I am delighted to invite you to a half day retreat at the truly magical Le Grand Hermitage, Clermont-L’Hérault. I will be leading a mindfulness meditation, followed by a yoga session (with a qualified yoga teacher) we will then enjoy a healthy lunch together. You then have the opportunity to relax, use the pool and enjoy the peace of this beautiful location.
These retreats are an opportunity for rejuvenation, a time to recentre and reconnect, no prior meditation or yoga experience is necessary.
The sessions will be run in collaboration with other wellbeing professionals, and are on offer throughout the summer. I will add dates to the website when they are available, and/or you can join the Facebook site here.
There is private parking at the venue.
Introductory offer 35€
Booking essential, limited spaces. Please contact me directly or access the private facebook group here.
Please do get in contact if you have any questions or queries:
firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone (call or text +33 6 77 05 42 46)
Within each meditation atelier there is a pause for tea. It acts as a transition between the formal practices and the inquiry and reflection space, before moving into the rest of the day. The idea behind this practice at The Wellbeing Atelier is becoming aware of the sensory experiences of the activity of making tea. Observing the preparation, the sounds, smells, tastes and textures. We can add these slow, simple practices to our daily lives. Simply paying attention and being in the present moment.
Our lives are made up of individual moments and the act of making yourself a cup of tea or a drink of any sort can be woven into your day to ground you to the present moment.
Each month at The Wellbeing Atelier one tea is picked to taste and explore, this month a Honey Oolong has been chosen. The following information has been taken from The London Teaclub with whom I have had a monthly subscription since 2016. Sadly they have closed subscriptions so I can no longer link to their work.
Grown in the Banten province, Java, Indonesia the tea was harvested in January 2018 and roasted in March 2018 by Dr Alexander Halim. He had a personal vision to use sustainable farming methods ro produce his tea to promote a better quality of life for the world. he has inspired other farmers locally to adopt similar methods. His tea plantation is located on Halimun mountain, near Halimun-Salak national Park, a protected area with incredible biodiversity. Halimum means ‘misty’ in the local Sudanese language. The climate is lush, tropical, and very humid, with abundant rainfall and rich volcanic soils.
This unique tea is grown using all naturalisation methods. It has a sharp charcoal flavour with a smooth finish. The first infusion produces an earthly roasted aroma, but later infusions bring gentler fruit notes. Experience the full depth of this tea over 3-4 infusions.
Recommended Brewing Instructions
1 teaspoon of leaves per cup with water heated to just below boiling (85°C). You can reach this temperature by boiling water and leaving it to cool for 2-3 minutes.
Brew with a gaiwan or teapot and steep for 1_3 minutes to desired strength. Alternatively enjoy ‘grandpa style’ – drink directly from mug, blowing leaves out of the way, and simply op up with hot water throughout the day.
Take Tea at The Wellbeing Atelier
If you’d like to taste this delicious tea in person you are welcome to attend an atelier over March and April, you’ll find details of the timetable below.
In January I read The Art of Self-Compassion by Bodhipaksa. The title is enough of an invitation for me, it is a difficult thing to be human. And as Bodhipaksa says in the book, it is indeed a miracle that we are here despite everything that has been thrown at us along the way.
This book was a very practical and clearly written account of how self-compassion practices can be brought into our day to day lives. Whilst mindfulness grounds us in the present moment, compassion practices teach us skills in how to turn towards our experiences and the experiences of others, particularly our suffering. This then gives us a greater capacity to manage and support ourselves to respond wisely to the challenges and stresses we face within our lives.
Bodhipaksa describes the four steps to self-compassion being
Recognising that we are suffering,
Dropping our reactive story,
Mindfully accepting and observing whatever painful feelings are present, and
Offering compassion and reassurance to the part of us that is suffering.
You’ll find step by step practices that introduce the compassion practices that support the cultivation of kindness to improve wellbeing. You can read through them and lead yourself, or listen to the practices with the website links he shares in the book. He has, in my opinion a beautiful voice to listen to, a soft lilting Scottish accent, this made being guided a pleasure.
Bodhipaksa is a Scottish Buddhist living in the US, he shares many of his own painful stories as examples which are both moving and inspiring and make for a very relatable read. You can read more about Bodhipaksa here where you’ll find guided practices.
I have very much appreciated the additional resources from this book not only for my work but also my home practice. I would definitely recommend it to others.
Josephine is a Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) trained Occupational Therapist with 20 years experience in the mental health and addictions field. Mindfulness and CFT act as the basis for the meditation based ateliers and are aimed at supporting the development of her clients wellbeing. If you are interested in attending a session with or accessing materials online please send an email to Josephine via email@example.com or explore her website http://www.thewellbeingatelier.com
In the next Afternoon Retreat Atelier, we will be exploring intuition and instinct through meditations and exercises that explore our gut reactions and our heart space. Connecting to these two important feedback systems within our bodies supports us to make wiser choices for our own health and wellbeing.
Instinct can be seen as a survival based mechanism within the body often felt within the gut area giving you feedback from past experiences, and warns the body of danger. Whilst it is to be listened to it can be an unreliable feedback system and direct you towards unhelpful coping strategies. Intuition comes from a place of calm clarity and is often described as being felt within the heart area which transmits information to the brain from the many neural pathways between the two, directing you to make wise choices not only for yourself but for those around you.
Through mindfulness meditation and mindful compassion practices we can train our brains to be more in touch with our gut reactions and the heart centre. Practicing in this way allows us to acknowledge when we are feeling unsafe, learning the language of our bodies, pausing and observing these sensations creates the space to decide how to respond rather than reacting.
25th February 1-3.30pm at The Wellbeing Atelier, 20€.
Content and meditations available online for the month of March for 5€.
E-mail Josephine via firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking or for further details.
An Oolong tea harvested in Spring 2019, grown and made by Chen Mao Sheng in Sumatra Indonesia.
Ti Guan Yin is a famous style of oolong tea named after the Buddhist divinity Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. I am particularly sentimental about this tea as it was the first tea I used for my own tea meditations and I drank it after the birth of my daughter, in January 2017. My daughter smiled from the day she was born and is now approaching three years old. The tea perfectly suited the era of what was a whirlwind year which started in a small flat in East London where we had no intention of leaving and ending with a new baby, in a new home in a new country. Tasting its sweet notes brings back fond memories of being with the not knowing, a true period of mercy. This version of the tea is truly delicious.
To write up the description I have used the information sent to me about the tea from a monthly tea subscription I had with The London Teaclub. I met Cecilia at a brunch workshop close to where I lived in London, I was fortunate enough to be sat next to her and we were both in the last trimester of our pregnancies. She invited me to a fullmoon tea ceremony and so my adventure in tea began. This group and that ceremony gave me the inspiration to run the ateliers I currently offer. Lots of things are woven into this tea, I hope you’ll get the pleasure of tasting it in one of January’s ateliers. Sadly The London Teaclub is no longer offering tea subscriptions as postage costs made it no longer viable. Cecelia moved back to San Francisco where she continues to sell tea and run tea ceremonies, you can read more about her work there here.
The Tea’s Story
The style of tea originated from china but this version is grown in the mineral rich, volcanic soils of Sumatra island. After being rolled and oxidized, the tea is fired with charcoal. The result is a thick, warm, amber-coloured brew. The sweet caramel and dark chocolate flavours are peppered with notes of smoky cinnamon.
The London Teaclub
In 1977 The Chou family opened up a small tea shop in Taipei, Taiwan. The family then planted heir first trees ten years later in the Wushe mountains in Nantou county, Taiwan. Two years later in 1989 they purchased a tea garden in Indonesia, the garden has a high elevation and they use the conventional farming methods for this tea.
They chose the gardens for their unique terroirs where there are sharp differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures, this allows the tea to grow more slowly,this causes the tea to develop more aroma an sweetness; in addition to this the abundant clouds and fog surrounding the mountains allows the tea to absorb more moisture.
1 tsp of leaves per cup is used with water heated to just below boiling point. This can be reached by allowing boiled water to cool for 1 minute.
The tea can be steeped in a gaiwan or teapot for 2-4 minutes. Or alternatively it can be enjoyed ‘grandpa style’, where the leaves are put directly in the cup and topped up with hot water and enjoyed throughout the day, simply blowing the leaves out of the way whilst you drink. This is a beautiful way to observe the leaves unfurling, I have tried to capture the process in the picture above.
During each atelier we take tea and weave it into our meditation, it punctuates and aids the transition from the silent practices. It brings us back again and again to the present moment and is a very sensory meditation.
You can replicate this at home by making yourself a hot drink at home, paying attention to the details of preparation as well as mindfully drinking the infusion. To begin with closing your eyes and connecting to the breath ad then moving through the practice slowly, deliberately and with attention. Each time your mind wanders congratulating yourself for noticing and returning to the felt sense of the experience, with compassion and kindness and perhaps some gratitude for your body making most of its movements without you noticing.
How easy it is to make drink a cup of tea and not notice any of the experience.
Apologies to those of you who have signed up for the newsletter as this is a repeat of the information I sent out. It may still be of interest to have a read for a second time.
I hope you have a cup of tea to hand whilst you read this.
Happy New Year and a new decade no less, I found the poem above by David Whyte a beautiful reminder that we don’t have to make any resolutions or drastic changes to our lives and simply being is enough. Since moving to France I have made an effort to live seasonally and deep winter does not feel like the right time for me to make drastic changes, that comes with springs energy, but looking forward and making some plans for when I do have that energy feels nourishing and allows me to rest a little longer whilst the light makes its return. So for now, slow, deliberate and intentional living is suiting me well.
Whilst you already received an update in December from now on you’ll receive this newsletter every 4 months with details of the programme at The Wellbeing Atelier. I blog more frequently each Monday and you’ll find those musings here.
Over the coming months we will be focusing on building mindful compassion in the ateliers, taking a moment of quiet, sipping tea and practicing intentional living, with the aim being to improve your general wellbeing to take with you into your days.
Weekly Meditation Atelier
The weekly sessions will continue Friday mornings 10:30-11:30am beginning again this week, 3rd January 2020. We will continue to build on the mindfulness practices we have been exploring together, weaving in additional practices relating specifically to compassion.
Sessions cost 10€. If you attend 5 sessions the 6th Session is offered.
Afternoon Retreats 1-3:30pm
Once a month on a Tuesday afternoon I wil be offering a retreat ateliers. This is a space to explore the meditation practices in more depth and I will be introducing some tools to explore themes around intentional, compassionate, seasonal living. Put simply these are practical ways of exploring our humanity. The winter months are slower and reflective spaces and then as we move into spring and the energy for hope and planning that comes with the additional light and warmth. See below for the dates and intentions we will explore within the practices.
21st January – Vision
25th February – Intuition
24th March – Confidence
21st April – Integrity
Sessions cost 20€
Each month within the ateliers we take time to sit in quiet companionship and take tea. This tea element of the sessions is a transition, before moving into the reflective spaces we take a moment to be with our senses. I’ll write a piece detailing the tea of the month on the blog, I’ve chosen them already and I’m really looking forward to trying them with you; a 18 Ruby, Purple leaf Sheng Puerh, Amber Oolong and finally Dark Roast Tu Guan Yin.
Individual Mentorship and Therapy
I have a limited availability of slots for individual mentorship or therapy. These are shaped to meet your needs and can be one off or regular sessions. Put simply mentorship offers an opportunity for reflection and guidance where therapy is a space to explore in-depth the healing that lies within you. My models of practice are motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral integrated techniques and compassion focused therapy. Throughout my career as an Occupational Therapist I have offered mentorship and specialised in women’s mental health, substance misuse and mindfulness within my clinical practice.
If you are unable to attend sessions and would like to access the resources and meditations you can sign up for access for a small fee of 5€ a month or 40€ for the year. Details are here
Please do get in contact if you have any queries. To contact me directly and book sessions you can email email@example.com or phone/text me on +33 6 77 05 42 46
The next newsletter will be sent out at the beginning of April. I blog weekly about different themes, there’s a sign up at the bottom of the blog if this is something you’d be interested in receiving directly to you mailbox.
Throughout December I will be serving The London Tea Club’s Masala Chai tea. This is an Assam black tea with cardamom, clove, cinnamon and bay leaf. It is grown by Heritage Tea in India with the tea from Dibrugarh and spices from Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, it was harvested in 2018. All of the Heritage Tea small growers use chemical-free and pesticide-free methods creating quality, craft teas.
This Masala Chai is a collaborative creation of the Heritage Tea community. Founder Rajen Baruch and his son Ishan craft the black tea, and Rajen’s wife June creates the blend of spices grown by their smaller grower network.
The Masala chai will be prepared in advance of the groups as it best brewed on a stove. 2 heap teaspoons of tea and two cups of water are bought to the boil. Once booked 2 cups of whole milk are added and it’s brought to the boil again. Nut milks can be used too. Sugar can be added to taste.
Within the group we will quietly take tea together. I’ll gently warm and the cups with hot water first, emptying them into a bowl before serving the tea which we will savour in companionable silence. Paying attention to our senses, the visual, sounds, feel, smell and taste. I’ll then close the period of silence with a bell and we will discuss the practices and perhaps share another cup of tea together if that takes your fancy.
Thank you so much for your support of my work at The Wellbeing Atelier and helping me realise this vision. When we left London 3 years ago I hoped I’d be able to create a space like this and I am beyond grateful to everyone who has attended sessions and cheered me on from the sidelines. From 18 years in the NHS (National Health Service) setting up on my own was a daunting prospect. Whilst it remains early days for the project and I have many more ideas, the space will always be rooted in offering an invitation to pause, to recentre, breathe and just be, a time to listen to the wisdom of our bodies and pay attention moment to moment.
Recently a psychology colleague of mine Claire Rother (click here for her website) talked about how there are 85 billion neurons in our brain and with these neurons we have so much possibility for making new connections. Firing and strengthening these new neural networks allows us to build new habits and make changes. Each time you make the space to meditate be that at The Wellbeing Atelier or within your own spaces you reinforce these neural pathways and strengthen these new habits. This in turn allows you the space to respond differently to experiences, be that being more present during the beautiful moments or responding more wisely during the challenging times. Regular mindful meditation offers you an opportunity to live more fully – with plenitude.
Monthly Afternoon Retreat 1-3:30pm, Tuesday 17th December
Leading on from the success of the morning meditation retreat atelier last month I will be running Monthly Afternoon Retreat Ateliers,1-3:30pm one Tuesday afternoon a month. Within the sessions we will continue to explore mindfulness and mindful compassion practices in depth. Each month I will weave in a theme and leave space for reflections and taking things forward, you will also have access ot the online materials in the members area for the month afterwards. The dates for 2020 can be found here here
The first Afternoon Retreat Atelier will be 17th December and we will be exploring the theme of ‘Everydayness’, becoming attentive to the quiet and practical so that their essential beauty and strength can be revealed and recognised as our life. Through valuing the everyday we can find and recognise the great nurturing value of humility in ourselves and in all things.
For those of you have attended Morning Retreat Atelier 29th November I would be grateful if you filled in a feedback form, it should take 4 minutes. The link is here. Any feedback would be so helpful in tailoring future events, I already have some ideas about how I’d improve things.
If you are unable to attend the session and would like to access the resources and meditations you can sign up for access for a small fee of 5€ a month or 40€ for the year. Attendees of the Afternoon Retreat Ateliers will be given access to the online membership area at no extra cost. Details are here here
I have a limited availability of slots for individual sessions, these can be one off or regular sessions. They can be shaped to meet your individual needs, for example an opportunity for exploration of life balance, goal setting, developing new roles and routines, it can also be a space where you can explore the practices in more detail in relation to your own health needs. I also offer individual in-depth 6 week mindfulness based approaches course. You can read more about my sessions here.
Weekly Meditation Atelier
The weekly sessions will continue Friday mornings 10:30-11:30am, the last class of the year will be 20th December and they will begin again 3rd January 2020. We will continue to build on the mindfulness practices we have been exploring together, weaving in additional practices relating specifically to compassion.
Please do get in contact if you have any queries. You can find lots of information on my website which now has an option to make paypal payments for sessions online at thewellbeingatelier.com. To contact me (Joséphine) directly and book sessions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text me on +33 6 77 05 42 46
The next newsletter will be sent out at the beginning of January and from then on every other month, please unsubscribe if at any time these letters are not of interest to you.
With fond regards,
With thanks to again to Claire Rother for the science inspiration & Uusi Publications and Carl Jung for the Everydayness theme of upcoming Afternoon Retreat Atelier.
Winter season is upon us, both a beautiful and challenging time for our bodies and our souls, and I would like to invite you to retreat and spend a nourishing morning at The Wellbeing Atelier.
A time for being you, being with yourself, for yourself, a time for looking after yourself and supporting your wellbeing.
The morning will consist of being guided through mindfulness meditation practices, there will then be a space of inquiry over tea, finishing with a discussion of how to incorporate formal and informal mindfulness meditation practices at home with a guided practice to take away with you.
20€, Booking Essential
Email a booking via email@example.com or call/text 06 77 05 42 46
Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December Mindfulness and Mindful Self Compassion Weekend Day Retreats at the Norwich Wellbeing Centre
My colleague Dr Tanya Augustine and I invite you to join us in spending the day with us exploring mindfulness and/or mindful self-compassion practices, an opportunity to fall awake.
The days will begin with an introduction to the practices and an opportunity to ask questions before falling into silence for the practices, we will close the day with an opportunity for reflection and discussion. Please wear comfortable lose clothing and bring your lunch with you. Chairs and mats will be provided if you have any additional requirements for your own comfort you are welcome to bring them along with you.
Dr Tanya Augustine and I have many years experience of working within the NHS mental health services. We undertook our mindfulness training with Bangor University and have been meditating for many years continuing our passion and intrigue for the way in which mindfulness can positively influence our day to day lives, relationships and understanding of ourselves.
When you sign up for the course we will contact you with a brief health questionnaire to ensure the suitability of the course for your needs
Saturday 29th November will be a day of Mindfulness meditations a day held in companionable silence and the Sunday 1st December introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion which will have some discussion based elements.
£60 per day / £100 for both days
Norwich Well Being Centre, 15 Chapelfield East, Norwich, NR2 1SF
For further details contact Josephine via email at firstname.lastname@example.org