With Kindly Curiosity: Ollie Frame
Published: 29 March 2023
Ollie Frame works as a co-leader on our Mindful-in-Nature programme at Sharpham, for which he has produced a large range of meditations and resources.
He teaches the 8-week course in various settings, including to the general public, to teachers and students in schools and colleges, and to various other client groups on behalf of Devon County Council.
Also trained to teach the Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) course, Ollie is especially enthusiastic about self-compassion, Metta meditation and other heart-based approaches within the world of mindfulness. As an integrative therapist, Ollie has a particular interest in psychosynthesis, depth psychology, inner journeying and the therapeutic use of meditation and the imagination.
1. How did you come to practice mindfulness?
I was interested in spirituality and religion from an early age, and initially became especially interested in yoga and yogic philosophy. I travelled extensively - perhaps excessively - in my 20s and early 30s, and explored different practices, religions and philosophies.
I travelled overland to India, and as well as spending time in ashrams, up mountains and in crazy and colourful cities. I encountered Buddhist meditation in various forms, and was particularly drawn to the central role that it gives to compassion and the alleviation of suffering in the world.
Back in the UK, after encountering Insight Meditation and attending an extended retreat at Gaia House, I began studying and training in mindfulness, and especially appreciated its emphasis on changing how we relate to our experience in meditation, rather than trying to make anything happen or achieve any kind of special state.
For me the most valuable fruit of mindfulness practice is in bringing awareness to how I relate to the world around me and within me, including plants, trees, emotions, thoughts, animals and humans, and how, based on that enquiry, I can explore the most compassionate and meaningful way to live my life.
2. What does your daily practice look like?
I try to keep a balance of sitting, movement and walking practices, sometimes outside in nature, and sometimes inside, in my little loft space, where I am lucky enough to be able to hear the songs of the birds and the sound of the wind in the trees. As a parent of three youngish children, I find it particularly important to include practices where I get to lie down, such as the bodyscan, and ones which emphasise self-compassion!
I appreciate spending time in my sit spot, currently amid a carpet of snowdrops and fragrant wild garlic, and find it particularly soothing and connecting to walk mindfully through woodlands among native trees. I sometimes describe myself as a devotee of the River Dart, and take whatever opportunities I can to get out into or onto the water or to walk along her banks. As well as meditation practice, I find nourishment in connecting to nature through song, art and story.
Play or download a nature-connection practice led by Ollie here:
3. Who or what is inspiring you currently?
In terms of meditation teachers, I feel particularly blessed to have spent time studying on retreats and in person with Rob Burbea, who right up until his recent death was regularly leading retreats and churning out such amazing and inspiring dharma talks. I love his work on 'imaginal' practices, on the sacredness of nature, and on what he calls 'soul-making dharma' - exploring through meditation the path that has the most depth and meaning for you.
More widely, I am inspired by how meditation can help us to come into a more harmonious and heart-based relationship with nature and with our more-than-human community of other living beings with whom we share this beautiful planet. I am inspired by how nature-based practice can help us to deepen in the felt sense of interconnectedness, and how this could play a role in changing the way we treat our environment.
4. Tell us about a book/film/story/artwork that's inspired you
After many years of generally ignoring fiction, I recently read Manda Scott's 'Boudica' series, which from the start to the finish of its many-thousand-page journey, had me hopelessly in its grip. Although largely fictional, the account of the time when our Celtic ancestors were invaded and eventually defeated by the Roman armies is disturbing, gruesome and heart-wrenching.
It also very movingly evokes the loss of a time and culture when the inhabitants of these isles were reverent in their relationship with nature, respectful of animals, and in which women had high status as warriors, dreamers and leaders of their people.
It is one of those books whose characters, stories and ideas continue to show up in my imagination, dreams and conversations.
Ollie leads on our Mindful-in-Nature courses and our forthcoming Mindful-in-Nature training course
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