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--Max Ehrmann


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.


Acceptance is:full story

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in our world by mistake. Until I could accept my humanity, I could not be complete in living; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."

adapted by DonInChelsea

practice acceptance as a key:

Acceptance is a daily task as we live life to our full extent. And the practice of acceptance has many elements we learn as we progress our emotional and spiritual development. Two forms of practical steps to acceptance help us in our daily living.

1. Accepting day to day experiences as they occur, as life offers them to us. When we accept our day, how we feel, why and what we can do about it, we see our part in our daily experiences with others. Acceptance is not blind to our personal choices, merely making sure we respond and not react to what we encounter. Ask how am I feeling, why and what can I do?

2. Accepting long term experiences which affect our daily living is part of daily life. Our past will bring up issues for us, sometimes daily, sometimes less frequently. How we feel about ourselves generally, why and what we can do to let ourselves be free, overcome old denials and just live for this day, this takes time and often support and help from sources we trust.

When I ask myself:

How am I feeling


What can I do

I am asserting my "being here and now", and helps to acceptance of my real situation.

DonInChelsea Blog Global Local
BBC DonInChelsea's A Day in the Life

July 2004

copyright© don oddy

Chronicles July 2004

July 1st 2004

Ever been in Fuck it mood?

It is so maddening. A new month and it feels no different to yesterday. Why not carry on and just segment time by years. Or does it helps us? It does if you are prone to read your stars, for without man-made endeavours like months there would be no predictability. For surely God never made months or years. God just made nature. The rest is layers of erroneous beliefs and easy systems to chunk out time, but never to suit me!

We only have divisions based on pure convenience, that is divisions in time. I for example am over 500 dog years old, and older if a cat. Just tell the cat that, and that makes as much sense of astrology to me, as the cat comprehends about mice!

More importantly, I know the time by hunger. I know the time by patience. I know the time by fretful misgivings when waiting for another to turn up.

I never know the time when I am in love. Time goes too fast when I am sharing it with a lover. I have no idea of time until its gone by.

Where did the time go? I have no idea. Fuck it.

July 2nd 2004


Telling the truth is telling

Sometimes it is maddening. My life revolves around some tenets of character I want to emulate. Openness, honesty and willingness being the foundations. I know I emulate them. Yet the truth is, its hard to tell he truth. It is really very telling and telling the truth takes time.

I know I bang on about this from time to time, and it is simply because truth starts when I speak and ends when you hear. My talk and your hearing have truth preferences we can only sometimes imagine. What I say is not always what you hear.

There is no fault, no blame, just plain truth. Yet the outcome differs from me to you. I hope we have enough time on this planet to get to truth. And simply we do. Emotions and feelings are truth. The truth inside. All the layers on top are years upon years of experience. For there the truth will become a story, a litany, a reason, and not the actual feeling and emotion of now.

I have deep and strong feelings of love for most everyone I know and mankind. Where I loose sight of that love is in the doings of life and mankind’s meanderings and puzzlements. I am glad it is so, even though my journey is as hard as the next, I guess my recognition and awareness maybe more acute from time to time, the result is the same when we are experiencing the feeling life. Let it rock on, the hard place too, for there etched and embedded is love. We find it when least expected. Maybe as eyes dim another light is seen. I am uncertain and that is the truth.

July 3rd 2004


Marlon Brando, another farewell

When we think of our mortality and the impact we have, we also are reminded of the impacts of others which shape us. And without doubt Brando did some shaping of me. He was part of a mixture, part of my father, part of society and he was much more.

Brando shaped people and their thoughts. Where he collected his uniqueness I shall never know fully, I am glad he was who he became.

My father, a product of his time. He had seen war, seen poverty abject in more than one continent. He had fight in him to protest and to rail at the world. I think he was like Brando. Both hero's to me and my way of looking at the world. In his films, Brando captured all sides of virtue. The pure and innocent, the corruption and values assimilated by history. Yet even when a villain, he exuded those qualities we would emulate, loyalty and love and family. We forgave the badness and found sensitivity, ameliorated reality suspending our judgement to guilt and redemption.

In his personal life, we caught glimpses of his hard tragedy. His feelings worn full measure and etched deep on his face, reflected the man inside so deep he appeared weighted with burdens no one person should endeavour to shoulder. Some, have extreme natures and qualities driven to share, I think Brando was one of them. Many talk of his prowess in changing the face of acting. I think he did, brave, and never foolish, wearing his inside outside. He was able to portray perdition in his acting simply because he was on his own road to perdition I suspect all his life. A quality uncertain for the mass audience, I was struck always by his sense of presence and belief that what he portrayed was the character and the man himself. Immersion to that degree is without doubt a talent for living and acting alike.

I don't think it is any accident that I was influenced greatly by his sense of right and wrong. His passion was as anyone on the planet, yet he chose to share it transparently. I looked on in wonder as I felt what he felt. Often, the rage of righteousness, often the injustice of others, mostly the loss of love.

In that respect he is akin to James Dean. Another icon lost in time yet immortal in the eyes of countless numbers, still in awe of their ability to share complicated feelings so genuine, they had to be felt inside.

And my own sense of loss over the years floods in with great battering blows. The feelings evoked by such powerful men, they humble this man's thoughts. I know I have those feelings in me, to express them so and with vigour is beyond the confidence of most our society. And that is where the power and significance rests. For we would wish to be like them. Yet I suspect without the heart break, the anger, the isolation and fear which drives hard to untold depths of character.

I wonder at Brando, never really a part of us, yet like all of us. Sensitive, human and frail. His strength lay in his creation of reality on screen, enabling our feelings deep and true. To understand the joys of life, to understand our grief in life. To suggest we embrace life on life's terms.

I would have wished him greater happiness, and a happy ending. Yet so like the truth of it, life is not fair, it is not easy and it definitely has to be lived no matter how hard the road becomes. I am constantly reminded the hardship we all deal with in the story of others. How much more I love my late father today for his bravery, his frailty and his shaping of me. I reckon few rare people have such qualities. I would a wish to attribute the same to Marlon Brando. May he rest turbulently in peace.

July 4th 2004


Sunday, Bloody Sundae, Mine's alright Jack

Sunday Skool?

All I can say, to now, my Sunday is OK and without any disquiet. Around the world, some have had their Sunday, others await it. And for some reason even tho' its not everyone’s holy day or end of week anymore, well to me it has significance, because I am not allowed to work it at the moment.

I am tho' putting it to some use. I have been to one philosophy class already today. And as classes go, it was pitch perfect for my ears. A reminder of finding moments of quiet to reflect in a life made busy.

I am struck more these quiet moments just how hard it is to be alive, let alone make any sense of our chaos. We find boxes in which to live, we go to boxes to work, if we are able, I not quite in that box currently. We travel in boxes. We buy boxes. The world sometimes feels boxy. Unless its a rest day and we don't have to be in any box but the one maybe we would wish for ourselves.

Listening to another’s feelings, I do this at least twice a day. To my own and at least one other person. It is important, for we rush feelings aside for so many other rational moments, we just miss the point of being alive. I hope this does not sound too pushy, have you asked yourself how you are feeling right now?

Probably cross as the question is dumb. Yet if a little anger crept in, then there is room to examine what you want to feel today. When people suggest you get in touch with your feelings, yes usually you do have to do a mental check on what they are.

We ignore our feelings, for no one knows much about what to do with them, least of all you and me. A fucking nuisance, feelings.

I am glad I can find mine, feel ‘em and somehow sometimes make sense of them. I cried at stuff last night, I laughed this morning, I felt depressed at lunchtime and had creeping fear all afternoon...... now they are gone and I am calm. Ask me why, and I would say, let me tell you later, right now, I don't have a clue.

My point is this. We feel all day long. We rarely ever stop a moment to really know and understand why we feel the way we do. Today, I will feel more pain, imagine enough fear to hide away, laugh at myself or something bemusing, wonder when I might just stop feeling long enough to catch a breath before the next brick bat moment/assault merges into now. You see nothing is unique, our world moves us on, we forget the moment and sadly the feeling emoting inside us, mores the pity, mores the relief. It depends on how you are yourself. And that’s a bugger to understand. An Irish moment, a senior moment. Another moment on, like sand to the desert, unique, obliterated, shifting and mesmerising for we will find it never again in this lifetime.

July 5th 2004


Greece win Euro Soccer 2004

plus more than soccer bollox

It is quite a glory, to win a cup, a soccer match and the European Soccer Cup for 2004. I am very pleased to see the Greek team win. It is after all, their year. The Olympic hosts and all that goes with it. A soccer win is a good omen I hope for them. It takes our minds off the other calamities that many face. And mine too.

I was writing a note to my sister today. It read matter of fact. And I pondered on this later, when in a group discussion, how each of us there, was matter of fact about pretty ghastly circumstances. How else to deal with them? I wonder if, matter of factly, as we shuffle around the planet, feeling and seething with all sorts inside us, not many ever get to see the inner turmoil’s that bind us, tether us, hinder us or let us march free from one moment to the next. Freedom, the illusory quality of motion without impediment to a goal. I cannot think when, if ever that were so or even meant to be, I doubt it could be contrived or happen by accident.

I don't feel too glum about that, I don't think it need worry most folk. I guess it harbours time inside me because I am hindered and hampered pretty much anyway I look. And its no one's concern but mine. And if it were more I would have less to say and nothing to say probably. Mind you screaming inside and being nice on the outside, well who on this earth doesn't?

July 6th 2004



A joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful through or as if through separation from a loved one.

I guess that must be the hardest state of mind. Beyond grief, at least with grief it has phases and levels of depth we can relate to, it is near to oblivion. Oblivion, the place where we blot out reality, Desolation the desert beyond stretching forever without end and with an ache nothing can touch. Except maybe time.

I have been to meet with people today, two big meetings with much passion and much woeful near desolate emotions. It happens when there are turns in the weather and seasons and then suddenly a whole raft of memories are triggered. It is sad. I learned much about me today. And being in a place where I have relatively nothing seems very apt. For I do have something, and sometimes I resent it and feel I must be guilty. I do have hope. The grind of depression is fearsome and enveloping as is dark. Yet my dark does not control me presently. And for that I thank my fellows, for that I thank the help I get along the way, with a word and the smallest of gestures to put me right side up. The drama of dark is but a memory away, a whisper at the back of my mind, the nail driven deep and hard into the lid of Pandora's box. There in the dark where there is nothing to touch but blackness I find it now. Hope resides within me, around me and lets me anticipate a glimmer of light. Maybe an escape to reality dawns with each tick of the clock. I welcome reality with all its shock. One step, one day at a time they say. I will happily settle for a moment.... of hope.

July 7th & 8th 2004


Crimes of the Century

The Political Undermining of Women

I hesitate to lend weight to any political dialogue. We do by virtue of our existence I suspect. Whether we vote or not, our 'planet presence' by which I mean we are present on the planet, involves us in all human doings. So too a stone thrown into a pond causes ripples to the very edges and waves of motion carry. One word said here becomes a word or phrase or tautology. And maybe somewhat redundant to some and new to others.

Women can make babies. And always along the lines of human wandering, women were able to rear children and do anything a man could do too. In the modern world women are encouraged to become 'working mothers' and to an extent I realise why. From olden times, women have always worked and reared children, in almost every social, and society context. To differentiate and make a virtue of work separate to child raising becomes more political as time goes by.

My view:

Is choice. I know without shadow of doubt, children are our future. How we raise and educate is the prime measure of society. I argue strongly we should encourage and enable women to make the best choices possible with regard to child rearing. It is their choice. Anyone who argues for a best way or disables choice through doctrine would be foolish. Choice to raise under their own steam or give it up, or include others appropriately is circumstance and entirely influenced by society.

The crime of the century is to politicise our future generations through dogma and prejudice. When did that ever stop men telling women what to do? We could always ask the man on the Clapham Omnibus, I guess.

July 9th & 10th 2004

July 11th 2004

~ Flimsy ~

Still Clammering and what about Bush and Blair?

The trouble is when we submit to therapy. And I mean submit, because we all carry personal perceptions and things in our heads we might not wish to share with another human being, is they come out eventually.

When Mr Bush and Mr Blair embarked on a war on terrorism they used the flimsy of truth. Truth is really not flimsy, that is having little worth or plausibility. And now we start to hear more about Bush and the CIA, and we hear that Blair felt he might resign because of his misunderstanding.

What a carry on, we say in the UK. A carry on is a farce and it would not be so farcical if it were not true. It is no flimsy that the two most powerful individuals with bombs and willpower set about a nasty bully. Of course he was and there is no escaping that. Yet the process was so flawed.

And now we see the squirms of both Bush and Blair. Bush also squirms for his affiliations to Enron and other nasty doings in the US and elsewhere. Blair is hampered now his credentials of integrity are again questionable. The ease of sleaze, the ease of nothing consequential over profundity. Foolish fellows they are, now moribund in their own waste.

Mind looking into my own murk is really quite a chore. To work out my part and parts in the good and bad are particularly painful. Yet I am doing it. And with the gift and the burden of hindsight I recollect wonderful and miraculous acts, and to some chagrin, an equal wealth of misdeeds.

So who am I to be lobbing rocks. Especially into hard places where truth and fiction dwell in a grey fog of prejudice and indifference?

I suggest I am as able as the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Well versed in life and well enough maybe to sense rhetoric and truth for what they are. Or so I might believe with a little help. The man on the Clapham Omnibus, me this time, is in therapy, and a good job too, for I have an attic to clear, I want my mettle back.

Mettle, vigour and strength of spirit or temperament, yes I want mine back and I am able to, for I am willing to take a hard look at my past and the makings of me, I do it in my own way, it is sad that Bush and Blair cannot do the same, for they sought the limelight and now it burns them. They are human and they feel the pain. No more no less than I, at least I have a semblance of control. Not so for those affected know full well and to the measure of my doings. Let not the political man forget their memory or dull it with flimsy, for the man on the Clapham omnibus has the memory of an elephant.

~ Care Beyond Reason ~

This short phrase came to me today amongst the most humorous discourse. I was smiling all the way until the jokes stopped a moment and the man speaking told of his loss. It was the loss of a friend. Then as is magically propelled he launched back into humour, away from the pain of that hurt and that moment. He lost himself in light and amusement as his lost friend I suspect would wish. For no one would dwell on pain for pains sake. It is the loss of something so high in value that casts thoughts down deep to dwell on misery.

And close to misery is that thing, that spirit of hope and misery which brings us to a place where we do care beyond reason.

Reason, the thing that makes some fact intelligible, has no place in the spirit. The spirit, an animating or vital principle held to give life meaning. What a difference there is beyond reason. Where life meets its maker and the maker meets life. We are all in the making.

The power of making is beyond the will, where will has its foundation in reason. And where we care beyond reason is the greatest of joy and in balance its deepest sadness. How we resonate and experience is without rhyme or reason.

Three words could be the sum of all we would wish for as an explanation of joy and sadness for they are the substance beyond reason.

A lavish substance, ethereal and ephemeral washing over the eternal spirit of mankind. It is without doubt a wonder, to experience most all there is in a moment transient, absorbed into the universal law of truth.

July 12th 2004


~ Endeavour ~

Something that requires effort and often an obligation to some one, and that might be yourself. Endeavour is also tinged with melancholy according to the wordsmiths. Endeavour implies hardship. And to me each day is an endeavour. I have many activities on the go, connected with my own well being and the well being of those around me.

Not obvious endeavours in the sense that you might find me striving and sweating over some activity. I endeavour above all on a daily basis. You may have heard the phrase one day at a time. I endeavour to follow this simple plan. One day at a time I learn and develop and redevelop skills I have in plenty. Only today I keep my energy focussed on the day. I have spent many a day languishing and cogitating over the past. And many a day musing, turning something over in my mind. Meditatively and often inconclusively torturing the future. And the future keeps on moving and becoming ever further away and out of sight.

A good day so far. A long therapy with an erudite and educated pair of leaders. We were deep involved in the present when our time was up. So crystal the views and wanderings became, we made sense out of madness and turned our senses to insanity, and laughed with incredulity at our haphazard meanderings to this day.

Where anxiety catches me, I find help, where fear grabs me I find a net to catch me, when panic immobilizes me and I might choke, I find support in the moment of today in the company of reckless fellows like me.

July 13th 2004


~ Nostalgia ~

Yes I am prone to Nostalgia. A wistful rummage or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. So many can come in waves almost apoplectic. The loves of ones life recorded with faith in a photograph, a phrase, a set of words whose sequence I know set the mind racing to heartfelt times of pure bliss and often pangs of agony.

I happen upon old photo's I keep and I feel the transport of time, back to another age. How could I ever forget. The moment seizes me like I am there and the expectant second ticks and the pang of memory floods the mind with joy and sorrow, tears well without control. Glad and sad, joyful reminiscence.

I need those moments to level me. Not to be forgetful of everything which is taken away by fading and tattered shards, glimpses and relishing in heady thoughts of old. I move around in the present where new connections keep me busy and away from rare indulgence in the past. So many times, flush coloured memories impact on my day.

I need a peak, I need a fix of all my life and what I bring into this day. For nothing is lost, it is rolled into me, my experience of life. I would not thwart the light and the dark of history. It is what I am becoming. And I have faith with me, in balance. And so in balance I keep the faith with you, for without you I would not change, I might stand still and falter.

The recall to mind of a long-forgotten experience, welds me to reality. Why would I wish escape from such a lustrous reflection? For now, no idea claims first rank, just a thousand, thousand moments jostling their turn in me.

July 14th 2004


~ Hinde St London ~

Met an old mate today. In fact met two old mates today. Yet they are not that new. The vernacular of mates is strange to me. I wonder how able anyone is to be a mate these days. When things get tough I nearly always stood by someone, even when it felt awkward and dangerous. I stood by some and got shot down with them too.

And it will be so again I dare say and predict. Standing by people is important. And it is as important to challenge as well as be loyal. Often loyalty will cloud our thoughts and makes us forget the simpler and obvious way we help. Challenging a mate to be doing the right thing. Challenging the rhetoric of anger or defence is really important. And just being a blind, dog loyal mate is as much use as calm is to a sailboat.

Good mates ask, enable and support by being a help to conscience and to feelings, anger, grief, loss and joy and happiness. Good mates keep us in check and in balance. Bad mates are worse than no mates. So watch out MATE!

July 15th 2004


~ It was only a journey of thirty minutes ~

We never know who we meet on a simple journey. I had a very full and long day yesterday. I did not expect I might meet someone who had a journey so difficult it was more than the thirty minutes I sat and listened. How would I find presence of mind to live with the horror of not knowing something about myself which caused utter devastation to others?

Simple I would not know.

How would I deal with the knowledge that I had done something devastating to others after the fact? For example that my actions caused harm and injury beyond repair.

To an extent we all live with these actions, and to an extent we become aware of what we have done, to an extent we are able to make sense of these and put some value on the experience.

What if, that is the question for me. There are a lot of what if's in my history. What if I had known, and then the change in me would have been profound. I would have made sure that 'what if' was never an if I do this that will happen.

Tony Blair has some what if's right now. And someone I know with less of a what if, is reminded every day with a life sentence of 'if only'. Blair will never forget what he did. It makes no sense with hindsight of 'if only', for the world has changed, found him out and found out more. For the person I met yesterday, their what now is forever present, and so too for Blair, what now?


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;

If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling

July 16th 2004


~ The boy, a man, and in Trouble ~

Where do I go to get support? This is easy for me. After all I am pretty long in the tooth trying to sort and resolve everything myself. For all my years the most important element of life is forever learning. And I will never be too old to learn. I belong to a fellowship of like minded individuals with a common problem ~ life.

And we have found that life is completely beyond our personal control. In amongst that we do have choices, however the underlying principle is that we are not alone and we do not have control over much other than our thoughts and imagination. The rest is just as it is, sometimes we seem to have some say in it all, and I guess we do to an extent. At the same time we are mindful that there are a million and one things out there which will impact on what we might desire and how we might end up. So pretty much most of life is chance and serendipity. Some would argue we have no say at all, I guess that is hard for me to accept. Accept it I do as a principle of living.

So when this computer just froze, I accepted it and waited till it thawed, with a little help from yours truly giving it a little help to reboot.

In a meeting I attended today, there was a young man, admitting he had a problem he could not overcome. He looked angry and cross. In fact as the meeting went on he was just plain pissed off. He was there in body, his mind elsewhere. He was in denial of his malady. I know full well he will go counter to all logic and emotional understanding and go on harming himself. I cannot stop that happening. It struck me that I with the same problem took another 25 years or so to accept my malady. Alcohol.

It is easy with hindsight to see how much more we have without it. That is for those with addictions like this. Yet it takes us to the very end of our patience and inner strength to realise our complaint. It kills most of us in the process. Its not very pleasant to be an addict in addiction. It is worse still for those around us who live with it too. The wonder of recovery is amazing. You get the shit days and the good days without the hangovers. And worse still you get to grow up too. And more than this if you are particularly sensitive as most of us are, you find you have a spiritual core, and not the one in a bottle or substance based. What on earth to do with that?

Good news, we move from insanity to insanity. We see the world for what it is and can be. And that is a kick up the pants for most of us.

If you realise that everyone is an individual with their own unique part to play, then the power of tolerance is easy to develop.

So what of the boy, the man and in trouble? Only time and tolerance will tell.

July 17th 2004


~ Murderous Blackouts ~

We meet people from all walks of life every day. I had no idea I would meet two men this week who not only had killed others, but have or were serving life sentences. Neither had been fully in command of their wits or really understood what they had done. One had no memory of the act, one had memory but no real comprehension at the time of the murder. Both were young in a lifetime of living. Both were clear on their guilt and culpability. And both had been punished by the state for their crimes.

The difference between them and the 'state'? Not a world apart. Anger and aggression behind are clear motives. If I live to be a hundred I shall not want to find myself in such a situation. The living with and holding oneself to account. No one in their right mind would want or shoulder the burden. I don't think or feel I could live with that burden. From an armchair we look at the theatre of war, we hear it broadcast direct to our home. We see the madness and the logic of defence and we can judge endlessly.

In the cold light and the dark moment of terror, I still cannot see me ever taking life.

Of my own and a slavery to ideas and notions, I awarded myself a long sentence of fear and misunderstanding. I chose to blot out much of my unhappy wanderings and enslaved myself to alcohol. A life sentence in itself started when I was not yet an adult. Before the age when reason and emotion would be mature enough to make a mindful agreement to slavery. Now I choose now to live without that filter on reality, over thirty years to get to that choice.

I have also thought long and hard about enraged thoughts of 'getting even' with people who have put me down one way and another over the years. I am glad my hostility and resentment is gone. For in a blackout of rage I could have hurt and injured them more than words and more than feelings, I could have expunged them from life.

In us all is every capacity of emotion. From love to hate. From passive to violent. It needs just the right trigger, the right provocation and we are there too. In love, in hate, we can do most anything to anyone. When people act on their impulse, without premeditation, when they act upon the will of themselves or others with intent, we need to take a hard look at the consequences.

I hope to God, I never have to look at some yet to happen outcomes that might befall me. I would find it hard to, and I am certain it would be impossible for me to comprehend continuing with my own life, should I with my will, have killed another with intent.

And for those two men and their life sentences, they continue unabated till they draw their last breath. They are contrite and live with consequences hard to imagine.

Knowledge and grief, hand in hand, for those with losses, memory has the hardest edge of all.

~ Good Bye's ~

A very old friend of mine died last Thursday night. By old friend I mean he was over ninety years old. As a friend quite new. I don't quite know what I want to say. Other than he was kind and his wife will miss him. They got a card from the Queen, congratulating them on sixty years of marriage. They were pleased. Sad and happy recollections, a long life and for most of it happy. There is much more to say, I have no words just now, to express my feelings .

July 19th 2004


~ Blood Tests to matters practical ~

Now Monday's. Start of the week in the UK, Tuesday elsewhere, and according to my post and emails, its Tuesday nearly somewhere over half the globe. My Monday starts with a blood test. Routine I have been told, and necessary for my well being to know I have no fatal or sexually transmitted diseases. A wry smile here, I have always been careful and I have had a blood test before, not too long ago which put me in rude health and no worries over anything of a transmitted nature, that goodness for our health service, otherwise I'd have something more to be worried about.

Depression, which is what I have, does not lend itself to sexual fun. In fact the idea of intimacy generally scares me, even down to a friendly hug from any woman. I use the term women to mean any female who is attractive to me, close in intellect and looking rather tantalising(let's just say I have catholic tastes). Men on the other hand, be they straight or Gay can hug me to 'the cows come home', because I have no fear or interest in them sexually and don't feel any danger of me being hurt by them.

As to the depression itself, my depression, it is manifesting again. One minute fine, the next, the grip of fear without any source. I wish it were not so. And trying to explain this over and over is really hard to do. Normal situations become oppressive and fearful, others around me are passive and getting on with things, while I sit gripped in knots of fear. It is a bugger!

The sun is out I should be fine, yet the gnawing doubts linger. Last week the feelings of dissociation were incredible, especially on Thursday. It turns out now, Peter, someone I knew had died. I don't get the connection of who always, but its there and I feel it. Jung would have put this sort of phenomena at the extreme ends of his perceptive scales of personality type. And it has been a bane and a help to be so aware most my life. Except now when I am pretty much isolated from those I know. I hesitate to write these observations because they feel far fetched and 'crackpot'. Yet it has been always there ever present for me. Not something I feel comfortable talking about or admitting to either. And this is especially true of my relationships with women. When in a truly connected relationship, I have always known when something is good or downright wrong with my partner of the time.

Usually this insight gripped me when they were in the throws of some passion, happy or sad. And always far away from me. Now that is food for thought now the brain is slowly sobering up after thirty years pickled. This happened before during sober times, the intuitive perception I have climbs off the scale, and I see raw the feelings and nerves of others, pretty much the equal of my own, because mine are working without hindrance.

Some blessings are really not that wonderful in the negative throws we all too often have, and the highs so far immeasurable in joy sometimes leave a screaming void and an abyss below. In the abyss I have crawled and felt tormented many a time. Is this human? I wonder sometimes....

July 20th 2004


~ Interfering with my Therapeutic Process ~

I don't want to write about this really. In fact writing about therapy is like trying to do therapy as an observer and not as a participant. The long arm of government qwangosity (qwango- a body of government convened to fuck most anything up it has a remit to pontificate about)is coming to my therapy service. It is sad, the introduction of measurement into therapy. And the endorsement and use of puerility, namely low level models of behaviour, to enable and assist people dealing with life threatening illness. Yes, low level models of behaviour. To you and me that means applying ideas better used in understanding chimpanzees, to human beings, who extraordinarily enough appear somewhat more complex than a chimp.

This brainwave is to ensure people who provide basic services like therapy can measure its usefulness to the clients, namely you and me. The problem is that you and me too, tend to be a little more difficult to measure or predict in behavioural terms than the average monkey. This means that some people get therapy, because they fit within the parameters of some 'pet' behavioural notion, and others are excluded because they don't fit.

The trouble is, generally people don't fit boxes. When will behavioural wankers learn this. And worse still, when will political leaders (also wankers) understand that you cannot measure certain aspects of human doings? Even the most close to God would admit that things do work and happen in mysterious ways. And certainly that applies to the therapeutic process we enlist in or have the dubious pleasure to engage in. Therapy does not lend itself to qualitative or quantitative analysis. The variables outside any process are immeasurable and completely negate measurement. Try to take this from an individual therapeutic session to a group therapeutic session, then you are really stuck. Who but a weak and feeble mind would try to measure therapy?

People who have analytical brains are often seduced into modular definitions and predictive tools, they often go into 'city jobs' and run big businesses. They are lulled into secure feelings that the world is theirs and they control it. Well friends, or not so well friends, it appears they only find the usefulness of their models when the quo is static. And the rest of the time they are really at the mercy of every variable beyond their comprehension, namely life itself. The same holds true for therapy. It is by and large for people who are experiencing things outside the norms of ordinary life. Not that they are having an extraordinary life, but they react extraordinarily to life itself. Now tell me how to measure that- you can't. You can say that so many will have these problems, yes, so you can quantify the need for therapy, but you can't measure therapy in order to confirm or deny its efficacy. Try and I will refute you. Ask any real grounded clinician, ask any behavioural scientist, and especially ask the private sector scientists what they can measure as predictors of success. What do you get? Averages and norms and no fucking answers.

Therapy is treatment especially of bodily, mental, or behavioural disorders. In this instance, mental disorders (disorderly might suffice here, for me, smiles). Treatment of people in therapy is where the patient(s) find themselves in their lives. No one model will be supraordinate in therapy. Just look at the differing approaches we have in modern psychiatry, namely approaches, not doctrines. For every approach there are good practitioners, and for those lucky enough there are bold and experienced therapists who can adapt and adopt a variety of therapeutic approaches, to enable their client or patient to make sense of life's conundrums.

I am sorry and saddened that what was a good and useful service is about to become bog standard, bog being the operative word. And what a fucking mess, when the clinician is measuring models, his patients and clients are suffering. They are suffering from inept and stupid propositions which go back to study of behaviour as science, the alliance to empiricism and all those knots scientific ego's lose themselves in when challenged on what is after all, just life!

July 21st 2004


~ Tony Blair and the Swinging Sixties ~

Dear oh dear Tony, the swinging sixties and the impact on today. You are absolutely right about the sixties and the impact on today. In the UK generally our material wealth has gone up, and with material gain I suppose we could say that greed has too.

The impact of consumerism, an ism in the negative sense is that we find that more consumption of dangerous goods and services does on the whole lead to increased bad behaviour overall. It is a given and statistics will provide many clues to causes. Let us keep it simple. More people equals more of everything.

So we get more bad behaviour. And if we look at the history of any civilised or yet to be civilised country, the more we have, the more good and bad we get. Its not rocket science Tony, its just the way it is. No one really wants it to be bad, but hey, there have been darker times. For example, when we were young and tearing around we all did bad stuff, oh, and on balance a lot of good too. Or there would be no potential now for bad or good?

So we all live with consequences. Its up to us on a personal level to aim for the good, and provide opportunity in society for people to go that way too. And Tony, you are right there ready I hope, to do just that. Political will of the majority, if properly primed for the good, not spun into it, can be achieved. Put it on the daily to do list, put it in the mix of society goals. Don't legislate or try and measure it, enable people to believe in it. And going back to the 60's, 'I'm backing Britain' was not so bad, even if it were a cliché.

Why not: I'm backing winners, and helping more to win too? By.... now Tony do you really need to make it complex? Make it simple, in the day, keep the faith and run the country.

July 22nd 2004


~ Mid week Fatigue ~

Happens to the best of us. Yes that feeling of fatigue that overwhelms, after a couple of days hard work at something physical or emotional. I have it today mainly because I have taken no breaks from all the stuff I have been doing. I guess when I heard someone say they had spent a leisurely day in bed to get over there stuff, I realised I have not allowed myself the same luxury. Its not in me to do it.

If I were counselling someone else, I would have advised, even urged them to take a break and assess what's been going on. The nature of me is to apply myself till I give up the ghost. Not good for me at all. So I am going to do just that.... soon. Not yet.

I have been aware of horrors going on in Africa, and the need to help is most urgent. How to help is a real question, a hotspot of political and violent chaos engulfs Africa as a continent. And for one of the resource rich areas of the planet it bleeds poverty and deprivation. Fertile in all respects for good and pestilence, how do we help Africa? Feed the starving, first and foremost. Full people sit content, long enough to think for themselves. And to do this we need a strategy for now and long term. Have we in the west got the persuasive skills to help a continent which needs reform of most everything. To enjoy most everything is a possibility long term for nearly everyone alive. I wonder what 'will' might come to the fore to enable such a bold concept. Not one with a gun in hand or a chequebook I suspect.

I am glad too on a local note that the therapy I have enjoyed these past few weeks has enabled me to emerge from one of my most crushing depressions of recent years. A lot of spade work by me, plus freedom and careful support from counsellors who have eclectic skills and open minds. I am glad we still have institutions around with flexible resources beyond their obvious capacity to help. Thank you ARC for that.

I have a lot on my mind at the moment, local/global, and its confusing me. I will take my own advice and reflect....One thing I learned with humility, self will won't hack it. Pluralism, a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization, might!

July 23rd 2004


~ Accident ~

I was not sure what to do. Across the road, by the World's End Pub on the King's Road, a man down on the ground. A lot of blood and tension. I recognised him. He was coming round and he was not at all well. Its gruelling to see someone in trouble and worse distressing when they are hurt quite badly.

I could see just about everything going wrong, he stirred, others were confused, trying to help and letting him move, traffic coming his way and real confusion as all are struck by the horror of blood.

Getting across to him, slowing him down, a chair appears from inside the pub and he sits with no wits to wonder at what has hit him, no wits to know quite who he is. Witless gawpers stare as he bleeds and we get some help with a towel. A real nasty head wound. He still is unsure where he is, the ambulance is coming so the lady tells me, and she must go. I assure him its ok and not to worry, I stop the pub giving him brandy, last thing he needs! Gawpers gawp. Ambulance arrives, help him on his way, as the team take expert care and rest him down and bind his head.

I wash my hands of blood. Later I found out what happened and meander to the emergency room. Explaining I have information about him, I am ushered through to his station and assure him his bike is safe... in the pub. A bit of laughter for he is now a teetotal sort of guy.

Waiting like some spare part to impart my knowledge, looked at with distrust for some reason, and eventually I spill my information I am gone and away from quite a bloody mess. All done for me, yet uneasy that something vital was missed. I shall probably never know

July 24th 2004


~ Pain ~

Usually localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury); also : a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action b : acute mental or emotional distress or suffering.

I seem to have both or a combination right now. Emotional, ongoing and I am used to it. Bone ache, and that I am used to too, given the assorted bones I have broken over the years. And on top of it, an abscess and a tooth to come out. It really does jangle the nerves, I can hardly speak today. And the kids are out of school and their screams of fun just cut so deep I can hardly concentrate. Not that I have any, they are just about and fun making, I wish them fun, and not what I am experiencing!

I will have to go find quiet somewhere, until this pain subsides, what a nuisance for me.

July 25th 2004


~ A Nasty form of Slavery ~

We are all slaves to something. We can have this in our minds eye about many things. Our primary slave I suspect is our own sense of justice about ourselves. We come to believe we have certain expectations from life, because.....

The Man and his Bike,
the woman and Measures

Often when I write I stop and pause even for a day like now and some things happen. I recalled the man who had an accident in the King's Road. He was in a mess and the ambulance took him away. As I mentioned he was in poor shape, and I saw him in hospital. A couple of days later, I was able to hear another view of the events. It was told as a lesson, a lesson in what might yet happen to someone who befell hard times. He was made an object of sadness and a warning. In fact the reporting of events was quite different to my recollections. Rather than suffering some misfortune by chance, he was now the reason for his mishap. He was held as an example of ruin and weakness. Far from it, is my recollection and I was there at his side. This made me very angry, inside I seethed at the distortion and elaboration of truth to effect and embellish misfortune so ineptly, given I was there and participated in his rescue.

The man had fallen, he was hurt, he was not culpable. The rhetoric and homilies derived was fabrication and downright degradation of another human being suffering an accident. I said nothing for to do so would have been more damaging to all concerned. And truth will come out in time. The record will be adjusted and the world will keep on turning. People need dignity even when their recollections are misguided and false, for their return to reality needs time itself to heal their shame and distortion.

Same day another conversation. I was complimented for nothing I thought but ordinary. And then the conversation went another direction I found hard to hear. All sorts of strange notions about how to live and how to be with others. And great deal about measuring success through time and knowledge. I have some long time experiences and I have acquired much knowledge. I don't always get things right in my dealings with people. Yet I found the measure of people in any way oppressive. Measuring worth of human beings is pretty awful. Human beings just are, human beings. We are collections of thoughts and feelings, finding our way the best we can. We have love and joy, we have hate and sadness. We are just a collection of notions and expressions. And we change all the time.

To exact measures of human doings is to forget we change every moment. For when we suggest a person is this or that way inclined, is to forget they are different the moment they move on to another situation or moment. I try never to cut a person in stone, stone does not yield, humans do.

July 25th cont... 2004


~ Loneliness and Pain ~

The nature of my fellowship allows us to share both happy and sad moments. When we convene and meet, everyone is full of moments of the day and memories which make us feel emotions quite raw and deep. We feel so different we could be forgiven for moving from the very lowest of moods to the highest in moments. Such is the power of meetings we attend.

In the day, I myself am happy, and the sun is shining and the world is quiet. Peaceful. The meeting in progress is happy in the main. Yet one is sad and they share. It is how I have felt in the past over loss. So strong the feeling, I recollect my sadness at relationships ending, the parting, the loss of love and the dark times that follow as my head is filled with grief.

Grief, that deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement, the disaster of loss. No longer to feel that touch, that warmth, that sharing of intimate moments. No longer to hear the breath of another in the night as they sleep snug and tight in the embrace of calm. The joy of sharing, safety, love and immeasurable contentment. All taken and sharp as grief tears us away and leaves our imagination storming at loss.

And then the moment passes as tears are wiped away, the hollowness, the cold shiver as if transported to a burning cold world of pain.

And then the mending of these moments, the foundations of spirit and care overwhelm and nurture fractured hearts still capable of mending. A bond of understanding, helping and sharing grief's toughest moments. The hand of friendship bridges the depths of despair. Gentle with our fellows, one moment on top of the world, and in another, to the depths where hell invites us to dwell.

Fellowship, a company of equals or friends, the quality or state of being comradely, with love and compassion, caring and complete.

July 26th 2004


~ Superficial Times ~

Powerful people are considered to be unique and clever. Who are powerful people? Why, of course we all are. I am pondering how to explain this in a way which helps everyone see their unique power. But first to basics, what is power? ....

Is it, a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others b : one having such power; specifically : a sovereign state. c : a controlling group : ESTABLISHMENT -- often used in the phrase the powers that be. d archaic : a force of armed men e chiefly dialect : a large number or quantity 3 a : physical might b : mental or moral efficacy. c : political control or influence 4 plural : an order of angels -- A CELESTIAL HIERARCHY Spoilt for choice? More to follow

July 27th 2004


~ Power Outage versus Power Outrage~

In all matters concerning power, all we need do is agree where power of action and authority to act rests. Sometimes it is for us to take up and use power and authority, sometimes it is for us to give it up, let it go.

The balance of power is the key. Many make a mystery about power. It is no mystery, once the balances of power are understood, pretty much anything can happen. For unlike most thinkers, the impulsive use of power will create and provide room for many changes in power relationships. It is just a question in each situation and environment how power shifts, changes and evolves. Funny tho' like natural science, which includes the universe as well, power is finite, a natural and as we understand our world more completely, a spiritual law also. Some would defy such a notion, let it be so.

July 28th 2004


~ Eye Candy and Candour ~

I know it may seem trivial to some, the notion of eye candy. To me its all a part of the fun of love and life. One persons eye candy is another's poison, and all the combinations in between. The basic pattern of humans is so evolved to give a unique combination of looks and preferences no one person could loose 'sight' of happy moments. And we make it more difficult with codes and conduct and things which are 'ok' and things which are not. We bloat with profundity with regard to attraction.

I hesitate to mention my preference for Eye Candy. I will because its me and my preference. My eye is drawn to women. I don't know why, more my own age, more my own era maybe. Confidence in the walk, confidence in talk, walk and talk, female magic. Yes I appreciate beauty, and I appreciate knowledge too. Sometimes younger and sometimes older, my eye will wander and wonder!

Lucky me, for as I grow older so does the eye to a variety of candy. And with Candour, as Webster defines is : WHITENESS, BRILLIANCE ; unstained purity 2 : freedom from prejudice or malice : FAIRNESS 3 archaic : KINDLINESS 4 : unreserved, honest, or sincere expression. Of candour and candy over the years, much bliss in recollection, much happiness in the moment and much to experience possibly in the future.

Candidly tho', just one one candy is enough!

July 29th 2004


~ Warm days, Buses and Tempers ~

Its hot and the smell of the great unwashed is intense. People packed close, trying not to breathe on one another. Wondering if others smell as bad as themselves. Self consciousness, as discomfort seizes us, as we are tossed hapless and unhappy around in the bus.

~ Be The Example ~
Instead of teaching others by telling them, teach them by doing it yourself. Now that is a thought for the day. So much free advice sent me by others. To do by example, to be a doer rather than a teacher and in doing so, become a teacher. I guess I have embraced this philosophy all my life.
I joined a community where I practiced this philosophy and got caught in all sorts of problems. I was doing too much, I was taking control, I was a pain in the ass. And I pondered on my doings, be they wrong or right. Neither, I just found myself in a selfish community, where something done for nothing meant I was looking for something. I pondered and worried and wondered why vilify me? For doing things others were not prepared to do, then finding them ridicule me.

The answer is blindingly simple. I could not see it at first because I assumed everyone was like me, prepared to add value without asking or getting anything in return. I did not see, and couldn't believe, that others would ascribe negative takes on my behaviour for the good of all.

Being taught to set an example is no bad thing. And expecting nothing in return has always been my code. Not to be rewarded is nothing, if, all in all a better living and happier community is in harmony. And it was my blindness to harmony I overlooked. For others were picky and schooled in the virtues of selfishness and not selflessness. Expecting the worst was their philosophy. I was confounded and dumbfounded. I had not joined the game of getting something over another or pondered on my own self interest. Just plodded along doing good. What was wrong with this community? Absolutely nothing I realised. I was just in the wrong community, now I have found one in which I fit, quietly and unassuming where I can just be....

July 30th 2004


~ Open Mind ~

The mind is like a parachute - it works best when it is open. How quickly we make assumptions, jump to conclusions and close our mind. How easily we form and hold fast to our opinions and then close our mind. How fast do we make a judgement, slap on a label and then close our mind. A closed mind never knows the delight of playing with possibilities, being enlightened by an others point of view or enjoying the diversity of human life. An open and understanding mind never assumes, doesn't jump to conclusions and won't hold fast to any opinion. Perhaps it is no wonder a closed mind is not a very relaxed mind.

July 31st 2004


~ Expectations ~

Expectations. Things we have stored in our mind's eye, to think and feel we have a right to, or often no right to expect. Meeting expectations is as difficult a concept as the outcomes, which are beyond my wildest dreams. Again the dreams are just that, fiction I play in my own head which fulfil my ideal desires and needs.

We have expectations of joy and sorrow, we have dreams we wish will happen, sometimes we live a nightmare when the expectations and dreams are so far away from reality, we have never a chance of them happening.

I live in a world without any expectation, except the day is just what is, and what happens. I choose consciously not to shape the day so much right now because I am learning just to live again. Spending a long time without any idea of what was happening day to day was paralysis I never realised was happening until I became so ill, the only expectation left was a certain untimely death. It does sound dramatic, but assuredly so, the medical prognosis was terminal if I was left untreated. I got treatment. I am still being treated for a malady, an allergy some call it, which I can live with, providing I live without alcohol.

Not a hard question for the sane mind, or a proposition most would find difficult to live with. For me though, the decision is a double dose of difficulty. First I have no tolerance to alcohol, it will surely kill me, second, I experience depression, the like I cannot deal with on my own. This double jeopardy is why my expectations and wildest dreams are difficult to measure. And the last thing I wish is to measure life, humans or most anything else right now or in the future. To measure puts a value on things for which I have no real inkling, a measure of worth or loss. I don't know how else to explain it, measuring gets me confused and unable to balance the day and thoughts. For it is balance I intuitively seek, balance of mind and thoughts and I guess, expectations and dreams.

Just balance, a see saw moment where the world turns and so do I, with enough synchronicity...

" (the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality -- used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung)..Webster's dictionary"

to keep my boat afloat.

Copyright © Don Oddy
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--Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

August 14th 2006

A month in Recovery

This link to my birthday, and the start of my diary on "30 days in recovery," this follows my journey over a month in my fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Unedited and written raw, no revisions or re-writes. Just as it happened and without prejudice.


fear of fear?full story

"I did feel the need to speak to a couple of people after the meeting to allay their fears of some things medical and what it means for me, a person who has some experience strength and hope to share about precisely those medical fears as they come along. And why?

Well because I have had some medical scares along the way and have ongoing medical conditions. I don’t shout or complain too loudly about my medical conditions. For the record they fall into three categories. First I am in recovery from addiction and have been sober for some time, measured now in years. Second, I have clinical depression, an ongoing medical condition which has been around for most my adult life according to professional experts, and is now treated. And third, the one which makes life even more haphazard is Type 1 diabetes."