Interview: Chantelle Baxter, mindful co-founder of One Girl
Chantelle Baxter is the co-founder of One Girl, a charity working in Sierra Leone to change the lives of women and girls. Chantelle was born into a family where alcoholism, violence, and other forms of abuse were the norm, so she connects deeply with the challenges women and girls face. She has been recognised as one of Melbourne’s Top 100 Most Influential People (2011). She is also an avid Yogini, practicing Venus Yoga teacher and passionate about silent, moving and singing meditations.
Join Chantelle’s Meditation team here
1. What led you to meditation?
I began seriously meditating after completing my Yoga Teacher Training Cert in 2011. We had to do 1.5 hours of stillness meditation each morning, and although it was tough, it was an amazing start to my day. Not being able to move, sitting cross-legged for 1.5 hours was a killer. But after lots of tears, I finally found myself with the ability to ‘just be’ with myself. No distractions, it was a real breakthrough.
2. What value has practising meditation brought to your life?
I love my morning meditation, as it’s a small moment of calm before the storm. I practice a moving meditation in the morning to kick start my day – it wakes my body up, and at the same time calms and soothes any anxieties or worries I’ve woken up with. Meditation has brought me calmness, presence, peace and a sense of being grounded.
3. How has meditation supported you in your professional life?
Meditation keeps me grounded. In my line of work, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, overworked, burnt out and tired. I can easily lose myself in ‘the cause’ and believe that I’m not worthy of self-care. My daily meditation practice ensures that I spend a small part of each day caring for myself. Whether it be through moving meditations, pranayama, yoga, visualisations, gratitude lists.. whatever. Meditation keeps me sane.
4. What are the biggest obstacles to your practice?
Stress! The more stressed I get, the more I think “Oh I don’t have time to meditate today” – which is absolute rubbish. Anyone can find 15 minutes in a day to spend with themselves. In moments like that, I really have to FORCE myself to meditate, and I never regret it. Moving meditation works better during these times for me as well – I find it helps shake the stress and any other stagnant feelings out of my body.
5. What is a quote that most inspires you and why?
“Dancing, singing, storytelling and silence are the four universal healing salves.” – Gabrielle Roth
I have so many quotes that I love, but to me, this one relates directly to my meditation practice. I was never a dancer, but through meditation, I learned to dance. And I don’t mean choreographed dance, I mean dancing like no ones watching. I do that every morning now. I could never sing, but through meditation, I’ve learned to sing from my heart. It might not always be on key, but it feels DAMN good. I adore telling stories and watching people’s eyes light up with inspiration, and sitting in a silent meditation for 1.5 hours a day for 25 days was a powerful growth experience for me.
In the western world, we’ve lost the art of dance and song in many ways. All of us are dancers and singers – we just need to tap into it. And this is coming from someone who has NO rhythm and can’t carry a tune, but we’ve all got it in us, and it can be accessed through meditations.
6. What is a book that has opened you to new ideas and inspired your growth and why?
Again, there are too many. The one that has become my bible recently is called Codependence No More by Melody Beattle. I’m currently doing some healing work around my family and my upbringing – growing up in a dysfunctional family has meant that I’ve carried a lot of these behaviours into my currents relationships. This book has opened my eyes to a completely new way of living and operating. It’s amazing.
7. What Mindful Music do you listen to (ie. music that grabs your full attention and brings you into the moment.)
Anything by Edo and Jo. I purchased their CD (Kirtan Alive), after practising Kirtan with them (singing meditation) at my Teacher Training. The chants are almost all in sanskrit, and I remember when I first heard Edo and Jo sing, tears just poured down my face. I couldn’t help it. I love their music, it talks to my heart.
8. Why are you being Mindful in May?
Because I want to be Mindful in Life! I think there is something beautiful about joining together with thousands of other meditators all over the world, and meditating on something together. I’m excited to join the Mindful in May community, and look forward to seeing the amazing ripple effects that come from my participation.
Want to connect with more people like Chantelle Baxter? Click here to find out about Mindful In May and join us.
"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."
- DR ELISE BIALYLEW
about the HOST AND FOUNDER OF
MINDFUL IN MAY:
DR ELISE BIALYLEW
Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.
A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.
Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.
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