This year is Alpha Studio’s tenth anniversary! It had escaped my notice. Then congratulations messages began to come in from good friends that I have made through LinkedIn discussion threads. I appreciate the good wishes and the timely reminder as well as their warm messages. It has prompted reflection and evaluation which is invaluable to my work as Alpha Studio, and to goal setting for the next few years.
Starting this venture was challenging and I thrive on challenge. It has also been fulfilling. As fresh challenges and opportunities emerge, I can see a pattern that is still encouraging growth; I look forward eagerly and can look back on learning accompanied by old friends and new ones.
Alpha Studio is a small self contained business. I have learned new skills and honed others. It contrasts with my work in structured groups within the women’s movement and voluntary sector, but the pattern of networking which was so much part of that, has enabled my transmission to third age activist and social entrepreneur. My training, mentoring and team building skills have been given free reign as I have time to develop PORT: Personal, Organisational Resilience and Transformation.
The publication of my article ‘Fear, Panic and Prosperity as the Paradigm shifts’, written in the light of upheavals during 2007-09 gave me access to the academic publishing sphere and this was encouraging.
I now use PORT as my default working method; it is fully and comfortably within my holistic belief system. My resilient personality is now also excited by writing a Memoir. Malachi O’Doherty, Writer in Residence at Queens University, Seamus Heaney Centre, Belfast is an invaluable support to me in this process, it adds a new dimension to the joy of writing. Malachi himself employs memoir in his own books.
My life story working title is ‘Benediction and Cosmic Dancing’, and it is going well. My training manual is entitled, ‘HEROS :- Human Energy, Resilience, Organisations and Spirituality, in terms of publishing and production it has slipped lower in priority, but continues to inform my work with organisations as I help them towards their goals and greater wellbeing. These are light filled avenues that resist the shadow cast by austerity.
Social networking threads on LinkedIn and some links on Facebook provide insight on the issues that all of us face in the second decade of the 21st century. The year 2003 can seem many decades in the past! Who could have imagined then, that the United States would have elected a black President? Or that that the potential for the immanent outbreak of a third world war would now be under sober discussion in newspapers and TV channels.
When President Putin of Russia recently published his appeal for caution by the US in the New York Times, he emphasised the need for dialogue directly to the American people. His language was reasonable and spiritual and he cited his experience in Northern Ireland as the stimulant and hope:
I welcome the president’s (Obama) interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations. If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal. By Vladamir V Putin, published September 11, 2013
Meanwhile back in Moscow Vladimir has a peace initiative to address on his own doorstep: Members of a girls punk rock band, whose protest in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral offered a punk prayer are imprisoned:
Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has begun a hunger strike to protest what she has described as “slave labor” conditions in her Russian penal colony. The imprisoned punk rocker also says she received a death threat from a prison official, Reuters reports. “Beginning September 23rd, I am going on hunger strike and refusing to participate in colony slave labour,” Tolokonnikova wrote in a letter that was distributed by her husband. She continued, “I will do this until the administration starts obeying the law and stops treating incarcerated women like cattle.”