Cup of Calm #18 Beauty

We started a new week with our guest speaker Rachel who, inspired by a previous Cup of Calm session on ‘forgiveness’ took us through the topic of ‘beauty’. We were treated to some images of beauty together with the beautiful words from T S Elliot’s Four Quartets which stirred up unique emotions in each of us and conjured up stark visualizations of beauty. 
Rachel recommended two books which offer extraordinary gifts of beauty on every page: 

Who can afford to live without beauty? Beauty fills us with passion; it graces us with joy and lights up our existence. A landscape, a piece of music, a film, a dance … suddenly all dreariness is gone [and] we are left betwitched. Beauty has a formidable, liberating effect on the human spirit. [It] harmonizes the mind. Inevitable Grace – Pier Ferrucci

A world without beauty would be unbearable. The subtle touches of beauty are what enable most people to survive. Yet beauty is so quietly woven through our ordinary days that we hardly notice it. When we experience beauty, we feel called. Divine Beauty – John O’ Donohue

We asked ourselves – what would my life be like with more beauty? And what images of beauty could we offer to each other to sustain each other over the coming week? Slowing down, listening, noticing, peace, beauty from relationships, being present, beauty from loved ones, slow moments and beauty in nature were just some of the gifts we offered one another.

Listen. Put on the morning.

Waken into fallen light.

G. S. Graham

Thank you Rachel for such a beautiful start to our morning! Following on from today’s Cup of Calm, one of our listeners – Antonia – shared this podcast she found extraordinary, in light of John O’ Donohue’s words – we thought you’d might like to take a listen too: https://onbeing.org/programs/john-odonohue-the-inner-landscape-of-beauty-aug2017/

We look forward to seeing you on a Cup of Calm tomorrow. Please join us via: https://zoom.us/j/8044531372 and, if asked, the password is LeadChange. Do invite others – everyone is welcome!

This event is free to join. If you would like to, please donate as you are able – with no obligation and no upper or lower limit. The link to donate is: paypal.me/weleadchange. All profits will go towards supporting our community of freelancers, small business owners and independents during this time. We suggest the price of a cup of coffee – £2.50 per day or £40 per month.


With love from of us at She Leads Change x

Cup of Calm #17 Inviting Joy

Today, our lovely Lamese talked about inviting joy in to our lives during this ‘period of pause’. Many of us have been discovering joy in the smallest of things and rediscovering forgotten joys… or joy that we didn’t know we needed.

Our natural state is being still, quiet awareness. It is one with a feeling of inner peace, joy and love. Like when we were children playing for long periods just with a stick or chasing others around and laughing til our belly hurt.

In this state you can see that you are one with everything around you, and that your sense of self depends on nothing. You no longer have to look to anything to give you a sense of engulfment or satisfaction, because it is already there inside you.

When the noise is dialed down we can start to appreciate different things. And most of these things are completely free. Some of the things that have been bringing us joy recently:

Walking in wide open spaces.
Baking, cooking and enjoying.
Zoom calls – seeing each other and connecting.
Looking at the bluebells.
Getting in touch with my playful side.
Interaction with my children.
Walking to the shop without any traffic around me.
Gardening – really looking at the flowers and plants.
Talking to family and connecting more frequently than I usually would.
Our daily connection through Cup of Calm!

We look forward to seeing you on a Cup of Calm next week. Please join us via: https://zoom.us/j/8044531372 and, if asked, the password is LeadChange. Do invite others – everyone is welcome!

This event is free to join. If you would like to, please donate as you are able – with no obligation and no upper or lower limit. The link to donate is: paypal.me/weleadchange. All profits will go towards supporting our community of freelancers, small business owners and independents during this time. We suggest the price of a cup of coffee – £2.50 per day or £40 per month.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead – see you next week!
With love from of us at She Leads Change x

Cup of Calm #15 The transformative potential of forgiveness

Forgiveness has the transformative potential to grow cherry trees from our scars

This mornings ‘cuppa’ was led by Elizabeth Stopford. She is a story-teller and filmaker who has a special interest in forgiveness as a way to resolve trauma. She began today by reading a short passage  from Toni Morrison’s  Beloved, a haunting lyrical response to the legacy of slavery.

Everybody knew what she was called, but nobody anywhere knew her name. Disremembered and unaccounted for, she cannot be lost because no one is looking for her, and even if they were, how can they call her if they don’t know her name? Although she has claim, she is not claimed. In the place where the long grass opens, the girl who waited to be loved and cry shame erupts into her separate parts, to make it easy for the chewing laughter to swallow her all away. It was not a story to pass on.They forgot her like a bad dream.

Elizabeth says: “Beloved is about the ways we can be haunted by what we “look away from”. There’s one  image in the book that has never left me. Sethe is a slave woman on the run.  A young girl describes her lying there before her, with a  “chokecherry tree” blossoming out of her  back. We come to understand that Sethe’s is a back riddled with wounds from being wipped, the seeping pussing scars of slavery. but that those same scars, through this lens, become roots for a tree.  New, hopeful life, blossoming out of scars. When  I first read this  20 years ago it ‘blew open my understanding of trauma and the transformative potential of forgiveness in my own life. It made me wonder whether our diverse but universal experiences of trauma, in themselves so isolating, have the potential to unite us, to transform us. New, hopeful life, blossoming out of scars. For me it is an image of forgiveness; of what might be possible if we together our scars to become our roots, with a spirit of forgiveness.   There is a spiritual quality to this image for me. It feels timely – akin to the resurrection”.

Elizabeth suggested: “Offering  this image up I  invite you to reflect on something that has scarred you, or your community, that has  become (or might become) the roots for new life.”

What cherry trees can you notice and nurture this week that have grown in the fertile soils of deep harm? We welcome you to reflect today and bring this beautiful imagery and sense of possibility into the week ahead.

Please do join us for a Cup of Calm each morning.

Please join us via: https://zoom.us/j/8044531372 and, if asked, the password is LeadChange. Do invite others – everyone is welcome.

Please donate as you are able – with no obligation and no upper or lower limit. The link to donate is: paypal.me/weleadchange. All profits will go towards supporting our community of freelancers, small business owners and independents during this time. We suggest the price of a cup of coffee – £2.50 per day or £40 per month.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

With love, all of us at She Leads Change

Cup of Calm #14 Resilience

We had a reflective Cup of Calm this morning with participants from the UK, South Africa and Dubai! We focused on the fascinating topic of resilience – a skill that we are needing to use a lot at the moment. The dictionary describes resilience as “the capacity to recover from difficulties; toughness” and other definitions include “knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, barriers or limited resources” and “a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing and able to overcome obstacles to get it”. 

We discussed in groups how we have dealt with resilience in the past and shared wisdom. Some nuggets shared were the clearing process – writing everything down and categorizing – what can I control, what do I need help with? Thinking of resilience as a survival technique and the test of emotional rather than physical strength really resonated with us. 

Resilience – Elizabeth Anna 
don’t look away from these issues you know,

the ones that make you uncomfortable –

the ones you would rather turn your head to

that you don’t believe apply to you,

until they do.

look steadily at them

longingly learn to bear the unbearable

to feel discomfort gazing back at you

for those are the people you must love 

into your empty spaces 

and that is the view which will eventually make you whole.

the time to look ahead and not away, is now. 

We look to seeing you next Tuesday. Please join us via: https://zoom.us/j/8044531372 and, if asked, the password is LeadChange. Bring your friends and family to join us for a moment of calm in the morning. 

Please donate as you are able – with no obligation and no upper or lower limit. The link to donate is: paypal.me/weleadchange. All profits will go towards supporting our community of freelancers, small business owners and independents during this time. We suggest the price of a cup of coffee – £2.50 per day or £40 per month.

Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend.
With love, all of us at She Leads Change

Holding family in strange times…

How has your family life changed?

I’m battling with being far from family, Karen is struggling to balance home-schooling and work-life. Marta is, in her own words, ‘completely overwhelmed’. John is feeling resentful about being forced into a home-care role, whilst Sam is delighting in being a full-time Mom. Nick is missing being a busy professional and experiencing anxiety over his elderly mother living alone. Others are feeling increasingly concerned over the health and well-being of their parents, extended family and friends. Everyone is feeling mostly fine, slightly guilty, sometimes happy, quite stretched and very uncertain. We are all trying our best.

We believe we can learn from and support one another. With this in mind we have a regular 60 minute conversation every Thursday as a moment to reflect, connect and learn our way through these uncertain times.

Stephanie is part of the facilitation team – she says “The time every Thursday is a gift to myself, an opportunity to share the personal highs and lows involved in managing my relationships with my loved ones during this unprecedented time of physical disconnection…without fear of judgement and without guilt.”

Please do join every Thursday at 12:00 on zoom for an intimate and curated precious group conversation: Holding Family. The group is welcoming, what is said is confidential and the time is held with care.

Please email Laura on hello@sheleadschange.org for joining instructions.

Come, talk, listen and realise you are not alone.