Monday, 13 October 2014

Circles of wisdom, energy and possibility

Recently four people met in a coffee bar in Leeds. They had a number of things in common. They all worked for the same NHS organisation. They were all passionate about transformational change. They wanted to see best cultures for staff and best care for patients - an approach that worked for everyone. The conversation started and coffee was drunk. The conversation led to a discussion of the value of creating a positive space where they could meet, talk and seek to inspire and support each other. When they spoke, words like 'energy', 'wisdom', 'possibility' and 'inspiration' littered the conversation. This was not some Pollyanna fluffiness. They had all worked with patients or / and  staff for years. They had also experienced meetings and discussions where they had been lifted up in inspiration, vision and hope. They spoke of how these coffee meetings could become circles of wisdom, energy and possibility.  What did they mean by this? What did these words  signify?

Circles are very interesting shapes. They have no start or finish. They all have a centre but all is equally spaced from there. Some of the most prominent phenomena of our world like the sun and moon have a circular shape at times. Circles occur again and again in history, art and designs. For the four the circle represented an equal meeting. It was about people,life experience and awareness and not roles and job description. There was no hierarchy. There was no planned speaker. One of those present described the' quality of conversation and able to challenge with respect. Its OK to have different opinions, we are potential, not an homogenous being.' It was also a living circle as there was a deep trust, listening, laughter and freedom which flowed between the participants.

The wisdom was something the four recognised as essential to work and life. They also knew that it came from deep places. It was an intuitive faculty and inner reflective process. Part of the discussion was about how so often we operate at a surface level. Sometimes that is fine but the challenge and need is to dive into the depths of life and our own reality. That's where we find the treasure, gifts and the wisdom. They had all sat in the past and heard from others deep wisdom which resonated powerfully with their being and soul. They wanted this meeting and others to be a place where wisdom could be present. In the words of one of those there,"It was about exploring the deeper things that touch the soul – the things that ‘make your heart sing."

The energy was what happened when people who care, connect and converse meet. It was something that connected the circle as well as drew each person in and held them there. One described it as 'a place to buzz'. The energy was of course re-energising. It made those there feel good about themselves, each other and life. Yet the participants knew they couldn't turn this on at will. They could only create the space and allow the energy to operate. There was no agenda, minutes or timescales. Yet ideas and creativity did flow. It was a place where ideas could be birthed and caught. One participant referred to 'allowing ideas to surface, develop and grow through discussion'. Days after the meeting those there were still thinking about themes and links from what was said and shared. It was a informal forum for people to 'connect, stimulate and grow' together. Or in the words of another of the four a space to 'support, encourage, stimulate and energise one another.'

Possibility is an intriguing word. The four did not meet to do anything particular ( apart from drink coffee). They met to be together, talk and listen. This was opening a space and see what happened in it. It was to be open to the new, to the possibility of insights and being enriched by the other. There was no guarantees in this meeting. There was a hint of something all present felt and knew was worth holding and seek to find again. Possibility is being open that from our own resources and those of others we can grow, live and shine. It's the firm affirmation that in human potential lie answers and assets. If we can create the circle for them to operate great things and good can occur.

You may ask why we know so much about the four mystery coffee drinkers. The answer is very simple really and you may have guessed it.. We were the four but we don't want to remain four. We would like other colleagues from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust  to join us to seek this dialogue and depth as well as drink good coffee. We would also like in the near future to open this up to other colleagues in statutory, voluntary and other parts of the city of Leeds.

Circles of wisdom, energy and possibility offer much to staff and we will seek to encourage and support their development. It also offers the option to provide some freedom outside of the rigours and pressures of everyday to relax and create. If you are interested please get in touch (email and thank you for reading this. 

Anne McGee. Service Improvement Lead. Leeds Community Healthcare 
Lisa Falkingham. Service Improvement Facilitator. Leeds Community Healthcare 
Steve Keyes. Head of Organisational Development. Leeds Community Healthcare 
John Walsh. Support Manager. York Street Health Practice. Leeds Community Healthcare


1 comment:

  1. fantastic article, I hope the idea grows! It sounds like more can be accomplished there than in any boardroom!