Mindfulness on the Rocks


Gary Petingola and Sheila Damore-Petingola, owners of Mindfulness on the Rocks, are two Sudburians who are bringing mindfulness and meditation to the public through their Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program. We spoke with them to find out more about their course (currently housed at ARC Climbing Yoga Fitness), as well as how to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives!

Can you tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and careers? When did you begin practicing mindfulness and meditation?

We are Masters prepared Social Workers, obtaining our degrees at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Our work experience is primarily in health care – Gary working with people diagnosed with diabetes and kidney disease, and Sheila working in out-patient oncology and with health care providers. Our work has fostered awareness and interest in what keeps us and other health care workers well to continue to do our work competently and compassionately.  More and more is being studied about the links between the mind and the body. We are learning more about our reaction to life stress and the toll that that can take over time. Provision of health care service and dealing with illness can be stressful over time. It is important that we as health care providers and/or patients learn skills to manage life stressors.

In our Social Work practices, we have introduced a variety of tools to assist patients and their families in dealing with illness. We have received training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and are qualified to teach this through the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society.

We’ve been meditating for about 8 years. We participate as students in annual silent meditation retreats with world leaders in MBSR and we are constantly taking courses to advance our knowledge and abilities to teach others. We have published in this area and have trained health care professionals in mindfulness internationally.

What is mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). The regular practice of Mindfulness Meditation can enrich our lives with enhanced calm, clarity, insight, emotional intelligence, creativity, productivity, and wellness. People take the MBSR course for personal well-being, professional development, as part of workplace wellness, and to assist in the management of illness and chronic conditions.

We understand that Mindfulness on the Rocks began as an employee program at Health Sciences North, and are very excited to hear that it will be available to the public soon! How can we participate and get involved?

Over the past 4 years we have trained health care professionals from diverse disciplines (psychiatrists, physicians, physiotherapists, dietitians, social workers, IT specialists, managers, etc.) and organizations (Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord, the Sudbury and District Health Unit, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University’s Faculty of Health and the Community Care Access Centre) in mindfulness. We have recently secured space at ARC Climbing Yoga Fitness and the January to March program starts on January 23rd with an orientation to the 8-week course. Classes will be from 6:30 AM to 9:00 AM on Monday mornings. We are thrilled to bring this program to the Sudbury community!

Mindfulness on the Rocks offers a range of programs and services for individuals, groups, and organizations for personal and professional growth.

Many of our readers are busy with school, work, and family/friends. Is there a way for those who are new to mindfulness meditation to incorporate it into their busy schedule?

Part of mindfulness training is understanding our ability to be present in the moment and this facilitates increased awareness and the ability to focus in spite of our busy schedules and life demands. The question becomes – do you want to continue living life in “automatic pilot” being reactive, not recognizing habitual maladaptive behavioral patterns or do you want to gain more clarity so that you are more responsive, more productive, happier, and fully present? Studies demonstrate that just 27 minutes of mindfulness mediation daily can change the structure of the brain. One can be mindful both formally with meditative practices and informally by simply paying attention to what you are doing as you are doing it. This can make a profound change to your life.

Do you have any tips for individuals who are interested in practicing and learning more about mindfulness meditation?

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program that we offer through Mindfulness on the Rocks, provides opportunity for people to learn together about the benefits and application of mindfulness and meditation in daily life. 

Where can we learn more about Mindfulness on the Rocks, and how can we stay in touch?

We have a Facebook page; Mindfulness on the Rocks: Meditation Solutions for Maximum Life Impact. Additionally you can email us directly at MSWjune2012@me.com for all mindfulness inquiries.


Adriana Nicolucci is a Communications and Film Production graduate, fashion enthusiast, and patterned sock collector. She’s often spotted munching on the Eenie Meenie Grilled Zucchini Pizza at the Buddha. Danny Ocean is her spirit animal, except she’s planning a heist to steal your hearts (not a casino)


  1. Amelia Anne Damore : February 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Amazing! Love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *