Showing posts from January, 2013

The Politics of Fear

I sit happily on a stool in my local corner shop chatting away to Mem while munching through a packet of ‘tangy’ dorritos (which I really shouldn't be doing). But the dorritos police – who know who they are – cannot see me and I can munch away to my heart's content.  
          Why no dorritos?Sodium and gluten are strictly verboten nowadays as part of a radical lifelong healing programme.  No such thing as a 'free' lunch...but just one packet won't hurt....? Well, actually yes it will, and it does. But what the heck, life is much too short to deny oneself the occasional dubious pleasure. The problem occurs when 'occasional' becomes 'frequently'.           But back to the corner shop: for the last fifteen years or so Mem (who is Turkish, Muslim and the proprietor of the corner shop) and I regularly engage in what he calls political discourses. Yesterday we dissected the Malian ‘War on Terror’.  I said Mali makes it less Muslim and more Afr…

Shadow of the Vampire

Last week one of the UK's most prominent regional political leaders was expressing his doubts about the climate science (presumably whether the planet is warming) because temperatures had plummeted so drastically recently.

Its a shame because he is a clever fellow; knows classical Greek and Latin but apparently not so hot on rocket science. A little mosey around some very basic quantum physics would be good. One problem is of course that we do not really get that the planet is a living, self-maintaining, self-managing entity (not just some rock inhabited by classical scholars and other Masters of the Universe) so when it's core overheats it will cool down by any means necessary. Ok, now I've got that off my chest, back to the matter under consideration: Vampires.

In a recent post (Obsession and Addiction, December 2012)I highlighted the Addict, one among our many habitual behaviour patterns that play a role in depleting the planet and accelerating climate change. Continuing …

The Alchemist

I did not intend to post today but after listening to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese political leader, on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs this morning, the archetypal behaviour pattern of the Alchemist came to mind.

Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist was a modern day parable that brought the concept of alchemy to popular culture.  It gripped many people who could not really articulate why it had such a profound impact on them; the same copy passed from hand to hand.  Even J.K Rowling makes reference to Nicholas Flammel, a 16th Century alchemist, in her Harry Potter books. There is something about the Alchemist that is captivating.

At the global level Aung San Suu Kyi carries the energy of the alchemist; and the Lady is not alone.  Others in our time influenced by the 'true' alchemist include Mandela and Ghandi; a non-violent response was sufficient.  And of course the ultimate alchemist of all time was the Nazarene.

A correspondant attached to The Times newspaper gave a distinct alc…

The Ecology of Relationships

In six posts this month, from Gaia: Living Earth through to Mother Nature's Digestive System, I have been making the connections between the health of human beings and that of the earth. 

The intention is to show that our relationship with the planet is one of symbiosis or a co-dependency such that when one gets sick and diseased so does the other. 

This is not just about the physical but also emotional and psychological health. That is not a new concept, various people have written about the link between human health and that of the planet for decades.
A chapter in one of my favourite books on ecology discusses and compares the ‘eco-psychology’ of relationships and the link between, as the author puts it, “the non-sustainability of person-to-person relationships with that of our human-to-planet relationship”; both of which we simply tolerate.
During my time as a mental health professional individuals, both men and women, spoke of the control, mental confusion, emotional anguish and…

Tough Love in Winter

Yesterday I talked about ‘Big Mama’s’ tough love (The Shape-shifter Reloaded). Today I wanted to share just a snapshot of such an experience, which began at a point when I had just arrived at the foothills of healing.As the years went on – 5 of them to be precise – I understood that this process will continue for the rest of my life because temptation is with me everyday.I have to be vigilant because I simply cannot afford to go back to the old ways. Whenever I do slip, I simply observe and acknowledge it; tomorrow is another day.

      But that's not all. Mother Nature's healing also confers gifts as an expression of her gratitude, because when we heal ourselves, we also heal the earth; and when we heal the earth we heal others.  So watch out for Gifts of Healing, might be the title of a book I can feel emerging.
       The big freeze of the last week or so reminds me of another January, about four years ago when the UK was in the midst of its coldest winter for 30 years. By t…

The Shapeshifter Reloaded

The Shape-Shifter is a popular motif weaving through movies (such as The Matrix) and fairy tales. It appeared as an asylum seeker, begging the rich young prince for food and shelter. Subjected to his lack of compassion, haughty and dismissive arrogance, she exposed him for what he was: beastly. Luckily, in time, the prince’s steadfast and faithful Soul Companion otherwise known as Belle or Beauty – or what Carl Jung would call his anima or ‘feeling function’ and popularly described nowadays as emotional intelligence – came along to redeem and set him free.
Whether we behave as heroes or cowards, in our own self-interest or with compassion towards others, the shape-shifter is emerging in extraordinary ways to restore balance.  I know, I have personal experience of Big Mama’s tough love.  And let me tell you, you need to find a backbone, hold the line, and take her medicine. She don’t joke when it’s time for her children to grow in consciousness.
             My own shape-shifter appea…

The Shapeshifter

Yesterday I counted five snowmen in my square; the children are having great fun. But over 30cm of snow brought parts of the UK to a grinding halt this past few days, it is chaotic and just a little absurd. There were power cuts, cancellations of routine operations, supermarket shelves were emptied, stretches of motorways blocked, schools closed and transportation disrupted; and its only the conditions that many other countries would consider ‘normal’ for mid winter. 
     But all over the world different communities are having to adjust to a very pronounced shift in seasonal conditions.  Mother Nature needs to both protect herself from the increasing heat at her core (and ours) while purging and cleansing our human habitat as she breaks free of the constraints constructed by human excesses. Unfortunately during a time when temperatures reached -13 degrees in the UK, three people died, including a postman on his delivery rounds.
     Not only are we currently experiencing the…

Of Many Names and No Name

Woke up this morning feeling the chill of Britain’s Artic ‘white out’, but my friend up in the American North West tells me it simply does not compare with her ‘white out’.

My mood is lightened, as it always is, by a long conversation with a Hindu friend about reincarnation. Hindus believe in all that don’t they, and so do I. That’s because I am Hindu, and Buddhist, and Sufi and Christian.
I was baptised Roman Catholic, taught to meditate by Buddhist monks, attended a Sufi Centre every week for over six years, and make an annual pilgrimage for a 10-day silent retreat mainly with Hindus and Buddhists, but with people of all faiths.
Although it has happened for millennia, it’s simply unimaginable to me that anyone would travel across the world to kill others simply because they were of a different religious persuasion or referred to the Divine by another name. How absurd. There’s something distinctly ‘not well in the head’ about that.
I’ll stick to the West African version of a Supreme Cre…

The Economic Migrant and the Bag Lady

Some years ago I was telling someone about my bag lady experience. She looked at me with astonishment and disbelief.

Many years later this person, who had by then become a friend, also had her own bag lady experience. She had gone from place to place, not quite sleeping on a park bench but near enough, with only the barest essentials – a toothbrush and change of clothes in a bag – not enough to merit a supermarket trolley!
The economic migrant and bag lady experience are etched into my DNA. I was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica nestled between Guadeloupe and Martinique, two French colonies. Dominica was itself fought over by the French and British for centuries. The French eventually lost. I could so easily have been a French citizen sitting in Paris writing this. In fact my mother's maiden name is the same as her family's French slaveowners of yester-year.

A SNAPSHOT OF HISTORY: In 1635, France claimed Dominica along with all the other 'Petite Antilles'. As p…

Death by Warming

It is petrifyingly (is that a word?) cold in London; only my winter Jasmine is thriving. But the latest blast of heat at the heart of Australia has sent the mercury soaring, igniting those dreaded bushfires.

     As huge columns of smoke filled the sky, one resident said "It looked like an atom bomb the way it went up”. In certain parts of the country temperatures reach 48.5C in the shade, among the highest over 100 years of records.
     The level of heat emitting from the earth’s core at any one time has been estimated as being anything from 3,400-7,300 Celsius, obtained by studying earthquake records and their seismic measurements. The increasing heat at the earth’s core is bursting through in spontaneous combustion. Raging and almost uncontrollable fires destroy homes and threaten lives. 
As part of the earth’s physiology, certain bio-dynamic functions ensure that a level of temperature for sustaining life on the earth’s surface is commensurate with human survival. Among these ‘…

Mother Nature's Digestive System

Noël Carroll(Beyond Aesthetics)said:
 "With visual metaphors, the image-maker proposes food for thought without stating any determinate proposition.It is the task of the viewer to use the image for insight".
In this instance, I am the viewer observing what I perceive to be the earth’s anatomical and physiological make-up. I have shared what I discern as Mother Nature’s lungs, arteries and heart and how they malfunction or become 'diseased' and decay, just like ours. Today I want to unpack what impacts her digestive system and ours.
     For efficient functioning the planet maintains equilibrium between its levels of acidity (expressed as pH –Potential Hydrogen) mainly of the oceans, and alkalinity which is provided by plant-life.      When the water element becomes acidic and polluted, that contamination filters back to our shores, and into the soil. This depletes vegetables of alkalinity as well as trace minerals, both essential for healthy cell growth.
Our digestive sy…