Alessandra Pigni – Licensed psychologist, and once upon aid worker. Here you can read my story.
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When in 2011 I moved into staff wellbeing with project called Mindfulness for NGOs, I felt that aid work lacked two important elements: care and reflection to inform action. We are all running around the world helping others and not a minute to take stock, to look after and within ourselves.
Over the years I’ve seen a change: it’s becoming more and more popular to look after oneself, even among aid workers. But what happens next? After we are “mindful”? After we pay attention, reflect, take stock, meditate? How does that space of being inform our action?
I challenge the idea that by simply creating our cosy self-care practice the world will transform through some kind of magical awareness. Little will change unless we address some of the structural problems that are present in our organisations.
Mindfulnext is about reflection and action: “next” refers to the action that comes from a reflective practice. I believe that when serving others we are called to be reflective practitioners to avoid turning into well-meaning bureaucrats. We need a caring and learning organisational culture that will hold us when supporting others. We need real skills, those that you can’t measure, but that are essential in any profession that purports to help others.