Monday, December 21, 2009

Norwich Cathedral - a WellBeing resource...

I recently 'gave' WellBeing 'tours' of Norwich cathedral, which were offered to folk I work alongside. It was just before Christmas and I wanted to give folk something unique to me. Working as an historical educator and interpreter who has done a lot of work in the cathedral I wanted to share my particular perspective with others. Although my focus was historical - in particular, exploring the contributions of ordinary people to this grand building -, I also wanted to demonstrate what a fantastic wellbeing resource the cathedral - and similar buildings - are for the people of Norfolk.

I always think that the Five Ways are best illustrated retrospectively; that is, once they have been experienced. Accordingly, I was able to draw out the following elements to our experience within the cathedral:

We came together to share some quality time and explore this building together

Take notice:
We were able to appreciate the beauty of this special place, and were also invited to slow down and look within.

Be active:
We spent nearly an hour rambling through the building. Gentle exercise I know, but nonetheless, genuine exercise

Keep learning:
We learnt from each other as we passed through the building. For instance, in this exchange, a young girl was able to point out a mason's mark that I had never noticed before

We gave our time to each other; shared insights, laughter... comfortable silence.

This is a building which - regardless of whether you have Christian faith; faith from a different tradition, or no faith - does things to you - if you will allow it to...

The spire and the ceilings encourage us to look up and experience a sense of awe and wonder. The more intimate spaces of the side chapels, and darker east end, prompt more reflection and, possibly, introspection. The candles invite us to be lost in the dance of their flame.

I would encourage you to explore this and other special places. These 'sanctuary spaces' are, potentially,  such a powerful wellbeing resource!

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