A new Barn Volunteer Coordinator
This is Craig Malpass, our newest Volunteer Coordinator at the Barn retreat centre on the Sharpham Estate.
Not only is he new at the Barn, he's pretty new to meditation and retreats - he applied to become a Volunteer Coordinator after doing two Barn retreats.
"I've been practising in meditation for three to four years," said Craig. "I took a week off for my birthday last year, and wanted to do something really nourishing for myself. The Barn kept coming up, so I booked in."
"It was my first retreat, but I liked the feel of the community spirit that eased me into the act of being silent. It was a gentle approach to developing my meditation practice.”
"I realised when I got home just how good it was for me...I booked in again when I knew a big work project was ending. In the end, that job wasn’t the right fit and I handed in my notice the day before I came...when I walked up the drive and saw the Barn again it just felt like I was coming home."
When the position of coordinator came up, Craig applied and was successful. He'll be at the Barn for a year, giving service and support to retreatants staying there.
In between his volunteering, Craig will be concentrating on writing. And he fully expects the Barn to influence that too.
"I'm a playwright and I tend to write socially-active plays with a sense of self-awareness, community and support," said Craig. "The Barn really reiterates this commitment to community...it helps retreatants understand that they can be doing this in their daily lives, so that when they return home the experience isn't just helping their practice, but it's helping their community and society at a pretty uncertain time in the world."
He added: "It's such a unique opportunity. As well as deepening my practice, being a writer this will give me a lot of time to sort through some ideas - in such a beautiful landscape at Sharpham!"