Thursday 21 November
The Salisbury Centre is a thriving community of people. We hold regular community events where newcomers to the Centre are very welcomed. Our community is composed of a wide diversity of people, some come occasionally and others have been involved for a number of years.
We welcome people from all faiths and backgrounds. Our intention is to be as inclusive as possible to all, inviting people from all genders, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, class and ages. The ground floor is wheelchair accessible and we are due to install full accessible toilets by year’s end.
Colin Abdul-Malik Orr has been a trustee of the Salisbury Centre for 2 years, and facilitator of the Friday evening Sufi Dhikr group for over 3 years. He is a student of the Sufi Shaykh, Shaykh Nazim. He works as a gardener, but has had previous careers as a bookseller and as a mental health worker. His home is in Fife, which is why he is rarely seen at the Salisbury Centre during the day!
My coming of age was during the cultural renaissance of Edinburgh in the late 70’s - I was privileged to be exposed to a plethora of Scottish writers and poets through my mother who, together with my father started Canongate Publishing in 1973. After studying English at London University I worked as a film maker before encountering an American Buddhist monk from the Thai Forest Tradition at the local Edinburgh Theravada meditation group. In 1984 I ordained into the Forest Tradition and stayed for thirteen years. During this time my appreciation of Christianity deepened and I was also equally influenced by Sufi teachings. After leaving the monastery I did a Humanistic and Psychodynamic Counselling course. During this time I started to teach meditation at the Salisbury Centre where I found an atmosphere conducive to the exploration and appreciation of a wide variety of spiritual traditions and holistic practices. Inspired by the writings of Jean Vanier I began working with adults with learning disabilities. Since becoming a father in 2001 I started work as a self-employed painter and decorator, plasterer and builder. In 2014 I was invited to become a Trustee of the Salisbury Centre.
I love the synchronous magic that happens between people when they come into the Salisbury Centre, whether it's for the first time or after decades of history with this place. You can often find me here meditating with a group of mindfulness practitioners, or wandering happily in the garden. It's been a joy to have contributed to the team of trustees over the last year in this time of change and growth within the Centre.
Colombian Born. Sociologist/community development worker, Reiki master and holistic therapist. Working with the board since 2014 .
I have lived in Edinburgh for nearly 40 years, as a mother bringing up my two children, co-director with my ex-husband Jimmy Boyle of the Gateway Exchange for 10 years in the 90s, running a therapy centre in Inverleith called the Mews for 20 years, as a therapist, counsellor, energy healer and more recently interfaith minister. The Salisbury Centre has a special place in my heart as a place for spiritual and personal growth, also for the creative arts. I was a trustee for 10 years and have recently stepped back into this role. I am a regular visitor to Findhorn and am committed to supporting a living connection between this long standing spiritual community and the Salisbury Centre - both are places of light, hope and inspiration for those following their inner calling, whose deepest desire is to lead a heart centred, nature based and ecologically sustainable way of life.
I moved to Edinburgh over 6 years ago when I decided to change my career. I am now a qualified health and wellbeing practitioner working in Social care and I have a private practice as a Medical herbalist and Naturopath. I am also currently studying for my masters degree in Core Process psychotherapist. I am deeply connected with the SC since my early days in Edinburgh and I am helping running the garden project.
Hi, I'm Alan. My gardening interests are more in permaculture and forest gardens, I'm keen to introduce much more edible stuff all around the garden and more native wildflowers. Currently I also teach spoon carving and whittling. I have also worked in forestry, habitat surveying and conservation. I like a bit of foraging and hope to make people more aware of the wild plants in the garden that are not weeds, but free food. Also hoping to do more laughter yoga, perhaps here in the garden.
My journey began in Canada, and has evolved across continents, with a focus on learning for sustainability and creating spaces and experiences which enhance individual and community well-being, nurturing a greater capacity to care for our planet. Since qualifying in community education at the University of Edinburgh, I have led several projects in the sustainability sector, complemented by my previous experience in social justice, conflict mediation, outdoor experiential learning and most recently, working with the Eden Project in Cornwall. I believe in making the most of what Mary Oliver called ‘this one wild and precious life’, so in my free time I follow my passions which include being in, on, or beside water, photography, wild spaces, natural health and adventuring with my partner and our dog.
As a teenager I knew I was looking for something, but it took me years to find out what I was looking for. A centre like the Salisbury Centre, offering many different ways of developing oneself, helped me on the way. I like meeting like-minded people and want to contribute to the Salisbury Centre's work: IT, bookkeeping, fixing things, I was a trustee for a while, any excuse to spend time in the centre. My personal practice is Tai Chi, Okinawa kobudo, transformational breath and many forms of meditation.
Rachel has worked in Edinburgh's voluntary sector for twenty years, engaging with individuals at various points in their lives, and in locations as varied as prisons and community gardens. Rachel lives life with two fantastic children. She finds time for creative activities of many kinds, particularly those with roots in nature. Some of her favourite things are hedges, good writing, and bright colours. Rachel is drawn to making connections between people and ideas. She values diversity and can't wait to learn about, and facilitate the unique contribution each person can make to the Salisbury Centre and the Living Lighter Project. Recently she read this quote in Isabella Tree's book 'Wilding' and found it both literally and metaphorically poignant: 'A single 400-year-old-oak...(is) a whole ecosystem of such creatures for which ten thousand 200-year-old oaks are no use at all. 'Oliver Rackham, Woodlands, 2006
“Awake, my dear. Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it into the vast fields of light and let it breathe.” This poem by Hafiz is my guiding post for the spaces and communities I hope to immerse myself in, and its exactly what echoed through my spirit the moment I first walked through The Salisbury Centre garden in the autumn of 2018. Since then, The Salisbury Centre has been integral to my own healing journey. Having moved to Edinburgh from Toronto one year ago to pursue a Master's of Law in Human Rights, I've since come to learn that in order to collectively challenge and transform the systems that oppress us, we owe it to ourselves/each other/the land on which we reside to nurture and tend to our spiritual hearts. With this ethos, I've found myself taking a welcome detour in life and working with The Salisbury Centre during my time in Edinburgh. Throughout my time here, I hope to contribute to all the ways in which it accessibly and holistically holds space for community building, inner healing, creative exploration and spiritual evolution. Just as how this beautiful space and its many communities have welcomed me with kind smiles and open hearts, I hope to welcome you just the same!
Originally from Switzerland, Virginia has been living in Edinburgh for the last three years. She started in her manager role at the Salisbury Centre in June 2019. Before that, her personal and professional journey got her involved in various fields of the Third Sector; social justice, climate change, social work and even contemporary arts. She is also currently a storytelling apprentice with the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh and works a few hours a week in early intervention with people with mental ill health with a City of Edinburgh Council project called SEASONS. She likes to approach life as Jane Goodall once expressed: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Olga is currently resident at the Salisbury Centre and helps to organise different Centre events, such as the Monday soup suppers and the seasonal festivals. Olga Bloemen was born in The Netherlands and moved to Scotland quite a few years ago to study Social Anthropology. Now, as a facilitator with Tripod, she supports groups and organisations working for social and ecological justice in Scotland and beyond. She’s interested in how we can support each other to act with hope in this time of climate emergency, and she’s been exploring the Work That Reconnects as a way of taking care of the inner dimension of activism. She is a passionate cook and loves bringing people together to share food and conversation. She tends to agree with Mary Oliver: “There is only one question: How to love this world.”
Over 30 volunteers are currently involved in the daily life of the Centre. They are crucial to running the daily meditations, upkeeping the garden, preparing the different community meals, organising events, supporting the administration work, running the library, looking after the plants and the building and so much more!
The Salisbury Centre is a thriving community and this section is due to be shortly updated with the profiles of those contributing to it so generously.