This is the first interview, in a series of monthly interviews. Each month I will ask everyday, women, just like you and me, if they have a meditation practice, how they got started and how does it fit into their busy lives.
I’d like to introduce the amazingly creative Katische Haberfield. Read on to find out more.
Tell us about yourself. I am a landscape and travel photographer and writer, and a mother of two boys and a black lab. My passion is for sustainable, eco and agro travel. I believe that travel is not just a bucket list item; it expands the mind and the soul and provides not only opportunities for education and relaxation but ways to pamper the earth as well. I also believe that travel has an important role in helping reduce the symptoms of grief.
I also write about death so that you can realise how precious your life is. For the past three years I have been in the midst of writing a memoir about grief, anxiety and death. For two years after my father’s death I curated daily on the topics of Buddhism, mindfulness, grief, bereavement and palliative care on behalf of Karuna. I believe that when people are aware of their mortality and actively involved in planning for and managing their ultimate departure, that they are able to live an inspired life, ensuring that they exit, having left a lasting legacy.
Do you have a formal meditation practice? No. I meditate on an ad hoc basis. I’ve always struggled to establish a formal self-initiated meditation routine, so I have a number of meditation apps that I use. I love meditation challenges so always sign up to the Chopra Centre meditation challenges. I really enjoy their mantra-based meditations in contrast to the analytical meditations that I am used to from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A challenge is also good because it gets you into the habit of doing a meditation each day.
What are the benefits? What do you struggle with? Sitting up straight, getting into the zone, finding a time when I will actually do it. I love meditating in groups and when on retreat, but when by myself, I prefer to lie down and do a hypnotherapy instead.
Do you have an informal practice such as moving meditation (yoga, running) or a passion or an interest that requires your attention and takes you away from everything else? How does this benefit you? E.g photography, cooking, sewing, gardening. I love colouring in books because I simply can’t colour in between the lines unless I am concentrating really hard, which means that I can’t think about anything else at the same time! It’s a good brain rest for me, and I find myself colouring in when I am blocked with my writing. As a professional photographer I find photography is an amazing meditation- you cannot concentrate on anything else other than getting your settings right, the light, the people and the moment.
What’s your constant challenge in everyday life? To not spend too much time on social media! I love it. I need to be on it for work, but I love being able to connect with friends, family and work peers online at any time of the day. Even more addictive now that you can call people via Facebook.
What’s your go to self-care practice? Hypnotherapy. It’s the form of self-care that I have used the longest- since 2002 although only regularly in the past five years. I have two trusted providers whose apps I use, and I love that I can just lie down in bed, and let my subconscious mind obtain a workout.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Travel without my kids. I am a travel writer and photographer and although I try to do a lot of my travel with my children, it’s not always possible. Sometimes I sneak away for a “me” weekend on weekends when they are with their dad. Last weekend I went to the Gold Coast, even though the forecast was for rain the whole weekend. I just needed to get out of town, soak in the sea air, and go for a long walk on the beach. Which I did J
Name three people that you would like to meet. Elizabeth Gilbert – she’s been very influential in my life as her book and the movie came out at the time that I separated from my husband. Cliché but true. Since then I have read and loved every book that she has written, and I have followed her for her professional advice on writing as well as creativity.
My grandchildren! – (Given that my children are 7 and 9, that will be a while, however, my father didn’t get to meet all of his grandchildren before he died at 63, so I think it’s important that we don’t take life for granted and ask that simple wishes are granted.)
Claire Bidwell Smith – Claire is a fantastic writer on the topic of grief. She’s also been a writing mentor for me, however I have yet had the privilege of meeting with in person. We’ve spoken several times via Skype.
I’m very grateful to Katische for taking the time to answer these questions and providing these fabulous images. Check out more of Katische’s work.