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Summer of Love 2015

Summer of Love banner


A season of public events for 2015 – we invite everyone to join us for our Summer of Love 🙂

St James’s Park – Peace Walk /Friday 10th July 7pm-8pm

The Deptford Now Festival- Flash Mob Meditation/ Saturday 11th July 2pm-2.45pm

Potter’s Fields (City Hall)- Flash Mob Meditation/ Friday 24th July 7pm-8pm

Peace Garden (Imp War Museum) – Flash Mob Meditation/ Friday 7th August 7pm-8pm

Oxford Street – Peace Walk/ Friday 21st August 7pm-8pm

Logan Hall – Miracle of Mindfulness Talk/ Saturday 22nd August 6pm- 8.30pm

St James’s Park – Peace Walk/ Friday 4th September 7pm-8pm

Marble Arch – Flash Mob Meditation/ Friday 11th September 7pm-8pm

Trafalgar Square – Flashmob Meditation/ Monday 21st September

NewsWake Up London

Wake Up London wins “Spiritual Community Initiative” award

Kindred Spirit award

We are very happy to have won The Spiritual Community Initiative Award 2015 at the Kindred Spirit Awards ceremony during the MindBodySpirit London Wellbeing Festival 2015 on Saturday 2nd May.

Thank you Kindred Spirit Magazine for shortlisting us, thank you to all our friends who voted for us, and thank you to all beings in the world who are enjoying their breaths in the spirit of community!

Watch the award ceremony where Wake Up London members Joe and Steven joyfully accepts the award at 6.25 minutes in:

“When You Breathe You Can Already Celebrate Life” – Thich Nhat Hanh.

Plum VillageRetreatsWake Up London

Plum Village Monastics’ UK Visit this August

We are so happy to be able to share with you these wonderful gifts offered by Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community this August and organized by The Community of Interbeing UK.

The Miracle of Mindfulness Retreat – 24-29th August 2015

Stourbridge, West Midlands (nr Birmingham)

As well as offering daily dharma talks, monks and nuns, students of Thich Nhat Hanh will be offering their wisdom, practice and peaceful presence in all aspects of the retreat, which, will include programmes for under-5s, children up to 13, teenagers and young adults (Wake Up) and is open to all, whether experienced in mindfulness meditation or a complete beginner.

Bursaries available to those who might otherwise be unable to attend.

More information

The Miracle of Mindfulness Public Talk – 22nd August 2015

Logan Hall, London

You are invited to join the monks and nuns of Plum Village, exploring the practice of mindfulness through listening deeply, meditation, chanting and singing.

This is a wonderful opportunity for people from all cultures, different faiths and none, to come together to experience the transformational practices of mindfulness and liberation.

More information


EventsWake Up London

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.

PicturesWake Up London

Celebrating 4 years of Wake Up London

Last Saturday, we had 61 people attend the afternoon of mindfulness – WOW! It was a special occasion because

1) We wanted to celebrate 4 years of Wake Up London because our first afternoon of mindfulness took place on 18th September 2010.

2) We had two monastic brothers, Br. Phap Linh and Br. Phap Lai from Plum Village visiting to offer a talk and guide the mindfulness practices.

Thanks to all those who stayed on to celebrate, eat cake and sing songs! Here are some photos from the evening:

EventsWake Up London

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.

EventsWake Up London

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.


Plum VillageWake Up London

Update from Meg and Joe from Plum Village

A little email to say hello from plum village!

After a rather eventful few days (details of which may have to wait until our return, but involved torrential rain and a b&b; broken pedals, punctured tyres and bent wheels; my first hitch hiking experience; 1 out of use train station; and a 3 hour midnight cycle ride around Bordeaux..!) we arrived last night at 3am. We slept a couple of hours in the small meditation hall, then awoke at 5 this morning for morning meditation. So today, we are two pretty sleepy, but very happy villagers 🙂

It feels wonderful to be here. So beautiful, calm and peaceful, especially so at the moment. There were only 11 new arrivals this week, we are told during the summer there are around 350 each week. It feels very intimate.

Pure joy was the breakfast spread this morning. (With Ethan! 🙂 )

In 10 minutes we have walking meditation…

Speaking this morning to a new friend from Belgium. We were telling him about the London sangha – how wonderful it is. We are feeling so very appreciative of you all.

With love, bells, bicycles and peaceful steps,

Meg and Joe


st foy le grande

joe and friend

meg and joe

red leaves

Plum VillageWake Up London

Meg and Joe go on a cycling adventure to Plum Village

Meg and Joe, two Wake Up London members, left the UK with their bikes a few days ago and started their long journey to Plum Village, the practice centre of our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh in the south west of France.

We will be following them and posting updates on here to let you know how they are doing.

Update and pictures from Meg:

Meg and Sign

Hello from our tent. We are pitched amongst some bushes beside a canal path. I am cosy in my sleeping bag, listening to the rain as it pours down outside. Joe is asleep beside me, from his slumber he sends his love 🙂

Our days are calm, very peaceful and very beautiful. The scenery is all shades of green and blue. The weather is changeable, but when the sun comes out, even for 5 minutes, it brings a warm and bright joy that always makes us smile to one another. We meditate each morning, and most evenings. We take our meals in silence, enjoying all the flavours. One of the joys of travelling in autumn is the Harvest. We forage most days for corn, apples, chestnuts, cabbage leaves, and nettles, which we mix in with tinned lentils and beans, rice cakes and oats – I have never enjoyed food so much (although, we finished our 1kg tub if peanut butter on Friday and have not yet been able to find a shop that sells it here in France… I am hopeful that today is the day we find some!)

We cycle a few hours each day, and every few days we summon the courage to swim and wash in the canal (which feels colder (‘invigorating’) every time!) We expect to reach Nantes on Thursday morning, from there we will take a train to Bordeaux, and camp outside Plum Village so that we can arrive first thing on Friday morning. (I had to chuckle the other morning – to think we would ever be able to cycle to Bordeaux in 11 days!)

Each day feels like a retreat already – arriving at plum village will be wonderful.

With love to all,

Meg (and a sleeping joe 🙂 )


Joe Relaxing

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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.