This Sunday, we are joining our meditation flash mob with Arvind Devalia’s legendary picnic that takes place every year. Elina from Wake Up London interviewed Arvind Devalia recently:

Arvind Devalia

Arvind Devalia

Elina: Arvind welcome to Wake Up London! Though we have seen you at various Meditation Flash Mob events in London over the last year with your camera, most people may have no idea who you are and what you do.

Arvind: Elina, thanks for the warm welcome today. And for welcoming me to your events over the last year.

I must say I really enjoy your events and I always feel truly uplifted every time I share the space with you and your friends.

In simplest terms, I am here to put the “sizzle” back into the world and into people’s lives. I do this through my coaching, books, blog posts, speaking gigs and of course my events.

I have been coaching now for a decade and have published 10 books, one of which is a major Amazon bestseller in its category – “Get the Life you Love”.

And of course this year it’s the 12th year of my annual “Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic” which is happening this Sunday (21st July) in Regents Park.

Elina: Arvind, one of the things you talk about in your work is your 3Cs – “Commitment, Connection and Contribution”. Please explain more what you mean by this?

Arvind: I believe that we should all lead a life of Contribution, Connection and Celebration. Let me go through each one in turn.

Contribution is all about making a difference to other and looking for ways to serve.

Connection is about connecting with people at a deeper level and seeing how you can bring people together and create a community.

Celebration is about living life to the full and looking for ways to bring joy into your life and that of others each day.

Which brings me nicely to my annual picnic in Regents Park which is on this Sunday (21st July).

Every year I organise a picnic in Regents Park called “Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic” whereby I bring together 100’s of people and this is the highlight of my year every year. I have been so lucky and blessed with the people I have in my life that it’s my privilege to bring people together not just individually but on a bigger scale.

Elina: Yes, your legendary picnic! Almost everyone in London seems to have heard about it! Tell us more how this came about?

Arvind: 11 years ago, I had this vision of bringing together the various people in my life for a day of celebration of life.

I invited all my friends and immediate family for a fun day in Regents Park and the first year we had about 40 people turn up despite it being a typical British summer day i.e. it was raining!

My intention was to create a community from all the people in the different spheres of my life – friends, family, neighbours, coaching clients, business associates and really anyone I had interacted with in the previous few years.

Since then, the picnic has really grown and some years we have had almost 300 people!

Elina: Great! I can see how the picnic fits in nicely with your philosophy of the 3Cs – contribution, connection and celebration!

Arvind: Indeed. I am contributing to a lot of people by creating a fun and special day with the intention of everyone having a super, fun day in the park.

At the same time, I am also connecting a lot of people in a unique setting and with a common goal of celebrating life. I have been amazed and blown away with some of the connections that have come about through my picnic. One day soon, I am sure we’re going to have a wedding between a couple who first met at the picnic!

And of course, the day is a day of celebration!

If you can’t celebrate life and have a lot of fun with such amazing people in a beautiful setting, what’s the point of living!?

So yes, my annual picnic is a super day of contribution, connection and celebration!

Elina: Why did you choose Regents Park?

Arvind: For the simple reason that I believe it’s the best park in London! It’s so well kept and offers so many things to do and see on a Sunday.

Besides, it’s convenient and easily reached since it’s in central London.

Actually – the real reason I chose Regents Park – it’s near to my home in St Johns Wood;-).

Elina: I am really looking forward to finally attending this Sunday for the first time, after hearing so much about it all these years. What should people bring?

Arvind: Firstly brings lots of energy! Bring your own food & drinks for yourself – plus a bit extra to share. And bring any musical instruments and games you would like to play.

As it’s going to be another very hot weekend, do also bring sun protective cream and lots of water.

Elina: Super. And what’s the agenda or format of the day?

Arvind: There’s no agenda – except you must be willing to be chilled out and enjoy yourself!

The format is free-flowing and I just let things flow and happen as they are meant to. However I do frequently go around the group and ensure everyone is okay and enjoying themselves.

I always bring my African drums so we’ll be doing a lot of drumming and dancing – so everyone please do bring any portable musical instruments!

I’ll also be bringing my hula hoops, Frisbees and other games.

And Elina, thanks for suggesting a session of laughter yoga – that’ll bring even more joy and laughter to the picnic this year!

We usually end up having a mad game of mixed football – and of course we also eat a lot

Elina: I know you have also created a separate Facebook event page for the picnic. How can people find out more about the day and the exact location in Regents Park?

The best way to find out more about the picnic is the special page on my website:-

Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic 2016 (Year 15!)

Then the Facebook event page is here:-

https://www.facebook.com/events/270974653044210/

Do visit the Facebook page and confirm your attendance.

And of course, please bring all your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues etc.

This year, the event has even been featured in TimeOut London magazine and you can read the online version here:-

http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/friends-and-friends-friends-picnic-1

TimeOut magazine has described the picnic beautifully:-

Indian author Arvind Devalia is on a mission to ‘create a movement of people who want to make the world a better place whilst also improving their own lives’. One of the ways he reaches out is through his annual FAFF picnic – which is in its twelfth year now – inviting people to bring their families and friends down for a day of pleasant picnicking (bring your own food), games, African drumming, dancing and guided meditation. The picnic will take place whatever the weather. NB: Enter the park via Hanover Gate.

Elina: And where is the picnic held in Regents Park?

Arvind: The picnic is held in the same spot every year. Please refer to the map on this page:-

Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic 2016 (Year 15!)

All those years ago, I chose the exact picnic spot very carefully – it’s easy to find, it’s near the toilets, a café and a kiddies playground. There is also a paddling pool and a boating lake nearby. So there’s a lot to do!

Elina: What’s the best way of finding the exact picnic spot?

Arvind: This weekend is the cricket test match at Lords and it’ll be really buzzing on Sunday all around St Johns Wood and Regents Park, unless the match finishes early in less than 4 days!

There’ll be thousands of people in the area, looking for our picnic and meditation spot:-)

The cricket authorities have therefore very kindly provided us with a SpecSavers hot air balloon to mark the EXACT spot of our picnic!

It’s now very easy for all of you to find exactly where the picnic is. We’ll be based at the far end from where the cordoned off area is for the balloon.

So wherever you are in Regents Park, just look for the SpecSavers balloon and walk to its base!

Elina: What about people who are not able to attend this weekend? Any suggestions for them?

Arvind: If you are not able to come to London for this picnic, then no matter where you are in the UK or in the world, how about organising your own?

Check out my simple guide on how to hold your own picnic anywhere in the world:-

Hold your own Friend’s Picnic Anywhere in the World 🙂

Elina: Thanks Arvind for organising this – and for inviting the Wake-Up community to your picnic on Sunday!

Arvind: It’s truly an honour and a privilege to have you all join us and co-creating this gathering. Thanks for accepting – and I am so looking forward to joining you all for the meditation and creating a wonderful sacred space for the picnic!

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