The Distance Between The Wine Bar And The Cloister Isn't So Great


A fantastic woman came to me recently and said, ‘you know, all this wellness fanfaronade, it gets on my nerves. Whatever happened to turning up to yoga in an old t-shirt and leggings, or having spiritual communion at the cafe over tea and toast?

Her ideas reminded me of this amazing extract from a William Blake poem, The Little Vagabond


Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold, 

But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm; 

Besides I can tell where I am use'd well, 

Such usage in heaven will never do well.


I find a similar sentiment reflected in a poem from Hafiz…(14th century)


….the distance between the cloister

and the tavern is not after all that great.


I don’t really go to ale houses (people from Essex go to wine bars) but I love the sentiment behind this poem. For me it points to the possibility of unearthing the wonder of life, the real beauty of existence in the everyday places.

The church may point more readily, or more explicitly to spiritual life yet all things be they the ale house or the spa shine equally bright, all fashioned from the same great stuff of life.

It seems to promote fun and speak to something that has been at the heart of my work here at Emma Mills London — celebration. Whether that’s sharing in brilliant poetry, being in nature, cooking with presence, cultivating friendship and love or celebrating ones own life by making the most of ir via personal growth and learning.

How you celebrate today is up to you. After all the distance between heaven and earth, is not after all, that great.

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