What concerns me most in this world is that people can live life to the fullest and use their resources in the best possible way.
That’s why I left university studies and instead trained as a bodyworker with focus on shiatsu and acupuncture at the time in 2002, to help people with stress and chronic pain. I also became an instructor of taichichuan.
My big problem was this: I did not understand why some patients got better and some did not. So I furthered my education in the following years in Stockholm, Oslo, New York, São Paulo, London and Vienna to better understand the connection between body, mind and heart.
I learned a lot, but I just kept finding more questions. And to top it off I also developed chronic pain myself from repetetive strain! At one time I was so disheartened by the bad science in the bodywork field that I went back to university to graduate as an English teacher instead.
Light in the tunnel
However, I couldn’t forget my passion for helping pain patients, and eventually discovered an online think tank for physiotherapists and other chronic pain specialists called SomaSimple. This powerhouse of knowledge made me realize that I was not the only one with questions about chronic pain. Actually, it was a crisis in the whole medical field. And SomaSimple was a place of scientific scrutiny, where defunct theories came to die, while a few new ones emerged based on critical thinking and evidence.
I am eternally grateful to the knowledge and training I have had with physiotherapists Diane Jacobs and Barrett Dorko from SomaSimple, and the continuing relationship with them and other pain educators internationally and in Norway. I am also grateful that the medical understanding of pain has evolved so much in twenty years, spearheaded by people like Lorimer Moseley, David Butler, VS Ramachandran, and Adrian Louw.
So I came back to doing bodywork, and have now a clinic again.
Spiraling back to mindfulness
I have practiced mindfulness since high school and unfaithfully explored many contemplative traditions. When doing my shiatsu and acupuncture training, daily meditation was encouraged. And indeed both shiatsu and taichichuan are traditionally regarded as mindfulness practices.
My search for a comprehensive and systematic mindfulness approach eventually lead me into becoming a personal student of Shinzen Young, and I went deeply into his Unified Mindfulness system. This system is well known to be particularly suitable for helping chronic pain patients. It is also famous for its scientific approach, its elegant teaching method and how it can be easily adapted to individual needs.
Becoming a mindfulness teacher
As the first in Norway, I started teaching Unified Mindfulness in 2008. Since that time, I have taught mindfulness at the Norwegian Sports Academy for physical education teachers, students and teachers in primary school, in corporations, to my patients, in retreats, and many other arenas.
I live in a small village near the forest in the Norwegian countryside, and enjoy permaculture gardening, playing the guitar and making music.
My own mindfulness teacher
The Unified Mindfulness system was created by Shinzen Young, an internationally renowned meditation teacher with more than 40 years of experience.
He is a former university professor and has collaborated with neurologists from UCLA, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Vermont, Carnegie Mellon University, and Harvard Medical School in his work as a meditation teacher.
Shinzen created Unified Mindfulness to teach meditation to everyone – adults, children and pain patients – and has become famous for its “inventive, algorithmic, and interactive mindfulness method”.
His home on the web is shinzen.org
The main hub for Unified Mindfulness is unifiedmindfulness.com
Shinzen is not a formal part of the Mindful Relief team.