Mindfully connected, very out & down the hole we go

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 • 3 minute read

A journey to humanity's cradle, an experience of connectedness through mindfulness, a rather sour tasting apple from Woolies and a trek into the Karoo.

Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, a place of origin, beginnings, long journeys and sometimes, gruesome, endings. Just ask Little Foot - couldn’t have been fun falling down that shaft into the darkness of the Sterkfontein Caves some 3.5 million years ago. This was the very appropriate setting for the 2019 IMISA Mindfulness Conference. When we are reminded that we stand on land billions of years old, our first / third world problems shrink to dust mite size. Ready to be breathed out…

Our poster presentation on Shape of Emotion on the Saturday afternoon of the conference was a highlight. Being able to engage with so many participants around our work was a gift and a pleasure. Once again we met the most wonderful, interesting souls, some of whom we have since met with again and hope to make our friends. Some we may not meet again in the flesh (participants came from all over the globe) and still hope to keep as our friends. Brave young women from Kuwait, via Wales; Switzerland via Sweden and Cape Town. Women who work with sex workers in Soweto, in refugee camps in Sudan and with teachers in rural Eastern Cape. Just the most amazing individuals all using mindfulness in some way to bring relief, build resilience and grow calm in communities. (To view the presentation, click or tap on the image to the right)

Mindful of mindfulness

We never set out to place Shape of Emotion in the mindfulness space, it revealed itself as a mindfulness based practice as we worked with it. The serendipity of immersive experiential work that grows in depth and reveals its layers, the deeper and wider we work. We have a specialised mindfulness based process that is not MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) or MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy). It can be used with both programmes and on its own.

We emerged from our four days at Maropeng and launched into another Level 1 Foundation Shape of Emotion Course, this time at our very own 5th Place. A dream come true. Once again we learnt as much as we taught watched over by the bright blue Linden sky, smiled at by a hot autumn sun, and embraced by a garden filled with the sounds of birds. It was a full, fabulous two days.

5th Place is about connectedness, community, possibility, wellbeing and equality. We strive to support our local businesses, develop a community in our suburb and spread hope at a time when that seems very stringy and threadbare in the face of book burnings and land grab threats. We believe in this sometimes infuriating country called South Africa. We believe in the robustness of its people and the eagerness of the youth to make a difference. We like to support everyone, big and small, that align with our view.

Very out - that loved brand of quality

And then there is Woolworths. That loved South African brand of quality. That supporter of organic farmers and emerging entrepreneurs. One of their values is ‘helping local enterprises to grow, and contributing to a prosperous, secure future for our country'. Woolworths does a great deal of good but when it appears that they steal other people's hard work: Frankie’s Olde Soft Drink Company in 2012, and more recently Ubuntu Baba; Super Lattes, and Happy Earth People, then trust in what they say they do becomes diluted.

For us it has diluted to the point where we have chosen not to shop at Woolworths anymore and we used to shop there a great deal. It is disappointing, if not completely unsurprising, they are a large corporate after all. Is it too much to ask for a large corporate to keep their word? Stick to their values? Do what is right? The jury is out and so are we - of Woolies.

Back into the desert

We are, however, going back in, into the desert. This year, once again, we will be at that place of decommodification, the enigma and multi-faceted experience called AfrikaBurn. Our theme camp is called Shape of Emotion. If you are going the way of Tankwa Town — with or without flowers in your hair — come by at 11-ish in the morning (our camp is listed in the WTF guide as #90) and join us for a daily emotional fitness class - our gift to the community.

Whatever your plans for the forthcoming Easter weekend, may you experience the joy of connectedness, and the strength of community. May possibilities abound so that wellbeing and equality thrive — for you and those close.

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