3rd Kindling Space was Full-Moon Magic!

We did it! On Friday evening we held an absolutely awesome 3rd Kindling Space meeting. The magic continues.

This time 6 of us held space together around the fire, 4 of us had been to a meet-up before, and 2 of us were new. And this time, we stayed there for 6 hours! 

First of all we had to use some teamwork to move our new firewood, which we have managed to find sponsorship for. Big thanks to Leah from The Old Rec Cafe at Hove Park, Darren from Art & OAK and Danielle for these generous donations of firewood which should keep us going for a few more weeks, especially as it starts to turn really cold.

Fire lit, we sat around in the glow of the flickering flames, getting to know our new members and catching up with those who’ve been to a meeting before. 

We also spent some time talking through our new Group Aims, Values & Ground Rules, which we think are important to have now we are growing. I will share these with you in a separate post, and would love to hear your thoughts.

Not forgetting it was the Full Moon, we wrote some reflections on paper and threw them into the fire together! Of course, the giant marshmallows made another appearance. 

We also discovered we have a breathwork teacher, Charlotte L (aka Stardust), amongst us, who has very kindly offered to run a session for us to help her qualify. In the end we stayed until midnight, spending 6 hours in each others’ company. Worlds better than a 50-minute therapy session.

We have now had 3 Kindling Space meetings, and the impact it is having already is absolutely amazing. I am working on launching a small crowdfunder soon, to cover some costs as we begin to grow, enabling us to reach & help more of our peers. Keep your eyes out for a link to this soon.

I can’t wait to confirm this week’s session and send out the invites to you all, keeping up this momentum we have so beautifully built together already.

I hope to see you round the fire very soon! ??✨

P.S. Also just want to give a big shout-out to Charlotte H who has joined us for all 3 meetings so far, and very kindly gave lifts to three others in our group on Friday, in addition to picking up firewood earlier in the day. It’s this kind of spirit which makes this group the magical thing it already is, and is so appreciated. Thank you Charlotte. 

Kindling Space #2

Our 2nd Kindling Space meeting happened at the weekend and the magic continued. ✨

Kindling Space is a brand new non-clinical, trauma-informed healing space in nature. Around the campfire, under the stars, alongside peers who really understand.

I’ve realised I’m not alone in needing this. So we are building it, and it has begun.

Last week we held our first Kindling Space meeting, and 7 of us held space together around the campfire. It was absolutely amazing, empowering, awesome, inspiring, and the beginning of something extremely special.

We have kept the ball rolling, and this weekend saw our 2nd meeting take place. We were a smaller group this time, 3 of us (plus dog ?) sharing a beautiful evening around the fire. 

We’re mastering our fire-making skills, and made ourselves comfy with lots of blankets.

We chatted about the things that are normally impossible to share, and discussed plans for how we want to grow Kindling Space further. ?

We cooked delicious food together over the fire… sausages, halloumi, red pepper, bread, chutney, followed by homemade cake & GIANT marshmallows ?

The time flew by – we held space together for 5 hours. It’s just so magical to be in the company of new friends who really understand, in such a beautiful nature setting, the crackling glow of the fire keeping us warm, owls hooting in the trees. We definitely found our ‘flow state’. ??

I hoped that a Saturday session might be more accessible than a weekday, but quite a few of our new members weren’t able to come this time. I understand lots of us find our energy levels empty by the weekend. 

To be honest, I was also feeling very tired, but the smaller group turned out to be exactly what we needed. The universe always knows what’s right, if only we let it work its magic.✨

We also decided to host our 3rd Kindling Space on Friday, 19th Nov which is also, of course, the Full Moon. ?

If you’re local to Brighton & would like to join us, you are welcome. 

In one way or another, the magic will continue. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Kindling Space & beyond. This is just the beginning.

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? 

Kindling Space is Happening

Time for another little update! I’ve been enjoying a lot of campfires lately, both alone and with friends, for fun and to cook on. ? 

It’s really grounding me and proving to be exactly the therapy I need at the moment. Nothing else comes close (OK, maybe jumping in the cold English sea in October!). Nature is absolutely the best, and I have written more here about how the flickering flames of fire are nature’s version of EMDR.

I’ve already made some amazing progress with taking this further and setting up the non-clinical, trauma-informed safe crisis space that we need, with a campfire at the heart, that I wrote about the other day.

And now it has a name: Kindling Space. ✨

The beautiful drawing is a gift from @whispering_earth, a wonderful inspiration

I posted about it online in a local Facebook group, and within 24 hours I was absolutely overwhelmed with support from over 200 of my peers who, like us, desperately need something like this. 

Many commented that they have similarly struggled with their own lifelong mental health battles and have never found the right help. Others are professionals, qualified therapists, and even work for the local mental health services, and still also see the need for this. 

It’s equally sad there are so many of us who do need this, but I’m more convinced than ever that the time is now right to build it. And I’m going to make it happen.

I’ve already managed to gather a strong group of 22 local peers (and growing!), with relevant skills & lived experience who really want to help build this safe space that we need. Let me know if you are near Brighton, UK and would also like to be part of this group, contributing ideas & skills to help set it up. 

Even if you’re not local, I’ll continue to share any progress we make to hopefully inspire similar initiatives in communities further afield. Every town, village and city needs a Kindling Space.

I’m also more inspired than ever to carry on raising awareness of complex trauma via the content & resources I usually create, continuing to help you on your healing journey wherever you are.

I wish for every community in the world to have a Kindling Space for those of us who need it, and hope to see you by a fireside one day wherever you are. ???✨

P.S. Yes, they are toe socks! Another new favourite, to go with the barefoot shoes. So unbelievably good for reconnecting to your body & the earth, as nature intended, and something I already can’t live without.