Today I returned to Send a Cow for a final conversation about the report that I had completed for them about church fund raising.
They clearly valued the work (which was encouraging and good to hear!) and I have enjoyed being part of the charity in this way for the last few months. I was surprised to receive quite a send-off!
Recognising what I am good at and enjoying at the moment, through doing the consultancy work for Send a Cow and the Spiritual Direction course over the Summer now leads me to the bold step of setting up my own business to offer these things. Another influence has been that seeking (employed) work within the church or other organisations has not produced satisfactory results.
I have a particular heart to work with people who are struggling with a sense of identity, purpose, and direction. I realise that this connects the coaching and the consultancy work as both can be about working with individuals, groups, or on a particular issue.
During half term we spent an enjoyable week staying on the coast just south of Falmouth in Cornwall in a rented house. I had not visited Cornwall since I was a child, and it was nice to enjoy the opportunity to rediscover this beautiful part of Britain. See some photos in the album Cornwall 2007.
The weather was good and we enjoyed some walking, particularly along the South West Coastal Path, and sight seeing, as well as visiting some friends and relatives. I'd always wanted to visit the Eden Project, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Both were enjoyable. The gardens were inspiring even in the Autumn. The Eden project impressed me as a feat of engineering but felt a lack of novelty in the detailed content.
Perhaps our best day sightseeing was a visit to St Michael's Mount at Marazion which was quite “different.” It is an impressive castle and church set on a hill that is an island at high tide. Building started there after some local fishermen saw a vision of St Michael from their boat in a storm. It has this in common with Mont St Michel in France.
We also did some sport (if walking is not): tennis, ten-pin bowling and go-karting (which was fun even if was nearer to the back than the front!) on a track better than the one Josh and I had tried out near our home.
Today I enjoyed spending time with some of the team from 3D Coaching, training to facilitate Action Learning Sets. This valuable way of working with small groups is about listening to the issues presented by group members, asking questions to help clarify them, and afterwards reflecting on the process as a group.
I definitely value working with others to help them resolve issues such in their lives, particularly to do with vocation, and using tools which encourage reflective learning from experience.
It is interesting to note similarties and differences between a tools such as this, and one from the religious world such as Contemplative Listening Groups. Both work well in different contexts, one with a focus on action, and the other on interior listening.
The Guardian yesterday included an article about an art installation in Trafalgar Square (London). Called The Journey, it draws attention to sex trafficking in the UK. “£10 extra for kissing.” This issue really gets to me, as does anything that turns people into objects instead of helping them to flourish. Follow the links if you want a harrowing experience.
I seem to be going down the route of a “portfolio” – several different kinds of work going on at once. I like the idea of having a half-time permanent job and also doing some self employed consultancy, spiritual direction, or vocations advice work. A number of doors seem to be opening up for this at the moment. I have a few applications in and interviews and meetings lined up to explore these.
Opportunities include: executive coaching and managment consultancy (particularly to churches and/or church leaders); group facilitation work; and work as a parish priest (part-time).
So, I'm feeling optimistic at the moment!
I couldn't resist putting this cute donkey window sticker, from Send a Cow, in our front window. It looks even more realistic in a photo!
Here are some links to documents I have written, in my capacity as Spiritual Director for Bristol Anglican Cursillo.
Thoughts on making the most of small group meetings (Group Reunions).
Suggestions about better listening in Group Reunions, after the Llysfasi Workshop.