Past Events & Testimonials

Windows of Discovery


Saturday September 23rd 2017 from 10 a.m.— 5 p.m.
St Nicholas Church, Moreton, near Dorchester
Your chance to explore art inspired by Sir Laurence Whistler’s
exquisite engraved windows including a short tour exploring
the windows’ origin and meaning. We will be drawing out-
doors, making designs, using clay and reflecting in this inspi-
rational space.

Cost £40 includes art materials, guided tour, tuition, tea and coffee.



.Main Poster For Windows Of Discovery 2017-3


Waiting by the Well 1-3 July in the New Forest led by Judy Hammond and John Harley. Locating the stuck areas in ourselves that prevent us from changing and achieving our creative and life goals. Using a range of art forms, conscious movement and friendly exchange.

Event cancelled.

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For further information and booking form:

Waiting by the Well further information

waiting by the well booking form July 16

download the poster: Waiting by the Well_art-1


Timeless Waves, Arms of Rock – a Pilgrimage to the Aran Islands – 16-25 July 2016

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Download poster: Timeless Waves final poster oct 15

For further information: Timeless Waves retreat Information sheet MARCH 2016 final

For a booking form: timeless waves retreat booking form final

Harnessing Anger – led by Susie Courtault and John Harley – Saturday 23 January 2016 – Brighton Unitarian Church – a one day workshop exploring the emotion of anger in a safe and creative enviroment

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To download poster go to: Harnessing Anger_Poster_final

For more information: Harnessing Anger – further information and booking form

ICONS – GATEWAYS TO MYSTERY – Friday 11th- Sunday 13th September 2015 – The St Joseph’s Centre, New Forest – led by Stephen Crowther and John Harley (postponed)

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icons further information september 15 final

icons sept 15 booking formPLAYFUL GROUNDEDNESS – Friday 3th – Sunday 5th July 2015 – The St Joseph’s Centre, New Forest – led by Judy Hammond and John Harley

Can we dream and wonder and invite fun and joy while also feeling our gravity, our connection with the ground and our need to come back down to earth?

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For further information go to playful groundedness further information july 15 final version

For booking form go to playful groundedness july 15 booking form


THE WONDER OF TREES – Friday 17th – Sunday 19th July 2015 – Hilfield Friary – led by Sue Nyirenda and John Harley

Discovering, creating and reflecting through being with trees


For further information go to The Wonder of Trees further information july 15

For booking form go to wonder of trees booking form july 15

THE TREASURE OF LIGHT IN WINTERTIME at Hilfield Friary, Dorset. Friday 28-30 November 2014. Led by John Harley

“Between the dawn and dark of our being, let us be brave and loving. In our little passage through the light let us sustain and forward the human venture – in gentleness, in service and in thought.”  - Carl Seaburg

This weekend retreat invites participants to get in touch with their creative and spiritual selves, make connections with others and the world and gain insights into themselves.

We will be exploring themes of light in the darkness and the ancient time of Advent. The weekend will include a range of activities and rituals that will help us reflect on our personal relationship with light and darkness and gain insights to take into our daily lives. We will draw from a number of different traditions and perspectives in looking into these themes. There will be opportunities for art-making, meditation, craft and play. We will have time to work individually and collaboratively. We will strike a balance between creative challenges, silence, free time and time for fellowship.

Hilfield Friary is a community and retreat centre inhabited and hosted by the Franciscans. It nestles on the edge of the Dorset Downs and is surrounded by trees and open spaces.

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What the participants said: ‘John had the vision, the inspiration, is good at holding the group and giving permission. He has very wide boundaries – like a rainbow. So encouraging. He can be serious and fun – laughs a lot. I think he enjoyed it hugely as he worked with us as part of the group’. Maggie

FOOTSTEPS THROUGH THE SENSES at The St Joseph’s Centre in the New Forest. Friday 4 – Sunday 6 July 2014. A Body and Soul retreat led by Judy Hammond and John Harley

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A weekend that included a very practical, user-friendly introduction to some of the key principles and practices of the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique helps us to go about our daily activities with more ease and freedom and perhaps most importantly, to become more present in our bodies, inhabiting them with more awareness, lightness and soulfulness.

What the participants said:

“Excellent – the slow pace was enabling, very caring, intuititive and empathic”

“Both excellent facilitators and specialists in their own field”

“The activities were great fun, very energising and  hopefully useful to help keep us healthy and active”


GROUNDED, REVITALISED, REFRESHED at Marsett Bothy, Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales. Friday 11- Sunday 13 July 2014. Led by Eva Marie Chadwick and John Harley


An interactive, creative and playful weekend that offers you the space to reflect on your life through exploring the outdoors and the elements.  Based at Marsett Bothy, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, we will spend the majority of time out in the open air, therefore allowing the nourishment of the natural elements to infiltrate. We will be drawing on this inspiration to gain insights into ourselves and our lives – combined with creative and reflective activities.

Over the course of the weekend there will be opportunities to work individually as well as collaboratively. Some activities are based on the work of Steve Mitchell – a dramatherapist who leads outdoor groups – creating rituals that enable participants to get in touch with their intuitive selves and find wholeness (he is well respected for his outdoor work called the Dramatherapy Venture Project).

Grounded, Revitalised, Refreshed at Marsett Bothy, Yorkshire Dales. July 2014

We stopped for lunch in a picturesque Yorkshire village.  While a brass band played songs from musicals, we ate tomato and lentil soup outside a cafe where the hills ringed the town. I remarked to my colleague how the weekend must have been refreshing because I was not stressed by the crowds and was embracing all the tourist charms of this beautiful village, post the Tour de France Grand Depart and really enjoying it. I had realised too, that I didn’t know Yorkshire but during the weekend I had become aware of the presence of the landscape with its hills and the dry stone walls imposing its physical boundaries. In one exercise I became frustrated that my progress out of a field was being impeded by the dry stone walls and the wire fences. It took time but I managed it. You can get beyond such limitations.

I like the outdoors. It can be exhilarating and scary for us modern city dwellers. It’s amazing how quickly our anxieties can appear when we are out of our comfort zones. Zombie and apocalypse movies are one thing when watched in your living room. In a dimly lit barn in a secluded valley, you begin to imagine that anything can happen. As with anxiety and stress in our modern working lives, I am aware that spiritual beliefs and needs, whatever they, are can help us cope. Acute stress in the work place particularly in the NHS is a common problem. I have noticed those with strong spiritual and religious belief seem to cope in a different way to others. So when I learned about Be Here Create and met with John Harley I wanted to experience one of their retreats. The first one in Marsett in 2013 had to be cancelled due to lack of numbers. But this one in July 2014, entitled Grounded, Revitalised, Refreshed, went ahead.

My colleague and I travelled to Marsett in Wensleydale. The road from Richmond in Yorkshire was beautiful and the last few miles were along a spectacular single track descending into the valley beside a lake. ‘There is only an intermittent phone signal in the valley,’ ie none at all and anxieties arose. Had we come to the right village? Was this locked up barn the right bothy? How could we check?

John and the others had been delayed by traffic in the south but they eventually arrived much to our relief. We ate our evening meal outside as the evening sunlight warmed the walls.  Then we watched the spectacular perigree or supermoon rise silently above the hills. We had been hearing what sounded like gunshots all the time. Could they have been bird scarers? The air was filled with the sounds of sheep bleating, birds and insects calling.  Later in the evening the midges arrived!.

One of the highlights of my dramatherapy training was a weekend on Dartmoor led by Steve Mitchell which included a silent night-time walk. We also did one. Our senses become heightened. Smells sounds and lights become stronger, louder and brighter. A large black horse and ponies stared at us and then we were stopped by a herd of cows and maybe a bull. Someone later mentioned it felt like a ‘meeting of groups of animals.’ We were the intruders, the strangers and we had to make decisions. Someone fed the horse and broke the ice but it felt safer for our group to withdraw from the cattle. I found myself wishing the moon would appear and the stars would shine and then I accepted the night for what it was. I pulled down my hood and undid my zip and let the soft drizzle touch my hair and skin.

In the morning I had done some T’ai chi on the uneven damp grass. Later the group was asked to stand in various geographical locations in relation to the bothy. Finding our physical place on the uneven grass was a challenge. There didn’t appear to be any flat surfaces in this area!

Later we trekked up the valley to find a waterfall. I joked about fairies and elementals. We explored the area whilst each of us looked for an ‘instrument of power’, a natural object that symbolised the way or source we receive our power or drive from. I had the need to bathe my feet in the cold clear water. Those who explored the area felt an energy and the antiquity of the place. We felt a sense of respect and that we were visitors here as we were in the valley and on earth. We descended the valley again back to the bothy for lunch of bread and cheese, which was wonderful.

The highlight for me was our Saturday evening meal. Again, we ate outside. It was simple fare and it was more than enough. I recalled a conversation I once had with a Buddhist monk who said he ate simple food because it allowed him to focus his mind and body. I felt a wonderful sense of community and John mentioned that simple food had been part of his plan, although it may not have been a selling point. The therapeutic chocolate and Skittles were gratefully received.

The intention had been to work with the elements. I felt that the earth, the air, water and fire had all played their parts this weekend. The log fire begged for stories to be told. The small group allowed and enabled close interaction, personal choice and a less formal structure. Group decisions were rapid and although there were periods of intense activity and rest, individual reflection was also possible.

On Sunday morning we showed a partner three ‘views’ through a paper cut out – an activity called ‘snapshots’. Then we sat outside around a table and made collages to represent any impressions or feelings. It was lovely to see the occasional piece of tissue paper take flight like a butterfly as the gentle breeze lifted it away. We shared our collage creations and then lastly discussed the objects we had collected at the waterfall. Then it was time to go.

As I mentioned before the environment, whether it was the barn, the landscape or the weather helped to shape how we were when we made our connections with one another and experienced activities to deepen the spiritual and therapeutic process.

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at Claridge House, Quaker Centre for Healing, Rest and Renewal, Lingfield, Surrey. December 31st 2013 – January 4th 2014. Led by Angela Schutz and John Harley

Life is a process of beginnings and endings. On this retreat we will look at what to release from the past and what to carry forward. Using art, creative writing, movement, guided meditation, silence and sharing of experiences, we will reflect on our own lives. No previous experience of activities required. For more information go to:

What the participants said:

“A lovely team – thank you Angela and John! You were very good at motivating the group and achieving a wonderful shared energy. I think we all felt very supported. A lot of humour and laughter which was all very healing.”

“The art demonstrations were useful for me as I don’t paint or draw. I felt I was able to ask for help/guidance at any point if I needed it but appreciated being able to ‘get on’ with my own thing without being ‘helped’ to get it ‘right’.”

“I found Angela and John both very approachable and friendly with a great sense of humour which always helps as courses can sometimes be very intense and a bit of light relief is good.”


THE SOUL AND THE SIX SENSES at The St Joseph’s Centre in the New Forest. Fri 20 – Sun 22 September 2013. Led by John Harley and Judy Hammond.

katy with isobel 208Some comments from the participants:

“One of the highlights was working with clay which I’ve never done before and I enjoyed the art”

“I thought there was a good blend of content and expertise”

“The facilitators were supportive, caring and sharing”

“The facilitators worked well together as a team. Judy has a wonderful, infectious enthusiasm and John held the group and the weekend gently”


THE WISDOM OF THE TREES at the Hilfield Friary, Dorset. Friday 5th – Sunday 7th July 2013. Led by John Harley and Sue Nyirenda.

Wise Tree

The weekend is open to all fellow travelers – those of faith and those of no faith or religion. The retreat will involve some walking around in the woods but no long walks. Every care will be taken to make activities safe and restorative – yet working creatively with others can have the potential to bring up powerful emotional material for people. John is a trained therapist though the retreat is not essentially offered as therapy – therefore participants are encouraged to take responsibility for their own emotional processes. The retreat will be led by John Harley, and Sue Nyirenda will be cooking meals and offering support in some of the sessions.

Download the poster: Poster wisdom of trees

What participants said about The Wisdom of Trees:

“A stop point on a difficult journey to gain refreshment through deep organic contemplation.”

“Noting a new rootedness which I have and wasn’t aware of; This could be temporary but I hope not.”

What participants said about the facilitators:

 “Sue and John as a team are perfectly balanced. The sense of their connection draws others in. Content, presentation, instruction, support and guidance all excellent”

“Excellent! Brilliant facilitators who made everything wonderful!”

“Experienced, competent, knew what they were doing, low key, not pushy, creative”

“I liked the fact that we were always put at ease and not made to feel we had to participate in everything if not comfortable.”

“I liked the dynamic between them. They were both relaxed, approachable and inspiring/motivating. The right level of enthusiasm and sensibility”

at Claridge House, Surrey – Dec 31st 2012 – Jan 4 2013. Led by Angela Schutz and John Harley

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What participants said about the retreat:

“Realising how good it is to allow the creative activity to evolve in its own way, rather than try to control or have expectations.”

“Very good and extremely clear presentation – it was good you let people get on with their own art or writing and didn’t put pressure on us to finish a work or achieve.”

What participants said about the facilitators:

“Lovely people! Very supportive, gentle, helpful and full of enthusiasm and infectious joy. They helped me to re-connect with my ‘inner child’.”

“I felt very supported, encouraged and listened to. I usually hate workshops/courses but this is the first one I have really enjoyed. It was also my first retreat and I was quite anxious about it but you both made me feel very supported.”

“I thought they achieved a really good balance between controlling the process as facilitators and being participants. This made the process very comfortable for me as I did not feel, at any time, that I was being controlled by ‘outsiders’.”

“Helpful, understanding, informative – very good at giving info and great at stimulating art creation.”