On the gorgeous Crosby Beach in balmy weather we weaved through the groups of families and friends, all enjoying the a day at the seaside, picking up litter the folks leave behind!
Crosby Beach is famous for the Anthony Gormley status, the installation known as Another Place the peace features 100 cast iron figures standing in the sand, all facing out to sea. Sadly for us today (but fortunately for them) they were absent for the first time, all getting a much needed spruce up ready to be put back in place. In the meantime we were sprucing up the beach and the dunes!
And a huge thank you to the amazing Friends of Crosby Beach for loaning us their litterpicking equipment and supporting us today. The Friends group are out there on a regular basis keeping the beach clean and safe for all of us and without the dedication and care of such fab volunteers the beach wouldn't be the beautiful asset to our city that it is! We were glad today that we could do our small part to help.
Another lovely session on the beautiful Crosby Beach, litter picking between Anthony Gormley's Iron Men (official title Another Place)
Meeting outside Crosby Leisure Centre
(Not the Lakeside Centre so don't get confused!)
//All equipment will be provided but you may prefer to bring your own gloves!
Mina has helped keep other people motivated, Mina has noticed what others have done and cheered 10 people. We doff our caps to you Mina.
We have been back with the Bread Streets again helping out with what feels like painting never ending railings!! The neighbourhood group are there most weekends as it's a really slow and very big job, we are happy to add a few more hands in when we can.
It's making such a difference to the park though so it's all worth the effort. And it's only part of the plans the community has for the area. We are delighted to be able to join in (it's those amazing views across the Mersey that keep us coming back..... and maybe the cake and cuppa always on offer too!)
We'll be headed back for a third session on Saturday 19th June so come and join us!
Great to have Haila join us for her first session.
//Week Three – Allowing Thoughts
Welcome to week three of the Mindful May Challenge. If you missed week one and two you can always go back and read the introductions and catch up with the invited practice too if you want to.
In week one we began to explore our experience and senses while running, noticing the sensations in our bodies and noticing what our senses are experiencing in our environments. Week two invited us to use the breath to anchor us in our moment by moment experience within our body.
In week three the invitation is to notice and make friends with our thoughts.
Our minds have a tendency to wonder off, to chatter and comment on everything we are doing, to get lost in planning, analysing, judging, worrying, criticising, daydreaming, etc. known as the ‘Doing Mind’
The vast majority of our thoughts are caught up in the past and the future, thinking about what’s happened before and/or what’s going to happen next, but we are rarely present with what is happing now. A huge amount of our thoughts are also repetitions of thoughts we have already had (all that worrying and going over and over everything, it’s the same thoughts again and again with no difference in the result!)
There is a big myth about mindfulness, that somehow it’s about magically emptying our mind and getting rid of all our thoughts…. I’ll give you a moment to try it, good luck! If you try not to think at all, what you will experience is a whole rush of thoughts, it’s just not possible. And it’s not what mindfulness is about. What we are doing with mindfulness is learning to see the thoughts for what they are, and by noticing them as an observer we are practicing not getting caught up in them. We bring a sense of kindness and non-judgement to the process, and as discussed in week two, we notice them and then guide our attention back to the breath, in the here and now.
You can also practice labelling the thoughts as they arise, such as ‘past’, ‘future’, or ‘planning’, ‘judging’, ‘analysing’, ‘worrying’, or ‘old thought’, ‘repetitive thought’ Giving it a label like this can help us to remove ourselves from getting caught in the thought and let it pass, each time returning to the breath or sensations in the body.
When I first began bringing mindfulness to my running I realised my mind was bombarding me with thoughts about how I wasn’t a runner, all sorts of criticisms and struggles would fill my mind telling me all the reasons I wasn’t a real runner and would never improve my speed or endurance. Yet all the time these thoughts were filling my attention telling me I can’t run, there I was running. Labelling the thoughts as ‘criticism’, ‘judgement’, ‘fear’, and ‘repetitive’ and paying attention to my breath, my body and my moment by moment experience, one foot in front of the other, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, allowed me to let the thoughts come and go as they pleased without them having a negative impact on my experience.
We are not our thoughts, we can allow our thoughts to be there without giving them all our attention. And this is the challenge for week three.
Meditation: This ten minute meditation on Sounds and Thoughts helps to practice letting thoughts go, relating to them in the same way as external sounds, just noises that arise and pass Practice with this once a day and then bring the practice to your running
Running Challenge: When planning and getting ready for you run, during your run and after your run!
Notice your thoughts and practice labelling them and letting them arise and fall. Remember to bring kindness to your experience as you notice critical thoughts or random thoughts, or perhaps noticing thoughts about how hard it is to notice thoughts and let them go… notice how you will have thoughts about your thoughts, notice how silly this is!
With each thought, see it there and then let it go, remember your breathing anchor practice to help you do this. Also remember that the real power of this mind training is the continual nature of noticing and letting go, noticing and letting go. The repetitive movement of the mind in this way strengthens the minds muscle that will then allow you to develop your ability to focus.
You will likely get caught up in your thoughts many many times, this is okay, this is the training. With kindness and non-judgement know that at the point you have become aware you are caught up in your thoughts once again, it actually means you are back in the present moment so well done!
*Read: Mindful Running, Mackenzi L. Havey
*Read: Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Mark Williams & Danny Penman
*Watch: Mindfulness Dissolves Thoughts, Attention is What’s Left Over a 5 minute video with Jon Kabat-Zinn
*Watch: Observing a Train of Thoughts a really simple 2 minute video that explains the idea really well
*Watch: How mindfulness changes the emotional life of our brains | Richard J. Davidson | TEDxSanFrancisco
There are also some great mindfulness apps available to explore such as Insite Timer and Headspace, both of which have fee and paying options for multiple guided meditations.
//Don't forget, I'm here if you have any questions or want to chat anything through, Ema xx
Mina completed a community mission. Instead of watching TV or lying in bed, Mina was out there making their community a better place to be. For making that choice they have earned the community cape.
Mina is a now a fully fledged GoodGym runner. They've just run to do good for the first time. They are out there making amazing things happen and getting fit at the same time.
Browsing Facebook one evening, I saw a post from 'Calderstones Park Forever' :- "The Nature Reserve is progressing well but there are still a couple of serious grot spots that our volunteers cannot tackle and are not very accessible by a digger..."
"If you are a strong footie or other team, group etc that are capable of dealing with this rubble and would like a workout in the park one evening instead of the gym, please email..."
This being the raison d'etre of GoodGym, even though we are not a footie team, I got in touch immediately and a week or two later, seven of us met with the lovely Caroline from Calderstones Park. The area to be cleared was part of the Harthill part of the park, which having once housed thirteen greenhouses containing a world-renowned orchid collection, had fallen into disrepair and was saved by a judicial review a couple of years ago from being turned into a housing estate. A lottery grant has paid for a lot of the work needed to establish a nature reserve on the site instead. A load of concrete, bricks and other debris had been cleared using mechanical diggers, but there were some hard-to-reach spots where good old people-power was needed.
We set to work to clear the first area and also make a pathway to enable us to wheel barrow-loads to the disposal area, using old flagstones to make a neat little ramp. Then is was onto the main area to be cleared, which had once housed a fernery. Countless trugs were filled byLee, Pauline, Christina and Jo, and dozens of wheelbarrow journeys made by [Mina](/runners/mina-mesri, Joe and Jess. In under two hours we'd cleared the 'grot spot' and even managed to shift a very large and heavy bollard!
Neighbours in Dingle have been working together to improve their local park area and need some help painting the perimeter railings.
It's a huge ongoing job and they've been doing sections every weekend. We joined them to get stuck in the other Saturday, you can see the run report here and we are back again to keep painting!!
Everything we need is being provided but you may prefer to bring your own gloves and make sure you wear clothing you don't mind getting paint splashes on!
Meeting Point Meeting at the gates to the park on the corner of Grafton Street and Beresford Street
The Friends of Calderstones Park have asked for our help in clearing three areas of rubble - tarmac, concrete etc, from a disused area of the park which is being transformed into a nature reserve. They will be providing wheelbarrows; we will be providing the people power! As there may be brambles and trip hazards, please ensure you wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear, and please bring your own gardening gloves.
Please adhere to all current COVID -19 guidelines when at the task. It is not essential to wear a facemask but please do so if you wish to.