NEW WORKSHOP SERIES - All Welcome
Central London and Online
“Have you ever had the experience when someone totally gets you, and you feel safe, energised and grateful for being understood?
This is Empathy affecting your nervous system, coursing through your body.
It’s caused by someone seeing and acknowledging your reality. You can achieve it again and again through certain strategies of listening and presence.
That’s the ‘Empathy injection’.”
Come and experience how a regular dose of empathy will make you a more creative thinker and significantly improve your relationship to yourself and others.
You are invited to a series of walks in the park to remember people who have died, or things that have been lost in our lives. The walks will be a collective time for walking, for silence, for talking, and for tea and cake.
Grief as a response to loss and death is part of life, but is often seen as something to be fixed or avoided, as if there was something ‘wrong’, if you are feeling sad about the end of a relationship, the loss of a job or of failing health, or if you are still grieving a parent, sibling, partner or child who died a while ago. You may feel pressure to ‘move on’ to the next thing rather than acknowledging the pain of the loss. These walks are also a space for acknowledging empathic pain of tragedy not in our immediate life; war, violence, pollution, loss of any life.
The walks are free and open to everyone. They take place in Myatt's Fields Park, SE5 9RA .
These walks are a simple way of beginning a conversation about grief and loss. It is not bereavement counselling and there will be support for telling your story in a way that is safe for you, and guidelines for how to listen. The walks are an investigation into how as a community we can allow grief some space.
Conscious and skillful communication that comes from a place of kindness and compassion is not always easy, and rests upon the ability to sense into the internal world of another person, practicing this compassion with yourself, and also revealing what is going on inside you. Nonviolent communication (NVC) is a process and skill which can be learned.
Learning Nonviolent Communication can:
Nonviolent Communication was developed by Marshall Rosenberg who drew on the humanistic psychology of Carl Rogers and the nonviolence of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and give you the tools to approach life in a way that includes your own needs, while considering others' and the needs of the wider environment. It is a process and a support for complicated times.
See here for 'Cultivating the Strength to Love' - introduction to and ongoing practice of Nonviolent Communication
Walks to Remember
When looking at Grief and Mourning in a series of Grief Walks, I came up with 4 things to acknowledge:
1. "Grief needs to be witnessed to be healed" Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (witnessed=seen=heard).
2. Grief can be a) the thing you can't stop thinking about (as in Michel Rostain's The Son "Dad can't hear anything that distracts him from his distress")
b) a dull ache that is difficult to locate the source of
In other words, there are griefs we know about, the obvious ones, and the griefs we don't know about, the not-so-obvious
3. Margaret Wheatley talks of people being healed by their own testimony in the Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa. Being healed by having the space to expression their hurt and Pain. Grief needs space and needs to have space held for it. See more on Holding space here http://www.ceribuckmaster.co.uk/holding-space-for-each-other
4. "Grief isn’t an intrusion into the natural order of things. It is the natural order of things." Stephen Jenkinson
This was at the wonderful Sound Camp 2016 http://soundtent.org/ for International Dawn Chorus Day at the amazing Stave Hill Ecology Park We foraged for spring herbs and made nettle, garlic mustard and dandelion flower tempura.
There's something about frying things which is so worth it a) with a group of people .... b) outside in nature. I never deep fry at home but together it's joyful and fun.
Creating experiences and practice in developing Empathy in London, online and in the brain. Understanding what gets in the way, sharing 'Tools for Tense situations'.
5 Reasons I love Urban Foraging
I must admit, I quite enjoyed Celia Brooks’ description of me. It was at the beginning of our collaboration at the Demo Kitchen at Borough Market on Friday 27th May 2016, when she was cooking up some wild food I had found locally. We were both in conversation about the ingredients and how to cook them and she introduced me to the gathering crowd as ‘a Mistress of Wild Food’.
Whenever I receive the label ‘Expert’ in wild food, I have to say I’m not. Because I really am not. There’s so much I don’t know, I don’t know latin names, if you can’t eat it, I don’ t know it. I really know my 30-40 plants and that’s about it.
I’ve always said on the Invisible Food foraging project that I share my learning, not my knowledge …. I want to learn something … want to come too?
After publishing and spreading the word about my book Street Food: Urban Foraging and World Food in 2013/14, I thought my time on this project was almost up, as I wanted to dedicate time to working with Communication, conflict and mediation, but this year I have been asked to do a few walks and feasts (At Soundcamp and at Borough Market) and I so completely enjoyed them both, that I remembered why I spent 6 years working full time on this project.
So these are, once again, 5 reasons I love Urban Foraging.
- It gets me outside, away from a computer and off my phone. I am blessed in London with such a patchwork of green spaces, some delightfully managed, others left alone and wild. Just treading on grass, just walking under trees, just slowing down enough to tune into the birds really relaxes me. The more stressed I am, the deeper the effect on me.
- It gets me connection to nature in a way I had never before experienced in my life. Learning a bit about wild plants gives me another lens to view the world. I know them, I feel them. When I’m walking from A to B, I can spot Shepherds purse shooting up from the cracks between a pavement, its seed heads bobbing in the wind. It just pops up year after year at noone’s bidding. Year after year, the plants return. They are company. They are one thing I can rely on. I am free, for a while, from walking to get from A to B as fast as possible, looking in a fixed direction and listening mainly to the stories running round and round in my head. Instead, my eyes are cast to the ground, looking for clues about what’s in the trees above.
- Looking for plants is relaxing and surprising. You never know what you’re going to find .. there’s always an ‘oh! Here’s a nice bush of mallow. Wow!’ moment. Never more is this true than with blackberries. Looking, finding, spotting more, higher, further away, more challenging, going deeper into the bush, unhooking thorns from your clothes or leg (“Ow!”), just a few more, just a few more. Foraging is, for me, a ‘peak experience’ and by this I mean a moment lost in an activity when time stops, or when relationship to time is changed. These are moments which impart a strong physical memory beyond the ordinary consciousness of everyday life.
- Being in this state of being with other people is connecting. The experience of foraging also lives in the conversations held and the relations that spring up during walks. When I walk in step, looking at the ground or turning to my walking companion to speak, I’ve talked about plants and what they bring me back to; childhood, games played with them, family members, herbal remedies, other countries, 'the country'. Snippets of chats, emotions triggered by words, blasts of an idea or a different approach remain after returning home and shutting the door.
- And doing this ‘curious’ activity of collecting food out in the streets invites comments and connection from people walking by. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘What?! You can eat that?!’ … ‘Oh yes, my grandmother used to do that back in Romania.’ ‘We have this tree (Mulberry) in Congo’. Plants connect people.
Having recounted all of that, I still don’t know why the word ‘Mistress’ made me stop momentarily, I don’t know why the word ‘Mistress’ seems to fit, when the word expert absolutely doesn’t. Maybe it’s something to do with ‘letting myself go’ with the plants … a convergence … a surrender … a union …? . How Celia Brooks knew all of that is also a wonder. But I’m happy that, after 8 years of urban foraging, the blackberries are still there to lose myself in.
(Well … mid July I reckon, this year, in London)