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body & soul

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holistic health, personal growth & spirituality

Beccy Golding on dramatherapy, the Quakers’ national conference and round-up of the region’s news stories

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ver 2,000 Quakers will converge on Bath this summer at their Yearly Meeting Gathering, 2-9 August. All Quakers, also known as ‘friends’, are invited to attend these threeyearly events, held in a different part of the country each time. A splendid gathering village will be built in the grounds of the University of Bath, with a 2,000-seater big top at one end, a ‘gathering tent’ at the other and a series of 15 marquees and cafes in between; the whole event will have a real ‘festival’ feel. Large group sessions will be held in the big top, with participants making decisions that will affect Quakers nationwide. Smaller group sessions will offer hundreds of fringe activities, from the contemplative to the hands-on, from painting to gardening, from talking to listening, and just chilling out. A Bristol-based arts curator will infuse the week with creative arts to get involved with. With Quakers visiting from Australia, America, Africa and Japan as well as Europe, the event will have an extensive international element and collectively will consider the theme ‘What it means to be a Quaker today’. Quakers meet in silence, hoping to find a

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Quakers Kevin Redpath and Judi Brill outside Horfield Meeting House in Bristol sense of stillness in which they can reflect on their values, how they live and be inspired by the company of others on a similar journey. Some think of themselves as Christian, some feel more rooted in eastern traditions, some are agnostic or atheist. All share the values of peace, equality, integrity and simplicity & sustainability. Quakers expect to leave Bath “renewed and refreshed more by their time together than by the hot springs,” we’re told. www.quaker.org.uk/ymg

dramatherapist.

Describe what you do?

I have been a dramatherapist for over 20 years, providing the stage for people to have a new experience of themselves through theatre. I set up Scenario Arts in Personal Development in 1995 and founded the Dramatherapy Certificate, now Foundation Course, in Bristol, which is in its final run after 19 years. I offer short Continued Professional Development courses and have a private practice in Bath. I am also a licensed Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist which, similar to dramatherapy but in a subtler way, works with the unconscious, but the horse becomes both the mirror and the teacher.

What brought you to dramatherapy?

Prior to becoming a therapist I strutted my stuff on the theatrical stage but became disillusioned by the lack of integrity and authenticity required to succeed. It did serve me well, however, as I learned about creating a role and how to identify myself with it in order to give a good performance. The stage itself acted as a container for my self-expression, whereas on the drama-therapeutic stage there was no performance anxiety or end-product to perfect for a critical audience. It was about the creative process and I found that liberating.

The misconceptions of dramatherapy are:

Many people fear being put on the spot or letting their guard down, but they always have a choice and we work at a pace that feels right for them. Often they are having so much fun that they let their inhibitions go naturally. Most people love the idea of being able to reconnect to their playful nature that has somehow got locked away or squashed, or to realise a dream role without the pressure to ‘get it right’. There

oodGym Bristol (see photo right) is a community project that combines getting fit with doing good. Originally set up in London four years ago, it has been running in Bristol for one year. The idea is to meet, run to a community project, get involved in some physical volunteering, and then run back again. The runs are normally between three and eight kilometres, with about 30 minutes active volunteering in the middle. All levels of runners are welcome, from beginners to more experienced runners, and no-one is ever left behind. GoodGym Bristol also match up runners with older people in their local community. The runners drop in and see the older people as part of their regular runs, to give some company or to help with some small jobs such as changing a lightbulb. The older people help the runners by giving them motivation to run, and so are called coaches. Group runs take place on Tuesday evenings 6.30-8pm and Saturday mornings 11am-1pm. New runners are always welcome.

Chris Bennett, email: Bristol@goodgym.org www.goodgym.org

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Why I Do What I Do… Rachel Perry

body & soul news

is no wrong way to do dramatherapy, just the spontaneity of the moment, the experience and awareness of what you do and how it feels.

I know it’s been a good day when…

I am rewarded and often moved when I see clients making poignant connections with hidden parts of themselves, or seeing them come face to face with a perceived demon that just wants to play or be loved. Stepping into this new place, there is a sense of empowerment and something awakens from within.

What I’ve learnt about myself is…

I’ve learned through this process that we all want the same thing: peace of mind and happiness of heart. Through the many personas and characters we may play out on our stage, we have a leading cast of few that really shine and can make a difference in our world. Once we honour our true self and let the false and non-serving masks drop away, we can manifest miracles.

In ten years’ time I’d like to be…

My long-term vision has always been to run a healing arts centre but now my world includes the horse-human relationship I might have to add a herd and stables! I’d like to support people in the caring professions in particular. Footprints: an equine encounter (14 June, Glos); Spontaneity of Change: dramatherapy workshop (28/29 June, Bath); Footprints 2 (2/ 3 August, Somerset.) Individual & group equine therapy sessions available in Gloucestershire & Somerset. Tel Rachel Perry on 01225 851055 email rachel@scenario59.freeserve.co.uk www.dramatherapy.org.uk

lectro-sensitivity (ES), also know as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), is a condition caused by exposure to mobile phones/masts, wifi, and electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) from electronic devices. Symptoms can include sleep disturbance, headaches, restlessness, concentration problems, forgetfulness, limb and joint pains, numbness or tingling sensations, tinnitus, giddiness and eye problems. The illness is controversial because not everyone believes it exists, but as the World Health Organisation said, following a study conducted in 2005, “The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity. Whatever its cause, EHS can be a disabling problem for the affected individual.” There’s lots of info online but here are a few starting points: www.es-uk.info http://electrosensitivity.org.uk www.electrosensitivity.co.uk www.emfwise.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Electrosensitivity

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alking football is a slower version of the beautiful game where any player caught running concedes a free kick to the opposition. And Grey Pride is a walking football tournament for the over 55s happening on 31 May, co-ordinated by Bristol City Football Club and LinkAge. There will be some Bristol City players joining in as well as eight teams of five players, made up of locals from south Bristol and beyond. BCFC and LinkAge also hold regular training sessions where you can strap on your football boots and get back into the game.

Grey Pride: 31 May, kick off at 10.30am. St John’s Churchyard, Bedminster, Bristol. Email Mollie.Stevens@bcfc.co.uk or skills@bedminster.org.uk if you wish to take part. http://tinyurl.com/q37n3dn

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new group for people experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is starting at the Trauma Centre in Cheltenham on Tuesday evenings. PTSD can be caused by a traumatic event (e.g. road traffic accident, violent crime, sexual assault, witnessing a violent or traumatic death) and can lead to symptoms including flashbacks of the event, intrusive thoughts and nightmares.

07975 974455 www.suicidecrisis.co.uk

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park Holistic Health Award-winner Community Conscious is offering on-site complementary therapies to local businesses as a way of subsidising their lowcost sessions across Bristol, and are starting a crowd-funding campaign at the end of July to further support their services. They are also launching a smoke-free service from Hamilton House in May for those who want to quit smoking.

www.communityconscious.org communityconscious@coexistuk.org

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he Back to Health: Integrative Cancer Health-Care conference, 6-9 June, has changed venue to Exeter. The event is for practitioners and anyone who has, or has been affected by, cancer. www.back2healthevents.com

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short but moving and powerful little video made by Alzheimer’s Society gives a tiny insight into how it might feel to live with dementia. And they have produced a booklet explaining how businesses can make a big difference when serving customers with dementia, including easyto-follow tips, and explaining how physical, environmental and sensory factors can cause difficulties, with suggestions on how to reduce their impact.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz8ACEu7Lho Booklet: download for free or order 25+ copies for £5 + p&p www.alzheimers.org.uk/customerfacing

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f you are concerned about the safety of a child or young person in Bristol there is a new phone service you can use called First Response. Jointly run by Bristol City Council and the Police Safeguarding Coordination Unit, key to this new approach is the idea of creating a ‘team around the child’, led by one person who will involve children, young people and families in the plans made to help them. The First Response number is 0117 903 6444. Visit www.bristol.gov.uk and search ‘first response’.