October

 

The most important thing we can do for our world is to listen inside ourselves to hear the sound of the earth crying; healing starts here.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Continuation of the Kirby Misperton Protection camp (fracking) story and a revisit to songs and interview with KM resident James Mason/ Thich Nhat Hanh inspired ecology deep relaxation/  Extinction Rebellion and Remembering ancestors for All Souls (Halloween) with a live recording of my song about my Grandmother So Around

 

Back in April I traveled with some friends to the Kirby Misperton Protection camp in Yorkshire. The village was a planned fracking site before the company Third Energy removed the operation siting loss of money due to the peaceful protests there. In a site nearby, PNR (Preston New Road) a similar story was, and still is, unfolding with local people showing their objections to a site there.

In the UK news this week, 3 protestors from the site were released after being imprisoned for their part in the demonstrations. As life goes, we had one of the 3 (pictured above) at our Community in London for a meal shortly after the arrest. It touched me then, and continues to, what they went through to give voice to a wish for more ecological understanding and relationship to the Earth based on reverence and respect.

One of the 3 Simon Roscoe Blevins wrote this piece for the Guardian I found moving, reflecting on their minor victory in the bigger picture of inequality in the UK today touching on fracking, the prison system and vulnerable and oppressed groups; ‘We don’t need more people behind bars, we need stronger support structures for people in need’.

 

Resident at Kirby, friend of the 3, and singer/songwriter James Mason visited me a few months after my visit and we recorded these songs and conversation together.

James’ has a new single out featuring members of Nahko Bear’s band have a listen here https://aboutabear.bandcamp.com/

 

With this is in the news we ran an environmentally themed Wake Up London including this deep relaxation inspired by a reading from Thich Nhat Hanh’s The World We Have.

Appreciation to all that came and shared. As well as the relaxation and reading, we shared personal moments of nature connection together and had a guided meditation on regeneration; holding the pain of situations like this together felt a way forward, a way to healing.

 

Continuing on a similar theme, this last week saw the declaration of Extinction Rebellion,  

a campaign of peaceful direct action protest to bring concerns to the government over climate change. Supported by many academics, artists, faith leaders, politicians and environmentalist Extinction Rebellion will run from November the 10th to a main day of action on the 17th. Both my Quaker and Plum Village groups are involved in direct and supportive actions – if you are in London and would like to know more just send me a note.

Pictured above include Greta (left) 15 year old from Sweden on a no-school protest about the Swedish response to the climate.

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All Souls/Halloween

 

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Felt to close with a song for my grandmother at this time of year the tradition of bringing ancestors to our hearts. Here is my song about Nana Swan So Around from one of our fire side sharings at Grove Park community house share in London. We continue to build the community sanctuary garden – all interested please do get in touch.

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Alongside the recordings in my journal pages I have recently released an ep of songs ahead of an album. You can visit here to stream and download.

Please don’t let money be a concern. Feel free to pass through the donation screen with my blessing if you would like to download any songs and have no means to donate.

Any donations will go to my recording and traveling fund – thank you.

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September

 

“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (Book of Hours)

 

 

A quote from the German poet Rilke to go with the new season and new playlist from Canadian music channel Foxx’s Frequency – ‘Songs for September’; drawn from many international songwriters; amongst them my Let Yourself Be Seen– more on the song below. Thank you FF for continuing to discover and introduce songs to your listeners, sharing from your heart.

You can subscribe to the channel through the playlist here and also donate to this lovely project.

Matthieu Ricard

Buddhist monk, author, photographer and Humanitarian, Matthieu Ricard has been working on projects of well-being and mindfulness for many years since being a translator for HH The Dalai Lama.

A friend of mine, Journalist Phil Cartwright, recently interviewed Matthieu and included some of my songs (Lay Down and Be Still) in the final cut. Phil interviews artists and writers in an ongoing project looking at where love is in our contemporary culture.

Here it is: join Matthieu for half an hour talking about mindfulness, meditation, Matthieu’s book Altruism, photography, humanitarian work and much more.

Druid Cast

and something else to listen to you may have not heard before, the mythical and magical Druid Cast.

A friend of Damh the Bard (Druid cast presenter) sent in my song Be Still which was featured in episode 137 .

I found stepping into to this world through the show, took me somewhere deeply natural with a magic appreciation and reverence for life and all those who have called themselves, druids, witches, bards and more… It may surprise you that this is a thriving movement with festivals, events and books all currently available –

Touched to be included Damh.

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and 2 other stories this month

Ali and Let Yourself Be Seen

These two feel good together. Ali Mushaima (above) is a human rights activist sleeping outside the Bahrain embassy in London to raise awareness of the treatment of father, a pro democracy campaigner who has been imprisoned in Bahrain. On a friend’s call relaying Ali’s wish for artists to visit, I went to say hello; you can hear my interview with Ali where we talk about the protest and about peace and solidarity and more  here

The other pictures are of my Mum (melodeon) and Cornwall Dad (Stepdad), Jon (violin), who I recorded recently for Let Yourself Be Seen. More on the story of the song and recording can be found here.

Love

Joe

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Alongside the recordings in my journal pages I have recently released an ep of songs ahead of an album. You can visit here to stream and download.

Please don’t let money be a concern. Feel free to pass through the donation screen with my blessing if you would like to download any songs and have no means to donate.

Any donations will go to my recording and traveling fund – thank you.

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 22.38.35

Let Yourself Be Seen

A song to share –

Let Yourself Be Seen

written last year and recorded between All Saints Church in Peckham and The Old Bowjie (pictured – Mum and Jon’s cottage in Cornwall)

Part of a collection of songs I’m gradually recording.
Over the last few years I’ve been involved, volunteering and participating, in three groups that inspired this song; The Samaritans, Wake Up London/ Plum Village and  the Quakers and Young Quakers (YFMG)

Also of NVC, which friends have brought to my attention since; Annica Bauer,Ethan Pollock)

All these groups have the thread of sharing; saying what’s ‘in your head’ or ‘in your heart’, a practice of being honest with yourself and others letting what’s inside be known outside in a way that can inspire understanding.

Like the song all the groups are also inspired by the poetry of nature; Wake Up (the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh), Samaritan’s (Christian stories) and the Quakers (Quaker writers across the years).

thanks too to Tim for the drums

 

Let Yourself Be Seen.

Let yourself be seen
like a flower in the garden
like a thank you or a pardon
these words are bringing bloom to what you mean
like the colours of the meadow
there’s wisdom in this world you know
just watch the way the woodland comes to green
and let yourself be seen

Let your spirit show
like the stars above the hillside bright
there is inside a loving light
within and continues there to glow
as it has forever constellations come together
to remind us that there’s nothing we don’t know
when we let our spirit show

Let your feelings free
as the clouds that are becoming do
allow the water running through
down into the rivers and the sea
and as our shared emotion from the air becomes an ocean
somewhere we can sit beside and breathe
when we let our feelings free

So let yourself be seen
like a flower in the garden
a thank you or a pardon
these words are bringing bloom to what you mean
like the colours of the meadow
there’s wisdom in this world you know
just watch the way the woodland comes to green
and let yourself be seen

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Alongside the recordings in my journal pages I have recently released an ep of songs ahead of an album that I plan to put out next year. You can visit here to stream and download.

 

Any donations will go to my recording and traveling fund – thank you.

Please don’t let money be a concern. Feel free to pass through the donation screen with my blessing if you would like to download any songs and have no means to donate at the moment.

 

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Ali Mushaima

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A post about a new friend, Ali Mushaima.

I’d seen Ali talk before at Amnesty International a few years ago at an event about the Arms Fair. A few weeks ago I had a message from another friend Sam Walton who works in Human Rights and Peace activism. Sam was putting a call out, one that I wish to make here too, for visitors to go and see Ali.

For about 30 days Ali went on a hunger strike outside the embassy of Bahrain in London, to raise awareness about his Father Hasan Mushaima of the Haq movement for political freedom, who was being held in prison without access to medical supplies or family contact. As Ali told me, showing any alternative to power in Bahrain, sees many people imprisoned, something his Father wishes to highlight.

While I don’t know all that much about the politics of Bahrain (some more now), I wanted to go to show support for this peaceful and in my eyes, inspirational person. Also in the pictures is Zainab Al-Khawaja, a friend of Ali’s and artists Ellis and Anna – we all went after Sam’s request for artists to visit and offer Ali something; I wrote in Ali’s book and sang a few songs.

As Ali explains in this sharing we had, he has now begun to eat again understand that his Father’s conditions have improved.

You can sign Ali’s petition of support here and also send Ali a postcard to at the Bahraini Embassy 30 Belgrave Square, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 8QB – It’s unlikely Ali will get it though it will remind the embassy he is there.

 

 

August

 

thanks Buddhafield for the photograph

It’s not our differences that divide us, it’s our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences.

Audre Lorde

Buddhafield, Plum Village and Greenbelt Festival – recordings, talks, songs and a relaxation

August began with the Buddhafield Festival; run by the Triratna community, the Buddhist inspired festival runs every year in Devon with music, craft, workshops, singing and dancing and vegan and veggie only food. Some friends and myself from the London Plum Village community were invited to lead evening walking meditations. ‘So colourful and open-eyed’ a friend said, it certainly felt this way.

Lasting memories of gathering together with candles in jars to lead our workshop walk; slowly and quietly to the Glade, a quiet wooded area of the festival site where we stood in a circle, shared our thoughts and feelings and sang songs before going to rest – or going on to drink a cup of tea first and listening to some music.

Here are some sounds from the festival. For other events run by triratna visit here

Drumming workshop/Parami talk about belonging/’Freedom’ from Helen Yeomans singing workshop/ Dragonsfly with their song ‘Patchamama’/Walking meditation and our group singing Liberian peace prayer ‘You and I’ 

Plum Village

 

Later August saw the gathering of the Annual Wake Up Earth Retreat at Plum Village. 18-35 year olds from around the world who have been drawn to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh & Plum Village. Its the third year I’ve been, seeing old friends and making new ones. Some sounds from the village here: the full interview with Francoise, much loved friend of the village known for sensitive and moving song teaching with Mark and a relaxation I was touched to be asked to give for the volunteers before the retreat began in full. Included in it a new song called ‘Take Good Care’; this came walking between the Lower and Upper Hamlet sites of the Village last Summer. There’s a road that winds between pine trees along the road there. Walking along with my guitar in the sunshine and being stopped by a sister  (asking me to step off the road to be safe with a smile) will stay with me!

For all things Plum Village visit here and for the Wake Up movement  visit here. The festival takes place around the same time each year.

Bell/’Peace like a River’ singing worskshop(came out loud watch your volume)/Thay Phap Lu/Relaxation for volunteers/Francoise/bell and breathing/Sr Langh Nghiem talk/ Phap Lai Earth Touchings/Sweet Harmony

 

Greenbelt Festival

 

 

 

Founded with Christian inspiration in 1972, Greenbelt Festival, the ‘arts, faith and justice’ gathering has grown and grown including appearances from artists such as U2, Jamilia, and Billy Bragg to speakers, Annica Roddick and the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. I found Greenbelt a sensitive, colourful and inclusive experience. The Sunday service focussing on immigration and the Windrush generation will stay with me. It looked at our responsibility not to be silent and to befriend and support those in a less privileged positions.

Lovely to meet those I did there thanks to Beth (Roots Into Reverence) and Bridgit from St Ethelbegers for running the workshop space at the Grove.

Writing from Grove Park, house share community in London with Autumn plans for garden projects and fire side sharings – if you are in London or want to visit for a few hours of peaceful mindful gardening please get in touch.

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Alongside the recordings in my journal pages I have recently released an ep of songs ahead of an album. You can visit here to stream and download.

Please don’t let money be a concern. Feel free to pass through the donation screen with my blessing if you would like to download any songs and have no means to donate.

Any donations will go to my recording and traveling fund – thank you.

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 22.38.35

 

June into July

 

June into July, 2 festivals; the Farm Festival Refugee project and Stroud Sacred Music weekend with songs and recorded sharings from some of those who I met there. links to other Summer events and an ep release.  

 

This red brick house is home to a community of women Asylum seekers and their children who live together at the Catholic Worker Farm.

The Catholic worker movement began in 1933 with writers Dorothy Day (whose name may be familiar to some for peace and social activism and many cited quotes on life and love in particular) and philosopher Peter Maurin. They began a newspaper ‘The Catholic Worker’ commenting of social change and pacifism.  The Farm project is one of many communities that, through the years, have been inspired by their work.

Thank you to Scott for the invitation to play and the time we shared, you’ll hear Scott’s voice below)

Recordings from Farm fest

Granny’s Attic/ Scott Albrecht talks about the farm/ Joe ‘Be Still‘ with audience/ Scott/ Nora Ziegler (Nora is part of the London Catholic Worker house – link there) with John Kirkpatrick in the background, Scott again from Sunday service.

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The next weekend was the Stroud Sacred Music Festival.

In words from their site.

Like many great things in life, the Stroud Sacred Music Festival started as an idea among friends in the autumn of 2014. Our aim was to create an event that promotes unity and peace, the plan was to do this by celebrating the power music has in bringing people together and breaking down boundaries.

I was invited to do my healing songs workshop there, (you’ll hear sections of it in this recording) and following, some words from Ali Shepherd, one of the festival organisers and member of local band The Ragababas.

Stroud recording:

Natty/Jehanne Metta’s song ‘This Place’ and sharing with Jehanne and Rob/Joe’s workshop/Indian singing workshop/K.Sridhar/ Maya Youssef / Mosiac Youth Choir/ Universal Chant by Matthew Heyse-Moore with RagaBabas & Friends

Hello here to Ellie (Magical watering of raindrops on roses to you ) and Ali (Speed of the Cheetah to you) and Thomas who you hear singing along 🙂 

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Lastly, I released an ep this month recorded between Plum Village monastery in France and All Saints church in London, downloadable here and streamable above thanks to Foxx’s Frequency music channel.

Joseph’s words…

 

about Joseph –

Joseph is a writer and activist from Uganda, currently living in the UK supporting friends within the refugee community.
I think of Joseph as a supporter of whoever comes across Joseph’s path; a lover of nature and a peacemaker (and far too humble to say any of these things!)
This piece of writing is about the Roots into Reverence pilgrimage I was involved in see the May and June journal post for some more and to link to the RiR homepage.
To get in touch with Joseph you can send me a message.
 
 

I am ever so grateful for having listened to my instinct and followed my heart in accepting to go to the Roots intoReverence Pilgrimage in Firle.

 

The gift of the land is in the way the land offers itself to us. No arguments, no resistance, no restraints or bridles, just an open-ended and endless “yes” conversation that the land has with us. We only have to open ourselves to listening.

 

We walk the land. We cultivate and farm the land. We construct on the land. We bury in the land. We do a lot to-with-in and on the land that we dull our senses to what the land is for (and to) us. We have to find within ourselves, not only our recognition of the gifts of our roots but also revere them ever more.

I was blessed to join a pilgrimage that crystallised the land as one with us and also within us. The amazing terrain of the south downs was new in my eyes and I was eager to explore the offering with a day to reconnect to what I do take as a given, of being on this planet I love.

 

Before we started our walk we enveloped ourselves in a meditation that paved discernment. We started our walk from the church at West Firle to a country road and then a country track and then a country path and then still a farm alley and then a gradual ascendent hill. The hill top opened up to the horizon of fields far and wide. I am still pleasantly surprised with the magnificent beauty that unfolded in several directions. The land was surely opening itself up to me and I hope to all my fellow pilgrims alike. What ensued for me was a breathtaking experience. I was like a child eager to take in, what it instinctively has always known to be true. I kept marvelling at the explosion of life in every step of moment to moment awareness and pockets of  unrivalled grace.

 

I felt like I was being lifted to a readiness that was an invitation to absorb, to assimilate, to activate, and to inherently transform on a cellular level what my heart always yearns for. There is a reverence that comes with being open to what is always there in a sense that goes beyond any simplistic interpretations that I may have had. We were afforded silent intervals and its in these that I did encourage my mind to take the journey without distance to my heart. To snap out of the illusory occupation of the mind. To fully appreciate the blessing of simply being here now.

To appreciate the contact of my bare feet with the earth from the speckles of dust as a took each step; from the small sharp stones that made my entire body alive to their rhythmic pinch; from the more gentle stones that caressed me back into a balanced tease; fromthe long and short grass that gently whispered by a touch to me; from varied tree branches and leaves that swayed and hustled to the beats of the gentle winds; from the land deeps, troughs and subdued rises that soothed me; from the orchestra of skylark and other harmonies of birds and other creatures that I only captured when my presence elevated.

 

There was a subconscious mythical ebb and flow that set the tone and punctuated the pilgrimage with few words to say and more integrative contemplation to make. 

 

When I was speaking to my friends about the pilgrimage, they came to the conclusion that the organisers of Roots into Relevance could hang the moon on its orbit for being able to come up with such a nurturing way to remind us of what it really means to reconnect with the land. To commune in a celebration of the land.

 

There are questions that are better left unanswered so we may not forget. Only this, the invitation to take with me, the lush and rich essence of the epitome we all embody with short breaks to ponder in awe, this precious gift that keeps giving without provisos.

“I felt like I was being lifted to a readiness that was an invitation to absorb, to assimilate, to activate, and to inherently transform on a cellular level what my heart always yearns for.”

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