Meeting up for a slice of the healthy, sober side of life
The Positive Living Network is another “real life” social group which organises seminars and workshops in Dublin and Belfast. It was set up about seven years ago in Belfast by life coach Jenny Grainger who now runs monthly events in Dublin and Belfast with life coach Eoin Scolard, meditation teacher John Doherty and holistic therapist Maria Jesus Lopez.
“The idea in the beginning was to give support to people who are on a spiritual journey or those who want to lead a conscious lifestyle,” explains Grainger. The Positive Living Network was launched in Dublin about three years ago and there are now about 800 members in Dublin and 400 in Belfast.
“We have a real cross-section of men and women coming to events – single, married, divorced, with and without children. People come along to make like-minded friends or they are drawn to the speakers,” she explains. The meetings last about two hours, the first section is dedicated to a guest speaker and the second section is purely sociable.
Although organised through the meetup website, Grainger says that there is not much online activity.
“I think the face-to-face contact is what people want. It’s a reaction to our fragmented society where people don’t know their neighbours or haven’t got their extended family to call on. Many people don’t have a sense of geographical community so this is a great way of bringing people together. It’s a place to come the last Thursday of every month [Grand Canal Hotel, Dublin] and the last Wednesday of every month in Belfast [Wellington Park Hotel].”
And of course there will be those seeking commercial opportunities in this burgeoning wellness sector. Connectedtrips.comis a new Irish company which promotes wellness trips, retreats and classes in more than 8,000 centres in 40 countries.
Refuge from stress
“We’re hoping to become the tripadvisor for the wellness market. People are very stressed and under pressure and we can help them find healing, back-to-nature and outdoor activities that will help their personal and spiritual development,” says Alan Wyley, the entrepreneur who set up connectedtrips.com.
Wyley is a chartered accountant and businessman who experienced a life-change. “I did have a transformation from being a pure businessman to being a more rounded person. I don’t drink or smoke now. I’m three stone lighter than I was and I meditate,” he says.
Yet, his business acumen has remained intact: he raised €250,000 in private finance for the business which was matched by Enterprise Ireland. “Our aim is to open people up to experiences that are fundamentally good for them and build a thriving business.”