• The Story Behind Bridgedale360


    I just had to leave…


    I had been walking aimlessly, as if my body just carried me along, for what seemed like forever. I still didn't know where I was heading or what was propelling me forwards. Except the reverb of that thought - I had to leave - and a name. Bridgedale360. My fist tightened around the scrap of paper on which it was written. I didn't have to open it, again, to see it. By now the name and the X that marked it on the spidery map was already etched into my mind. Instead, I looked up and wondered whether the turn in the road was starting to look - not exactly, but still - like the curve of one of the lines on the map. Like one of the spider´s legs. All roads lead to Bridgedale360? I first heard about it from a friend a few months ago and then later, overheard it in a bar. Just people talking over loud and dull pop - but I heard it for sure - and then I found this map, or it found me. I had to leave, my heart needed to believe, I had to believe.


    I picked up the pace, my heart beating out a rhythm for my legs to follow, and my right side stung. Exhaustion and fear tugged at me, and perhaps it was regret that made me look back every now and again, but this time I wasn't going to let it get the better of me. Not this time. I threw some of what was left over from my bag of dried fruits into my mouth, hoping it would hush my hunger. My feet yelled out in pain; my new boots had still not been broken in. Instead, the boots seemed bent on breaking me in. Blisters and all. My insides screamed at me in revolt.


    Suddenly I heard voices. I got cautious, a bit afraid, but my curiosity brought me closer. My ears twitched like antennae, trying to figure out where the voices came from. I stood still. There. “Bridgedale360”, I heard it. My heart rattled my ribcage. “Over there, not so far anymore.” I had to get to them. “Wait!” I think I said and cut through the row of trees, hesitantly at first, but then found myself pushing and shoving shrubs aside, until I saw them and they saw me. “Hi,” said the woman, smilingly. I gasped and smiled back and my insides kept quiet, for once.


    We were walking for days, mostly quietly. But there was a sense of unity that I had never felt before. We were all following our dreams somehow, but without really knowing what it was. Layla showed me some pictures of her family, and said that she didn’t know any longer where they were, if they were alive. Could we blame the “system crisis”? But I also felt conscience-stricken, because I saw how privileged I was. Yet, I was unhappy. But happiness does not come with abundance, I learnt it the hard way. I could not imagine myself continuing like before. I desperately needed Bridgedale360 to be more than a silly fairy tale…


    Once we started off together, everything fell into step so to speak. We moved as if we were one, people from the west, people from the east, just people...fleeing the old system and searching for that unknown place. Conversations bubbled up here and there, naturally without any haste, but then we would retreat into a silence again, as we mulled over things we had just heard, and I imagined how life was for them before in the countries where they were coming from, and how much it sounded like my own in some ways; while in others, mine was completely foreign to theirs. I remembered the things I used to enjoy, but that was in the past, I told myself, as I shook off an all too familiar sense of heaviness. Excess does that to you, somehow. But, here on this dirt road to Bridgedale360, I was just like them. Bridgedale360 was and will be the great equalizer for us all.   


    Arriving happened by surprise. We came to a stream and a little further up a girl was playing in the water, singing for herself. We came closer and when she saw us she smiled. “Ahoy there, comrades!”, she said. And she smiled and waved at us. I was surprised by the openness with which she was greeting a bunch of strangers. In the middle of nowhere! But it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, we soon found out. Further up the stream we saw a mill and some mechanism pumping water. And then it all just opened up. Without waiting for us, the girl skipped ahead and we followed, not skipping like her, but feeling a slight hop in our own step. We exchanged glances and before we knew it, buildings and gardens and people working appeared from behind the trees. Everybody stopped to greet if only briefly, and smiled before they got back to doing what they were doing. Cows grazed past us. Even they seemed to smile.


    Our little guide, we could see, had come to a stop before the most impressive of all the buildings that we had passed. A man stood there rubbing his hands and then approached us, as if he couldn´t wait for us to get to where he stood. “Welcome,” he said, while his hands rubbed and patted our weary shoulders, ”first some rest and then I´ll show you around Bridgedale360, ok?”

    • The Dojo

      MIND, BODY & SOUL

      “Doing for having, without enjoying being, is the sole cause of all our misery.”

      -Ramana Maharshi


      “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

      -Gandhi


      “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.”

      -Gandhi



      Introduction

      Pilar, 46, mindfulness and movement mentor


      Come in, friends, come into our Dojo, I will explain what it is. The Dojo is a very important place for Bridgedale360, although it took us a while to realize that to change our society, economy and politics we need more than a change in our system - we need a change in ourselves. When we understood how significant the body practices and mindfulness are for our well-being and how big of a role they play for change to happen, we built the Dojo. Now we come here to revitalize the dialogue with ourselves and others. Nothing external is produced in this place, instead, we turn our gaze inwards, towards our inner being, our health.


      Traditionally, in the Japanese culture, “Dojo” meant a place for practicing inner work, ranging from martial arts to zen meditation which are the combination of physical, mental and emotional sides of us. But in our Dojo, we use a lot of other methods developed throughout the millennia, for instance, yoga and tai chi or dancing, singing and even running! Everything that brings our attention to our body, mind and soul, making us feel present, can be used for cultivating inner space. New techniques are coming up all the time, such as 5rhythms or Biodanza.


      Bodily practices are the basis for our physical and mental well-being, our “inner resilience” and “inner sustainability”, allowing us to handle failures and develop ourselves in changing conditions. Cultivating our inner space makes us less vulnerable, which is vital for being able to stand steady in a world where many things seem to be out of our control.


      For centuries and centuries, humanity has been separating the mind, body and soul, forgetting that they are three inseparable sides of the one. Now we try to bring them back together and understand how they influence each other. Accepting and working with our emotions and feelings, with our thoughts and bodies, we make them beneficial for our actions instead of seeing them as constraints. Learning about ourselves, we understand the world around and we see what we can do to make it better.


      Just remember, we’re not talking about religion here. People believe in all sorts of things and that’s fine! Different belief systems don’t necessarily divide us. Here in the Dojo we can meet people of different cultures and worldviews and understand that there is something uniting us all. It is interesting to see differences and analogies between cultures. Look at all the great religions, they all draw on similar ethics and in many cases similar theology. It’s up to us whether we choose to focus on our division or on our unity. With more self-awareness we’ll be less eager to judge others. The world is so diverse and we all have a lot to learn from each other.


      You know, I used to be a very ordinary person, I had a well-paid job as a manager in a big company, I lived in the center of the city and used to spend my weekends in shopping malls. But when I came to Bridgedale360 I realised that I had been living my life unconsciously: I was working with what I had been taught to do, without understanding the bigger picture. I was a little element in a constant mechanical machine where people earn money to spend money only to earn more money. It was like some enlightenment for me when I entered the Dojo, it dawned upon me that all my life I was doing things automatically without thinking of other possibilities, without understanding what kind of a world I was creating. I was not living mindfully. This is why I think it is important that we have the Dojo in Bridgedale360, so people can come and reflect on their own life and choices.


      As you see, the Dojo is the place of mindfulness and reflection. Mindfulness means being conscious about our thoughts and actions. Why we think the way we think, why we live the way we live, what are the consequences of our actions? How often are we driven by fears determining our choices?  We need to be mindful in our lives and in our work instead of doing things habitually, repeating the same patterns because they were taught to us or because we are afraid of something. Then we start to see what and how we need to change to have a better world. To understand these things and the whole complexity of the world we need reflection which takes time, stillness and focus. And they can be found here, in the Dojo.


      Learning Outcomes

      • To become more aware of our thoughts and beliefs, where they come from and how they impact ourselves and the surrounding world

      • To understand the interdependence between physical, emotional and mental well-being and our actions

      • To get to know the body’s potential and to practice activities improving our physical health

      • To realize our emotions, to learn how to balance them and to see them as advantage rather than constraints

      • To discover the diverse ways to look at the world, to realize that there is no one answer for all

    The WoodsThe Amphitheatre and the Studio