Midsummer Mindful Mile
Last Sunday Mindful Therapies ran the first Midsummer Mindful Mile at the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside. We warned people to come prepared for British weather and we were very glad that we did! The walk began at 8pm – the rain began at about 6pm!
There is still sponsor money to come in but at the latest count we have raised around £350. to put that into context, that’s enough to pay for donation-based drop-in classes for two months. Or it is enough to pay for the counselling service to run for three months. So this is a huge help and is very much appreciated.
But more important than this was the opportunity for 18 people to get together and practice mindful walking. We began at 8pm at the ‘beach’ that Newcastle City Council have set up on the quayside, and did a short grounding meditation, feeling the sensations of sand underfoot. We then began a slow, mindful walk over the Millennium Bridge, taking in all that we could see and hear. At around 8:20pm we stopped outside the Baltic Contemporary Art Gallery and practised a gratitude meditation, appreciating our senses and human bodies. As we walked, we spotted the plaques dedicated to Newcastle Gateshead ‘local heroes’, and hopefully learned something new about Geordie heritage past and present. We then stopped a little ahead of the Swing Bridge (for those of you not familiar with Newcastle, we have a lot of bridges!) for some mindful movement stretches. We were stood near a Seagull nesting area – the smell was pretty strong. Then one of our group had a moment of awareness and compassion when she spotted a chick that had fallen out of its nest. It was sat in the corner looking pretty distressed. So soon we had a new member of the group as the chick was scooped up and a rescue centre was called.
We then proceeded over the Swing Bridge.
By now the rain had stopped and we were able to enjoy a light breeze. There was a lovely combination of contemplative silence and opportunity for people to point out to each other interesting things that they had spotted, and simply get to know each other better. At our last stop we reflected on others, on friendship and on animals, including our new little friend. At 9:20pm we began the final stint of the walk, ending back at the beach.
So all in all it took around 95 minutes to walk a mile! Many of our group reported that they are used to walking quickly and were dreading having to slow down. And yet, when we slow down it is a totally different experience. Everyone was pleasantly surprised! We can notice so more about our bodies and senses when we slow down.
And as for the chick, she was driven to a rescue centre in Sunderland and the last we heard was that she was in an incubator and having some supper. A successful evening all round!