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The End of Breathe…. And Where next?

September 30, 2015

In its ten years the Breathe Network has connected over 1,000 people for conversations about how to live more simply, more generously and to make space for God and others in a consumer culture. Now Breathe is coming to an end it’s time to say ‘thank you’ and ask where next? Mark Powley, one of Breathe’s founding members, has put together this reflection on the life and journey of Breathe.

Thank you for all that you have contributed to Breathe and for sharing in the journey. As Mark’s reflection indicated, the chapter or season for Breathe has come to an end, but the overall journey continues. Mark mentioned some of the ways that you can stay connected, engaged and active. Here are some of the suggestions and links.

Organisations and initiatives 

Tearfund including their ‘Ordinary Heroes‘ campaign

Christian Aid including their recently launched ‘The Big Shift‘ campaign

A Rocha UK – Look out for a new initiative called ‘Eco Church‘ launching in January 2016

Green Christian – Including their ‘Joy in Enough‘ initiative

Transition network – Is their a local group you are a part of could join?

Fuel for the Jouney

Brian Draper –  leads great retreats, writes great books and also offers email based reflection series for Lent and Advent

40 Acts from Stewardship – Doing Lent generously!

Nomad Podcast – Including a great back catalogue interview with Mark Powley 

We hope these links and resources enable and inspire you to continue to live out the Breathe ethos

Many Thanks

The Breathe Team

Free like a squirrel – Guest Post by Gaby Doherty

September 25, 2015

Grey Squirrel

This morning I had the old song Be Bold Be Strong going through my head. I duly included it into family worship time, where we force and cajole and sometimes threaten our children to engage with God every morning (it’s not always that bad!).
The verse goes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, no longer to be subject to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) we went on into breakfast with several interruptions for “poo poo” from my potty training daughter.
The day continues, I lose one child at school but find him, I take an hour to drive a 35 minute journey and ignore a friends advice to avoid a certain road to my detriment. Finally I am blessed to be on a retreat day at a local Catholic Retreat Centre (kairos centre, Roehampton, awesome place especially the food).
I have a serious thing to think through about whether to continue to lead a certain course that has been beset by small issues and frustrations. Is it time to persevere or am I pushing a closed door?
When I arrive, there are two foxes playing in the garden. They leave when they see me. I then see a squirrel playing too. For some reason it really annoys me. Why should all these creatures get to play when I have to work?
But you’re not working, you’re on retreat, the still small voice reminds me. But still, the beautiful sunshine is too strong, too hot and it’s in my eyes! This is late September says the still small voice again you are blessed.
I wander inside to find a comfy seat and find a Catholic newspaper reminding me how we are ignoring the refugees and building walls against them. I feel guilty and sad and hand it back to God. Actually, I am not ignoring the refugee crisis, I am trying my hardest to spend less so that at the end of every month we can give out surplus to refugees. But the squirrel still irks me….
What if I truly am free? What if God doesn’t want me to feel guilty about refugees that I am already trying to help? What if I could be as free as that squirrel if I let God free me from guilt and shame? What if I stop feeling that I am not doing enough for others? What if I let God be God of my life and enjoy being a child, playing in the garden of a Heavenly Father who loves her? What if I stop forcing and pushing my kids to enjoy God and just enjoyed him?!? 
I think it’s time to let it go!
Gaby Doherty, wife of 1, Mum of 4, Daughter of one Heavenly Father.

Vagabonds and Tourists: reflections on the refugee crisis

September 25, 2015

Source: Vagabonds and Tourists: reflections on the refugee crisis

The most expensive building in the world

September 25, 2015

Source: The most expensive building in the world

Book Review – Drinking Molotov Cocktails With Gandhi by Mark Boyle

September 15, 2015



Mark Boyle is an interesting and pioneering character who took the big step of trying to ‘live without money’ for a year (and ended up doing it for 3 years). He shares his fascinating story here and has also written about it in a great book entitled ‘The Moneyless Man

Drinking Molotov Cocktails With Gandhi is his latest book which moves beyond his personal story into exploring the challenges and opportunities in challenging and exploring the systems by which our societies operate in.

The book attacks the very roots of the world’s crises and reframes our understanding of how to solve them. It is eloquent, visionary and beautifully wrought – a turning point in our journey towards an ecological society.

More than ever, people across the planet want deep and meaningful change. From those campaigning for social justice and ecological sustainability, to those who want to protect animals, indigenous cultures and those in poverty, millions are realising that another world is not only possible, but absolutely essential. Yet despite the creative and determined efforts of so many, our crises deepen. A politico-economic system, increasingly benefiting a small elite, has brought us to the brink of climate catastrophe, ransacking ecosystems and unravelling communities, forcing us into unhealthy ways of life that conflict with our deepest yearnings. The problem may no longer be a lack of will – but a dogmatic adherence to laws and cultural narratives designed to keep things just the way they are.

In this incendiary book, best-selling author Mark Boyle explores, with terrible beauty, the uncharted depths of these challenges, and how we might face them with dignity, great heart and potency. Drawing on inspiration from the natural world, he sets out the case for the rewilding of our political landscapes, calling for solidarity between reformers, revolutionaries and resisters for the creation of a world worth sustaining. His uncompromising and surprising conclusions could revolutionise the way we face the challenges of our time.

We may not agree with everything he writes, and for me personally I am also left with questions about the aspect of  our current systems that do encourage generosity and giving, genuine innovation for good and pragmatic realism in the midst of ideology, however I remain challenged, fascinated, inspired and hopeful about the issues that Mark is raising through his story and in this latest work. We may not all be able to live the way he did, or indeed subscribe to his world view, but his work does bring challenge and echoes a lot with the idea of Breathe on ‘Less Stuff, More Life and with the promise of life and also the ‘Less is More Manifesto’ that Brian Draper wrote as part of his great work ‘Less is More‘.

Zero Waste Week 7-13 Sept – Reuse

September 7, 2015


This week its Zero Waste Week and the theme of the week is to ‘reuse’

If you would like a bit of inspiration and like a good story then do read this great blog from the superb Jo Herbert from Tearfund’s Rhythms community who wrote a great post about her journey in reducing her waste (so far) which all stemmed from watching daytime TV!

The Article links to some great actions/first steps you can take and the Zero Waste Weeks website also has lots of great resources and ideas.

Get reusing and reducing and waste less!


Summer Series 4 – Blogs to inspire

August 24, 2015



We’ve reached our 4th and final part of our mini summer series. Our previous 3 weeks have focused on experiences, books and things to listen to/watch.

Here are 3 blogs that are inspiring and practical – Helping us to live more simply with less stuff and more life.

1. Jenny from the Block
Jenny writes brilliantly blending hope, honesty, humour and integrity. This is a great blog to read and follow. One of her latest blogs is very akin to the values and ethos of Breathe.  Ten positive lifestyle choices we don’t make (yet)

Jenny says “I’m a big fan of honest journeys, and being able to come clean about our limitations and failures. So here is my list of really worthwhile lifestyle changes to which I aspire (in relation to simplicity and green living) that we just don’t do right now.” As you will read, Jenny has and does do a lot and we love the openness in which she shares what she has done and also what she still hopes to be and do.

2. Simply being Mum 

A great blog by Joanne Wright who explores ‘Doing Family life well and doing it simply’. Sounds good. This is a blog for Mum’s , Dad’s and all of us really.  There’s lot’s of talk about food and reducing food waste.  But it’s also a blog about a journey toward a simpler family life. Joanne did this great interview with the Guardian. We like this blog post she wrote on thinking through decisions about spending/buying consciously

3. The Rubbish Diet

Set up by the inspirational Karen Cannard this initiative is fun, inspiring and filled with hope

Take the Rubbish Diet and slim your bin. Do your bit and save some cash at the same time!

Over three weeks, The Rubbish Diet will help you recycle more, shop better and make the most of what you have in your cupboards. We send you emails packed with top tips and advice to get you started. We’re here to answer your questions, share your successes and help you solve those annoying waste problems.

summer image 4

We hope you have had a good summer and hope that our summer series of blogs have been inspiring and helpful.


Farming with nature

August 24, 2015

The Earthbound Report

A few years ago the BBC showed a fascinating little documentary called A Farm for the Future. It argued that farming had got it wrong for thousands of years when it came to managing the soil, and that there were better techniques that used less energy and didn’t disturb the ground. It was a beautiful demonstration of farming that works with nature, and a neat introduction to agroforestry and permaculture.

A Farm for the Future was presented by Rebecca Hosking, and it was good to hear from her again in this short film from Permaculture Magazine. She explains how sheep are raised on her farm in ways that regenerate the earth and protect other species. It’s a great example of regenerative agriculture, an approach that restores and improves the earth rather than wearing it out and creating a dependency on energy and chemical inputs.

This film is part of…

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Summertime Series 3 – Listening

August 17, 2015


So far in our summertime series we have had recommendations for ‘experiences’ and also ‘reading’. This week its all about the listening and some top tips for playing a part in your soundtrack for the summer.


Nomad Podcast – An Interview with Alastair McIntosh 

It’s quite popular these days to refer to yourself as an activist. But Alastair McIntosh is the real thing. Not only is he a respected academic and writer, but he’s taken on major corporations, and won! Why? Because he believes that much of the modern world is threatening our sense of place, which is so vital for human flourishing. This is a real gem of an interview and highlights the profound importance of living with integrity, humility, passion and compassion. There is also a nice musical link at Radiohead’s Thom Yorke also features (ok by name only) in the interview.


Greenbelt Festival  

I’m really looking forward to some of the music at this year’s Greenbelt festival. There are lots of really good artists on the bill and I am especially looking forward to – Duke Special, This is the Kit, The Unthanks (although 2 nights off the ‘late slot’  from the Tearfund stand might be pushing my luck) just 3 of many highlights. Are you going to the festival or any others for that matter? What are going to be your highlights of the summer musically? 


Benjamin Blower – Kingdom vs Empire

Kingdom vs. Empire is fuelled by the guttural force of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, the tried-and-trusted troubadour’s guitar framed by clattering percussion and clamouring voices.  ‘Take Back the Space’ and ‘Trouble in the Empire’ are clanging calls to radical action and ‘Asleep for a Long, Long Time’ is a ballad to the discontent of 2011. Finally ‘Wake Up Dry Bones’ and ‘Repentance is the Revolution’ are rooted firmly in that forbidden power that emerges when everyday people engage in radical faith.

The accompanying book is an apocalyptic vision, boiled down to its purest form; a social critique of life and faith in 21st Century Britain. Reminiscent of Allen Ginsberg, Andrea Dworkin, The Situationists and the Old Testament Prophets, it is an unapologetic pummelling in the face that will be loved or hated.

A great album from this Birmingham based musician.

“This is a stunning looking and rich piece of work – thoughtful and thought-provoking, a real work of art in the broadest and best sense.” -Kester Brewin, Author of ‘The Complex Christ’

****** BONUS FEEL GOOD MOMENT AND SONG for the summer ********

The film says it all. What a song, what a great idea, check this out for a feel good summer song and initiative! A group of 1000 passionate and determined  Italians ask The Foo Fighters to come and play in their country/local area!

The Simple Guide To Conscious Spending Revisited

August 14, 2015

Simply Being Mum

As we in the UK march toward the Diamond Jubilee (I have red, white and blue cakes planned!) it reminded me of a post I wrote over a year ago now.

Why I am a bit like the Queen

The above post links to a Guest Post I wrote for So Much More Life. It has never been posted here, so I thought it might be nice to revisit it. Enjoy!

The Simple Guide To Conscious Spending – Originally published March 2011.

For me conscious spending is knowing where every penny goes, or at least every pound. It’s about value for money, spending on what matters to my family and me and not frittering away cash. It’s not about being frugal, it’s about eliminating waste – I don’t mind spending money but I hate wasting money.

Due to living our family life this way it has meant that much…

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