Helena Clayton Newsletter - View this email in your browser
Leadership Developer • Coach & Facilitator • Writer

Welcome to the July 2022 Newsletter

Hello lovely people and welcome to what's on offer in July... a shorter-than-usual offering this time...

  • a podcast episode that's a bit different this month - talking with organisational change and transformation specialist Tory Strethill-Wright about about the yin-and-yang of work, and linking Org Design and Org Development with love
  • a reminder of my next Love Lab - a personal exploration of love with plenty of approaches to take away and try in your own working context 
  • 4 excellent books to recommend...as well as a glorious training venue 
  • and scroll to the bottom for the work that's really been a delight for me this month - some of the boldest and  most impactful development I've done in a long time. 
When you read this, we'll be past the solstice and the nights will be drawing in.  On one hand, I'm not ready for that - feels way too early.  And then I remember that we're losing light while also gaining darkness, and I feel more at ease, as I do also love the dark. 
  • Had a week off spent looking after Dom, who's recovering from a knee replacement.  We knew the routine and what to expect, after his broken hip only 6 months ago. Again it was a real privilege to be genuinely useful, and to be fully in service to a man who is usually so very self sufficient.  Living with a man in constant pain, as he has been for at least the last 2 years, is also an important teacher for me. These times have definitely brought us closer.
  • Another week off, but this time to start Part 2 of my Systemic Constellations training with Ed Rowland and The Whole Partnership. We were at Hawkwood College - see below - my first time there - and it was an absolute treat.  Plenty of gifts in the teaching and the practice sessions - but also around the edges and especially in a naked-river-swimming-Solstice-ritual with three of the women. Gorgeous fun!
  • Also started some Qi Gong classes.  I've known for ages (years and years)  that my body really needs an energy practice like this and, being such a slow learner, it's taken me until now to do something about.  When I practice, my whole system says thank you. 
  • Oh, and the artist Paula Rego died.  My all-time favourite, since I was in my 20's and flicking through my photos and a book from her exhibition in London this year reminded me of the power of her work. We won't see her like again. 
  • I've also submitted an application for am MA in Writing Poetry.  Gulp.  It's almost certainly a year too early for me to be doing that - I'm a newbie and my poems are pretty basic - and as the course is already full, it seems like the year will be given to me.  But putting in the application has firmed up a commitment to my creativity and that feels very good indeed. 
OK, so stay well, keep doing things you love - things that bring you peace and balance - and I'll be back in August. 

Much love in the meantime.

Helena x

I'd love to hear from you, by the way.  You can email me using this link.  I read everything, and always reply.  And if you received this email from a friend, and would like to subscribe, please go here.

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Podcast - Organisation Design & Development

A mutual friend (thank you Jo!) introduced me to Tory Strethill-Wright, an organisational change and transformation specialist.  Not only because we worked in similar areas but because she was also interested in love, and in finding ways to connect love and the the workplace.

So it didn't take us long to find colleagues and projects in common.  And when she said she was making the love the focus of her Masters in People and Organisational Development, it made complete sense for us to turn one of our conversations into a podcast episode. 

In her Masters, and in this podcast, Tory explores the nature of Organisation Design and Development, looking at the yin and the yang aspects of both and finding the connections to love.  And we also dive into whether organisations can ever hope to help heal our childhood wounds/trauma, or whether they only can exacerbate them.

You can listen to it here - Leading from Love - Episode 11

And I can really recommend that Masters programme. The good folks at Mayvin really know how to do great learning at that level. 

If you like the podcast, please do share with other podcast listeners you might know - and let them know they can subscribe via Apple or Spotify.  As can you, of course :-) 

Back in November 2020, I did an online poetry workshop with the eco-poet Helen Moore.  It was run via Hawkwood, Centre for Future Thinking.  I only knew about that place by name but my week there this month was wonderful.

What a place.  The location, in Stroud, is a perfect natural setting of woods and streams.  The food - much of it grown on their land - was amazing, the people there generous and kind. 

So if you're looking for some interesting courses, or a place to run a residential programme, or somewhere to have a writing retreat, you might fancy taking a look. I really hope to head back there soon. 
Love Lab 2
A reminder that I'm running another Love Lab, on Friday 8 July between 9 and 11am.  Just enough time to sign up!

A gathering of great people already, all interested in finding small-but-significant ways that we can bring more love into our workplaces.

When I'm asked if that's possible I say it is.  But generally only by starting small.  And also a little bit under cover.  This workshop will offer you some small under-cover practices for yourself - that you can also adapt and take back into your organisation to support more connections to love, empathy, compassion ...

Details and sign up is here.  And if you felt you could share it on your social networks, that would be brilliant - thank you!
Of Mutability, Jo Shapcott

Of Mutability

​Too many of the best cells in my body
are itching, feeling jagged, turning raw
in this spring chill. It’s two thousand and four
and I don’t know a soul who doesn’t feel small
among the numbers. Razor small.

​​Look down these days to see your feet
mistrust the pavement and your blood tests
turn the doctor’s expression grave.
Look up to catch eclipses, gold leaf, comets,
angels, chandeliers, out of the corner of your eye,
join them if you like, learn astrophysics, or
learn folksong, human sacrifice, mortality,
flying, fishing, sex without touching much.
Don’t trouble, though, to head anywhere but the sky.

​​by Jo Shapcott

And you can hear an episode of The Poetry Exchange about this poem here. 

Some good reads
Fiction-wise, I wanted something light to see me over a weekend where I had some reading time.  I picked up Olive Kitteridge - only to find it was definitely not light. In fact, I found it a really uncomfortable read, describing as it does a woman who's really not very nice.  It felt such a dark book, like looking into the darker corners of the lives we make for ourselves and are made for us.  But it's also really good for exactly those reasons. And so I straightaway dived into the follow-up, Olive, Again and loved that.

Also wanting something light, I borrowed Deborah Moggach's The Carer from a friend.  Another really human story.  I liked it. 

I'm reading a lot more poetry and Alice Oswald, Gideon Heugh and Barbara Kingsolver are current favourites.  And Why I Write Poetry is a wonderful exploration of what lies above, inside, beyond and beneath poetry. 

And just a day or so ago, I realised that reading poetry is changing the way I read fiction.  I'm slowing down.  Noticing language, and interesting ways language is used. Weighing up words and phrases.  Appreciating.  Delighting.  I'm liking it.  
And at work
A busier-than-planned month of work with lots of working-away up to Leamington Spa for some client delivery.

In a tipi, as it happens, with a festival feel.  This is a client with the vision and courage (and yes, budget) to fully and wholeheartedly respond to 'and this module should take place somewhere very different'.  As a global luxury brand, they know what a difference the feel of a place can make.  And no, a big tent that sounds like a galleon under full sail in the wind and rain isn't necessarily luxury.  But as a dramatic counterpoint to zoom rooms and corporate glass offices, it really worked some magic

And the content was bold too.  We included a deep sharing circles, voice dialogue and constellations work, writing and reading poetry, connection with nature including tree planting, and an evening fire circle - all providing richness and moments of ritual so missing in most of our working lives. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything as fulfilling, bold and impactful in leadership development.  

I felt deep, deep joy at being able to do it, and to have a client that was up for it. And participants who said they'd never experienced anything like it,  some, describing it as lifechanging.  It reminded me of some of the depth work I used to do when I was at Roffey Park, a long time ago.  Powerful stuff. And what the world really needs, I feel.
And if you think a conversation about how I might support you, work-wise, might be useful, please do get in touch.  You know where I am on Twitter and LinkedIn, or connect via Email. Or call me of course, whichever suits.

Thank you for reading
Helena x

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