We usually like to engineer a short summer break over August. This year Anna went to St Ives, while Sue and I did our annual family break, with nine of us heading out to Coniston Water.
Discovering happy work
In-between kayaking and hill walking, our trip to the Lakes was strangely literary. We paddled out to Peel Island, the setting for Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. We were too late to witness the daffodils at Rydal Mount, the home of Wordsworth but got to Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin in time for tea and cake. As young architects we studied Ruskin at university but as is often the way it’s only when you get older that you really understand the message.
Ruskin spent his whole life exploring the connection between art, nature, creativity, work, action and beauty and how together they can be a source of happiness and fulfilment in life. In his work, The Stones of Venice 1879 he wrote:
“The training which makes men happiest in themselves… also makes them most serviceable to others”
We would call this the art of making happy work
I took two books away with me this year:
The Way of the Explorer by Dr Edgar Mitchell
One of my boyhood heroes, Apollo astronaut, the sixth man to walk on the moon and founder of IONS and yogi. Mitchell had a yoga experience on his way back to Earth and sometimes refers to Samadhi. It changed his life.
“- you do not necessarily need a laboratory to contemplate the universe. All you need is a room with a window and perhaps a book or two”.
The Secret Path by Paul Brunton. Originally written in 1934 this is probably one of the best books I have read on meditation practice and how it can be applied in life. You have to get past the tone of language but once you do you are in for line after line of insight.
“…his mind is now to be withdrawn from concentrating upon the breath and turned towards the next step – the awakening to intuition. I say to intuition advisedly, because the latter is always present, unsleeping and needs no awakening “
Yoga for Anxiety
This month wasn’t just for holidays though, we also completed another of our popular yoga-based courses for anxiety. This special six-week programme is small and bespoke and is designed to help people utilise key yoga tools such as breathing, tension release, relaxation and calmer mind sets to help tackle anxiety and fear…the epidemic of our age. The next course is planned for October 2nd 2017.
September, we are back to it!