Official bio here
Scheherzade "Sher" Rana - Founder, Innerspace Mindfulness
Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher and Coach, Speaker, Mom
Hi. I am so glad you are here. Here's a little about my own mindfulness story. For my credentials and professional experience you can also see my official bio
I first came to mindfulness when I was working with the Government of Canada. At that time my life was all about striving for the next big "win" - the promotion, the next distance to cover as a runner, the bigger house, the better car and so on. My happiness was tied to these wins. I was a big Type-A who worked hard and wore "busyness" as a badge of honour. I did NOT think that I was a good candidate for meditation which had started appearing in the leadership literature. High performers that I admired like J.Lo, Steve Jobs and too many athletes to name, began to share how meditation had transformed their lives. Thats' when I began my own inner space adventure.
Over the years I practiced with many teachers and retreats (including the famous 10-day silent retreat known as Vipassana). At first learning how to focus my attention, settle my mind and feel into my body - the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation, felt like learning a difficult new language. But the benefits began to show up. Although my outer life hadn't changed, I noticed shifts in my stress level and I felt more fulfilled and happy. Relationships improved. Things and people that bugged me started to become less annoying. I noticed the moments ...and I learnt that paying attention to your life in the moments matters..... because what you pay attention to is in fact your life. But let's be clear, mindfulness is NOT only about getting to a balanced blissed-out state of enlightenment (although that is nice too).
Mindfulness, I discovered the hard way, is also a skill for growth and resilience. A few years into my mindfulness journey the inevitable tough times of life started to come my way. I watched my father die from cancer, I sustained multiple-concussions and a debilitating traumatic brain injury, a life-threatening cancer diagnosis, and my relationship that was supposed to last forever ended. I became a solo Mom. Working with mindfulness through these times helped me grow my own courage and confidence to begin again and again.... and rise. Most recently, as a "third culture kid" (growing up across 4 continents) these skills have helped me feel a sense of belonging in this world, and "process" a lifetime of racial discrimination. As one of my favourite teachers Thich Naht Hanh famously said "No Mud. No Lotus" ...definitely the promise of the lotus is motivation to NOT get stuck in the mud.
My own profound experience with mindfulness helped me discover what was truly important to me and how I could be of highest service. So after securing several teaching certifications, I made the shift from developing strategic policy to teaching mindfulness-based solutions as a strategy for life. I am also committed to making mindfulness accessible to everyone, especially our kids and youth, and marginalized communities. This is why I hosted Canada's largest mass mindfulness meditation on the International Day of Peace on Parliament Hill in partnership with the pioneer of modern mindfulness Jon Kabat - Zinn (see the story here). I continue to support mindfulness in community in this spirit. It is a deep privilege and I love doing it.
So that is a little about how I got from over there to right here. I am still a Type-A (with a tendency for some unsavoury language at times) with my own goals and dreams but now I am having a blast pursuing them with more ease and lots of laughter along the way. I continue to grow and learn from my teachers and students alike.
I hope that we get the chance to practice together.