Last Week I visited the Mindful Living Show in Manchester UK, I wanted to go because I was looking forward to connecting with people who shared my passion for mindfulness and creativity and I also wanted to find out more as I intend to take part in the London show later this year.
It was a three and a half hour train journey each way, which seemed a bit mad but it was important to me that I went. I then saw the cost of the train ticket - to Manchester from where I live in Yorkshire you can only buy a one month open return, it isn't the sort of journey you would normally do in a day. I took a deep breath and booked the train tickets online, then went with my four year old son to collect them the next day - he always loves an excuse to look at trains. As I checked my phone for the purchase code I noticed an email from the estate agent in Liverpool who sold my house there seven months ago. I hadn't expected to hear from them again so I opened it. Inside was a remittance note to say that on the day I would be travelling to Manchester, they were going to pay some outstanding money owed to me. It was the exact same amount as my train ticket, to the penny!
So I knew then it was going to be a worthwhile trip!
Here are some of my highlights:
Meeting the editor of In The Moment magazine, which is one of my favourite magazines (I read a lot of them). It was great to talk about all things mindful and creative. I plan to stay in touch.
Talking to people who do mindfulness based activities for children, including Max Mindpower the Bear - a teddy that talks you through a meditation when you squeeze his paws, he even breathes with you! There is a brilliant series of children's books about dealing with emotions. I also met the people from Relax Kids who have a whole programme of brilliant resources for kids and they kindly gave me some fabulous wall charts for my children.
I watched a talk by Christine Bailey on Eating to Enhance Brain Performance and Memory which was fascinating and reminded me not to overlook the importance of good nutrition as I can often do.
I met the people at Mindful Resilience Enhancement and took away plenty of information, including the learning zones of the brain, a more in depth look into what I've been studying in Modern and Positive Psychology.
I had a lovely chat with the people selling and promoting Thich Nhat Hanh, some of whose books I have read and they shared with me a lovely pebble meditation which I will do with my children over the school holidays next week.
I took part in a fun and insightful workshop by a company called beanddo. We had a minute or so to fill in a page full of circles into whatever we could think of, each circle had to be different. I had read about this exercise online so it was great to actually do it. We also did some blind contour drawing (drawing the person opposite without looking at the paper) and drawing our own portrait by closing our eyes and tracing with the finger of one hand and drawing with the other, then swapping over.
I met Naomi Kendrick, an artist who is running a project at Manchester Art Gallery called 'De-Stress and Draw'. She had a huge area of plain paper, dotted about with beanbag cushions and headphones. Along the side were pots of coloured crayons and pastels. I was in my element as you can see above! As well as thoroughly enjoying the experience it was great to connect with a fellow artist who thinks along similar lines and gets what I do. Manchester Art Gallery has a whole programme around wellbeing over the next few months and into next year, Naomi's De-Stress and Draw is a part of that. My day in Manchester didn't afford me the time to visit the Art Gallery as well, but I will definitely be going back.