Tuesday, 16 May 2017

FESTIVAL OF NOTHINGNESS





As I move into another year of Thinking Room, I am hosting an early summer festival of delicious nothingness. 

ANTIDOTE TO MODERN LIFE #ATML
A series of Sunday Urban Retreats
8 consecutive Sundays 14 May to 2 July
No experience necessary. 
Come as you are. Trust the process.
Come to one, some or all.
10am-12noon. 
Please arrive so you can be settled on your mat by 10am.
The suggested contribution is £20 cash, if this is a stretch you can leave a donation that feels ok for you.

Why am I doing this?
I care deeply about these Practices. Practice with a capital P, the act of moving through a sequence, with effort but not force, to arrive at a place of complete emptiness and complete fullness. 
It sounds so esoteric huh? My encouragement would be to let go of judgement and expectation. It’s just a process. Simple but not easy. You sit, you move, you breathe … pay attention, allow without judgement, notice what is emerging, what is sticking and what is ticking. 

You re-member who you really are underneath the whole story of your life. 

You find yourself for a few moments, lying or sitting on a mat, giving yourself some thinking room in this mile-a-minute world we live in. 

What could be more precious?

How I got here:
The short answer is: by falling over a lot in life and knowing I need to find ways of getting-up and walking-on that hold my body, mind and heart safe and stable. For me and for you.

I Practice like my life depends on it. Now I believe my life does depend on it. 

I fell over really hard a few years ago and have gradually come to accept that I will live with chronic illness, indefinitely. It peaks and troughs, taking me with it. There are some choices I can make: I choose to try to cultivate the middle way, to stay in the boat and work with the conditions rather than be subsumed by them. Sometimes I go against the grain so I can find my weave. I trust that if I tune into my mind-body over and over again, it will show me the way.

It sounds so esoteric huh? It’s just a process. Simple but not easy.

I believe life depends on it. 

Grandiose as it may sound, I think that the rise and rise of this mindfulness and yoga stuff is a strong assertion by our consciousness, palms held at heart protesting compassionately - we are more than fleeting development and insane politics, war, poverty and climate meltdown. 

This slow mindbody stuff is the counter trend to our amazing digital age, it’s the Practice that lets us live in a fast world without forgetting the joys of still, quiet, dark and warm. It is the un-doing of agitated bombardment, questions and answers proliferating in search of The Answer.  It is the practice of letting going of active searching to connect ourselves with our innate self-knowledge.

I am blessed to have the following people as my principal teachers: Michael Stone, Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Norman Blair, Judith Hanson Lasater, Joyce McMiken, Anna Taylor, Amanda Wright, Eunice Laurel.

I teach mindfulness based meditation, restorative yoga (passive relaxation, opening and realigning the mindbody plane) and yoga nidra (a deeply embodying, liminal yogic sleep practice). 

I teach from my heart and my experience, to your heart and your experience.

A note about the dark side...
In life, there is always a dark side. We love to avoid it, hide it away and try to never talk about it. The more we ignore it, the more it protests, like hunger that isn’t fed.

In my book the dark side is ok. It’s par for the course. It’s grist for the mill. You will encounter it and you probably have to go through it to come out. This is possible. There is usually great insight and relief in the process. 

It is ok. You are ok.

The bit I thought about deleting:
It takes a lot to get here and to get this type of initiative going. A lot of living, a lot of learning. 

I bow with immense respect and gratitude to the growing population of yoga and meditation teachers who are turning this wheel, especially the teachers who are ‘living their yoga’.

I can’t speak for them, only myself. In the end, I am doing this because it’s a kind of calling. My life led me into the Practice. Now I choose to take the practice out.

If I share this with hundreds of people, and you then share it with hundreds of people, perhaps a handful will turn up on the mat. That is enough, but I, we, need your help. We hear people say they want it, so we offer it. It’s hard to ask you to share and to show up… it’s kind of un-yogic:

May I show up.
May you show up.

What I intend with this project:
I want to develop an inviting, not-too-floofy, safe space for people of all and any backgrounds to Practice together, for the benefit of those who Practice and for the benefit of all beings – what we do on the mat, becomes our Practice off of the mat. It just does.

Community is important. The world is becoming de-communitied. Yes, I made that word up. Practicing in community is powerful. It’s a dinner party for the soul without too much dinner.

I’ve worked a lot in agencies and businesses where I see the fray of life. I welcome people who work in the corporate fray. I welcome all human beans. Not just hippies in tie-dye. I walk amongst many tribes. We are more alike than we are different.

More about The Sunday Practice:
I will be teaching a gentle, contemplative meditation and yoga practice to un-do mental and physical stress and tune in to our innate spaciousness and stillness.

8 consecutive Sundays 14 May to 2 July
No experience necessary. Come as you are, trust the process.
Come to one, some or all.
10am-12noon. 
Please arrive so you can be settled on your mat by 10am.
14 May and 4 June donation only
The rest £20 cash
Email barbra@thinkingroom.org with dates you would like to attend to hold your space.
This is a small class. Maximum 12.

Venue and directions:
Near: Angel, Old Street, Barbican, Clerkenwell

Please wear something comfortable you can move freely in. Most of the practice will be in stillness. No food, drink or phones in the studio.

Check in at reception and come to the studio on the third floor. 
I am sorry there is no lift at this studio.

I would be grateful if you share with your contacts, if you would like to.

More classes and retreats will follow later in the year.

Ka thlompo le lerato
Ke a ikokobetsa ka pelo ya me
Le ka botengteng jwa pelo ya me
With respect and love
I humble myself
Wholeheartedly
Barbra x

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Find out more about who I am and what I do: thinkingroom.org

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