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MEUS turn White Post Lane Orange

In early 2021, just as the world was opening up again, a good friend of mine Kevin – who owns A Balanced Life here on White Post Lane – told me they were building a third layer to his plot, and I liked the look of it. I knew that I wanted to be in Hackney Wick to continue with the next stage of my app project MEUS, and I needed a tangible space to be based in. The guys that owned it are locals that have been around here their whole lives and they loved what we were trying to do for men’s mental health, so they invited us to stick around and made it realistic financially. We’ve been here ever since, building out the office, the team, the app and making relationships.

Paint the Town Orange was a big part of that. With it being men’s mental health month, I thought we could collaborate with others to tap into the creativity, graffiti and street art this area is known for. It’s been incredible the last few months of getting it together, going out meeting people, hearing their stories about the area and how excited they are about us. There are many amazing charities that are focused on men’s mental health, and the devastation resulting from issues such as suicide. We’re not a mental health app in that regard, we’re signposting people to them, so at the event we’re donating money to the charity CALM, while also bringing people’s awareness to what it can do for them.

Over the years, through an open mind, I have experienced different things, going to different places and speaking to different people to really learn from those that have been before. It wasn’t a conscious thing or strategic, I just fell into my own way of doing things – that fitness side of life. I think for a long while now people have shared the value of keeping fit and healthy just from a physical standpoint. But then I’ve always felt that for mind, body and soul, there was more to movement that was powerful and necessary. Add two or three other things and you could be transformed.

So I started to think about this ‘move, connect, reflect’ method – which is all about moving, not just physically, but how you move towards something in life or you’re moving towards a challenge or whatever. Then we have ‘connect’; how important it is to connect with yourself, with others and your surroundings. That’s really, really important in terms of community. Then we added ‘reflect’ – how do we explore who and where we are, where we are going, how we’re getting there, who we are influenced by, who’s in our inner circle that we can lean into and feel uplifted by? Every day we’re encouraging men in particular with this, but we’re not male exclusive.

The MEUS app platform encourages men to ‘move, connect, reflect’ daily or as often as possible, but it’s really for everybody. If we strip back men, women, black, white, old, young, bigger, smaller, whatever, we’re all human beings, we’ve all been put on planet Earth for whatever reason. We’re trying to navigate our way through the judgments and where we’re meant to be going, who am I, and that kind of thing. It’s not a fitness or well-being app necessarily. We just ask people to be curious, to jump on every bit of curiosity and to have an open mind and just test it out. You could find yourself doing some Pilates followed by yoga, followed by breathwork, followed by HIIT, followed by visualization. Or you could have Tai Chi followed by Afrobeat, hip hop, finishing off with some mobility. There’s so much varied content on there that I really feel if people just have a bit of curiosity about them and jump in there they’ll find something to serve them well. Then as they change and adapt to whatever is going on for them on a daily basis, it will become a vital companion. What it starts off being today won’t necessarily be what it finishes off being to them in a year, two years, five years, ten years or whatever.

Beyond the app in our physical location on White Post Lane, we’ve already had ice baths here, breath sessions, gong baths, meditations. We’ve started to open up to the local community, but we want to do a lot more. We want spoken word nights and comedy nights here, too. Always centered around the main focus of what we’re about, which is positioning the conversation around men’s mental health in particular. There’s so much around this area to tap into, so many amazing people, amazing minds with their own stories to tell, and some really quirky characters. Ultimately teaching self-awareness is great, but what are you then going to do with that self-awareness? That’s a large part of the Paint the Town Orange project too – the knowledge that what I’ve got isn’t mine to keep. I mean, there’s certain elements of this project which I did think of, but ultimately, I am just reimagining what I’ve seen and heard locally and repackaging it up slightly. Because it’s all been done before, I’m not reinventing the wheel. In fact, we only keep what we have got by giving it away.

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