I wasn't going to do anything for Black Friday this year.
Last year, inspired by US outdoor retailer REI's #Optoutside campaign, we organised a walkshop in Stanmer Park. This year I'd been feeling tired and stressed, and it felt too much to organise something else, for another week or two at least.
But all week I noticed I'd been feeling a weird anxiety as Black Friday approached. A need to just buy something. A fear of missing out on a bargain.
Then I read this article by George Monbiot about how our relentless consumption is trashing the planet. It was a reminder that we need to break a cycle of relentless growth, fuelled by shopping, and I felt we had to do something to escape the Shopocalypse.
As the big retailers tried to pressure us into buying more things you probably don’t need - this year shoppers were predicted to spend more than £2.5bn - I scheduled a last minute Black Friday Optoutside walk again, and went to the woods with a bunch of like-minded folk instead.
We walked in silence through my favourite glade of Sycamore trees, shared shopping confessions amongst the fallen autumn leaves, and did a sit spot by the big beeches in Millbank Wood.
On the way back we found the site of an ancient stone circle, now long gone, marked on this old map of Stanmer Park.
Afterwards we sat chatting and drinking tea by the fire, inside the big house.
It was a calming and invigorating afternoon spent with some genuinely lovely people.
A real Black Friday experience to remember.
Want to join the campfire conversation?
After all your comments and a rescheduled session, four vegan protestors arrived uninvited and disrupted our infamous rabbit class. It didn’t get ugly but it was unpleasant and upsetting, to say the least. We tried quietly carrying on with what we were doing, but after relentless pressure, we gave up and stopped the class.
It was a shame and raises lots of questions, including how to combine passion with respect for people with contrary views, but rather than try and run the class again, it's got me thinking about doing something different.
I’ve come up with the idea of a facilitated and mindful discussion around a fire, on the subject of "is it better to eat meat consciously, or not at all?" We'll be inviting the people who came to the class, along with some (different) vegans, speakers and guests, to connect people and try and find a way forward.
We’re calling it Campfire Collaborations.
It's on Sunday 21st January, places are limited so if you’re interested and would like to join the conversation, register your interest here.
Escaping the shopapocalypse and finding stillness in nature, on our Black Friday walkshop in Stanmer Park.
pic thanks to Clive Andrews
Vicky and Hannah getting ready to take us into a cold November sea for embodied wild sea swimming, to build resilience for life through the experience, and making meaning from going into the sea.
Surfing the Unpredictable was our fringe event at Meaning Conference.
Sunny morning by the fire with Rosie Linford, sharpening our knives. Getting them ready for our next #whittling and #mindfulness class.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.