Meet Hilary Roberts: St. Albans based mindfulness teacher and BACP counsellor with over 25 years of experience

Hilary is my mindfulness teacher. She has such a gentle and compassionate energy for her students and clients. I took Hilary’s Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course in 2015 whilst pregnant with my daughter.  My son bought me a singing bowl for Christmas that year because I loved how Hilary used hers to mark the beginning and end of the meditations. I didn’t even know it could ‘sing’ for years! 

I loved the MBCT course and experienced many of the benefits of mindfulness but did not go on to practise what I had learnt. Yet, Hilary’s teachings planted many important seeds that I now cultivate mainly through Tai chi (mindfulness in motion). I am grateful to have learnt from Hilary, to be in her loop for her follow-up workshops and for her agreeing to this interview… 

Meet Kevin Lannon: teacher of tai chi for twenty years, in St. Albans & Welwyn

Kevin To Me

In September 2019 I attended my first class at the St. Albans School of Tai Chi Chuan. That was the first time I met Kevin Lannon.

Kevin is the teacher who has taken me under his wing. He put me forward for my apprenticeship training and invited me to have some one-to-one mentoring with him. I jumped at the chance. He wanted to prepare me for the apprenticeship and boy did he!

Mike Barkham said once in class that he thinks we are the perfect teacher student pair because Kevin always wants to teach more and I always want to learn more.

I grew up dreaming of being ‘The Karate Kid’ so I could have Mr. Miyagi in my life!

All these years later I feel like I am living this dream through my relationship with Mr. Lannon, the mentor who is meant for me.

I have the great pleasure of teaching with Kevin. His love of tai chi is always evident. His eyes sparkle as he shares his passion. I am destined to quote him, just like he quotes his teachers.

I began interviewing Kevin on the 8th of March 2022. It took three goes in person, plus a phone call to ask some last questions.
After many hours transcribing and editing, I sent Kevin my final draft on the 14th of September. Reading it motivated him to ask a range of family members for more information about his childhood. They shared tears and laughs as they discussed their past. I’m so happy to have played a small part in all that.

Kevin sent his draft back on Thursday (November 24th) and I couldn’t be happier to finally share this with you now…

“How I Began Trying to Calm Down & How it Changed Everything” (part 2 of 2)

I asked myself “what would happen if I just stopped”?  I didnt want to let go of any of my activities. They all mattered to me but I was spread too thinly. So I challenged my need to be attached to any of them. The world would keep spinning, people will start & finish PhDs, my supervisors will keep supervising and publishing great research. Samaritans recruitment won’t stop. They always manage to find some awesome people who make it all the way through the training and take on the different roles.

“Why I Needed to Calm Down” (part 1 of 2)

Early Life

I was born and raised in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England. I had a fairly turbulent start. I don’t remember my parents divorce but I do remember removing my brother from increasingly violent, dangerous arguments between my mum and stepdad. Over the years we fled to a woman’s refuge in Norwich, another in Hatfield. We even fled to Ireland once where all mum’s family live. I settled in school and felt completely devastated when we came back. Mum always went back for more. I grew up thinking she was a victim until I was old enough to see how their crazy, toxic relationship took two to tango.