The tale of the lengths gone to, to get a new bell ‘inviter’ 🔔

So my ‘big bell’ one of many I use in my mindfulness teaching practice went on a long journey from a Buddhist monastery in Asia to be with me… A Plum Village nun bought it and shipped it to France for me. It took 4 months to get there. Mary from Dublin was visiting so she flew home with it in her backpack 🎒A few weeks later she came up to Belfast on the train 🚞 with it.

Finally it was mine and it served me well for about 10 years, until the 28 June this year. I was doing a day of workshops for a client, Workspace In Draperstown. It was a great day and all went well. As always I pack my bell away in my big bag. A month later I got it out again to teach my monthly Sunday mindful self-compassion workshop and the ‘inviter’ was missing!!

You may like to call the inviter a big stick but as my teacher Thay says: “We don’t hit the bell, we invite the bell to sound.” This is why it’s an inviter🔔

You can imagine if it was such trouble to get in the first place, replacing it would be very difficult and it was! I scoured the internet to no avail, I bought small imitation ones and even tried a rolling pin but nothing was right!

I decided I need to get one made but where to go? Who makes such a thing? The answer is a wood-turner. My 6 week Namaste class started back in August and I told the class the sorry tale. The wonderful Lesley Neil said she would text me the name of a man In Donaghadee.

I rang Tony at Ark Woodturning, he’s 76 so he couldn’t make me out on the phone, so one day my husband and I went down to see him. I was a bit dubious but low n behold he totally understood, said he had the perfect piece of hard wood (Iroko) reclaimed from an old church! He drew out measurements, cut the wood and the next thing shavings we’re flying everywhere as he produced the most beautiful perfect new inviter🌟Amazing 💛

But still the problem was not fully solved I needed to get the inviter covered with leather to get the sound right. Someone said ‘try the shoe mender on Botanic’. So I did, he said he was too busy to sew it but he sold me a scrap of leather for a £5. So now I just had to find someone who could sew leather…

Again Lesley to the rescue, she suggested Lisa Dunn, who is known locally for her sound healing work with her husband Brian, they are the wonderful Soundhenge. I left my inviter with Lisa and now I have the perfect tool to invite the bell. I’m so happy and grateful!

Come to any of my public classes to hear what it sounds like 🙂

The picture shows my bell with the new inviter check out my Instagram to see more pics of the inviters journey 🙂

Happy continuation dear Thay 🙏❤️

The 11 October was my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s 93rd birthday. We say ‘happy continuation’ as Thay teaches there is no birth and no death – only continuation.

I am so grateful for the causes and conditions that caused his manifestation in this crazy world. He is a shining embodiment of deep practice, compassion and love. Thank you for your teaching of wisdom and compassion dear Thay.

Without Thay millions around the world would not know about the practice of mindfulness. When he was in Ireland in 2012 the Irish Times called him the ‘grandfather of mindfulness’. He is a Zen Master, a scholar and a poet. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. And he’s also a happy gardener as he said ‘if I did not plant lettuce I could not write poems’ 🥬 

I would not be teaching mindfulness if were not for Thay and the Plum Village community he founded. I have been so, so fortunate to benefit from his precious teachings, I vow to continue to keep practicing and sharing the practice as best as I can.

On one retreat Thay told us that the best way to take care of him is to take care of ourselves, I know when I am being and breathing mindfully Thay is with me 🙏 🍀

I took this picture (above) on the 21 Day retreat with Thay in June 2014 at Plum Village, France, where he was giving 2 hour talks 5 days a week! He suffered a massive stroke in November 2014 but is doing well and now living back in his root temple in Hue, Vietnam 🇻🇳 where I lucky enough to visit with him and the sangha in 2007💗

If you would like to find out more about Thay and his teachings, please go to www.plumvillage.org