Reflections from a fertile void. Summer, 2017.

I post updates on my work and rarely. I hope some, if not all, of this will be of interest and you’ll stay with me to the end.. less than a 1 minute read!!

IMG_5558Reflections from the Fertile Void …

In Gestalt theory the fertile void is the space between ‘that’s done’ and ‘what next?’An active pause; fertile ground for new growth, void in that it is a space of letting go, emptying out. In talking to some of my clients about this space, what it can be and how we engage -or not – with it, I realised I could do with more of it myself!

So I took most of August off – setting myself clear boundaries around this time. I’ve had a busy – wonderfully so – year so far and more busy-ness to come from September, so it felt right to label it as a space between. And in this space, I’ve taken time for long dog walks (combined with blackberry picking – now jam!), reading, running on Brighton seafront (as I prepare to run the 8k for Rise charity in October), some delicious evening swims in the Brighton sea, precious time with family and friends, including at a couple of fabulous festivals (Port Eliot and Beautiful Days), AND allowed time for moving at a different pace, time to think and reflect.

To reflect on ‘what’s done?’ … I’ve had some amazing, valuable, rewarding and often humbling opportunities and experiences throughout my work this year.

Pulsing at the heart is my work with individual clients. Coaching individuals, in Brighton (in my garden studio) and in London and further afield, is always inspiring, positively challenging and often surprising, encouraging my own learning and growth. It is a part of my work that fills me with a great sense of HOPE.

Alongside my work with individuals, I’ve been privileged to work with some outstanding organisations whose purposeful work and creativity ripples widely – Tate Plus, Charleston Trust, Icon Films, Dance Base, to name a few. Earlier this summer, as part of the Relational Dynamics 1st team, I co-delivered, with the awesome Deb Barnard, the RD1st coaching and leadership course to a selected group of artists, via the Artists Newsletter (a.N) network. This experience especially, left me feeling not only inspired but relieved – Phew! Here are some people who are focused on provoking positive change and transformation with creativity and determination.

On the subject of creativity…..  The Fertile Void features in a workshop and model co-designed with Lisa Westbury, co-founder of Generate. Lisa and I offered an alternative focus for election day on 8 June with our first full Creative Dynamics workshop, in partnership with The Platform in Brighton. This simple model, rooted in the Gestalt Cycle of Experience, provides a framework to better understand your relationship with creativity, to know your creative strengths and how to put them to work. We were utterly delighted by how the day went and can’t wait to run it again.

I was awed by how helpful it was to feel part of a group and to feel able and open to learn from everyone’s thoughts, approaches and experience. Thank you so very much. A thoughtful, well-paced, intriguing and energising experience.  I have come away with heart, energy, strategies and even a new network.”  Elly Hargreave, Founder and Director Intergenerational Care UK

Lisa has now moved to Bristol – a city renowned for its creativity and entrepreneurialism – so we’ve got a great opportunity to bring this workshop (as well as our work with teams and partnerships) to this vibrant city. We’ll be seeking partners to support this workshop, as well as participants. Please drop me a line to register your interest in Creative Dynamics work coming to Bristol.

An achievement this year was gaining a Certificate in Gestalt Group Work (at the Gestalt Centre London) – which I’m delighted to have worked hard for! Out of this work, I began to facilitate a regular peer supervision group for coaches in Brighton and nearby. These valued sessions will continue to be a fixture in the calendar and we are currently inviting new members to join. If you’re a coach, or working with a coaching approach and this support could be of value to you and your work, do get in touch with me for more information.

And  ‘what’s next?’…

Collaboration is at the heart of much of my work through the autumn.

An exciting (indeed, stretching, for us both and those we’ll work with hopefully!) collaboration is with body work practitioner Lindsay McLeod, comes in the form of a two day workshop (20 and 21 October) in Brighton at the beautiful new venue The Studio. Crafting the Personal in the Professional tackles the ever present (and possibly exhausted) notion of ‘work life balance’, addressing how we can each individually, and in relation with others, cultivate a new territory where the personal and the professional breathe easily together. What happens when we have access to all parts of ourselves to engage with creativity, idea generation, problem solving, relationships?  bargain EARLY BIRD rate for this event ends on 30th September, for more info and booking visit our Eventbrite page.

Rivca Rubin – fellow RD1st colleague, facilitator, trainer and friend – joins me in Brighton at the end of November as we co-deliver her workshop The Refinery. I’m hugely looking forward to this and will be posting further information and details in the near future.

And finally, a brand new RD1st course is emerging from the collaborative efforts of myself and RD1st team-mate, Isabel Mortimer. Together we are co-designing and will co-deliver the three day RD1st Advanced Coaching Course, Sharpening the Saw, this autumn.

There is so much to look forward to and so much to feel hopeful about. I’ll be attending the fantastic Meaning Conference once again, for inspiration, information, encouragement and, yes, for hope. The kind of hope Rebecca Solnit writes about in her book (top reading recommendation!), Hope in the Dark.

Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope. REBECCA SOLNITHope in the Dark

Now, I’m off to Yorkshire to celebrate, with many others, my mum’s 90 years of living. Rosemary Haughton, my mother, is a woman who has also held, shared and inspired hope. And done so with love.