Helena Clayton Newsletter - View this email in your browser
Leadership Developer • Facilitator • Writer
Welcome to the January 2020 Newsletter

In January 2020, I am slowly waking up to the fact that my Love and Leadership research and writing is no longer a side project, squeezed in around more-than-full-time work. The theme of love and the role that it could or should play in our organisations has really seemed to hit a chord. 

In September,
my research won the Roffey Park Research Competition 2019 which also resulted in and soon-to-be-published in HR Magazine.  I ran a one day workshop on Organisation Development and Love as part of the OD Network Europe calendar of events as well as a workshop as part of the Meaning Conference Fringe. 
And these have led to many more speaking and workshop opportunities in the first half of 2020, as well as the commitment to this Newsletter. 

There's plenty more coming in 2020 - new research, for example - and this Newsletter shares a little of what I'm researching, learning, thinking and writing about, as well as details of upcoming events I'm running or speaking at.

I hope you enjoy it and find stimulation and interest here. I'm always up for hearing about other people who are exploring similar territory.  And I'd love it if you could share this Newsletter with others who might like it.

With love
Helena x

  • 'You can't be a hurried person and a loving person' someone once said and so I explore this for myself as I know being hurried seriously gets in the way of me being loving
  • An emerging interest in the links between love and climate change
  • A recommneded read which gives a new and fascinating take on what love is
  • Details of upcoming events and workshops in 2020
For more information please see below or visit my website. If you have any questions please do get in touch.
'You can't be a hurried person and a loving person'
I first came across this phrase when a friend sent me a podcast from a US pastor, John Mark Comer, and it really landed with me.  It's a bold statement, isn't it?  But it's been an interesting jumping off point for me to explore addiction, the notion of 'deep time' and how we have create and perpetuated work systems that keep us in the 'hurry trap'.

Here's the blog piece and I'd love to know your thoughts on this subject...
Love and climate change
Last year, I started to get involved with Extinction Rebellion (XR). This was partly because my husband became deeply immersed in it, but also because I started to read more widely about the impact of climate change. David Wallace Well's book, Uninhabitable Earth, was particularly helpful for me, having heard him being interviewed early last year. Once I saw what he saw, I couldn't look away. I also kept seeing links to love:

First, XR tend to use 'love & rage' in their email signatures which got me exploring this link for myself. So I now talk about Jung's Warrior archetype and how putting in clear boundaries and saying a strong NO for ourselves is a form of love. I talk about the Goddess Kali, so often associated with destruction but also a symbol of deep nurturing. Exploring rage and anger has helped me explore love.

Also, many people who have instigated revolutionary change say that love is at the heart of all revolutions. The author bell hooks is clear on this as is the Sikh activist Valarie Kaur, whose powerful TED Talk I included in the December Newsletter.

And at a weekend in February spent with the quiet revolutionary and peace pilgrim Satish Kumar, I heard time and again from him that to heal our world we have to love our world. The fierce action required to protect and save something will have its origins in love, otherwise we can easily give up when we should keep going.

So I was really pleased to be invited to talk at #OneGreenGov on 22nd January. This event brings together a range of speakers all interested in exploring how the public sector could deal with / respond to / tackle climate change. My session explores the role that love can play and I'm enjoying doing the prep and the thinking for it. I'll write up the day and may make Love and Climate Change my main piece for the February Newsletter.

I think there are still tickets available if you're interested - it's open to all.
A recommended read
Barbara Fredrickson's Love 2.0

I read this book over the summer while staying in a shepherd's hut at the coast in South Wales and found things that resonated with me on every page. It lit me up.

A pioneer in the Positive Psychology movement, Barbara Fredrickson is a biologist/scientist by training and has been researching the physiology of emotions for many years. She is also actively interested in the Buddhist practice of Metta Bhavana, or Loving Kindness, and here she brings many of these threads together to offer a new way of understanding love.

For Fredrickson, love is momentary. It isn't something that abides or underpins anything. It has no shelf life. Rather it's an 'upwelling… a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviours... that brings mutual care'.

She names love as ‘positivity resonance’ and it's defined by three things: a shared positive emotion, a synchrony of actions and biochemistry and a feeling of mutual care. When those things happen at the same time, love exists and 'for a moment, you each become something larger than yourself'.

It's interesting to see love presented as something that simply can't and doesn't happen until there's someone else there with you. Love, Fredrickson says, is usually understood as a largely private event, belonging to the person who feels it. It’s ‘my’ love. But, she says, love belongs to all parties involved - a shared thing - because it’s something that happens between people, it belongs to pairs of people or groups of people. It resides within connections. It's purely relational and momentary.

At some level, I found the book problematic as I'm not entirely sure that I do see love as only 'that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being'. And it sometimes felt that that the two parts of the book - the scientific evidence and the Buddhist practices - didn't always thread together well. But it's also clear to me that this is one way - and a very important way - of extending our understanding of love. I found myself feeling buoyed up and exhilarated at the possibilities that the book offers by way of understanding but also thinking about how we might cultivate the conditions for these moments to arise between us. The book is also very compelling in showing just how much the body knows without us knowing. And it's great in suggesting how we can build small and regular practices that clearly make a huge difference.

So it's a great read. And I'll definitely be reading it again as it'll be a core resource for an experiential workshop on love that I'm currently developing.

Barbara Fredrickson's Love 2.0
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Upcoming Events
For full details on both these events and all other upcoming events, articles/interviews please visit my website by clicking here...
In 2020, I have several events and workshops coming up with dates and details to follow soon. These include:
Let's Connect
If the idea of love in organisations interests you (or more interestingly if you think that love doesn't have a place in organisations...) come and explore it with me. You could hold a Learning Lunch session for your team on the role love might play in leadership - or run my 'Leading from Love' survey in your organisation. You might welcome a 1:1 session to explore your own relationship with love. Or take part in one of my Action Inquiry groups, exploring love in the workplace. Whatever, please do get in touch as I'd welcome the chance to explore this with you further.

Beyond that my leadership development work is all about conversations and relationships and building programmes that really open partcipants eyes to new ways of seeing and working. Whether you're interested in finding out more about that, want some good books recommendations, or can share your own experiences of developing leadership, it would be good to hear from you. I'm social too so you can follow me on
Twitter and LinkedIn or connect via email. Or call me of course, whichever suits. I'd love to be in touch with you because who knows where a connection might lead.

Helena x

Email: helena@helenaclayton.co.uk
Call: 07771 358 881
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