Sunday, 3 March 2019

Team L4G SWHerts growing nicely

Many in SWHerts have heard of Link4Growth either through attending one of the many free events each month or through word of mouth. No surprise really as Link4Growth has been around in these parts since 2011.

Link4Growth has been through a few changes in those 8 years... in fact many would say it is hardly recognisable from those early years... in a good way I might add. Some have been surprised at the resilience of an organisation that isn't for profit... has never asked for funding, grants or sponsorship, and has made it thus far purely on the continued support of its members; those that think the Association's objectives are much needed in today's world.

If you haven't checked out some of the details about Link4Growth of late then please do take a look at the blog on the website... you can find that here.

Directly or indirectly Link4Growth SWHerts District now supports some 20+ events every month. These range from community coffees (anyone can attend - no cost) through diverse events such as discussion evenings, candle making, soap making, business events, peer support mentoring groups, men's sharing circles... and even Walk and Talk events in Cassiobury Park.

As you can imagine this now requires a team of people to deliver each month, where we all contribute and play our part... although to be honest it is no trouble as they are always fun and connecting with other local people provides a rich vein of support and nurturance to us all.

This month I am away for the first 3 weeks pretty much so the team has stepped up massively in the first quarter to learn more about how the organisation works and it is with deep gratitude that I am able to dart off to Budapest for a 7 day, 70 hour meditation marathon knowing that the team is more than capable of delivering this wide range of activities for the people in SWHerts.

Special mention to a few people... Harsha Moore, Ruth Lee, Victoria Hart, Steve Z., Silpi, Nicola Hainsworth and David Sawyer... the magnificent 7... for direct support of events... and many thanks also to Nish Thenuwara for keeping all the technology behind the scenes going too!

For an extensive list of events do check the Link4Growth District - SWHerts Facebook events page where most of what is happening is listed... Why not try an event out this month... you'll avoid bumping into me as well!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Learning from each other...

During the last couple of years in SWHerts we have been 'trialling' (I suppose you would call it) a new way for people to obtain the knowledge that they require without it costing them a stack of money.

Of course in reality with the skill and time you can pretty much find out everything you want to know these days on the Internet but it's just not the same as being in an interactive environment where you can 'experience' things, ask questions and move forward more rapidly.

The idea was based on sharing the knowledge that I have acquired which might be valuable to others where people can pay according to the value they believe they received.

I have been a life long learner and have been around the block a few times about a wide variety of things from business setup and growth, to using social media the way you need to use it, through to networking and many aspects of personal growth... you can see the extensive list of things here on a mini website to manage all these different 'Learning Sessions'.

The philosophy was... the knowledge is better off being shared with others than being stuck in my head where it is of no real value to others... and people can pick and choose which bits they wanted. There wasn't any price put on the training which meant that literally anyone could come, opening up the ability to learn to everyone not just those that could afford training...

What have we discovered from the experience?


This idea is a bit one dimensional. It relies on Chris Ogle doing the sessions... and in reality what would be great is to meet the other criteria listed below. Also, as it was "pay according to the value you received" it was often treated as "Free" and as many people stated this could have been seen as abuse of the 'real value' that was being received and of course the trainer. So...


  1. Continue the ability for people to pay if they want, using money as the medium of value exchange at a fixed price
  2. Open the concept up for people to offer a 'service or product' for the training that is agreed 'fair' exchange with the trainer
  3. Enables people with no hard cash to still get the knowledge they need
  4. Get people starting to think about what they have to offer, what skills they have themselves
  5. Begin to build self esteem and self value as people begin to witness the fact they have skills that people need AND VALUE!
  6. Encourage conversation about what we've done in the past, to unveil what we can offer, and the knowledge we have acquired
  7. Stimulate community and connecting, as we know begin to learn more about each other and who might need the skills we possess
  8. Look beyond money and develop different ways to give and receive value; reducing our dependency on money 
  9. Encourage more people to run sessions about what they know and join in with this 'knowledge sharing' idea
  10. Scaleable... engage more people to offer "learning sessions" if they are being VALUED for their knowledge

Simple example


  • A learning session for Painting and Drawing is being offered
  • Somebody would like to come but hasn't got the money £15
  • A discussion with the trainer ensues
  • The trainee is happy to cook a tin of lasagne, loves and is good at cooking, as an exchange for the learning session
  • The trainer is very busy, not much time for cooking and knows this lady cooks well
  • The exchange of VALUE is accepted
  • Win / Win

Conclusion


We're always looking to improve and develop what we are doing and the above which was suggested by Ruth Lee (an ex-school teacher who well understands the abuse of value and hidden work contribution) is now taking a more active role to flesh out the next stage for this exciting local community "knowledge sharing" initiative.




Thursday, 31 January 2019

Kundalini Yoga - a first experience

Having been working on my Hatha Yoga for approximately 2 years, and becoming more aware, you pick up that there are many forms of Yoga.

Kundalini Yoga I had heard of from a networking group I belong to, but as a novice you believe it's probably not a lot different really, how many forms of Yoga can there be?

Harsha (my connection) was considering beginning a Kundalini class in North Watford and after a few months she did just that. The classes have been running for a good few months now, each Wednesday with the exception of the 1st Wednesday.

So what was it like?


Well... it is a lot different. My first thoughts from the one experience is that Kundalini Yoga is about invoking and releasing an energy that resides coiled up at the base of the spine and by doing so taking that energy through the various chakras. The result of doing this is to achieve, through a variety of different sequences, positions, and breathing techniques a range of specific outcomes. Each sequence (set) of positions (and there are many many called Kriyas) cover things like Love, Anxiety, and creativity... but there are hundreds of them.

It was quite hard work


Harsha took us through an active Kundalinu Kriya to awaken the 10 bodies (correct me if I am wrong about this Harsha... there is a lot to Kriyas).

Basically we went through a series of positions with breathing being an integral part of the position or movement in the position. "Breath of fire" was indelibly imprinted on my memory last night... 

There are a lot of things I recognised in the Kundalini practice of course, after all both Kundalini and Hatha are both Yoga practices... Yoga positions apply to both types but there are huge variations on how Yoga is delivered these days... 

Hot Yoga, Yoga for fitness (more like Pilates), chair Yoga and many more.

Opening up your awareness


I think last night I got a new vision of Yoga in that it can be applied in a variety of different ways on our own journey and is a vast subject. You only have to take a look at this Wikipedia Article to get a sense of where this has all come from over the centuries, and the wisdom and enlightenment that has both created it, and been created through it.

Final words...


As a very curious person which lead me to 'try out' Hatha Yoga... and a wide network of people that give us the opportunity to be curious in a wide variety of ways... Harsha has opened up a vast next step space in discovering more of the mysteries of spirituality through Yoga... as they say... the more we know the more we realise we don't know... 

My journey continues unabated...


Contact

If you would like to know more about Kundalini Yoga then use the details below to contact Harsha

Harsha's phone number : 07930 968788
Harsha's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/harsha.moore





Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The dichotomy of community work...

I have spent the last 7 years working in the local Watford and South West Herts community.

Most of this has been gathering information and sharing stories about all the good things that go on in our communities, often by very humble people, who shy away from taking credit for the work they do.

Most of us applaud the work these people undertake... many people give generously when asked and take a keen interest on developments, often telling others how amazing they are and constantly cheering them on.

The success that ensues, often fuelled by the passion, enthusiasm and industriousness leads to things escalating quite quickly... before long what we have is a full time endeavour... enough for perhaps 2 or 3 people.

And here is where the dichotomy begins to raise its head...

  • Everyone agrees that the cause is a good one, even essential
  • Everyone agrees that the outcomes are good for the recipients
  • Many people feel privileged that they are presented with an opportunity to make a difference in some small way... whatever works for them

However...

Some people are not always best pleased at the new 'project' on the block... why so?
  • Some feel that this new thing is in competition with their project and dilutes their activity
  • Some believe that this new project will work better if assimilated into their activity and seek to merge / take control
  • Others see it as a bit rebellious and therefore actively diss the project
  • Surreptitious closure or control... Sometimes money in the form of grants or support is offered as a subtle means to take financial control. At a later date when the organisation begins to depend on this money its is withdrawn, or even the threat of a reduction can amount to a financial coup

Local Authorities provide less and less services...

As our communities evolve there is less and less money available through local authorities to handle many of the activities that historically have been funded in this way. Looking at the local council finances (Publicly available) a lot of spending is on providing temporary accommodation for those in need, in a housing market that has got out of control. Low paid work, temporary jobs and zero contract hours further exacerbate issues but it is unlikely to improve going forward.

The community has responded

More and more local initiatives have sprung up such as Food Banks, Time banking, People collecting or trying to provide services for the homeless, the vulnerable, those without work and can't make ends meet, and the disabled... actually the list goes on... these are people in our community doing amazing work that used to be handled by the council. Food banks (which are provided via community donations) are now ironically seen as part of the welfare state and yet little if any money is provided via the state. 

One of the biggest headaches is...  

It is still not easy to empower people to volunteer. Legislation, rules, regulations, protection for those being 'served' and those undertaking projects makes it nigh on impossible to build a team. All people often want to do is provide a willing pair of hands, maybe help out in a way that works for them, but the bureaucracy is like wading through treacle... quite simply it becomes too difficult. 

So the work that is needed is often distributed amongst a hugely overworked small group of passionate people. These 'community angels' struggle on, often financially detrimental to themselves as this is  altruistic work.

And herein lies our greatest challenge. How can these people be supported? In any other organisation they would be considered as the cornerstone or backbone as they deliver highly vocational roles... 
  1. Doing difficult work
  2. Pouring their heart and soul into it
  3. Working unsocial and often on call 24/7
  4. Selfless 
  5. Empathetic and heart centred delivery 
But in our society... we welcome what they do, and apart from the applause from the sidelines and cheering on, they are often left forgotten... the recipients receiving the vast majority of the attention.

Rewarding those taking on real Human challenges


Many doing such work are persuaded to take up charity status... that makes it easier to raise money! ... and once more we are slowly dragged towards the rules, regulations and control of the charity sector.

Where we raise money (simplest way to guilt trip people into making a social contribution) to pay for a good cause... and yet... much of the money is siphoned off not to provide for the much needed service but to pay salaries and other overheads... effectively legalised begging to pay for the "business like" charity sector... surely there is a better way?

Consider this... how many jobs are now provided in the charity sector that are funded purely by contributions from private individuals or private companies in some shape or form?

Is there another way?


These community angels are not people looking to make a fortune and look good. Often they are humble people who derive real satisfaction from helping others less fortunate than themselves.

What they 'need' is "enough" to carry on doing the great work they are doing and lets face it most of us don't want to do what they are doing and are more than grateful that they are doing it!

No empires, no massive salaries, not out to prove they are better or more clever than anyone else... just passionate to do their bit to ease the suffering of people who are on the edge of society.

You would think that there might be a fund set up to encourage people with this kind of thinking; which is desperately required in today's society.  Such a fund might empower those that want to answer their calling to do so without the threat of financial devastation...  How many human issues might we alleviate with this or a similar approach.

Final Words


The reality is we can do what we like. We can set up community organisations outside the remit of Companies or Charities. There are 10's of thousands of associations out there doing "one thing or another" to solve a human need or bring people together. These "people led initiatives" get people talking, boost self worth and increase the feeling of belonging... delivering so much more to the community than just the problem which is being solved.





Thursday, 3 January 2019

Learning Sessions to bring people together

Back in 2017 in South West Herts we began to develop the idea of Learning new things in a fun and interactive environment on the basis of "pay according to the value that you received".

Some 16 months later on the "Learning Sessions" have evolved. During this time we have enhanced the range of Learning Sessions, Opened up the sessions so that others can begin delivering them and towards the end of 2018 introduced more practical based sessions with Candle making taking the lead.

In 2019 we are going to further extend the practical craft sessions with Soap making, Art and also Colouring-in initially. January will see 2 sessions of each being offered one in the daytime and one in the evening (for those at work in the daytime). Practical sessions will mainly be hosted on Tuesdays... both for daytime and evening.

Other practical sessions coming up will be Breathing strategies (don't stop!), an introduction to Energy Healing, Mindfulness and NLP for everyday use. In the pipeline are also SEO (search engine optimisation) and CV / LinkedIn profile tips and tricks.

Ruth Lee has agreed to help develop the Education side of what we are doing in SWHerts and with Link4Skills, bringing her teaching and creative skills to the party! Ruth believes as I do that learning should be (1) Fun, (2) Engaging, and (3) Develop our creativity and problem solving skills.

We also have coming up a brand new newsletter for SWHertsSkills which will be once per month. So if you would like to be involved in Learning sessions either as a Venue, hosting a session on your area of expertise or as someone keen to grow your knowledge then please click this link to be added to the newsletter list...

Candle Making


We have now run some 6 of these sessions covering all different elements of candle making. We've never had so much fun... everyone goes away with a candle or two.

Dipping candles, moulds, home made moulds and a full explanation of the different types of wax, fragrances and dyes.


Soap Making


In this Learning Session we will be making cold fragranced soap. After we have made the soap it needs to rest for 12 hours or so when it will be ready to cut. We will be sharing how you can create your own soap recipes, where to get supplies of the ingredients and equipment needed (not much). All participants will receive Soap once cured.


Colouring In


"Colouring in" is known for it's meditative qualities and calming the mind. We will be providing a range of different designs to use on the "Learning Session" and of course books, should you want to buy and take home with you. Please bring your own pencils for colouring. If you would like to make your own outlines that can be done on the workshop too.


Art


For many of us Art, painting, sketching is something we left behind a very long time ago. But with a little guidance and some inspiration you might just enjoy getting back in touch with your creativity.

Simple painting materials provided but if you have your own canvas, and / or paints them bring them along.

Final words...


We are never too old or too wise to learn new things... make 2019 the year you pick us some new skills... or if you have skills help others enjoy what you can already do!