January 20, 2011

Our world we live in

by Richard Bellars

Where is our world today? Where do we go from here?Blind curve

We are living in a world of unprecedented, constant and rapidly increasing change.  It brings uncertainty and fear – realised as anger, poor decisions, and stress.

Now more than ever, emerging leaders need to be equipped to move beyond their concerns to consistently learn, evolve, perform and inspire.

To do this, leaders need to learn, practise and evolve to know and to trust who they are.

This is their foundation and their core – empowering them to go beyond what they do and have done in the past to inspire, create and deliver a better tomorrow today.

Answering the call

This is a call for those who know they have something more to offer and are itching to create meaningful impact and positive influence.

For individuals, this is an opportunity to ease that niggle, answer that call and give it meaning through learning and action.

For successful organisations, talent must be nurtured.  To do otherwise is to stagnate, with cost of recruitment and staff turnover the least of the issues to face.

Why leave your legacy ‘some day’ when you can live your legend today?

Whether in business or politics, voluntary or paid, local or global, our world (and it is for all of “us”) needs leaders at all levels who can courageously step forward to be and do what they were always meant to be and do. I like the words (paraphrased) of Richard Barrett, Founder of the Barrett Values Centre and Architect of The New Leadership Paradigm: “We need leaders who recognize that to get the best business results, it is no longer about being the best in the world, but about being the best for the world”.

December 30, 2015

Death & celebration: strange partners for inspiring the living

by Richard Bellars
I wrote this at the start of December, as I reflected back on November as a month of death and, in both parallel and contrast, of celebration and gratitude for both the past and for ‘what is’ in the present.


Three friends have lost a parent in sudden and unexpected circumstances, Remembrance Day was marked on 11/11, appalling terrorist attacks took place in Paris, Lebanon and Kenya…and even the opening scene of the latest James Bond film being set in Mexico City on 1st November – the celebrated ‘Day of the Dead’.  In different circumstances rise so many deep and visceral emotions of grief, sorrow, anger, confusion, upset, overwhelm and disorientation in the wake of those lost…and at the same time love, honour, respect, warmth, humour, gratitude and celebration for those same ones lost that lived.


Valuing the past without staying in it


I have felt rewarded again to be involved in two more humbling, inspiring, expanding experiences at Help For Heroes. Each time I have been involved in facilitating the Pathfinder Experience (their core 3-phase programme to ‘Inspire’, ‘Enable’ and ‘Support’ the wound, injured or sick through transition into), it is a new brand new opportunity in supporting and learning from those with the courage and perseverance to acknowledge their past, let it ‘die’, and set themselves to move beyond it. Each group and each phase is unique and I also always learn something new or again about myself through the mirror of others. One week seemed to be particularly about patience for those with anger and, in particular, the frustration of brain injury. (There’s another blog in this somewhere…) The other week was more about recognising the value of one’s past without having to let it define and constrict oneself now and into the future. (There’s another blog in that one too…)


“Grief is woven into the fabric of the human experience”


As we came up to Remembrance Day, I remember finding the following timely, interesting, relevant, provocative, authentic and helpful when it comes to ‘what to do’ with grief – I recommend you pause for a few minutes and have a read: Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason by Tim Lawrence. “Grief is woven into the fabric of the human experience” is a line that stands out, not “a problem to be solved”. It is something to be acknowledged as a part of who and how we are.


When I look back on my own moments of loss and mourning in my life, the peak ones have obviously been for people – and also for pets (absolutely!!). However, they have also been for relationships, holidays, places I’ve lived, people I’ve worked with, missed opportunities and disappointments, episodes and phases of life that have ended… and yet, in each ending there has always been, as I now see it, a new colour in the full spectrum of human emotions and ongoing cycle of experiences. What is more, endings have created space and inspiration for beginnings – new levels of inspiration and determination to make more out the life I am living!


Out of the dark


Mostly, such perspectives and positive outlooks only come with hindsight and the healing of time for the anguish to dissipate…as much as is possible, at any rate. When they do, I find that grief is able to turn me towards an unlikely partner in celebration. I find I (eventually) come to a place of feeling grateful for what I experienced (warts and all!), what I learned and how it changed me, and what good and optimism I subsequently felt resolved to seek and recognise out of the dark and misery.


When we recognise and acknowledge death and grief – and other mini-death(s) we experience – I believe we are richer, stronger and more compassionate in our lives and relationships. I also believe we move several steps closer to an even more profound and expanded experience of life unlimited by our fears of death. (Now that is definitely for another blog…!)
Now, nearing the end of the year, I reflect again on the year past with joy, some sadness, and mainly gratitude, while also clearing space in me and around me to allow in a new year of promise and potential.
November 30, 2015

Living backwards

by Richard Bellars

Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaardtime ripples

What if we could project forwards in our lives, to imagine a time of peaceful fulfillment and gratitude, looking back on the range of rich experiences that got us there, and then return to the present to step forward in every moment of ‘now’ to live that life with clarity and confidence?

In The Future – Looking Back

It was Midwinter and midnight.
The fire burned with an eerie light.
He sat with thoughtful pipe
and saw the future looking back.

He listened when I spoke
and comforted when I sighed.
Together we watched
that ice-borne morning tide.

Our eyes were heavy, staring wide
as we looked beyond that morning tide
to a world not yet seen not laughed nor cried
to the future looking back.

The hands of the clock held breath
pausing, fearing the death of day
and morning came with the wind
to steal today away.

The future had been planned and cast
laughter echoed and tears hung fast
and morning came with future’s bless
to wipe our fears away.

And that howling wind and cackling sleet
meant years would pass before we meet
to another dawn of gentler mood
– in the future looking back.

Owed to Peter Hooper by Bob Whitlock

May 13, 2015

Re-learning relating

by Richard Bellars

I find ‘The Invitation’ (video and/or words below) a deeply inspiring poem.  I already knew it but read it again this week in a new light.  Not only does it capture the essence of how I aspire to ‘be with’ and ‘relate to’ others, it is very much an invitation – and reminder –  to myself and those with whom I work to live as fully as we can in all that we do (including also being more effective and influential at works).

Regarding my leadership work, this reminds me how I can help others to be and act in authentic relationships – at home, in the office, professionally, personally, intimately…but always starting and ending with the ever-evolving relationship with oneself.  In a sense, this poem is an invitation to us all to keep learning how to be a whole person on our continual learning journey of self awareness, daring to witness and fully relate to others on theirs.

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing. Continue reading

March 12, 2015

The Return

by Richard Bellars

Coming home

Below is a profound piece of poetry that stirs me every time I read it.  It recalls personal memories and strong emotions of travels already experienced, and it galvanises me from somewhere deep within to keep stepping forth in life, again and again…

The Return
by Geneen Marie Haugen

Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.

Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces

of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.

Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.

Continue reading

March 12, 2015

Travel is a powerful teacher

by Richard Bellars
Wow…the last time I shared a blog was 18th October 2012! Above Colca Canyon, PeruIt feels like I’ve lived lifetimes since then! With hindsight, after setting up the concept of This Grand Adventure in 2011 (which now needs an overhaul!), it would appear that there was a ‘grand adventure’ that I needed to experience first for myself.
“We must let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
~ Joseph Campbell

 Since the middle of 2011, there has been some monumental travel for me in my life.  I don’t just mean the countries visited, air miles clocked and photographs clicked (landscapes, temples, sunrises, sunsets, old friends, new friends…).  Those are some joyful aspects of travel, which have been amazing and full of wonder and colour….and there have been moments of self-doubting despair and disorientation (darker colours, you might say)….and boy, it’s all been a blast on one level or another!

Heraclitus on the Delta del Ebro, SpainOver the last 3-and-a-half years, I have crewed on board the remarkable research vessel Heraclitus, toured ancient sites of western Ireland, trekked in Peru (3 times in 3 years), lived a few months in Guatemala, as well as some time in Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba, Israel, Egypt, and India (twice); work with the Mowgli Foundation has also taken me to Jordan, Syria (pre-‘troubles’), Algeria and Morocco; and closer to home there have been short visits to Normandy in northern France for the 70th commemoration of D-Day, and to Italy for the beautiful wedding of friends in picture postcard Verona.

What I am talking about here is the deeper inner journey that is available to any of us when we travel…if we are open to it!   Continue reading

October 18, 2012

Where does the magic come from?

by Richard Bellars

Pure intent creates ripples of magicIt never ceases to amaze me what is possible when you create an environment of shared trust. It swiftly allows people to feel safe and, from there, to connect at a level of common connection and, ultimately, recognise their shared humanity. This is such a huge ‘why’ for me behind my desire to facilitate, mentor and coach.

The power of authentic relationship

I have been associated with the Mowgli Foundation since March 2010 when I first met co-founder Simon Edwards and was invited to be a mentor in Jordan. Since that first experience I have enjoyed further Mowgli Mentoring Experiences in Jordan, Syria and, most recently, Algeria, all in my development as a Mowgli Lead Facilitator.

‘My best yet’

The most recent experience was the first programme to be launched in Algeria, sponsored by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office Arab Partnership Fund. It was also to be delivered entirely in French (the first time I have delivered anything professional in French since consulting in Pau some 11 years ago!)

Below are some reflections on what took place during what I would call ‘the best yet’.

Or was it? Continue reading

May 8, 2012

Always developing one’s relationship with oneself

by Richard Bellars

I saw and was instantly inspired by the following poem, written by Charlie Chaplin.

So many individual verses resonate for me, for diverse reasons, each helping me to better understand where I’ve been, and better prepare for me for whatever’s to come; the whole of which helps me to make even more of myself and the world around me each and every present moment.

As I Began to Love Myself  –  by Charlie Chaplin

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody.  As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me.
Today I call it “RESPECT”.

Continue reading

January 24, 2012

What is it about Arthurian Legend?

by Richard Bellars

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t know something about the legend of brave King Arthur: his courageous Knights of the Round Table, the Sword in the Stone, the legacy of Camelot, love-torn Guinevere, Sir Launcelot the Brave, Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake, treacherous Morgan La Fey, mysterious Merlin the Magician…

“Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.”  Joseph Campbell

Their stories have been told and re-told and told again. Here is a whole language and interwoven collection of names, identities, objects and quests that have entered into our very language (and not just limited to English…)

So what is it that draws us in, excites and moves us, and holds our attention time after time?   Continue reading

January 4, 2012

Having different conversations while you can…

by Richard Bellars

Do you ever wish you’d had a certain conversation and never did? Maybe you still have a choice?

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Before Christmas, I had the privilege to visit Stonehenge and nearby Avebury for the Winter Solstice.  It was something I have wanted to experience for myself for a few years (you know, one of those things you say you’ll get round to – one day…)  The urge and opportunity this year was strong so all it took was a small nudge from my friend Rebekah Shaman to go.

Answering urges

It felt such a privilege to have open public access to this most ancient and celebrated of stone circles at Stonehenge for about 90 minutes spanning over sunrise.  It was also a privilege to see and hear the Druids ‘in action’, continuing their traditions over the eons of honouring the sun, the earth, humanity and all that is.

AND the biggest privilege of all, as it turned out, came from inviting my parents (both originally from Wiltshire) and both saying yes!  It is not what I expected, so it’s funny what can happen when you dare to try something different. Continue reading

December 23, 2011

Pause on the way to notice where you are

by Richard Bellars

“Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half.  Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day.” Yule Lore

It’s a special time of year for me.  I feel very lucky to be able to say that.  It is one of my favourite occasions for family coming together for a time of appreciation, generosity, good food and lots of laughter!

For some it is simply ‘holiday season’ away from work.  For many it is about gathering with friends and family, but while that brings celebration and joy for many, for others it triggers stress and sorrow.

For all it can bring much into sharp focus.  That opportunity to reflect is powerful (not necessarily pain-free!) for taking responsibility for where we are and where we’re headed. Continue reading