Be Present: unfolding the now, finding inspiration

Our Bristol Wellbeing College runs informative courses and workshops for learners receiving support from Bristol Mental Health Services, and their carers. On the blog today, we look at our new ‘Be Present’ sessions.

This week we completed our first run of the new ‘Be Present’ sessions, an eight part series exploring different methods through which we can access feeling total presence in the now. These range from physical techniques, like breath work and sensory exercises, to mental techniques, like visualisation and self-check in.

The sessions proved that meditation is not an easy undertaking. It takes a lot of perseverance and inevitably, there are initial feelings of frustration. However, when we ride out these frustrations, when we allow what’s happening to happen on the inside and out, we open that portal where the external and internal worlds meet unmediated by us, the self. We find that place where the Now exists undisturbed by ego. This is the place where the magic happens.

In the words of Pablo Picasso, ‘Inspiration exists but it has to find you working’. Meditation, in its many forms, is work and it is up to you how you carry out that work – and how often. The more we practise, the more we are likely to arrive in a place where we feel inspired.

We hope these series helps you explore some of the pathways to that place.

Below are responses of learners who attended our ‘Soundscapes Writing Meditation’.

High waves spread across the horizon
The waves crash intermittently
As birds encircle 
Looking for snacks. 
A bell tolls in the sea’s midst 
The white speckled waves 
Crash against the shore
Violently spraying a mist
Of salt smattering
It is a cruel sound
That in vision would soften
Picturesque become
Whilst the soundscape 
Paints a vicious scene
In the sound’s ear. 
The sea sounds like a foe
Not my long-lost friend. 

By Ally


“Lots of noise, crowds of people, clanking sounds-feeling overwhelmed and claustrophobic. Didn’t enjoy the sounds.”


“At a quayside, sailing out to sea, waves lapping, reminiscent of my childhood days at Torquay Harbour. Lovely sounds.”

(“I didn’t hear the people or the noisy clanking the second time. It transformed into a relaxing, warm memory of years ago.”) 

by Cheryl

Listening to all the sounds: 

“Confusion, beach, boat journey, water – seagulls, crowded environment, a cacophony of voices trading and interacting. I felt overwhelmed. I also felt intrigued about the confusion of sounds, was it in the past?”
Listening to one sound: 

“Seagulls circling, chattering, squabbling over food from the vendors working their trade in the street. The seagulls seem to be circling each other, chasing away any competition for for the rich pickings as the crowds threw away what was no-longer wanted, chip wrappers, bits of fish and bread.”

by Darren

Jimmy was 11 years old, and this was an average Sunday afternoon.

The sounds of a boy with his basketball, into a hoop near the garage 

Bam Bam Bam the basketball hits the concrete  pavement

Mom in the kitchen listening to a podcast about  something social , the whizz of the cake mixer blending the ingredients, his father in the library tapping on the computer , doing some work at home on this quiet Sunday, in the background he had some gentle classical music on, his sister on the smart phone as usual. Playing Tik Tok

An ice cream truck was going down the street, ringing the bell so all the children could beg their parents for some soft ice cream.

A plane flying overhead

The sounds of cars passing by their house.

Each person wrapped in their own little world on a calm day, a Sunday.

Jimmy noticed a drone up in the sky, some kid playing  with it … then another drone  These things must be getting popular I’ll ask dad to get one for me

Bam Bam Bam, whizz clicketty clicktaptaptap. Voices talking music playing, an airplane overhead.

Then,  all of a sudden 

It stopped,

everyone stopped

everything stopped

Jimmy was the first to speak

“Mom, Dad , where are all the noises ?…”

By Elyzabeth Burns (Susan Mateos) . read the complete story here

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

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