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Trumbull Woman Launches New Business With A Different Take On Meditation

Val Foster and Bill Van Ollefen opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September, which seeks to help people through meditation.
Val Foster and Bill Van Ollefen opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September, which seeks to help people through meditation. Photo Credit: Contributed
Bill Van Ollefen of Bridgeport, with Val Foster of Trumbull, opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September, which seeks to help people through meditation.
Bill Van Ollefen of Bridgeport, with Val Foster of Trumbull, opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September, which seeks to help people through meditation. Photo Credit: Contributed
Val Foster, of Trumbull, with Bill Van Ollefen of Bridgeport opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September, which seeks to help people through meditation.
Val Foster, of Trumbull, with Bill Van Ollefen of Bridgeport opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September, which seeks to help people through meditation. Photo Credit: Contributed

TRUMBULL, Conn. -- Two meditation instructors say they have been able to change their lives through meditation, and together they have opened a business in Trumbull to help others.

Val Foster of Trumbull and Bill Van Ollefen of Bridgeport opened Pathway To Mindfulness in September.

Their meditation philosophy is about "mindfulness," Foster said, which she describes as the "present moment awareness."

People are far too involved in what has happened in the past as well as what might happen in the future, Foster said. They don’t spend time concentrating on the present, she said.

“Through meditation, you become more mindful. You are able to turn down the negative thoughts that we all have circulating in our brains,” she said. “We are not taking time to enjoy the present moment.”

Freeing one's self of stress will help make you feel better. “The more time you spend living in the moment, the healthier that you will be,” Foster said.

Health is the uppermost thought for Van Ollefen, who has been meditating for years.

A dozen years ago, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury that has left him with chronic, intractable pain. He went from being a successful international executive into someone who had “checked out of life,” Van Ollefen said.

He began to look at mindfulness, which has changed his life, although he said he will never escape the pain.

“I had an awakening. The pain will never change, but my experience of pain has changed,” Van Ollefen said. “I am now re-engaged with life, friends and family and we have a productive business. I am a different person, and I attribute it 100 percent to mindfulness.”

He has also dropped 90 pounds in the last 18 months without dieting, which he attributes to mindfulness by teaching a new relation to food.

Van Ollefen and Foster offer unguided insightful meditation along with guided meditation and mindful eating.

Foster said she has cut her dosage for her high blood pressure in half due to mindfulness. Also, Foster, who suffered from difficulty sleeping, now sleeps seven to eight hours per night.

The mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The program brings meditation and yoga together to allow participants to enjoy the benefits of both.

Both Foster and Van Ollefen have taken the eight-week course offered at the medical center.

They offer classes at Southport Congregational Church, 524 Pequot Ave., Southport. Classes will be:

  • Tuesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 on Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22 and Jan. 5 and 12; or
  • Thursdays, from 7 to 8 p.m., on Dec. 3, 10 and 17 and Jan. 7, 14 and 21.

They also offer classes at The Life Solution Center, 35 Old Kings Highway S., Suite 210, Darien, on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to noon from Nov. 17 to Dec. 22.

The cost for each six-session is $300.

For more information, call 203-209-2731.

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