Hello Elaine!

26th October, 2023
by Katie | 2 Min Read
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Elaine Marshall-Bradley - Coach House volunteer coordinator

Our newest Coach House volunteer coordinator has been here before - but only remembered that when she returned to give service!

Elaine Marshall-Bradley arrived in August to join our team, but it was only when she was mindfully walking with retreatants that she recalled a previous Sharpham memory.

"My first experience of Sharpham was decades ago, in the 90s," said Elaine. "I had answered an advert for help in planting trees as that's a great passion of mine."

"I came and planted some of the trees in the sloping orchard at the front of the House - probably not very many because it was quite hard work!"

"I only remembered it when I was doing a mindful walk with retreatants. And now I've eaten some of those apples!


Integrating practice with service

Elaine lived in Cornwall for many years with her family and now her son is spending a year in New Zealand, she felt this was a good time to dedicate to deepening her practice - in particular her ethic of service.

"I wanted to branch out and see how that would work in a secular setting, because I have previously been in connection with Buddhist centres and I wanted to see how that felt," she said.

"I had a vocational life before but now it's all about integrating practice with service. I wanted to try living a life of reciprocity, loosely based on the Dana principle of generosity."

She has a long connection as a retreatant with our friends at nearby Gaia House retreat centre and has explored various types of mindfulness in the past.

"My journey began with yoga actually, when I was 18, and then I wanted to seek something deeper," she said. "I took little sorties into Transcendental Meditation to begin with - that was not for me - and I've gone through various routes through different styles and flavours and reached Insight practice".

She'll be deepening her nature-connection practice here too.

"I love the land, I always feel happy on the land, especially the gardens here," she said. 

In her role, she accompanies Coach House retreatants who spend time in the adjacent Walled Garden. "I love being with the gardeners," said Elaine. "There's something really special about the natural mindfulness of gardeners. I just really feel it when I'm with them, tending the land".