The Launch of Avalon Beach - The first MMM Location
Avalon Beach for anyone does not know it, is somewhat ‘cut off’ from the rest of the peninsula. Suburbs that are ‘beyond the bends’ – a stretch of curly winding road at the end of Newport Beach, divides us off from the rest of the northern beaches, giving us the name ‘the insular peninsula’. What that means is that we act and feel like a big country town… everyone knows everyone, you can’t go shopping without bumping into 10 soccer families and old school friends… and everyone has a story.
Just beyond North Avalon Beach, there is a location which has been the chosen sight of many recent suicides – (Bangalley Headland) - and our community is rocked everytime another suicide is reported.
We shudder at police and ambulance sirens and the sounds of helicopters hovering above the cliff face. Our community has been in crisis for some time, and it was time to stop ‘listening’ and start ‘acting’. I launched the MMM movement in response to this situation, in order to provide a level of support to the community which was free and completely open for everyone.
To launch the MMM beach location here, I was filled with trepidation, fear and worry that what I was doing would be seen as a little crazy, and I would be talked about. It is the first time in my life where I feel that I have truly ‘stuck my head out’ to be seen and be vulnerable in front of a community. I was relatively new here to Avalon Beach (even though I have lived here for eight years that still makes me a newcomer) – and many locals go back two or three generations.
What would people think of me and this idea? Would they like it? Would it affect my kids? Would I be rocking the boat for other people who were meditation teachers in the community? These were all questions that plagued me prior to actually launching the beach movement.
Finally, I made a decision that this was my true purpose and I just needed to trust my gut instinct and act. Through my affiliation with oneighty.org as a senior facilitator, to support men over 30’s in their ‘open up’ program – I started to meet men who would completely change my world and fully support me in my decision to launch this movement.
One man who completely believes in this vision and my ability to achieve the vision, is Mike Britton. From the very beginning of me talking about it as a concept, to sitting by my side on the very first beach ‘sit’, he has been a rock of support, mentorship, guidance and friendship. Together with Mike, we found a groundswell of support from community. We walked the pavement together, talking to community and business owners to spread the word about the MMM movement.
What began as just myself, Mike and a few amazing other guys from my ‘meditation for men’ course, proved to be the beginnings of a new tribe. A ‘beach crew’ we called it, a crew of people that would come together to sit in silence and appreciate inner connection, connection with nature and with each other.
I have been blessed to connect with such incredible people around me, and they know who they are, and there are truly too many to list on this page. However, Joao Ulian, James Mollison, James Daly, and Mike Shaw are a few of the men who deserve singling out, given that they have been there from the very beginning and continue to influence, impact and celebrate this movement alongside me.
I would like to thank the Avalon Surf Life Saving Club, and Ash Cardiff (President), together with Louise Billia, for the absolute unwavering support that we receive each week.
The Avalon Beach MMM Crew is so unique in that it is normally filled with 80% to 90% men. This is a result of the strong connections formed as a result of the ‘Meditation for Men’ courses held locally, as well as Mike Britton’s 22 Movement Beach sessions, held after the meditation weekly – which bond men together in a completely special way.
It is a very unique thing to witness, 20 -30 men all sitting together, in silence, on the beach, and embracing each other at the start and end of sessions. However, do not get me wrong – the MMM movement is for everyone, men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds.
Avalon Beach MMM sessions continue to change like the weather each week. Sometimes we have 10 people, sometimes 30. The mix and range of ages waivers weekly. It is a very special thing to have young teenagers sitting next to people who are 60-plus, sitting in meditation.
As a result of the continued success of Avalon Beach MMM beach crew, we had the confidence to start launching the movement to other locations. Our next target became clear - Narrabeen Beach!
And the rest is history.