Pockets of Positivity
Seeker explores For You, a platform of workshops offering opportunities for growth and connection….the Practicing Positivity Workshop was the first of the For You Workshops to land in Queenstown, we enjoyed a journey into positive practice and how this can heal the world around us..
Ursula Griffen and Phoebe Hetherington are on a mission to change the world. The pair have started up an event platform for practicing mindful, connected and environment centered experiences so that participants can find ways to reconnect to themselves, others and nature. Founded in 2017, the For You Workshops are an offering from the hearts of these woman, wanting to spread the opportunity to find happiness in our busy fast paced lives. For You are workshops in the spirit of co-creation, although facilitated by the founders, the platform is also open to other teachers, practitioners and people with lived experience they feel is valuable to share. Ursula and Phoebe are childhood friends who have reconnected after their global travels which resulted in personal transformation. Each returned to Aotearoa with a need to share their learnings.
I attended the For You, Practicing Positivity Workshop at Sherwood this week. Ursula facilitated the three hour workshop which was full to capacity with men and woman looking for ways to address negative thought patterns and beliefs, find some ‘Me’ time, deal with work stress and overcome emotional trauma. As we introduced ourselves and what we hoped to get out of the experience, these and other meaningful reasons were discussed. Ursula opened up the workshop with a Karakia, paying respect to “Te taha wairua,” the foundation of life, of which she grounds her interest in the sciences. Holding space for community is at the heart of what Ursula is passionate about. She co-facilitated a ‘Purpose Spark’ retreat in Colombia and found her love of sharing experiences of personal growth. With a background in ecology, permaculture and mindfulness, Ursula facilitates a space combining these aspects as evident in the gentle, safe space I experienced upon arriving to the workshop. Little pieces of nature were laid out on each yoga mat, bright spruces of fire red and tannin, adorned with Autumn berries. reminding us of our connection to the Earth – our environment. Ursula’s affinity with Mother Nature was also beautifully present when we had tea made from her KawaKawa plants, grown on her land in the Coromandel and delicious Cacao was also offered during the break.
We began with a mindful meditation, imagining our thoughts as clouds scurrying about in the sky. We drifted into the observer state, watching ourselves watching our thought clouds. We collectively floated back to the surface and then began with another positive practice of music and dance. Ursula encouraged us to wake up to our own piece of happiness by starting the day with a favorite music track. We closed our eyes and moved around to the upbeat music. This was so we could be free of the restraint that can come from dancing in front of others.
As we became more relaxed we were introduced to the concept of the circle, which Ursula and Phoebe had both experienced on their travels. Finding power in people connecting in this way inspired the For You Workshops platform. After co-facilitating some private sessions, they decided to open the door to new people who were wanting to experience group growth – and grow it did. Co-creating and allowing the opportunity for others to speak their truth in a safe and respectful space is vital in the ethos behind For You. Through experiencing the hunger people have for re-connection, the pair realized that the need in the community was there.
Ursula discussed what she had come to find through her research into ‘Positive Psychology’ with workshop participants invited to add their thoughts and knowledge. We discussed the science behind positive thinking, how our subconscious belief patterns create an intention which then attracts that experience, or ‘becomes your reality,’ as neural pathways are made stronger in the parts of the brain processing our experiences. Happiness, it seems, needs to be cultivated. As fallible humans, we have learnt to default to critical thinking for survival. It is ‘smarter’ to expect the worse and hope for the best. But as Quantum Science is beginning to show us, it is very possible (and rewarding) to forge new expectations or intent which then influences our brain structure thus changing our picture of reality. This is where the practice of positivity comes in. It may seem like an effort to begin with but by practicing positive thinking and sustaining it through mindfulness techniques we can come to see the world differently and the world will respond in kind. Ideas were discussed as to what a positive practice looks like. We had already experienced meditation, appreciation of nature, breath work, singing, dancing and listening to music. We also pondered about the practice of Self Love and how this tied in with beliefs that were hard to budge. Participants were given worksheets to explore our ways of experiencing positivity in the world. These were headed with the mission statement of the For You Workshops: Why we are Here: We are here because we want to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. We want to accentuate our positive traits, have more fun, live in love, love our work and raise our vibration.
With the worksheets as a guide we answered questions relating to our idea of Self, how we want to ‘show up in our lives,’ the things we are grateful for and what we love. Through discussing the things we love it was found that we can extend these ‘loves’ into our everyday, infusing our experiences with more feel good vibes. Dancing is what I love, for example. I need to dance more while doing the housework! I am infusing my life with this love in other ways too, by beginning a dance class for Mum’s and Babies after finding dancing helpful in boosting my mood post childbirth. This was an opportunity to see how my decision to create this class has been adding positive value to my life overall. I felt grateful for that chance to see that.
We all know that times get tough. The For You Workshops like the Practicing Positivity workshop offer up a way of seeing how we can buffer ourselves from spiraling into overwhelm. With all the demands and ways we are feeling out of sync with the natural world its no wonder things can run a bit rough at different times of our lives. Everyone at the workshop seemed to recognize this, but also wanted to learn and grow from their challenges. Having platforms to come together with that common goal to explore ways to practice positive coping mechanisms builds resilience in the community. It was a pleasure to be a part of such a workshop and very exciting to see the For You platform grow.
Other workshops that have been held have been around empowering woman on topics such as sexuality and reproduction, to Ecology based workshops and Restorative Yoga nights. For You is a “socially minded start up enterprise with big dreams to heal the world” says Ursula. Young and diverse in nature, this platform has plenty of energy to foster connection – “planting seeds of positive change to one day see a beautiful forest of empowered beings throughout Aotearoa”
Ursula is running another workshop Thursday, 10th of May at Yoga Nadi, titled ‘Your Deep Ecology’ which is about healing our disconnection from Mother Earth and grounding back into that connection, exploring “new areas of thought and awareness.”
You can find ‘Your Deep Ecology’ event here —–>
The Other half of the ‘For You Workshops’ Team:
- Phoebe is a yoga teacher, completing her 200 hour training in Auckland. During her training she found a passion in restorative yoga. She went on to complete further studies in this area. Her practice includes insight into developmental movement patterns and exercises that allow you to be inquisitive about the human body. Phoebe loves to share this gift of exploring the body and mind and the gift of full relaxation.
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