The plan for this October

Last month I focussed on Mindfulness and trying to plan into 2016 with Mindfulness courses – more to come later in the year with this.

This month I’m still keeping the Mindfulness plates spinning but it’s time to look a little more closely at spirituality and mental health.  But before I talk about that a little later in the month, may I say something to get us thinking…

Two weeks ago I was at the Hot Rod festival in Lepton – lots of shiny cars and engines.  Last week I was at the Holmfirth Food Festival and MBS fair.  Today I was at the Skipton Puppet Festival.  Were there no children there because they were at football matches, gymkhanas and swimming galas?  Well, no actually.  There were loads of children – and, by the way, lots of money being spent.  I have often said that Sundays are not good days to attract families into church because of the activities the children are involved in.  Well, today I went some way in proving myself wrong.  People will come to something if they are going to get something out of it – and today was fun with a puppet parade and thousands of people turned up.  I have often said that church is hard work and takes much commitment – and indeed it does, yet the puppets today must have taken a long time to make; lots of organisation needed and band practice too.  People are happy to invest if they enjoy and can see the fruit of their labours.  I’m beginning to think that ‘my church isn’t growing because Sunday mornings are busy time for families’ is not valid.  So let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it is – and that means me too!

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Today at church and the Holmfirth Food Festival

As a part of the project I thought I would go to places that non-church people go on a Sunday.  So I did that but first I went to church…The Cathedral.  If a NLP course wasn’t enough to get a Methodist minister into trouble, then going to the largest non Methodist church in the area could just get me into some hot water…

I went partly because a while ago someone suggested we went one Sunday morning to see ‘what they’ve got that we’ve not’.  Do you want to know what they’ve got..?

Well, I was met by people who seemed genuinely glad to see me.  They weren’t shy in approaching me.  They made me feel very welcome and showed me to a seat (two seats actually because my 16 year old son took me – it’s his church).  The notices were entertaining and engaging (multi media professional stuff).  My son was met with enthusiasm and someone offered to meet him for a coffee before he started work in Honley one day – he was genuine!).

The musicians were excellent.  Their theology (not one I shared necessarily) was clear and everyone knew and sang about salvation and atonement; acceptance and forgiveness.  Even though I didn’t know most of the songs it felt a welcoming place.  45 minutes of worship followed by a short loo break before the sermon (I didn’t stay for that), also apparently 45 minutes long.  After the service there was (free – no ‘donations’ plate) real coffee in a purpose-built worship area.  As far as anyone can tell everybody was glad to be there and smiling too!  The songs were uplifting and good to sing to.

So, what do they have that we don’t..?

Next on the list was the Holmfirth Food Festival

Holmfirth food festival 2015

and the MBS fair…photo 3 (2)

We paid £3 each (Hazel came too) to enter the Mind Body Spirit Fair.  We saw Tarot readings, Reiki (for animals as well), crystals and psychic ‘stuff’.  The organisers were really lovely people who are planning another one before May. There were plenty of stalls all offering all sorts of therapies including Indian Head Massage.

20 years ago I would have freaked out at this.  10 years ago I went to a MBS fair and did the Jesus Deck (see below).

And now..? I wondered, ‘where are the Christians?’  I don’t mean outside protesting, I mean offering prayer and an alternative way of life.  But then I thought, ‘Suppose we were here.  What would we offer?  What would we put up on our display boards?’  Everyone here is offering something albeit at a price. In this market place we would struggle to offer anything.  And then I thought, ‘We could offer free prayer. I’ve still got a Jesus Deck – two actually – ( Steve Hollinghurst uses them.  Click here for Steve’s news or please ask me or click this link or maybe this one) and with a few pioneering people we could do something really good here…we could pioneer here’.  If this sounds good to you or you are a pray-er or would like to come with me and Hazel next year – assuming it’s still on) or just want to do some outreach, then let me know.

This week…

I thought an update of a typical week (4 weeks in) would be a good idea, so here’s what I’ve done..

WRAP collage

Apart from reading/networking etc I went on my first WRAP (wellness Recovery Action Planning) session. I will let you have a look at their website but it is a very interesting course and has been proven to help myriad people with their own recovery.  I’m scheduled to do 11 more sessions but will have to miss two of them which will have to be done later if I am to then train to deliver the course.  So far, an excellent session…

Thursday and Friday – a two day course on NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) run by the NHS.

nlp-communication-model-1-638

NLP is a very powerful tool that aims to understand how people process information.  If you know how people see the world, the idea is to talk to them in a way they receive information.  It’s based on what they call their Meta Model (it’s just jargon…) but if you buy a car from the salesman/woman they will be trained in this.  It is very powerful.  If they know what ‘language’ you speak they can communicate directly to you.  I did the course because it has overlaps with Attachment and Commitment Therapy (a bit more jargon for you).  I tried to go on a NLP course a couple of years ago but I couldn’t afford it (£1600 for two days).  Both this and WRAP cost nothing to us (I can explain, honest).

On Tuesday I did the Happiness Course courtesy of Paul Bridges at The Mission,

Happiness Course

This is run by Livability, a Christian charity (Hurrah I hear you cheer) concerned with mental wellbeing.  At the time I could see its potential but really wasn’t so sure about the content (we did have a couple of ‘interesting’ debates.  But I’ve done some background reading and, yes, I think it will be very useful. I can use this well. All of us who attended are licensed to run this now.

Although we are still in the Blackbird project’s infancy I’m hoping you can see that before too long I will be skilled to run enough wellbeing courses to start rolling them out:

Happiness course

Mindfulness course

WRAP course

and a stress management course (I’m going on one of these at the end of October).

At the end of this month, and every month, I hope to do a ‘Round Up’ which will let you know what I’ve learnt this month.  When you see this…Woodys Roundupy

you will know it’s Round Up time, only it’s Tim’s Round Up and not Woody’s.

Next Up: The Holmfirth Food Festival…

So, what do you do?

It’s been three whole weeks since I began and I guess people are wanting to know how things are going.  Well, all I can say, is that we are in for the long haul.  I am discovering that everything to do with Mindfulness/meditation/New Monasticism is a slow, slow process.

As a part of the idea is to begin groups with people who are spiritual seekers (I will describe the strategy later) I thought I’d better get some training in how to do this sort of thing. Well, this course alone takes 12 months – minimum.  The Mindfulness training programme finishes in 2017 and I can’t even get on to the ‘dot be’ (young person’s Mindfulness teacher training course).

Perhaps that’s a part of the learning in all of this.  Don’t rush – even though every fibre of our being demands that we get trained and get going as soon as possible.

However, I thought it would be good share some of what my days entail over the next few blog entries.

Every morning (well, 6 out of 7) begins with 15 minutes of Bible study/reflection. At the moment I’m going through the book of Esther.  Not one mention of God in it anywhere!!!  Then 30 minutes of silent prayer.  Then 45 minutes of meditation.  It takes 2 hours just to get going in the morning.  See what I mean about being slow?  But it is happening.slowcooker_2739447b

The Weekend

Mindful definition

It’s funny how life goes.  At the beginning of this venture – about 18 months ago when it was a dream and I didn’t know if it would ever happen – I wondered what I might do in those first few weeks.  Would I just be sitting there in some cafe hoping someone would take pity on some lonely person and talk to me or might it be worse that that?

So far it has been full-on with lots of people to see and connections to be made.  This weekend was my first encounter with the Mindfulness Association.  I went to York for my first Mindfulness weekend with them.  I have already completed an 8 week course and this was to begin the long journey on the way to being a Mindfulness teacher and it was…well… interesting…

I chose the Mindfulness Association because they offer a secular course so I was a tad surprised to find the door opened by a Buddhist Nun.  In an age of instant communication where we have to tell everyone what our first thoughts are, I quickly got out my phone, and sent a hurried text to my wife:

‘OMG!!!’  (For those not used to text speak this is ‘Oh My Goodness’ (the Christian alternative to Oh My God).  Before long the room was full with 25 people sitting on all the available chairs and on the floor too.  The Nun explained that it was a secular course but she was who she was – a Buddhist Nun- and happily ran the course from a secular perspective.

Over all it was a good weekend and it reminded me that whatever we project of ourselves to someone else we are all broken to varying degrees; some more than others.

And so we begin…

Glad you could make the time to view these pages and join me on an adventure.  My name is Tim Moore and the purpose of this blog is to share my thinking – good and bad, to invite constructive comment and to see where it takes us.

If you looked at the ‘About’ page you will have a rough idea of the ideas so far, but here’s a bit more:

  • Mental health is fragile and we are all prone to struggles.
  • An increasing number of young people – men and women are taking their own lives
  • Older men and women struggle to find meaning in life
  • The Methodist Church has invited me to try something new away from ‘church’
  • Spirituality is important to many people
  • Mindfulness is becoming a very powerful self-help tool for everyone, not just those with a diagnosed illness
  • Everyone and anyone needs to be able to access something that helps us not just survive but thrive.
  • Calmness, peace, spirituality, de-stressing, the search for self and serenity are elements that thousands of people are looking for

As the blog grows you will see how the project grows and how successful or otherwise it is.  It will be a warts and all view of a pioneer project. I will add theological reflections on the work and all of the ups and downs.  So please join me for some fun and hopefully a better idea of what it means to have a meaningful life.

As you will see by the web site I am no ‘Techie’ expert but I am learning!.  I am also no expert in mental health but I am learning.  I am no expert in Mindfulness but…