ABOUT THE FACILITATOR
Margaret Van is a certified teacher of mindfulness for adults, youth and children. She was born in Hong Kong to parents from Shanghai, China and educated at Columbia and Stanford University. An anthropologist by training, Margaret travelled widely for her research while studying French, Spanish, Japanese, Norwegian and Nepali. One of her major interests is in fostering understanding by connecting people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds through the teaching of mindfulness. As a lifelong practitioner of yoga and calligraphy, Margaret strives to infuse mindfulness into her everyday life.
My path to mindfulness
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that the words “be mindful” (小心in Chinese), more or less translated as “be careful”, are frequently heard by a child navigating the world in a Chinese speaking environment. I feel fortunate to have this value inculcated in me from early on.
As the saying goes, “It’s the journey, not the destination, that matters”. For me, it took more than three decades away from home base – pursuing my higher education in the United States, raising a family in Canada and Singapore and finally completing the U-turn to come home to Hong Kong—to realize that I’m actually relearning mindfulness.
The year 2009 was especially difficult. My mother was dying; my husband was beset by incessant hurdles at work. I fell into a breathless and dizzy state. A friend told me about her mindfulness training. I looked into it too. Forever grateful to her, I embarked on my mindful path first as a practitioner and then a teacher. In 2017 another jolt – my father’s passing – set me back, although it didn’t wobble me to the same extent my mother’s did. Thanks to my practice, I was able to pause, feel, relate and understand my predicament with an awareness that was spacious, compassionate and free from expectations.
What keeps me happily engaged as a mindfulness teacher: recognizing every moment as precious and worthy of learning. As my own practice deepens my teaching becomes more natural and responsive. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with others so they can discover their own mindful pathways.
Dipa Ma: The Life & Legacy of a Buddhist Master by Amy Schmidt
Discovering Meditation by Godwin Samararatne
The Experience of Insight: A Natural Unfolding by Joseph Goldstein
The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield
Ethics for the New Millenium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain & Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams & Danny Penman