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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

November 2005

copyright© don oddy

Chronicles November 2005

November 1st 2005
~ spread too thin ~
we loose our relish for all of life
November 2nd 2005
~ some words and deeds last for eternity ~
be sure our pen of actions is drawing a work of art.
November 3rd 2005

~ wisdom of Sadhu ~

Often these days I feel the inclusion of Nature helps me understand our concept of God. Where our society evokes God's law, I would encourage our connection to our good conscience and law making.

Sundar Singh (1889-1929)

"Both water and oil come from the earth. And though they are similar in many ways, they are opposites in their nature and their purpose. One extinguishes fire, the other gives fuel to the fire. Similarly, the world and its treasures are creations of God [nature] along with the soul and its thirst for spiritual truth. But if we try to quench the thirst of our soul with the wealth and pride and honours of this world, then it is like trying to extinguish fire with oil. The soul will only find peace and contentment in the One who created it along with its longing. When we turn to the living Master [nature], we receive water that satisfies our soul. This water is a well of spiritual life that springs up deep within us."

Source: "Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh"
November 4th 2005

~ people will marvel ~

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Everywhere in these days people have, in their mockery, ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort. But this terrible state of affairs must inevitably have an end, and all will suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. It will be the spirit of the time, and people will marvel that they have sat so long in darkness without seeing the light... But, until then, we must keep the banner flying. Sometimes even if he has to do it alone, and his conduct seems to be crazy, a man must set an example, and so draw other souls out of their solitude, and spur them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea may not die.

Source: Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Brothers Karamazov"

November 5th 2005

~ early morning ~

The best time to awaken both body and spirit is in the early morning. We are fresh, in solitude, and the vibrations of the world are at their calmest. It is not surprising that we will find all experienced meditators and yogis up with the dawn, inviting the sun of spirit to shine into the heart of their soul. The first half hour of conscious awareness will be the foundation of our day. Make an early start. Meditate, set the switch of our consciousness and calibrate our energy for the day. Be surprised the difference it makes.

November 6th 2005
~ the true nature of every human being is kindness ~
nature provides our raw material, society provides nurture
November 7th 2005
~ rough trade ~
when working with our fellows we often get into scrapes and misunderstandings. These misunderstandings are the product of our feelings about how he we are being treated. Sometimes we don’t know what is going on until it feels like it’s impossible to resolve some kind of difference. We know our gut feelings are telling us one thing, and our reason is trying to mitigate and make do with things being quite intolerable. Eventually the dam
breaks and we do something. And we feel awful and unreasonable. Why? Because we want to be reasonable and fair, and we believe most folks are the same.

Then when we start trading roughly with our fellows who upset us, we get caught in the grip of any old feelings plus the new ones which are getting more and more pronounced. We start trading roughly with those who offend our senses. Rough trade is awful, it makes us feel sick and deeply unhappy. We know its no good and we want reasonableness back, almost at all costs. We feel we must find some middle ground, and it’s hard to work out what to do. But we do our best, and the best of us fail miserably when there is intransigence. Its hard and difficult, it hurts our well being and we don’t want to hurt any other because it goes against our principles.

In the end the pain is bad enough to move on, even when there is no resolution. We don’t want hurt, and we don’t want to hurt others. A stalemate with ourselves. A horrid and desperate time. When we cannot resolve something on our own, we need the support and guidance of others.

This often feels like a personal failure, and generally it is a failure to reason with what we perceive as unreasonable circumstances. There is nothing more potent than accepting powerlessness in some situations, which have gone bad and our part is complicit in the outcome. At the very least our judgment got us into the pickle in the first place. Mea culpa, I played my part in the events.

We need arbiters when we cannot resolve our issues. And we must hand over to less involved and more balanced viewers of situations. There is more harm in silence and foreboding, there is less harm in handing it over.

Whatever happens it takes time for our balance to be restored and it takes time for bridges to be made good, where wilful behaviour has harmed them.

All parties are wilful when the chips are down, and most likely all parties are indignant in their opinion to outcomes. The learning is to be clear on our own ground rules, principles and values. That we accept the ground rules we know when we enter into events and activities. To know our boundaries and our limits of tolerance. To know when it’s better not to endeavour, or know when to quit.

We all learn often how easy it is to get involved with enthusiasm and verve, most often because we care and would support our fellows. We should always care for each other and avoid rough trades.

Another learning and another day. I guess I’ll make my mistakes all over again and again, just less often, with less rough trading as I learn the good in all of us and beware my goodwill…

November 8th 2005

~ the brush of old acquaintance ~

the brush of old acquaintance the touch of concern to feel. Concern lets loose every heartfelt moment of loss. Hard to contain the merest hint of composure...

lest a flood of sadness might consume me completely and remove every pretence of dignity. Maybe that is the power of old acquaintance, with concern and care in mind, and yet as powerless as me to affect any change in my circumstance. There are no hero’s left in my world, least of all me. Just us humans. And we say acceptance is the key…

Let this broken moment mend and shape reality as it floods home and sets in silent reflections.

November 9th 2005

~ believe nothing? ~

It is much easier to believe that it's snowing, than to experience the snow. If we just believe, we can stay inside, stay warm and avoid the cold. That's why we are sometimes led up the garden path by others beliefs. It's easier and warmer. And all this 'believing stuff' starts in childhood. In the context of our spiritual or personal growth, believe nothing, experiment and test everything, in the laboratory of our own experience. Only then will we be able to separate truth from falsehood, reality from illusion, and lead others with integrity. Challenge and check at least one belief everyday. And if it's found wanting, chuck it or change it. Challenge, check, then chuck or change, now that's a master at work.

Or maybe we learn that mastery is not the goal, or an achievable end. Maybe we learn than learning itself helps us become more skilful, more adept in an ever evolving world…

November 10th 2005

~ illumination ~


One can easily understand a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when grown men and women are afraid of the light.

Quiet reflections for my father who would have been eighty years old today 1925-1991. Fond memories...

November 11th 2005

~ say goodbye ~

The most powerful anchor on our potential to soar high in life is the past. The past contains the dead weight of experience, learned beliefs and all our mistakes. Life cannot truly begin until we are able to say goodbye to the legacies of yesterday at will. Like a filing cabinet, the past is a resource of information for learning, but it is not a place to live. When we go to work do we spend our day in the filing cabinet? How often will we, do we live in the past today? Say goodbye and make it final. Saying farewell to yesterday, last
month and last year is the sign we want to live for today and be truly alive to all the possibilities of 'the moment', while fully aware that all we think, say and do right now, creates tomorrow
November 12th 2005

~ chill pill ~

Panacea Counsel!

Etymology: Latin, from Greek panakeia, from panakEs all-healing, from pan- + akos remedy : a remedy for all ills or difficulties

I was engaged in conversation for a couple of hours last night. A stranger to me, we talked generalities until old memories came flooding to my companion, caught in a whirlwind of anger and sadness.

This happens to me regularly and I go with the conversation, its too late for the stranger to stop, raw feelings expressed through tight lips and rasps.

"Why am I telling you this?" The question to me and I have no ready answer. We sit and recollect hard times together. After the storm of words subsides, more talk, exploration and questions find their answers as my companion problem solves some heavyweight memories. And the weight is lifted for a while as we part. There were times when these conversations
were fearful and awkward for me, less so with time and…. More time!
The world needs to listen and we need to listen to the world. Counsel and counselors the world over learn with experience, to be listeners in process.

Counsellors and counsel find wisdom in experience and no panacea. There is no panacea for the human condition beyond self learning and acceptance of the ever present present.

November 13th 2005

~ blind spots ~

our personal gifts we are often unaware of our personal gifts. Our gifts of personality, our feelings and expression, our thinking and experience seen by others we know. When we share time with our fellows and family, we are able to share what we take for granted, we rarely see our own gifts because we learn not to, in case we loose our 'cool'. In reality it is very 'cool' to know ourselves as others know us, it promotes synergy and real growth in us. What we accept as normal, our best way of living is no mystery to us. We live on in blissful ignorance, never quite aware, the what, or the why which makes us unique and authentic citizens of this world. If we experience the love of others and are aware of it, we are indeed fortunate human beings. We are less expressive of in our love of others, than we might wish for many reasons.

People see in us our quality, our strength and our frailty, they most often accept us and spend no time in considering our value. Our value is implicit and explicit in their sharing time and life events. And we are the same, we weigh in our minds eye, the value of others and generally we accept most people. Our minds eye, an elaborate gift, we see the surface of our fellows and the depth of their value. All in the blink of an eye, what a gift we have.

Nature’s emotional gift, the super ordinate gift is love. We spend a lifetime learning how we might express this gift of nature. We learn through nurture how love develops as we grow and mature. Love is the gift of nature and nurture, and we find expression of love in our family and society. Expression of love is as simple and complex as we humans can devise,

limitless and never ending. A true gift...

So when we consider our gifts and put them to scrutiny, our greatest gift most often taken for granted takes on new meaning. Our resonance and new depth, helps our feeling and our expression of love. We experience more profoundly what nature gave and nurture informs.

How are our gifts today? Do we recognize them, do others? Assuredly we do and they do as far as we are aware. Like any other gift, the more often enacted, the more breadth and depth we
experience. Thank nature and nurture for that!
November 14th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy
~ when asked ~
It can be hard to share what we are, especially when we have uncertainty. Our journey through life leads us to great moments where clarity is afforded at the darkest moment. As we move forward and bounce back to new opportunities we wonder how to relate to our new world, as another has gone for good. There is just one way, to embrace our truth, develop our honest outlook and be willing to accept our oneness with this day and those to come.
Hark back and devote time to old times with care, they are our learning and our undoing of the future. We have feet of clay when we hold fast to old wrecks and decaying notions of safety, for we do not live in our history. We live in our present, the ever present present and we might be mindful how it impacts. What follows is an extract from a hastily written note to another
across an Ocean, a real one in the present and not the usual one across an Ocean of time, where it is lost to others senses…


"Darwin to Jung! Smiles here, we are lucky to develop our eclectic philosophies and learn

from history. I am glad my studies took me all over the "origin" map of life and somehow never became a devotee of one particular exponent of truth, as we know it...
Like you I have never felt the need to plan life, or have a life plan to work to and measure up to. Something in me held back from absolutes and traditional safe harbours. I suspect it was fear of... so many things, not being good enough, not wanting to miss out on my wanderings, not able to accept any human as master over my destiny, especially me. Sounds negative maybe when I put it like that, it isn't meant to be. At the same time, the world
seems full of promise even though the wisdom of our fellows could do with some development.
These days, well the corporate life I left behind some time ago. It was making me ill. And the help and support I give is very much on a one to one basis. I like my city life, with every fast moment of hurry, and every moment to pause and reflect. Through a lot of experiences, some would prefer to miss in life, some joy comes. It strikes me as Zen and Tao in action. For me, the sadness of life and joy enable a more deep, resonant feel for this world. Somehow life's tragedies allow our perceptions to grow beyond our safe boundaries. I am sure we all face harsh times and endurance, each as hard
and difficult to fathom or imagine. There is no measure or value to put on life's joy and sadness for each of us has equal capacity and equal experience. How we behave is our reaction, unique to each of us and similar enough we can relate."
November 15th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ on war and common sense ~

it’s a couple of days past the ceremonies for remembrance of two world wars in my country.

Saying "my country" sets a worry going in my own mind. It smacks of me being partisan when I would not wish to be, or ever pit one nation state against another. Old enough to recollect what it is like to see the faces of those engaged in world war conflict. Old and aware enough to see the same expressions on those faces who march in remembrance, past memorials to the dead, their lost comrades in arms. Decades go by and we are still remembering and I wonder how well we are learning.

We continue to be at war somehow somewhere. Even after the war to end all wars has been fought, we fight on. For we live in a world, which is forever playing the game of "catch up". As we mature in our view, another nation forms and is learning what it is to be a nation, so the world evolves ever so slowly in its war like ways. Ever so slowly, for the warmongers have no recollection of our "glorious dead" and we are as forgetful as necessity
dictates for more fighting and more war.

Is it likely that we will never achieve that place of equality, where war is redundant? Or is it in our human nature to be at war and deliver it when nations feel there is no other option?

War needs inequality to spark to life. War needs its supporters, and it seems there are plenty who feel the war option remains open even when it is the sign of complete failure.

When we go to war, we have failed already. Vague recollections of Churchill and his feelings revealed his comprehension of any war as a failure. That in Victory the battle is lost and the cost is more war eventually. How then do

we find our leaders going to war, and how so in these formidable times? What are we protecting and what are we stamping out?

Our current infatuation with a war on terror is so deadly, we will not see its true cost for many generations as we struggle to understand the terror we all face. And on the faces of those who remember first hand what war really involves, I am hesitant to judge what we might do in these modern times to put an end to our wars. In doing so I would argue the case as some would see, to perpetuate aggression rather than an ending to punitive military action.

How do we face up to our Nations behaviour and how do we move all nations to amicable living in this complicated and ever more closely connected world?

If we do not resolve our differences and recognize our diversity, it will not be a human hand that perpetuates the catastrophe of our forever wars. It will be nature itself, which sets the balance of living for all mankind.

Our world, its ecology, is being consumed by humanity, ever increasing and now seen as limited. Our planet will no doubt have the final say in our human living conditions as it has ultimately in the past with every predator that walked the Earth. How ignoble and sad that we as humans had not the sense to take care of our environment. How sad our future generations are as expendable current human stock expended on war and its like.

When we are willing to wreck our environment without due care, it is no wonder our leaders have little regard for our citizens.

Ask the common man if he would go to war, and he may wonder what malady and madness might evoke its need. As a politician, ask a leader, ask someone who has more to protect than just their own life, and there is the foundation and argument for any war. The common man has no thirst for war, just nation leaders who have lost their argument and their reason. And in truth when reason is lost, it is insanity, which guides us to our battles.

Man and his evolution, so slow, corruptible in every generation will find the prospect of extinction first before reason might tip the balance and surrender to our gift of common sense.

Plain and simple the gift of common sense. Common ground for all, and the sense to recognize the value of all humanity. Our human gift of common sense and the never-ending tragedy of warlike leaders who have lost their sensibilities. We need sharpen our senses and see our folly and learn from history, rather than what we do now, remember our wars and our dead and
make more of them…
November 16th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ How equal might we be? ~

Questions raised,
"what might diversity mean. What might it embrace. What is diversity really about. And what about similarities. And what about value we might give our fellow human beings? A topsy turvy moment!"


If we embrace diversity we have another key to living. Diversity is about equality for me. It means no one person is bigger or smaller than any other. That the value of everyone is the same. That the life experience of a road sweeper is the equal of a leader of a nation. The value of life is the same whoever it may be. That the joy one person experiences are no
more or less than any other. That the sadness we might experience is no more or less profound than our fellow. So whether we are a Leonardo with paintings revered for centuries or the person painting a wall as a Janitor, the real value or absolute value is constant. We just know more about one

than another and therefore a greater appreciation. This is consistent I presume (a big one in presumptive terms) with our good conscience, and for those who believe with and in God. Diversity is the experience we get. Similarity is our template. Nature provides our raw material, our similarity, nurture our difference. So if we accept diversity we know our true value, our mutuality. We as humans are coextensive. Our "zeitgeist" if you like is moving towards diversity. How far are we in our evolution? One step forwards and inevitably two back as the pressure of prejudice pulls us backward into the abyss of anarchy.

We know in our good conscience the essence of how we might live, we accept our imperfect perfect and our own personal journey. And as a collective, humanity rushes to fix when only our nature and time will do the job.

November 17th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ esteem and ego ~

sometimes its hard to work out how we are really feeling. When we are feeling joyful and happy, our esteem and confidence most likely blossoms. When we feel challenges we may experience our ego alert and aware. Hard sometimes to know where our motivation comes from in our complex world. A journey of self discovery, as always informed in a moment, oft changing our whole life sometimes missed in a blink of an eye...

November 18th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ silence is golden ~

In silence we find a solution to every problem

On a day to day basis, such a notion is formidable. We might pause and reflect on our silence and ensure we are taking care our own or others problems. Other peoples problems will always be attractive, and a diversion from our own. It's no good trying to do good, it's better to be good!

November 19th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ intellect vs. feeling ~

just as the highest tower needs a deep foundation, so too our higher thinking is based on going deep within.

Actually any old tower needs foundations or it will end up like Pisa. A thoughtful fellow made that one and it stands today. What is forgotten as we cruise around our intellect is the other side of our being. That is our feeling and nature. Almost lost in our reverie. Our high tower construct with deep foundation, the trick of nurture and thinking, is balanced hopefully by nature and feeling. Or we get no kick from life and its meaning.

As happy as... is made of feeling and emotions we are gifted at birth. Let us hope our intellect and nurture does not get the better of a great grand design, our human spirit all things metaphysic.

November 20th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ on my happiness... ~

extract from a letter to a friend

"The question about happiness... This may sound strange, I am happy with my lot, even the difficulties encountered. Feels like I was destined to feel these experiences and see how to live them. The onset of diabetes and regime required actually reinforced some of my new living regime. Much to the astonishment of some others, especially medical(but not my medical advisors), I did not experience a downside to taking care of it, I experienced the upside, which was physical well being and improved mental faculties. The one which is a kicker (gut wise) is the clinical depression. A non-reactive depression is something unwelcome at any time and as its not predictable. When this happens to me, I know routine, care and self maintenance, a bucket of patience and appreciation that in time it will lift on its own means I don't push for a fix, which is where alcohol came into the equation and is now rejected. This took some years to resolve and some desperate times beyond oblivion."

November 21st 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ power ~

(em)power others by filling your own heart with courage, your thoughts with determination and your eyes with destiny.

We never realise how important power is when we hold on too hard we fear letting go. Power is another element of life we share. We need enough power to get along and so does everyone

else. When we need take on more power and responsibility, we need take care it is accepted. And we can give up our power to others we trust and accept. The balance of power depends on relationships and understandings. Our need and expression of power is always a negotiation. A negotiation best checked and agreed in real time, and real terms. Lest we trip over each other at the controls of life...

November 22nd 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ 1963: Kennedy shot dead in Dallas ~

"The President of the United States has been assassinated by a gunman in Dallas, Texas." How do I remember this event? I was just seven years old in 1963. It was the first time I recognised how loss affected my parents and adults at the time. I could see the sadness and feel that awful presence of grief. I could not understand why an event about a person who we did not know could have such a profound impact. Time and history unfold and my maturity into the world of feelings. I saw the death of President Kennedy impacted on the whole of the world. Something had been taken away and it
was never coming back.

The hopes of many were dashed as prospects for a more peaceful world diminished and the dangers of "cold war" and the ever present danger of world war and nuclear bombs led to national anxieties.

Of Kennedy we learned, a family man, a man of integrity and many capacities. And as time offered the ‘dirt’, we find our hero as human as any in his life. Not squeaky clean, and who is? How else do we learn our true nature and character, except from life itself? We cannot be taught to live, we live and learn. And those we often revere for their public life have much learning in their private affairs. And with humility, which comes from time, we learn to be forgiving of the human nature we all have and the inadequacy of nurture.

What would the impact of a live Kennedy in the White House for his term and more? We will never know. What we do know is his legacy and impact is to be experienced in all our lives. History might make him anything we wish to believe, for history is always revisionist to our outlook. I will not forget the steadfast and resolute feelings evoked in my parents that a man of
great importance had been lost. And in balance, with every theory and every postulation, Kennedy was one of a handful of individuals who have shaped our world over the last near half century. There is much I admire in Kennedy, his principles stated and clear, his pragmatism, his ability to get the best from others who were striving as he, to be their best. Like any leader taken down before his time, his work incomplete, his endeavour and commitment to a better world cut short. Our loss memorialized over and over and Kennedy forever a hero and forever human.

Kennedy deserves to be remembered, all of him and every element. Like Kennedy, we are more than a public persona; we are complete, inside and out, a richer memory to humanity for all his human qualities, good at some and outstanding at others… In our history Kennedy taken too soon, arguably better than taken too late…

November 23rd 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ trips and stumbles ~

Trying to find our way It’s a hard job, just living. We all work hard in our own way to make sense of our lives. Not an easy task sorting our nature and nurture out. or nature helps with the most common elements of our complicated lives. To stay alive, to eat, to experience, to have our needs met through toil. And nurture, which goes beyond the basic needs, yet drives every fundamental part of our nature. Our nurture most likely is the embellishment of nature. This might seem obvious, it is never so, for our nurture can take us to realms beyond conscious experience. Our own imagination, a gripping world of possibilities and fantasy…

Talking with a friend like me, at new cross roads in our lives. Full of the one absolute certainty, that life has changed and will never be restored to old "normal service". Why? Well normal service in olden times meant indulgence of every sort without impunity. A lesson learned that consequences of any action can’t be discounted. That life teaches easy lessons on easy matters and hard lessons on hard matters, that if a thing is worth doing right the consequences are as hard as any impact felt by any human. Work hard, drink hard. Work harder and drink harder. The harder we work and party the greater the outcomes and consequences. The higher we go, the inevitable swing back down to earth, can be quick and devastating. A smack into rock from lofty heights is not cushioned, the impact like smack of unimaginable hurt. It smashes and breaks as if hit by a speeding car full on and no brakes. People wrecks are hard to ignore as much as we would wish, especially when it’s us. When we work and party, and take on the challenge of life we are pushed and pushing. We need learn along the way, the safety limits of all we do. Yet many of us don’t come close or near to knowing limits and safety. We, the ultimate risk takers, take it all the way, because we learned there is no other way, at least that’s what we thought. And that’s what "LIFE" taught!

And reflecting today, with a friend who still gets angry and troubled he cannot burn as brightly all the time, a hammering pace of self driven success and happiness… as if it were a happy and joyful, the never ending push to strive and be a success. That drive, that success, that height of achievement, forever striving for the next level, and never ever stopping long to savour the moment of the experience, to sit still and take stock, to be allowed to stop the world and get off. For there is no off to success…
How driven to be, and have no sense of being, how empty the rhetoric and banners of modern man, that anyone can be a success in our democracy and our world. And how the lie of success is maintained in thin relief against a happier life of joyful times, where moments are savoured, experienced and full measure, like ripe fruit, a taste sweet beyond its measure. How were we ever misled by a world of plenty, when most the world is starved by ignorance? An we the gifted, especially ignorant of happy times, where faith and well being would light our spirit through good conscience. We sit bamboozled for a moment as we feel the pull to normal being, not super beings as folk remember our old selves. We discard old memories as quick as we can, yet feel the pull forever, moving on into uncharted worlds where miracles await the simple man who treads light and soft across the oceans of this earth…

Where will this journey in our new world take us? In mind, body and spirit we move on and hark back, as we stand on the shoulders of time, so history anchors the common man, wretched as he flays free the chains and breaks his own prison walls to dust. Just ordinary men, just happy to have an outlook and restored faith in nature and good conscience…

November 24th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ thanks and giving ~

Ever since man has walked the earth, formed society and put land to use, there has been a celebration of bounty. Our human capacity for Joy and Happiness enables an outlook and opportunity for celebration.

We think we are very advanced as entities, and compared to what we know, we are! As we look back on our heritage and our development, we see similarities and beliefs stretching across all continents of the world. Our humanity is so striking and similar we might wonder why we fight and squabble, bicker and fall out. And yet… We pounce on difference as an animal falls on lesser prey. We keep down the weak and needy, and glory in our own bounty. And we defend our wealth because we made it, and anyone with self will and determination can do what we do! Anyone with a strong heart, grit and determination can make it in this world in the lands of the free and meritocracy we revere across a world of commerce. And any mind with capacity can see the true capacity of this world. What we develop comes from resource, that resource is nature. We have raw resource, the earth, we have our resource, and we have application. When we celebrate our thanks, we celebrate happenstance. When we celebrate success, a wise
fellow knows its currency. It remains always "in good faith". Forget our fellow man at our peril when we celebrate thanksgiving. And as a President reminded those who would raise themselves above their fellows and decree a power greater than they:

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of

November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, 3 October 1863." Whether it is God, Nature or mankind a time will come when we in our own "good conscience" will right the past wrongs of time and circumstance…

November 25th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ rising above ~

Our world, full of detail, so much detail we can be engulfed. We absorb more than we can process comfortably. We have an eye, which is never closed, in our mind. And when we wonder why overloads occur. More often when we close our eyes to sleep, the images and thoughts of the day capture our dreams. And as we made hard work of too much detail when awake, our dreams jumble and create another world distant from our reality. And we are selective in our waking thoughts, to reinforce our views. And we use imagination to help us on our way, when the world is difficult and hard. So hard we can retreat to our best imaginings and complete pictures of how our lives might be. We have our safe world we keep and treasure in our mind, we play our part in the day to day and accept the good and where we can deny the difference which impedes our views… Happy we are to collaborate in our own world and assist our fellows in theirs, for consistent is our desire to experience our joys, and let go our sad times and woe. We find our balance somewhere in between our real, our imagined and our fantasy world. We play amongst the stars and time, heads in clouds and feet on the ground. Illusions and our metaphysics, safe havens when the world of stone plays at odds with our beliefs. And dear metaphysics, where our condition warrants, we move our belief and philosophy above this hard world of realities, and sit content with spirits from our universe.

Be kind as we rise above the day, and let go hard knocks, for those knocks inform our universe and build foundations fast. Where we can roam and touch our stars, and feel the warmth of time and bask radiant in rapturous dreams, where we accept our reality. And as the clock ticks, the mind wrestles free to find a blend of dream and reality, keeps our self safe, and renders life and our universe in harmony. Safe worlds coexist, to zeitgeists tryst and marshal our ever present present!

November 26th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ mea culpa ~

Mea culpa is Latin for "my fault". The more contemporary slang translation might be "my bad". The bottom line is that in saying these words we accept personal responsibility for our part in the problem. In most activities we play our part in proceedings and we are likely to enjoy our success and learning as we go. Or are we?
There is something inside us which finds it hard to appear less able than we are, its a strange and natural feeling. This feeling of being "less than" we might be. And we forget how close we are to nature when these feelings come to the fore. Take a look at any domestic animal, and most wild animals. They have cover up behaviour, they can experience shame and guilt, they can made to feel less than ok with the moment. So why do we think we are any different, we experience not knowing, we attempt bravado, we puff ourselves up, and we experience indignance. Mea Culpa, we can all feel this agonising desire to withdraw and hide our vulnerabilities. And worse when we feel we are less than, we need some way to keep ourselves together, we most likely push ourselves to cover up, and one best defence we try is to be aggressive. We push others back away from our feelings by making them feel their own fears.

We get angry, we feel we need to hide our experience, we need space we remove ourselves from the arena of pain, either physically or mentally. We do this as long as we need to, and we don't even know we do it half the time or we know we do it, and cannot help it. We humans are full of contradictions, and we feel the pain of learning like no other when it is our learning.

Unless we recognise "Mea Culpa" for what is really is Me Culpa is our right to make mistakes and learn from them. Mea Culpa, a mantra for the modern age of learning. Mea Culpa used in context and with agreement makes lets us all be learners and experts in the right measure.

And mea culpa stops us sticking two fingers up to the world, when all we need really do is accept our mistakes and get over the them...

November 27th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ strength in vulnerability ~

As we grow, we often get reminded of our vulnerability to life and what it entails. Vulnerable always, we might wish for more strength and resilience. Yet resilience, whilst a great quality actually can undermine learning and growth. We find that we all revere strength and energy and aim for vitality. Yet when we break all elements we can acquire or have from birth, there is one element we can overlook, our need for balance. In discussion with a friend, some observations came to mind... "As to the use of vulnerable to describe elements of our human condition. Vulnerable means open to and absorbed and influenced by something or someone. It is a strength when we apply ourselves to conditional vulnerability. Like you point out tho' in matters men and women, the vulnerable are not to be the prey of predators. Predators do need boundaries imposed generally or they harm with extreme prejudice and without a sense of morality we might expect. What offends us in the predator is our self knowledge and restraint. Now that is a hard topic, for all of us and one which is not explored or understood. The revulsion we feel is what we know is in anyone's capacity, even our own, and our recoil in such matters. And what we get to understand as inappropriate as we grow and learn, is often in the context of love, for we do not choose those we love. And we always apply an adults view to our whole life experience, when we might be better able to understand our history and others, through
their eyes at the time and in the circumstance. Our adult perspective is hindsight, a loaded gun and one often with a hair trigger and enough power for us to self destruct." The balance of life is we will experience elements most unwelcome as we learn the "right" of life for ourselves. And we will through experience gravitate to our preferences and our understandings.
Most elements of life are self determined and life itself offers endorsement through our life experiences. When we find through nature and nurture, the good of life, we often apply our learning and it becomes something we have in our "good conscience". The most difficult elements of good conscience are they become ritual, so that ritual then dictates what is to the good and what is evidently bad. And as ritual develops from our good
conscience, so too all manor of taboo which are then put to laws of mankind.
In our wisdom, these notions of good conscience formally ritualised take on mythic and pre ordained qualities, a really important journey towards the spirit of the age, and zeitgeist. And the obvious improvement on this development of good conscience is its application to divinity. Now there is a leap in faith!
November 28th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ is 'will power' to blame? ~

The notion of "willpower" has caused a lot of anguish in modern times.
"We would all like to think that our conscious will is the master of our destiny but it takes only a brief introduction to the facts of life to realize that the truth is otherwise. No one who has ever eaten something they had already made up their mind ("willed") they would not eat—said something they had made up their mind not to say—smoked again after quitting for the umpteenth time—or experienced any of the thousands of other failures of
will could possibly say they are in total, conscious control of their lives. Not seriously." I agree with this most obvious truth. The delusion that we can conquer all with our will.. The notions of our elevation to near deity has given some a problem in history, like the King who tried to turn back the tide and sea. He knew himself that he could not do this, yet tried and so demonstrated to his subjects that his will was not great enough! Canute.

And yet we find the notion of will power still fills the ego and our failure of will forever offers an opportunity for further failures. Put plainly will power will always fail. And when we look at our will, we might dig just deep enough to accept the use of will does most of us no favour and no one else any either. Good examples of wilful behaviour are abundant in public and private lives. We accept their failure and yet we wonder why they have failed.

Will power is often the quick fix, we can overcome some adversity and put right the world, our life or something in between. There is something more fundamental we can experience should we wish to investigate, put our ego to one side and our belief in our own deification... It is the ability to let go put simply. Ask yourself what would I let go today, and so make room for something new, or more of something I truly value in my life? Find something you would let go today, and see if there is more room for you...

November 29th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ a challenge to democracy ~

"Democracy in its ideal sense is the notion that "the people" should have the right to rule themselves. This ideal is pursued by implementing a system of voting such that the majority of people rule, either directly or indirectly through elected representatives." Democracies may be "liberal," where fundamental rights of individuals in the minority are protected by law, or they may be "illiberal" where they are not." We in the western democracies are forever challenging our own democracy and challenging others who are on their way to democracy. We forget how long it took us to extend democracy
to more and more people who live within our geographical boundaries. And we sometimes forget how fragile, how new and how difficult it is to maintain democratic process, especially if things do not go our way. We would be foolish if we thought we could develop democracy faster than we do in our own back yard. And we would be very foolish to believe we can graft democracy on to another political and cultural system which has no basis in democracy. At least we would consider it foolhardy to go try change say, China or Russia, who are in turmoil currently and certainly big enough to repel foolish people who might try to interfere, us. What are we doing these days, when we continue to believe we have the one and only answer,
that we must not only share it, but worse, impose it on others? The are many systems of living we might take in account, especially those systems we have within our families and those within our 'faiths'. There is no exclusivity of right, surely we have learned this lesson over and over through history. When we 'put down' others way of life, we might be better engaged in living our own lives and improving our own lot. When we judge others and view them with prejudice, we might reflect on why we form prejudice.
We live in a world which evolves as fast as it can to ever changing political and economic systems. We hold to our democracies because we value them.
I would argue we are best deployed making our democracies safe and working toward them being more inclusive and robust. I would suggest we are best able to influence other world systems through legitimised bodies, for example the United Nations. When we are unhappy with our influence, we need to find the means to strengthen our influence through democratic process. We need to ensure we deploy our best resources and agencies of democratic change to make good our beliefs, values and principles. We continue our democratic process with countries big enough and bad enough to give us a bloody nose. And now we have found we can be equally hurt by others less militarily potent, through terror and terrorism. Terrorists are born out of belief, values and principles, just as strong as our own democratic process. And the world has learned no matter what size opponent is these days, they will be heard one way or another.

Surely we must find the means to inclusive and democratic process, to develop and acknowledge the rights of all world citizens. And only when we have reached a view, which has included all interested parties, a multinational view, might we then consider a military outcome of last resort? After all, that is the basis for the United Nations, made better with use than ignoring its process. And with our current terror threat from within, we in democracies must be robust in our vigilance, be fair in our practice, inclusive in our due process and mature in our outlook.

Two thousand years of prejudice in the Middle East surely sets an example of how easily we can become imperilled in life threatening conflict. And a conflict over what? Beyond faith our world turns on resources. Our most able resource is mankind itself. Best we settle our differences and make best use our resources.

November 30th 2005
© Copyright Don Oddy

~ men of peace ~

If we are asked we are all men and women of peace. We fight against injustice, we argue against prejudice. Even we are as prejudiced as those we might accuse. Somewhere, somehow bias slips into our belief and faith, so we believe our cause is just and right. After all, in our own eyes we seek the best we can for our community and ourselves. An Englishman abroad, a man of peace travels to Iraq to be peaceful. And he finds he is captured and held hostage. And he is there before the world, an old man of peace, someone of
strong views, someone who cares with passion about peace. And he is lost, worse he is seen as a spy, as someone who is an asset to trade in the madness of Iraq. The media and news splash the image of this man of peace across the world, for all to see. And this man of peace may wonder why he is held hostage, why his personal mission has gone so badly wrong and why he has misjudged the personal risk of his crusade.

Common sense would suggest it is not in his interest, yet we may commend him for his bravery. At best his attempt may seem naive, yet we are still uncertain what his mission might have been. Being an Englishman, I see typically English behaviour at work in this catastrophe. Typically we fight causes we might do well to understand before we proceed and dig deep into our conscience before we interfere further where we have no business. There is something in us, which makes us believe we might do better, might make good and might make a difference. We might do better to let well alone, another country we do not understand and are badly equipped to deal with. Like a missionary embarking on a crusade, the outcomes most often end in calamity and smack of Empire, Imperialism and an attitude of mind best humbled in reflection. As a journey begun as a quest, a mission of right over

wrong, we fail to understand the elements we might face. Bravery is never the issue, intent is for the common good, but the action is not ours and we have most likely no business being involved as we may believe. And other men of peace pay as hard a price, when better able and equipped, to know the rightness of their case, their belief and commitment to the fundamentals of human rights.

And we applaud them, revere them and stand in awe of them. And we knew as we heard them, their rightness and their fortitude would cost them the ultimate price of life itself. Our modern day heroes, stand tall in our minds, our feelings quite in keeping to revere and admire, their struggle, their dedication and their stand for all men. And as we see some stand tall in our minds eye, we may forget for every man who ever found a voice, that thousands and millions paid an equal and terrible cost.. When we hear of one man held hostage to war, we might do well to remember a whole nation is
held to ransom as in Iraq. Hostages to fortune and misdeeds for centuries, will not be put to rights in a handful of years. As we might question the sanity of one man, for his bravado and rightness of cause, we may do well to reflect that governments are no better and might question their own sanity and rightness of action. To put right wrongs of decades is surely the folly of right over wrong...

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."