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  • Neil Pillai

Coming out of Lockdown

Dr Neil Pillai, Chair of Tenterden Mindfulness Group will be leading the upcoming Retreat Day with Barbara Hussong on the 25th of July 2021.....

Well it’s been a long time since we’ve even been able to contemplate coming together face to face to practice Mindfulness together... but that moment may be near. But of course , nothing is certain, nothing is fixed and everything changes.

That truth- that everything changes is one of the key learnings that comes from Mindfulness practice . We have been through one of the darkest eras of our lives, and yet as I sit here in the warm sunshine life looks very different. There will be many changes throughout our lives , many joys and difficulties to come. That is part of life and we can do precious little to influence that. But what we CAN do is to train our minds to be prepared for whatever comes up.

At the end of the 8 week courses I often bring up the concept of ongoing Mindfulness practice - even for a few minutes each day- being a bit like weaving your parachute so that when it’s needed , it can hold us. It’s no use frantically weaving it as your hurtling towards the ground!

So whatever your weaving skills were like before the Pandemic hit, now is a new opportunity to start again or to continue what you’ve already begun.

And a really special way to do that is on a retreat day.

For those of you who haven’t attended one of these it’s a day (well 6 hours actually) where we get to really deepen our Mindfulness practice away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

It’s an opportunity to slow down and in doing so to see how our minds work, and then crucially to take action to support our wellbeing. And that action may be simply to allow yourself some time to appreciate the beauty all around us....and to bathe in that sense of appreciation and to see what that does for you .

We have our first “Coming out of Lockdown “ Retreat Day planned for Sunday 25th July, and there will be a lot to appreciate at Tram Hatch Gardens in Charing Heath! The next day the gardens will be opened as part of the National Garden Scheme so it really is quite special.

We will have exclusive use of the gardens and indoor airy space for us to practice in.

Barbara Hussong and myself will be leading the day, parts of which will be spent in silence. Many people find the thought of this a bit strange - which it will be- but the aim is to really give yourself this rare opportunity to focus on your own experience . Most people who have attended one of these days find it a very unique and rewarding day.

Places are limited to 18 and more than half the spaces have already gone so if you don’t want to miss out please see our website to apply.

But as we know everything may change over the coming weeks... but we’re used to that by now!

I’m really looking forward to being able to meet up again as a community and practice together to support our wellbeing - which is what Mindfulness is all about.

And you may recall the NHS 5 ways to wellbeing, well a retreat day like this hits all 5!

  • Connecting: coming together as a group after all this time will be so good - I’ve only ever seen some of you on a Zoom screen!

  • Giving: yourself some time for you, but not in a self indulgent way but in the service of helping all of those around you too

  • Learning: there’s always something new to learn , or at least remind yourself of something you may have forgotten. This happens especially with the longer time we have on a retreat day

  • Keeping Active: there’ll definitely be some time for walking around the lovely gardens

  • And of course Noticing. Mindfulness: that’s always the first step to take so we can see more clearly and decide what action we need to take next. To make an appropriate intentional response as opposed to one of reactivity borne of old habits which may not serve us well.

Everything can change.... including ourselves .



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