Secret Spring Equinox 'Beneath An Ocean Of Sky' Retreat Programme
Print out or screen shot this page to have with you on the day.
Before the day
- Join the Facebook group and introduce yourselves
- Download Voxer, follow @ajbecker22 and say hello
- Plan your food for the day – a nourishing breakfast, a picnic or café lunch, a warming evening meal (make it easy - perhaps get a ready meal from somewhere like Cook).
- Get a candle and restful or inspiring music ready for breakfast
- Prepare your nature journaling kit (bare minimum – paper and a hard surface to write on and a pen or pencil)
- Have a think about a 2-3 activities for the ‘create new worlds’ session in the afternoon that you know will nourish your body, e.g. movement, rest, inspiration, creativity, community - see the ideas below. You can choose the one activity which feels right to do on the day.
- Tell colleagues, friends and family members that you won’t be available on that day as you are taking part in this retreat. If you need childcare, plan that in advance. If you need to cancel calls, let folk know now. Create the boundaries that will allow you to actually gift yourself this time.
On the Spring Equinox | 20 March 2023
I have tried to design this retreat to get you outside and interacting with the more-than-human and your own physical experience. As much as possible, commit to minimum screen time and time online. I would recommend deleting social media and email apps from your phone if possible. This may feel uncomfortable as we sometimes use distraction on our phone to stop ourselves feeling unsettling feelings. However, when the desire to check your phone arises, I invite you to look up at the sky instead.
Throughout 20 March I will send you encouraging voice notes through Voxer to help you stay in the world of We Are Stardust and know you are not alone in enjoying your love for the earth and sky today.
A few of you are in different time zones so please join in the live sessions when you can. Recordings will be up within 24 hours.
- Tea and wonder exercise: As soon as you get up, make yourself a nourishing drink and step outside for 5 minutes and go through your senses – what do you notice? Look up at the sky, breathing in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts, mimicking the equal length of the night and day. Research has shown that getting outside within the first 2 hours of waking helps to set your circadian rhythm.
- Recite 5 gratitudes to yourself, e.g. I am grateful for breath, I am grateful for this drink, I am grateful for the birdsong.
- Set an intention for the day, e.g. I approach the day with child-like wonder and joy, Today I gift myself time to play and explore.
Earth and Sky campfire gathering | 9.30-10.30am GMT
We gather around the virtual campfire to share how we are feeling. Following a short grounding exercise we will reflect on the equinox and how this is a time to pause and notice the earth (associated with winter) and the sky (associated with spring). I will lead you through some playful movement and mark making exercise to awaken the child-like spirit inside and help you start to think more expansively. I will share research on the atmosphere that will get you seeing the ocean of sky and air in your lungs in a new light. We will discuss what it means to create new worlds and ways of being.
Link to recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/r-dMxiFnMg9vtdR96wqFroKEMfEkznxFmEo-NmPZw1nb0LMTWDP6FMYCi9ayvzxm.CHOD40SIuF_O4d5a
The videos I show in the session don't seem to appear on the recording, so here they are:
Global Circulation video https://youtu.be/qh011eAYjAA
Coriolis effect video from the Met Office: https://youtu.be/PDEcAxfSYaI (from 35 seconds in)
Sky | Nature journaling session | 10.30am - 12noon GMT
Either go outside to a sit (or lying down) spot you feel comfortable staying in for a while or if going out is difficult, find an indoor sit or lying down spot near a window that looks up at the sky. Make sure you have snacks, a drink, perhaps your picnic lunch and your nature journaling kit with you. Print out or screen shot the nature journaling prompts in the pdf below. You may also want to watch the cloud sketching and sky painting tutorial before you go and print out the main cloud types with the Cloud Appreciation Society Cloud Library.
Once you are comfortable in your sit/lying down spot breath and look at the sky for 10 minutes. It may feel uncomfortable looking for that amount of time. Let yourself drift with the air. Let thoughts float through your mind, rather than hanging onto them. Notice what this experience feels like in your body.
Now go through the journaling prompts.
Return home when you feel ready.
Lunch | 12noon-1pm GMT
As you eat lunch think about what had to happen to get this food to you today, from the people who planted the seeds, the earth, sun and air that nourished the plants, the people who picked the plants (and the people who made the machines to pick them), the people who processed and packaged the food, the people who brought it to the shop, the people in the shop who put the food out and served you at the till, to whoever prepared the food for you to eat. See how supported and interconnected you are.
Earth | Creating new worlds | 1-2pm GMT
Note: this session can also be done after the talk from Dr Rebecca Dumbell and before dinner.
- Spring Equinox Visualisation, 10 minutes, [m4a]
Download and listen to the visualisation to help you imagine a world filled with love. What does it look like? How do you take care of yourself and your community? What have you made happen?
Now do one thing that leads you closer to that vision. In doing this we are exploring a new way of being that nourishes rather than depletes us and our communities.
"Quiet activism is the "small, every day, embodied acts, often of making and creating, that can be either implicity or explicitly political in nature" – Pottinger
Play – move things around your home and try a different layout, create something from a place of play, play a game with a loved one, play sport
Reciprocity – what or who is nourishing your life right now? How can you give back? For example, the river near me means a great deal to my village community as well as the wildlife. I may look into how I can support keeping its waters free from sewage and agricultural run off. Or you may garden, or litter pick, or learn the names of the clouds, or give someone you love a call or drop off a gift.
Movement – Move your body outside or inside, gently or so that you sweat. Put on music and dance, go for a walk, lie down and roll around the floor, stretch – what do you need? If you are feeling anger, why not shout a bit and throw some cushions around?
Creativity – What did you love making when you were little? Give it a go. Make something. Anything. A meal, a painting, a sculpture, a beautiful area of calm and peace in your home, knit, sew, sing, make music. Creativity shows us we have the power to create new worlds.
Rest – “Rest is more than naps. Rest is anything that connects your mind and body” "Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy" – the Nap Ministry. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, what do you need right now? What used to light you up and make you feel alive? How can you bring a bit of that into your afternoon?
Joy and pleasure – Meet up with a friend who makes you laugh, watch a funny film or a comedy podcast, hug someone, make love, dance.
Music credits in the visualisation: Ethereal and Life on the mainland, both from Epidemic Sound.
Earth | Body wisdom and biological clocks talk and Q&A with Dr Rebecca Dumbell | 2.10pm-3pm GMT
We are joined by Rebecca to learn about how our bodies are biologically intimately linked to the Earth's rotation around the Sun.
Link to the recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/kry5_h5fQCyRTWTw0FkVlt6h0bh8uRoF6ZmtSfgGPBShhhHA5QBhIKJRXhKLqBlz._qQDTAD7n9ZTmBHC
Eat with loved ones – human or nonhuman – and enjoy the gifts of the earth together. Chat/communicate. Really try to focus on how the other person or being is doing, moving from “How are you?” “Fine”, to “How are you, really?” and a rich conversation.
Sit outside or near a window, listen to the birdsong and reflect on the day with pre-written prompts in a PDF you can print off and take with you away from screens. We will identify ONE practice inspired by the potential and wonder of the sky that leads us closer to a world filled with love to take with us into the new season.