Sometimes words just won’t shift it

MAPS is a life changing 8 week course that provides space for people to learn tools to soothe the mind and enjoy playful meditative art making exercises to enter a state of flow. To drop into the expansive space of the heart, to live from the golden light that is within us all.

Why the name MAPS?

We chose the name MAPS for two reasons. Firstly, it stands for the three main components of the course:


Mindfulness is about being here now, in present moment awareness. Too often we are lost in the void of bouncing from thoughts about the future to worries about the past. We live in our thoughts, we are lost, detached from this moment. Preoccupied. Trapped in the cycle illustrated on page one: It’s a Trap!

Mindfulness is simply coming into the present moment with full awareness. Try it now!  Look up from these words, at the space around you, feel into your body, feel the soles of your feet, feel your breath in your body. Notice the sounds around you. Can you smell or taste anything? Be present in these sensations, in the now! This is mindfulness, this is being here now. This is meditation.

The trick is to make mindfulness a habit. This is why our MAPS course is 8 weeks long, so over the weeks you can grow and nurture a mindful way of being. Noticing when you drift into autopilot and miss moments of your life by switching off and tuning out. Noticing this is the key, with gentle love and kindness again and again, you bring your awareness back to the now.


Art is an amazing way to switch from ‘doing’ to mindful ‘being’ in the now. By art we don’t mean making masterpieces, to be placed in frames and judged by others. We mean playing with art materials to relax, unwind and let go. Just like we did as kids!  You don’t have to be ‘good’ at art at all, it’s not about that.  As adults our lives become all about doing things for a purpose, an end product, a goal. How heavy and limiting is that? It can constrain our sense of freedom and stifles our creative energy.  When we just do the things in life that we ‘have to do’ adulting becomes very hard. It’s all striving and a means to an end. We fall into the exhaustion funnel, we lose the joy and get lost in our thoughts.

Art flips all that. It opens up a new playful space within us. There’s no right or wrong, there’s no judgement, it’s just playing with art materials, in the present moment, to let whatever arrives be there. To give it space, to soften around it. To be with the difficult and the lovely, to allow it to be just as it is. How liberating!


We call it a practice because it’s always a work in progress. What I love most about the MAPS course is that every time we share the course, it’s the individuals in the group that bring the content to life. It’s absolutely amazing how when we are mindfully viewing art we bring so much of ourselves to the work. We project ourselves, our experiences and our expectations onto the artworks. Looking at art is like looking into a mirror – everyone sees the image in a way that reflects themselves back at them! It’s absolutely amazing to witness and be a part of!

About the author

Gemma Bowden and Pam Allen from The Owl and The Coconut

Gemma Bowden and Pam Allen from The Owl and The Coconut

Gemma Bowden
Director and MAPS Teacher

Gemma has a masters in Art Psychotherapy, a post grad in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is also a qualified Mindfulness teacher. She says “I absolutely love the combination of mindfulness and art we share at The Owl and The Coconut and am proud to do this work.:
Gemma used to work as a psychological therapist in the NHS helping adults to overcome symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. She now draws on much of this knowledge to underpin the mindful art classes and courses at The Owl and The Coconut.
She says “I love sharing mindful meditation and art making and am so proud when we receive feedback about how much it has helped someone to change their life, to quiet the mind and live from the heart. I also love wild swimming, my son Leo, my husband Nick and our dog Poppy.”

Pam Allen
Director and MAPS Teacher

Pam is a qualified Person-Centred Counsellor and has a Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She has over fifteen years of experience working in the NHS Mental Health Service as a therapist . She says “I love helping people to overcome problems and live their best lives. I love sharing Compassion Focussed meditations to help people experience self kindness. To let go of judgemental thoughts and to live in present moment awareness.”
“I wouldn't call myself an artist, but I love the creativity of the mindful art we share at The Owl and The Coconut. It's not at all about being good at art. It's just using art to play, take a break from the mind and connect to our inner wisdom.”
Outside of work Pam loves running and spending time with her young sons in nature.

Contact Details:
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Twitter: @owlandcoconut
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