Outdoor Wellbeing: Mindful Hike/Walk 31st May 2018 Peak District

I will be leading an informal and mindful hike/walk in the Peak District next Thursday 31st May, as a moment to mentally pause at the end of Spring, and welcome the coming Summer ahead, whilst giving quiet gratitude to the season that has passed, and all that it has brought with it (whether that's good or bad). 

If you would like to join me then we'll be meeting at 11am in the free car park on the reservoir edge a few hundred metres before you arrive at the Fairholmes Visitor Centre S33 0AQ. The car park is surrounded by 'metred' car parking places, and is fairly shaded as it's surrounded by trees. We'll be meeting near my small LIGHT BLUE Peugeot camper van, reg beginning PK58.  

Please bring suitable clothing for the weather, food (for yourself and others if you wish to share!) and drinks (cold, warm, whatever is your preference). 

We will spend some time introducing ourselves to each other, and I will briefly talk about the art and technique of walking mindfully, before heading off for a quiet walk up onto the moor tops towards Alport Castles. We will intersperse quietly walking mindfully, with stopping to rest, reflect, notice and chat! The aim is to enjoy the surroundings and hopefully each other's company too. You are welcome to bring a journal if that suits you.  

You do not have to be fit to walk mindfully. We will go at a pace that suits everyone. The emphasis is on enjoying nature, and the surroundings in the present moment, not to be getting anywhere fast, or ahead of anyone else :-) This is an informal introduction to mindful movement. 

If you would like to join me/us, then please let me know on ruth@whitepeakwellbeing.com - if I know you're planning on attending then I will not leave without you! Likewise, if you want to join, but find you can't please also let me know so that I am not waiting around ;-) 

I look forward to meeting you on the hill!

I Walk For You

 

 

Columbia X She Explores X White Peak Wellbeing

Not ten minutes back from London, and I'm thrilled to receive some photos from last month's morning hosting a discussion about outdoor wellbeing for Columbia Sportswear EU and their She Explores campaign. Honestly, it was hard to imagine a more inspiring urban morning for me, bouncing out of the hotel to store, only to be met by amazing staff, croissants, some great gear and a welcoming and willing group of women ready to engage in conversation about outdoor wellbeing over their OJs. 

This was a really chilled session to facilitate and it was great to get folk thinking about 'their outdoors' and what the outdoors means to them. From there we discussed the ways that being outdoors is amazing for wellbeing, even if we've never thought about exactly why or how that happens. I then introduced a couple of approaches to walking and wellbeing, as well as my own LAND technique for getting grounded and making the most of  those snippets of time outdoors. 

As the session drew to a close I invited the group to set some wellbeing intentions for the months ahead, and I look forward to following up with them in a few months time to see whether they've got stuck in with renewed enthusiasm. I also provided notebooks, because everyone loves a notebook. I even designed them myself. 

All in all, an inspiring morning with inspiring women. I'm all about promoting inclusivity outdoors; encouraging everyone to find their own meaningful relationship with nature, and it's exciting for me to see big brands starting to notice that for every elite athlete, there are thousands more people who are living and loving the outdoors in their own way. 

Oh yeah, and how thrilled was I to be given their newest eco-friendly entirely plastic- free waterproof? This goes everywhere with me right now (because don't we all know how dismal the weather is this spring in the UK. Gah.)

I simply can't talk about outdoor wellbeing, without including the wellbeing of the outdoors. The outdoor industries have a long way to go in getting their gear ethical and ecological, but I'm gratified that they're listening to the demands of consumers, and starting to make changes. Being part of the conversation matters.  

The Healing Power of the Wilderness

The link below will take you to an article I recently had published with Passion Passport, on the theme of healing in the wilderness. As it is, it's mainly about the light and sound of the mountains. I hope you enjoy it!

http://passionpassport.com/healing-power-of-the-wilderness/

For some reason, I can't embed a visual link. Sorry for this rather shoddy looking blog post!

a very brief conversation about heartache

The following is a transcript of a spontaneous and short conversation I had with myself whilst out running after a day spent with clients. It represents an imagined continuation of several unconnected conversations and thoughts had throughout the week on how we live with the things that wound us.  I was running the route I always run when I only have forty minutes. The sky was heavy with moisture, though not quite raining. The mist thick to the floor.


Me: How do you live with heartache then?

Myself: This again (laughs inwardly). I’m not sure there is a how.

*pause*

Myself: I think you just do. You just do live with it. 

*pause*

Myself: That wasn’t the answer you were looking for, was it?

Me: No, not really.

Myself: I’m sorry you feel disappointed. I suppose it does sound like a paradox doesn't it? You just do, by doing nothing at all. You get active with the idea of passivity perhaps. Of what you can't do. Hmmm. Let me think some more. Hold on.

*longer pause*

Myself: it seems to me, that everything that works aches. Everything that works, must ache.

Me: How do you mean?

Myself: I mean that, if something is operating hard and functioning well then it is being worked. It’s under strain. It must ache. The ache proves that it’s working.

*pause*

Me: Ok...I think I see. Tell me more though. 

Myself: Would you expect your legs to always be pain free when you are running on them constantly? Do you not accept that they ache as a consequence of the work they’re putting in?

Me: Mmm. Yes. That’s true. When they ache I know I've done the work. I feel pretty satisfied actually. 

Myself: Exactly!

Me: my calves hurt, and I read that as inevitable damage that will repair. I welcome that. I invite that. It's kinda the point right?

Myself: (nods)

Me: And I suppose I rest them. I allow them that. And then I put them through the same ordeal again. As often as I can, actually. I try and keep myself fed in the right way so that they can do the work. I suppose I hope they’ll get stronger but, yes, I think they’ll always ache.

Myself: Yes. That. So, you see you do just live with heartache. You carry on in the same way. There's no magic how. The muscle just gets stronger. But it will always ache. This is the proof that it’s working. That it’s doing the work that you ask of it. That you are doing the work.

*end of run. kettle on*


International Women's Day 2018: a personal reflection

We sit together in vulnerability.

In the twelve months passed, I’ve worked in depth, therapeutically, with twelve women. This is coincidental, and didn’t happen neatly in blocks as the months sit in a year, or indeed as increments of time sit around the clock. But the number is meaningful to me. 

This morning I woke up with a profound sense of love and care for those women that have come in and out of my life this year – as I have come in and out of theirs - noticing how I carry each of them with me for much longer than they (or I) might have imagined. I feel grateful to have met them, heard their stories and been alongside them in the unpicking and sense-making of their trauma, abuse and bereavement.

In weekly meetings over several months you become woven into each other’s lives in a way that is unlike any other relationship. It is intense, and at times wrought and anguished, but also ephemeral, ambiguous and without label. You sit together in painful vulnerability. You sit together in the universal frustrations of being human, and the personal victories. In stuckness. In strength. You silently root for them to root for themselves. You’re on the edge of your seat. You are sunk in.

Sat with my morning tea today, I wondered: how are they getting on now? Are they still healing? Are they hopeful for their future? Do they feel enough? In therapy, you quickly adapt to planned, abrupt and unresolved endings; you get used to the fact you might never find out what happens next though you may wish to. Increasingly you recognise there’s something difficult and beautiful in that, and the easiest way to carry it, is not being afraid to.

Learning to love the Other without expectation of reciprocity or longevity, is one of the oldest, most fundamental and existentially challenging lessons that there has ever been. It is what opens a space for the Others self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, and subsequent growth. A lack of love (felt and expressed as warmth and respect for the essential life within everyone) is the thing to fear most in and out of therapy. Sitting bravely with love – trusting in its errant and unfinished process – enlarges the capacity we all have for more of it.  

So, as I walked in the woods this morning I gathered twelve small cones for a jar on my desk. I piled twelve stones into circle and sat for a while. I listened to the wind, and felt the coming rain. I sat with the things that don't speak, and with the ever-present future wish. Finally, I dismantled the circle and left the woods.

Happy International Women’s Day 2018.

We Sit in Vulnerability

(an old photo taken in summer 2017)