Walk and Journal; a creative workshop
It wouldn’t be a creative mindfulness journaling-themed ramble along the Cornish coast without a delicious, locally made cake to scoff now, would it? And as you can see from mine and Hannah's faces, we were VERY excited about this section of our first (of many) walk and journal creative workshop…
Last weekend was the first Walk and Journal Creative Workshop, where Cornish Ramblings partnered up with the wonderful Hannah of Hometown Journal to bring 12 incredible people along on a mindfully creative ramble along the St Agnes coastline.
Along this incredible 3-mile route, we stopped to complete five guided creative journal prompts and activities, which included a mix of writing, drawing, and mindfulness activities to inspire gratitude, exploration, and fresh perspectives.
With the surprise sun bringing the warmth, plenty of cake (kindly gifted by the loves over at BakedPz) bringing utter joy, and a profound openness between the group bringing vulnerability, gratitude, and honesty, our first workshop was much more than both Hannah and I could ever have expected.
After a few hours together on the route, and once we were all warmed up physically AND creatively, Hannah set the group the task of writing a poem inspired by the sea. We sat together in a stunning, peaceful spot beside the Wheal Coates engine house, looking out to a sparkling turquoise ocean and blue wispy cloud-lined skies - it couldn’t have been a more perfect setting for our subject!
Everyone wrote wonderful poems and for many, it was the first time they’d written one in years (or ever!). One of our workshop participants, Lowena, wrote a poem which was particularly moving. Lowenna signed up for the workshop because she’d been feeling stressed, burnt out, and not herself for a long time. After kindly reading out her poem to the group she then went on to share how she used to write poetry a lot but has felt completely stuck and hadn't picked up a pen for over two years. Amazingly, the workshop helped her to reconnect with nature and herself, setting something free in her creativity and enabling her to write a beautiful piece (which you can read at the end of this blog) in just ten minutes.
Everyone in the group was so open, sharing their vulnerabilities and supporting each other, and it was just incredible. More than I could have imagined really. I was completely overwhelmed at the groups' response to each of the exercises set out to them, and how open and safe each person felt when it came to sharing at the end of each task, their often quite personal but always very honest, creative pourings.
For me personally, it was an opportunity to take in my surroundings in a more deeper yet meaningful way. It allowed me to tune in closely to what was going on around me; the sounds our boots made as we slowly and quietly traversed towards the beacon, the way the crickets seemed louder and more intrusive than normal, how the gliders overhead could be heard across the wind, the way my hair tickled against my skin, the sounds of Purdy panting beside me, the feel of the scratchy gorse as my legs grazed against it, the silent hum of a bee, the way my rucksack sat against my back creating a line of sweat, the earthy scents of the ground beneath my soles, the scratchy nylon of someone's trousers, how somber yet peaceful it felt walking together in complete and comfortable silence.
When I lead a ramble I'm usually hyper-aware of the people behind me and the direction we are heading, but I am not always taking the time and energy to focus on my more detailed surroundings, and I am definitely not taking a moment to check in with my wellbeing and utilising my surroundings to turn down the noise of my mind. And although I was leading the walking element of this workshop, I know this route so well that I didn't need to spend too much time looking at the map and could actively take part in the exercises Hannah had created.
Part of the workshop was to feel, smell, and listen and what I enjoyed most about this was putting my phone away. I spend a lot of time looking at the tiny screen clamped to my hand and even use it when navigating my rambles. But being asked to put it away and not even use it to take pictures for a section of the workshop, so that we could really absorb the details of our environment, was a breath of fresh air. In fact, I have set myself the task of spending less time on my phone when out walking, and more time breathing in the smallest details around me. A simple change that can make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing.
At the end of the workshop and once Hannah and I had said goodbye to everyone, we sat for a moment and reflected on the past few hours. We both were quite emotional and struggled to find the words to explain what we'd just experienced - I think they call that "speechless". We realised immediately that this was something we wanted to turn into a regular venture, and decided there and then to find a date for another workshop this side of the New Year. We felt completely energised and are both overjoyed to continue working together on these workshops, which we hope to do a few times a year during the summer, spring, and autumn months.
A huge thank you to the group for joining us for our first workshop, and for really getting into it. I feel we all benefitted hugely from turning up with no expectations and having an open mind, and I for one cannot WAIT for our next walk and journal workshop. If you are keen to find out more about the workshop and are keen to join us in October, please click the button below...
Huge thanks also go to Hannah for creating such an imaginative and mindful set of exercises, and for co-hosting such a positive morning along the Cornish coast. If you would like to see more of what Hannah gets up to as part of her Hometown Journal venture, you can check her Instagram page out here: Hometown Journal
And finally, a big thank you to BakedPz who very kindly gifted us with some yummy scrummy cakes to enjoy on our break. We enjoyed these delights immensely as we stared out to sea through the mining relics, and chattered amongst ourselves in harmony.
I lost myself somewhere
In the crags of Cornish rock
Land-locked in the fiery burn-out of my mind
I began to find myself
Somewhere at the borders;
Of salt path,
Of eroding edges
I began to find myself
Where the sea meets the lands
Usually, my weeks weather forecast
Is brain fog with scattered showers,
High pressure and storms in my
But today the sky is joy
The ground is flowers
My skin is warmth
My stomach butterflies of
Today I found myself
In the blues of the sea
The fiery burnout of my mind is
Endless soft waves
Today I found me
Today I have found I can just be;
And that was
Lowena was happy for us to share her poem and wanted to mention that she’s a teacher with Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, which is running a new ‘Just be’ well-being group for young people aged 12-25. Take a look at www.cn4c.org.uk for more information.