“Wellbeing” — it’s the buzz-word that everyone seems to be talking about; the “state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy,” according to the dictionary. But depending on our individual experience, the word might seem inspiring, energising, distant, or downright gibberish to us. Perhaps we associate it with an image of a woman meditating serenely in lotus posture on the cover of a glossy magazine in the newsagent. Perhaps it reminds us of our local yoga centre, or the app we use every morning to just breathe for a few minutes. Or perhaps we feel that it’s just a “fad” that doesn’t speak to the everyday problems and challenges of ordinary people.
It’s true — wellbeing needs to get real! If courses, events and practices are to genuinely support the wellbeing of people from a diverse range of backgrounds in their daily lives, then what is offered has to grow beyond the confines of the yoga studio, the mobile app, and the glossy magazine. Many of the people who most need this support are those who are least able to access it, because of physical, financial, or time constraints. But even for those who might have access to some kind of wellbeing practices or events, do these deeply address what they need to feel “comfortable, healthy, or happy” or are they only going skin deep?
For wellbeing activities to bring the greatest benefit, what is offered to each particular group of people must respond to the unique realities their situation, whether it be in an office, prison, university, or hospital. Nowadays, there are a huge range of standardised courses to choose from — 8 weeks of mindfulness, 10 weeks of yoga, 10 days of silence; the list goes on and on. These have been crucial to spreading wellbeing practices and to proving that they work. But it’s time to get real! We can go beyond this “one-size-fits-all” approach.
The Heart-Based Living Initiative is taking a radical approach to wellbeing. We believe that those who have benefitted personally from heart-based practices should be empowered to share these practices with the communities they are connected to and feel most inspired to support. Who better to understand how to offer wellbeing practices and events in a meaningful, effective way than those people who have direct experience and understanding of the unique situation of their own community?
This is our vision for a heart-based “initiative” — a dynamic, collaborative, creative grass-roots movement that brings wellbeing to people’s doorsteps. We want to kickstart a nationwide movement of “Ambassadors” who have completed our 6-month training to offer wellbeing courses and events in their own communities, working with the people and places that they know best.
To support our Ambassadors in realising their vision of bringing heart-based practices to their own communities, we provide online resources and mentoring to help them develop the capacity and the confidence to custom-make their own course materials. With this support, they can create wellbeing events and courses that reflect their own authentic voice and that speak in the language of the communities they serve. By connecting each Ambassador to the wider network of Ambassadors across the country, those with similar ideas can collaborate and support one another in fulfilling their individual visions for wellbeing courses and events.
Our work with Ambassadors is part of a larger vision that we have to make wellbeing accessible and relevant to people from diverse backgrounds. We plan to offer open access, pop-up hubs and events throughout the country where people on the street can experience wellbeing practices first-hand, through free workshops, talks and listening spaces.
We want wellbeing to get real. We are excited to be on this journey of bringing wellbeing to homes, hospitals, markets, malls, prisons, and schools! We are happy to be helping those who feel inspired to make a difference to the wellbeing of their communities to offer something from the heart, something that is relevant, and something that is real.