Script Jan 2015
Welcome to Fresh Air Fridays
Fresh air fridays is a Natural business development community where we learn to trust our own instincts and listen to our authentic selves, this is partly achieved by connecting with our natural environment and partly by the subjects we explore. This is a group where no one is judged. We support each other to develop healthy habits and explore ideas that will help us achieve the things we want and lead the lives we choose. This is a place where we can all be exactly the way we want to, and where we learn through doing. Regularly attending our sessions , practicing the things we talk about and engaging with the discussions in our on-line community maximise the benefits you get from being a member. The things we talk about are often very simple and easy to do, but that also makes them easy not to do; by getting fully involved we support you to practice these things, make them a habit and get the results you want.
Introductions: Ask everyone to briefly introduce themselves. (three things about yourself – your name and two other things, then a sentence about what you hope to get out of today)
Risks and rewards
Our walk today is designed to be relatively gentle. Please be aware of how you are feeling and don’t do anything that you are uncomfortable doing. I have done my upmost to make this safe, but you do walk at your own risk. There will be places where the ground is uneven and muddy so please just take your time and be responsible for your own welfare. Keep an eye out for lovely things as we walk and please share any gifts that you experience.
Walk to somewhere that is a good place to do a breathing exercise.
We start all our Fresh Air Friday walks with a breathing exercise. This is to remind us what an amazing tool we have in our breath and how tapping into it can serve us. Learning to breath deeply and fully is good for us physically and mentally. Taking a moment in stressful situations to slow and deepen our breathing allows us to respond to situations rather than react. When we do our breathing exercise make sure you are comfortable, if you are not used to deep breathing, you could go light headed, so just stop. Trust your instincts, and know what is right for you. We are going to take three deep breaths: breathing in; holding it; releasing it; pausing and then taking another breath. I will lead you through the sequence, but remember to do what feels right for you.
Lead the breathing exercise:
When you are ready take a deep breath in filling your lungs and enjoying the air coming in. Hold it. Now letting it go squeezing the air out completely emptying your lungs. Pause. Now another deep breath in. Deeper than before, feeling your lungs filling stretching down into your belly and up into your shoulder blades, really enjoying your lungs being filled up with air. Imagining the oxygen flowing into your blood-steam. Holding that breath…… and then letting it go feeling it flowing out of your lungs, emptying, flushing out all the carbon dioxide. Pause. Last time, really enjoying that breath coming in really stretching your lungs, expanding further than before, filling up, enjoying that stretch. Holding….then letting all that air go, really enjoying feeling your lungs empty out. Take a moment to just “be”. Notice how you are feeling, notice your surroundings.
If it is cold you may want to move a bit before moving on to todays theme. Or you may just want to walk to another place for variety.
Stop people to introduce this months theme.
One of the key things we teach on Fresh Air Fridays is being in present moment. The vast majority of our pain or discomfort is due to thoughts about the past or the future. For many of us we spend a lot of time thinking about things that have happened and why we wish they were different, or thinking about the future and worrying about what may or may not happen. As we walk now we are going to practice putting down all those thoughts of past and future and spend time being here now. We are going to do that by spending time with each of our senses in turn. As we start to walk I would like you to just notice what you can see. Don’t make any judgement about what you see, like a piece of litter being bad or a tree being beautiful, just take in everything and notice. If you choose to talk please limit your conversation to things that are going on now in the present moment. You may choose to point out things that grab your attention to other people.
Allow people to walk and look for a couple of minutes
Now we are going to tune into what we can hear. Just for a couple of minutes I would appreciate you not talking, so that we can all really get absorbed in what we hear.
You may want to time this so that people really do get at least two minutes of silence. To begin with this may seem like a long time.
How was that? Was it difficult? Easy, relaxing? Did you find yourself judging things or were you able to simply observe?
Leave people a bit of space for some feedback.
As we walk now I would like you to engage your other senses. Can you taste or smell anything? What are you feeling? the wind or sun on your face, the ground under your feet.
Spend a few more minutes allowing people to practice these skills.
You may once more want to ask people for feedback how they found it.
Find someone you haven’t spoken to to walk with now. As we walk now talk to the person next to you about what that was like. Discuss how and when might you might be able to do this in your daily life? You may choose to make a commitment to yourself and share this with the person you are walking with.
Walk for a bit more enjoying practicing this skill.
I would strongly encourage you to get into the habit of practicing the skill of being present regularly in your daily life. Next time you are stuck in traffic notice your hands on the steering wheel, the noise of the engine, taking in everything you can see and hear. Noticing what you can feel. Being present in whatever you are doing whether it is having a meal or doing the housework being in that moment makes it far more pleasurable.
Walk to your tea stop. This is an important time for people to engage and chat with one another. Make it a comfortable place to be. Look for somewhere out of the wind. Streams or damp places in warm weather can be bad places for midges. We strongly encourage you to provide some sort of snack then you might want to discuss that we choose not to provide white sugar or refined wheat flour on FAF sessions as they serve no nutritional value in a society of plenty.
How you can best benefit from Fresh Air Fridays
For those of you for whom this is your first Fresh Air Friday; I am just going to explain how you can become part of our community. When you become a member you can attend any of the Fresh Air Friday groups around the country, and by February that will be thirteen and counting. Every month you will be sent details of this months theme and journal pages that allow you to write about what is going on for you and explore the themes in more detail. Each topic has been proven to have a massive effect on your levels of happiness and how it enables you to show up in your work and home life. We have a vibrant and growing on-line community where you have access to the skills advice and support of all our facilitators and other community members. It is a great place to ask questions and seek support. We are currently evaluating what we are offering and realise that to date all this has been offered at an embarrassingly low price. So the cost of joining will be going up in the near future. If you join now you will get it at the old cost of £20 a month. This is a membership cost for life, we will never ask for an increase from you, so if you join now you will be getting the absolutely best value possible. The work you do on yourself through being part of the community will, make you happier, less stressed, more focused, more efficient, better to live with and work with. You will achieve better results in all aspects of your life. Ultimately it is up to you to decide to make this investment in yourself and we will be here to support you. We would really love you to join us.
If you have any members who have been around for a while you may ask them how they benefit from FAF.
this can be held after the snack time.
As we learn more about ourselves and examine our lives more closely we often come across things that no longer serve us. It may be a habit that we have engaged in, a conversation/criticism we have regularly with other people or may be an internal conversation we have with ourselves. Fresh Air Fridays is a space where we can let go of the things we choose to that we no longer need in our lives. For anyone who wants to we have a small burning ceremony. Now is your chance to write down anything that you are ready to stop or let go of. It is an opportunity for you to decide and commit to yourself to put down. We can acknowledge that something has had a place but now it is time to stop and move on. It doesn’t matter what or how you write it. Write in anyway you choose, but feel your intention of moving on and letting go. You can write one thing or many, and when everyone is ready we will burn and release the old ways to make way for the new.
Allow people space and time to write whatever they choose, and then burn everything making sure that everything gets burnt. You may choose to say thank you and goodbye as you watch the old ways burning. Once it has cooled the ashes can be spread safely.
As we walk now you may choose to to talk to someone else about any commitments you feel you want to make to yourself.
Walk for a while until you get to your meditation spot.
Mindfulness and meditation
In today’s session we have spent some time practicing being in the present moment. Whenever we engage in this sort of activity it is a form of informal meditation or mindfulness. The benefits of both this and more formal mindfulness, otherwise known as meditation, are huge and there is are numerous scientific studies that extol the virtue of meditation. If you have never done any sort of mindfulness or meditation before, then this is a great place to start. For many people when they first start to focus their mind on something their mind has a tendency to wander off into a stream of thinking. If you notice this happening just bring yourself back to whatever I am saying or to focus on your breath noticing it going in and out of your body. Leave all judgement behind. This is not competitive. Allow yourself to focus on the point I am describing and if you notice your mind wandering off then just gently bring it back. It is best to sit stand or lie in a position that allows your spine to be straight allowing it’s slight natural curve. If it feels comfortable to do so you may choose to close your eyes, alternatively you may choose to lower your eyes and bring them to a soft focus somewhere in front of you.
Below is a meditation you may choose to read, alternatively if you have a meditation that you are very familiar and you would like to use and share then please feel free to use that instead. If you choose to read this, don’t rush it. Read it in a slow, steady and confident manner. A much slower pace than you would normally read. You are guiding and supporting here.
So when you are ready, closing your eyes or bringing them to a soft focus in front of you. Allowing your neck and shoulders to relax, slowly bringing your attention to your breath. Watching it go in and out of your body. In and out of your body. When you are ready, slowly bringing your attention to the crown of your head. Allowing any stress or tension to flow out of the crown of your head….. Feeling your forehead relaxing……..feeling your temples, your eyes and your ears relaxing. All stress and tension is flowing out of your nose, your cheeks, your upper lip, your lower lip, your mouth and your jaw. Feeling your whole face completely relaxing. All stress and tension is flowing out of your neck,….. out of your shoulders,……. out of your upper arms,…… your elbows, your lower arms. Feeling your wrists relaxing,…… your hands relaxing all stress and tension flowing out of your fingers.
Feel your upper back relaxing, your chest relaxing…your lower back relaxing. All stress and tension is flowing out of your waste, your stomach and your pelvis. Feel your thighs relaxing, your knees relaxing…your shins and your calfs relaxing. All stress and tension is flowing out of your ankles your feet and your toes.
You are supported by the ground, the air, the sky and the sun…… You have all the resources you need and you are enough…….You are learning to live in the present moment……. You are more aware of your surroundings and things are unfolding just as they should. You are whole and you are accepted. You are learning to trust your own instincts….Bringing your attention to back to your breath…breathing in support, breathing out resistance, breathing in support, breathing out letting go. Keep watching
your breath breathing in all you need, breathing out and letting go.
Allow people to be comfortable in a short time of silence here. If it is a very new group, you may choose to keep this a very short space 5-10 seconds (a minute to someone inexperienced can seem a long time)
Whenever you are ready bringing your attention slowly back to your fingers and toes. Wiggling them if that feels the right thing to do. Taking a stretch if you choose, and just gently opening your eyes and bringing yourself back to the moment.
Some people may take a while to choose to come back. Don’t hurry this bit allow people to just sit and be still taking in their surroundings. We don’t often take time to do this sort of thing. When everyone is ready you can start heading back to the start.
Either at the end of the walk or on the way back to the start point find somewhere just to say thank yous.
We end our fresh air friday sessions just with a space for acknowledgement. It is an opportunity for everyone just to say thank you for something. It may be to someone in the session today, for something they have done or said that you have found useful. It may be for something that you have learnt today, or it may be just acknowledging your gratitude for something that has happened in your life in the recent past. For those of you wanting a stretch, try experiencing gratitude for the deep learning you’ve gained as a result of one or more of the unpleasant experiences in your life.
Go round the group in turn just asking them to share something that they are grateful for.