Orla is the International Co-ordinator for Wake Up Schools and has been practicing mindfulness for over 22 years in the Plum Village / Thich Nhat Hanh tradition. She was an editor for the award-winning book ‘Happy Teachers Change the World’. Her courses are founded on learning together as a family, blending character strengths and positive neuroplasticity.
In addition to having founded many mindfulness initiatives, Orla is an advisor to the World Happiness Festival and speaks regularly at the Mindful Kids Peace Summit, and Mindfulness in Education Summit amongst others.
I teach how to build happier communities. Your family, your work, your school – these are all communities that we are part of. Imagine if each was a kinder, happier environment – how much easier it would be for us to thrive?
First, we learn to take good care of ourselves. We get to know ourselves and our habits, deepening understanding and strengthening our ability to be there for ourselves.
From there, we radiate outwards. When our presence is solid and we feel cared for, then we can be there for others.
I am a leader in Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice, which helps us to start with the best of us – where we’re already strong.
My approach blends practical experiences to strengthen presence with a dollop of neuroscience (I’m big into positive neuroplasticity and how mindfulness helps to debias our not-so-rational brains). And I adore poetry, and use it to take off autopilot and into our bodies. Whether I’m colouring with a school class or leading a workshop on Shame, my work is about helping people to be more present for their lives. To bring freshness and authenticity to this moment. To nourish their capacity for wellbeing and to care for their suffering.
I have practiced mindfulness for 20 years, and bring passion and deep experience to my teaching. I practice in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, which emphasises a practical approach with immediate effect. I am an ordained lay member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing.
I love bringing our unconscious biases to light to help clients to improve peak performance and to expand and deepen their perspective.
I am founder of two Dublin City sanghas (mindfulness practice groups) – one for adults and one for families. I offer days of mindfulness around Ireland.
I teach mindfulness widely, including in the corporate environment, schools, not-for-profits and community groups. I mentor mindfulness teachers and practitioners in the UK and Ireland.
Wake Up Schools
International Coordinator of Wake Up Schools (Plum Village’s movement to support mindfulness in education). Retreats, resources, days of mindfulness, school interventions and more!
Check out our award-winning book Happy Teachers Change the World.
The Community of Contemplative Education
Founder member of The Community of Contemplative Education (Mind & Life Europe’s group to cultivate human flourishing through education). Research, evidence-base and overviews to deepen our understanding of what works and how.
World Happiness Fest
Advisor & Country Host of Happiness Fest – the largest, most diverse forum on happiness and well-being in the world. Celebrating the UN’s International Day of Happiness on 20 March with one week of science, spirituality, business, art, movement and tech.