Teacher Feature: Margaret Fletcher, Senior Certified MBSR Instructor and Teacher-TrainerDate Posted: Monday, April 01, 2019
“There’s a 40-year history here that you can feel. We’re all drawing from the river of that continuous tradition of wanting to be awake and help others who also want to be awake. It’s truly beautiful.” ~ Margaret Fletcher, on teaching MBSR at CFM
When people learn about Margaret Fletcher’s background, they’re sometimes surprised to find her teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). “Most people think you have to be a clinician to teach mindfulness, but it simply isn’t so,” Margaret says. In fact, it turns out that her background in business and her entrepreneurial spirit proved to be the perfect foundation for building a mindfulness practice and a life in teaching.
For nearly twenty years, Margaret’s career focused on financial and operations management – working her way up to a VP level in her first job with a state-chartered bank. After a decade, she took a break from corporate life to follow one of her passions and opened a high-end fabric and yarn shop, returning after a few years to an executive role with a national financial institution and later, with a global healthcare company.
In the midst of all this, somewhere in the mid-2000s, Margaret began meditating and reading about mindfulness. “I attended a meditation session with a man who would become my teacher for the next several years,” she explains. “I helped him promote his teaching and establish a community – gathering people to meditate weekly as well as for weekend or longer retreats.” It wasn’t long before he invited Margaret to join him in teaching, and they eventually co-founded White Mountain Sangha, a non-profit meditation community.
“I loved teaching, but also knew I wanted to learn and grow more,” says Margaret. That’s when she remembered her sister had completed the 8-week MBSR course. “I knew as soon as I spent ten minutes on the website reading about the MBSR program that this is what I was looking for.”
That’s when Margaret went into action, re-organizing her life to take teacher training offered through the CFM. “Once I was ready, I taught in every possible way I could,” Margaret says. She launched WellAware, her mindfulness teaching practice, and started working in the community, at her church and at Concord Hospital in New Hampshire. To supplement her income so she could focus on teaching, Margaret also took a job that satisfied another passion – film. “It was a real treat to serve as the part-time business manager for our local non-profit art house cinema.”
Eventually, Concord Hospital asked her to join them full-time as their Health Outreach Coordinator. Here she was able to use her business development skills to build programs – teaching health education and promoting mindfulness to the community as well as to clinicians and hospital staff. Then, in 2015, the CFM asked Margaret to join their staff.
Today she works with people just starting their MBSR journey, as well as with those engaged in the CFM’s teacher training pathway. She also continues to use her business expertise, providing administrative support to help keep the CFM thriving. “I love being part of the CFM team. When you teach by yourself, it’s harder to sustain your own growth trajectory. Here, the teachers come together to support each other – to inquire, learn and grow.” She goes on to say that the faculty shares that same spirit with their students and graduates. “Toward the end of the eight-week MBSR program we have an all-day class for current students to reinforce the practices and skills we’ve been learning,” explains Margaret. “We invite our graduates to join us as well – no matter when they attended – for a refresh or just to join in the community.” The CFM has even started to offer live online teaching using a web-based remote conferencing service for people who can’t physically attend, which Margaret has led from her home. She says she loves investing her own space with the energy of practice in this way.
“Of all the career paths I’ve taken, this has certainly been the most challenging – and I don’t regret it for a minute,” says Margaret. “There’s a 40-year history here that you can feel. We’re all drawing from the river of that continuous tradition of wanting to be awake and help others who also want to be awake. It’s truly beautiful.”
MBSR Online Live
Live outside of driving distance of the Center?
Want to learn from a skilled mindfulness teacher and engage with participants from all over the globe?
Experience this groundbreaking course in an online format. Delivered entirely through live video conferencing, this course brings the classroom to you.
MBCT Online Live
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines the practice and clinical application of mindfulness meditation with the tools of cognitive therapy to break the cycle of recurrent depression. Like the online MBSR program, the course is conducted through live video conferencing with a UMASS Center for Mindfulness MBCT teacher and other participants.
Global Online Meditation Community
Worldwide Mindfulness ONLINE LIVE: You're invited! This program was launched to support MBSR and MBCT graduates, as well as those interested in mindfulness meditation. Participants can:
- Practice mindfulness with a UMASS Center for Mindfulness teacher
- Listen to a brief talk on mindfulness topics relevant to everyday life
- Connect and share with others who want to live with more presence & ease
- Participate from anywhere in the world