28 October 2013

Beneath a sheltering sky

Pagoda

A 'meditation pagoda' has been created in Hillview Lodge following work done by an amazingly diverse group of people.

The idea was to create a calm spiritual space where service users at Hillview Lodge in Bath could go to meditate and relax, away from the ward space. The opening of the space followed a year-long project during which the designs for the pagoda were drawn-up by Evie Body from the Occupational Therapy (OT) department, aided by staff and service users at the unit, and built by master carpenter Pieter Van Diepen.

On the 16 October - the day of the grand opening - Bath awoke to torrential downpours which looked set to continue all day. This despite OT team manager Pete Aston having promised the previous day that he'd do all he could to aim for good weather. However, at five minutes before the ceremony was due to begin, the clouds parted dramatically and the courtyard area housing the pagoda was bathed in brilliant sunshine. We take it all back, Pete…

The venerable Jin Ho - a Taiwanese Buddhist nun who had played a vital role in hosting some of the Mindfulness sessions which led to this moment - had been invited to conduct the ceremony of dedication, which took the form of a calm, contemplative and very positive words and chants which brought staff - including colleagues from the chaplaincy who brought their own dedication and prayers to the event - service users and onlookers together.

"The presence of Jin Ho doesn't mean that this space is only for people of faith," explained Pete, as the ceremony ended. "It's for anyone and everyone, regardless of belief, religion or faith."

With a delicious array of home-baked snacks to look forward to, everyone retired indoors to eat, chat and celebrate.We were also delighted to welcome Laura and Lloyd from the Bath Chronicle who interviewed and photographed some of the people involved in the project. You can read Laura's feature via this link

The mindfulness groups continue to be run by Jinho, Darren Piercy and Evie Body at Hillview Lodge.

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