It was good to see many of you the past few months over zoom for the 12 sessions we hosted: 3 on Self-Love, 3 on Life Path & Purpose, 3 on Energy and Using the Chakras, and 3 on the Higher Mind. Over the next few weeks we’re presenting a series of speakers to bring into 3D the Life Path and Purpose sessions where we discussed the importance of giving oxygen to our passions, honouring our values, and our desire to serve others to help them in their paths. These speakers have all in their way brought meaning and value to their lives through following their passions, and through pursuing their conviction and desire to make life a little better for all of us.
Labours of Love with Murad Qureshi, London Assembly Member
12th December 2020 at 4pm UK time (GMT+1)
Watch it on YouTube: Murad's Talk
Welcoming our 6th and final speaker Murad Qureshi, London Assembly Member, in this series on Life Purpose, Labours of Love.
Murad was born into a political family in the UK and was a Labour Councillor for Westminster before joining the London Assembly, a body of 25 elected members which scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has power over the Mayor's strategies and budget. As a member of the LA, Murad has worked with all three London Mayors, Ken Livingston, Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan. He will be speaking about his passions for protecting the environment and championing people who need help… that and his other passion for team sports like cricket and football, visiting the world’s best stadiums like the ones in China, Russia, South Africa and Japan, and watching the greatest stars in the world at work. Murad will also be speaking to us about his experiences in office, how he deals with the ups and downs of politics having lost his seat in the 2016 elections and regained it earlier this year, and how his values of empathy and courage fit into this roller coaster of activities.
Every time I meet Murad he tells me about some cause cause or other he's championing; and he speaks from the heart. He passionately defends the underdog and where he believes people are being hard done by. I would also add he’s very patient especially when it comes to explaining the rules of cricket to me… maybe in another 16 years I’ll get it!
“One of the reasons I’m so drawn to team sports is the empathy between players - without this there would be little cohesion between the players and no game. I also admire anyone who has the courage to stand by their principles and this was one reason why I flew out to Kentucky when I heard Mohamed Ali had passed away to be there at the funeral. Empathy and having the courage to stand by one’s principles are key values I hold in high esteem - whether in football, cricket or politics”
Murad's details: London Assembly Profile
; Murad's website
Labours of Love with Suzanna Nour, Architect
28th November 2020 at 4pm UK time (GMT+1)
Watch it on YouTube: Suzanna's Talk
Welcoming architect Suzanna Nour, the fifth of our speakers in this series on Labours of Love.
“We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.” ~ Oscar Wilde
This statement by Oscar Wilde has fascinated Suzanna since her teenage years. She continues a few decades later, as Chartered RIBA architect, to engage in the arguments it has evoked for her turning this quote on its head. Through all of her life experiences she continues to explore that key issue of transcending utility of dwelling space through applying age old principles of proportionality for the wellbeing of the people living in those spaces. A building may provide all the basic needs of shelter, but a work of architecture allows for the nobler potential in mankind to flourish.
One of the joys for Suzanna is breathing new life into old buildings, finding new uses for them and creating the backdrop space for living. Suzanna worked in the 1980’s on the skyscrapers that went up in the City of London and wonders how potentially these may now be reinvented post-Covid. She’s also very keen to find new ways of approaching affordable development particularly in rural areas, applying that same principle of proportionality for wellbeing. Suzanna also explores the creative process through other mediums of writing, and acting work within theatre and television. This has led to wildly diverse adventures from spending six weeks for a Channel Four documentary following Colonel Gaddafi around Libya to being flown to Copenhagen to play an Afghani Doctor in the Danish tv series Borgen.
“ The Affordable Housing issue is a highly charged political topic and has brought me sharply face to face with my most important core value: Evolving accepted conventions. Very importantly, that same core value also drove me to help my son overcome the limitations of a diagnosis of autism to become a confident and independent young man enjoying every aspect of life. To work towards a change no matter how slow and painful that process might be and no matter what adversity it might include.”
Suzanna's website: www.4sitedesignltd.com
Labours of Love with former RAF Group Captain and RBKC Councillor Greg Hammond
20th October 2020 at 4pm UK time (GMT+1)
Welcoming the fourth of our speakers Greg Hammond, whose teenage obsessions were military history, aircraft and politics. Joining the RAF at 18 as a ‘Cold War Warrior’, he later flew as an E-3D AWACS crew member including on operations around the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. Subsequently he was promoted into a number of senior positions, including Station Commander of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales and Deputy Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell. Politics remained a latent interest and Greg almost left the RAF to become an MP in the wake of the expenses scandal in 2009. When he did leave the Service, it seemed natural to continue in public service and follow his political vocation, and he was elected to both the board of his local voluntary party association and to Kensington and Chelsea borough council representing Courtfield ward in South Kensington.
Early in 2018 a voice on my intercom said, “It’s Greg Hammond from the Conservative Party”. Oh-oh I thought. The voice continued on, “I remember last year when I spoke to you with my colleague that you had problems with train noises. I was just wondering how you got on with those and if you needed any help?”. I invited him in to have a chat and I was beyond impressed that he had been going round speaking to ward constituents asking them how he could help them and what he could do for them... instead of just asking them to vote for him. Here was a politician who practised Servant Leadership - an area I’m passionate about, based on a 5000 year old adage from the I Ching, To Lead Truly is to Serve. Greg had my vote.
“When Lubna asked me for my core values, I was immediately mindful of the core values of the Royal Air Force, which have stayed with me and to which I still hold true: Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. Many years ago, I heard the Prince of Wales explain his inherited motto ‘Ich Dien’ – I serve – and this was the first time I came across the powerful concept of servant leadership, which also stayed with me. If you add on top of these the values that make me a Conservative politically, you’ve got the cocktail of things which drive me beneath the task-oriented exterior.”
You can follow Greg on Twitter
Labours of Love with Bea Kayani, Visual Artist
20th October 2020 at 6:30pm UK time (GMT+1)
Very pleased to present to you the third speaker in the Life Purpose series Labours of Love with artist and activist Bea Kayani.
Bea’s love for art started as a child in Iran. Life however only allowed her to explore this part of her passion much later - at university she studied dentistry which later inspired her to establish a 200-strong group to support refugee dentists in the UK. Life-altering events in Zurich prompted a prolonged period of introspection, self-discovery and personal growth which led Bea back to her passion for art in 2008. She has been committed to developing her fine art practice full-time since that time.
Her career in art has resulted in solo exhibitions in NYC and Bath, as well as a collaboration with Qatar/London based couture designer Toujouri, and being shortlisted for Passion For Freedom Art Festival (2015 & 2018) Mall Galleries, amongst other achievements. Bea Kayani is currently based in Bristol, UK. Upon completion of her Masters in Fine Art in 2017, she founded The Artist Project Space and Kosar Contemporary. Her hope and vision is to help create a sustainable alternative art ecology supporting emerging artists promoting peer support, critical rigour and collaborations nationwide and internationally.
"There is no greater feeling than seeing with clarity that right now you are where you were always meant to be. And, there is no greater success than being able to pursue your passion whilst being of service to others”.
Bea's lovely works can be seen on Instagram at @bea_kayani
Labours of Love with Graham Bound, Author & Potter
3rd October 2020 at 4pm UK time (GMT+1)
Watch it on YouTube: Graham's Talk
Our second speaker is author Graham Bound. Born in the Falklands, Graham was a contributor to the Times and the Daily Mail as well as a presenter and producer for BBC World Service, travelling extensively to trouble spots around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He joined the Ministry of Defence, and worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was also responsible to the Prime Minister’s Office helping to coordinate communications around the conflict in Afghanistan. Graham took early retirement after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and now dedicates his time to writing books and perfecting his skills in a long standing passion, pottery.
Graham's latest book, At the Going Down of the Sun, is based on the last letters that soldiers fighting in Afghanistan wrote to their families before going into battle. The book launch was one of the most moving events I’ve been to, not only because of the sadness of the loss of young lives, but because of the stories of sheer heroism, sacrifice and nobility of human nature that speakers brought forward. It was truly humbling.
“I have held to the belief that my work needs to reflect me as a person - who I am at my core. I write honestly and unpretentiously. Fairness and truth is not welcomed by every audience, but I’ve learned to cling to this inner value regardless of the personal cost. My ceramics are also honest statements. They have a simplicity and, I hope, grace. I’m inspired by the words of Bernard Leach, the greatest British potter, who said, “The pot is the man: his vices and his values are therein. No disguise is possible.”
Graham’s beautiful pottery work can be seen at Penguin Pots
Labours of Love with Behnaz Kanani of Kanani London Footwear Designs
1st September 2020 at 6:30pm UK time (GMT+1)
We are starting with Behnaz Kanani who creates beautiful, wearable, sexy shoes taking inspirations from nature - both from exotic flowers and the undersea world. When I first met Behnaz, she told me “I want to empower women from the ground up”. I loved that. Behnaz's first company was featured in Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and she has now started afresh from ground level, pursuing her dream and vision.
“Have you heard of 'A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step? As a child I could never find a pair of shoes that were comfortable enough or pretty enough, and somehow that ignited a profound passion in me. Let me share with you how from my personal need, my life transformed to making others happy through designing shoes. Building a dream, losing the dream… letting it go for the spiritual journey and starting again with a natural twist.”
And in case the men are eye-rolling “women & shoes”, Behnaz designs some awesome bespoke shoes, cool slippers and Chelsea boots for men as well.
Format: presentation followed by Q&A
Kanani London: Beauty, Power, Freedom