In 2006, in Victoria BC, Dr. Mark Sherman designed the Creating Inner Peace course in mindfulness based stress management based upon his perceived need among his patients, and inspired by his own meditation practice and training in cognitive behavioural therapy. The courses started out as groups of 10-12 people 2 or 3 times per year.
As popularity and demand for the Creating Inner Peace courses grew, the course content evolved, and several more courses were offered each year. In 2010, Monica Kingsbury began co-facilitating with Dr. Sherman, bringing her own experience and wisdom to the course and to facilitation. In 2012, Dr. Sherman began offering the courses as group medical visits thus allowing Medical Services Plan of British Columbia to be billed the attendance costs, and reducing any financial barrier to people accessing this service.
As Creating Inner Peace gained popularity concurrent with increased access to people in the community, it became clear that and expanded model of service delivery was required. In 2012 a group of psychiatrists, physicians and other interested individuals began meeting with Dr. Sherman with a purpose to expand the potential of the Creating Inner Peace work. A proposal was offered to the Vancouver Island Health Authority but was unfortunately denied. Determined to continue this work, and after much meeting, dialogue and work, in 2013 the British Columbia Association of Living Mindfully (BCALM) was born as a non-profit society and Creating Inner Peace soon evolved into what is now called the Art of Living Mindfully.
As of January 2023, the Art of Living Mindfully (ALM) serves around 900 people per year who are challenged by depression, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep issues and other chronic stress conditions. Up to 16 classes run every two months by trained physician facilitators. Classes are offered in-person in Victoria, Comox Valley and soon Nanaimo. Virtual classes are offered to participants throughout BC and those that prefer this format. Participants are referred by physicians which allows us to bill participant attendance to MSP for these “group medical visits”.
BCALM formed its first Board of Directors in 2014, and expanded its programming beyond ALM to include Mornings of Mindfulness, presentations and workshops facilitating mindfulness in education as well as pilot programs in MSP funded mindfulness offerings on the Sunshine Coast and in Nelson, BC.
In 2021 we expanded our private offerings and introduced Mindfulness Self Compassion and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy classes, with resounding success!
BCALM very proudly continues to work towards our vision of facilitating mindfulness in homes, schools, workplaces and communities throughout British Columbia.