Connecting with othersPosted by Tom algie Fri, March 25, 2016 12:24:07
Ann and myself have been thinking a lot about the recent Brussels incidents over the last few days. It is very sad for everyone, especially the families of those killed and injured. It is extremely sad that a very small number of disturbed human beings have caused such suffering to many other innocent humans. We have been thinking about the friends and families of the victims. How do you to come to terms with such an event. We have been thinking about how other people usually react to this type of event, especially politicians and the mainstream media. Perhaps we all need to think about what our individual human responses could be to an event like this. Anger? Fear? Something else?
The usual reaction from most people is a mixture of anger and fear. This is a normal reaction because we feel threatened. The level of threat we feel is magnified by the reaction of others. Many politicians in France and the U.K. have said we must increase our security and step up the intensity of the 'War on Terror'. We need to put more resources into fighting the people who are to blame. They are at the root of this. Drop more bombs on terrorists and potential terrorists in other countries. There will of course be some unfortunate 'collateral damage' of more innocent humans. This is an inevitable consequence of a war that we need to win at any cost. We need to put more resources into protecting our borders and we need more surveillance of everyone. We must be vigilant and spy on each other. Extreme events seem to be producing an extreme response. Is there another response which may reduce this threat? I feel that although I don't have an answer, a very wise monk living in France may have an idea.
One of the benefits of our wonderful life here in France is the time we have to spend thinking and reading. I have read a couple of very good books by Thich Nhat Hanh.
He is a Vietnamese monk who also lives in France not far from us. He influenced the work of Martin Luther King and campaigned in the USA against the Vietnam war. During the campaign the monk met an angry American who berated him for coming to the USA and told him he should "get back to Vietnam where the real problem was". After a very deep breath and thought the monk said something like "to help a plant to grow you need to water the roots, not the leaves."
I think we need to look for the "real roots" of these very big problems we have in the world. I think that some of the roots may be in the complex political and economic systems we have created and are desperately trying to protect. Within these complex systems, countries, governments, corporations and individuals compete for resources. There are sometimes unintended feedback loops in this competition for resources which can often make bad situations worse. So I think to start with we should try to feel LOVE for the friends and families of all the victims in all affected countries. If we can begin to feel that connection to them as individuals, just like us, rather than 'others' perhaps we can begin to change the systems which I believe are contributing to the problem.
You can find out more about this amazing monk here
The One CoursePosted by Tom algie Mon, March 14, 2016 12:37:58
The yellow brick road of fear - Victim or Hero - the choice is yours!
The Wizard of Oz is a very odd film, I watched every Christmas as a child, and it left an odd impression, in particular that yellow brick road. The world is changing, constantly changing, more quickly, each day. This road into the future can be a source of fear but these changes will continue to happen. Why not accept this reality and simply decide what you want your role to be, in this constantly changing world. If you are reading this it is likely that you have some choice in how your your life could be. The choices you make can create a new reality for yourself and others. Along with choice comes responsibility, which sometimes makes the choice difficult. What if I make the wrong choice? Even if it is difficult, the choice must be made. At some fundamental level we know which choice to make. The choice is yours, victim or hero.
I know that life is difficult for many people on this precious planet. People are struggling with basic needs such as food, health, shelter and companionship. Many of these people have no choice and really are victims of systems beyond their control. But if your basic needs are met, you can start to think about what else you want, and what you want to give. I am guessing that if you are reading this, your basic needs are met and you are able to choose what to do with your life, or as someone put it to me recently, what is it that you love? How to spend your precious life? We choose how to spend our money but our lives are much more valuable. Being in a place of choice is a luxurious place to be, a place of great privilege.
Let's not waste any more of our precious time on pretending we are victims and waiting for a hero to rescue us. Who is the hero we are waiting for, a spouse or parent, a child, a government, a corporation? Instead we can all become our own heroes. It is wonderful to sit and think, meditate or even simply do nothing at all, for a while. Eventually though, we have choices to make on how to move forward with our lives. Making these choices can be difficult but by making them we can stop being the victim, overcome fear and become the hero of our own life. Also, if we truly care about the real victims in this world, we can choose to do something for them too as we walk our own yellow brick road.
In The Wizard of Oz, for me, the yellow brick road is the frightening path of choice which needs to be walked by each of the 4 main characters. By walking it, we find ourselves, by facing our fears and making difficult choices. So look within, become your own hero, become powerful, take some action in your own life, and walk that road.
InspirationalPosted by Ann Algie Wed, March 09, 2016 08:15:50Can a traffic bollard inspire you? What does inspire you?
On The One Course we spend time looking at what or who inspires us and how we can use this to enable us to enjoy life more fully, feel more supported and also to grow and develop further by experimenting and creating more in our own lives. (We will come to the inspirational traffic bollard later!)
Inspiration can come from all sorts of places and can affect us on many different levels. Sometimes we hear a fantastic speech, watch a film or read a book and feel utterly 'blown away' by what we have heard or read. This can even cause us to change an aspect of our lives from that moment on! In many cases though the happiness we feel from coming across something that is 'slightly out of the ordinary', surprising or fun can be equally beneficial to our lives. Becoming more aware and open to these smaller 'events' that occur on a day to day basis can increase our overall enjoyment of life and inspire us to create similar 'surprises' and inspiration for others.
Here are a few pictures to illustrate what I mean by the smaller events in life.
A stone mermaid Tom and I came across on the beach at Saltburn, UK.
Some of the knitted characters on the pier at Saltburn (no-one knows who the 'knitters' are - though I expect someone must know!)
Ahhh now we meet one of the many inspirational traffic bollards
to be found at Winchester, UK and probably in other places too!
A beautiful clover flower in our garden in France.
The gate to my vegetable garden (the frame of the gate forms an 'A' for Ann - bizarre - but may inspire some of you to create gates with letters on - some letters are easier than others!) and finally some cheese 'straws' shaped like hearts.
All small things on one level but all have the ability to bring about joy or to inspire someone else to do something different. Things don't have to always be the same - we can create surprise and variety in life. How much is only limited by our imagination!
So inspiration can sometimes be HUGE in terms of people doing amazing things, but it an also be small and almost hidden. I would like to advocate that the small inspirations in life can add up to have a big impact overall if we begin to see them. We are all capable of being inspiring in one way or another! Go inspire!
Positive ActionPosted by Tom algie Wed, March 02, 2016 15:57:11
The U.K. EU referendum is finally underway. When a chance to vote comes around, as it usually does in a democracy, there is always some interesting action. Unfortunately most of this action is negative scaremongering. There are usually two sides and both sides aim to scare the voters into not voting for the 'other side' by claiming the 'other side' will wreck the econonomy and cause suffering for all. The winner is usually the one who scares the most people to vote for them as they are obviously the safer option. I actually think it is good to vote, although I don't really believe it makes that much difference to me who wins.
In an established democracy with a large public sector and massive corporations, do elections actually change things significantly? Public and private sector systems are entities which inherently try to sustain themselves. This benefits the people working for those organisations. Both organisations aim to win more resources and influence, which creates a continuous feedback loop which can only be sustained through exponential economic growth. In a similar way to politicians, their arguments for more resources are based on fear that if certain policies are not pursued the corporation will relocate to another country or the public service will no longer function. This is not anyone's fault, we created these systems and we could create new systems which would behave differently. In a finite world we cannot have exponential growth. So, is it all hopeless? Are we all doomed?
The answer is a resounding negative, NO! I am positively confident we can change things, starting with things in our own lives which are close to us. We can create our own systems which are smaller and take positive action which will provide positive feedback in our own day to day lives. These systems can involve friends and family and business acquaintances which we enjoy interacting with every day. These things can be independent of the bigger systems which are out of control. We don't need to wait for the next referendum or election to express how we feel with our fears. We can start now, today and express our feelings of love and focus our precious attention on doing things we love, and being with people we love. That is how our own positive actions can change the world. Why not start today?
Learning from naturePosted by Ann Algie Sat, February 27, 2016 16:06:32
I love eating mushrooms and living here in France we don't have to go far to find some lovely specimens! We are careful which ones we eat and stick to the 3 or 4 varieties that we feel 100% confident of identifying. Our elderly neighbours are very knowledgeable and taught us the best places to look and which ones to avoid eating.
There is still a great deal to be discovered about mushrooms and what they are capable of. Recently it has been found that the spores released by mushrooms cause rain to fall. In this way mushrooms are helping to promote their own survival by creating the ideal conditions for their growth. Amazing!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu9UmHbmFfk
Connecting with othersPosted by Tom algie Wed, February 24, 2016 08:06:16
This is not a post about the latest electronic teddy bear or the revelations of a long dead President brought back to life. It's about "ideas worth spreading" which is a tag line of a very successful organisation which holds inspirational speaking events across the globe.
Each talk is limited to about 25 minutes but some are less than 10 minutes. The talks are on YouTube and some have had over a million views.
What I like about these TED talks is the diversity of the subject matter and the competence of most of the speakers. You can view a talk by a specialist on virtually any subject which would normally cost a lot of money to watch, absolutely free. I have now watched over 200 of these talks and have learned something from all of them. It's an amazing free resource and even though a few talks have been "banned" you can even watch these with a bit more effort searching. Also, you can even apply to host your own event, which I would like to do one day.
When I think about all this information on new ways of doing things it gives me a sense of hope that the world is slowly changing for the better and that our existing systems of health, education, shelter and food production will change radically in my lifetime. There are some very different ideas out there which challenge the existing system. This can make us realise that we can connect with others in different ways and begin to follow our own path and discover and create our own alternative future which is different to what large governments and large corporations may have in mind. Its not my view that governments and corporations are evil it's just that they are caught up in unsustainable systems which value GDP over people and the planet. The people involved in them are trying their best to keep these systems going, but that's for another post.
Back to TED https://www.ted.com/
So the TED talks have loads of information on all sorts of subjects which is really worth a look. In fact, it is a bit like a cuddly talking teddy bear or a good President brought back from the dead. Have a look.
Positive ActionPosted by Ann Algie Fri, February 19, 2016 12:45:16
Some days we don't feel so great - often for no particular reason that we can identify. Its easy to 'feel good' when you do
feel good, but more of a challenge when you don't! Sometimes we even begin to 'beat ourselves up' for not being more positive, capable, full of energy, clever etc .............. the list is as long as we care to make it! It's great isn't it? First we feel a bit low and then we tell ourselves a whole lot of negative things! No wonder life seems uphill at times!
Start listening to the voice in your head and make sure it is telling you some good stuff today! This is so important - you need to become your own 'best friend' and supporter and speaking in an encouraging and kind way is a great place to start.
You can also carry out positive actions - however small. These could even be actions that you reap the benefits of at some point in the future - so you begin to create happy days and feelings in advance! This is why planting seeds or making a garden is such a positive thing. Three years ago I scattered a few wild flower seeds in front of our house and every year since we have had flowers - especially poppies!
InspirationalPosted by Tom algie Wed, February 17, 2016 12:03:27
In 2008 Ann and myself did a 12 day permaculture course on the Isle of Man, the weather was awful but we loved the course. The tutors and the participants were all Wonderful. Classes were held out doors when the sun shone briefly, and in a beautiful yurt the rest of the time. It was quite alternative and wasn't your usual holiday but we both learned a lot about a wide range of practical subjects.
The course was full of information about peak oil, climate change and financial collapse. There was also lots of information about alternative energy and different building techniques. There was access to a whole library of Permaculture books about
how to live more simply. We toured the island, visiting some very interesting alternative projects and spoke with inspirational people about what they were doing.
We returned back to Yorkshire completely inspired. Although we tried to pass some of this information on, we think there is no substitute for spending some time on a course or using the information from Permaculture Magazine. There are lots of different courses listed in the magazine. We have loaned copies of the Permaculture magazine to people and they have all benefited from reading the articles. We were recently very pleased to be featured on their website.
Although it took us a while to get here, certainly the initial spark was the course on the Isle of Man so a big thanks to Rod Everett and Mill Millichap.