About me

This is a quick summary of who I am, where I came from and how I came to this practice.

Just so you know…

I'm Ben Sturgess

I was born and grew up in Croydon, “one of the largest commercial districts outside Central London”. It is certainly a lot busier now than back in the 80’s and 90’s when I was living there.

I travelled around the world, in 1994, between school and university as was the fashion and met Trish, my ‘wife to be’ in Australia. I went to UCL to study Medicine and graduated in 2001. I worked for a spell in London before moving to Colchester to do basic surgical training. 

When my two girls, Lizzie and Charlotte, were born I decided to quit my hospital life and moved to Heathfield in 2005. I studied to be a GP in Eastbourne DGH and practised there as a GP for a number of years. I became very interested in teaching and qualified in this too. I taught for a few years, undergraduate medicine at Brighton Medical School as well as the postgraduate GP training scheme for East Sussex. I was also End of Life care lead for East Sussex for a while and worked on Advanced care planning.

In 2015 I suffered a mental illness and spent a few months at the Woodlands centre in the Conquest hospital. My recovery has been a slow and often challenging pathway, like many others who try to rebuild after a mental illness, it has often been characterised by as many set backs, as strides forward. However, with the help and support of my care team and my family I have made a recovery and now look to solidify that in the community that has supported me.

I started my mindfulness practice in earnest in 2017. After three years of looking, I had tried out many different techniques and methods of understanding my feelings and my mind. To be honest I had not found any magic bullet and had rather given up hope that I ever would.

With mindfulness however, I have found a method that seems to work for me. I suppose as a clinician and a teacher, I had always looked for a good understanding of a problem before attempting a management plan. Trying to manage your mental health is hindered by a ‘subjectivity trap’ that you are fundamentally part of the problem.

Once I had established a regular practice, with awareness and concentration, I began to understand my own experiences with more clarity. This insight has helped me to accept some things and challenge others with a bit more care and self-preservation. 

In the midst of the global COVID pandemic, my family and I have emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. We are starting a new part of our story and will leave the Empty meadow community under the care of Michelle.

I would like to acknowledge the teachings of Plum Village as being my primary source of inspiration and learning. However, I have read many other views on mindfulness and meditation and am happy to bring any ideas into the group. 

My pictures

As well as all that I love art and painting, my dogs and my garden.

I would be very happy to chat about these until the cows come home. 

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