Art Retreat 2021 (Pictures)

Last weekend we enjoyed a day of laughter, conversation, mindfulness and art, surrounded by the peacefulness of nature.

  • Guided mindfulness
  • Qi Gong
  • Simple art activities
  • Nature walk
  • Delicious food

I really benefitted from the retreat. Like I said at the end, the variety and balance in the design was spot on. The group’s size also meant it felt really comfortable to share more honestly and openly. I really noticed that once one person revealed something difficult they were experiencing, it automatically gave permission for others to do the same… then that ripple effect builds trust and authenticity in the group. There’s so much power in that.

I wanted to thank you particularly for being great leaders – you are both disarming and so accessible and let the group take a natural path of development. I never felt rushed or pressured.

The day made me think about that Marianne Williamson quote… “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.”

Lorna (Retreat Participant)

See short videos and find out more about our mindful art retreats.

She Let Go, a poem by Safire Rose

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

Safire Rose

Sometimes, mindfulness can be as simple as momentarily letting go of any thoughts about the past, or concerns about the future. It can be as easy as taking your pen for a walk and doodling on a blank page, letting go of any judgement of whether the image is good or bad.

Sometimes Emma likes to read out this poem, while people are drawing in our art sessions.

She Let Go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her.

And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

(c) 2003. Safire Rose

Safire Rose is a poet, teacher, speaker and spiritual life coach based in Los Angeles.

Now we’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on letting go? What did you think of the poem? Leave us a comment below.

[Photos] Mindful Art at the Beach

Do you struggle to pay attention to the present moment?

Does your mind wander when you’re at a mindfulness class?

Are you avoiding indoor public places because of Covid-19 risks?

Outdoor mindfulness could be the answer you are looking for!

Before March 2020 we were comfortable running our mindful art groups in cosy pubs, cafes and community venues around Plympton and Plymouth. However, after lockdown restrictions were eased this summer, we started running small outdoor groups, and discovered this adds an extra dimension of fun to mindful art club.

A review of scientific research has indicated that the mental and physical benefits of practicing mindfulness in nature may be considerable. (Mindful.org March 2020)

You won’t be surprised to learn that being in nature boosts our health and well-being, and that combining the outdoors with mindfulness can lead to even better results.

As the Autumn weather approaches we are going to have to take our regular groups indoors, bearing in mind Covid-19 safety guidance, such as social distancing and limits on numbers. But keep an eye on our Facebook page because if the weather forecast is good, we may be able to take some spontaneous trips outside, like this small group we held on Wembury beach recently.

Don’t miss our next event. Follow our Facebook page and join our Facebook group.

New: One Day Retreats

We have started to host small, socially distanced, outdoor retreats. Join us for a day of laughter, conversation, mindfulness and art, surrounded by the peacefulness of nature. If you enjoy our weekly mindful art groups you will love our full day of relaxing activities.

  • Guided mindfulness with Emma
  • Qi Gong with Lee
  • Simple art activities with Peggy
  • Nature walk with everyone!
  • Lunch, tea, coffee and cake included

Read more: Mindful Art Retreats

Science: Does Mindfulness Work?

I have just completed my studies at Level 3 in counselling. During the course we had to write an assignment about an area of research that interested us. I thought I would share an excerpt here.

Peggy

Explain why research findings are important in counselling work

At the moment, I am particularly interested in looking at research into the use of mindfulness in counselling. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, without judgement. During my level three counselling training we often began the day’s learning with a group mindfulness session. With my business partner, Emma, I run a community support group called Mindful Art Club, which offers a “check in”, some guided mindfulness, and mindful drawing practice. We then encourage the group to do a simple art project that requires no talent or experience. Members chat informally about their current thoughts and feelings. We then end the group with a “check out”.

When we seek charitable funding to run these groups we have offered both quantitative and qualitative research findings to the funders. We have surveyed our membership, using two client evaluation tools; the PHQ-9 Depression and GAD-7 Anxiety questionnaires. We have also done a few in-depth case studies of individuals, during which the clients described their experiences in their own written words. However, this is a very small data sample; so scientific research papers, with a large data sample size, demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness would also be helpful to us. A search on the BACP website offers over 300 articles related to mindfulness. I found an interesting article that says mindfulness can be helpful regardless of a client’s presenting problem. (Kamila Hortynska 2014). To back up her article she references 20 different sources including books, websites, professional journals, research papers and NICE guidelines.

Using this as a starting point for my investigation, I can see that there is an abundance of research available related to mindfulness in counselling. From Hortynska’s article we can learn that research has resulted in mindfulness being approved by NICE, and is now used in schools, for corporate employees, for the treatment of depression, was offered as taster sessions in parliament, and is now offered in some statutory services, thanks to a research project at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. (Bangor University 2014). Their website refers to research papers describing a randomized control trial of stress reduction in the workplace, and the initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance. Research papers like these would help us to explain to a corporation the potential value of commissioning a mindfulness course for stress reduction in their workplace.

Research findings provide useful and valuable evidence of the efficiency of various new and existing counselling theories and methods, which can benefit and inform counsellors, clients, funders, companies, agencies, charities, health services, policy makers and government organisations.

References.

  1. Hortynska, Kamila (2014) Being With What Is, Private Practice, Winter 2014, (accessed 12/06/2020.) https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/private-practice/winter-2014/being-with-what-is/
  2. Bangor University, Mindfulness in the Workplace. www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/work.php.en (accessed 12/06/2020).

Mindful Drawing in 5 Minutes

Want to feel happier, calmer and more socially connected?

Do you find meditation difficult?

Do you feel like you are no good at drawing?

Our mindful drawing video is the solution you are looking for!

Grab a pen and join in with us as we try mindful drawing for five minutes.

Now we’d like to hear from you. Did you try mindful drawing? What did you notice? Leave us a comment below.

[Listen] Mindful Body Scan

Are you thinking of trying mindfulness?
Were you meaning to try our classes but have not got around to it yet?
Have you already been to our art club, but don’t do any mindfulness at home?

This is the solution you are looking for! 

This 15 minute mindfulness recording guides you to bring your attention to experiences happening in the present moment, without judgement. For best results, choose a place where you will not be disturbed, listen with headphones and close your eyes. 

Listen Now: Mindful Body Scan

Also, at Mindful Art Club recently some people were asking us what is the meditative music we usually listen to? It’s called Natural Stress Relief. I used it a lot with my clients when I was a practicing hypnotherapist.

MP3 or CD available on AmazonNatural Stress Relief

Remember, in February we will be increasing our prices to £5:00 per session. So do come and try a taster class now and just pay what you can afford. Invest in your mental health and creativity now, and socialise with a small, friendly group of people.

For best results, listen with headphones and close your eyes. For the free colouring pages click here.