Our Rose Mason meets Ben Stuchbury at Blend, settling in for a long chat about his journey from business to spirituality, and all that’s been going on with his new community project, Intertwine…
Intertwine, a new social enterprise created by Ben Stuchbury, was founded with the intention to deepen our relationships and experiences, helping each other blossom, in our own unique ways. After being inspired by the Nottingham Buddhist Centre and some conscious festivals over the summer, Ben has a vision of a “cross-pollination of wisdom from all over the world”. Focusing this into the small scale, he will be hosting events around Nottingham to bring people together and foster new relationships.
“The intention is to feel more deeply connected to the wider community. It can be so easy to stay within your own social bubble, to be talking to the same people in that bubble and have the same ideas circulate. You get stuck in patterns of thinking.”
Ben studies economics and business at Nottingham Trent. He explains he had always wanted to start a business, and was trying to create a sustainable clothing brand with a friend. “I think the realisation came during that process that what I was doing was a bit selfish.” He is finding exploring the idea of a community project far more fulfilling. However, the formation of this business has taken a process of relearning. “Competition is so ingrained in my mind, but it's not like this in this community.”
So far there has been one event, held at the Playwright on Shakespeare Street. In a cosy corner at the back of the pub, “We did a group meditation to centre ourselves in our own experience, then we did a group sharing circle; one person shared something they’re passionate about, the next person would reflect on what that person had said and share their own until it came full circle. Everyone was actively listening.
From my experience as a student, there’s such a drink-related culture, and this can mean that people are only open with each other when they're drunk, and they can't remember it
“We also did some ancient Norse rune reading, then some collaborative artwork, swapping and passing it around so that by the end, you have a piece of work that has been used by everyone. That was like a visual representation of what Intertwine is all about, layering up with different mediums.”
I ask Ben why he thought Nottingham a good place to start a community project like Intertwine, and our conversation leads into areas of drinking and sobriety.
“From my experience as a student, there’s such a drink-related culture. There's so much emphasis on coming together [to drink]. Everyone needs that social interaction, but this can mean that the only time people are really open with each other is when they're drunk, and they can't remember it. It can be used as a crutch by a lot of people to open up in those states but then that leaves you questioning who you are when you're sober, because you feel like there's no avenue to be open otherwise.”
With Intertwine, Ben is giving people a space to come together and form a new community in Nottingham
For this reason, there is no alcohol at Intertwine events, with Ben aiming to break the cycle of drinking and openness. It's another aspect of really stepping out of your comfort zone, because by pursuing “sober growth”, as Ben calls it, “you're going against the grain”, finding the ability to express yourself and actively listen in a truly connected way.
Ben finishes by introducing me to a concept within ‘sacred economics’, on the beauty of giving what you can and letting go of any expectation to have something in return. With Intertwine, he is giving people a space to come together and form a new community in Nottingham.
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