June 27, 2020

Mindful FIRE Podcast - Episode 1 - Keith Horan

Today we talk to a friend of mine, Keith Horan, a mindfulness teacher and MBSR instructor in Galway, Ireland.


Welcome to the Mindful FIRE Podcast, where we explore living mindfully on the path to financial independence and beyond. I’m your host Adam Coelho and I’m glad you’re here. 

 

Today we talk to a friend of mine, Keith Horan, a mindfulness teacher and MBSR instructor in Galway, Ireland. 

 

In this show you’ll learn about:

- How Keith got into mindfulness and then spent over 20 years studying and practicing meditation and mindfulness. 

- How he made the transition to teaching mindfulness professionally in schools and in businesses

- His top advice for those who practice mindfulness 

- His top advice for those who aspire to teach mindfulness to others. 

- Themindfulnesscommunity.com - A new online community Keith’s building to support people in their mindfulness practice. 

 

I hope you enjoy our wonderful chat.

 

How to get in touch with Keith

www.KeithHoran.com

Themindfulnesscommunity.com

 

If you got value from this episode please subscribe.

Each Tuesday I release a guided meditation or inspiring interview on the topics of mindfulness and financial independence. Subscribe for future meditations and episodes!

Transcript

[MF-P] Transcript - Episode 1 - Keith-Horan

Adam Coelho: [00:00:00] Welcome to the mindful fire podcast, where we get explore living mindfully on the path to financial independence and beyond I'm your host, Adam quail. And I'm so glad you're here on today's show. We'll talk to a friend of mine. Keith harass, a mindfulness teacher and MBSR instructor at Galway Ireland. In this show, we'll hear how Keith first got interested in mindfulness and then dedicated over 20 years studying and practicing mindfulness and meditation.

In various traditions. You'll also learn how he made the transition to teaching mindfulness professionally in both schools and in businesses. And you'll hear his top advice for those practicing mindfulness and to those who aspire to teach mindfulness to others. You'll also hear how he just turned his living room into a meditation and yoga studio that he shares with his wife.

And finally, you'll hear about a new online community called the mindfulness community. Keith is building to support people in their mindfulness practice. I'm so glad you're here and I hope you enjoy my one, this wonderful chat with Keith Harambe. Welcome to the mindful fire podcast. Thanks so much for being here.

Keith Horan: [00:01:15] Yeah, grace. Nice to be here. Thanks Adam. 

Adam Coelho: [00:01:18] So I wanted to start by hearing a little bit about your background and how you first got interested in mindfulness. 

Keith Horan: [00:01:28] Yeah, it's funny looking back at these things, you see patterns that you didn't know at the time, so I think even as a teenager, I was reading stuff around meditation or a.

Without meditating, like I admired it somehow. I had these images of these put a smokes walking slowly or something like this through something that drew me to it. And then it wasn't until I was in college that I first tried to meditate and it was totally just on my own reading books, but there was probably enough of it was I had enough of an experience to know there was something there for me.

And then just after college, I I worked for a year. I was an environmental consultant at the time. And at the end of that year, it was 99. I decided I was going off to the India. To try and find these real meditation teachers and check this stuff out and see what yeah. How real is this stuff?

Is it worth my time? And so I did, I went off for six months to India, which is the classic sort of story. And I was just really lucky that I found the teachers and learn to meditate and Ended up studying Tibetan Buddhism. So that was my sort of entry place. Mainly because I had timed things to go to a place called Bodh Gaya, which is where the Buddha, where the Bodhi tree is and the Buddha is supposed to have reached enlightenment.

And so I timed it to go there in time for the millennium. So like the end of. The end of the last, century thousand years. And so I was sitting there that night and didn't didn't have any like amazing meditations, which you think, surely you've deserved if you've gotten that far.

But I ended up in port Gaia. Yeah, meeting really great teachers and and got into the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, which I then studied for about 12 years. Like I just didn't stop, at the time then I was like a secondary school teacher, so I became a secondary school teacher. So I'm this wasn't part of my work, but it was my sort of main, I don't know, spiritual practice and real interest.

Wow. 

Adam Coelho: [00:03:35] Do you have a sense for how you first heard about mindfulness when you were a teenager? I certainly wish I had that when I was a teenager, but I had no clue of it for many years 

Keith Horan: [00:03:46] until after that. And I guess it wasn't mindfulness that I heard it wouldn't have been that word. It was like meditation.

And I don't know what was the first source. I actually, I'd love to go back and see where did those seeds come from. But maybe on some level I had this image of people who had much more peace of mind than I was seeing in like everyday life. Like they had, there was something, there was some quality they had and they'd gotten it through meditation.

So I guess I have this feeling of maybe there's something possible. Yeah. 

Adam Coelho: [00:04:23] And when you say you were studying to button Buddhism for 12 years, what did that look like? 

Keith Horan: [00:04:30] So it was like the  lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which is like the Dalai Lama's lineage. And at least my experience of it, that was that it was it was very systematic and quite analytical and that, nowadays I'm mostly practicing mindfulness meditation, so it was quite different.

The meditations were largely based around more like visualizations. So there was, and there was a lot of study, like a lot of really good sort of academic sort of philosophical study. So that was the practice. And I did a lot of retreats and was trained in how to do long retreats. And so it was a, at that stage in my life, I didn't really have responsibilities.

I had a lot of freedom. And I just went all in and like dove into it. And it was the, it was like the perfect thing at that time for me. Wow. 

Adam Coelho: [00:05:24] Very interesting. Yeah. Did you have a teacher that you were working with at the time and that was like setting this curriculum for you or?

Yeah, self-based. 

Keith Horan: [00:05:34] Oh, wait. No, there was a teacher, there was a group that was a whole support sort of structure. My main teacher was he's actually a psychologist by background Winston McCullough. And but his, his main training was in Tibet and Buddhism and Eden. Studied for a long time.

And the nice thing with him is he had a great insight into maybe the challenges of, at the time I was, getting married and having our first child. And so he was, he had a similar background and, was working full time. And yeah, he was a great guide for for that whole phase of my life.

Adam Coelho: [00:06:07] Got it. Wow. That's interesting. And what, when you think about, the impact mindfulness has had in your life, how we, what would you say are the main benefits or impact that you've seen? 

Keith Horan: [00:06:20] Yeah, so like the mindfulness sort of more modern secular mindfulness practice, that's really in the last 10 years for me, And so there was initially the Tibet and phase and then the mindfulness and I initially got into it because of I was a secondary school teacher.

So like students, 12 to 18 years, and I could see that this would be a really helpful practice to bring into the school. So that's what sort of got me into looking at it and even training in that area. But then what I found personally, from the practices. At that stage in my life, like everything was complicated and, we had three kids and I'm working full time and life is really crazy busy.

So the mindfulness practices, just focusing on the, breathing around the body or sounds, and that. The simplicity of the practices. Like they were the perfect balance to everything else that was happening in my life. And so yeah, I found them, really grounding and they also helped me come into the body in a way that I, I had a body all along, but I don't think I was, that connected to it and that's still continuing.

But yeah, I think much more grounded and they brought More simplicity into my life. 

Adam Coelho: [00:07:35] Yeah. I I can relate quite a bit with the rising up that I had a body. And connecting with the sensations in the body. 

Keith Horan: [00:07:45] What was your what was your sort of yeah. What did mindfulness do for you?

What was the sort of what stood out or what stands out? Yeah. You 

Adam Coelho: [00:07:53] know, it's interesting. I, I used to. I used to have this story in my mind that I couldn't stick to anything. I, I couldn't stick to eating healthy, going to sleep early, going to the gym. Et cetera, et cetera. And interestingly, a friend of mine recommended, I, I meditate right.

A, it was taking a bus to, and from work. And I had all this time and I was complaining about it and he's Hey, you should try meditation. I was like, What's meditation. I have no idea what you're talking about. And I gave it a shot initially, fig figured out that I'm horrible at meditation and gave up.

And fortunately I ran into him again and was able to do a little retreat where I learned a little bit about the technique and that what I was experiencing of thinking I was doing it wrong was completely normal. And, this really was the first thing that I actually was able to stick to and broke that story for myself and led me to question what other stories am I telling myself?

And so I 

Keith Horan: [00:09:02] think that 

Adam Coelho: [00:09:05] taking time to sit and observe my inner world allowed me really to start to see really the stories I was telling myself the. Negative self-talk that was there. And the fact that I was just beating myself up all the time and sabotaging myself. And so that was quite helpful.

And really, as I started to develop that awareness, I was able to change that some of those habits of mind because I had that awareness and I could choose to. React differently. Obviously it's still an ongoing process, but I'd say, the main benefits have been self-awareness. Yeah. And self-compassion a lot more recently I've gotten more interested in, not everything has to be a certain way, you not, everything has a right or wrong. And so there's all these I'd say epiphanies, but I have to have them several times before I actually really realized them.

Yeah. So that's been, that's been, what's been going on for me and the benefits I've seen. Nice. 

Keith Horan: [00:10:09] Yeah, it's it's unpredictable, how it unfolds, isn't it. And for different people and you do a practice and you expect certain benefits and then it starts to change other habits and we get more insight and yeah, it's a living thing, 

Adam Coelho: [00:10:25] it is. Yeah. And I think there's like times where it really used really see, I'll speak for myself. I really see a lot of the benefits. And then other times where I just feel like my going through the motions here. Cause there's something I need to switch up a little bit, right now I feel like my practices, since my son was born, I feel it's been a little bit.

Okay. Hit or miss, and I'm like doing it on like a city bus most of the time. Yeah, they have, I have gotten a a group sit going at work that I do it every day at 2:00 PM for about 15 minutes. And that really has been quite Meaningful for me, cause that's a not on a 

Keith Horan: [00:11:04] city bus, right?

Yeah. 

Adam Coelho: [00:11:09] I'm interested, obviously you have a career in mindfulness, so I'm interested in, how did you decide, Hey, I want to pursue this as a full-time living. 

Keith Horan: [00:11:20] Yeah, yeah. I guess it was a very gradual transition. I was teaching for 13 years. And I'd started to introduce mindfulness into the school and I was realizing, so I used to teach geography and science and I really enjoyed it and I love I've always loved teaching.

But I realized like when I was doing the mindfulness sessions or. Maybe I'm doing other like emotional development sessions for the students that, I always found it hard to go back to geography afterwards. Like I was really like feeling, this is what I, this is the most important thing for me to be saying, and so that was on my mind. And I had for a good while I've been teaching meditation just on a voluntary basis, like in the community and go away. So I had some experience of doing that and. And, gradually, then I started to add more Outside of my school teaching, I started to add more sort of mindfulness work.

I started to teach, I did a master's in mindfulness-based approaches in banker, in North Wales. And I think at the time it was like the first place you could do. You could do a master's in that area. And then from that, I started to teach MBSR mindfulness based stress reduction, the eight week program. And I have been doing that while teaching full time.

And then, the transition continued further and I actually took a career break for a couple of years and I just taught mindfulness in schools for two years. And then eventually, I felt I had built up enough mindfulness work outside of school that I was able to make that jump, but that's relatively recently, it's less than two years.

Wow. 

Adam Coelho: [00:12:57] And for those not familiar, what is mindfulness based stress reduction, 

Keith Horan: [00:13:02] right? So this is this was like the breakthrough program in mindfulness developed by many by Jon Kabat-Zinn and. I guess the important thing about it is that it was really research-based. So it was showing the impact on say our stress levels and our ability to cope with pain and and things like that.

So the research, which. That was fairly revolutionary for the time we're going back, maybe 30 years now that allowed mindfulness to start to get into places like schools and, I don't know, universities and nowadays into businesses. That program, it's just a really nice eight week program.

In my I'm actually teaching it at the moment where we have eight Wednesdays plus a Saturday retreat, and there's a standard sort of curriculum that you go through and you have to be trained to facilitate it. But it's a really nice program. 

Adam Coelho: [00:13:58] And I believe that kind of the, it's the first program that actually linked on a research basis, mindfulness with health and medicine, right?

Keith Horan: [00:14:09] Yeah. I think John Kabat-Zinn was quite strategic in seeing that really you need to connect with them. Science, and you need to connect with people where, with where people are at, if they're dealing with anxiety or if they're dealing with pain or if they have health issues, and this is helpful, then, prove that and establish that in, in, by research and to the literature.

And so yeah, I think it was yeah, it was a real groundbreaking thing. The movement. Yeah. 

Adam Coelho: [00:14:38] And I think the secular nature of it really helped with that as well. Because it didn't have the kind of metaphysical aspects that can come along with Buddhism and, people in the West, didn't really know a lot about Buddhism.

So being able to bring that in a secular way and prove from a research standpoint was definitely a game changer, 

Keith Horan: [00:14:58] right? Yeah, totally. Yeah. For me in the school setting it went from, this meditation thing that I was introducing, being something that people thought, okay, that's fine.

You're trying that to something that, they massively supported me doing my masters and gave me some time off to complete this. And we're really, encouraging and it's really because of the research and the secular nature. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. 

Adam Coelho: [00:15:26] As you're talking, I'm remembering now that I had a Spanish teacher, I want to say 10th grade that had us do meditation every day before we started class.

And that's why I said, I didn't know anything about meditation, but I was doing it when I was 15. So that's pretty funny. That's cool. 

Keith Horan: [00:15:48] And what, 

Adam Coelho: [00:15:48] What did the process look like to become a MBSR facilitator? 

Keith Horan: [00:15:54] The training that I did was over three years with banger and all right, it was part of the masters, it was part of the masters. And so there's a lot, but even generally the sort of trainings, I think they're usually. Somewhere towards 18 months, two years. So it's substantial training and and usually involves, understanding sort of the psychological aspects of the practice as well, because you're bringing people who may be dealing with anxiety, DDR.

Low moods or different conditions like that. You're bringing them into this space where you have to understand where they're at. And and so then, so you're studying that aspect. You're studying the sort of curriculum itself, but probably the most important thing was. Teaching in front of the group and getting feedback and, being rigorously critiqued on how you are teaching and and so learning in that environment.

And so for me, anyway, the training felt, it felt that once I had done that I felt okay, I'm, I'm ready. I can do this. Wow. 

Adam Coelho: [00:16:53] Yeah. And so once you had that and you started, it sounded like you were bringing it into schools more and more, how did you go as you started to lead these eight week programs?

How did you find. Essentially customers for these programs. 

Keith Horan: [00:17:10] Yeah. Initially I really didn't manage to find customers. That was the first step. So my first MBSR never happened, I think I got, I think I had an idea that I needed, I don't know, maybe eight people and I got four people to sign up and.

So I learned pretty quickly that I need to be more sort of professional and diligent in how I go about marketing this. And in my case it's really, it's simple enough. I, using Facebook putting up posters in my community making an and talking about it, I tend to be like an introverted person.

So I had to just put myself out there a bit more and really make an effort. And, thankfully since then Yeah, I've managed to fill the courses every time. And and I guess at a certain point, word of mouth started to kick in and it started to get a little easier to to get the word out there.

Adam Coelho: [00:18:06] Got it. Very good. And so how many people do you generally have in a course? 

Keith Horan: [00:18:12] Yeah I started my first course that I got off the ground. I had a cutoff of 16, so I had 16 people and and I've been on courses as a participant where there's, 20 or 24 people, but I started to find over time for me, the sweet spot was around 12 people.

Just what I could I see is that with that size of a group, people really got to know each other quite well. And even the quieter people got to become comfortable to maybe have conversations in pairs or, so I just found for me that was like the ideal group size. So since then I've I usually just go with 12 people.

Adam Coelho: [00:18:53] Yeah, got it. Yeah. I can see if it gets too big, it would be, anyone that is a little bit shy or dealing with something that's really hard. Yeah, 

Keith Horan: [00:19:02] yeah, maybe a second facilitator, maybe then that's a different dynamic again, but what I'm I used to teach MBSR on my own, so I find this works pretty well.

Adam Coelho: [00:19:14] Got it. Let me see what I got here. So how, you know has, sounds like that was the start of this being a full-time business for you. How has the business grown over the last two years since you've done it full time, or even before that, as it grew from a part-time to a full-time.

Yeah, 

Keith Horan: [00:19:33] right. Yeah. It's just been like loads of trial and error. I've tested to see how many MBSR courses. Am I comfortable running a year. So I explored that. I continued to do some work with schools in the last year I started to deliver more programs with that in a corporate setting.

So there's and I've tested to see what works. What do I enjoy? What feels most meaningful? And then the most recent thing is I'm exploring teaching mindfulness and developing a mindfulness community online, which is called the mindfulness community or TMC that's, maybe we'll come to that later, but yeah it hasn't always been easy actually to try and figure out what's the right amount of work and there isn't really a very clear model of how to.

Be a professional in this space, it's so new. 

Adam Coelho: [00:20:26] So a lot of trial and error, just seeing what works. How many sessions or classes are you doing a year of MBSR? 

Keith Horan: [00:20:34] At the moment, because I'm working so much on the online platform, I'm just doing two per year.

And I've heard people talk about, to be, to have a, a full career in this area. You'd have to teach a lot of MBSR courses, like more than I think anyone possibly could like maybe 12 a year or something like that. So I think still lots of people are being trained to teach programs like this with the expectation that there's a, an established career path.

But as of yet, I think it's just being figured out. I don't think the model is really there yet. On the one hand you've got you've got this scale and you've got something that people really value, like the, like what people get from. Doing a mindfulness program. It can be huge. So you've this very invaluable skill, but at the same time most mindfulness teachers that I speak with are, need to work part-time or in some cases full-time alongside the mindfulness work.

Yeah, it feels like things need to develop a bit further and we need to come up with new models of how to work in this space. Yeah, 

Adam Coelho: [00:21:44] That's the sense I get as well. Having been a search inside yourself, facilitator within Google, but also having relationships with people doing it outside of Google.

I know they've slowed now I'm training new facilitators because there are so many already around the world and it's just, it seems that people have had find it difficult to, make a full-time living in. I'm doing kind of this patch this work that is a passion for them. And that they're really good at the business side.

I feel like is challenging. 

Keith Horan: [00:22:18] Yeah. Tell me a little bit 

Adam Coelho: [00:22:20] more about how with what the corporate model looks like. Cause that seems to be an area where people do find some more 

Keith Horan: [00:22:28] success. Yeah, yeah. I would say so the first thing is it's the area I'm least experienced in. So I don't think I have an awful lot to offer.

I can see in Ireland that I think the mindfulness teachers who are able to develop more of a career have focused on the corporate space from my sense I, what I've found really worked is where I managed to get into a company and deliver like a, sort of a substantial program. So recently I finished, two rounds of a six week program where the staff had 90 minutes and that was during their work time.

So I found like the outcomes there were really good. It felt I was delivering something that was really worthwhile. What I found hasn't worked as well is where I'm inviting into give a short presentation in some way cases it's like during people's lunch break. And so they're eating or after work, it's much harder to yeah.

I, I've started cut back from doing that type of work because I just wasn't feeling that was really a, I'm not sure how effective it is. I think that first for mindfulness to have an impact, it needs to be given enough time and there really needs to be a support within the company for it.

Adam Coelho: [00:23:45] Yeah. To make sense. It makes sense. It was. When you look at these corporate kind of opportunities, what is the typical sale look like? Who are you working with within the company? How long does it take, what does it, what 

Keith Horan: [00:24:01] does that look like? Yeah. So again, I haven't really actively pursued it what's happened in my case is that it's somebody who I've worked with personally or who's done an MBSR course with me, ends up Lobbying on my behalf and getting me into the business.

So I haven't really, I've been fairly passive in the area in this area. And I've just been lucky that yeah, just some people in the course have really felt that this would help their business. And, the process after that, typically it's dealing with someone in HR and. Figuring out what are the needs of the company at the time?

What's the sort of timeframe, what, and coming up with a course then, and I've been fairly flexible in trying to figure out, yeah. What is their timeframe? Are there specific needs in the company? Is there S which sometimes there are like I recently worked with a company that's.

That's going to be shutting down over the next few months. And it and staff had been there for a long time, so that, there's a lot of anxiety about the future and so yeah, tailoring things to the company and yeah, and just working from there. Got it. Yeah. That's that's interesting.

Adam Coelho: [00:25:15] So it's, it sounds like a lot of, your network has brought you in and helped you get the foot in the door. 

Keith Horan: [00:25:21] Yeah. I haven't actively, yeah. I haven't actively tried to go in this area. And, but I can see other people here who have, and look to be, yeah, it looks like they're getting to work with big companies and, it looks like really good work.

Adam Coelho: [00:25:36] Great. And so just on this podcast, we're exploring how. Mindfulness meets financial independence and, part of being able to pursue a career in a passion or an area that you're passionate about, like mindfulness obviously requires either having reached financial independence or.

Finding a way to support yourself financially doing it. We've been talking about the ladder for the recent part of this conversation, but I guess I'm curious as to, how do you think about money generally in your life? It's a big question, but how does money fit into your life and into this pursuit of this career?

Keith Horan: [00:26:25] Yeah, the first thing to say is I do have another source of revenue, so I have some sort of investments I had set up over time. So that gives me a certain amount of comfort and has probably allowed me to. Move into the mindfulness space more quickly than I would have otherwise, especially with a young family.

And so that's one thing. And one challenge I've had around money is that most of my, especially my early meditation training was in a different model. It was like by donation. And it was a whole different system and like that for many years, that's how I taught. So it takes a lot of a lot of thinking to try and integrate this sort of model whereby you're clearly charging people a price and.

And trying not to let that become just a sort of transactional, I try to be just very transparent in pricing. I offered a sliding scale. So if somebody is, working part-time or not working, or as a student, they're paying a different price and and then try to really go beyond the financial sort of.

Value of the program, tried to really connect with the people as humans with the needs they have and try to try to give whatever I have for them, yeah, I think that's what I do think it's challenging. And again, I think it's part of just the fact that this is a new working in this space is a pretty new thing.

Adam Coelho: [00:27:58] Yeah. That's very true. And as you said, a lot of it has been donation-based in the past and currently as well. People that do teach in that way. And yeah, I'm always curious as to. 

Keith Horan: [00:28:12] Yeah. There's two parallel systems almost at the moment, and and then, yet if when I go to do, the masters training, there, isn't an option of being by donation.

This is. This is happening. This is the cost and this is the time it takes. And I think there's a way of course, to do all this very ethically and I think we're coming around to it, 

Adam Coelho: [00:28:32] got it. And what would you say, are your biggest challenges in growing this business at this Part of your life, 

Keith Horan: [00:28:41] right? Yeah. I guess so I, I learned a lot in the two years where I just worked with schools because I managed to get to loads of schools and the revenue I was making was fine, but it was actually completely exhausting.

Like I realized, you can't just keep booking in session after session, you end up drained. And, I think I wouldn't have been able to sustain even my own practice. Yeah, it made me realize that there's, at least for me, there's a certain amount of teaching that I can do. And I think when I go, if I go past that, I'm not really sure I'm able to, there could be a going through the motions kind of thing.

Because it can be draining work. It's really inspiring work, but you're really trying to hold a space for people. And Yeah, you have to tune in and see to what extent can I do that? So out of that was the realization that I need to look at another model of how to do things. And that's really what led to looking at initially just doing online courses as well as my in-person work.

And and nowadays looking at I'm launching this online community. Yeah. Yeah. 

Adam Coelho: [00:29:53] Great time to pivot, to talking about the mindfulness community, which can be found@themindfulnesscommunity.com. Tell me a little bit about how that came about and what you hope to 

Keith Horan: [00:30:05] achieve with that. The real source of it was it came from looking at the students or the people I had taught MBSR courses to and seeing how much they were getting from them. And then meeting them six months later and. Always having that slightly awkward conversation where they would want to say to me I'm not really able to do my practice now, and just realizing that even a fantastic course, like NBSR If you're on your own afterwards, it's pretty difficult to sustain a practice like that just takes too much willpower and relieving back to my own training.

I was part of a group meditating and I had all that support. Yeah, I think it's difficult for people to sustain the practice. I used to run then follow on kind of Saturday events. Where we've a studio here and a yoga and meditation studio and we'd run events where people would come and they get to get that boost for the practice.

But again, with the young kids, I was only able to do so many and they were always full. So there was all these people that I just realized I'm just not getting to them. And I felt like a responsibility, I've gotten these people started, they're loving the thing. How are they expected to do it on their own?

We need that community feels so that was really, it just hit me like, okay, try and build this online. Try and be skillful. Use modern technology and see what can be done. So we're just coming towards the end of our test phase now, and we're ready to launch soon. And.

Really what we're offering is that feeling of a community. So we do live meditations where I'm live streaming. So like this morning at seven 30 I live stream and guide the meditation and there's people there and you have this, even for me guiding it, it feels different. It feels like it just takes less willpower because we're turning up to this thing together.

So we've liked life meditations and life groups. And. I sense of community and conversation. And yeah, the goal there is really to just help support people's practice and even more so to help people support each other. So to have that real sense of community. So that's the motivation.

And then I can also see going back to like, how can a person work in this mindfulness space? And, have a good livelihood and be able to do it in a sustainable way. And I think, My hope is that a model like this could be effective where, you're teaching students in your courses.

And then over time you've a lot of students, you have a few hundred students you've taught and offering something like this, where they get for a relatively low ongoing fee, they get this support and they get to have this sort of community aspect to their practice. So my hope is that it meets both those needs.

Adam Coelho: [00:33:01] Yeah, I can definitely can see that. And as we've talked about, and I definitely think that. Community is a huge missing piece of this for me. And as I was telling you, before we started recording, I have started a little group in, I maybe we were already recording, but started the little at work where every day at 2:00 PM, we meditate together.

But I cry. I crave more and more community because yeah, this is a lifelong practice. And, there are ups and downs in life and ups and downs in the practice. And having that support system to, share that with I think is really valuable. And then of course, as well, for people who teach others mindfulness, being able to support those students as they go off and integrate this into their life is essential.

Otherwise it just becomes you not a nice thing. You did one time, 

Keith Horan: [00:33:58] yeah. Yeah. We just don't have the willpower to keep sustaining a practice for at least I can say I don't, I really need that support and I was lucky enough to always have it. It's nice to yeah.

Use technology and be able to try and and continue to offer that. Yeah. 

Adam Coelho: [00:34:16] And I guess I'm also curious about, you can see you have a beautiful studio behind you. Tell me about how that came 

Keith Horan: [00:34:22] about. Yeah I haven't mentioned the other part of this is that my wife is a yoga teacher. And initially actually she got into Tibetan Buddhism with me.

And somewhere along the line, like before a meditation retreat, there was some yoga classes and she really fell in love with yoga. So she's been teaching for, I don't know, maybe 15 years. And so she, during the week, she's teaching from here in our studio and And then we do some work together or we'll teach mindfulness and yoga.

Originally this space was this was like our living room and kitchen. It's actually it's a 200 year old cottage, actually. It's a really cool space. And so when we got the chance, we converted it and into this really nice space. And then our living spaces just attached to this.

So we've a little bit of separation from home. You're not traveling very far. You just, through one door and 

Adam Coelho: [00:35:18] you're pretty short commute. 

Keith Horan: [00:35:20] Huh? Yeah. So it's really nice. I tend to teach here sometimes, but I have to go more towards Galway city just for, population.

Whereas in Amanda's case, she I think half of our people who can walk here, they're all within a few miles. Oh wow. She has, she's got this lovely community of regular yoga practitioners and yeah. So it's really nice. That's 

Adam Coelho: [00:35:41] amazing. Yeah. It's definitely always been a dream of mine to one design and build my own house, but also to more and more.

As they think about this idea of community and kind of cultivating mindfulness and kind of everything that this podcast is meant to explore this idea of creating a space where people could come and practice and explore and develop. And self-awareness, self-compassion that kind of thing.

So it's really cool to see that you've created and your, in your home. 

Keith Horan: [00:36:14] Yeah. Thanks. 

Adam Coelho: [00:36:16] A couple more questions, just first, what is one piece of advice that you'd give to someone looking to live more mindfully? 

Keith Horan: [00:36:27] So you mean not teaching mindfulness person, practicing mindfulness. Exactly.

Yeah. I think just having space around things like we're inclined to just rush all the time and it's really difficult then to have that move. I often think of this idea of, we can be in this active doing mode and then it's really nice to just sink into a being mode where we're just experiencing things.

So like taking time to pause. Whether it's with a cup of coffee or, just noticing walking a little more slowly and noticing your feet on the ground with really just really valuing moments of pausing. I think that's such a lovely thing and that supports the meditation practice, but it also just helps us to add, I think we've more resistance than to getting caught up in everything and, Yeah, 

Adam Coelho: [00:37:23] that's a good reminder for sure.

And now, what's one piece of advice you'd give to someone working in the building, a mindfulness or building a business in the mindfulness space. 

Keith Horan: [00:37:37] Yeah. For me, it was really nice to be able to transition very gradually into it. So I wasn't needing to make it make too big a jump and put myself under pressure and have to, add a lot of stress to my life.

And so I think being able to do things gradually, doing it alongside your work or working part-time I think that type of approach I think it's really helpful and I just think, Using your practice, like checking in and seeing how is it for me to in my case, how is it for me to go to a different school every day?

Actually this isn't really working, so I think every step just checking in and seeing is this right? Does this work for me? And so I think thankfully we can keep coming back to the practice and keep developing awareness and respect what we're noticing, instead of just having the goal, I must get to this place seeing actually, where am I at right now?

Do I need to slow down? And it's okay. If things take a little longer, we have to yeah, like you mentioned earlier, the interest is of compassion. We have to have this self compassion towards ourselves. And really if we lose our practice, if we lose that sense of self-compassion, we really lose our ability to help people anyways.

So it's it's a, it's necessary, Yeah, 

Adam Coelho: [00:38:58] no, I think that's really really good advice I have in the desire to create something or build a business, put a lot of pressure on myself to just get there and just do it. And all of this and it's really, doesn't have to be that way.

And so I think in kind of this. Exploration of mindfulness and fire, a financial independence retire early. It's really giving me the ability to explore these areas that I'm interested in while continuing to work. But also, seeing how I can bring things that I'm interested in into my work and not just rushing to get there to this, fire number or whatever.

And. It really is. Yeah. So it's really a gradual process. 

Keith Horan: [00:39:49] Cool. 

Adam Coelho: [00:39:50] Keith, thank you so much for the time and the insight into what it's like to be a professional mindfulness teacher. If people want to learn more about what you're doing or get in touch with you, how can they find you? 

Keith Horan: [00:40:07] Yeah, thanks. Yeah.

So you can find me@keithhoran.com and if you're interested in the community, you'll find it@themindfulnesscommunity.com and yeah, just to say thanks so much, really enjoyed the conversation. It's been a real pleasure. 

Adam Coelho: [00:40:25] Excellent. And we'll put all the information in those links in the show notes so that people can find Keith online and join the community.

Thank you so much, Keith. 

Keith Horan: [00:40:37] Great. Thanks. 

Adam Coelho: [00:40:39] Thanks so much for joining us on today. Episode of the mindful fire podcast. If you got value from today's episode, please hit subscribe wherever you're listening to this or watching this. This just lets the providers know you're getting value from the show and you want to be here when we produce the dish. .



Keith Horan

MBSR Teacher & Founder of The Mindfulness Community

Mindfulness has played a wonderful role in my life. I was very fortunate in that I was first taught to meditate when I was 23, and I have maintained a regular practice since then.
The practice was gentle and gradual, and still transformed my life! My concentration increased while worrying and being “stuck in my thoughts” lessened. Life became more interesting.

Sharing these practices became a passion, and now I love to find different ways to teach and to pass on these benefits to others.

In 2019 I created The Mindfulness Community, my online platform to facilitate Mindfulness practice and reach people around the world.

So, have a look through the website and if you think Mindfulness can be of benefit to you, then make sure to get in touch with me.