Clarissa Hughes, founder of The Little Breathing Space, a mindfulness coaching business, joins Kristin Maxwell to explore how to achieve personal growth through mindfulness. A former senior level executive at corporations throughout Asia and Europe, Clarissa herself discovered the power of mindfulness to heal her own life. Now an international speaker and mindfulness expert, Clarissa empowers individuals to remove stress and overwhelm and create purposeful lives. In this interview, Clarissa explains how simple mindfulness practices increase self-acceptance and self-compassion. Join Clarissa and Kristin to learn how to increase peace and joy in your own life.
Hi everyone, this is Kristin Maxwell and you are listening to Your SuperPowered Mind. We have a really fun topic today. We’re talking to Clarissa Hughes about achieving personal growth through mindfulness. Clarissa is the founder of The Little Breathing Space, a mindful coaching business in Sweden. She spent 28 years as a senior manager in corporations throughout Asia and Europe before burning out herself. When she discovered mindfulness, Clarissa is now a breath works mindfulness practitioner and iRest Yoga Nidra teacher, and she helps people around the world remove stress and overwhelm through the practice of mindfulness and one of the things that I love about what she’s doing is that her … In her view mindfulness goes beyond meditation, that there are practices that we can use to incorporate self awareness throughout our days. So Clarissa, welcome to Your SuperPowered Mind.
Well, thank you very much, Kristin, for inviting me here. It’s very exciting to be on the show.
Thank you. It’s fine. I always love getting to learn from the guests and I can’t wait to learn about some mindfulness today. My first question to guests is always what super power did you uncover as a result of mastering your mind?
Well, I did learn mindfulness, to become more mindful, to become more aware and I think the thing I probably learned most of all was that I could have perspective on my life and that I didn’t need to be on top of everything and it controlling my life, whatever the situation was, whether it was stress or unhappiness, that I could have perspective. I use a metaphor which I said I can become an ocean-going yacht instead of a dinghy because a yacht kind of glides on the water and it kind of rocks gently from side to side when the waves get a bit rocky, but it doesn’t get like the dinghy tossed and turned. So I have perspective and I’m able to make a choice of how I’d like to respond in different situations.
I love that visual of the yacht. You can see it, right? Just cutting through some of the the turbulence going on around you. That’s a great visual. So how did you learn this perspective? I always like to dive a little bit into the guests own learning experiences. How did you come to have this perspective?
Well, I think the first thing was that, you mentioned, Kristin, that I had a burnout and I thought I was going crazy quite frankly. I couldn’t sleep. I had no perspective on my life and I was very irritable and my health wasn’t very good in both my physical and my sort of psychological health. By chance I met a very amazing woman when I was living in Sydney, Australia and I went on a training course with her, something totally unrelated to mindfulness and I kept thinking, “Wow, she’s so amazing. She’s so calm. What is it about her?” So, we go to Google and Linkedin and we kind of check out the person and it said she’s at Openground. She works with Openground. Well I didn’t know what that was till I Google and it’s a mindfulness training business and they happen to be headquartered about couple of miles from where I lived in Sydney.
So I actually went on their training course and I realized very quickly that I was learning something here that was transformative for my life, that I could make choices, that I could take deeper breaths, that I could connect with myself moment to moment and that was really the start of the journey. That’s about six, seven years ago and I started to go on a journey then to actually go deeper into mindfulness and trained to become a mindfulness teacher.
Wow. So you just sort of fell into it by being attracted to a person who embodied the calm that you wanted? Wow.
Absolutely. I’d sort of had, I’d done yoga, everybody does yoga and I had a bit of a … I think your classes packed with 25 people, you’re just doing a kind of a nice version of a physical exercise and a bit of a rest and I’d done meditation a long, long time ago, but life had intervened, children, husbands, businesses, divorces, they’d all happen. So meditation had kind of gone a bit out the window and that’s okay. That happens. Life happens. So it was really meeting Heather that changed all of that.
That’s great. So what would you say is different about how you live life now as before you discovered mindfulness?
Well, I think the first thing I would say is that I have a lot more time, which is crazy because I still only have 24 hours a day. We still have the same amount of time, but my life is much more paced. I mean I work for myself. That doesn’t mean that I’m less busy. I mean I obviously don’t have a boss screaming, but I have clients and still a lot to do, but I pace my life. I’m able to prioritize and I say these are my values in life. These are the things that are important to me and I don’t compromise on that. I don’t sort of go, “Oh, well I meant to go to the gym but I’m really busy so I won’t.” I’m like, “This is important to me, so I’m going to do this” and I’ve done those things that are enriching and good for my life and they’re not negotiable to me, and they used to be before and that’s the route to exhaustion, when you start to have to drop off the things that are good for you because you’re desperately trying to get through your to do list or please other people.
That’s that feeling of being able to take care of yourself is truly necessary and I think a lot of people don’t have that. We have to actually go to a break already, but I wanted to ask before we broke, where can listeners learn about you?
I’ve got a website called thelittlebreathingspace.com and you can learn about me there and I’m also on Facebook as The Little Breathing Space.
That’s great. I love that. We’re going to take a quick break, but we’ve been talking to Clarissa Hughes about achieving personal growth through mindfulness. When we come back, we’re going to be talking to Clarissa to go a little bit deeper into what actually she means by mindfulness and what steps that we can take ourselves.