Find out from one of our facilitators – Stuart – what a day on the Heart Bus is like.
How did you get involved with facilitating on the bus?
I have been following the progress of the Heart Movement for the last few years and had the chance to go on a retreat just before the first lock-down. I got so much from the retreat and liked what was being offered that I wanted to become involved in facilitating on the bus. When the opportunity came I jumped at the chance to work on the bus.
Can you tell us about the practical side of the bus?
There is a lot going on behind the scenes. The logistics of being a facilitator involve training and keeping up to date with what has been happening on the bus. What has been working well on the bus for example. We usually stay in hotels in the area where the bus is parked which is good fun. We get to see a bit of the local area. Setting up the bus and taking down is pretty straight forward. We have to get water for our tea urn, power to heat the water and set up our table outside. At this point we are ready to receive visitors.
How do you plan what sessions to run?
On the tour I was on it was a drop in style. We were parked outside public areas and welcomed anyone who wanted to come on board or sit with us outside. The sessions we ran were quite ad hoc and depended on who was with us and what their particular needs were. For example if someone came on and said they had been struggling to sleep we might offer a short meditation that they could use at night-time to promote sleep. Equally if someone said they struggled a bit with anxiety we might offer a practice that would help them calm their nervous system down. We try to be as flexible as possible to ensure that visitors to the bus have an experience which can help them in their life.
What’s a session on the bus like?
They can vary so much depending on who comes on the bus. If children come on with their parents we try and guide something that can benefit the whole family. Children don’t want to sit still for too long so it has to be quite short, fun and engaging for them. When it is adults the sessions can be longer. The basic idea is to give a bit of information about mindfulness and how useful it can be before guiding the visitors in an experience of mindfulness so that they can actually feel the benefits. We then normally chat a bit and ask how they got on so that they can share their experience.
How is your experience of visiting different venues? Do you have a favourite?
The tour I was on was in Wales. We visited Cardiff and two smaller towns in the Valleys. It was a wonderful experience to see a bit of Wales and to meet so many nice people. I really enjoyed my time in Cardiff. It is such a nice city. Equally I loved visiting the smaller towns in the Valleys. The countryside was so beautiful and the people were very welcoming.
It is so nice to see the bus touching the lives of so many people in this way.Stuart, Facilitator
What’s your favourite moment on the bus so far?
There have been many favourite moments. I love to see how excited the kids get when they see the bus. Their eyes light up when they notice it. One favourite moment was playing with a child in Wales. His Mum had come on and said she was desperate for something to help with her stress but she couldn’t settle because her son was needing some attention. I thought if I could entertain her son for a few minutes then my colleague could guide her in a much needed meditation. I had a ball and threw it to the child who was keen to play. We tossed the ball to each other for a few minutes allowing his Mum to relax into a meditation. It was a really nice moment for all of us.
What’s it like being on the road for a tour?
It’s very interesting being on tour. I love seeing new places and meeting new people. We don’t know who is going to come onto the bus so it is always a unique experience welcoming people onto the bus. It is very fulfilling seeing how much people benefit from mindfulness practices. It’s also been amazing seeing how much people enjoy being offered a free cup of tea and some interest in them. It is so simple to offer a free cup of tea and a chat but people really seem to enjoy this kindness.
Is there anything else about your experience facilitating on the bus that you’d like to share?
My hope is that the bus project will really take off and that there can be several buses travelling round the UK sharing mindfulness practices. The skills that we teach people are free, so easy to pick up and can help people so much in their lives. It is so nice to see the bus touching the lives of so many people in this way.
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