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“Meetup brings people together…to do more of what they want to do in life. It is organized around one simple idea: when we get together and do the things that matter to us, we’re at our best. And that’s what Meetup does. It brings people together to do, explore, teach and learn the things that help them come alive.”

Hazel Hill Natural Wellbeing and Resilience Group

Salisbury, GB
36 Members

This group aims to build a community with shared interest in wellbeing and resilience for individuals, work teams and other groups. We aim to do this mainly through a range of…

Next Meetup

Fruits of Maturity: A workshop exploring elderhood

Friday, Jun 2, 2017, 7:00 PM
1 Attending

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Singing under the stars

I’d been looking for somewhere to run a singing weekend to re-connect people with the natural environment and each other, and I knew as soon as I arrived at Hazel Hill Wood that it was absolutely perfect.

wood smokeThere’s something quite magical about the space and the energy that hits you as soon as you arrive. My group absolutely loved it – from spotting deer in the trees to the smell of the wood smoke mixing with the decaying autumn leaves, to singing songs about the moon in the moonlight and songs about forests under the trees.

The space itself was really homely and welcoming – so lovingly crafted and well thought through, and the well stocked kitchen met all of our food and tea and coffee needs.

Forest Ark Hazel Hill WoodEveryone wanted to know how soon we could come back – with more than one optimistically asking if we could just sneak back the following weekend and do it all over again.

Thank you to everyone who has put time and love into creating such a wonderful space, and to the woodland itself for allowing us to share our harmonies with it. We can’t wait to come back.

Xenia Davis, Choir leader/community musician/singing teacher

@xeniadavis

Constellation workshops with Marcos Frangos at Hazel Hill Wood

So here we are, early Spring, and I’m writing this blog to set out my stall for the three forthcoming constellation workshops at Hazel Hill Wood 11-12 May, 21-22 September, 14-15 December

This blog is to give you a feel for these workshops. I want to also share a little about the name: “Wellspring of Wellbeing”, and how that relates to my constellation work and approach. I’m hoping to provide some useful background to constellations, especially if you’re new to this, and I’ll also share the broad format for the workshops so you’ll know what to expect when you come along.

Marcos HeadshotA mini biog for Marcos Frangos: At work I have two main roles: I manage a charity that owns a magical 70-acre educational woodland called Hazel Hill Wood with eco-buildings where we run a variety of workshops. I also run my own company called Wellspring Change that provides consultancy to individuals and organisations around wellbeing and organisational change. I frequently weave constellations as a tool into all my work.

Some personal information: I’m of Greek heritage, and I am a UK citizen. Both my parents are Greek, from the Aegean island of Chios. I was born and educated in the UK, and have lived in Winchester (South of England) for over 15 years. I started off my professional life as a trainee architect, I then studied and worked as a person-centred counsellor and subsequently enjoyed a career in inclusion of disabled people into buildings. I have a long-held interest in people and organisations and what makes them tick, how we make meaning out of the challenges and opportunities before us. A few years ago I did a formal two-year training course to become a facilitator of constellations in Oxford, with ‘Core Constellations, Theory & Practice’. This provided exposure to many different approaches to constellations. I have been privileged to learn from very experienced and gifted facilitators: Albrecht Marr, Vivian Broughton, Barbara Morgan, Jan Jacob Stam and many others. I continue to do my regular personal and professional supervision work with a constellations peer group in Oxford, and I am also in 1-1 psychotherapy.

So, why “Wellspring of Wellbeing?” The name “Wellspring of wellbeing” is what I use for my constellation workshops and is inspired by the Greek “Zoothoxou Pigi”. It literally means the Wellspring of Life. Interestingly this name is often synonymous with the Virgin Mary in the Greek Orthodox tradition. I resonate with this name because I believe each of us can access our own wellspring of wellbeing. It’s that part of us that deeply knows, that deeply understands what we seek, that recognises what we need to learn through our experience to become more fully present, more fully expressed and more vital as a human being. My personal image when I think of a wellspring of wellbeing is an ever-present flow of water that springs forth directly out of the earth – like a bubbling brook through our inner landscape – always in flux and flow.

_MG_1174The concept of ‘flow’ is central to me in life and in constellations. When you’re in flow, you probably recognise that experience of things falling into place with ease, of serendipity and meeting just the right person at the right time. In this state, we’re open to experience and to learning and life feels exciting, limitless and creative. Conversely when we’re out of flow, or feel stuck, there are often inner reasons why we’ve closed our connection to our inner wellspring – out of fear, self-limiting beliefs, past traumas etc.  All of these can lead us to create ‘stories’ that we tell ourselves. In one sense, these stories are helpful, they help us to survive, often through very challenging life circumstances – perhaps they even kept us alive. I tread with deepest respect for these stories – they have a purpose. But, they can limit us too. In a future blog I’ll share a story about how wild elephants are tamed that relates to this theme.

So what are family constellations and how can they help? This approach is borne out of the work of Bert Hellinger and is often referred to as “Family Constellations”. Bert developed this approach over 30 years ago working with families by looking ‘systemically’ at the whole family system to understand the challenges facing the individual. Within his work as a family therapist he also integrated many years of being a missionary priest in Africa working with indigenous tribes who taught him about shamanic traditions that consciously include working with the ancestors.

P1030014No person is an island. We are all part of multiple systems to which we belong, to our birth family, our national heritage, our ancestors, our organisational systems at work, the professions we belong to, our religion, our belief systems and so on. The systems that we belong to can be complex: consciously or at a sub-conscious level we are in a continual dance between ‘belonging’ to the system, which is a very fundamental need, and the impulse to ‘individuate’ and be a fully expressed human being. The tension arises because if we are fully ourselves, the chances are that we will at some point challenge the systems we belong to and their norms. Systems have a life and organising mind of their own, they too like individuals, are in continual flux trying to reach as balanced a position as possible given continually changing circumstances. Systems too will try and organise themselves to achieve as broad an integration of all the aspects within them, but they also exclude that which threatens their coherence.

Constellations are a wonderful tool to help reveal sometimes hidden dynamics and forces that are influencing the individual in the dance with the system(s) in which they’re operating.

How is a constellation set up in a workshop?

A constellation is usually focused around an individual that I normally call the ‘client’. Let’s imagine you’re the client. We’d start by sitting side by side in the initial part of the process and my role is to help you clarify your inner question. For example it might be a question about next steps in your career, or perhaps a more existential question like: ‘I want to feel more alive’ or ‘I don’t understand why I am so unhappy’. Through a process of deep listening and enquiry, I try and help you get as clear as you can about what you’re seeking, so you can formulate your inner question into a succinct sentence that resonates deeply for you. This is an important part of the exploration. Sometimes we find that your first presenting question actually has its roots in deeper sub-questions, which Bert Hellinger called ‘movement of the soul’.

Round House Hazel Hill WoodOnce your intention is clear, we establish who are the key players or the key aspects in your question. It’s not only people that are represented in a constellation, you can represent anything in a constellation, for example someone might represent a country or a nation. Imagine we’re co-creating a movie, and you’re the Director and it is you who decides which parts are needed to be represented in the first scene to place your inner question in the right context. Other parts or characters might of course come in as representatives in later scenes, but I like to start a constellation keeping things simple.

Representatives in constellations

Once we’ve agreed who needs to be in the constellation, I’ll invite you to choose fellow participants to ‘represent’ the different aspects of your inner question. One by one you choose and then physically place each individual representative somewhere in the room where we are working. We then stand back from the constellation and observe the movements that follow for the representatives. It’s like a 3 dimensional sculpture of your question, with human beings representing the different forces and dynamics. The role of each representative is to embody the representation as fully and authentically as they can.

As a representative you’re not following a script like you would as an actor. You’re invited to express and embody what shows up in you. I often say to representatives ‘use ALL your ways of knowing’ and follow your inner movements and promptings as honestly as you can – it’s not about winning the Oscars for best dramatic performance. There is no special training required to be a representative, I believe we all have the capacity to step into another person’s life situation and feel into what’s happening.

Face-offs with cows, and flying chickens. Lessons in community from Ethiopian roads

Guest Blog by Alan Heeks, March 2016, first published at www.living-organically.com

It happens so often, you suspect the animals must enjoy it: why else do they spread the full width of the tarmac, instead of using the broad gravel verges? The cows are the worst: they glower balefully as if they might charge, and only turn aside from our approaching vehicle at the very last minute. At least the goats lose their nerve sooner.

Roads in Ethiopia are a community resource, with a stupendous range of users managing to share them. It helps that most roads are not just a two-lane tarmac strip, but a gravel belt each side. This gives lots of scope: for example donkeys on the far right, overtaken by a pony cart or a tuk-tuk, overtaken by a bus – with any traffic going the other way using the gravel strip on the far side.

 

Ethiopia road 2

I had rented a car and a driver for a long trip to the Bale Mountains, a beautiful, remote area in the far south-east of Ethiopia. We tried to overtake a slow lorry in mist, and car appeared, speeding towards us. My driver sensibly swerved off the tarmac onto the far-side gravel, alarming a lone riderless donkey whose lane discipline had been impeccable. We bounced along the gravel for a few hundred metres, and rejoined the traffic as if nothing had happened.

The sense of community remains very strong in Ethiopia, and qualities like tolerance and mutual support seem stronger here. There was never a sense that some users had a right to the road, and others didn’t: everyone flowed around each other. By contrast, in Britain it seems that car and lorry drivers believe they have an exclusive right to use the tarmac, and slower, more erratic travellers are an intrusion.

Livestock are a big part of rural life in Ethiopia, and the roads are constantly used to move them to grazing or to market. A lot of animals meander along with no supervision, especially donkeys, who have a strong impulse to turn suddenly across the road.

Because rural prices are much lower, my enterprising driver bought two chickens to take home to Addis Abbaba. They had a nice box with airholes, on the roof of the car. However, after driving through heavy rain, the box fell apart, leaving the chickens flying through the air.

The community response was impressive. Cars going the other way flashed lights and shouted to tell us of the problem. A huge lorry behind us stopped, and the driver rescued the shocked chickens from the middle of the road. I imagine one chicken telling the other, “I always had a bad feeling about today”.

Ethiopia Road

I haven’t yet mentioned the pedestrians, horse-riders, motorbikes, handcarts, nor the fearsome potholes, ruts, gulleys… but what’s impressive is how these myriad users flow peaceably around each other. British drivers could do with more of that tolerance.