Senses: back to reality, fuelling fantasy

Our Bristol Wellbeing College run informative courses and workshops for learners receiving support from Bristol Mental Health Services, and their carers. On the blog today, we look at our writing sessions and read a piece by attendee Elyzabeth Burns (Susan Mateos) .

During the last month or so, while the majority of us still rely on technology for work and social-related matters, at the Wellbeing College we have been trying to counterbalance this with a focus on being present. While technology has provided us with infinite possibilities and resources, it has the side effect of pulling us out of the physical environment in which our bodies and minds evolved. No wonder we feel discombobulated at times.

Our ‘Be Present’ series explores the myriad ways we can re-anchor ourselves in the here-and-now, to the effect of helping us re-connect with the physical environment, the inner mind and the working body during a time where virtual dependency means we are increasingly disconnected from these. The series comprises eight sessions of meditations, each with a different focus, from breathing to soundscapes.

In facilitating these sessions and others this month, I have been struck by the power of our senses as a tool to re-calibrate an overloaded mind. This is obvious in sensory-based workshops, such as ‘Five Senses Meditation’ and ‘Writing with Senses’, however, I have also found they are just as indispensable in workshops such as ‘Visualisation Meditation’, ‘Writing with Emotion’ and ‘Making Picture Poems’. This is because when finding ourselves in a place where gratitude, optimism or creativity seem like impossible or distant feelings, our senses are never far away. We can always re-conjure the sensation of the wind in our hair, or the grass beneath our feet, or the sound of waves lapping at the shore. Even these tiny morsels are enough to fuel the imagination, or remind us that we can hear, see, and feel things now that are worth witnessing. That we are simply being and experiencing and after all is said and done, that is enough.

This week’s story contribution is born of this focus on senses. Our guest contributor is New York born and raised Elyzabeth Burns (Susan Mateos), writer and artist since childhood. Elyzabeth is a regular attendee to our writing workshops. Her work is always fantasy-like and rich with imagery and passion, so it was no surprise that the sensory prompt of ‘Touch’ inspired a short tale that speaks of desire, indulgence and aversion all in just a few lines, such is the power of imagination when sparked by the touch of a cloth.

What the Demons don’t like

We are in the Castle of our Overlord, King Harold, The Great

He has a passion, a desperate need to feel and touch things with his hands.

The new materials have been bought in for the Royal clothing to be made.

when he touched the denim the demons cry out

when he touched the velvet, the angels sing

When he touches the silk, HIS DAUGHTER SPEAKS

“I love you Daddy”

The material is so soft, that she holds it up against her cheek

“I like this one best Daddy”

“Then you shall have it my Darling”

“Too sweet,” the Demons cry out

“Too sweet!!”

To find out more about our writing courses and other courses available from the Bristol Wellbeing College, and eligibility, visit:

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