Name: Sam Havis, Wellbeing Practitioner
Tell us a bit about you: I’ve just begun my role as Leeds Sanctuary’s Wellbeing Practitioner. I’m going to be running workshops and courses promoting positive wellbeing to help members of our community flourish and live their lives to the full, rather than simply surviving. I’ve lived in Headingley for over 30 years, raising my four children. My youngest is now 17 so my husband and I are rediscovering life as a couple which is wonderful. The kids are now our friends – it’s good to know the hard work pays off! I’ve had a weird and wonderful history of work. I gave up a 15-year career as an Antenatal Teacher and University Tutor in Adult Education to open a gluten-free bakery, shop and cafe. Now it’s time for a new challenge. It’s never too late to try something new.
Is there an area of activism you feel particularly passionate about? Inequality is an insidious disease in our society which needs calling out and challenging. It isn’t always easy to spot or understand if we aren’t the ones experiencing it. Gender, sexuality, race, disability, religion, class, socioeconomic – all forms of inequality that cause suffering and undermine the fundamental truth that we are all the same; no better and no worse than any other human being. I may fall short but every day I strive to treat all my fellow humans with equal respect, to try to see through the eyes of others and acknowledge my privileges in this world.
What do you do to care for your wellbeing? I really do practice what I preach! I try to put good things into my body and limit the bad stuff. I do regular yoga and go for a long walk in the countryside with my husband once a week. I connect with my kids and friends regularly (good relationships are the backbone of wellbeing) and I have a LOT of fun, whether its bouncing around in a mosh pit at a gig or climbing trees or dancing in the kitchen, I have to have a healthy dose of silliness and laughter in my life.
Which song do you most remember from school? Although I had no idea at the time (I thought we were only singing hymns) it turns out my infant school head teacher was a Boney M fan, so amongst “All things bright and beautiful” and “Kumbaya, my Lord”, would be ‘Rivers of Babylon’ and more strangely ‘Ra Ra Rasputin’.
What does your faith mean to you? When I was five, Mrs Jones from round the corner asked if I’d like to ask Jesus into my heart. I didn’t see why not so I said yes. As I got older I learned more about Jesus and decided he did actually sound like a pretty good person to follow. I know as a sinner who will always fall short, I don’t have the ability to love and care like Jesus. I’m weak, selfish, judgmental and basically human. So I put my faith in Christ and ask for his help in trying to reflect God in everything I do. I’ve always felt a protective presence throughout my life even when I tried to run away and hide. How can you hide from what’s in your heart?