Kindling Space #1

Last week we held our first ever Kindling Space, in the middle of nature just outside Brighton. IT WAS AMAZING!

I recently wrote about how desperately we need non-clinical, trauma-informed safe spaces to come together and heal alongside our peers. There’s nothing better than healing in nature, and I am inspired by the flickering flames of fire as nature’s equivalent to EMDR.

These kind of spaces ares something I’ve needed – and still need – and realise my peers do, too. And they don’t exist in the way we really need, so I’m making it my mission to build them, and it has already begun as “Kindling Space”.

Over 200 people responded when I wrote about the idea on a local group online, which is absolutely phenomenal. And we now have the support of 40 people and growing, in our new Kindling Space group.

We include those with lived experience, even mental health professionals with their own stories to share. We all see a need for this and want to help make it happen, together. 

We have already been offered a beautiful, safe place to meet in nature & around the campfire, at a private space in Stanmer Park, just outside Brighton.

And last week, we held our first ever Kindling Space meeting. ??✨ 

Seven of us with lived experience of mental health struggles, came together around the campfire & under the stars. 

We met as strangers and left as close peers, having shared our deepest fears. ✨

I had many plans for the evening, but in the end, the hours disappeared, as we just went round the circled, sharing our experiences and listening to others. It was the deepest, most moving experience I’ve ever had.

We held space for each other to talk about everything from suicide & self-harm, to diagnosis & medication, family & friends, and all the topics in between. 

Quite a few of us started off thinking they couldn’t speak like this in a group. But 15 minutes later, after managing to share some extremely deep and profound experiences, they felt so deeply connected with everyone, and proud of themselves.

The impact on us all is already profound. It is incomparable to the ‘help’ we have sought from the mental health system. This is how we used to live: coming together with our families & tribes, around a campfire, sharing our stories and processing life’s events together.

This is “peer support” or “social prescribing” or whatever other label you want to give it, in action. It’s so clear that these are the kind of spaces we so desperately need.

Together we are going to build it, and it’s already happening. ?

The next Kindling Space will be held this weekend. Please contact me if you’re local to Brighton, UK and would like to join. You are welcome. ??

I’m also keen to speak with others interested in setting up something similar where they live. We need a Kindling Space in every town, village & neighbourhood.

Hope to see you round the campfire one day. No diagnosis, referral, assessment forms or waiting list required! ??✨

P.S. You know you had the best time when you only took one photo all night, and it perfectly captures the magic. Can you spot Jupiter? 

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