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In Wikipedia recycling is the process of converting waste materials into reusable objects to prevent waste of potentially useful materials. Just as for Thich Nhat Hanh there is no lotus without the mud.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

So what do these two subjects have in common and why I am connecting them? Because for many of us in the West, and in our current society, things that are used or damaged or not so pretty any more are things to be thrown away. However in other parts of the world, the value comes from the “used” and the “damaged”. For example in Japan, Kintsukuroi is the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.  This is a philosophy that treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise. In this way they honor the history of the piece as a whole.

And this is what I feel I am doing every time I attend a retreat. I recycle myself and each day of silence I restore with a golden understanding every single wound or scar that comes up when silence settles on my body giving space for my inner wisdom to flourish.

This is what happened to me again when attending Mindful Eating- Conscious Living 2: Deepening Your Practice and Skills (ME-CL2) in Belgium this year for the second time.

To me, whether it is repeating the ME-CL1 foundational training or ME-CL2, spring in Belgium is a way to recycle myself. It is a very much needed space for silence and exploration, not only with other Mindful Eating teachers but most importantly with myself and my conditioned thinking, with my good and bad, my happiness and sadness, moments of victory and moments of failure, of lightness and heaviness. In other words, with my whole self in a respectful environment that invites me to turn towards and learn how to be with whatever comes up and whatever there is.

ME-CL training site in Ghent

ME-CL training site in Ghent

It is a way to learn to be with myself. It is a way to practice, in stillness, what I need to learn for myself and what I want to share with participants in my mindful eating programs in the coming year.  Although the structure is the same each year, the questions and the people who come are different just as I too, am different from year to year.   Because of this connection and community, I feel ready to learn, listen and to assimilate new teachings to take home and practice for myself as well as teach.

Unexpectedly some exercises experienced for a second time, make much more sense than I initially thought. And this gives me insight as to how I was teaching an exercise from my own limited view instead of letting go and teaching from my vulnerability and innate wisdom. Because of this I can help my participants even more.

Attending an ME-CL training for a second time is a place where I can be me. I can share openly my deepest fears as well as the things I am not so proud.  Because we all speak the same language,  that of a common humanity, it invites us to say out loud things that we do not even have the courage to whisper to ourselves. The compassion that is cultivated during these trainings invites us to connect not just professionally, but with our deepest humanity.

Re-cylcing is fun!

Recylcing is fun!

And last but not least, over the years we are developing strong friendships and long-lasting connections that will assist us throughout the year, personally and professionally.


The ME-CL2 training in Belgium has become a place to share teaching experiences, things that work or do not work, how to set up a course for our participants or the latest research. Sharing and community are the key values that unify us.

So this is why recycling one-self is so healthy. In returning, we transform the old into the new and we get energized, become wiser and better prepared to go out into the world and teach a different way to be connected, to take care of ourselves and to be the change we want to see in the world.

I am happy to say that this fall, professionals will have the opportunity to experience the compassion, wisdom and fun of learning how to teach mindful eating during the ME-CL1Foundational Training, in Madrid, Spain, October 27- November 1, 2016.

  • Where would you like to focus your personal and professional development regarding the Mindful Eating practice over the next year?   
  • How can you get the necessary support to achieve this?

Cuca Azinovic, Spain

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