Saturday night found me in the Baldock Town Hall and Heritage Centre – not the most obvious place to spend an evening maybe but I was there to see one of my heroes, Ruby Wax. Alongside Thubten, a Buddhist monk, and Dr Ash Ranpura, a neuro scientist, Ruby talked about mental health and mindfulness, as part of her latest tour.
Her most recent book is called A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, which I had heard her talk about on Woman’s Hour. She is also launching Frazzled cafes where people with mental health issues can just go and ‘be’, without judgement or prejudice, and maybe even get help.
But back to the evening, which began with actually meeting Ruby. She is an amazingly beautiful woman, more petite than you expect, and charming. What a thrill! You might think an evening discussing mindfulness might be a bit dull but it wasn’t. There was laughter and pathos, honesty and humility. What I found really interesting was how the neuro scientist could explain what happens in your brain when you meditate (I’m not keen on the term mindfulness) and the monk could tell us how to do it. Then Ruby shared some insight in to how it had helped with her depression. None of it was preachy or cultish, just plain facts and acres of humour.
As someone who has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for a number of years I found the whole evening uplifting. Meditation and CBT have helped me and what was discussed left me with a profound feeling of hope.
If you are lucky enough to see her on tour I’m sure you will have a great time. If not, here is her TED Talk.