Una Keeley is a professional MBSR Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor. She is the founder and owner of Mindfulness Wexford. Training Adults (including Executives, Managers & Staff ) to De-Stress with Mindfulness Stress Reduction Skills. Una is a HSE approved Mindfulness Instructor, training HSE staff in mindfulness. (Irish Health Services Executive). She offers Courses & Workshops to the general public and the corporate sector.
Una has been practicing meditation for 25 years. She is a professional member of The Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland (MTAI) and adheres to The Irish Good Practice Guidelines for Teaching Mindfulness-Based Courses. Una is a trained MBSR Mindfulness Instructor with the Institute for Mindfulness Based Approaches, IMA Germany.
In 2021 the National Concert Hall of Ireland, specially commissioned Una to create a New Mindfulness & Music Listening Track . This is a Deep Listening collaborative work with Musician/composer Nick Roth.
Una is also a professional Artist with a Masters in Art Education. She has designed educational programmes for arts organisations and institutions for over 25 years. Including 15 years with The Irish Museum of Modern Art. Her background includes a Masters in Art Education, an Honors Degree in ceramics, and a Diploma in illustration for children’s books. Una designs and offers courses which combine Mindfulness and Creativity; exploring divergent thinking, ways of attending, poetic perception and creative response.
(*MBSR= Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction as pionered by Jon Kabat Zinn )
At 7 years of age I decided I wanted to become an artist. My father was a self employed resourceful builder. He worked with all sorts of interesting materials and encouraged each of my siblings and I, to be courageous, inventive explorers. Putty, nails, wood, poly-filler, insulation tape and gloss paint, were exciting materials we were encouraged to handle, investigate and play with. My mother taught us to sew, knit, crochet, bake, invent and question everything. Every Christmas Santa would fill our stockings with coloring books, paints, pencils and ‘Flying Eagle oil pastels’. We lived in Dublin, so we could get BBC on our television in the 1970’s. This meant Tony Heart, Vision-On and Blue Peter were all accessible, and watched religiously. Egg boxes, washing-up liquid bottles and cornflakes boxes, were the raw materials of rockets & dreams. And after school I would sit quietly with my mum, creating elaborate doodles on the covers of my school copy books.
From an early age, I recognized the freedoms that came with being an artist. The freedom to touch, look, question, investigate, explore, feel, create, and express that which had been experienced. I valued these freedoms and gravitated towards others who held them dearly. I resisted the internal and external pressures to fit into a defined box, and championed at every turn, an inherent drive to keep evolving.
This internal drive has fueled an interesting journey to say the least, and has allowed for a life of rich creative experiences. From being a professional painter, gallery manager, singer, songwriter, jeweler, ceramist, graphic artist and public sculptor… to designing educational programmes for the Irish Museum of Modern Art (15 years), the Department of Justice, Barnardos, The Ark, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council, The Department of Education and many more.
Working with so many people in so many contexts had it’s challenges, and demanded increasing levels of personal awareness, and presence of mind. This led me to search for answers, as to how the mind works. I read many books on psychology, spirituality, Buddhism, zen and meditation. I practiced yoga and developed a meditation practice. Each of these areas of study added greatly to my understanding. However, it was when I read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, that the penny dropped and significant questions were answered. This led me to the field of mindfulness, a greater understanding of meditation, and a clarity of how to apply the lessons of mindfulness & meditation to daily life.
The practice of Mindfulness has been the single most important skill, I have learnt, implemented and taught, in my entire adult career, there is nothing more fundamental, trans-formative and life enhancing, than the practice of Mindfulness. It underpins EVERYTHING else.
The Mindfulness & Creativity Connection
As a practicing artist, the relationship between creativity and mindfulness has been apparent to me for many years. The states of mind which inhibit and enhance mindfulness, are the same states of mind which inhibit & enhance creativity. The first time I heard someone try to acknowledge this in writing, was about 25 years ago, in Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. For many years I’ve searched for other authors. It is only recently however, that the relationship of the two fields is beginning to be acknowledged and explored. (Check out Resources Page)
Mindfulness and Creativity are the ultimate duo. They act as a natural ballast to each-other. They help the mind find balance in the midst of seeming chaos, prevent rigid thinking patterns from blinding our vision, and offer a playful way of re-engaging with life again. When we apply mindfulness & creativity simultaneously to life, we find love, joy and giggles begin to fill every moment. In order to experience this inner joy …… we must learn to be present, moment by moment by moment … learn to arrive home, to turn up for our life, as it is happening, and apply radical compassionate for ourselves, in each and every moment. It is through this process that we become peaceful, playful, perceptive participants in life.
The journey so far has led me to the experience of ‘Now’ and the emergence of ‘Mindfulness Wexford‘, an educational resource exploring the trans-formative powers of Mindfulness, and the potent connection between mindfulness & creativity.
My task now is to stay present and watch as it unfolds moment by moment by moment … and not a second before …!!!
THRESHOLD WITH A PURPOSE
If you’re in the The Book Cafe & Bistro Gorey … check out this doorway which I was commissioned to create for John Wiseman a little while ago for his precious books section in his beautiful Book Shop… It is inspired by St Manchans Shrine in the National Museum of Ireland … it was a pleasure to design and work on… a little piece of cultural capital.
In 2021 the National Concert Hall of Ireland, Commissioned Una to create a
New Mindfulness & Music Listening Track
What Is “Take Notice”?
“Take Notice” is a new meditative listening experience. An experiment in music & mindfulness. A new 20 min listening track commissioned by the National Concert Hall of Ireland (NCA).
“In Ireland and across the world, we are living through a phase of change. Of re-emergence. Of lifting our heads above the water for our first tentative breaths, as the waves of a pandemic relax their push and pull. Where do we find ourselves now? And how might music and mindfulness help us navigate this time?” (NCH)
The winter of 2020 / 2021 the NCH approached myself and a musician with an idea: to work together and create a piece of music that explores the interplay of music and mindfulness, and how the two can work together as equal players to create an audio experience. The third equal player is you, the listener, bringing yourself to the track.
Musician/composer Nick Roth and myself embraced the challenge, working collaboratively to create a new listening piece inspired by the idea of “taking notice”.
We hope you enjoy the following piece, which includes a performance of the final movement from 13 Changes (1986) by Pauline Oliveros. We recommend using headphones and a calm space.
“We have created this “Take Notice” track, as an invitation, to consciously turn the attention towards the act of listening; awakening our innate capacity to hear and ‘take note’ of the soundscape around us. Our Attention is one of our most precious gifts. When we purposely turn our attention towards the act of listening, a myriad of sonic qualities can begin revealing themselves to us. Sounds which were previously unheard come into greater focus, available now to be relished and savored. This track is an intimate weaving together of music, sonic sounds and the voice. It guides the listener on a deep meditative listening experience. The ear, mind, heart & body are all invited to engage in the act of listening. Collaborating with Nick was an absolute pleasure. What has emerged from this collaboration is something quite unique. I am truly grateful to the NCH for commissioning this work. May this track encourage you to Pause, Relax & Trust as you take time out of your day to Listen Mindfully & Deeply”.
*For the High Fidelity version of Track listen on SoudCloud
“In truth, music is neither sound nor silence, but the act of listening itself. The world that we are making today however, now threatens to stop listening to us. Projects such as this propose that music, a sensitivity to deep pattern in the world, offers us a hope of participating in an evolution that includes ourselves. When I first received the invitation from the NCH to create this piece, I immediately thought of Pauline Oliveros’ pioneering work in the field of Deep Listening and felt it apt that the listening experience should culminate with a performance of one of her scores. Flautist Claire Chase, for whom Pauline was an incredibly important mentor figure, recommended 13 Changes, and the final movement leapt out from the page: ‘Directionless motion— Unquiet stillness—A moment alone with millions of people—Calming the waters—The aura of a blackbird.’ Working with Una and the NCH on this project was an absolute joy throughout, and I very much hope that this short meditation offers you a brief moment of calm, and a glimpse into the inner riches that are always waiting for us to take the time to notice them.”
*For the High Fidelity version of Track listen on SoudCloud
Una Keeley – Mindfulness Wexford. www.mindfulnessandcreativity.ie
Una is a registered member of the Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland, the professional body representing qualified teachers of Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Ireland.
Nick Roth – Musician/Composer. www.nickrothmusic.com
For more information on Pauline Oliveros and her work in Deep Listening ®, please visit www.paulineoliveros.us and www.deeplistening.org
You may also like to listen or subscribe to the Mindfulness Meditation Podcast on Apple Podcasts
Time Well Spent and a Silver Lining
During 2020-2021, when it was not possible to teach In-person MBSR courses, Una spent the time (3,500 hours) designing and programming an Interactive Personal Dashboard for participants taking the Gold Standard MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course). This is the first of its kind globally. She now offers the MBSR course LIVE Online. Training is now enhanced, with 24/7 access to a Personal Interactive Online MBSR Course Dashboard (Containing all course materials, Including Guided Meditations, Exercise Worksheets, over 100 Instructor Videos, Reading material, Home Practice Instructions, Weekly Log-sheets and Full Course Manual. This is the only LIVE Online MBSR Course offering this comprehensive Level of support for participants taking the MBSR course Online.
Live Online MBSR
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
with Una Keeley of Mindfulness Wexford
The 8-week Stress Reduction training programme recommended by Doctors & Counselors
The Gold Standard of Mindfulness Courses