Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meetings in Presence: Lewes, East Sussex

A Summertime Shift:
(Drop-In) Meetings in Presence
  • Monday Evenings, 7 to 9 pm, beginning 4 July
  • Wednesday Mornings, 10 am to 12 noon, beginning 29 June
  • Friday Evenings, 8 to 10 pm, beginning 17 June
** Please Note:  Effective, 6 July, these drop-in
Meetings in Presence have been cancelled. **

As many of you know, over the past two-and-a-half years, I have been running back-to-back 6-week creative writing courses and regularly scheduled workshops of various sorts.  Earlier this year, the Friday evening courses were added to the mix — Exploring the I Ching, Looking Beyond Loss & Grief and The Art of Living in Awareness — and these have been particularly inspiring, and a real treat to lead.  Moreover, each of these mindful living courses has included a creative writing element, just as my creative writing courses are grounded in bringing meditative awareness to everything we do.

In short, there's little foundational distinction between the creative writing and the mindful living classes, recognizing, of course, that the focus differs according to the subject at hand.

And as some of you likewise know, as the 6-week Art of Living in Awareness course got underway and began to draw to a close, which it did last Friday night, I have been honoring an intuitive feeling to not name the next course right away, to instead allow for some quiet time within which new possibilities, new directions might arise.  And this intuitive feeling seemed to well up during a time in which I had a bunch of new course and workshop possibilities in mind, all of which I remain excited about and intend to carry forth at some point.  Perhaps they'll be announced in a future edition of MLG Update.

For now, however, I want to take advantage of the summer season now upon us to further relax the boundaries of my various course offerings.  And as part of this new summertime shift, I want to experiment with a fresh approach.  Rather than to continue to offer courses in 6-week increments on a given subject, from now through the end of July, I'm going to offer Meetings in Presence during the regular class times, as follows:
  • Monday Evenings, 7 to 9 pm, beginning 4 July
  • Wednesday Mornings, 10 am to 12 noon, beginning 29 June
  • Friday Evenings, 8 to 10 pm, beginning 17 June
As usual, we'll meet Behind the Blue Door at 177 High Street (Flat 4), Lewes, directly across from Caffe Nero.  The reason for the staggered start dates, above, is that there are two 6-week creative writing courses still underway, on Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings, though these will be coming to a close in the next week or two, with the Meetings in Presence beginning the week thereafter.

The focus of the Meetings in Presence, as the name implies, will be a simple coming together in presence, just as we've been doing the past two-and-a-half years, but without an underlying sense that we're there to accomplish something, to get from A to B, or to have completed a course in XYZ, which is never what my classes are about to begin with; and the vast majority of folk who join us appreciate that.  That said, that's not to say that the courses are not valuable in and of themselves, as a quick glance at the Testimonials page of the MLG website will indicate.

And making explicit this non-doing, non-outcome-based philosophy of education (etymologically noted as the drawing out of oneself, not the cramming in of facts and false notions) will leave things wide open to arise in the moment, for our time together to be what it will be rather than to direct it toward a fixed goal.  We'll likely spend time in meditative awareness, simply resting in the moment.  And it is likely to involve our reading from one or more relevant and inspiring texts (my having ready access to all of my books is one of the most splendiferous things about our meeting Behind the Blue Door), and perhaps a creative/reflective writing element (so please bring along:  a) a notebook and a couple of pens, just in case, b) a pair of slippers or extra pair of thick socks to protect your more fragile socks from our rather rustic wooden floors, and c) a bottle of water or some such liquid to wet your whistle).

But the particulars are not as central as the simple act of coming together in presence, to meet with one another in authenticity, just as we've been doing all along.  And there'll be opportunities, of course, to ask questions, to engage with the books we read together, and to discuss with other warm-hearted folk what it is to live mindfully, with a keen awareness of the world within and without.

So, from the dates shown above through to the end of July, the summertime Meetings in Presence will be offered on a drop-in basis.  Therefore, registration is not required.  Simply arrive a few minutes before the scheduled time, and pay on the day (cash or cheque).  The drop-in fee for each two-hour meeting is £15, and you're welcome to come as often as you like, including to multiple meetings per week if you so desire.

I look forward to the possibility of having you join us, and would greatly appreciate your helping us to spread word of these Meetings in Presence.  For your convenience, you can simply forward this email to folk whom you think might be interested, or point them to the Mindful Living Guide website, where the contents of this email will soon be posted.

Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these Meetings in Presence if you'd like to drop me an email, text or telephone call.  My mobile number is 07971 774151.

As always, with warm regards,

Sean

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