Highlighting Our Graduates – Lee-Maree Gallo
Meet ACMM graduate Lee-Maree Gallo. She is an ultra marathon runner, content creator and mum who is now training to be a yoga teacher too! In this blog Lee shares how she is using her qualification in her Local Government workplace and what her plans are for the future.
Hi Lee! Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am married with two kids – Cove 9 and Indi 6, as well as Mia the Maltese- Shih Tzu.
I love trail ultra running, yoga, F45, vegetarian food, reading (I am a book hoarder), obsessed with nature namely the bush/forest and beach.
I currently work as a Content Creator working in Local Government – this means I create and manage content for social media and our digital platforms. I am very passionate about the planet and living as sustainable as possible. I am also very passionate about equality and inclusivity.
What attracted you to become a meditation teacher and study with ACMM?
Once I started seeing all the benefits I was getting from my own meditation practice I decided I wanted to expand my knowledge about meditation and mindfulness so I could then pass that knowledge on to others.
How has meditation impacted you on a personal level – what are the benefits you have seen?
I am far less reactive, have much less anxiety and I sleep better. Things that used to bother me don’t bother me as much anymore and I can go with the flow. Prior to meditation I was a very type A personality who was always on the go, every hour of every day was planned and I was always doing whereas now I find great joy in simply being. It is as though I was previously walking around in a fog but now the world seems so much clearer and everything is that much brighter.
What does your personal meditation practice look like? What styles or types of meditation do you enjoy?
I meditate every morning before I start my day for at least 20 minutes and I prefer breath-focused meditations, metta meditation and I like to include positive affirmations and gratitude before I move forward with the day ahead as I find this allows me to begin the day on a positive note.
My number one rule for every morning is no phone! I also practice mindfulness throughout the day and have even incorporated mindfulness techniques into my ultra training.
Meditation and mindfulness has helped me with ultrarunning particularly when I hit a wall during a long event or long training run. Rather than start to spiral I am able to use mindfulness techniques to focus on the present moment, such as noticing what is around me, what I can see, hear, feel and smell, all this helps me realise nothing is permanent. So while I might be feeling like absolute rubbish and want to quit at that moment I know that the moment will pass.
I also use mantras and affirmations and visualisation not only during the run but in the lead up to an event to prepare me and help cultivate a positive attitude going in. It has given me a sense of gratitude too – when I first started running ultras I was so focused on performance and time but now I am grateful for the experience and will literally stop to smell the flowers and appreciate where I am rather than just run right on through.
Do you have your own meditation/mindfulness/holistic business, plans to start one?
I have been holding guided meditations through my work place periodically. My workplace guided meditations have been well received. The first one I did I was terrified as it was to more than 100 people in an auditorium and I had to stand behind a lectern with a microphone. I knew if I could get through that I could get through anything. It was a great learning experience. Since then I have run a number of small group meditations and have had different departments request sessions. I never anticipated this was the road I’d go down but I’m enjoying it. The aim is to run a regular weekly session during the next school term.
I have lots of plans for the future but the challenge at the moment is finding time outside of work, family life, training and study (currently working toward 500 hour Yoga teacher training) to get it off the ground. I want to make meditation more mainstream and inclusive. This is to show people anyone and everyone can do it. You don’t need to be a sage burning crystal lover to meditate nor do you need to be on top of a mountain. Full disclosure I am a sage burning crystal lover too.
My ultimate goal is to hold one-day retreats including a hike in nature, yoga, meditation, community and great vegetarian food. I find a lot of retreats to be outside of most people’s budget so I would make this very low cost and affordable. I believe meditation and mindfulness should be accessible to all.
Can you describe who you want to work with/inspire/support and why?
I enjoy working with first-time meditators, people who have never tried it but are willing to get outside their comfort zone. They may have been interested in mindfulness and meditation but felt like it wasn’t for them – I like to show them it is for everyone and that I am living proof of the many benefits. I think some people are put off by the spiritual side of meditation. I want to teach them the basics without the fluff because even for me – and I have a very spiritual side – sometimes all the fluffy language makes me cringe. Some meditation language can be quite superfluous, where as my style is more straight to the point.
Do you have any events, workshops or classes coming up in the next few months?
Yes, I am planning on launching this very soon and you can find out more via my instagram @indicomeditationandmovement
What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming a meditation teacher?
Just do it. About halfway through the course I started to question my ability but once I pushed past that I knew I had made the right choice.
What have you enjoyed about studying with ACMM?
My lovely and supportive meditation coach Lauren, the detailed course content and how much growth I went through on a personal and spiritual level which I was not expecting. To be honest that was my favourite outcome of the course – I evolved and grew!