#IAMCandidateX with Andy Hobson

#IAMCandidateX with Andy Hobson

If you’re breathing, you can meditate. It’s not just for spiritual people. It’s for everyone.

We are all on own individual mental health journeys. We all deal with it in our own ways. Some need more than others and luckily there are those dedicating themselves to providing it for us.

In this episode we speak with Andy Hobson who dedicated his life to drumming, before joining a band who signed with a major label. Unfulfilled, he began his mental health and spiritual journey into mediation and wellbeing.

Today Andy is a respected meditation teacher and wellbeing practitioner who candidly shares his journey, his views and ideas on taking care of your own mind and the impact the work he and other fellow practitioners are having with vulnerable children.

Learn more about Andy’s work available on his site and the fabulous Insight Timer and the networks he is involved with at Wellbeing Education.

Transcript

Andy Hobson Meditation – Andy Hobson – Founder and Director

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, meditation, children, mental health, bit, schools, groups, mindfulness, work, support, experienced, life, charities, families, moment, funding, called, thought, money, andy

SPEAKERS

Andy Hobson, Man Wong

Man Wong  00:10

Welcome to the I am CandidateX series the show about community, innovators, entrepreneurs and the impact they’re having in our world all through a diverse lens. I’m your host Man Wong and today we are joined by Andy Hobson. Andy is the founder and meditation teacher of Andy Hobson meditation and also a member of  Wellbeing in Education, where Andy teaches mindfulness and mentors children at the primary school level in London. A very warm welcome to you Andy. First of all, how are you in the family?

Andy Hobson  00:36

Hi Man – how are you doing, all very well. Surviving in this very unusual situation we all find ourselves in but it’s got its challenges and its quirks but no pretty good, pretty good at the moment.

Man Wong  00:48

Brilliant really good to hear me as one as one that another how you coping with a lockdown life under one roof. Everybody compressed at all times of the day?

Andy Hobson  00:57

Yeah, it’s it’s interesting. I mean, I’m trying to get work done each day. But inevitably, I get a knock on the door from my three year old, asking to come out and play in this. It’s not easy to get rid of them, once they’re in. Once they infiltrate your room, that’s it – they’re there. You know, they’ll do anything to stay. So that’s a challenge. But yeah, it’s just exhausting isn’t it?

Man Wong  01:18

Are you are you finding….yeah, no 100%, are you finding that you’re … it’s funny, I was thinking this the other day, I would have never had a situation where I spent so much direct time with my children as I am doing now. And, and my youngest is a little bit older than yours. He’s 18 months and just seeing that growth that I never really had with my other child, if you see what I mean, just during this period is what is it week nine now is pretty amazing.

Andy Hobson  01:44

Yeah, it is, you know, it’s lovely, lovely as well. You have to look at the lovely parts of it. You get to see little things in their day. And, you know, if works getting too much, you just go down and play with them for a bit and come back. But it’s amazing how they come on, you know, you notice things like that. A little three year old speech so nice seeing these kind of things coming up with all these phrases. Where’d you learn that from? Probably me. W

Man Wong  02:09

Well at least it’s you and not Peppa Pig like my kids.

Andy Hobson  02:14

That’s been banned for a bit.

Man Wong  02:17

That’s a good idea but I don’t want to risk the tears before bedtime, you see so..

Andy Hobson  02:21

Oh yeah, that’s well, patrol paw patrol it is then.

Man Wong  02:25

Yeah, absolutely one of my favourites anyway. I’ll say, are you sure you don’t want Paw Patrol?

Andy Hobson  02:30

I watch in the evenings.

Man Wong  02:31

Yeah, exactly after they’ve gone to bed! So we’re thrilled to have you on the show today. I have to say mental health and well being has been something I’ve been undergoing my own personal journey with for the last sort of six years or so. So I was very excited to speak with someone who is impacting in the space with their work, and appears to be very well time too giving this mental health awareness week that we speak to you about this topic. So let’s get started. Just before we get into your work in its current guys. I’d like to begin with your story and your journey today, because you actually started in the music industry as a drummer, right?

Andy Hobson  03:06

I did. Yeah, I did indeed.

Man Wong  03:08

Tell us about?

Andy Hobson  03:10

Well, it’s a long story, but um, ya know, so I started off I’d always loved music has been kind of part of my life for many, many years. And for some reason I took to the drums when I was like 11. And I kind of I went through the education system as everyone does. But it was always in the back of my mind that I’d like to pursue drumming and make that a central part of what I do and give it a shot. And I thought, well, if it doesn’t work out, you know, at least I’ve given it a shot and given it a try. So, when I finished university, I went to London to a drum School, where there were lots of drummers. I lived in a house with drummers and we all sat and talked about drums all day, for a year.

Man Wong  03:54

Your poor neighbours.

Andy Hobson  03:55

Yeah, well, luckily we all had these two rubber pads you play on and off. Yes, and there’s a lot of rooms and things but yeah, my neighbours have suffered enough in other contexts in other houses. And funnily enough, I used to have to knock down knock around a few houses around my street when I was younger and ask if it’s alright to play. And I had a very strict curfew so we’re gonna have to stop as well. But um, yeah, so that’s all I kind of want to kind of get as good as I could drums so I kind of studied it and practised a lot. Too much, it’s quite, usually quite used to enjoy very boring repetitive tasks to do – to be a drummer, which I didn’t mind. So anyway, so I was quite lucky, kind of after I finished that, and we did lots of auditions and tried to cut little bits of session work here and there. Nearly ended up on a cruise ship at one point. But that got cancelled and finally if in a space where that that got cancelled. I found a band in Northampton of all places, who were looking for a drummer who will connect have had something about them that I thought was pretty special and they actually had some label interest and we’ve suddenly got signed by this big major label and moved to Northampton slept on a guitarist’s floor for a few months. And we kind of went into the stratosphere I guess, of touring and and living the life. It doesn’t happen so often these days with record labels, the industry’s changed, but iving you know, touring places, touring and playing big venues and things and we kind of given that life that you know, you read about maybe not with all the money that comes in but we certainly got to experience the kind of the higher end of the music industry in terms of you know, being looked after. It’s just the the madness that goes with it all as well. Yeah. So part of that, and during that time I am, I wasn’t actually enjoying it that much. You know, it worked really hard to do this until it was missing something kind of big. I just saw, you know, on tour buses, I’m playing big venues, I’m doing all this stuff, but something doesn’t make sense. And I was already quite interested in meditation and kind of philosophy and just I’ve always questioned life to a point anyway, I’ve always just thought why? Who am I? What are we doing? And that just came back really strongly. I just thought hang on a minute. This is this all seems very empty. And you know, do I want to do this first of all, what is it about playing music that I like? Is it people enjoy your music is the kind of status our ego? Anyway, so I kind of join myself with this Buddhist centre that offered meditation classes. And during tours they’d send me … I kind of did a course with them five cassette tape. Just despite the fact I think we had CDs by then but they are a little bit behind the times. But um yes I i this course, really into it but didn’t quite connect the kind of the wisdom and you know everything you learn in meditation with actually applying it to life. So in the meantime, in the end, the band kind of ended I went back to London and did various jobs that didn’t really make me too happy being call centres and do lots of temp jobs what I tried to do other work in music, and yeh and I really suffered with kind of stress and depression at one point as well. And I was kind of frustrated that I’d learned meditation and yet I couldn’t apply it, so thought what’s going on here? So yeah, and then mental health came in and i was interested in mental health and I just started thinking about, you know, where I had some counselling myself and thought it really helped and think about training and learning to learn about our minds really interested me. So I kind of start doing little courses in adult council counselling just certificate levels, just to give me an insight. But in the meantime also discovered something called Mindfulness, which is a really…bit of a buzzword, and it’s not always doesn’t always describe. I think mindfulness is kind of interpreted so many different ways now. And it’s, it’s a, it’s a corporate thing as well. So it’s kind of sold to be, maybe things that it’s not, but it’s just the idea of being the moment being present. And that you can work with stuff that comes up in that time in that space. And we don’t have to get caught up into the bigger picture of our life, which is kind of our narrative, our story is my story would be that the musician that kind of didn’t work out the failure, having to do you know, or in a narrative of why am I doing this job or that kind of stuff. This is what creates depressive thoughts, you know. So I just thought this is an amazing way to bring this kind of ancient wisdom you know, it’s nothing new into, into modern life into your day and actually have a practical thing you can actually and use and it really made sense to me and I just immediately thought I’d love to teach this as it’s changed everything for me. Not in a miraculous, you know, I’m skipping down the road every day kind of thing, but it just gave me a real grounding in how to live life from a happier place rather than just being caught up with with life’s ups and downs, which we all are we all have different life stories, and even now, especially now, there’s a lot going on for people. So I’m just really passionate about teaching people how that that could help them especially because I’ve lived a life a life in which 20s that was my dream and that wasn’t complete. And you know, it says a lot that a lot of celebrities are now turning to meditation people have billions in their bank, freedom, everything and yet they they’re going back to sitting in closing their eyes. Because they realised this is this is not it means nothing unless they can be happy in themselves. So that’s the kind of where I’m at. And then that’s that. I moved to fundraising. I really wanted to work in charities anyway, helping people. I just never had interest in the kind of corporate side of things so much. And I fell into fundraising accidentally through a temp job. I never really intended to do fundraising, but I kind of somehow forged a career for five years in major giving and community fundraising, and also corporate stuff as well. I knew that wasn’t for me that that nitty gritty part of it, I kind of wanted to be down, kind of supporting people on the ground. So I did. So I had a break and I went to work for a friend who had a bike shop. I just thought I need a break from this. I want to work with my hands again. So I learnt how to build bikes, doing some mechanic work and then I started working with this brand and kind of visiting bike shops and talking about bikes and trying to sell our bikes to them. I did that for a few years and ended up under this railway arch in Shadwell freezing cold, wearing gloves to type in the winter. And that also was not for me really. But I loved that change, you know, going back to, to kind of basics and just going back talking to people. In the meantime, I was doing some volunteering and I always recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to try something new. Start with volunteering, even pet a volunteer and you know, help some some groups that really need that support. So I started volunteering at a charity called Kidz Company which sadly no longer with us. They closed a few years ago. But they did amazing work with vulnerable children and families. Had centres, you know, they’re a rare charity that had centres people would drop in and receive the basics such as you know, food and just kind of care and support and something to do to be honest. A lot of the kids just had nothing. Yeah, they were it was such an age range day from each kind of five and upwards. So I did some, some music, I did some drumming in one of their centres, which was, how successful it was, but I was there and you know, you kind of making contact with the kids and just a friendly faces enough, you know, enough to kind of to help

Man Wong  12:34

Sort of expose to something different, isn’t it for them, which is interesting. And

Andy Hobson  12:37

Yeah, just someone positive in their life, you know, and that’s for everyone. We just need something positive to say, look, it’s alright. You know, this, this is a new avenue. Yeah. And then eventually I was kind of I spent a year or so just kind of saying I’d love to work for you. Is there a way and then in the end, I found a way to work in the schools programme that they had managing a service Which is a you know, a huge leap for me and I’ve had some mental health training by that point. And luckily there’s a lot of support from psychotherapists within that role and management. I jumped straight into basically managing eight trainee therapists and kind of other volunteers that did arts and crafts and cooking and all sorts of stuff in his primary school in South London. And, you know, it was quite a shocking experience because the children that would come in and this is a large amount of children, just a normal comprehensive school. Pretty, pretty nice area actually. The the scale of neglect and trauma that the children have experienced, you know, that this this … I’ve never been so busy my entire life and so, so rewarded but also exhausted by just the need in London. You know what, we’re not exposed to it. We just don’t see it. It’s going on right now, but It’s not enough circle. A lot of us don’t see it. So we hear odd stories on the news.

Man Wong  14:05

You’re right in the thick of it with quite a lot. Yeah, emotional drain, I suppose, isn’t it because they they need to offset what’s going on in their circumstances can you can you give an example? I mean, without obviously indicating who that might be in relation to but the kind of vulnerability that you were experiencing?

Andy Hobson  14:24

Yeah, I would say that a lot of is a lot of vulnerable with family so it’s fundable. Families always see the bigger picture of the children and the families. And it was always this blame culture of you know, it’s the parents fault. You know, is this is really working with transgenerational trauma. So some children have experienced a lot of neglect in terms of food. I mean, that was that was really common. A lot of lot of witnessed domestic violence. Some children had, you know, relatives in prison. Anything I mean, even with a child who’d experienced some of the the London stabbings on London Bridge. They’d been in a car during that going on as well. So it is a diverse range but neglect was huge, a huge part of it. And we work with colour social services, and police and everything. So I was, what was now called a well being practitioner, it’s part of a community that I’m part of now we’re trying to create a new a change in how well being is kind of delivered in schools and looking at the whole the whole holistic picture of how it is working. So, yeah, it was it was a real range of different needs. But just the level of it, you know, the percentage of children in that school and we generall worked across a lot of schools about 20 – 25 schools. And it was the same in all these schools in whatever area it was. And it’s really hard to bring about that change. there’s so little money and we did so much, you know, it was time was spread very thinly.

Man Wong  16:04

What sort of age group were they?

Andy Hobson  16:07

So I was in a primary school, so it’s going to age 5 to 11. But then we would also support brothers and sisters, you know, in those kind of areas as well. So sometimes all the way up to kind of 15/16 as well. We’re kind of in that kind of spectrum, but mainly with the children in the schools. But yeah,

Man Wong  16:28

You’re at the heart of it, right? You can see how impactful something like an outlet or someone to give support and interest can do and if you can combine that with services such as well being, mindfulness, mental health, I guess, checkpoints for children is so key, right? Because we know that age group is so impressionable. And I imagine the long term effects that you can have growing up when you’ve been through such trauma and not having that sort of support can be very grave.

Andy Hobson  17:03

Yeah, it can. So, you know that our approach  really, was to work with attachment to attachment theories based around, you know, your care or your parents relationship with you from age nought onwards. And just to speak about the neuroscience of it really, our brains develop in the midst of development that happens between aged zero and five. And we learn we, we develop our brains in relation to others. That’s the most important part in relation to someone’s facial expressions, their care, their support their love. And when, if that’s not present, you know, that can actually change the way our brain grows. And children have been severely neglected or very inconsistently parented, and I’m talking to extreme levels here not so any parents who are listening worrying about inconsistency. This is an extreme level

Man Wong  17:58

I have enough insecurities about the way I am raising my kids Andy….

Andy Hobson  18:02

Same here, now I’m a parent.  Yeah so they can it can really impact children and maybe we see children violence all that kind of stuff stems from parenting from parts of the brain that haven’t been switched on or that they’ve experienced this so much that their brain is switched off to it so they don’t feel the emotions not there, the pains not there. They go back to the primordial instinct of being fight flight freeze mode, which is why we see violence sometimes people triggered from nothing. So yeah, so we know we put children in, in psychotherapy, art therapy, so they use creative means to kind of work with what’s going on. It’s not direct talking about it because children work very much in their visual and they’re creative in their imagination. And as adults can’t You can’t talk your way out of it. So we you know, it’s always through arts was free sand trade through music, whatever medium the child connects with. It’s never direct, you know, and then they explore a trauma through that. And then the very skilled practitioners help them to understand it make sense of it, repair, understand. And the same for adults as well. But then it’s just having someone present in the school, like myself or any other kind of team managers. in that setting, the children have someone to talk to some to check in with. So I do lots of drop ins every lunchtime for kids, and sometimes it’s big things. You know, sometimes it’s really bad happened. And, you know, there’s child protection issues. Sometimes it’s just someone who turned nine. They didn’t know how they felt about it. You know, it could be all sorts, but he’s just having, you know, another adult that they trusted to speak to and that’s, and that’s what we all need as adults, you know, we all have times where we need someone to talk to that we trust and it can turn that turn it around a container or year round, you know, just some to listen.

Man Wong  19:55

Yeah, I coudn’t can agree more. Yes, I think what word would like to do is delve bit more into the work that you’re doing with the children through the Wellbeing Education in a second, I just want to sort of direct yourself back to your business. I mean, you founded Andy Hobson meditation 10 years now, right? So, obviously, that journey from you know, I was similar to you when I was growing up, I definitely wanted to be in a band, you know, and it’s very interesting to secure that dream you know, living that that aspect and then coming to the stark realisation particularly since all the hard work that you’ve described previously, you know, the practising you know, do the repetition, you must have aches in hands and blisters holding the drumsticks and then to, not to give it up, but to kind of go to take that brave step to say this isn’t actually for me, and it’s not making me happy, and then tried your hand at various things and gaining a lot of life experiences to know actually, I’m circling back around to the thing that you feel most fulfilled with which is meditation, well being and mental healtH. So how’s that? How’s the business gone in the last sort of 10 years? What sort of challenges have you seen? And has that journey looking?

Andy Hobson  21:08

Oh, it’s, it’s, it’s a kind of strange, a strange shade have because, you know, I’ve been working in well being in education, but also, I’ve always had the mindfulness thing. That’s my evening work. So I was working in a school and crazily carry on more work. Yeah. You know, I’m trying to run Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses. And, and I started to record meditations as well as part of that kind of just out of necessity to have something for someone to take away. And then I uploaded it on an app called Insight Timer.

Man Wong  21:41

Yep.

Andy Hobson  21:42

And then it got really popular and it kind of really took off. But it’s funny kind of things have come full circle a little bit because, you know, I write music underneath meditations now as well. So I get to still create music, without any drums, which is kind of frustration. But it’s like, okay, and so it’s kind of it’s come full circle, but it’s a kind of present, you know, present times. As we find ourselves now everything’s becoming more and more online, everything’s kind of someone’s head on a screen. And, you know, people are learning online, more people are more comfortable and people aren’t going out and seeing each other. You need to learn to do courses, you know, obviously with the situation with COVID-19, as well, but I think that’s wonderful. But I also I really, I keep striving towards that in person interaction, being in schools and working. And I’m part of this network that’s come about from a course it was developed kind of within Kidz company actually, about the thought that well, beings kind of over complicated sometimes it may be put into the hands of psychotherapists, and they do wonderful work, but their training is very expensive and what they deliver, you know, terms of it can be very expensive as well, you know, you can access mental health support as an adult or child through the NHS. But um, the resources are so few and far between now just because of funding, you know, the threshold to actually get seen as is so high. And then so private practitioners charge a lot of money, and then you’re excluding a lot of people. And this is kind of system where people train and they offer it as a volunteer as part of the training hours, and they work with these vulnerable groups. And then they qualify, and then those vulnerable groups can’t afford to pay them. So then they work, you know, they work privately or they work in others in it. There’s lots of other settings they work in, but it means that people that really need it, aren’t getting it. That kind of mental support, but also a therapist works, you know, with the child in a room. And that’s wonderful, isn’t it? A huge impact, but what I saw time and time again over five years of working in schools, when you work with the families when you actually work with them, support them. Infact more so useful for families, then you see change for the child. And, you know, I’d almost say working with families over working with a child entirely in some places, because that’s where you see impact. So from this work, and I’m very lucky  this course been developed by a wonderful, very experienced psychotherapist who’s been doing for 30 years now. So called Jo (Jocelyne) Quennell , she develops course through a very respected Institute, called Institute of Art, Therapy, I A T E. She developed the course but also has community around it. So people like myself, who want to create change in education in terms of wellbeing, but want to have a bigger role, more of a holistic role. So there’s a group of us, not a huge group. pioneering wellbeing services in school, where we do the work. We work with the teachers, the headmaster’s the families, the children, everyone is part of the whole well being picture. And that’s where you get to see that change because it’s in everyone’s mind. And it brings about the idea that mental health is no longer something that other people have issues with, you know, someone’s got mental health problems on, they were all experienced mental health difficulty at some time in our life. We all have these ups and downs. It’s no longer something that oh some people, some people are obviously more prone to things like depression, and anxiety, but everyone has their limits. And you know, you can’t protect yourself from things that come up. So anyway, so we’ve we’ve had a strange journey, trying to bring about this change. And then the biggest, most difficult part is financial. Financial means for schools have been really stripped of finances. A lot of schools and time and time again that you know, trying to bring mindfulness into schools. They just the funding is not there. And I try to make my programmes as affordable as possible. And we’ve done a bit of fundraising of schools with him to try and to get that. But it’s just, it’s crazy. And when you talk about well being two teachers, they, they love the idea and they, they, they are all for it themselves. And teachers do a phenomenal job. The amount of work they have now is incredible. But they didn’t have space for it is crazy. We didn’t have space for well being because it’s another thing that they have to do, you know, another things they have to be part of. So there’s has to be a very careful way that you bring well being into a school, but also making it an affordable one, I don’t know what the answer is for that at the moment. But it’s essential, it’s you know, it’s essential, but yet, the curriculum curriculum still, especially in secondary schools is still rather have kids in class learning. When we know you know, the evidence is there that you can’t learn if you’ve experienced trauma in your state of fight flight, freeze, you know, it’s it’s pointless.

Man Wong  21:43

You’re distracted. Yeah, you’re  not you’re not focused on the task at hand and the and the material that that teachers and students are trying and your peers are obviously trying to try to get you to learn and absorb and because you’re probably thinking of various incidences or incidences that may happen when you when you come home.  I think that’s a really apt sort of description as to  sort of the status quo and I’m just interested, you know, I guess a couple points you mentioned there. Correct me if I’m wrong, I sense from the discussions that we’ve had and certainly on today’s call, you did admission that you sort of drivers to try and make you know, the the availability of well being and support and you know, things of mental health etc. as accessible as possible, and also ensure that it’s impactful, right? So, you know, kind of not reinvent or disrupt what’s what’s out there, but certainly to put a stake in the ground to say, actually, we can chart this course. You know, we did, I think what you’ve described there in terms of a the time, the money that’s required in order for professionals to get to a point where they can actually provide the services, but then make it really restrictive in cost means that the people I mean, I don’t know the figures, you’d have to tell me but the people that really require it and need it are the ones sort of missing out and if they are structured in a way about their way that they do provide the support in terms of one to one which obviously has its benefits, but not considering this wider piece because I like your point there. involving the family means that it’s not a problem that one individual has to face on their own.

Andy Hobson  27:11

Yeah.

Man Wong  27:44

It does require everybody’s input and understanding of the situation so that you can master a significant impact right and change for for these individuals. In the 10 years that you’ve been with, you know that you formed your business in that journey. Have you seen the, I don’t want to use the word market, but I guess understanding of mental health change because I mean, 10 years ago, what year was that? 2010 probably a little bit before, that’s only when I first started in work. Mental Health has been more taboo, you know, if you if you felt that you were feeling anxious or stressed, I found in the corporate world, people would look at you and go, well, you’re not management material. And in that case, you know, but now it’s which is a good thing. It’s a lot more it’s a lot more spoken about people seem to be a bit more honest, particularly during this period, which I love. Have you found the same?

Andy Hobson  29:41

Yeah, definitely. I think mental health has definitely. It’s more in the public awareness. And I think it’s helped us a lot more awareness of the, you know, the, the link between our body and our mind, and it’s, you know, mental health in terms of apps for meditation that’s exploded, you know, there’s so many apps and it’s been you know it’s been sold in in a in a way that people can connect with you know looking after your mind, eating the right food and well being as well in general. The word wellbeings kinda being used.

Man Wong  30:14

It’s a product isn’t it, well being now?

Andy Hobson  30:15

Yeah yeah it is and mental health, I think mental health is still that those words mental health are still avoided a bit they still feel, I think people find if they feel a bit clinical and I think a lot of people would have an issue to say oh, I have a mental health problem because it brings up all kinds of connotations but I think workplaces are definitely kind of ste,pping up not not all of them but there, they are supporting staff and it’s not seen as a weakness which it used to be. Which is crazy, you know, oh dear, you were right but you’re not you know, you’re not doing very well that’s you know what, you’re getting wrong there. You need to sort this out. So it’s really seen as seen as, okay, we need  to how can we support this person which is fantastic. But it’s still there still way to go. I know your work, obviously, working with minority groups, backing ethnic minorities, in terms of employment in the same thing is with mental health as well, and particularly meditation. Earlier, this industry that I’m in just, it’s predominantly white, it’s predominantly kind of smiley faces and white teeth and, you know, happy faces. And, I think it doesn’t quite acknowledge the challenges of everyone in society. And that’s not just among black and ethnic minorities, but like, all people, and I think I’ve had lots of discussions about this, you know, I go on retreats, and it’s easy to see white faces a lot. You know, it’s changing a little bit on retreats, but um, you do see a lot of just just kind of white faces in the mix. And I always think, why are these groups not connecting? And I think a lot of what it is, is guided meditations or mindfulness, it’s who is it speaking to, you know, what’s the background of that person, you’re speaking to you, what’s the issue? Like? Do you want to sit down meditate when you know you’re struggling with finances, you’re struggling with racism, you’re struggling with all this kind of stuff. Is that the first thing you’re thinking about? Probably not. But are there meditations out there that can ignores that goes real life acknowledge the things that these groups face, you know? And we’d be we’d be we’d be kind of brushing over the kind of the honest truth of it. And this isn’t all black and ethnic minorities of course. But a large proportions, particularly in London, the experience I have, I can only speak from that idea. There’s a lot of vulnerable groups. There’s a lot of of families I’ve ever considered meditation for a second. It would be completely alien thing to do, to kind of sit down and meditate when they’ve got you know, trying to get enough money to feed the kids. That week.

Man Wong  33:01

Andy, I wanted to I wanted to talk a little bit more about, and stay on that point about access. Because for me this is this is a real crucial point, really, you know, it’s great that the discussions are more pertinent about mental health, it’s great that people have been more open and aware of these things, certainly, that you’ve seen in the last 10 years. And, but the idea of access is really important, I think in any medium, you know, I think for from a professional perspective, talk about coaching, you know, some people some people don’t necessarily even think that coaching is for them be a life coach or professional mentor, because they’re not in a specific role or specific title or or stage in their career. Whereas, you know, my argument is that I think anybody in any position, be it entry level graduate you need, you need a kind of guidance right through to people that the C suite at the moment making really tough decisions on what to do with a workforce and the people and the products particularly in this in this construct, right? So it should be no different from mindfulness and mental health. And we touched upon the ideas of retreats, how it’s kind of seeing that sort of homogenous group. How do we make this more accessible? You know, you talk about Insight Timer. I know it’s a free app. And so I know you’re doing free steps there and technology makes it accessible. But at the foundation level for children. You know, the challenges that you intimated of which we’d like to delve into a little bit more. How do we make this more accessible for them?

Andy Hobson  34:26

It’s a really challenging question, actually, because, you know, is is largely down to finance. I think schools are very willing, I think parents want mental health for their children. I think that wareness is there now. And as you say, you know, we read about it, we hear good things, ah mental health really on the up and, you know, but then there’s certain groups that take that and roll with it and look after themselves. And there’s other groups that see that it’s not for them or, you know, I think there’s the idea that for children and adults that things have to get really bad for it, to be okay let’s do something now when things get to the very edge but, actually mental health an ongoing thing it’s something you do you wake up every day and that’s what you’re working with. So, I think well, finances for schools I don’t know where that money will come from but there’s certainly kind of push for technology to help with that as well. I’m actually investigating ways of kind of bringing mindfulness into schools in a slightly different way that’s a bit more cost effective.

Man Wong  35:38

Through tech, is it?

Andy Hobson  35:39

Through tech, yeah, but it’s you know, it’s going to be again going back to this the idea, you know, audio and and and video and and not being a person which is going away from what I think really makes a difference which is being in a room with someone and looking them in the eye and go right – How are you? So it misses that personal approach but as as a kind of second best option, that is the way to go. I think. For people to really access mental health, there still has to be that, you know, the stigma is still there. Even though I spoke earlier about, people have more awareness of it and well being is that kind of nice friendly word of looking after it. I think people still wait way too long before they actually start working with mental health and integrate it into their day. As far as my personal meditation goes, you know, it’s a really is a personal thing. And my mission, you know, our mission is to raise consciousness on earth and for people to wake up and see that they’re pretty much enough right now, you know, that they don’t need to constantly improve themselves and for people to be kinder, you know, I think we’ve seen the earth is in a bit of a mess. Yeah. But at the same time, there’s that kind of, kind of slightly plastic coated edge to the well being you see on apps where it doesn’t acknowledge the real suffering in the world. You know? Where, where meditations are the last thing people need? They wouldn’t they wouldn’t need food they need to survive. I don’t know, we can’t solve it, we can’t save the world in one go. But um, I think there’s, there’s, that’s got to be acknoweldged a little bit, you know that we can all sit and meditate but that kindness has to be shared somehow. And maybe that’s the way the kindness gets gets passed on into things like schools gets passed on into things like community groups that don’t have money that won’t receive funding from the government. I mean, when I work for kids company, that was very heavily government government funded, yeah. And, you know, closed down the media, the moment they decided that, that was, you know, the funding couldn’t be there anymore. That  whole charity crumbled in in a couple of days, you know, 500 staff and that’s a huge amount of people affected by that. So we can’t we can’t rely on charities, you know, I’ve worked in charities for eight years, some children’s charities, some of the charities as well. But we, you know, that seems like a strange thing now to, to always rely on charities for everything. Because there has to be more independent ways to deliver stuff to. And I’m not, I don’t have the solutions, but I know there’s thinkers out there that can that can come up with ways to use their people in force in big numbers to make that change. But then it’s how do we … i’ll tell you the thing that  pops into my head really is that we’re so busy in our lives, trying to make our lives work, myself included, to try to have our families trying to get enough work for ourselves, you know, there is a self in this our self centred, not in a selfish way, but we were trying to survive ourselves in our you know, in our bubble of, you know, social economic background. And we don’t have time we did a bit of money to charity. Maybe we we were kinder you know, decently kind for a neighbour, but I think we’re so busy and caught up in our world, and that’s the way society has grown. I could talk about this for a long way, or go into too much but to cut long, a long kind of discussion short, we’re kind of a bit sheltered from what’s going on and making real changes what what will make me finish this, this conversation now and go off and look for some way to support a group, a vulnerable group or or to donate some money to a school wellbeing service, how will that happen? So I think that’s, that’s where we’re at. We’ve got to find ways to deal with the people who are not incentivized but are motivated to really to go the extra mile and meditation although it’s not fixable, you know, it’s not for everyone. Some people like to run and that’s fine. The last thing I want is for people to think they have to meditate you kno. I am very careful with that, especially in schools. Everyone has their own way. But um, there’s something interesting that happens when you meditate, and when you get to the core of who you are as being, and that is that, you know, kindness is at the centre, no matter who we are, when we’re kind to people, we get that good feeling we get, you know, it comes back tenfold. And it’s it’s much better than anything we can do for ourselves or buy for ourselves when we’re together, but it just, we don’t feel that every day when we’re on Amazon trying to buy ourselves like the next piece of gadgetry that will change your life the next day. That’s worthless.

Man Wong  40:32

Yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it? You know, and it resonates me wholy. I was saying to Treena last night, my wife she said to me, have you caught up with the news today? I said, I don’t think I have. I haven’t had the time to you know, trying to juggle work and the kids. And I said, to be honest, also, I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of notifications I’m getting from various mediums or my apps, you know, and so, you know, last night I spent a lot of time trying to go through things and just blocking things off. I don’t necessarily need any more because the mindfulness piece is interesting. For me in the sense that I’ve really understood what it means in the last sort of six to 12 months, doing various exercises and activities with my wife who she and I share this idea of, of mental health and, you know, and why it’s so key. And it’s just to be aware of the situation and the moment that you are in that moment in time rather than were worrying about what you didn’t do in the last hour or during the day or what you’d have to do tomorrow. And all those things and I think that’s important because and this is why I feel… you know the Coronavirus is horrendous obviously as there are thousands of people dying and that days, no one can argue how horrendous that is. But I think what everybody can kind of similarly agree on is that it feels like the world has taken a bit of a breath and if we feel that’s important forthe world as a larger entity, surely that’s important for ourselves. individually. You know, I just think of the worl that you guys are doing yourself in both your own business, the meditation piece plus all the work, you’re doing children. It’s really important whilst there is this upward curve and this amplification of discussion and awareness around the importance of mental health that people really sort of focus in, and let’s work out together. This isn’t a one person’s problem, just like your approaches working with families and not just the individual children’s in silo, this is a problem that we can share amongst loads of people that we’re hoping to do so across communities and whatnot to galvanise sustainable scalable solutions, because, you know, off air we’ve been talking, which is I want to get to this point, you’ve got two strands of work that you’re doing in this space, but the one that’s actually generating revenue or that you really enjoy it isn’t necessarily where you want to push and pursue but its with the kids right? And I think that’s where from an admiration and necessity point of view.

Andy Hobson  42:53

It’s, yeah, it’s, it’s a difficult one. I mean, I’d like to balance the two. I love, love creating music. Think music celebrities incredibly healing thing you know, and I love to share my, my message or my, my guidance around the world. It’s wonderful, you know, I get lovely commens and messages from people. But also I always like the kind of person to person approach working with people. And that’s that’s really where I kind of learnt the most about being a human being and what we’re really facing in life. You know, I was probably a little naive, like a lot of people unless you go out there and you see it for yourself. And you listen to the stories every day. It humanises people, when you work with people who are struggling like that, you know, that displayed in the news very differently, but you you realise as the human element to that, and so yeah, so I do I’ll be very honest, I’ll do a lot of most of this work is on a voluntary basis. Because there isn’t finances and sometimes I just say well, do you know what I’d rather just offer you something I do it, you know, in a not kind of completely trying to save the world kind of way. But I do it as a way to also improve how and what I do, you know, try and develop new courses through that volunteering. But a lot of it has to be, and I’m still working on finding that way because the the work I did intensely in the schools before was all through charities. And again, that charity model, it works but also there’s a limitation to it. You know, it relies on trustees constantly funding, it relies on all this stuff. And so many charities fold everyday we didn’t see it because it’s not in the news. But there has to be a more independent way which is what our well being group is about, about taking it into individuals hands, but then finding that funding and bringing about a model and bringing about change that you can actually bring, you know, perhaps not to the government but to I think, I mean Ways of funding things is changing so much crowdfunding wasn’t a thing that won’t go nuts. This is completely normal, kind of first thought for most new businesses. And I think that will only change and expand. And I think it’s possible to do it with this way. But that’s it. So I have to choose, you know, I have to make a living and I choose what I you know, to pay the bills and my family, a lot of it is online, it’s it’s creating content online. And it doesn’t meet those people, it probably doesn’t go near a lot of the people that really need it, that these people are, you know, the families I taught I work with in schools, when I did meditation, I talk them around a lot that not because they’re any different from any of us, but everyone needs to be taught, you know, talked into it a little bit. Or just, you know, this can help you in this way. Why don’t you try it, you know, even for the kids. I just did a cake eating meditation, I realise that some of the meditations go pretty deep for the youngsters and some children, I mean, a lot of children actually to don’t want to sit and focus on their breath. And I thought cakes are a good way in so let’s do cake.

Man Wong  46:08

I was going to ask you because you know, teaching children especially, you know, they’re slightly older than the kids I’ve got, but I find that my experience of children anyway teaching them anything is difficult, you know, during this period, I’ve got such a new found respect and reverence for people in academia and, you know, taking our kids and putting them into play and readying them for schools and all that sort of stuff because the work they do is incredible. I’m so grateful having experiences now. So your position actually doing something, which is I guess, I don’t want to use the word unorthodox but certainly different to what they’ve been accustomed to right It must be a huge challenge. So what do you know you’ve given the example about a cake is one thing but what how has that challenge been and what do you what do you got to be creative?

Andy Hobson  46:57

You do! You have to be creative, but I think for kids, you have to speak on their level. And there’s a tendency for people working with kids to kind of make it kind of too fun. And, you know, it’s ordinary respond when you speak to them as as a, as another as an adult almost depending on the age group, you know, sometimes, but to be honest, you know, you see, I mean, I’ve done some training in teaching toward meditation. And I say, for any teacher, do any training that interests you, but make it your own? You know, I don’t think there’s a particular training or even mindfulness let go of the word mindfulness it’s not it’s just a word you teach kids to, to just to know themselves bit more and trust in their own kind of intuition and be more settling in themselves and have fun to be honest. Don’t listen to adults! The training I do it will, this is kind of refining it now but um, it’s kids don’t sit still, they don’t really want to sit still, they want to listen for too long. And when you teach meditation is so new to them. It’s so completely new. You don’t get those pictures that you see children meditating, eyes closed, arms folded. That’s just not real. They’re reeling around. They’re all over the floor. Infact when you first teach children, that’s the time when you really don’t see it. You know, you don’t get the kind of Aha, this is everyone’s so calm. Never not for me, it never happens unless there’s some magical teacher out there going out…and… but that’s not the point is for them to kind of for the first time, or not the first time be aware of it. Yeah, they’re automatically mindful or they’re curious about the world anyway. But it’s just for them to kind of go, hey, there’s this stuff you can understand about yourself. And there’s a little space where you can pause and, you know, feel bit calm or relax or not relaxed at all. And it’s kind of having that trust in yourself. You know, that’s teaching that children that as well.

Man Wong  49:00

Are you doing groups? Is the structure in groups. It’s not not one on one as you say with there’s with kids of similar situations?

Andy Hobson  49:08

At the moment is groups. It’s almost class by class. And it’s this is my, my thing I’m working on. So I do I do homeschool sometimes in a day.

Man Wong  49:17

Wow.

Andy Hobson  49:17

Or two days. I realised that’s just terrible.

Man Wong  49:22

Andy largely pro bono. Right. You’re saying you didn’t voluntarily or cut something a bit more token, I guess?

Andy Hobson  49:28

Yeah. Yeah. So I do. I mean, I’ve, it depends, well, so the voluntary stuff I do in small groups, I just do five children, five or six children and make it more personal or make it you know, and that’s, that’s how I love to do it. I repeat it. You know, we do it every we do it for the kind of 12/13 weeks, they get a good experience. So they get to ask questions, and that’s how I’d love to do it. And I’m trying to find a way around that a cover way in between that. So working more intensely with one class is my thought at the moment, to work one class and actually, in each school and every year they get that class gets to learn meditation. I give I’ve lots of materials I give to teachers. So they have courses, they take away audio courses, and the children have meditations they take away. And I do have a free course aimed at schools on Insight Timer, it’s a five day course, for kids, any school can access. It’s always going to be free. And it’s just a nice, complete way to learn the basics of meditation.

Man Wong  50:35

Amazing. Yeah. And the sessions you do with them, you mentioned in the 12/13 week course, are they an hour a time?

Andy Hobson  50:42

Yes, 40 minutes is about right. And yeah, so I mean, a typical session, they all vary, but we do some work on the breath. But with my smaller groups, which is my kind of a bit I love we do we do music, we’ll hit some drums. We’ll do some dancing. We’ll do colouring in, we’ll draw what our experience was. We talk about things and always to start with check in, how’s your day? What’s going on? then explore that do a little meditation, see who’s enjoying it, sometimes they set it out, that’s fine. Then we just learn a few things that we can do to know to work with these challenges. So, it’s very child centred. It’s not a prescribed thing. It’s kind of different. I have themes that I have in mind, but I go with a group and what’s going on.

Man Wong  51:30

Is it the same structure for the vulnerable children that you mentioned?

Andy Hobson  51:34

Always? Yeah, any any child all the same? And this is the training you know, this is this all comes about the training had as a what’s called a wellbeing practitioner. So we learn about running groups you learn about attachment theory, being child centred, working creatively. That’s so important. Bringing the creativity out of children and working from that place and that’s the way that they can heal in working through the arts, free music, so what I teach mindfulness, but sometimes the session will just be everyone hitting some drums playing some guitar, and then, you know, we have a little a winddown time. And then, you know, there’s, there’s a thread of a learning underneath we consolidate it a bit at the end, but there’s no … I don’t go for kind of straight linear pathway for that. It’s about tuning into what’s going on for them. And if they’re all running around, and a bit wiggly we don’t sit down and meditate, we’ll do some movement room dance, you know. So it all depends. And that’s what I hope well, idea is that families will do this, you know, I know the families do. Again, these groups, families, you know, they’re already interested in meditation on the app, so I want families who wouldn’t usually access that find it as a thing to do is … Oh, let’s try this. Just try this out. See what happens and I love the surprise element of what people discover when they meditate or when they try something new. What they discovered as a family even sitting still quietly for a minute or sitting still and acknowledging something that came up that’s been annoying someone like, you know, you shouted at me earlier, why did you? And you know, we don’t  give ourselves the time to do that always says so

Man Wong  53:17

true. And have you have you found, obviously with the Coronavirus that these families that have been enjoying and benefiting from these sessions and certainly these children in this in these schools what what’s happening, what’s happened in the in these cases then?

Andy Hobson  53:30

So, well the school and working in some doing something with a secondary school at the moment. And we’re working really hard to try and support them as much as possible. But it’s a challenge because a lot of these families don’t go out, you know, at all. And so it’s really evolved. I’ve been involved the kind of mindfulness parts I’ve just been doing some online content for a website we set up for them for the school, and then other members of the group have been calling families and parents Every day, there’s certain people that we work with intensely already so that we call those groups and just check in with them, check in with the kids check with the parents. And they respond really well to that. They, you know, just having someone to offload to  and say, I’m really struggling with this today. And then we’re working with a school as well. There’s people in the school that we’re at trying to just keep reaching out to them. But our websites got Khalid resources on it, for performers to look at. That said, there’s always challenges. You know, you could put a million links on a website, you could put a million things on there, but you need someone to sit there and talk you through it and go, what does it What’s this for? What’s this? What would I call this number? You know, we all need that, you know, no one’s going to call a helpline if we weren’t sure. So you need some reassurance, which is that personal element, which is kind of, it’s not there for where we’re at with COVID. And we’re doing our best, you can do your best with that, hopefully schools, well, it’s safe to do so of course, schools will reopen. But yeah, until then you have to reach out in that way.

Man Wong  55:09

So maybe moving on towards a close Andy , in terms of the future for the work that you’re involved in, how do you view that?

Andy Hobson  55:19

I really hope well, I hope to have a really solid meditation programme for schools. That will be a long term benefit that can be kind of re run. Mixing a bit of the personal and also some supporting materials that really have an impact. And I’m not interested in doing anything, unless I have an idea that will have an impact. So kind of some evaluation around that as well. And that’s a kind of a long term project. Really, you have to kind of work with the school for a year or so I think to really to know that it works. I don’t have quick quick fixes. I don’t want to superficial take away this audio thing and you know, learn it. So there’s there’s a balance to be had there. And then my online stuff is really going really well. And I love writing the music. I’m working on the track at the moment with a singer, doing some, some work there. So I continue doing that. And I’m going to do some more courses and things, but really, in terms of education, that’s going to be a longer term, and then the well being part, you know, the mentoring, I still love, mentoring the kids and working creatively with the arts and things. So I think that it’s going to creep back in but it has to be the right time. And that, you know, this community group I’m part of, I think we’re just chipping away at it and becoming more recognised at the moment. So that’s, that’s great. A strange story, we actually were invited to kind of facilitate a conference with the Dalai Lama a few years ago came out with it. So all of us we’re preppeed. we had we had a group discussing colour universal issues, you know, classes It changes that kind of thing. And we all came along. And I, myself and one of our practitioners had a group, and I think we’ve already talked about sustainability, as we had all these kind of world leaders and things, they’re in a circle, and they’ll alarma would come around and stuff. So I got the pleasure of introducing him to our group, and they got the feedback or they discussed and then we discussed it with a bigger group. So somehow we kind of end up doing these kind of really amazing things that are really impactful and so it’s kind of grown from that place, you know, really looking at the bigger picture and, and anything can happen you there’s definitely mystery to the world we live in and we’ve kind of lost touch with that. And I think if we trust it, you know, if you put it out there something come back. We don’t know how it will come back. It’s worth doing like you’re doing.

Man Wong  57:49

Yeah, well, we hope to be certainly you know, it’s an exciting period, isn’t it? I think you without saying it, what I’ve  ascertained is that you’ve got a clear picture as to what success should look like in this space for you particularly with the children’s side you know that accessibility, real sustained impact and I mean real in sort of capital letters right you know doing something that you feel there’s some tangible benefits there and it’s not really a tick box exercise because it would be a shame that we you know, we were celebrating or making very very pronounced about things like mental health awareness weeks. That ongoing piece but then not allowing this to sustain because because these these, this this this problem is going to be forever and ongoing and which is which is which represents a tremendous challenge but also an opportunity for people like yourself, who are focused on doing this at along with your fellow members across the Wellbeing in Education, right? How big is that group incidentally?

Andy Hobson  58:48

Um, so the moment and I agree it’s about 30 of us. But and to anyone that does the course and finishes it’s like a three year diploma is invited into the into this kind of groups. Not a kind of Freemasons group invited him to be part of it because you know, then the first thing on the website, if you look at it is, you know, employ one of our, you know, one of our graduates which is so important because nothing sustainable without people getting paid for what they do. And it shouldn’t be a voluntary thing it shouldn’t be in until often is for not just myself, but others too, so much in the background is unpaid. And so that’s, you know, to make it a sustainable thing for a real career for someone to do that.

Man Wong  59:35

There’s, there’s an argument always in, you know, the business of we’re finding and don’t like the loss leader approach, but it’s got to be a loss leader and a lead out and that’s it, you know, it can’t be a sustained thing, because otherwise it’s detrimental. You know, you’re on one hand, you’ve got another avenue of getting income through. But if you need to dedicate time there to do schools worth of children, as you said, or certainly smaller groups on a very regular basis, you need income in order to support it. You’ve got two kids and I have two and now most these kids eat right?

Andy Hobson  60:03

And they break everything as well, you know,

Man Wong  60:08

So it’s less about, it’s less about getting money to buy, as you say, the next quick fix gadget that might improve your life. It’s the necessities and living. And, you know, it’d be shame for people like yourself, we’ve got all these good intentions and I’d also say very admirable intentions, you know, to put yourself out there to not be able to get the support. And that’s why I wanted to speak to you today, I felt it’s really important that we get some of the aspects of your career and the work that you’re doing amplified out to whoever might want to engage on this podcast because we need community more than ever I feel, you know, talking about crowdsourcing crowdfunding, I think there’s a real opportunity here, you know, the profile of work that you’re doing for vulnerable children in that age group. I think everybody can feel and understand that. It’s interesting isn’t it?  You know, I think we can often comment on people about our own age about certain things that are going on, but whereas what we could have done has been more proactive now that we know the first signs and the facts and how we deal with that, right? So it’s trying to whether we can engage in mobilise people’s ideas and see whether they can they can help in this because I’m just quickly on this no you do with your time in fundraising, you know, how difficult that challenge is.

Andy Hobson  61:20

It really is so difficult. Raising money, it depends what the cause is. And you know, there’s also this huge amount of marketing that goes on in the background as well with charities, but yeah, to bring money about, it takes a long time. It’s very limited in how you can ask for money and how it can be used and all that kind of thing. And it’s also time when you should be delivering a project or all the rest of it. And, yeah, hope there’s easier way to front fundraise, but it’s most, it’s more competitive than ever. Now, fundraising, it’s, you know, applications demand applications that get kind of put forward versus people that actually received the funds is is very small now.

Man Wong  62:01

But in terms of wellbeing in education, then the model obviously is paid for by clients with work that you’re doing right? But if the funding is not coming through from the government, the schools, they’re unable to pay you. So there’s that conundrum. So, I mean, have you looked at the funding model from the from a crowd perspective or community engagement?

Andy Hobson  62:19

We haven’t yet. I mean, we’re trialing it with Academy schools at the moment. Academy schools have a little bit more money just to see how it can look, how that service could look and what it would take to create a meaningful service. I mean, there’s the thing of going in offering too much and it just not being up being possible to deliver all that because of funding. So we want something in between. It’s endless, you know, the need is endless for help. But we know we’ve not looked into that yet. I think it’s something we’ll do. The moment we’re applying for the accreditation from the UKCP which is a reknowned for psychotherapists, you know, well being practitioner ought to have the same accreditation. So that’s getting closer now, which is great. So we want to put our proposal in as strong as possible. But it’s a little way off. And fortunately, I’m not leading on that. But there’s an amazing group of people who are doing this in our group. And I think it’s going to be, it’s going to happen, I think it’s a lot determination. amongst Wellbeing in Education, and I think when you do stuff like this, you just meet people that are, you know, similar minded and all or nothing, and you have to be, you know, because you’re kind of swimming against the stream a little bit in places. But I will say that, you know, the situation we’re in at the moment, I think people had a chance to reflect and turn around and look at themselves and I’m not saying I was going to come out and help everyone but I think the word community didn’t mean as much as it did, as it does now. It used to be a word thrown around community or local community, but now people are. But in terms of funding for this role, you know, wouldn’t it be as independent as possible for individual people to be able to run their own services in schools. However, I think there is a need for some funding to at least begin evaluating the service and evaluating what this role would be as well as setting up larger services in schools. So I think, you know, you mentioned crowdfunding, and I think that would be can be really powerful way to do that. And also to raise awareness of mental health and the need in schools needed education. So I think it will come together. The crowdfunding part is a later stage. I think but, you know, the world as kind of experiencing the world’s changing the way things are done, and the way that money is kind of distributed. Not always very fairly, but I think there’s a way for the general public to start to take this on, you know, it shouldn’t take much commitment or finances. So let’s see because in, in every school, any school, no matter where, you know, it’s not just for all communities either. You have to say that everyone’s mental health of all walks of life is is important. So we would love to have this as a national thing, internationally, even, but it should be available to everyone, anyone.

Man Wong  66:46

I couldn’t agree more and I think when you are in the position where you may go down that route, you know, we’d love to get in touch again and get that get that information and messaging out there. Because this is two people on a call today and we’ve arrived at this point, because of the experiences that you had with being aware of your mental health as have I in last sort of five, six years as well. And I think this is just two people and lots of people got undergoing a similar journey, that it would be a shame just to be talking about these things for one week, a year. We as we should share and have something that’s ongoing and the idea behind things and, you know, we want to obviously get some of the collateral that you’ve been doing onto the notes here. So, you know, look out on the show notes about the resources that you’re doing on your meditation platform, as well as the work that you guys are doing with Wellbeing as well. You know, which be great. So, any closing points from yourself to say anything? I mean, how are you feeling hopeful at the moment? Are you in a good state of mind with everything that is going on with this?

Andy Hobson  67:57

I think. Yeah, I think the situation we’re in is a challenge for a lot of people. You know, it’s it’s a serious situation that earth has found itself in. But um, I think this kind of thing was likely to happen at some point. You know, it’s we’ve had these viruses and I think the world probably needs a shake up anyway, we’ve all kind of fallen into our, into our little, you know little bubbles a little bit and I’m not expecting a massive change right now and I’m not expecting the whole world you know, to shift but I think there’s something in this. Certainly a new phase in the earth and people to take things seriously and kind of look around them, at who’s around them and rather than just being in our own kind of me kind of state of mind, which is it we all do. There’s nothing to be guilty about but it’s how we’ve grown in society and how we’re what we’re sold is to look after yourself a lot, you know, get this for yourself, get that for yourself, then you’ll be right. So it really is about coming face to face of ourselves as we are now in isolation, learning bit a bit more about ourselves and thinking about different way to be in the world. And that’s, that’s not a holier than thou message for, you know, people, everyone’s got their own lives going on. But I think that’s the kind of takeaway that I’d like to say and learn to meditate. Give it a try. If you haven’t. It’s for everyone. If you’re breathing, you can meditate. It’s not just for spiritual people. It’s for everyone. It’s nothing more than what you’re doing right now. You’re just becoming more aware of it.

Man Wong  69:33

Check it out Insight #Timer and look for look out for Andy Hobson.

Andy Hobson  69:36

Yeh Insight Timer – a great app, run by lovely people actually really very genuine app, run by people who have general interests of people. There’s a community on the app as well, which not all apps have. And there’s also a community within teachers and there’s consultation that goes on as well which a lot of apps just roll out what they do. That’s it, bam, put subscription on it. There’s something quite special about Insight Timer, but I could talk about that for another half hour, which I won’t do. But have a listen. It’s just lots and lots of free content quality content. Yeh have a listen.

Man Wong  70:17

100% and, you know, just to close up from me, I really want to encourage anybody that is on their own mental health journey to investigate, look at things like this, you know, there’s really great resources out there as you say, the key words are authentic and genuine In my opinion, that are well meaning that can actually give you some real positive impact.  We’ve certainly made myself and my wife have certainly benefited from from such resources out there and, and also do pay attention to things like Wellbeing in Education with a good work that yourself and the other members are really doing in this space because children are the future, as they say, and we need to be very, very mindful of that. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you today, Andy. It’s been it’s been great. Absolutely my pleasure. And we continue this and I hope to do so some time with a beer in hand in the pub with you at some point. It’d be really, really good to do that. So thanks very much for your time today. Thanks everybody for listening. Be good, be kind and stay safe.

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