Monday, 27 May 2013
A man walks into a bar.
The other night I happened to be walking out of Lincoln on the Wragby road, and found myself drawn into the Adam and Eve public house. The pub was busy, quite a number of people out celebrating the bank holiday weekend no doubt. I got myself a drink and found a tidy little corner where I could sit and hopefully write, as I have a desire to write another song about the great and varied experiences I am currently having with regularity. To my great joy, the group of people directly next to this seating were very open and spontaneously asked me if I would like to join them in their bid to win the pub quiz challenge. I was very happy to engage with such warmth of course, but didn't want to intrude into their conversation and yet the offer was too good to refuse.
They were a group of friends whom had met up for a reunion and just randomly happened, like myself to be in this particular pub. Their kindness and affection was evident so I soon felt at ease with being included in the answering of the questions. My knowledge however is not as sharp as it has been, and I only modestly contributed to a few answers. Current affairs is not something I am to up to date on as I don't watch television very often if at all. The conversation soon opened up with one of the guys and I began to explain about how I came to be in Lincoln and the reason for my social experiment and interaction with people. He seemed fascinated and genuinely curious as to what I had learned or experienced over the past year or so.
After a while when the quiz had ended, they were readying for the move to a further venue, and very generously invited me to join them. I was flattered and touched by this show of thoughtfulness towards a stranger, so I accepted the offer and we moved onto a new place close by.
The group of friends was made up of three married couples. The wives were all from the same European country, and all had migrated here because of love of their respective gentlemanly husbands. It was lovely to see such happiness and considerate care between them all. I concluded that they were all well educated and following careers they had potentially chosen. They were flowing with kindness and they were being very spontaneous and cordial towards this stranger, me. I was offered a drink at the next pub and I gratefully accepted.
Now I try not to look to being the centre of attention in any group but as happens when strangers meet, names get mentioned at some point. My choice of name is obviously a curiosity to many people and I happily explained in brief detail about it. One of the women had read Dan Millmans book, (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) so potentially understood something more of the concept of being a Warrior who attempts to be peaceful and peaceable towards others. Many questions came as if it were another quiz, one that I have all the answers to however....
I hope that I was able to give clear and concise answers to the range of inquiry raised. Understandably I was also curious about the group who had generously invited me to join their conversations, and I learnt much. Not possibly as much as I would have wished from such a short event, but never the less I gleaned a lot of importance from this seemingly random encounter. I had myself visited the country from which they originated, and we were able to share one or two tales of observation about my trip there some few years ago. They all smiled broadly now, but explained why that may not have been normal behaviour in their country and culture. I guess I hadn't really understood before but what they revealed made great sense.
The husbands likewise had a few of their own stories to tell about the diversity of the experiences they had had when visiting and in associations with in-laws. Soon time had elapsed and everyone was thinking about drinking up and setting off home. The conversation was interesting as it always is to me, yet it soon became apparent that we often frequent the same coffee house in town, and were likely to bump into each other again over the coming weeks. Which is lovely as I now have the potential for another six coffee and conversation partners. One of the gentlemen who was the designated driver offered me a lift back to the Y.M.C.A, and I happily accepted.
I have chosen to keep the details of the people mentioned here to myself, as what I hope to come of this story is solely to show that great and gracious people are common amongst the people whom reside here in Lincoln. I am forever indebted to these people for such openness and kindness in inviting a stranger into their midst. I didn't feel any resentment towards me because of my current situation, which is lovely to see and receive. Being jobless and effectively homeless is not something that normally provokes deep conversations amongst random strangers, but these people were clearly above the quick judgement making of some elements of society. I was humbled by their generosity of spirit and accepting of what they received from our encounter.
I send my thankfulness out to them and hope that they know my gratitude is real. Much the same attitudes as I have experienced over the past few months from many people and organisations in Lincoln. Many mentioned in the previous article (R+evolution Lincoln) and now this new group are reassuring me that hope is not lost in society completely. Positive interactions with other human beings is something we can all benefit from, but it is clear that each one of us needs to be able to contribute something into this pot of interactivity. You mostly get out what you put in. Like breeds like, so if you breed negativity the evident reaction is likely to be more negativity towards you in return. This is one of the most simple realities I have encountered in all of my travels and investigations about interactions.
So my happiness is extended by the continued kindness of Lincoln life, sharing, collaborating and respectfulness.
So, a man walks into a bar as a stranger and leaves as a potential friend. Now that's magic.....
May love light and peace guard you all.
Sunday, 26 May 2013
There is energy in the air for a radically new way of being in our environment, that is clearly moving into a new phase, here in Lincoln. Lincoln, an ancient Roman settlement and a somewhat out of the way, backwater city in terms of the modern world is now flourishing with a buzz of activity on a social level, that is becoming formidable. True enough a certain hype has come from the recent expansions of Lincoln University, and the new infrastructure. Lincoln has a new face to show the world, but it retains many of the original features of its historic past, enough to keep a sense of connection with it's own evolution. As a result of new courses at the University in part, an influx of ideas from the outside world has been coming with the youth and the zest that brings for creativity. But underpinning this movement, I am now realising that there are in fact older more established elements of the city and its patronage that are beginning to rise to the surface of activity for expansions of this vibe. Elements from both within the University itself and the ordinary working class folk of Lincoln. What I am seeing is nothing short of a conscious revolution being acted out and participated in by all elements of society. It is pure magic of mind, soul and action.
Now does this differ in dramatic ways more than other places? Does Lincoln have something that other areas have not yet tried?
During a recent invitation to, and involvement with the Social Science Centre here in Lincoln, I have become ever more aware that what I am seeing, and witnessing here is in many ways tuned in to a global network of movement for change. For a development that can be sustained on a far greater level of social engagements, for the benefit of everybody. It is something that people generally are engaging with because of concerns brought about over recent times with relation to finances and welfare and equal rights and many more things that affect people on a daily basis. And further, it is something that people are becoming ever more aware of with regards personal responsibility towards this matter. We are all affected by negative energy, things that erode our confidence in society and its/our well-being. Dramatically I feel sure that this is causing people to do something personally to effect a new result that can be shared for the benefit of the greater good.
Now this is not something just associated with Lincoln. However it seems that due to many factors, Lincoln is now in a perfect place and with a great variety of people doing something proactive for change. Lincoln geographically is slightly off the beaten track as it were, with fewer direct connections to other cities than many places. Traditionally Lincolnshire folk are seen as somewhat remote from the rest of our society, being the main agricultural producer of food in Great Britain. Not that the people here are lesser, but in a sense they may have been removed from the main thrust of daily life in the developing part of our nation, whilst we get on with the task of growing the food that the rest of the nation eats.
O.K. this is a way too simplified version of things, and I apologise for inferring anything negative about the people of Lincolnshire. What I am saying however is, that if Lincolnshire and Lincoln in particular is the home of feeding this nation, then maybe it is the seat of growth in other ways too. The larder/pantry of Great Britain. The place where we go for our nourishment resources.
Of course other cities and places in Great Britain are important, and also home to many industrious ideas and development strategies. Our nations capital for example is a hugely diverse place both culturally and productively. Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester Birmingham to name a few are all players in this world of forward thinking and movement. I don't dismiss these models and maybe in some ways Lincoln is playing catch-up to them, but it is clearly evident to me after spending the past thirteen months immersed in life here, looking from the bottom up, that Lincoln has something new to add to the development of global consciousness.
I believe that it has to do with the pace at which development has happened, amongst other key factors.
Many places in Britain that expanded over the recent centuries have seemingly now come to a development blockage. Both in a physical sense with regards geographical expansion, and also culturally with regards how many ethnic groups live closely yet without more inclusive communications and interactions. For example, my investigations have shown me that some invited groups of immigrants came to live here but without fully integrating into our society and cultures. They share the same physical landscape but not our values particularly or our want to incorporate them more fully. Often they maintain their own languages and identities and rigidly enforce these into their children, rather than allow a more balanced evolution into the world in which they have come to reside.
One view is, that whilst this influx brings migrant talents and skills we desperately needed, it also de-stabilizes the fabric of our society. Another could be that it takes away our own identity and the role we played in helping these people migrating from other countries. Or that to feed commercial remits we as a nation have sold our souls to the proverbial devil. A further view is that these people bring with them far more than just supply of our manpower, they also bring much needed alternative ideas to the melding pot of conscious evolution.
Of course where ever you place foreign people to settle in a new world, they are going to want to preserve many if not all of their own identities at first. Its a natural protectiveness we all have when we are in strange environments. Look at how the British were when we went to Spain for example. We had to have full English breakfasts and meals on the table because we could not eat the foreign food. Not taking in to account that they hardly ever ate an English cooked breakfast at home anyway. And my goodness me they don't speak our lingo either..... Hello..... They are Spaniards......
But to move swiftly on, Lincoln has got something new to add to the pot of evolution of consciousness and development, largely because of its ability not to have moved on at a million miles per hour with the rest of the Nation.
Imagine eating a full plate of food set out before you in about two minutes. It may well be a possibility to do such a thing, but what enjoyment would there be and what would be the results of eating so fast? Yes intake of nourishment but lack of enjoyment. Your body is designed to have smaller portions over a sustained period, that way it can properly process the food and make use of all the vitamins and minerals and proteins etc. Likewise Lincoln has possibly been like this eating process. It has been settling down to enjoy its meal whilst determining what value eating had in the first place and what future benefits there will be. Change may have happened more slowly here, but the result surely is that digestion has been given the proper amount of time to determine the best way to continue. Lincoln is now leaving the table with boundless energy for action in the up and coming months and years. We are not slow, we are the determination behind the actions for a newer version of the operating system. A kind of, I-phone-5 version of global strategy and implementation towards development of the human kindness genome.
I came to Lincoln as a part of my Imagine project. I had very little funds and no place to live. Lincoln welcomed me in as a stranger, fed me, watered me, housed me and also continued to look after my needs in so many other ways. The diversity of this city is astounding. From arts, crafts and music, to the more intellectual resonance of social science and networking mobility. Listing merely a few of the immediate benefits that have come to me freely, and with kindness is difficult, as there have been so many. But I will try to do so to show just how diverse Lincoln actually is.
Nomad (The Nomad Trust) is a charity ran for the Homeless problems of Lincolnshire. Its resources are incredibly stretched but they maintain a high level of services for anyone who finds themselves in this dire circumstance.
Be-Attitude is a work set out again to help the poor and the homeless, based at the Church of England's St Mary Le Wigfords Church on High St. Lincoln. Funded in part by the church, but also many other organisations and people who see the very real needs of the poor and needy in Lincolnshire.
Revival Cafe, based on the corner of Sincil St. is a profoundly creative way of community sharing that is taking Lincolnshire by storm.
It provides services and education workshops and all manner of therapy treatments at very low or no cost to the consumer. It also has a very collaborative cafe run by volunteers and helpers, organised and ran by a dedicated couple who have taken time out of other personal pursuits, to fill this void in Lincolnshire.
Associated with that is another new group/idea that has been gifted with help from Revival.
Hackspace Lincoln, is an ever growing group of individuals, both professional and ordinary people that are getting together to share skills, talents and knowledge with a specific aim of helping each other and later the community at large to expand its ability to share together. They are organising themselves with aims to bring community together and spread their individual talents interests with anyone who would like to get involved, much the same as Revival Cafe.
Social Science Centre, is another group of both academic and ordinary city people who are organising activities to share their individual skills, talents and knowledge with one another primarily, and also an ever widening group with the clear aim of promoting the well being of Lincoln and the global community generally.
The Jolly Brewer pub on Old Broad St, is a leader in the sharing of music, art and poetry with Lincoln and Lincolnshire. Hosting a regular Wednesday 'Open Mic Night', and monthly poetry venues, permanent displays of art in their rear room gallery, they are amongst the top promoters of this idea of cultural sharing. Artists from all over the county come regularly to give the people of Lincoln a taste of the diversity of talents from this area. If you are a would be performer, singer songwriter, poet, artist then all of your performance needs can me met here in Lincoln for next to no outlay on your part.
Now this list as you can see is not exhaustive of the things available here in Lincolnshire, but I hope it gives a very clear idea of what I am saying about the creative juices flowing in Lincoln city day in day out. It feels to me almost like the cultural hub of Great Britain.
So in conclusion, I would like to say a huge Thank You, to Lincoln/Lincolnshire and it's people for the way in which I feel it leads the way ahead for a dramatic Revolution of our cultural and thinking consciousness. And for its efforts to share a smile with the world in turmoil.
To have change we have to be the change we wish to see in the world, so let's have more of it please.
All agencies and groups involved in R+evolution Lincoln.
(Click for Links)
Love and light, peace and harmony to all.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Being the Change.
This is not as easy as it seems, despite our best efforts.
Unbeknown to us are many inherent and learned behavioural boundaries that we are afraid to cross. We will probably attest to being free thinkers, but do we really know ourselves well enough to say that we are free in our thoughts enough to know definitively all our weaknesses and strengths. Surely this is one of the main reasons we are here having this experience called life, to learn and to discover many of these things. And to grow in our appreciation for all opportunities to build on our knowledge and apply that, ergo 'wisdom'.
During a conversation I had recently with a friend Claire, I discovered that I have not gone nearly as far in my awareness and spiritual growth as I had previously thought I had. Whilst I am attempting every day to 'Be the Change I wish to see in the world', I was aghast at my naivety to certain other things. My friend was very kind and complimentary towards my questions about her reasons to be a 'Vegan', and praised my openness to ask. I was curious, and later appalled at my old school thinking which allows me to still eat meat. I guess I am not saying that it is wrong to eat meat in essence, more that I now understand what an animal goes through in the so called 'humane' process of these other sentient beings. Armed with this awareness I am at a point of choice. Do I go on now, not in ignorance but in defiance of my knowledge? Or do I accept that I have been a contributor to the needless suffering of animals as much as the next person, by not making a stand against this cruelty and not boycotting the sale of this type of food and its processing? Same goes for animal testing. (In a non-violent non-aggressive, but passive resistance)
I had already stopped eating chicken for what I had discovered about its production and the genetically modified way of rearing new chicks. I had already begun to source more naturally grown produce in a way to replace the proteins and nutrients I would miss out on. I had almost quit having sausages in my diet, knowing what rubbish goes into them. But I still loved my cooked breakfasts. The smell of that bacon and the fried mushrooms and the fried tomatoes and toast...ooh yeah..... (Do you feel where I'm coming from yet?) Yes we have no problem desiring all that wonderfully cooked food at all. But at what point do we realise just what has gone into its arrival on our table and the cruelty meted out against animals en-route?
On reflection of the wonderfully articulate and non judgemental conversation I had with my friend, it has become obvious that I need to now make a decision. Either way I cannot call myself a person who makes informed choices in the pursuit of spiritual growth if I ignore the shared damage I am doing. And this applies to the planet too.
However once my choice is made, I will still have to work with other new realisations along the way, the path of life is long and new things always come along.
Life is a succession of experiences, we have to choose our path forward.
It is apparent that I, as possibly any of us, cannot make all the informed choices at once. It is not reasonable nor sane to do this. It may indeed be more harmful than good if we do it without true and real conviction on our part. We need to find the balance, the middle way whilst we move ahead, seeking always to do less and less damage and cruelty to our world.
Here are a few examples of what I have already chosen to do.
I don't buy news papers. One reason is, it requires no paper, thus no trees (our oxygen factory) need to be cut down on my behalf. Secondly, the people that own the news papers are some of the most polluted/ing idealists alive. I don't want to be spoon fed their distorted way of looking at the world. And yes I am using Google for my ends here, their controlling ethos is also against the grain, so I am tolerating this only in so much as it helps to spread the good news of what is being done in the world for the good of all. My hope is that both agencies will eventually find a more constructive and less greedy and bigoted approach to the sharing of information.
I have not been using a car for my own personal freedom for more than a year now. I have saved on all the running costs and much of that money would have gone to companies who's greed is apparent in the global financial crisis of late. That potentially means I have lessened my carbon footprint, using public transport. It is not easy or often convenient to use these services, but I have made great headway at using them when it is feasible to do so.
I have sold, given away or redistributed most of my former worldly goods, in an attempt to have a less cluttered and more simple lifestyle. I have very few clothes, just enough to make good use of, some tools and a few books I love to read and share with people. But I don't have any debts. I don't have to worry about my things being stolen or damaged. It is a very Cathartic feeling, not to have baggage of the amount I formerly had. To be able to come and go as I chose, without a lot of concern for where all my things are and how safe they are.
Here are a few of the things I do have of value.
Many friends, from all over the world, whom are also living examples of this new way of living.
Relatively good health and vitality.
Stress free days to do the things that inspire me most.
Time for other people, to share the wonders of the world I have seen.
An active belief that the world is becoming a nicer place to be, one person at a time, one act of compassion and kindness at a time and one less harmful act of negligence and cruelty at a time.
A love of all my earthly family, all sentient beings and the planet upon which we all live.
An example of someone I admire who also took this view seriously was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The renowned Indian politician and PeaceActivist despicably murdered 30 January 1948.
A woman once approached him and asked. “Bapu, my son is eating sugar, can you help? Can you see my son and tell him to stop eating sugar?”
Gandhi told her to go away and return in two weeks time. When she returned she had the same plea and he saw her son.
She thanked him graciously and yet asked Gandhi afterwards, “Why didn't you see us two weeks ago?”
He replied simply, “two weeks ago I was eating sugar.”
What a great man. A wise and formidable spirit.
Likewise I have much to be thankful for. I am not comparing myself to this great warrior of peace so much as explaining how his example has given me the courage to try to be a better man. To push on through adversity and trial and exposure to the truth. To be the change I wish to see. In this way I honour his memory.
Therefore in the art of moving forward gracefully with compassion and love, I pledge to do my utmost to avoid eating products, that have been caused genuine distress, genuine suffering and death in the pursuit of my desire to have sustenance.
From today I will no longer eat MEAT. Nor derivative products as is my best effort to avoid being accomplice to the cruelty the slaughter and the tragedy of this occupation.
Stone by stone, little by little I shall find a way to be the change I wish to see. Thank you Gandhi for your inspiration and too my friend Claire.
May the love of the Universal Energy/God/Great Spirit, help us all to become more informed and challenging warriors for change.
I send much Love and Light to all my wonderful readers.
Saturday, 18 May 2013
Uh, excuse me, I'm in love with you.
Should you tell someone you've recently met that you are falling in love with them? Is it wise or even healthy to nurture and encourage strong feelings despite real confirmation of reciprocative attitude?
Well if I knew the answer to these questions then I could sell it and become rich, very rich. Most people who have an attraction towards someone else, mainly rely on receiving either a strong clue or a direct response to the advances they make. Nobody likes to be rejected do they? We all hope that our desires and dreams will be fulfilled by the object of that desire, or we wouldn't find any reason to put ourselves in that position in the first place. Surely we don't enjoy the pain of rejection, and would prefer a smoother experience.
One of the best things about being 'in love' is the feeling of not knowing entirely, as it keeps some mystery in our minds. That mystery can keep our attentions for a while, and in the case of 'in love' can often cloud our clear thinking and judgement making, sometimes to our detriment. Being 'in love' can be a bit of a roller-coaster ride at the beginning, whilst we come to terms with our own joy and happiness. Anyone whom has ever been in that joyous state will probably advise against taking it too seriously. Most of us have felt the disappointment that comes from finding the other person doesn't feel the same about us, or the contentment wears off and cracks appear in the other persons character. But we do crave the excitement we feel when we get a sense that another person whom we are attracted to, also has a similar feeling in response. We get a 'buzz', a glow of contentment and a sense of delight that they care about us in this way. If we are lucky then things move forward and we see, enjoy more of the other person and their company over the future days weeks and months, until a proper relationship is formed. I have noticed that normally within the first three months you will learn most of the important things you need to know about that person. Enough to make a better more sound judgement about the future prospects with that person. A more intense experience can shorten this time considerably. A holiday together for example, or anything that includes close quarters over a sustained period. Obviously a normal response to this information would be to decide whether we carry on in this way or end/change the relationship. Few of us are foresighted enough to know this information based on an instant 'feeling', so we often keep it to ourselves, say nothing, or don't act upon that intuition at all.
The problem seems to lay in our lack of awareness about what we really want, and what is a justified and sensible way to reach that goal. When we are young we want what we see, even if it potentially is a transient craving, because we aren't experienced enough, to know what the experience is, or what it will lead to, or the ramifications it will bring upon us. Hence so many teen pregnancies, short relationships and lack of proper and open communications.
Hey, I'm not getting at any young people here, believe it or not I do remember being young. Because when I was a teenager I knew everything.... Now I am older, I realise that I know sweet F.A. but what I do know, may be of use to me in avoiding same response relationships, and/or guard against too much pain from the response deficit.
But being human, I get that part wrong too. So this post is as much about my ability to rationalise correct procedures, as it is hopefully helpful insight to anyone else who is reading this.
Lets cut to the chase then:-
So (my friend) has met a girl whom he likes very much. He felt her energy way before he saw her face, saw the way she dressed, had spoken to her or saw how cutely she walked. Long before he looked into her eyes and felt his stomach go cartwheels, and his legs turn to jelly. His, (my friend's) attraction was wholly down to the sixth sense of intuition and he even managed to read her mind at a glimpse.
But, as he engaged in the art of conversation he learned even more incredible pieces of information, that added to his liking of this young lady. When it came time to part company, he felt sad that the evening was coming to a close, but was cheered by the thought of a further encounter at a future time. Time was when he might have rushed in like a bull in a china shop, and smashed the valuable treasure he had seen. But he, (my friend) decided that caution was the better part of valour. Nothing good came of 'rushing things'. After all, what was the rush? Had life not taught him that, 'all good things come to he/she who waits'? No it hadn't actually. Often he had been paralysed by fear and missed golden opportunities. Now he had learned a bit of patience, 'playing it cool', would be the better option, even though his desire was to try to speed things up. Nothing wrong with passion, and a bit of spontaneity, it was very desirable sometimes to a young lady to be assured of the attractiveness she held. But what was enough and what was too keen?
It would be a fine balance between the two, and he had to take into account the young ladies experience levels too. She seemed open and 'wise', but he didn't want to push too fast in case he scared her away before she could get to know the real serious intentions he held. Over a few brief encounters he felt as though he left strong enough clues, that were also soft enough to not be too pushy, and make her feel uncomfortable in his company. The doubts however came to be his. For she had not given any real commitment to the friendships continuance, and this therefore bode unfavourably.
Now the sane thing to do at this point may be to let go, to walk away from the thoughts of a relationship blossoming. But he had seen something of her energy, well before he had verified any other quality she displayed, and this was the bit that proved difficult. Interpreting the intuition that he had some purpose to fulfil in the relationship with her. That more than any other desire kept him in doubt about all the years of experience to date. What good was the past at all, if not an indicator of choices and direction in the now?
But one clear piece of information kept coming back into his mind. Relationships are two way streets. It takes two people to make one work. Just because he was careful about making promises, and always kept his word when he had said any kind of utterance regarding an action, didn't mean that others would. Therefore his choices were simple. Wait until more direct evidence came to light, or walk away and forget the fleeting glimpse of paradise in her arms.
What would you do if you were (my friend) in this situation?
As per usual, the post ends with as many questions as it began with.
If you feel like leaving any relevant information and comments about this topic, we, (my friend and I) would be most appreciative.
Lots of love and hugs....