Cultivating Connections – a share project


Teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction


Late last year I embarked on a new adventure with my mindfulness teaching by training to be a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher as part of my business Melbourne Mindfulness Foundation. Other than feeding my love for facilitating groups and supporting people to build their capacity to improve their health and wellbeing, it has also been an opportunity to be exposed to some great poems and quotes. As a quote junkie, nothing delights me more (other than a strong hot chocolate) than a new quote that makes me smile, laugh or gives me a fresh perspective.

When I read something that really resonates with me – it could be a line in a book, newspaper article or journal, or a quote – I write it down in a little book given to me by one of my oldest and best friends, Dhakshy. It sits under my bed and I regularly draw on it for inspiration.

I thought I’d share some of my favourite lines and quotes that relate to mindfulness in this blog article. If you’ve done one of our courses you’ve probably seen some of these in the course books and worksheets! I’m sure you have your own favourite quotes as well – feel free to email me and I’ll include them in a revised version of this article.

“We can approach our lives as an experiment. In the next moment, in the next hour, we could choose to stop, to slow down, to be still for a few seconds. We could experiment with interrupting the usual chain reaction, and not spin off in the usual way.”   –Pema Chodron


“It is both possible and something of an adventure in self-discovery to learn that through becoming aware, we can relate quite differently to our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and impulses – in other words, to our experience of being alive.”   – Segal, Williams and Teasdale


“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  -Marcel Proust


“When you look at thoughts as just thoughts, purposely not reacting to their content and to their emotional charge, you become at least a little freer from their attraction or repulsion.”  -Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn


“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring.”  – George Santayana


“For as long as you are breathing, there is more right than wrong with you.”  –Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn


“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, or deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead do meditation as an act of love.” -Bob Sharples

Roger David and Taro Cash


Last month I wrote to Roger David and Tarocash. I bought some clothes for my brothers for Christmas from these stores and wanted to know whether what I was buying from them was made ethically.  Here’s what I emailed them:

My initial email/Facebook post to each clothing brand:

Hi there, I bought a voucher for my brother from your northland (vic) store a couple of weeks ago – he looks forward to spending up at one of your stores. When I was in your northland store, I asked the sales assistant whether she knew whether people that produced the clothes in China received a fair wage. She didn’t have any information on this. I have since gone onto your website and can’t find any information on ethical sourcing. Can you provide me with some info on whether people who produce the clothing Roger David sells receive a fair wage and work in safe conditions? What does Roger David do to ensure the clothing they sell is made with regard to people’s human rights? I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to email me on with any information you have. Thanks again, Alana


Roger David’s response:

Thank you for your post on our facebook. I’m glad you believe in ethical standards in production- just as we do. We think it is vital for any business. Most of our clothing is produced in China and we have built our relationships with our suppliers for years. We have a group of buyers whom travel to the suppliers factories every year to ensure the practises are ethical. We ensure the factories meet the occupational health standards and the workers receive a fair wage.
My reply: 
Thanks for getting back to me Melissa, Are there any specific standards the factories meet to ensure human rights are protected?
Roger David’s response:

Thank you for your follow up email. I will have to pass you onto one of our buyers, he’ll know a little more. He is currently on annual leave however can answer your questions when he gets back.


Learn to Meditate courses commence in Preston in 2016!


Is 2016 going to be the year you learn to meditate? If so, keep reading!

Melbourne Mindfulness Foundation is running their first course open to the general public from February 2016.

Date: 5 week Learn to Meditate course commencing on 1 February

Location: Suite 5, 27 Enfield Avenue, Preston

Register for the 5 week Learn to Meditate course in Preston by visiting here.




David Jones – every product ethically sourced?!


Well this article made my day a few months ago!

“Shoppers will one day walk into David Jones and be completely surrounded by ethically made and sourced products, whether fashion, cosmetics or electronics, says the department store chain’s boss.

Chief executive Ian Nairn has launched David Jones’ ethical sourcing program and supplier code of conduct, saying he wants to see all 1600 brands eventually become sustainable, environmentally friendly, and child and slave-labour free.”


Read more here:

Review – no longer an accredited ECA brand


Thanks to Ivy for pointing out that I’m yet to update my blog about Review no longer being accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia.

Earlier this year I went on my annual shopping trip for work clothes.  I had a couple of vouchers for Westfield so the plan was to go to my local Westfield shopping centre. I’m usually limited with my clothing options at a Westfield – I can’t say with confidence that those involved in the production of the clothes sold at the stores at Westfield receive a fair wage or work in safe conditions – so it’s not something I look forward to. The plan was to visit CUE, Veronika Maine and Review as they are all certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.

I discovered on this shopping trip that Review is no longer certified by Ethical Clothing Australia. I first noticed that the tags on the clothing made no mention of the certification. This prompted me to ask the sales assistant about the certification – unfortunately she knew nothing about it! When I returned home, I emailed Ethical Clothing Australia and they confirmed what I had suspected – Review had taken the production of their clothing offshore and so had lost their accreditation. Below is the email I received.

The good news is that my shopping trip was successful in that I picked up two pieces of clothing from CUE. The black pants and dress I bought have served me well the past nine months!

Roque Grillo <>

Jan 6

to Sigrid, me
Hi Alana

Thank you so much for your email.

Unfortunately Review were de-accredited in October 2013 when the company confirmed to ECA that it had taken their remaining local production off-shore.

Best Regards

Roque Grillo
Ethical Clothing Australia

Mindfulness without barriers


Mindfulness Without Barriers – removing the barriers to accessing yoga and meditation courses


A group of women from the program.

Most suburbs in Australia offer a yoga class or meditation course. Unfortunately many Australians in these suburbs are unable to participate in a yoga class and/or enrol in a meditation course, with cost and location of courses and classes, as well as cultural differences being barriers to access.

I wasn’t aware of this until I attended yoga classes and a meditation course in a suburb I had recently moved to. My fellow yogis and meditators were mostly Anglo-Saxon and middle-class – they certainly did not represent the multicultural, diverse community I lived in.

To address this, I trained to be a yoga and meditation teacher and set up a social enterprise called Melbourne Mindfulness Foundation. For the past two and a half years, I have partnered with local councils and schools to run affordable and conveniently located yoga and meditation programs for migrant women (many of which came to Australia as refugees) who live in public housing estates in Carlton and Collingwood. Without this program, these women would not have the opportunity to experience the benefits of yoga and meditation.


yoga-23All members of the community should be able to experience the benefits of mindfulness through meditation and yoga and this is what Melbourne Mindfulness Foundation seeks to address. Read more about the benefits and outcomes of the program here.