You’re probably thinking the name Madam Heap is a little strange.
In 2014, Dr Carrie Hayward (an experienced psychologist) and Mandy Dore (a corporate long-time meditator), both from Melbourne and school friends since the age of five, came together with the passion to create training programs to help people improve their mind’s health and develop and grow their “wise self”, to enable them to lead a more fulfilling life.
They named the company Madam Heap after the character from the colourful and fun children’s 1980s television series Fraggle Rock, which features a cast of Muppets called the Fraggles, and underlying important life lessons. Madam Heap is the matronly compost trash heap who knows all and sees all, she says "I'm orange peels, I'm coffee grounds, I'm wisdom!" She serves as an oracle to the Fraggles, dispensing advice and wise sayings.
Madam heap is a wonderful metaphor for the human mind, which holds a "heap" of unwanted experiences that we don't like, such as negative thinking, worry, anger, sadness, difficult memories and self-doubt (i.e. the orange peels and coffee grounds). All of this is part of us but it isn't who we fundamentally are. Instead, who we are is how we choose to live our lives; to be the person we want to be and do what matters (i.e. our wisdom). This might be referred to as our “wise self”. It's about learning how to connect to that part of ourselves, listening to it and then living it daily.
Dr Carrie Hayward
Where did my fascination with the wondrous workings of the human mind begin? My parents would say that it began as a young child; being the youngest sibling of a lawyer sister and actor brother, they say that I had no choice but to sit back quietly and just observe! And now all grown up, I have been a psychologist for the past eight years, including heading up my own private practice for the past four.
My love of being a psychologist really thrived when I found a therapy that I believe every person on the planet needs to know about – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Which in practice is not really a therapy but an approach to living. The core process of ACT is living mindfully, and using mindfulness processes to deal with the inevitable discomfort that life brings and to find meaning and fulfillment in our lives by being the person we want to be. Becoming an ACT practitioner fundamentally changed my work as a psychologist, and profoundly changed my way of living as a person.
I think the Human Mind fascinates many of us. And being invited to hear about the internal workings of the minds of my clients who walk through my practice door, is a very honoring way to spend my working day. And not only that, but with each client I also get to natter and natter about this wonderful approach, this way to help us live more effectively with these very complex minds of ours that can so very often rock our boats.
For a while now, I have been very eager to bring the teaching of mindfulness practices and ACT principles beyond my therapy room, to the broader community. And then along came Mandy. It started with casual snippets of conversations about our shared desire to be a bigger part of this blossoming mindfulness and mediation movement. This grew and grew, and then Madam Heap was born! My friend of 30 years has now become my business partner. It is our different but complimentary experience and training that makes Madam Heap what she is. And I have been loving every minute of it!
5 other insights into Carrie
- Sweet over savory (and therefore baking over cooking)
- Morning over night (I turn into a pumpkin once the sun goes down and all I can think about is a comfy doona and a good novel to lose myself in!)
- Running over yoga (although Mandy is determined to bring me more into the yoga world and I have no doubt she will!)
- I love the footy (AFL) but could possibly be called slightly ‘fair-weather’ in my support of a team (given I have supported 3 different teams over the course of my life!). I currently keep my eyes on the red and the blue.
- Living in the UK and Spain in my early 20s, completing my doctorate, running a marathon are a few of the pretty awesome experiences I’ve been lucky to have. However, nothing beats becoming a mother to my two beautiful young sons, and sharing the magic of this every day with my partner. These 3 boys in my life are the best teachers of the importance of being present – the perfect way to be reminded of this every single day!
Many years ago, I ate a cake and my life took a different direction! Sounds weird hey? In fact that particular cake had macadamia nuts in it, which I’m severely allergic to, and that day I had an anaphylactic reaction and nearly died. It was pretty scary! That day set off a chain of events in my life; one of those was stumbling across a calming meditation class as part of my recovery. This class opened up my thinking about how to best approach my life and my mind’s health.
So I started meditating regularly and I have done so for the last 16 years. Sometimes (like most good habits) I lost it for a little while, but I always came back to it in times of need. Meditation was always there for me, to help me deal with stress, calm my nerves, and simply to help me enjoy life more!
I truly believe my regular meditation practice played a pivotal role in my success in a fast paced, highly stressful corporate career. When I meditated regularly I was calmer, I handled the stress better, my mind was sharper, I made better decisions, I communicated better, I was more in the flow of life, and as a result my corporate career success flourished. It was simply a good business decision to meditate every morning!
I have such an intense passion for meditation and mindfulness and the benefits that I had to follow it and share it with others, so I left the corporate world, and became an accredited meditation teacher. Now with Carrie, I direct my passion and knowledge into Madam Heap. Knowing that we can really help people get more out of their lives makes me so excited to get out of bed every day!
5 other insights into Mandy
- I moved to Hamburg, Germany after being offered a job. What a challenge packing up my life and moving to a country where I didn’t know anyone or even the language. It paid off! I lived there for 4 years and what an amazing experience!
- A very proud moment was when I completed a 10 day silent meditation retreat – that’s no talking, no phone, no reading, no writing – just 10 days with my own mind….
- Favourite books: The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, and the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (an oldie but a goodie), and Favourite Magazine: Dumbo Feather
- Greatest compliment from a friend “you really know how to suck the marrow out of life” - remembering that compliment reminds me to do just that
- I’ve been to 31 countries (there’s 193 in total, that’s a lot more to go!)