Transforming Lives: Warren Brubacher’s Mindful Journey

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies’ Community Program offers financial assistance to anyone who’d like to take a mindfulness-based course through our bursary program. Warren Brubacher was one of the people who took advantage of this opportunity and attended a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program four years ago. He has continued a daily practice, regularly attends our 6-hour silent retreats and utilizes mindfulness for his mental and physical health, interpersonal relationships and at his work. We caught up with Warren to speak to him about his mindfulness journey and what he’s up to now.

Warren had experienced about 7 years of trauma through some circumstances in his life that left him with high blood pressure, personal bankruptcy and a period of homelessness. He was staying with a relative when he decided to go to a walk-in clinic. A therapist he later saw recommended mindfulness to him. Feeling desperate and exhausted, he was willing to try anything for relief.

“She told me to sit in the chair and she started guiding a meditation. I guess you can say it was a body scan, but I had no idea and I started feeling this calmness and peace and relaxation that I hadn’t felt in years. When it was over, I opened my eyes and asked her ‘What did you just do?’.”

After that, he went out and bought Kabat-Zinn, Segal, Williams, Teasdale’s The Mindful Way Through Depression and started learning more. He attended weekly therapy in combination with learning mindfulness and positive thinking practices.

It was after moving to Toronto that Warren contacted The Centre and was informed about our bursary program. He submitted his bursary application and soon after was placed into a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy program with Jennifer Gruber RN and Bobby Esbin MD (read Bobby’s mindfulness journey here). This gave him the opportunity to really explore his practice with trained guidance in a safe environment.

“I came into the course and I just said to myself, ‘do it’. I just followed everything, by the book. Practices, homework, everything. I was pretty involved in the discussions, too. I felt really fortunate to be there and never missed a session and I’ve never stopped practicing. I do it all the time.

When I got out of the program, I felt as though, mindfulness was more meaningful. I understood [the practice] in much more depth than I did before…It gave me all the tools I needed, and the confidence to move forward.”

After 15 years of being unemployed, he applied for a job as a school bus driver and was successful. “Mindfulness took all the worry out of the process.”

From being in constant anxiety and duress to having a positive outlook. He felt grounded and focused at his job, where there is a high turnover rate for employees. Warren was able to maintain his attention and stay on task safely as a result of his ongoing mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness allowed me to focus on the here and now, on the present, and not worry about yesterday or worry about what happens tomorrow, so it gave me the ability to focus in on what happens in front of me.”

“It’s like taking a small vacation, in a way. when I’m in traffic, I’ll do a body scan, and release tension that may have built up. Mindfulness works fast; I can bring myself into the present, then the worry goes, and I get to think clearly again. All the diversions and things that can knock me off track don’t affect me. I can zero in at that moment.”

Warren now feels that he knows what makes life worth living.

We are fortunate that we have Warren coming back to The Centre regularly for our silent retreats.

“That’s what it does for me. It keeps me grounded. It keeps it fresh. To do it is what it’s all about. It’s always different.”

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