Positive New Horizons in Bath – Grace Deathridge
Grace Deathridge writes for Happyzine (having discovered it when she lived and worked in New Zealand) as an Intern. Grace now lives in the UK. In this article Grace tells us about her first eveing at the Bath Positive Living Group, and the ripple effects of that evening.
I’ve moved house recently from Bristol, the south west of England’s largest city with a population of almost half a million people, to its much smaller and posher neighbouring city Bath (so named for its thermal springs).
The first few weeks after moving I’ve been busy starting a new job (at The Roman Baths – pictured), unpacking, acclimatising and writing for Happyzine as an intern. It’s been a busy but fun time and aside from the odd trip to the pub with established friends and a couple of literary events I attended with Bristol buddies, I haven’t had much time to explore my new city yet.
So last night was a significant night as I headed out after work on my own to my first event since I moved here. The event, I chose to attend was a talk being held by Bath Positive Living Group.
Bath Positive Living Group (PLG) is part of a wider UK network of PLG’s, of which there are currently nine. This network was started by Liz Josey after she had attended the Bournemouth Positive Living group and set up her own two groups in different towns and cities (Glastonbury and Bath). The groups evolve independently according to their communities, but the basic idea behind them is that they are a forum for people to come together, learn new things or explore different ideas, usually with a holistic, spiritual or alternative living focus. The Bath PLG describe their purpose as:
‘to act as a neutral platform for a variety of ideas and practices which may offer solutions to the challenges many of us face in this ever-changing world we live in – in essence it is the bringing together of people with possible answers with those who have questions’.
Liz Josey describes Positive Living groups as ‘potentially life-changing’.
The talk I went to last night certainly had a positive impact on me. The group were welcoming, friendly and supportive of each other (there were great group discussions/questions) and the speaker (for privacy reasons I will not use her name) was wonderfully inspiring. The speaker was a holistic practitioner who has recently decided the best use she can make of her time is to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives, as she did after years of being abused and then abusing herself.
As the speaker briefly recounted her ordeal, there were audible gasps from some listeners in the group, who were affected by hearing of her experiences. Although she previously lived as she described it ‘filled up with fear’ and with an ‘extremely negative belief system’ about herself for many years, she is now evidently a transformed woman. She stood before us, strong, serene and said slowly, reassuringly – ‘I am smiling – I am OK’.
She spoke with a peaceful and forgiving resonance and the words she began and ended the talk with were –
‘It doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t done – you are worthy of love’.
The speaker described her own journey to life transformation as via an ABC route – A for Acceptance of what had happened in her life, B for noticing and then changing her Belief system and C for realising she had a Choice as to how she was going to live her life. She also highlighted that although her talk was on transformation, it was about changing things in your life or attitudes and beliefs you have, rather than changing yourself – because as she pointed out, we are all intrinsically perfect as we are and don’t need to change our perfect selves.
I found the talk very helpful, especially an insight into the notion of Acceptance, provided by the interplay between the speaker and a member of the group, who spoke of a link between acceptance and gratitude. We talked of how you can be grateful for seemingly ‘bad’ experiences, as they can transform your life in a positive way. I really liked this idea, which helped me see acceptance in a more dynamic light and we also discussed the practice of writing a ‘gratitude list’.
So this morning I sat outside in the Springtime sunshine and wrote 8 pages of things I am grateful for in my life – going right back from my childhood to now. I’ve just turned 40 (fabulously I must add – and that’s another article!) and it was a wholly beneficial thing for me to do at this time. In my list I expressed gratitude for the obvious things (my health, my life and loving friends and family) and I also expressed gratitude for things that have been less easy or welcome in my life and then explored what these experiences or interactions have shown me. By meditating on them deeply, I realised that a lot of these so called ‘bad’ experiences have given me a much wider perspective or awareness of people or they have shown me a more positive path or way of being than I was experiencing at that time.
As you can see, Bath Positive Living Group has already given me a wealth of positivity and inspiration in a little over two hours – Wow! What a result! I am pretty confident it will continue to do so, as I have already seen a couple of other talks I am interested in (including a talk on 21st century druidism). It remains now for me to thank the speaker for sharing her inspiration with us and to thank all the Positive Living People out there who make events like this happen! That includes all the PLG’s in the UK and reaches all the way to NZ to the Happyzine community. I am grateful for you all ! Thank you!
Tags: positive thinking