Sally Kellett – Director of Mirosuna
Mirosuna – the perfect moment to create space for change. It’s a word that you won’t find defined in any dictionary, but a concept that Mirosuna Founder and Director, Sally Kellett embraces and lives every day. With a studio in Melbourne, Sally, a sound meditation practitioner and meditation teacher has created a space where busy people can reconnect, recharge and create “more peace, perspective and purpose in their lives”.
Sally started her career like so many other women, running a thousand miles an hour, wanting to succeed in a demanding corporate job. From the get-go, doing multi-million dollar deals and working with highly-charged teams in the corporate arena was intoxicating; it consumed her. However, a few years in, Sally realised “I had everything I needed to be comfortable, and so did my colleagues, but no one was happy. I wasn’t happy”.
A wellness advocate from an early age, Sally knew things had to change. “I was kick-started to get seriously back into my wellness practice. I met a Buddhist practitioner at that time, and she changed my life. I finally found meaning, purpose and peace” says Sally. “It was then I realised that I couldn’t be happy unless the people around me were happy. Life becomes very sad when you realise you’re the only one that’s unlocked the keys to happiness. So, I made it my intention to help others on their journey; that’s when Mirosuna was born”.
Mindfulness and meditation – are they the same?
“I always explain to my students that mindfulness is a way of life,” says Sally. “The definition of mindfulness to me is the awareness of your mind, your body and your speech. So, the mind – what are you thinking? What’s the quality of the thoughts running through your mind? Are they good or bad? Perhaps you’re jealous or angry? Do you feel frustrated or are you kind, generous and filled with love?”
Sally believes that in living a mindful life, we are merely “strengthening our mental capacity and the tools and techniques in our minds that ultimately lead us to a path of happiness”.
For many, mindfulness starts with meditation, and of late there seems such a focus on meditating, equating that simple act as living mindfully. When I ask Sally, she reminds me that meditation is only one mindful tool. “Meditation alongside things like yoga, gratitude, journaling, anything repetitious, like fishing, for example is a type of mindfulness. Meditation is just one way to practice mindfulness”.
According to Sally, “the biggest problem with people thinking mindfulness equals meditation, is that they say they don’t have the time to practice mindfulness. Naturally, you don’t because no one has time to practice meditating 24-7, but you have time to practice mindfulness all day every day”.
Coping with Adversity
Sally encourages all of her students to pursue a mindful life. She believes that embracing a meditative mindfulness practice can help during adversity. So much so that during the recent Coronavirus lock-down, two distinct groups of people emerged. “Some people have handled the stillness well,” reflects Sally. “They’ve been able to stay grounded and connect with the stillness. But others who didn’t have strong mindfulness coming into this period have not coped with the tension, rumours, the statistics and bad news. It’s like, they’ve let themselves get carried away. One thing we all shared, however, was the uncertainty”.
According to Sally, when living a more mindful life, one thing that becomes clear is that you “don’t worry about what you can’t control”. It’s a philosophy Sally embraces and her favourite mantra. “If you can control it, don’t worry. And if you can’t control it, don’t worry.”
Of course, it’s not always easy to embrace such an attitude, so Sally’s tip, especially during the tough times, is to “consider if a mindfulness practice is something you’re ready to pursue. It may change your life, so when adversity hits again, you have a daily practice that will help you navigate it more easily”.
A simple way to start – “go and do something that you like for two to five minutes” suggests Sally. “Put away your phone, forget everything else and focus on it wholly and solely. Then come back to your job or where ever you’re at and see how you feel about yourself”.
Benefits of a mindful life
A quick Google search will tell you that if you practice mindfulness you’ll reduce stress, increase focus, become calmer, happier and then there are the health benefits like lower blood pressure, improved sleep – the list goes on.
I ask Sally how a mindful life has impacted her. “Our brain can’t rationalise some information correctly”, says Sally. “It has to process information and decide if something is okay or not okay. It has to weigh up fear, harm, risk and sometimes confuses these things, causing us to create stress where there shouldn’t be stress. So, being mindful can help strengthen your fight response, for example. One of the most significant benefits I’ve ever experienced is when things go wrong, my body and my mind is ready to stick it out and calmly ride through it; this rather than getting flustered and feeling anxious. As you start to build your mindfulness practise, that’s a huge one.
“Number two – I have a lot of clients that come to my meditation or sound meditation sessions who are insomniacs; they can’t sleep. There’s a lot of reasons why people can’t sleep, of course, but in my sessions, through learning the techniques, they’re able to achieve better quality sleep. They’re learning how to process the thoughts in their minds.
“The third benefit is everyone becomes happier. Part of being human is that we want to be happy. I truly believe that we’re all on the pursuit of happiness, but unfortunately, the mind plays tricks on us. It’s filled with fallacies that can make you move in the direction of negativity, thinking negative thoughts all of the time. However, if you have a mindfulness practice that is strong enough, you can cut through that. You become aware of it, and then you deal with it, and it can change your life”.
Sally’s mindful routine
I’m curious to understand Sally’s mindful routine and how she builds her life around this premise. “I don’t sit chanting,” she laughs. “I don’t always sit down to meditate in silence either. I’m the most prominent advocate of active meditation, which simply means doing the dishes without thinking of other things, for example, or doing my gardening without thinking other thoughts. When I wake up, I like to spend my day being an emotional centre of calm. During the day if people piss me off, or I get angry, I’ve always got a reference point to come back to, which is a state of calm.
“My day goes something like this. I wake up and get moving. I’ll go to my garden, sweep my leaves or water my plants. I’ll walk around looking at every single plant, how it’s grown and or how much it’s dying. I always start my day with something I enjoy. I’ll never start my day with a meeting that I know has the potential to make me angry. And if I do, I always make sure I’ve doubled down on my mindfulness.
“At night time, no matter what time I finished work or life, I always make time with my husband and just chill out. Another exercise I do is reflect on my day. All the things that I did well, the good things that happened in my day. I count my blessings and recount what I’m grateful for. These practices also give me a chance to stop thinking about negative things, unhappy things or things that might keep me awake and stressed. It lets me have a better sleep”.
Working into her side-hustle
While Mirosuna is still a side-hustle for Sally, she needs to approach each of her jobs with the same purpose and determination. “Having a side-hustle is challenging, but it’s very doable”, says Sally. “It’s important to me that I’m giving both my job and my side-hustle my all. When it comes to a point where I can no longer do that, it will be the time I’m going to transition to Mirosuna fully.
“Setting boundaries is critical. When you’re doing your day job, be there. Set a time to work on your side hustle and stick to that. Be present one-hundred percent. People ask me all the time how I do this? How can they do both things? What I say to that is, first of all, they don’t have to love their day job. It does not have to be their passion, but it is a means to an end and will get them to where they want to go; because of that, we honour it, we commit to it. We still love it because it serves its purpose. So, we don’t need it, but we embrace it.
“I think it’s vital that when you’re starting your side hustle or your business, you have to be very chronological in what you do. It’s easy to get excited about every component of starting a business, and it’s just as easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by every element of starting. The most important thing, in my opinion, is making sure you have chronological steps to follow.
“Don’t jump the gun and try and build something when you don’t know if it works. So, for women who are considering starting something, validate your ideas first. Talk to friends after work, start surveying people, ask your ideal customer or people around you, your network, their thoughts. As an entrepreneur, you want to fail fast”.
What to expect at Mirosuna
Mirosuna is now open for business, and Sally assures me that clients will be surprised at how easy it is to practice mindfulness. “They’re going to get a bit of a surprise when they come to Mirosuna and realise that mindfulness is something you can practice anywhere, anytime. As long as you have the right mental tools and techniques, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in class or not. Mirosuna does it differently”.
Sally has techniques learned over many years and specialises in the use of singing bowls made of crystals, platinum and gold. I’m told they sound amazing, and the beautiful resonance and sound will have your brain so curious that it naturally gravitates towards the sound letting go of all other thoughts, helping you relax.
Several practitioners offer classes from the space. Find out what’s on here.
Just before Coronavirus shut down almost everything, Sally launched an online course called Mindfulness Fundamentals. Meeting online in a live event every Sunday morning for four weeks, Sally runs a two-hour workshop. There’s a chance for group discussion and there’s homework set in the private Facebook chat during the week.
“I created a course aimed at people who are trying to get into mindfulness or perhaps have heard of it, are interested but don’t know where to start,” says Sally. “Even people who’ve been practising for a while but not getting life-changing results join in. Primarily, I’m teaching them what mindfulness is about and how it applies to your whole life.
“Most importantly, I give people my three steps to practising mindfulness so that they can structure it themselves. They finish the course, knowing what to do next, how to build on their practice and how to have life-changing results. Some of my clients already have life-changing results even after the first two hours. It took me ten years to get life-changing results, and I’m able to teach it in one class, so it’s pretty amazing. It’s profound. The messages I wake up to every day from my students are wonderful. I’m so humble that it can change someone’s life this much”.
Mirosuna is running from 22 June 2020 – Events
For more information on Mindfulness Fundamentals click here
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