We are a UK non profit growing a movement for bringing more heart and connection into society.
We offer mindfulness practice, heart coherence training and listening spaces.
These practices empower people to reconnect with their hearts and their innate capacity for happiness, connection, resilience and self-understanding.
The heart of our mission is to kickstart a diverse movement of ambassadors for sharing heart-based living in ways that meets the needs of individuals and communities from all backgrounds.
We see wellbeing as a basic human capacity not as a luxury of lifestyle and need: a value that should underpin the culture of all our systems and communities. Through empowering community collaboration we can create a more inclusive wellbeing movement that responds to the diverse needs of a diverse society.
How we do this?
Heart Based Living Programmes
Residential courses and workshops for learning applied Heart-Based living. Train in mindfulness, heart coherence and listening spaces and study the ‘4 keys to the heart’: rest, happiness, embracing difficulty and connection. Online resources, webinars and community platforms support you in sustaining a heart-based life and offer ways to deepen and share your learning.
Heart-Based Living Intensive – An in-depth 4 day residential training course
Open-access, pop-up hubs welcoming everybody to learn, connect and experience heart-based practices within cities, local communities and youth spaces. Free events with experiential workshops, talks and listening spaces, creating safe environments for meaningful connection.
Ambassador training and development
Training Ambassadors across a diversity of backgrounds to share heart-based living practices with their communities. We offer in-depth training for deepening practice and learning facilitation skills. Training includes mentorship and engagement with a participatory platform, supporting Ambassadors to develop materials that respond to the distinctive needs of the groups they work with.
Building a collaborative community network for Ambassadors to share inspiration and work together to reach individuals and communities from all backgrounds including those viewed as underrepresented or under-resourced. A platform for collective empowerment, collaborative participation and peer support to enable the development of grassroots wellbeing initiatives that respond to a wide range of social and cultural contexts. A space to share experiences, resources, and to co- create inclusive models and materials that reflect the needs of diverse communities and populations.
A wellbeing model based on the heart creates the potential for moving towards a more wholehearted engagement with life, extending beyond wellbeing practices as mere coping mechanisms. A heart-based approach empowers us to reconnect with the fundamental intelligence of our own hearts, navigating life from an innate wisdom that we already know and trust.
The heart connects us to the most important and powerful qualities existing in every human being. At heart we already know this and understand how to live a life of meaning and connection. Yet, we live in a society over-driven by the mind. A heart-based life is one grounded in awareness and brings us in touch, once more, with those fundamental qualities of the heart: gratitude, connection and care.
Holistic & Applied
A heart-based wellbeing approach moves beyond quick fix tools for managing our stress and difficulties, towards practices that enable us to bring more heart into all aspects of our life. Our model offers applied practices that are accessible, useable and sustaining for our whole lives, informing how we relate to stress, find time for rest, develop healthy communication and relationships and identify purpose.
Well-being is not an individual pursuit undertaken in isolation to improve only our personal lives. If we don’t include our relationships and ways of relating in the world, we are limiting our possibilities for a happy and meaningful life. Our model includes human connection as an essential ingredient for personal and social change.
Foundations of our Approach
The Heart-Based Living model has at its core, the qualities of Awareness -both self-awareness and the awareness we can bring to each ordinary moment of life and-Connection- to ourselves, to others and to our whole lives. It rests upon three foundational approaches: mindfulness, heart coherence and listening:
Simple: Mindfulness is a practice of bringing awareness to every ordinary gesture of life, from drinking a glass of water to engaging in a difficult conversation. In this way we train our capacity to live in the present moment. We can experience life more fully through our senses rather than the confines of our overthinking minds. Mindfulness can be accessed in one minute, sustained throughout any activity, or underpin a whole way of living.
Evidenced: Numerous studies have identified the scientific basis of mindfulness as a mind-training practice that actually changes cognitive structures and corresponding behavioural habits.
Applied: More and more, mindfulness approaches have been integrated into contemporary society: it has been endorsed by the UK government, school system, NHS, and countless businesses and organisations as a means of reducing stress, building resilience and developing self-awareness.
How we teach it: Our courses teach mindfulness as a way of connecting mind and heart and how to apply it to every aspect of life: from short practices that cultivate rest and ease, to applied practices such as walking, eating, speaking and relating.
Simple: Heart coherence training includes a range of practices for accessing and increasing our capacity for self-regulation and positive emotion. The resulting physiological wellbeing, emotional balance and mental clarity generated by this training is described as ‘coherence’.
Evidenced: Researchers use the term ‘heart-intelligence’ to describe the way that the human heart acts as a central regulator of both physiological and emotional wellbeing. Not only does the heart contain ‘neurons’- making it a kind of ‘heart-brain’ – but studies have shown that by training the heart-qualities of appreciation, gratitude and love, we can activate the conditions that support optimal wellbeing.
Applied: Clinicians and psychologists have long been utilising bio-feedback tools that track an individual’s HRV (Heart-Rate Variability) as a measure of coherence. Biofeedback measures are widely used to support athletic performance, the management of stress in schools and businesses and in health care as a support to wellbeing and recovery. These same tools are now widely available to track and improve our own everyday emotional and physical states of wellbeing.
How we teach it: Our programmes teach how to develop both emotional and social coherence with the support of Heart-Rate Variability biofeedback technology, as well as how to generate and maintain our innate heart-qualities (such as gratitude, inspiration, and love) to increase physical wellbeing and to develop our capacity for emotional self-awareness and self-regulation.
Simple: When we listen attentively, we are open-minded and open-hearted enough to hear what is going on – within ourselves, within another person, or within a situation.
Applied: Throughout history, many cultures have honoured the act of gathering in listening spaces to listen intentionally to different stories, perspectives and personal experiences for the purpose of fostering greater connection and understanding. We see their modern counterparts in Non-Violent-Communication, NNI, The Way of Council, The Work in prisons and the work of Nancy Klein to name but a few.
How we teach it: Our model places the practice of listening, alongside mindfulness and coherence, as one of the central foundations of training. We offer concrete ways to listen with our hearts rather than our heads and to open ourselves to more empathic and meaningful communication. These practices can be applied widely: in personal relationship, the workplace and in community dialogue to open up possibilities for genuine communication and understanding.
Ri has been practicing mindfulness since her early 20s, when she discovered the power of meditation and being fully present. Since then she has delved deeply into this work, from Jungian based retreats through to Shamanic ceremonies, both as student and as teacher. She is also a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, a therapy that brings nourishment and healing through deep listening to the body.
Ri is passionate about… making a difference in the world, especially in the lives of children and teenagers. She wants to co-create a legacy of Beauty, Grace, Harmony and Peace for the generations to come.
Did you know? Ri will most likely be found in her organic polytunnel when not at work and is always happy to talk about growing vegetables and herbs!
Michael has been practicing mindfulness since 1992. He has lived as a Buddhist monk for 15 years in Plum Village France, where he was a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a highly sought-after teacher and has led retreats in the UK, Spain and South America.
Michael is passionate about… the changes needed for social and environmental justice and helping people to touch what is truly meaningful for them.
Did you know? Michael grew up on the island of Ibiza, lucky him.
Lyndsay has taught both at Glasgow University and in Further Education, where she created acclaimed mindfulness programmes for staff and students. She was later director of programme development and lead trainer at Youth Mindfulness. Lyndsay believes that the world we create begins with a state of mind.
Lynsday is passion about… a life of self-reflection not being privilege of any single group, Lynsey is committed to supporting people from all walks of life to bring about change both within themselves and their communities.
Did you know? Lyndsay spent her younger years trying to be angry by wearing black and reading books about John Lennon and Martin Luther King.
Will has held director and consultant roles for many organisations; including serving as European Director for HeartMath and starting a Mindfulness Centre in the South of England. He has completed over 50 weeks of mindfulness training, spent three years training in Core Process Psychotherapy and gained experience working in NHS mental health services and UK prisons.
Will is passionate about…. contributing towards a new story where power, control and wealth become more decentralised and where individuals and communities feel less separate and more connected to our shared human experience.
Did you know? Will (still) loves to spend as much time as possible outside playing with sticks, stones and flowing water..
Kareem discovered mindfulness aged 18 whilst struggling with alcoholism and depression, and it enabled him to discover a more meaningful way of life that he had been searching for. Later he has been a facilitator with various groups and charities including Wake Up London, Youth Mindfulness, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (IBME) and Colours of Compassion – a community for people of BAME backgrounds. He has trained to teach mindfulness with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.
Kareem is passionate about… allowing young people to experience mindfulness.
Did you know? Kareem is an expert in traditional Gong Fu-style teas.
Jasmine has facilitated mindfulness for over 10 years- for her peers as a young adult and later for children and adults. She has completed a 2-year in-depth Certified Mindfulness Teacher Training programme with internationally recognised teachers Tara Brach & Jack Kornfield. She was trained to teach Mindful Self Compassion by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer.
Jasmine is passionate about… continued curiosity and learning about herself and others through mindfulness.
Did you know? From childhood Jasmine has enjoyed exploring life close up with a camera.
CONTENT & SCIENCE
Doran completed his PhD in Neuroscience at University College London in 2011 and subsequently engaged in scientific research at universities in the UK and Germany. Alongside his scientific work, Doran has been practising mindfulness since 2006. Seeing the benefits of these practices in his own life, he spent 15 months deepening his understanding of mindfulness at the Plum Village practice centre in France from 2014–2016. Doran is currently completing his year-long training in Nature-Based Practice with the Ecodharma centre in Spain.
Doran is passionate about…rediscovering and to helping others rediscover how to fall in love with humanity’s potential and with the Earth again.
Did you know? Doran loves to dance, especially when the music gets funky.
Carey studied medicine at the University of Aberdeen, before moving to Edinburgh and specialising in general practice. She is now a GP partner in one of the most socio-economically deprived areas of Scotland. She is also the current Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in Scotland, where she campaigns for better public engagement about sustainable use of the NHS and for reducing health inequalities by resourcing healthcare so that it is at its best where it is needed most. She believes that one of her key roles within her clinical practice is to offer a voice and lobby for change on behalf of marginalized and disenfranchised people.
She also advocates for better recognition of the factors that adversely affect practitioner wellbeing and is involved in developing resources and systems that allow them to keep well and retain compassionate practice.
Carey grew up as the oldest of three sisters in the north east of Scotland. Her happiest childhood memories are of playing outside, under an expansive sky, on the sandy beaches and in a garden filled with nasturtiums.
She believes that practicing compassionate medicine is as much an art as it is a science. She is motivated by social justice, and the stories that her patients share with her, of hardship and of resilience, often inspire the songs that she writes and performs with her band Firefly Forty-five.
Andy brings a history of personal and organisational success to his work as a consultant, coach, change specialist, author and speaker. After many successful years in global corporate positions he founded a start-up business that created a new breed of IT company in the late 1980s. This business successfully recognised the need to connect organisational agility to changes in customer demand and succeeded in growing fast despite the economic climate of the late 80s and early 90s.
As CEO of one division and a main board director of the holding company, Andy gained invaluable experience in strategy, business alignment and board-room politics. He is recognised as a franchise specialist and has worked extensively in supporting boards and board level talent in developing a more entrepreneurial approach to organisational and personal leadership. Andy speaks regularly and has been published internationally. He had his first book published in 2007 (The Essential Guide to Talent Management) and this has been translated into several languages.
As a son, father, grandfather and husband Andy has always thrived on being part of a close and vibrant family – despite being an only child himself – or maybe because? Although Andy has experienced life in many countries he has settled only a few miles from where he was born and is strongly connected to his community through politics, friendship and charitable commitments.
Andy is committed through a strong faith in the power of people to define, create and deliver their own life’s journey. He is involved in many facets of human and personal development and has a deep connection to the power of the heart to act as a guide and as an intuitive compass to support our ability to ‘know’ when we are operating at a lower level of potential.
Rehena is a psychologist, coach and management consultant who collaborates with Senior Executives (C-Suite) to deliver large scale, complex change transformation programmes to Fortune 500 companies. She is skilled in rapidly translating strategic vision into tangible, innovative solutions to achieve desired business outcomes and has worked for pedigree consulting companies reaching senior leadership levels. Her experience straddles private, public and Third Sectors and she has worked in over 20 countries across Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Prior to consulting she lectured and conducted social research on inclusion, social transformation and social identity.
As a trainer and coach, Rehena has designed and delivered a variety of programmes encompassing leadership development, building high performance teams, dealing with conflict, change leadership, managing multi-cultural teams and managing diversity. One of her leadership and inclusion programs received special recognition at the Women’s Forum as it was unique in getting leaders to reframe their leadership skills, stories and value to be more heart-centred.
“Our own life has to be the message” is something Rehena espouses in the way she lives and works. She is still crafting her story using the pain and joy of growing up during the apartheid regime in South Africa as she contributes to the world around her.
Rehena is passionate about social justice and inclusion and is a committed custodian of the earth. As an engaged mindfulness practitioner she is committed to cultivating joy and peace through her actions and the way she works.
Seth is a social entrepreneur and impact investor. In 2011 he founded the UK’s first solar powered mobile cinema, One Way Theatre. Seth is a co-founder and executive Director of Berti Investments Ltd, which invests in start-ups that serve human and planetary wellbeing. Seth is also co-founder and executive director of 42 acres Ltd, which he started with his sister to help society change from Inside out. 42 acres offers a space to explore and connect with nature, self and each other In order to embody our true nature.
He is a NED of Belltown Power Ltd, and is a Trustee of The Little Charity. Seth earned a BA in International Development at University of Sussex and MBA from Imperial College London in 2018.
Since a young age he travelled all over the world and believes that what unites people more than anything is food and joy. He loves being in nature, foraging, playing music to the forests and watching the wind.
Joe has worked in social development, in the UK and internationally, for almost 30 years. He spent 4 years in China teaching and running programmes in education and health. In recent years Joe’s interests have been on how groups of people work together in ways that include everyone, generate new approaches and create shared excitement. Mindfulness is a gateway into building relationships and a sense of new possibilities.
Joe lives in Sussex, He enjoys walking and cycling by the sea and spending time with his family.
Through his work Joe has visited many parts of the world. Yet within even the disadvantaged areas, there are people who reach out and help their neighbours and their communities. As we build our connections to each other and open ourselves up to how others live, we start to create a new society. There’s a movement that is ready to form.
The science of heart and mind
It is only through the combination of scientific evidence and practical application that a heart-based approach to life becomes substantive and meaningful. We are inspired by the efforts of figures such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Rick Hanson, Kristin Neff, Daniel Siegel and others who have worked to explain and evidence mindfulness-based approaches from a neurophysiological perspective and who give clarity and rigour to the field of mindfulness work.
Alongside them, we draw on the work of the HeartMath Institute, which has generated over three decades of research on heart intelligence and the science of Heart Rate Variability and coherence. The work of seminal figures such as Besel Van Der Kolk, Peter Levine and Gabor Mate, who bring the insights of somatic approaches to bear upon the therapeutic model, also inspire our own approach in its attempt to re-integrate head, heart and body and to bring a psychologically aware and trauma-informed understanding to our work.
Engaged Mindfulness and heart-based Social Action
We gather inspiration from pioneering teachers who have left legacies of heart-based social action. We are particularly influenced by the example of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh who taught that secular mindfulness is more than just a ‘tool’, but instead is offered as an engaged practice, capable of bringing about profound personal and social change.
Heart Based Living Initiative has also been profoundly inspired by the work of the late zen teacher and radical social entrepreneur, Bernie Glassman who spent his life seeking to understand social struggle from the perspective of those living it. Acting from this understanding, he was committed to creating social organisations, businesses and community programmes with an ethic of listening at their heart.
We are committed to an ethos of radical experimentation to guide our own vision and direction, inspired by Bernie Glassman who coined the framework of ‘The 3 Tenets’ as guiding principles for social engagement. We have sought to approach all our projects without assuming to know what is needed; we aspire to listen and look deeply to understand the situations we encounter; and we commit to take the action that arises from a deep encounter with not knowing.
These 3 principles are:
This means showing up with an open mind to any group we work with or any experience or situation we find ourselves in, and then discarding all previous ideologies, opinions and prejudices. We leave behind our fixed ideas and the burdens of our knowing mind that can cloud our judgement of a situation
When we are more present and less influenced by our thoughts and judgements, we can listen more fully with our hearts and experience a deeper connection and understanding of a situation.
After listening deeply we can be empowered to take heart-based action
informed by greater connection and understanding of a situation.
HeartMath UK & Institute of HeartMath
The Institute of Heartmath is a not-for-profit research body dedicated to investigating the psychophysiological role of the heart. They are world-leaders in scientific research on the heart-brain connection with many thousands of inhouse research studies and conducted by independent organisations.
Their partner organisation Heartmath UK and IRL offers trainings in HRV biofeedback and coherence to businesses, schools, hospitals and other organisations throughout the UK. Their training tools are shared in the NHS, Nuffield Health and throughout the public and private schools sector.
Zen Peacemakers International
Zen Peacemakers International is a NGO created by the late Bernie Glassman to serve as global movement and network for mindful social action. Their work is informed by ‘three tenants’ of social action that serve to inspire responses to injustice that are informed by experiencing connection and direct encounters with challenging situations and environments. Participants and leaders of the ZPI have participated in experiences of bearing witness to the social and political conditions of homelessness, urban food poverty, arms trade, the refugee situation and the conditions that create genocide and their legacy in Poland, Rwanda, Bosnia and South Dakota. Their aim is to witness in order to learn and to take action from a place of humility and depth of understanding.
Compassionate Mental Health
Compassionate Mental Health is a UK-based Community Interest Company which offers experiential events designed to inform, inspire and empower people living and working with mental distress. Part of a growing worldwide movement calling for a more integrative approach to mental health- one that celebrates and encourages the power of community, connection, self care and solidarity in the process. Their events are for anyone curious about a fresh approach, including people and families with personal experience of mental distress, frontline staff, commissioners, managers, clinicians, policymakers and Third Sector staff.