Health Commons Circle


In preparation for our meeting  we tune into what really matters to us as individuals and as a group. The questions which matter to our members and are alive for them are our most important resource. 

1.  What are you most curious about regarding health, healing, healthcare, the commons and commoning ?

Some answers from members:

A: How we can move from good practice to common practice - how we can collectively 'find our way' - how we can activate self and collective compassion

R: 'Curious' is such a brilliant word, and it does very aptly describe where I am at regarding this whole arena of Commoning and Commons. I have done a little reading, and watched some videos, since meeting you and George, and it really speaks to me as a way to be in the world, if possible. How much I need to absorb and learn about this.

As to regards health, healing and healthcare...Well, I can speak from my own, and various people I have been close to, as carer and/ or advocate in the experience of mental and physical illness within the health service and also care home facilities here and in Australia. A desperate need for some 'joined up' thinking and integration comes to mind; and greater compassion for those who need help, and also for those who are employed and caring - whether as workers, or those as family to find support, too.

I am also someone who has been involved in 'alternative health' healing modalities for some years. I have never practiced professionally, as never felt able to charge monetarily for my services. However, I am about to embark on finishing my training as a Shiatsu practitioner; and as a Yoga Therapist and Mindfulness teacher, working specifically within the mental health arena, within the next two years, hopefully. And, as I no longer have an income from other full-time work it will be essential to derive some income from these trainings, eventually. Also, to fully qualify as a psychotherapist once these trainings are complete.


2. What are you hoping to take away from the meeting? 

A: Energy, resilience, joy, a structure for building alignment, envisioning and building resilience.

R: Whatever comes in my interaction with whoever attends, will, I am sure inform and help feed my need to meet like minded souls; as this group potentially augers to be a resource to listen and exchange ideas that I am truly deeply curious about.


3. What would you need in order to remain engaged with this group?

A: The above structure

R: That, initially, we remain committed, to 'show up' and be present within this group. I am sure as we get to know each other we will formulate ideas to share and ways to work upon ourselves, and take out into the workplace, and world at large!

4. What do you feel and think you may be able to contribute regarding skills, time, competence......

A: I will joyously give what I can - my love is in the area of facilitating safe spaces for mindful and compassionate connection

Here I am

Here we are


Harvest from the 13th July meeting

Why the 'Health Commons' Circle'?

"To be part of an ongoing mutual and peer-to-peer support network to practise ‘shared mindfulness’, and tap into our individual and collective potential as professionals in health and social care, so we can truly care ably for ourselves and for those we work with; and to find new and engaging ways of implementing change that would allow for a greater ‘Commons’ approach."

Feedback from a participant:

Inclusivity is so empowering, and allows for all to contribute and feel valuable. As everyone is!


I urge anyone working in Health and Social Care to consider coming to the next Healing Commons Circle meeting, as you may just find a way to feel supported in your work, as well as heard when you air the frustrations and challenges you face; however, then come to find ways to bring greater wellness within yourself and the institutions you happen to work in by connecting with others in similar positions, but with different talents and in different areas, by looking to make changes that only you could, perhaps, help them with, and you them. Together, we can connect and make vital, that, which right now, may appear laboured and sometimes even dying, into something revitalised and thriving.



Vision Map for Health Commons Hub

This is a draft (July 2014) of the Collaborative Working Map describing:

  • The Vision
  • The Support structures
  • The Obstacles/Challenges
  • The Plan


                                            The Vision

Where are we all heading?

Connecting the higher vision that connects different  projects.

Asking questions using amongst other methods appreciative enquiry, generative interviewing,

Eliciting a vision of preferred direction from those involved:

i.e  When you think about your ideals, vision or best possible scenario what do you particularly appreciate about what you already do to bring it into being and how you do it?

Imagine it is a year from now and everything you particularly appreciate was showing up everywhere. What would be happening that would tell us this was the case?

How would you like others to talk about it?



Who and what can support us in moving towards our vision? Our resources

  • Good listening skills.
  • Reflective practise
  • People with passion, skills & competencies
  • Funding for innovative projects (not yet enough)
  • Social technologies that help to create fertile spaces for creativity and caring i.e AoH, Open Space, U theory, Presencing, Worldcafe …
  • Methods for transformative conversations: i.e appreciative enquiry, dialoguing, transparent communication, mindfulness,
  • Projects that already do amazing things and model good practices worth replicating
  • Internet and online tools/platforms
  • Neuroscience
  • Citizen Science
  • Collaborative working models
  • Untapped human potential
  • Open Source movement
  • Creative Commons licensing
  • Ostrom Principles for self-organising communities



What gets in the way of the vision?

The obstacle is not the person.

Ask questions that separate the obstacle from the person and instead examine the effects of the obstacle on the person and their work .

Also acknowledge the encouragement that the obstacle receives from the organisational and socio-cultural context.


  • When we feel pulled away from our better self.
  • Not noticing when we feel pulled away.
  • Worry, frustration, anger, exhaustion, urgency, denial and resistance, bureaucratic requirements, work overload, pressure to fix things


  • Interpersonal ways of communication that are judgemental, non-transparent, blaming, command and control style …
  • Competitive thinking and operating


  • Institutional structures
  • Limiting Theories and Frameworks that guide thinking and actions
  • Policies & legislation
  • Enclosures of research, non-access to patient records
  • Specialisations and separation of different areas of expertise
  • Experts working in isolation and protecting their professional identity
  • Leadership theories and practices based on competitive rather than collaborative thinking and working
  • IT systems that don't talk to each other

Commissioning based on competition and underlying belief in scarcity 



How can we draw on support to address obstacles?

How can we move towards our vision? Practical steps.

  • Get the website ready to go public. Populate with relevant material and make space for groups/forums explicit and engaging.
  • Interview different innovative community lead projects using principles of generative interviewing.
  • Organise regular face to face meetings : Health Commons Circle to model practices we want to replicate
  • Decide what offerings to make ie. trainings, workshops, ….  and to whom