Day 66: Sunday Assembly

Being grateful I finally made it to a Sunday Assembly:

Today I took a giant step forward on my healing journey from CFS.

I went along to my first Sunday Assembly, a “secular congregation that celebrates life”.

The Public Charter of this global movement puts it perfectly:

“We are here for everyone who wants to:

  • Live Better. We aim to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and practical ideas that help people to live the lives they want to lead and be the people they want to be
  • Help Often. Assemblies are communities of action building lives of purpose, encouraging us all to help anyone who needs it to support each other
  • Wonder More. Hearing talks, singing as one, listening to readings and even playing games helps us to connect with each other and the awesome world we live in.”

I first heard about Sunday Assembly over 18 months ago from a friend who’d been to one in her home town, and I’ve been wanting to go ever since.

It sounded like a great place to meet like-minded people, to be inspired by interesting talks and discussions, and I was particularly looking forward to having a good ole sing song.

But as each monthly assembly came and went, I didn’t feel well enough to go. But today, it felt like the right time to give it a try.

Accompanied by a few fluttering butterflies in my tummy, I headed into town to see for myself what it was all about.

And I’m so happy I did.

I was greeted warmly at the door, and was made to feel very welcome by the organisers, which instantly put me at ease. I chatted to a few of the friendly regulars, and then it was time to begin.

The theme for today’s assembly was ‘death’. Not a theme I’d have chosen for my initiation into this community, but it was covered tastefully, with compassion and a big dose of humour.

We listened to a few readings, sang a couple of songs – Bridge Over Troubled Water and These Are Days of Our Lives – and took part in a couple of small group discussions about what we’d like our epitaph to be and another to remember our loved ones that are no longer with us and what we loved about them. We then wrote their names on post-its and stuck them on the wall to create a ‘tree of remembrance’.

And then my first Sunday Assembly was over.

And I am hooked.

I realise that feeling part of a community is essential to my wellbeing.  And while I have a wonderful online community which I love and cherish, it feels good to get out of the house and connect with like-minded people face-to-face.

I felt absolutely wiped out when I got home and have a feeling this may take a few days to recover from. But I climbed into bed feeling very happy and pretty proud of myself for going; it was another ‘stepping out of my comfort zone’ moment and another step forward in my recovery journey.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful I finally made it to a Sunday Assembly.


ps With currently over 68 local assemblies around the world, check here to find one near you.

Day 61: A 270mph selfie

Being grateful for saying YES to a high-speed selfie:

Today I was excited for my first Artist’s Date in the city in a while: brunch and the flicks.

After brunch and a little bit of shopping, I was already feeling a bit fatigued. Thankfully I had some time before my film started, so I decided to sit in the Market Square and enjoy the sunshine.

I choose a place as far away as possible from the big white tent set up at one end of the Square. It was ablaze with Virgin Media banners, and teeming with marketing folk.

As I was quietly basking in the midday sun, a couple of said Virgin Media folk approached me and asked if I wanted a ‘high-speed selfie’.

I automatically shook my head. Partly due to my introverted shyness and partly due to cynicism; surely it was just a marketing ploy to get my details and bombard me with marketing material for years to come.

They got chatting to two tram drivers behind me who were on a break, and described how they could go into a booth and have a high-speed wind blown at their faces while having their photos taken. The bus drivers were game and were led over to the tent.

Hmmmmmmm… I was intrigued.

My adventurous side awakened, my sense of fun sparked.

Why not? I thought to myself.

How often would I get this opportunity? Would I get to the end of the day and regret not doing it? Why not just go and see what it’s all about?

So I wandered over to the tent and after a quick chat with one of the Virgin folk, I decided to go for it.

And I’m so glad I did, it was so much fun.

I took a seat and the wind machine began, starting gently and then quickly reaching its full power of 270mph.

What a blast!

It literally took my breath away.

It reminded me of my skydiving experiences, without the gorgeous view or sexy instructor strapped to my back, of course 😉

After 30 seconds it was all over, and I waited for my photos to be emailed to me and printed off. I know they’re not the most flattering of pics to be revealing to the world, but I think they’re just hilarious and wanted to share them for that reason alone.

I knew today was going to be a tiring day, and it was made even more so by this little unexpected adventure. But I’m really proud of myself for venturing out of my comfort zone, and I’m very, very happy I said YES!!

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for saying YES to a high-speed selfie.