The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.
You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.
It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.
And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.
Odd days and endgames. The endgame for many of us is a reluctant admission most often that something has to end or change and it’s a matter of survival. Survival of ourselves and others and the end of a game can be? Freedom to change of course.
Freedom to change as bonds and duties and habits are given up. The end game for many in my fellowship is to end our alcoholic drinking one day at a time. No matter how long we are clear of the end of that game of drink, the end of that game makes a pretty large gap in our living. No escape to oblivion, no escape from our living and the end of horrors only imagined made so real in the grip of despair. That desolate and unruly place where we admit without doubt that we are truly and irrevocably addicted to drink. That is the gift we need most if we are to make any attempt to behave differently, the gift of admission and then leading to acceptance of our insanity and complete understanding of what it is to be an alcoholic.
Endgame and the game is up?
How many times, how many rock bottoms, how many attempts to put down what made us heal and then made us insane? How many times is always what we forget as we grow well and sober again. And a perfect reason to keep going to meetings and keep with a fellowship which promises more each day if we keep coming back.
Keep coming back. Find open and honest ways, be willing to change anything and everything to get our lives back. We do as we follow a path so easily trod, we look for the catch and no catch to be found. Or is there?
Not for me so far…
It had been a full day. With many connections made over the phone, in person and in fellowship meetings too.
Some calls and questions and some people asking for help. I am at full stretch I realise as another call comes.
How much can one person do?
Well we never know till we try. And the truth is for me and my stuff, that I utilise my fellowship and whole lot more learned over the years besides. And I share as much as one can. Yet I see a growing number of connections I cannot possibly support and support myself as well. No matter how often it seems I can find substitutes, and better ways for others, sometimes I get too much involved and know I must stop, or my world will collapse as quickly as it may.
Knowledge Skills and Attributes (Personal Qualities)
Now in my 51st year, I have been active all my life. Most often people helping in one way or another. In personal development and living, and business development and living. And much of the learning holds well for current times too. I guess the gifts given me from my Father and Mother, and then working from a young age in many commercial and business enterprises, then a lot of learning in business schools and from the private sector, has enabled me to make sense of me and my world as much as anyone’s too.
I have limits these days and do not have the backing or support mechanisms in place for some personal issues people relate to me. And I know sometimes a little knowledge is far less useful and can be very dangerous when we are helping others. Assumptions prevail in the helping professions around being qualified, experience and supervision, all the networks I used to utilise are less available to me these days. And yet I still can help to a certain degree. And sometimes knowing my limits is absolutely essential when people ask my help.
I have mentioned burn out before. And in my experience of burn out first hand, the truth is it takes years and years to overcome the exhaustion of helping others professionally when we have burned out.
Knowing and Developing Helping Processes
Knowing the answers is quite different to the application and delivery of support and counsel.
I am realising some of the support and help being asked of me these days, I make it look easy because of my experience, the problem is delivery takes time and there are no easy fixes in the people development business.
Knowing the process is pretty easy to learn, and yet the delivery and application of people helping process requires experience and skill. Skills take years to develop, knowledge relatively little in comparison.
How much time I can devote to others, well its at the limit right now. And it seems I will have to take advice and not take on more, or burn out again..
Life and Experience, not easy for anyone, and when often asked these days how I might help, I can outline what to do, and in the process of opening the door to what is possible, so the expectations and understanding often make it harder to not to be overly involved as the opportunity discovered means much work for all concerned. There is no quick fix to living.
End Game - the game may be up
I wonder if the truth is that although I might help, there is a real limit on numbers and involvement at any one time I can cope with and still make the difference and help people on their travels.
Recent Weeks and Me
With less time devoted to others and their problems my life has been easier and my own personal issues more manageable. What do people forget about me?
"Don’t you forget about me"
Hey, hey, hey ,hey
Won't you come see about me?
I'll be alone, dancing you know it baby
Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out and
Love's strange so real in the dark
Think of the tender things that we were working on
Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby
Don't You Forget About Me
Don't Don't Don't Don't
Don't You Forget About Me
Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down
Will you recognise me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down
Hey, hey, hey, hey
What you see is not what you might get from me these days. I look ok, I sound ok and that belies much of what goes on, I am as complicated and human as the next person.
What you don’t see and hear about much? My maladies:
Type 1 diabetes, clinical depression and recovering alcoholic. Three fairly chunky and daily maintained conditions. I work very hard at recovery so I may deal with diabetes and what that entails daily, clinical depression and how this can stop all activities in quick time for me. Those two together keep most people who have similar conditions pretty busy on a daily basis. I do know how others cope with these incapacities, and I do utilise daily therapeutic processes to keep my head straight, and that is from the fellowship of AA. I work hard at recovery because that is where the pay off is on a daily basis. And simply to keep myself going and alive. Depression is there awaiting every day and I stick as I may with routine maintenance, a full time job in itself.
So while I do often come across as ok, the amount of time required to maintain a balance in outlook is significant. There are no days off, and no days when I can say "bugger that stuff" and just get on. I have routines and these keep me healthier than otherwise.
So when asked to help?
I do as much as I may, and it may seem awkward sometimes to say no and please utilise others who might help as well as me? And actually the truth is there are plenty out there who can, highly qualified and experienced in life and development matters. I am just one of many.
And when people say no I want you to help me, I do as much as I can, and still have to say no sometimes.
Is something so special, and keeps me on track. I realise also that it can appear ok to ask for more and beyond where fellowship lays down boundaries. And people may need to reflect sometimes what they ask is so far outside the fellowship boundaries I will say no and for good reason. That what is asked is available elsewhere. Free and available as it can be in our modern world. And less free and available unless willing to pay its not available. And certainly not from me, as my time in those professions is done for now. I do not have the wherewithal to take up a position or career in those professional circles as they are, and it would be very ill advised to go that route for a living ever again.
Making Life Work
Some of us have developed extraordinary levels of perception and this is simply wisdom learned and time served. No amount of intellect will ever imbue what we develop through the years as expert skills and abilities. No amount of emotional stability will ever enable application of process based on learning theory. We need live life to make life work.
Short cuts to make life worth Living?
There are none..
Much talk of the spiritual these days, and in my recent meetings the truth of living spiritually is of course as simple and profound and annoying as any truth of life.
Spiritual life is simply seeing the world as it is, our reality without filters and without denial. That we see our part in this world, and how we make our connection to each day. The gift of nature and Providence, so often appears a mystery until we live the experience. Is it a gift from God? Well one day we shall know, or never know as we take our last breath. Best keep living a day at a time and find out.
At last, the would-be PM steps smiling into the light May 12 2007
Chancellor will consider written constitution - Promise of 'a new government'
Patrick Wintour, political editor
Gordon Brown will try to restore public trust in British politics by proposing an all-party convention that could pave the way for a written constitution.
In an attempt to draw a line under damaging perceptions over sleaze and spin in the Blair era, the chancellor will seek consensus for the historic move to enshrine certain values and rights.
The convention will also look at new powers for parliament and a rebalancing of powers between Whitehall and local government, similar to those laid out in the US constitution of 1787 which has a central place in American law and culture.
Mr Brown hinted at the proposal at the launch of his leadership campaign yesterday, which is expected to see him become prime minister by the end of June. On a day when he stepped out of the shadow of Tony Blair, he insisted Labour must "change the way we govern", and he would listen and learn to address public concerns about where the government had fallen short. In his speech, he raised the negatives associated with Mr Blair, including Iraq, poorly explained health reforms, and government arrogance. He reiterated his conviction politics should not be about celebrity. He addressed his dour image by insisting he had been raised as an optimist by his father and would find it thrilling to unleash the country's dynamism.
Gordon Brown plans to fly to Iraq to review British policy and troop numbers after using the launch of his leadership campaign yesterday to try to make a decisive break with the Blair era.
The Chancellor said he would govern Britain in a different way – “I want to lead a government humble enough to know its place” – as he lambasted the excessive use of spin and the cult of celebrity, and pledged to restore trust in Labour and politics.
But he also accepted for the first time that mistakes had been made in Iraq, saying that much more must be done to promote economic development and political reconciliation.
His decision to make an early visit to see army chiefs on the ground and the Iraqi Government will raise speculation that Mr Brown would like to speed up the timetable for British withdrawal. British forces are due to hand over control of Basra to Iraqi forces by the end of the year, when troop levels will be reduced from about 7,000 to 2,000.
A stolen child. A missed birthday. A baffling mystery. May 12 2007
By Ian Herbert in Praia da Luz
In front of the pretty whitewashed chapel where prayers have been said all week, they gathered in a vigil for Madeleine McCann last night.
They wore or laid items of green plants, trinkets and T-shirts to create a symbol of hope that she will be found. But instead, as Madeleine should be waking for her fourth birthday in a Leicestershire village, the search for her is looking increasingly hopeless. There were new leads in the Portuguese newspapers yesterday, as there have been all week. A man who fled with a blonde woman after photographing young girls, a few days before Madeleine vanished, drove a car with British number plates. They might be the same " British" couple caught on CCTV at a petrol station at Lagos, near Praia da Luz, hours after the abduction. Another couple, possibly British, from the McCanns' holiday complex the Mark Warner Ocean Village were said to have been taken to a nearby police station, perhaps for an identity parade in front of Madeleine's parents.
But neither of the unconfirmed reports really stacks up. Would abductors really stop at the first petrol station just out of the resort? And would suspects stay at Ocean Village, under the noses of police?
So Portugal's Policia Judiciaria (PJ) is abandoning its ground searches for Madeleine and going right back to the beginning. They have reinterviewed Madeleine's parents in a major review of the evidence. But they seem as far away as ever from knowing who spirited Madeleine from her bed as her parents dined amid the whitewashed walls and bougainvillea at a tapas bar, on the other side of the swimming pool, nine days ago.
There is no telling how many clues have been under detectives' eyes all along but Stella Cash is certainly the kind of person who might have provided some. She was working at the Duke of Holland bar, 100 metres from the place where Kate McCann, Madeleine's mother, walked from the bar past the swimming pool, up her apartment's 10 stone steps and through the child gate to look in on her daughter at 10pm.
Several Mark Warner guests dined at Ms Cash's restaurant that night and she later drove home past the McCanns' corner apartment at 10.50pm but no police officer has questioned her about what she saw. "I don't think I saw anything suspicious but then I don't know what they might call 'suspicious'," she said. These are the individuals who form a vital part of an inquiry such as this, according to a serving detective chief superintendent who has put several child killers behind bars. "You start by clearing the ground around your feet," he said. "You need to know who has been in and out of every business near that scene."
The Labour leader John Smith has died in St Bartholomew's hospital in London after two serious heart attacks.
The 55-year-old leader of the opposition suffered his first attack at his central London flat.
He had a second heart attack in the ambulance on the way to hospital and was pronounced dead at 0915 BST.
He leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth, and three daughters, all in their twenties.
The news comes as a shock to his party and the nation.
He was regarded as a man of integrity - decent and honest and was widely expected to lead Labour to victory at the next general election and become prime minister.
Senior politicians from all parties have paid tribute to Mr Smith and today's sitting of the House of Commons has been suspended as a mark of respect.
John Smith trained as a barrister and entered Parliament in 1970 as a Labour member for North Lanarkshire, Scotland. He served as secretary for trade in 1970 and subsequently as Labour spokesperson on economic and industrial issues, developing a reputation as a moderate.
There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.
A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.
You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.
For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.
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