Amy Ward Brimmer

Amy Ward Brimmer photoMoving Into Mindfulness: Embodied Spiritual Living
by Amy Ward Brimmer of Way Opens Center

From the very beginning, one of the things about Quakerism that resonated strongly in me was our history of sensuality and vibrant physicality as a sign of spiritual depth and authenticity. When early Friends were filled with the Spirit, it wasn’t an intellectual concept – it was a whole body experience. The power of Divine connection was so intense that they shook, and hence our nickname.

As a teacher of Alexander Technique, Qigong, and insight meditation, my calling is to remind Friends of this practical, body-based mysticism. I seek to help us re-member (literally) the practice of centered, energetic listening for Spirit, and the opening of our hearts to recognize what that feels like. This is an experience available to each and to all, and which comes from within. It can move and guide us both within worship and, more importantly, in daily living.

It has been my experience that movement practices such as Qigong, tai chi, and yoga affect positively the quality of worship or meditation. People find it easier to settle or “center down” when they are more present and accepting of their physical selves. I’ve also noticed that we tend to speak more authentically (in and out of formal worship), make decisions more easily and with more clarity, and do less harm to ourselves and others when we are as fully present in our body-minds as we can be.

My ministry is simple: to bring to Friends (and the general public) what has helped me and what I enjoy doing. I am not different from anyone, not a special case. I am a completely average human being who found help and healing and joy from learning how to be present with myself – through directly experiencing my body in the here and now.

I also want to help folks understand that this divinity is intrinsic and constant, which means it is not limited to formal worship, or any certain set of beliefs, but is always available, anywhere. It is, in the words of Brother Lawrence, the practice of the Presence. Whether in prayer, doing the laundry, giving a speech, or playing a game, we can show up, slow down, get real.

I have always worked with people individually, and I have taught many groups various things (Alexander, childbirth preparation, Tarot and Jungian Archetypes, and so on). About 3 years ago I began developing a workshop and class series called Moving Into Mindfulness. This work is a culmination of everything I have personally studied, practiced, and taught for about 25 years. It combines Vipassana (Insight) meditation, Qigong, and Alexander Technique, inviting participants to meet themselves just as they are. It is highly adaptable to various group sizes and locations, and can be done in a format as brief as 2 hours, or as long as a whole week. It can be a half day, full day, or weekend workshop or a weekly series. The emphasis might be tailored for Quakers and other spiritual seekers, or it could be approached in a purely secular way.

My goal is to bring this work to as many people as possible, while not going broke trying to do so.