Being for Beginners

We want to succeed: to forge a career, to make friends, to pursue our interests and opportunities. To feel that life is in balance and we are growing.
But harsh realities can drain away our motivation and leave us feeling unsettled, even overwhelmed. Our long-term success and fulfilment depend upon our ability to perceive, understand and work skilfully with our thoughts and feelings. 

These workshops are an opportunity to reflect and develop greater clarity of mind; the language of emotional literacy; the ability to notice and work with patterns of thought and feeling. They are designed to increase our agency to make the changes we want to our patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour; the series offers frameworks for change, and practices that strengthen our wellbeing.

Being for Beginners was designed for Oxford researchers. Over 2000 participants have attended Being for Beginners workshops. Feedback has been extremely positive.


Content, Facilitator and Resources
The series draws upon several disciplines, particularly anthropology. Those with developed wellbeing practices find the workshops offer new ideas, perspectives and coherence. For those new to wellbeing practices this is a perfect opportunity to learn the ‘why and how’ of different approaches and to experience them in a completely safe setting which respects individuality.
The series is facilitated by Roddy Bray, an anthropologist interested in evolution, human needs and culture. Roddy is an experienced facilitator with a kind manner, who creates a calm and sensitive space ensuring anonymity. 

This series of six workshops is fully supported with online resources, including audio and video ‘catchup’. The workshops explore the links between experience, thought, emotion and reaction; the connection of body, mind and feelings; and our human social and ecological needs. They also provide a framework for how to change habits, including repetitive patterns of thought and feeling. 

Various approaches to meditation are used throughout the course to facilitate awareness and reflection – these techniques are fully guided and no previous experience of meditation is required. If you are a sceptic or have struggled in the past with meditation still come – Roddy takes a different approach, as one person said ‘it’s not what you expect!’

Those feeling emotionally vulnerable can also join the course – how deep you go is up to you, Roddy is careful to warn in advance of any potentially emotive experiences and always encourages practising frameworks on ‘light stuff’. Accompanying ‘signposting’ material provides pointers to professional support.
Roddy encourages keeping a journal during the series and to use it for reflection in each workshop. The first workshop can be treated as a stand-alone, so register and come to that if you are not sure if the whole series is for you.


1. Explore ideas and wellbeing practices in an accessible, safe, and non-prescriptive space
2. Facilitate personal growth through ideas, experience and reflection
3. Present a coherent and consistent approach to strengthening wellbeing and living skilfully
4. Share ideas from various disciplines and cultural traditions
5. Provide resources for further growth


The series is supported by online resources. These include full audio and video ‘catchup’, signposting and further links. Homework - trying out a practice - is suggested but not ‘mandatory’. Participants are very welcome to contact Roddy or stay on to chat after each session, or write via the feedback form, however Roddy is not a therapist and will point to professional services if personal matters are raised.


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