Blue Skies Fellowship

Mission Statement

Blue Skies Fellowship provides visitors with a community of like minded people who are seeking a simpler life with less focus on wealth and material possessions and more focus on finding a rewarding life through self reflection and through serving others. Through our workshops and retreats you will learn to:

  • Live a simpler life that is filled with more acceptance of your journey. We often can turn away from our problems and turn instead to the trappings of modern life such as a bigger house, a fancy car, expensive holidays or turn to substance abuse to numb the pain.
  • Find greater rewards through serving others rather than relying on external rewards such as material possessions and monetary wealth. In Western society we are often measured by what we have in terms of our job status, professional status, material possessions. The more we have, the higher status we have - the harder it can be to hold onto to it all! You will find that doing simple things that support, help and bring joy to others can bring you far greater rewards than that other life.
  • Create stillness within, allowing you to reflect on what is important in your life. Some people call this prayer, others meditation. It is also known as contemplation where the meaning is "resting in God". Here God can mean whatever you want it to mean - the life force, creator of the universe, a higher being. All the great mystics, from Buddha to Jesus emphasised the need to enter the silence in order to find clarity and to be closer to your true self. Within ourselves we have the answer to a valued life. Through silence and stillness comes clarity.
  • Support others on their journey. By doing so we selflessly honour not only the other person but also ourselves.
  • Respect that life is perfect as it is thus allowing us to protect and honour others and our environment.
  • Understand that life's true purpose is to serve others with love, respect and humility. Imagine if we all lived a life where the welfare of others was utmost in our minds. We would live in a more compassionate, caring and loving world.
  • Make sure you have fun - laughing, singing, dancing, sharing, being human.

Vision Statement

Blue Skies Fellowship visions a world where we learn to value our own life by giving to others with humility. This world operates at a slower pace where people value periods of silence and stillness to reflect on life's true purpose and where we live a more simpler life.

Our History

Blue Skies Fellowship Incorporated, is a not-for-profit organisation formed by Mark Lockyer, a mental health social worker, living and practising near Augusta in the Margaret River Region of Western Australia. Mark is an accredited mental health professional with Medicare Australia and a full member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. Mark has 20 years experience as a social worker in a variety of settings including the justice department, health, child protection, education and in private practice as a counsellor.

For a while now Mark has believed there must be a better way of dealing with life's stresses. He has wanted to offer a place of sanctuary for those who seek a different way of living. A life that removes itself from the need to accumulate money, possessions, things 'out there' in order to seek an identity. There are movements already formed that advocate a slower paced life where that life is lived more simply. This does not mean a life of poverty but it does mean a life lived where the emphasis is less on accumulating possessions and financial wealth in order to feel secure.

Blue Skies Fellowship - Sanctuary

Sanctuary - A place to go to collect your thoughts, re-evaluate life, in a safe, supportive, non-judgemental, non-pressured, calm, back to nature, simplistic environment.

Blue Skies Sanctuary - A retreat for the soul

Mark Lockyer

Mark's amazing visit to Assisi ....

On a recent visit to Assisi in Italy, Mark had a profound spiritual experience. Let's set the scene. Mark and his wife Julie had not been to Europe before so they set out on a whirl wind tour of London, France, Italy and Greece in July and August of 2015. It was a spontaneous type holiday in that they hired a car in France and booked many of their destinations a day or 2 before actually arriving. Whilst travelling from Florence to Rome they decided to "pop into" Assisi on the way.

The weather was very hot and from Mark's perspective Assisi was going to be a quick stop over on their way to Rome. So they parked the car and tried to find the places of interest such as where Saint Francis of Assisi lived. Mark knew a little about Saint Francis but it had not ignited a lot of interest, mainly because of his scant knowledge.

Blue Skies Fellowship - Assisi
Assisi in Umbria, Italy

Mark began to walk down the hill towards the Cathedral where Saint Francis was baptised. It is worth noting Mark is not religious and so was viewing these religious sites for their historical interest. At one point, near the Cathedral, Mark became overwhelmed with positive emotion and tears began to stream down his face. He later realised that the point where this experience occurred was directly above where Saint Francis lived as a child! This emotional experience was instant. It was a euphoric.

He kept walking and the closer he got to the Cathedral the more the emotion flowed. He told Julie and she said to go with it. It got to the point where he could not see with so many tears flowing. It was a feeling of overwhelming joy.

Blue Skies Fellowship - Mark in Assisi
Mark standing outside the home where
Saint Francis lived as a child.

Mark felt compelled to venture on. He visited where Saint Francis lived as a child and then entered the Cathedral where Saint Francis was baptised. He saw the statue of Saint Francis and was further overwhelmed to the point he thought he was going to collapse. He sought refuge at the rear of the cathedral where he sat and reflected.

It was here Saint Francis spoke to him. Yes they had a conversation!

Saint Francis said that he knew Mark had a battle with orthodoxy - the system, the way emotional distress is treated so unfairly in our society (mental illness, weakness etc). The need for people to fit into moulds. To be consumerists. To temper individualism. The list is endless.

Saint Francis said to Mark he had similar issues in his time in that he did not agree with the image of the church as a wealthy, god fearing, elitist, fearful place. Saint Francis believed in a simple life of helping others as espoused by Jesus. Remember Mark did not know this history of Saint Francis.

Saint Francis said Mark must build the retreat Mark had been dreaming of for some time and in doing so support others. Mark was realising through this meeting with Saint Francis in spirit, that the philosophy of the retreat needed to focus on simplicity - getting back to basics and respecting individuals regardless of their circumstance.

Since arriving back in Australia, Mark has been pondering how to get his retreat off the ground. Sometimes to the point of frustration! Saint Francis doesn't give too many overt, emotional outpourings like the one Mark had in Assisi! But Saint Francis does, as does the universe, give much guidance and signs to those who are prepared to believe in a simpler, quieter life with many periods of self reflection and stillness where clarity is found.

From this experience Mark now knows a great deal about Saint Francis! Many books later Mark knows Saint Francis very well!

Blue Skies Fellowship - The Shining Light
Cathedral of Saint Rufinus where
Saint Francis was baptised.
Note the amazing light on the rose!

Basically Saint Francis espouses getting back to basics. Saint Francis was from a wealthy background but gave it all away to live life simply. He found joy in helping others. He lived nearly 900 years ago but his message lives on. For those who value the environment and protecting animals, Saint Francis is seen as the patron saint of the environment.

The biggest impact on Mark from his experience in Assisi, is to live life simply. He doesn't have to run a retreat and be fabulously wealthy and famous! If this happens so be it! The main thing is to get back to basics. To be in the NOW, to value who we are, to value simplicity, to value going within through silence and reflection to find meaning and clarity in life. It's that simple.

He doesn't wear a Friar's robe and he's not Catholic - just a nice guy who believes in the value of humanity at a simple, everyday level. No frills, no whistles.

Mark does believe in miracles so he's not an atheist. He believes in spirituality which can be interpreted many ways. Some people interpret it through their religious practices, some people are Christians, some people describe it through their experiences in life. In science, quantum physics goes someway to explaining the ability of objects to change form. Einstein's theory of relativity, where energy does not die but is changed, also explains this connectedness we have between all matter in the universe. There does seem to be consensus on energy being related and never 'dying' no matter what form it takes.

We are all connected somehow. For example, when we die our body changes form as we know, but the energy that formed it and kept it alive, that energy does not die it simply changes to other forms of energy (dust, calcium, food for organisms etc). This change in energy and form can also be exampled through the striking of a match. When we strike a match and produce a flame, many exchanges of energy happen. The matchstick and match box, through friction, produces a flame that in turn produces heat. When the flame and heat has gone that same energy is changed to other forms of energy (warming the air, producing carbon on the wood, causing atoms to vibrate faster etc). The energy does not die.

So it is with us. We are not islands or silos operating in isolation. We are connected in many ways. At a physical level it is easy to see how. We can see and interact with each other easily. But perhaps our connectivity goes deeper. Miracles do happen. Connecting with other like minded people who share similar values can create positive energies for us all that can benefit our lives in many ways.

To drop into being means to recognise your interconnectedness with all life, and with being itself. Your very nature is being part of larger and larger spheres of wholeness. Jon Kabat-Zinn

Living a more simple life, taking time to be in silence and stillness each day, sharing life with other like minded souls can enrich our lives in so many ways. This is where building community helps. Mark aims to do this through the sanctuary retreats and through the Sunday fellowship meetings.

Blue Skies Fellowship offers a collection of people who want to live more simply with an emphasis of giving back to others, where able. This is also known as serving others and when it is done with humility, it is always done honouring the person we serve regardless of the circumstances. Serving can be simply giving someone a friendly smile, a listening ear. It can be 'value adding' in our every day work and activities. It's looking out for others.

Blue Skies Fellowship - Serving Others

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.

Attributed to Princess Diana

Taking time out in silence and stillness gives clarity to our true purpose in life. Some people can avoid stillness to the point that other matters in life take over such as work and caring for others, but to the point of becoming burnt out. If we serve others to the extent of ignoring ourselves, is not healthy. Going within to find purpose helps others and ourselves. Many great teachers throughout history have advocated the benefits of self-reflection, self-awareness:

Jesus said...
"The kingdom of God is within you"
Einstein said...
"With deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people"
Rumi said...
"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself".
Dalai Lama said ...
"Spend some time alone everyday"

In summary, Blue Skies Fellowship offers you ASAS:

  • A community of caring, where like minded people enjoy a simpler, quieter life whilst enjoying the present moment more than anything
  • Silence and stillness through contemplation to help you find your true purpose in life
  • A way to serve others. Knowing that serving others more than yourself is life's greatest reward.
  • Simpleness. Learning that living a simpler life ultimately allows you more freedom, clarity and joy in life.

Blue Skies Fellowship - Finding Purpose

Interested? Then contact Mark today. He would love to hear from you!

Link to our contact page

Last updated Oct 2015