Into April 40/Quiet space/WUYA/Creative Mindfulness evenings/Entitled/Peace Sounds 3/New Album.
Spring wishes. Under a brilliant blue sky this morning toward the end of April traveling through Germany after the Wake Up Your Artist retreat and a visit to friends for Easter. Something about travel over land calm I find and the rhythm and slow change of the landscape – reminds me of tracing lines of hills and fields as a child.
I have my friends with me (in my thoughts) from the trips. Also in their handwriting, an envelope of small pieces of paper ‘flower watering’ we call it, from the retreat; everyone writing some words of appreciation for everybody else so you leave with this pouch. It happened to be my birthday a few days ago also and so I have birthday cards and gifts. One of these gifts my mum had arranged to be in Germany with me, a photobook; a few photos from each decade, my mum has shoe boxes full! The first was me a few hours old. I looked at that intently for a minute I think, the body that this body became. There’s a question in Buddhism: where were you before your Grandmother was born? I think that’s brilliant, complex and unanswerable to the modern part of my mind that knows me since 3 or 4 years and my mum who felt me growing, yet to another part that I could say is as old and ‘wise’ as anything in the universe the answer is, well, I’ve always been here haven’t I?!
Parallel to my trips of late I’ve been on an online pilot course with the Plum Village Monastery: Zen and The Art Of Saving The Planet. First a book collecting teachings of Plum Village founder Thich Nhat Hanh, woven with commentary by one of monastic students the English Sister True Dedication, the book looks at how an old Buddhist Teaching, The Diamond Sutra can help us understand ourselves and relate to the climate crisis that we are all facing to varying degrees. The Diamond Sutra as many studied faith texts looks at ideas of time and it’s limitations and connects the reader to the possibility of ‘removing barriers’ as Sufi poet Rumi said. It directly questions 3 notions: self, human being and life span. [But that’s…but what if…! – i know that seems a little odd – stay with me if you can] The book, and the course, builds around these ideas teachings on calming the body, listening, loving engaged and brave dialogue, facing ourselves, suffering, social justice, racism and more…
I recorded this relaxation inspired by this and becoming a year older:
Quiet time continues this year. An experiment I started last January, the quiet space is open 7-7.30 each morning and 10:30-11 each evening ending with a quote on quiet or silence. Love to see you anytime you like to come by – drop in any time between start and finish, camera on/off it’s up to you.
Love to those who came to Wake Up Your Artist this April – everytime we gather I’m touched by the bravery and the showing up that goes on. Larissa Mazbouh, Philipp Hansen and myself had a week of workshops looking at the 5 Artist elements: Inner Zen Master, Inner Child, Inner/Critic Self Compassionate one, Art Adventurer and Art Activist.
We do writing, impro theatre, movement, songs, poetry, drawing, colour, games along with meditations and it all winds up with The Sacred Gallery of Non Judgement and Infinite Creativity! If any of this feels like you’d be interested, let me know and I can add you to our mail list – we have a couple of in person retreats a year and online community meet ups too to support creativity and mindfulness.
Here’s a little window on the WUYA world… hooooollllllddddd on 🙂 Thanks to The Alabama Shakes for writing this wonderful song
on the same theme Susanne Olbrich and I continue our journey with monthly with Plum Village UK (Mindfulness Charity) offering 2 hours of creative exercises and mindfulness practice once a month, on the 3rd Monday usually. Susanne, a teacher in the Plum Village tradition, brings her experiences of studying mindfulness and deep listening practices and I bring some songs, exercises and games – all welcome.
Following some growing learning around Patriarchy, I started a book club this year and interested if you want to part of future ones. I wanted to understand my place more as the saying goes: You don’t see the world as it is but how you are. Blog posts of Patriarchy writings led me to Kate Manne’s ‘Entitled’ – a group of us have been reading it and will be sharing our thoughts in the next week or so. If this kind of set up is something that would interest you I would love to hear from you.
Peace Sounds 3
Delighted to announce that Peace Sounds 3 is underway. The project record label begun in 2012 puts out compilations of artists from the faith and peace activism circles I move in. The 2012 release was around the time that Thich Nhat Hanh founder of Plum Village was last in London. No release date yet for Peace Sounds 3; sometime this year, though here are 2 artists that will feature on it, the wonderful Born I from New York and Melissa James from London, thanks to them for being in.
I continue to record for my own next album also, when you say you are making it, friends ask ‘how it’s going?’ and I appreciate that, it keeps me moving 🙂 It’s going – with my studio buddy for company…
All releases free (donation if you wish/have the means), I’d be honoured to send them to you – click the pictures and follow the links to be in touch…