was an excellent actor, for as soon as I finished portraying needs, wants and desires onstage, the second I got off I constantly suppressed my own.
The problem with a run, duck and hide approach to feeling is that we can neither control nor banish our emotions. For better, or worse, they are here to stay. And, contrary to common belief, we cannot selectively numb. That’s right folks… if we numb the bad, we also numb the good. Feelings are not selectable. And thus, in my quest to rid myself of anything unpleasant, I also began to rid my life of everything pleasant.
As you can imagine, since I am here today, the difficulty of my situation was finally enough to elicit me to change. What I was doing was not working. And so in time I began to shift my experience with therapy, building healthy relationships, movement, purposeful work, and mindfulness.
Now, I wish that I could tell you that mindfulness was my complete cure-all. Surely though, it was not. I do not believe there is such a thing as a cure-all. Creating a life worth living takes many detailed pieces. What mindfulness and a meditation practice was though, was the final piece of the puzzle. It was the accessory that pulled each intricacy together. With mindfulness, I was finally able to implement everything I had conceptualized. I was finally able to let go of the perfectionism that was keeping me from honoring any aspect of my life. I was finally able to move out of fear, and into my life. In gradually learning how to be present for all aspects of my life— good, bad and inbetween— I was finally able to be alive.
The “Official” Bio
Hilary Bucell’s journey into mindfulness and meditation began over a decade ago when she was introduced to the practices as a way to cope with life’s stress. Having changed her profoundly, Hilary has now made it her life’s work to expose others to the powerful effect mindfulness can have.
To date, Hilary has had over 700 hours of mindfulness facilitation training, and cumulatively has spent over a month practicing meditation on silent retreat. Specifically, Hilary received training in mindfulness facilitation from the UC San Diego Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute in the United States, and spent one and a half years teaching and studying throughout East and Southeast Asia. Additionally she has trained through Breathworks UK and seminars taught by renowned mindfulness teachers Jack Kornfield and Jon Kabat-Zinn. She holds a daily mindfulness-meditation practice and is a regular practitioner of hatha yoga. Annually, Hilary goes on silent retreat.
Hilary is currently a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), holding a M.S. from Columbia University (USA) where she was part of the select Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training lab, and received the Overbrook Fellowship for Advanced Studies in Clinical Social Work Practice. In addition to her work as a mindfulness-based wellness professional, Hilary is a classically trained opera singer, having performed both throughout the United States and Europe. She holds a Master of Music from Temple University (USA) and a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College (USA), magna cum laude. Aside from her performance career, Hilary has held positions in Venture Capital, Private Equity and Real Estate. Such a varied background enables her to work skillfully with clients from a multitude of areas ranging from non-profits to tech start-ups. Her performance training, coupled with her business expertise, finds Hilary as a poised, highly engaging speaker and sought-after corporate trainer.
Remarkable. Hilary has been a great teacher and wonderfully supportive, especially when needed.D.T.
It was a great pleasure to join [Hilary’s] class. I really like the manner in which she manages the class, and enjoy the teachings as well as the inquiry component. [She] made me feel very relaxed, invited and accepted. This is a very special gift that few people have.J.G.
Hilary was a fantastic teacher. I greatly appreciated her guidance throughout the course.B.G.
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