I arrived at Villa Pia full of hopeful anticipation but a little uncertain about what we would be doing and how I would cope. As a lifelong meditation dodger I was astonished to find myself meditating but even more surprised that I was enjoying it. The variety of methods we tried meant that even someone as jumpy as myself could find a way into regular and rewarding meditation. I particularly took to the Kundalini meditation and still enjoy it - I did not know it was possible to meditate while moving - a revelation! The afternoons spent drawing were a gateway to "knowing" each other in a very deep sense and quickly. When the drawing became meditative - I was in heaven. It was the perfect combination and one that I have continued to practise in my "normal life" away from the idyllic Villa Pia. I would repeat the whole experience in a heartbeat - good company, great experiences, beautiful setting, lovely food and wine. I could not have asked for more.
HB Drawing group
Our group of 12 meditated each morning, went on walks, drew each other, acted as human tools for each other, talked, ate, ate some more, went swimming, ordered pizza and felt immersed in art and life. Some people wanted to think about knotty issues and major life decisions, but all of us came away with renewed inspiration and appreciation of how mind and hand can work better together.
Each day at Villa Pia started with a new mediation that was carefully curated to link with the drawing practice that followed to help head, heart, hand and soul come together.
For me it was a time, a special shape, carved out. A gap made in all consciousness but consciously empty. It took form, drawing, listening, listening to drawing, to place, feeling excited, feeling apprehensive, feeling new, feeling safe, feeling well, laughing, trying new things, learning, more listening, at times feeling strange, safe in the form, in the shape, trusting, time to stretch out. Basically, I totally loved it, it was big. And the best thing about it, although I cherish the memories, I don’t feel any of it is lost or getting lost. It’s sort of all in there already, now, before.
I learnt so much from working with Tania and Jane. What emerged through the week was a sense of how to live creatively. In practice that meant a number of different things: the value of starting the day with meditation; learning that meditation could take different forms; the challenge of drawing fast and slow; understanding how the body thinks, how the hand is part of the brain and the brain part of the hand. I learnt more and more about the convergence between drawing and meditation. Both take you towards a new alertness to what is there in the world and to what is in yourself. Both work best when you learn through meditation and artistic technique how to let go of judgemental and anxious thoughts. The group was a delight to work with: honest, good-humoured and supportive. Villa Pia is a wonderful place, sociable when you want it to be and quiet when you need it to be. The food is good too.'