Scheherzade van Aarle
With over 20 years of service with the federal government of Canada, a reputation for finding creative and innovative solutions to problems, and a lifelong passion for helping humanity be its very best, Scheherzade is committed to bringing mindfulness to leaders and organizations as the foundation for positive human development. Scheherzade is known for her own brand of teaching and facilitation in which she sherpas her clients through an inner space exploration where they experience complex concepts in a way that is relatable, practical and often fun.
Scheherzade founded Innerspace Mindfulness in 2017 after discovering the transformative benefits of mindfulness for her own resilience, performance, happiness and well-being through years of practise. She has served as a speaker at as well as the mindfulness and wellbeing expert on the APEX Leadership Symposium. Scheherzade is proud to be Ottawa's first and only Certified Teacher of the Google-born neuroscience-based world -renowned Search Inside Yourself leadership program. She is also a trained teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion (Centre for Mindfulness Studies, University of California San Diego). Scheherzade has also completed the challenging 10-day silent meditation in the Vipassana tradition.
In 2005 Scheherzade began her formal practise of mindfulness after having read about Dr. Sara Lazar's break-though research at Harvard University on how mindfulness practice thickens parts of the brain associated with higher functioning. With practise she experienced more clarity, 'flow" and motivation that improved her performance at work . The unexpected (but welcome) benefits were deeper connections with others, more presence as a parent and feeling happier with life as it is. On a personal note, in 2015 following a debilitating brain injury Scheherzade leaned heavily into mindfulness meditation to help "rewire" her brain and regain cognitive and executive functioning, In 2017 mindfulness meditation was there again to support her through a cancer diagnosis with grace and humour. Scheherzade credits mindfulness-based self-compassion (which she calls "a nourishing form of grit") for helping build the resilience needed to survive adversity and thrive in the aftermath.
As the daughter of a diplomat Scheherzade experienced life across four continents and with that came a deep understanding of common humanity. As a BIPOC and parent of a bi-racial daughter, she has also experienced difficult realities of systemic racism. She is a strong proponent of mindfulness as being the necessary foundation that will support anti-racism initiatives. "It is only with mindfulness", she she says "that we can have the self-awareness to see our own biases and the compassion to hold space for each other and have those difficult conversation that must be had for racism to end".
In community Scheherzade hosts an annual mass mindfulness meditation for the UN's International Day of Peace on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. She has also supported mindfulness in the Canadian Parliament,
Scheherzade lives in Ottawa, Canada where you can usually find her practising staying on top of her stand-up paddle board on many of the regions gorgeous waterways, and enjoying music festivals (when we're not in a Pandemic) and hanging out with her 12 year old daughter, her favourite teacher who reminds her that being awake to each moment of this one life is the real meditation practise.
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