Here we are, on this June full moon. As I began my letter last month, so again, I really hope that you are all well and those you love are managing to stay well. If you have been poorly with the coronavirus, I hope the course of your illness has not been too rocky and I am sending love to all those who have had unwell family and friends, and those who have lost loved ones.
I hope those of you who have been working are not too exhausted and those of you who have not been able to work have not been too anxious with the change. It’s been a tough month for sure, now compounded by the unrest in the USA sparked by the killing of George Floyd. My heart aches for his family and the loved ones of all those black and brown people whose deaths have been precipitated by the colour of their skin.
For some time now I have been listening, trying to unearth my own biases and prejudices and have been trying to learn more about black history and racism. I have much to learn.
There are lots of excellent resources and reading lists out there but if you are looking for somewhere to start then I would highly recommend “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
This week I have been looking for places to turn my thoughts into action. Of course there is the Black Lives Matter Global Network https://www.blacklivesmatter.com which is at the forefront of campaigning.
As with most matters of injustice, education is key to the work. And I do think that as the youth of today will build tomorrow’s society then they should be an urgent focus. We need to i) improve access and remove barriers to education for black and minority ethnic children and ii) educate children and young people so that racism is not perpetuated in the future.
Two great charities who are working towards such goals are the Stephen Lawrence Educational Trust https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk (@s_lawrencetrust) and The Black Curriculum https://theblackcurriculum.com (@theblackcurriculum). They both accept donations online if you are moved to do so.
Making and Mending
It is hard to know where to lead on from such a sober topic, but the book “Mending Life” is a gentle, heart-warming and inclusive book. It is a ‘Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Hearts’ and is by Nina and Sonya Montenegro. I nearly wept when I first read it because it was so beautiful. It is a practical manual on repairing clothes, infused with thoughts on life and mending, gorgeously illustrated.
I have had a couple of people send me photos of their mending. I love receiving these!
Millie Lockley-Boyd has done a fantastic, colourful mend on a favourite linen dress. She ripped the back of the dress on a door handle. I think she has done a great job of the mending.
Katie Bastick sent me a photo of a repair she recently made to a well-loved soft toy that belongs to her youngest son. She had to repair a substantial hole left after the bunny’s eyes had to be removed as they were a choking hazard. It is ironic that in these pandemic times the bunny now appears to be sporting a face mask suitable for covid19!
Those of you who have attended an ANOGM retreat will have met my dear friend and yogi, Kate Woodward. I am very grateful that she has been able to contribute to this newsletter:
A note from Kate & Geoffrey the laughing Buddha (for those of you who might remember him from our retreats!)
“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I will become will catch me..” (Baal Shem Tov)
The theme of my yoga classes this week has been ‘leaning into the uncertainty’. I don’t know about you but life feels quite uncertain at the moment! This quote is a continuous reminder to trust, and to know that with uncertainty comes opportunity and possibility, discovery and potential. A child cannot walk while he or she holds on to the certainty of the sofa, and likewise, it does us no good to cling onto how life was or might be in the future, we must venture into the uncertainty with childlike courage and curiosity!
My live zoom yoga classes this week have been full of heart opening back bends, strengthening, grounding leg and core work, and inversions to sooth the nervous system – this combination has helped me to feel grounded, anchored, strong, open, trusting and calm, and I hope my students have felt the benefit too!
One of the wonderful opportunities to spring from this time is teaching via zoom and bringing yogis from across the country and the globe together in one space. If you don’t already have an on line class you attend, I would be delighted to welcome you to one of my classes – they are intimate and inclusive and all yogis are welcome!
If you are interested in joining me for an online class, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org also follow access my free bite size tutorials on Instagram @ gingertonicyoga
Finally, back to me, Charlotte: there is indeed much uncertainty about the future of A Nest of Gentle Makers Retreats. It is really hard to know what the UK Coronavirus position will be this October and so at the moment I am simply observing the situation. The wood where the retreat is due to take place is currently closed to visitors. It is very difficult to imagine a socially distanced in-person gathering but in time this will hopefully become more clear. As soon as I am able to make a decision about the planned October retreat I will let you know! Meanwhile, I will continue to keep in touch with you via this newsletter and please do keep on sending me examples of anything creative that you have been up to. I will always ask your permission to share any photos that you send to me.
As ever, sending love and light to you all.