This year's BC Mindfulness Summit has a great lineup of presenters, each offering wisdom and practical skills for participants to use in their everyday lives. We recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Mark Sherman to ask a few questions about his professions, interests and more.
Mark Sherman is a family physician with a special interest in mental health and psychophysiological disorders. He is a founder of the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM), as well as Living This Moment. Mark has formal postgraduate training in cognitive behavioural therapy, clinical hypnosis, medical acupuncture and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Mark has been facilitating mindfulness-based stress management workshops and courses to patients, physicians, health care professionals, educators and community groups for over 15 years throughout BC and Canada, and is currently working on his first book on mindfulness in medicine. Mark believes that mindfulness and meditation offer powerful tools in healing our minds and bodies, and are necessary skills in fully living to our potential.
As a family physician with a special interest in mindfulness and meditation, how did you become interested in mindfulness?
I have always been interested in the mind/body continuum. Medicine has been an opportunity to explore this and to help the people I work with as patients towards deeper places of healing. As a medical student I had the opportunity to travel to India and to be introduced to yoga and meditation. What began as a personal practice evolved into sharing these practices with patients, teaching yoga and, eventually, to what has become BCALM.
What profession would you have chosen, if not health care?
If not for medicine, I may have become a travel writer, mystical poet, or a wandering hermit! Either way I believe I would have ended up teaching meditation in some capacity. It is my greatest joy and privilege.
What do you like about teaching?
I love the connection that teaching allows me to have with others. I teach to learn, and to be able to see mindfulness and meditation anew through the experiences of others. The joy, meaning and, at times, transformation that arises through what we learn together is truly inspiring!
What do you like the most about working in health care?
I enjoy helping others find a sense of health and healing through the care of their body/mind. While medications are sometimes necessary tools in this journey, I find meaning and joy witnessing others make changes to their diet, activity, sleep habits and stress management. Inevitably these are the true agents of healing and transformation in the patients I work with.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I would love to have the ability to help others see themselves as they really are. Most of us are so caught up in trances of unworthiness, with much of our lives feeling separated, alone and overbusied as we constantly compare ourselves to some fictional ideal – and always falling short. The truth is that we are interconnected and interdependent in myriad ways. The truth is that each of us are beautiful as we are. What if we lived our life loving ourselves and others as we/they are, rather than always trying to be something, or someone, else? I would also love to be able to fly!
Which famous person (from any time period) would you like to have dinner with?
Oooh… I would have a vegetarian dinner party and invite John O’Donahue, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron and Mother Theresa.
The BC Mindfulness Summit is a weekend educational event for community members and professionals to develop and enrich their personal and professional mindfulness practices. It is developed in partnership with the British Columbia Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM).