The One CoursePosted by Ann Algie Wed, April 26, 2017 22:04:52 Recently Tom dropped me off at Toulouse Airport in plenty of time to catch a 5pm flight to Manchester. I was then due to travel to Huddersfield to spend a precious night with my youngest son who was going to meet me at the station. We had booked to go out for a meal together and I was very much looking forward to seeing him. However my flight was delayed by four and a half hours, meaning that I would I arrive in Huddersfield after midnight, miss the meal and have very little time to see him before he left for Belgium early next morning. I realised at 3pm that our plans were going to be cancelled and that I had more than 6 hours to spend in the airport. I had also forgotten to bring my mobile phone!
I relate the story of this situation because it is the sort of thing that happens to us all from time to time to varying degrees. We are having a 'happy day' and everything is ticking along nicely and then something 'goes wrong'. It doesn't matter how much planning we do, how careful we are, who we are or how much money we have; there will always be times when life throws stuff at us. However; we then have a choice. The choice we have is how we respond to the situation. It is really important that we acknowledge that whatever challenges and situations life throws at us we always have a choicein how we respond to these. It may not be easy, but the choice is there.
These moments can be very testing, but if we recognise them as they occur, then we can learn to take a deep breath and create a space in which to decide how to be, knowing that the opportunity exists to respond in a way that can be beneficial to us and often to those around us too.
So, to finish my story .............. Once I realised the situation I decided to accept it calmly and to do the best I could with the time. (Of course I did!) I went to the very helpful lady on the information desk who let me use a telephone to ring my son. He cancelled the table and said he would be able to collect me from the station at quarter past midnight. I collected my free drink and sandwich which I was given due to the delay. I then found a desk that had facilities for plugging my computer in so that I could use the time to do some writing. This was something I had been wanting to do for a while. During the next six hours I enjoyed my snack, did my writing, read my book and tried not to focus on the disappointment of the change to my plans. As it happened I managed to spend a night with my son at the end of my visit after he had returned from his trip. So we eventually went out for our meal!
My alternative scenario would have been to not accept the situation, get very upset, and then annoyed, probably with various members of the airport staff. Spend time moaning to other passengers about how bad everything is and generally work myself up, (or down), into a state of misery and 'poor me'. This would not have changed the situation and certainly I would have felt worse and those around me probably would too!
I realise that all this is easier to say than do - but the more aware we are that we have choices in how we respond to life the more happiness we will experience.
An amazing example of this attitude can be found in the work of Victor Frankl who spent 3 years of his life in a concentration camp. He is a real inspiration.
Learning from naturePosted by Tom algie Wed, March 29, 2017 14:09:27 The Plants are listening, perhaps they have feelings too!
With all this talk in the media about, plants, wire tapping, surveillance and police infiltration of environmental groups, I thought I should post something about who or what is really listening to us, all the time. Just over 50 years ago a CIA lie detector specialist called Baxter did some research on plants. He wired up the leaf of a plant to a lie detector and he simply thought about setting fire to one of its leaves. The plant instantly responded the moment he thought about setting fire to the leaf, and continued to register until he put the matches away. It's not that I believe that plants really have feelings but I think perhaps they respond to our moods.
Baxter continued to experiment with plants and later human cells, and produced some very interesting information.
One of his later experiments involved monitoring the moods of people over time in response to external stimulus. Baxter checked for a correlated response in real time with some of their previously removed white blood cells. It seemed the cells in the lab could detect any severe mood changes of the person over time, even at a considerable distance. I think we can only speculate what is going on here and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this too. My plants may also be interested.
So, what do I think is happening? Perhaps the whole universe is listening. Everything is connected and always has been connected since the birth of our solar system or perhaps even before that. We are all made of the same stuff, stardust, atoms, etc. Once something is connected it remains connected or entangled at some fundamental level. The matter changes into a different form but somehow remains connected. I think, it is this connection or one-ness which we are sensitive to. All other things are sensitive to this connection too. Perhaps the degree of sensitivity depends on the level of consciousness of the thing or person. Well that's my thoughts, what about you, Hyacinth!
Feeling GoodPosted by Ann Algie Sun, March 19, 2017 20:42:38 Scientists have estimated that each of us has in excess of 100 trillion bacteria and microbes living in our body. We have a symbiotic relationship with them. They are necessary for our health and for our survival and we are necessary for theirs.
When I was at school I was taught that 'my body' was just that - 'mine'. There was just me and then the rest of the world. Research now is showing us a very different world and this is having a huge impact on how we view it. Our bodies, far from being one separate being are actually made up of millions and trillions of living beings - more of a walking community! All these microbes have important roles to play in keeping our bodies functioning properly.
It is particularly important to have a healthy population of 'good' bacteria in our gut as it is in the gut that most of the nutrients are extracted from our food. Even though we eat what we think is a healthy diet; if we aren't able to absorb the nutrients from the food then we will not be as healthy as we could be. One way to improve the health and functioning of your gut is to eat 'live' fermented food.
A friend recently lent me a book about fermenting. She thought it might be useful as a means of preserving fresh food as we don't have a fridge or freezer. I found it very interesting and last week made my first batch of sauerkraut which tasted fantastic!
Sauerkraut is really easy to make by rubbing salt into the chopped cabbage leaves - this breaks down the cell walls and within a short amount of time water is drawn out of the cabbage. The cabbage is then packed tightly into a jar, covered with one of the outer cabbage leaves to stop air coming into contact with it and weighted down to keep the cabbage in place under the salt-water solution. The jar is covered with a cloth and placed out of direct sunlight for anything from 4 - 10 days to ferment. Keep testing it until you get the flavour you prefer. Many different vegetables can be fermented and the best thing is that they are really good for you! They retain all their nutrients and become easier to digest too.
It is not necessary to sterilise the jars, just ensure they are clean.
Why not have a go at making your own fermented vegetables?
InspirationalPosted by Tom algie Sat, March 11, 2017 14:08:31 The Immigrant Robots are coming, what is our purpose then?
It's a few months since I did a blog post for the onecourse. A lot has happened, BREXIT has started, President Trump is in the Whitehouse and Marie Le Pen ascends in France. My initial hopes of people flooding(like immigrants) to our onecourse did not materialise, my interest drifted a little and my attention was diverted by other shiny more tangible things, Robots! Whilst we are all busy worrying about or discussing BREXIT, Trump and Le Pen, and Immigrants we should really be focussed on Robots, because that really is going to be the next big thing.
I trained as an engineer and I have always found the idea of machines and Robots fascinating. Imagine a future where humans live a life of leisure whilst the machines and Robots do the work! Robots can perform similar functions to humans and animals and once they have been created their limited needs can be met by providing them with one thing, energy. I can understand Luddites raging against the machine but I doubt the inevitable 'progress' of the machine will ever be halted whilst it is profitable. So here is my own prediction for the next 10 to 15 years of Robot and human interaction.
2017 Background. The earth, all humans and other species are undergoing tumultuous change. The economic and ecological systems are facing huge challenges and it is very unlikely that things will remain as they are. The current systems that we humans have developed are unsustainable and new systems are needed. Algorithms are now in charge of the worlds financial systems because it is too complex for humans to respond quickly enough to changes. Even the humble electric toaster is wifi enabled. The current economic system relies on perpetual growth on a finite planet using up valuable energy on transportation. Corporations, pension funds, and individuals chase better returns on financial capital, thus money is invested in activities which maximise profit. This speculation leads to high profits but at an enormous cost to the environment and significant human exploitation. Increasingly large volumes of technically complex consumer goods are manufactured with minimal wage related costs. Retail businesses employ fewer people as more shops move online. If wage costs of a company can be reduced close to zero, that company will become highly profitable and the home for an increasing amount of investment.
2022 The Immigrant Robots arrive. The costs of Robots is falling and once it reaches a point where acquisition and running costs are cheaper than human labour, Robots will replace humans. The first wave of Robots will be built by humans in low wage economies, but eventually, even these human workers will be replaced by Robots. Robots building Robots! These Robots will be comparatively low cost and sufficiently flexible to carry out the vast majority of the paid work currently done by humans. They will come in their hundreds of thousands or even millions to developed economies where wages are high and cheap human labour is in short supply. The location for the first wave of mega Robot factories are likely to be anywhere with abundant space, raw materials, energy, and political stability. An ideal place would have access to abundant solar energy and a means of energy storage. I am thinking of batteries but energy stored in any form would suffice.
2027 Robots breed like Rabbits. Low cost sites within developed urban population catchments will be ideal locations for the second wave of Immigrant Robots . They will come to build the factories and infrastructure, to farm, to build more robots, and to make the consumer goods. The day of the factory worker, driver, admin worker, salesperson and most other workers will be numbered. Imagine an economy trying to function within the existing system, with 60, 70 or 80% unemployment. Do we then want to increase the population simply to increase the number of consumers? The time is right to rethink our relationship with our planet earth and with each other. What do we really care about, what do we really love? Is it shiny, tangible consumer goods, Robots, or other people and our planet earth.
The above thoughts cause me to ask a question which you might have a go at answering in the comments below.
What is our purpose as a human species, and our purpose as individuals?
I believe this same question will be asked by many people in many countries over the next decade as the Immigrant Robots arrive. So perhaps the onecourse or something similar is needed after all.
Positive ActionPosted by Ann Algie Sat, June 04, 2016 06:33:05 At the moment I am visiting my family in the UK and while out for a walk I met an old friend. I didn't recognise him as he approached because he was walking backwards! I was intrigued because I had seen someone a few days earlier doing the same thing in another part of the country. I must admit the thoughts that ran through my head were along the lines of "maybe they have something wrong with their legs and so find it easier to walk backwards?.", "maybe they are a bit 'strange' and I should be wary" or "maybe it is a new form of exercise?" He explained that he was doing it because it was thought to be very beneficial for the brain and helped to build confidence too. Apparently it has been known in China and Japan for years that 'retro walking' is good for you in many ways. For those over 50 its thought to be particularly good for improving balance and coordination. It improves the functions of the cerebellum which coordinates and balances our bodily movements as well as flexibility. It also sharpens your senses as you have to be constantly aware of pot holes, dogs and other potential obstacles!
As I walked away from him it did occur to me how amusing it would be if I then walked backwards too and we would gradually see each other disappearing into the distance in a 'long goodbye'!
Learning from naturePosted by Ann Algie Fri, April 29, 2016 17:22:51 Here is our hen, recently named 'Zen' after almost a year of being called 'Hen'. I have just spent the entire morning with her as she helped me to 'dig' and 'weed' the garden. She is the last survivor of a long line of hens bred by our elderly neighbour who died 2 years ago. We thought she would be lonely so this spring we got three new hens to keep her company but she still seems to prefer to spend time around humans. I suppose moving three 'teenage' hens in to share her home was a bit cruel!
We can always learn things from spending time around nature and hens are no exception. They can apparently recognise more than 100 faces. Each hen has its own unique personality and they have 30 different sounds that they use to communicate with each other. They are of course very much 'in the present moment' as animals tend to be - not having our ability to think about events in the past and worry about what might happen in the future! As I write this she is lying in a hollow in the warm soil that she has carefully crafted - where I have just planted some potatoes. I think she is probably sitting on one - probably she thinks its an egg!
Maybe today's 'Zen hen lesson' is to sit in the sun while its shining - especially when you've been busy scratching about all morning! Nature always has times of rest and everything still seems to get done!
InspirationalPosted by Tom algie Mon, April 04, 2016 11:59:08 Ann and myself had a wonderful experience this week. We visited a place called Embercombe in Devon. A 50 acre garden for growing people. The people we met who have planted themselves there seem to be growing very well. Embercombe has 8 staff and 10 or so associates and many volunteers some who live on site in a variety of cabins and yurts. They build shelters, grow most of their own food but more importantly welcome hundreds of volunteers and students to the site each year.
The business leaders, volunteers and students come to Embercombe to learn about our fragile world and how we can all play a powerful leadership role in transforming our own future. The most amazing thing is that 20 years ago this garden didn't exist. It was a small private Tarmac runway and a couple of aircraft hangers in the wilds of Devon.
Then along came, one man, Mac with an idea of a garden for growing people. Mac is amazing and we are very pleased to have met him. Mac has inspired a whole host of people to help with his vision. We also met other lovely Trustees, a great MD and some fantastic staff. They are all inspired by this same vision and have transformed this Tarmac strip and hangers into a beautiful place which has most of the elements needed as a model for a new sustainable society. It is not perfect and they still need help to take it to the next stage. If you have some time or money to spare or want to do a course we would highly recommend it.