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Peace SitWake Up London

Meditation Flashmob Friday 24th July – Potters Fields – City Hall/Summer of Love 2015

Come join us to sit in peace at Potters Fields – City Hall, our next Summer of Love event

We’ll meet at 7 and sit in mindful silence for half an  hour.

City Hall London copy

To Meditate

To meditate does not mean to struggle with a problem
To meditate means to observe

We pay attention to our breath, as we breathe in,body, breath, and mind—come together.

We know peace is possible
This is working for peace

PressWake 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.

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Vote for Wake Up London!

Kindred Spirit Magazine have announced their awards list for 2015 with an inclusion this year for Wake Up London!KSAwards-banner-400px

Their annual awards celebrate creativity and positive action by groups and individuals they have featured in the magazine. Wake Up London have been nominated for the ‘Community Initiative’ section for ‘organisations undertaking important social/spiritual work’.

The magazine are inviting external votes. If you would like Wake Up London to receive recognition for our work, please either vote online here: or purchase the Spring issue next week to vote by post. All entries will be entered into a prize draw.


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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:

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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 🙂



VideoWake Up London

Sound bath on Summer Solstice, Green Park

This is a video of the sound bath at the end of the meditation flash mob we organized to celebrate Summer Solstice in Green Park on 21st June 2014. Around 100 to 150 people participated in the sitting meditation, which was followed by the group holding hands together, and then spiralling into the centre to do a sound bath (collective chanting of sounds, any sounds).

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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.