23 Jan 2023

By Shirley Lunn

Online Be In in support to raise funds for Being Peace Practice Centre

We interviewed our dear brother Joe Holtaway to find out more about the aspiration behind the online be-in evening this coming spring. 

Tell us a bit more about the event, Joe. 

The be-in will be a live hosted evening on 26th March 2023 with sharings from the whole of the Plum Village UK community.  There will be live and pre-recorded offerings – it could be poetry, music, readings, meditations, stories and messages of support for the project.  We’re really looking to celebrate the diversity and talent of the PVUK sangha, with people of all ages and experiences represented, including monastics and friends of Plum Village.  People will be able to drop in and out throughout the evening, keeping it on in the background like a radio station, or they could be present and watch the whole thing.  It will be just over a year since Thay’s passing, so it will also be an opportunity for people to share memories and reflect on how Plum Village has touched their lives.  This is a historic moment for the Plum Village UK sangha. It’s exciting to think that one day soon we will meet one another at the Being Peace Practice Centre, but this is a chance to get together before that. 

To hear Joe speaking about the event, click on the video below or continue reading the article.

How Plum Village has touched your life? 

I feel as if I was already on this path before I was born really, because my mum taught religious studies in Cornwall and my parents are folk musicians so I’d been in lots of spaces where people are sharing songs and poems and stories and there’s a faith crossover with that as well.  Lots of people in Cornwall were involved in peace activities and faith stuff, so when I came to Thay’s teaching it was beautiful and eye-opening but there was a sense of familiarity to it. Just over 10 years ago a friend lent me one of Thay’s books and I went to a talk at University of London by the monastics .  I met some of the younger friends who were starting Wake Up London.   Back in those days we met every other week and there were only about 10 of us.   I met Thay in 2012 when he last came to England and I had the honour of helping get him ready to go on stage at Trafalgar Square, which was just amazing. And then I went to the retreat in Nottingham. I’d only known about him for a year, but within that time he really entered my heart.  It was such a good time to be a young sangha member and just to let the teaching fill and transform areas of our lives.   

Over the years, Wake Up London just grew and grew and now it’s meeting every week with 40 or 50 people, it’s a big community.  And then throughout 2016 I had the joy of living in Plum Village for a year.  That was wonderful because I was already musician in folk bands but around that time I decided I needed a change from all the touring.  I just somehow knew that I would go to Plum Village and find my way, and I started making my own music that was more attuned to the PV teachings.  Now I’m in a very slow process of training as a Chaplain with the Quakers, being a musician and working for Plum Village – I do sound editing for the app, The Way Out Is On Podcast series and other broadcasts and it’s so nice to be involved with the community in that way. 

What sort of contributions are you looking for? 

It’s all about people coming together and sharing, so songs, stories, poems, music, readings, guided meditations and some pre-recorded items that show people in their homes, the local environment or their local sanghas.  There will be constant live hosting, so it would be great if we could have hosts from different sanghas – Colours of Compassion, Rainbow Sangha, White Awareness Sangha, Wake Up London, Family Sangha, Earth Holders and people from different areas of the country in regional Sanghas.  We’re open to ideas, so if you would like to be involved, please get in touch and let’s have a chat.   

One of the things I love about music at Plum Village music is that there’s a real high quality and at the same time, everyone is encouraged to have a go.  So it’s encouraging itself to improve all the time, but within the context of ‘it’s good enough’ and that feels like a real awesome mixture.   

You are warmly invited to walk with Joe and the whole sangha as we set out on the historic journey to create the Being Peace Practice Centre together. 

To submit your contribution, click here: https://tinyurl.com/beingpeacefundraiser