To live with joy an a' that....

In some ways as 2013 begins I feel poised on the brink of change more than any other. As my last blog described it feels like a time to leave the cancer experience more firmly in the past. Yes! I say this in the knowledge that life with cancer can aye have twists and turns but it's a milestone none the less.

I start a new career building on the things that I believe I am best at, make the difference I believe in and bring me joy. And that's a few short weeks away now. The excitement sits alongside some fear and yes sadness too for those I will miss from my role in Breakthrough. But ( perhaps this is a sophisticated form of denial...)  I know I will always feel a connection to the cause and its people ,as well as the organisation I set up here in Scotland. It will ever be in my heart because of my complex attachment so it's not goodbye, it's just a different engagement.

As I describe the  areas I want to focus on in the future, I know they are interconnected. But it's been hard to articulate that neatly. My passion to improve health and well being for people and communities is also linked to enabling authentic leadership and healthy and effective organisations. I doubt that one word can capture the complexity of all of that, but there's one word I keep coming back to. It's heartfulness. You will have seen mention of it in earlier blogs perhaps. The word keeps resonating with me and I am keen to explore what that means in my work and those I work with.

In the context of Global, European and UK economic uncertainty there are enormous challenges for those who lead in private, public or third sector organisations. Inspiring quality performance and development needs creative and engaged leaders, with deep knowledge of their craft and who understand the value of their best resource, their people. I believe to be effective that needs to be done with hearts and heads engaged.

In particular here in Scotland we have a time of significant change. The referendum on an independent Scotland approaches, seen by some as a natural and exciting next step and by others as a complete abhorrence. With many in between unsure, part exited, part fearful but with no real sense of what the future would look like. And in spite of calls for a positive discussion just this week, that does seem to be illusive.  My interest is in helping to shape a view of what a positive Scotland would look like. Whatever the outcome at a referendum, the world as we know it here ,will be changed. The one I want to see, whatever its political hue, is a heartful one. Not naïve about it's challenges but seeks the solutions to them through a heartful lens. So what would that look like? That's the question I want to explore.

If you look at the meaning of Heartful, it's both complex and simple. The complexity includes integrity, honesty, self knowledge, being kind to yourself and others, a true generosity and caring for the welfare of others: compassion in action. At its simplest its about love and connection to others and something greater than yourself. So what would that mean for individuals, communities, organisations and even nations?

Change, as always , starts with each of us. So today's question is what would a heartful 2013 look like for you in your life and work. What could make your life more heartful? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop me an email, tweet me or post a comment on my blog.

I have had a "reasons to be cheerful " section in my blog to date but my plan is to make it reasons to be Heartful. But as its the first blog in January I want to describe my one resolution this year. It's to enjoy the adventure I am about to embark on and find joy in life everyday. There I've said it!

Reasons to be Heartful.
Well it's Scotland and its New Year so i have turned to our national bard, Robert Burns. His poem A Mans A Man for A' That is a personal favourite. I leave you with the last verse ( or listen to the link here recorded for the opening of the Scottish parliament) and my best wishes for a happy, healthy and heartful 2013.

"Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that."


  1. Heartful is such a beautiful word Audrey and I loved reading this post today. Here's to a healthy, happy and heartful New Year

  2. We may be at the start of another new year, but I think heartful still applies. To lead with our hearts, to live life from that resource.. it is a very good vehicle, I think. Good repost pick, Audrey :) ~Catherine


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