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Day for Changemakers

Amidst the challenges of our times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged in the work we do. This day is specifically for people working on social, environmental and political causes, and anyone in pursuit of a better world.

We will hear from the Plum Village monastics and leading changemakers about how mindfulness and meditation can increase our energy and effectiveness for social transformation.

For more information and to buy tickets, click:


Calais collection at Saturday Wake Up this week (12th September)


In response to the news of the refugee struggle we would like to invite you to bring
1 or 2 items to Sangha next week that we will then transport to a pickup point on Sunday.
Please see this notice for what is asked for.
Due to carriage (Joe on his bike!) we are limiting this collection –
here are the London drop off points in this Guardian article.
When you arrive on Saturday please add your items to the centrepiece.

Pictures of Green Earth Awakening camp last July

Wake Up volunteers Jasmine, Elina, Tom M, Tom G, Nina, Kareem and Joe went to Buddhafield’s Green Earth Awakening camp in July 2014 deep in the Somerset countryside and offered two mindfulness workshops (and had lots of fun too).


International Day of Happiness



Join us for a Positive Message Flash Mob on the International Day of Happiness – 20 March.

With paper, pens and paint we’ll be joining together to show morning commuters the world can be a happier and more connected place.

Facebook event

What exactly is a positive message flash-mob?
It’s very simple really. A small (or large!) group of people meet up and create personalised or hand-made inspiring messages on cardboard signs and use these to connect with and cheer up passers-by. It always gets a very positive response – people can’t help smiling and making a connection, even if just for a few seconds. And it’s a wonderful thing to be part of too.

Why join one?
March 20 is the UN International Day of Happiness and this year it’s all about connection. Our connections with others are the most important contributor to happiness – yet in modern societies we are surrounded by people and feel connected to almost none of them. We could change this in a day if everyone reached out and made at least one positive connection – so join a positive flash mob and help make your city a happier and more connected place.

How do I make a positive message sign?
We’ll make sure there is plenty of cardboard, pens and paints that you flash-mobbers can use to make your signs – but if you prefer to prepare your sign from home, great! Make your words BIG and BRIGHT, and keep the message as SHORT as possible. Try to use words that will appeal to people from all walks of life.

You can join us for a sign making session the evening before.

Check out the website to find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.


7 Days of Acts of Kindness in November

World Kindness Day is coming up on the 13th of November and we have some exciting events taking place to celebrate kindness in London.

We invite you to take part in the 7 Days of Acts of Kindness experiment from the 1st to 7th November.

We suggest you could do a kind act under a different theme each day, which could include:
  • For a Parent/Sibling
  • For a Friend
  • For a Colleague
  • For the Earth
  • For the Community
  • For a Stranger
  • For a Mentor/Teacher
  • For a Neighbour
  • For a Grandparent, Elderly Person
 For ideas and inspiration, check out KindSpring.

We have set up a Facebook group for all participants – please join it and let us know your acts of kindness and how the experience was for you – in pictures, stories or videos!

Why should I do it? 
  • Leading research indicates that we can address ever-increasing imbalances in our society by changing the way we view and interact with the world.
  • We each are part of a whole and everything we do (every thought, word and deed) affects the whole.
  • Taking on a challenge as a group offers the opportunity to grow as a community.
  • It’s a great way to reinforce and build positive habits.
  • It’s a whole lot of fun!

Explore the science behind it

Other events

There will be an Evening of Songs, Stories and Inspiration on the 7th November 2014 with special guest Nimo of Empty Hands Music here to share his music and message alongside members of Wake Up London. See also Nimo’s other events in London.

And then on World Kindness Day itself, we’ll be organizing a flash mob of kindness acts at Southbank at 6.30pm. Please join us and bring your friends!

More links

10 Amazing Stories for World Kindness Day
Random Acts of Kindness Articles on The Huffington Post
Bernadette Russell’s 366 Days of Kindness Project
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation 

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Evening of Songs, Stories and Inspiration

We’ve been working with two friends from Awakin communities on a special evening event  with a musician on a pilgrimage, Nimo.

d98adafa-d286-44d2-9988-1d15e2bb1c4cNimo, aka Empty Hands Music, has a mission to spread seeds of goodness in the world through selfless service, music and love. All of Empty Hands Music offerings are gifts to the world.

The 2014 Empty Hands Music Tour, is a 7-month pilgrimage across the US and UK to share and engage communities along the way in the themes of gratitude, service, love, and joy embedded in Nimo’s music. The intention is not so much to perform, but rather, to plant seeds of goodness and connect hearts in the spirit of service. At each event inspiring individuals are invited to share stories related to the themes of Nimo’s songs.

Wake Up London and friends of Empty Hands Music are delighted to announce that there will be an Evening of Songs, Stories and Inspiration on Friday 7th November at St. Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. Members of the Wake Up London community will be sharing their stories and songs alongside Nimo. Leading up to the event, there will be an opportunity to take part in doing 7 Days of Acts of Kindness together.

Please click here for more details and to book your place.

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Introducing mindfulness at a HIV charity

191664_860055355625_6065508_oBy Wake Up London facilitator, Jess Stein. 

Earlier this year HIV charity Positively UK approached Wake Up London and asked us to facilitate some introductory mindfulness sessions at their London offices. Positively UK is a positive organisation in every sense of the word. Its aim is to provide practical and emotional support for people living with HIV so that their lives can be as fulfilling as possible. Advances in medical treatment mean that an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. People who have access to the right medication and take it regularly can now live long, healthy lives and we were inspired by the healthy, glowing, HIV positive people that we met. However, despite these advances the challenges of living with an HIV diagnosis remain huge. The people we met talked about the anxiety of living in a body that could become sick at any time and about the shame and stigma that they experienced both internally and externally in society.posuklogo

Facilitators from Wake Up London came forward to assist in this exciting new venture, including myself, Joe Holtaway, Luz Casto, Thomas Balbach and Anna Hasemann. We planned to offer the sessions very much along the same lines as our Afternoons of Mindfulness where the facilitators share the teachings as fellow pupils rather than as teachers. Positively UK is originally a peer support organisation so it made sense to work in this way with them too. However on the first rainy Monday in May the group that sat down together didn’t exactly look like peers. We had anticipated working with a mixed sex group of people around our age. However, the people who had been drawn to the group were almost exclusively male and at least a decade older than all of the Wake Up volunteers.

One man found the silence so uncomfortable that he left the room and when we opened our eyes it was to several bemused faces and a lot of questions.

It was daunting to sit in front of people with so much life experience and try to explain our version of mindfulness without sounding sentimental or patronising. The initial plan had been to trust that the practices would speak for themselves and that we would only need to offer minimal explanation. However, in the first five minute sitting that plan seemed a little naïve. One man found the silence so uncomfortable that he left the room and when we opened our eyes it was to several bemused faces and a lot of questions. ‘What should I be doing when I’m meditating?’ ‘This mindfulness thing – can I buy it in a shop?’ ‘Why does my back hurt so much?’ and ‘Why would I want to do that again?!’. It wasn’t exactly the reception we had hoped for and we quickly realised that we would have to do more to make sense of the practices. We thought on our feet and replaced the next meditation with a relaxation exercise and the final sharing with a question and answer session and the practices must have hit their mark in the end because the evening ended with a spontaneous round of applause.

We made it our policy to share practices that we really loved and had been useful to us in our lives. This meant that the sessions were quite easy and stress free to plan and we could share them with authenticity.

Things flowed more easily after that first week but every session was a learning curve. The man who left the room in the first five minutes decided that meditation wasn’t for him and never came back and we had to accept that not all practices work for everyone all of the time. We made it our policy to share practices that we really loved and had been useful to us in our lives. This meant that the sessions were quite easy and stress free to plan and we could share them with authenticity. In the first few weeks we drew on memories of when we had first started meditating ourselves and offered practices such as mindfulness of breathing, of the body and of sounds to create an anchor which people could return to during more challenging practices. We offered homework at the end of every session and this brought us some lovely and funny insights into each other’s lives. One member told of trying to work out how to set the timer on his phone so that he could complete our ‘3 minute meditation challenge’ and being so baffled by the technology that his three minutes were up before he’d even had a chance to sit down. Other people talked about noticing becoming more aware of the kindness of strangers and sometimes the most simple feedback was the most gratifying; a gentle snore during relaxation and a big smile after mindful movement. As the sessions progressed we focused on mindful relationships with others and with ourselves.

By the last session it felt like a really safe and precious practice space that we were all sorry to say goodbye to.


It was in sharing loving kindness practices that the differences between the Wake Up volunteers and the Positively UK participants started to drop away. One week we used a practice at both the Afternoon of Mindfulness and at Positively UK where we asked people to conjure up positive memories and to send out the feelings associated with those memories to themselves and to the whole world. The themes that came up were universal. The memories evoked were of the natural world and the innocence of childhood love and the feelings that went with them were universally ‘love’ ‘warmth’ ‘comfort’ ‘freedom’ ‘safety’. It was a lovely reminder that our basic human understanding of what it means to be happy cuts through all differences in background or life experience. The group remained small throughout the six weeks of our course but this allowed us to relax more and more in each other’s company. By the last session it felt like a really safe and precious practice space that we were all sorry to say goodbye to.  It felt as though the bubble of peace that is created each week at the Wake Up Afternoons of Mindfulness had floated off and found a new home with Positively UK and hopefully with more projects like this we can do the same in all sorts of other places.


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Wake Up t-shirt and hoodie fundraiser!

From 21st July 2014, you will be able to purchase a t-shirt and hoodie with the prints of Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphy for a limited time.

All of the profits from these sales will go towards supporting the mission of Wake Up in the UK: to help build an active grassroots community of young people practising mindfulness and contributing towards building a healthier and more compassionate society. With your funds, we can organize future mindfulness retreats, for example, and support local Wake Up communities.

You can have a look at the lovely t-shirts and hoodies on sale here:

As the campaign goes, sales of each item will only go ahead if it reaches its goal (ie 20 purchases) – if it doesn’t, then nothing happens and no-one is charged anything. If it is successful, then great! Production goes ahead, the customers’ cards gets charged and their items gets shipped within 10 days of the campaign finishing.

Delivery to the UK, throughout Europe, US, Canada and many countries across the world.

Please help to spread the word about this fundraiser! Join the Facebook event and invite your friends. Sharing is caring 🙂



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Mindful content from our community

Wake Up London is a community of individuals practicing together to promote peace and reconciliation within ourselves and for our planet. We’d love to highlight what’s happening within our community, and how the practice is positively impacting our society.