Meet our friend Cheryl…
Getting to know Cheryl over a cuppa
I visited Cheryl in her beautiful little Ovio Studio, tucked into lush Karori native bush.
So… Cheryl. Where are you from?
I’m from Wellington. I grew up here. I made my first job when I was 15 teaching the martial art Zen Do Kai to other kids. I spent 5 years in Sydney. Then I wanted to travel to all these exotic places, so I started teaching scuba diving — no difference from mindfulness actually — teaching people to breathe! That gave me 10 years in South East Asia, Egypt and the Cayman Islands.
Why did you come back?
Family. Well… actually my brother bought me a one way ticket home after I got the bends and couldn’t keep scuba diving.
From there I jumped into doing highly technical training with corporate healthcare companies — pathology analysers, all that kind of stuff (I’m a biochemist).
I wanted to use the Psychology part of my double major so I left corporate healthcare and started life coaching, continuing my psychology training in San Diego to develop my life coaching practice. I was doing really well at that. I decided to do some mindfulness to help my clients. I thought I knew everything and that it would be just for others. But learning mindfulness completely transformed my life. It also completely pulled the rug out from underneath all my other life coaching strategies. I started integrating mindfulness into my life and my life coaching work, using my psychology studies to make it sticky.
I got too busy doing one-on-one sessions, so I started doing group classes under the name “Mindfulness4U”.
Then people started saying
“I booked one of your courses out in the Hutt”.
“But I don’t teach there”
“Oh yeah, maybe it was ‘MindfulnessWorks’ or something”
I realised I needed a more distinctive name. I settled with “Ovio” — from Italian “Ovvio” meaning ‘clear or obvious’.
Teaching mindfulness feels like the most worthy way for me to be using my time — teaching people how to be more conscious and deliberate about how they live. When I was younger I protested any way I could to make the world a better place — I tied myself to trees, and I would have died to save a humpback whale. Now I feel the most effective thing is to work one heart at a time — there is so much potential for positive change in each person, which ripples out into communities and into the world.
When I was younger I protested any way I could to make the world a better place — I tied myself to trees, and I would have died to save a humpback whale.
Now I feel the most effective thing is to work one heart at a time — there is so much potential for positive change in each person, which ripples out into communities and into the world.
So what brought you to Mindfulness for Change?
I remember thinking “Wow yeah, really powerful” — to me, mindfulness is the most powerful change agent there is. To be able to live with more awareness allows us to change our own lives, those of people around us, and then the greater world. And it’s free to do — just like breathing!
And what has been the result of joining Mindfulness for Change for you?
Opportunities to collaborate — meeting people like Pete, Elli and loads of others— where I have a sense of shared purpose. Feelings of connection, community and support. Also being able to see mindfulness from so many different perspectives — learning so much from everyone else in the group. The diversity of people in the Mindfulness for Change community is pretty incredible.
I’ve been growing the Ovio community of Facilitators — I think they’d get lots out of a Mindfulness for Change Hui, and I think they’d have valuable contributions to the Mindfulness for Change community… I’m thinking about how this can happen.
Is there any help or support you would like from the community to take your project or event to the next level?
We need lots of facilitators to meet demand. If people want to do the 2.5 day course for professional or personal reasons I’d love to have you! We teach in Wellington, Auckland and Taupo.
We need facilitators nationwide — there’s a feeding frenzy for mindfulness training out there.
It’s in a lot of different contexts, so we’d love to train people from all different backgrounds — Education, Government, Tech, Legal, Not for Profit and many more… It’s a really adaptable course — add your own wisdom and experience. We’ve taught psychotherapists, Yogis, HR consultants, a dietician, students — the training style works well in many different contexts.
Once you finish you’ll have all the resources to run your own course — and there opportunities to co-teach to get started, and make up collaborative courses — we do regular training on a monthly basis to develop your personal and professional practice.