Category Archives: Wellbeing

The Art of Wellbeing : Passing Strangers

We were talking, passing strangers
Moments caught across an empty room
Wasted whispers, faded secrets
Quickly passes, time goes, time goes by too soon – Passing Strangers : Ultravox

The Art of Wellbeing

We gathered together, a group of curious people, many of us meeting for the first, and only time. We talked in response to the question ‘What does wellbeing mean to you?’. We shared our thoughts, verbally, drawn, and written. There was an incredible openness among the group – we talked frankly and kindly about illness and death, as well as joy, art and good health too. Here are some snippets of our conversation, and some drawings too, reproduced anonymously, with the kind permission of the group.

What does wellbeing mean to you?

An inquiry – it will lead to more questions.
Being here, in this lovely place, sharing.
Working with anxiety – health – mood.
Is it wellbeing, or being well? The latter feels more active, less corporatised.
Creating (art) helps you feel well.
Craft and creativity – in flow.
Healing.
Sharing is part of wellbeing.
Wellbeing is moving – fulfilment – progress.
Sharing feelings with strangers.
See the clock, want to beat the clock
London – it’s too much. Great to visit – wouldn’t want to live here.
Lines/strands – and where they take us.
Seeking to extrapolate that which cannot be extrapolated.

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One hour later, as quickly as we had gathered, we dispersed. Lots of smiles, lots of handshakes, lots of thanks, and goodbyes.

We were talking, passing strangers
Moments caught across an empty room
Wasted whispers, faded secrets
Quickly passes, time goes, time goes by too soon

I spent yesterday afternoon working in The Reading Room at The Wellcome Collection, a wonderful place in London which describes itself as ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’. The Wellcome Collection runs an Open Platform series of events, and kindly accepted my proposal for this pop up Art of Wellbeing workshop. Anyone can apply to run one of these sessions, I thoroughly recommend you give it a try.

Acknowledgements

The staff at The Wellcome Collection looked after me and the group really well, making it really easy for me to facilitate an excellent conversation and much more. Thank you to them, and to Valerie and Nick in particular. Thank you to Kev Wyke who spotted the opportunity to work at The Wellcome Collection and flagged it to me. Thank you to everyone who came and took part so wholeheartedly.

Thank You

Thank you for the conversation : Connection gives us meaning, conversations are the bond.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Thank you for the work – we’ve learned so much this year eh?

Thank you for the remuneration.

Thank you for the criticism – With your help I’ve really enjoyed focussing on understanding and taking a share of responsibility. When others see this in me – it gives them confidence that there are better ways to work than simply blaming one another.

Thank you for the encouragement – 2015 is the year I finally admitted proclaimed* I’m an artist – it feels good.

Staine Glass I and Stained Glass II

Thank you.

* Edit: My friend Janet Webb tweeted me after reading the post and had this to say:

Janet Webb Tweet

I love this observation and have amended the post accordingly 😉

Go Your Own Way

Must resist temptation to link to Fleetwood Mac video…

Meditation - 300 Days Straight

On Monday this week, I hit a meditative milestone when I completed my 300th consecutive day of checking in to the Headspace app. Choosing to turn up and practice something every day for 300 days straight has proved to be a fascinating experiment, I’m learning loads about myself and others in relation to presence, honesty, kindness, distraction and more.

A few months ago I came to a decision that I would check in and meditate every day for a full year – 365 days straight. This remains my intention, and from now on I’ll be going it alone. Headspace has been incredibly useful for me – the app helped me find my way into the initially uncomfortable silence meditation brings, and it encouraged me to keep going. The idea of an extending continuous streak of daily practice is motivating, and the occasional gift of free membership to pass to others helps too.

The frequent slow downloads and the clunky desktop app are much less useful though. As I sit waiting 25 minutes plus for a session to download, I contemplate – not so much about meditation in itself, more about the way I’m doing it. Or maybe having it done to me?

Things are changing. I’ve gone from finding the voice of the narrator welcoming and encouraging, to something mildly irritating and patronising. The idea of logging a continuous streak has shifted from something motivating to something obligatory. I feel like I’m being gamed – and these feelings are getting in the way of my practice.

I believed that one day not too far into the future, I would be sharing with you (slightly smugly perhaps?), a 365 days badge, and this is no longer the case. I made it to 300 – I’m having a fascinating journey and for it to continue usefully and enjoyably, I need to go my own way from now. Thanks Headspace – it’s been fun.