Friday, 25 September 2009

The Pink Dress

There was this little girl sitting by herself in the park.
Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad.
Dressed in a worn pink dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat And
watched the people go by.
She never tried to speak.
She never said a word.
Many people passed by her, but no one would stop.
The next day I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see If the
little girl would still be there.
Yes, she was there, right in the very spot where she was yesterday, and
still with the same sad look in her eyes
Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl.
For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for
young children to play alone.
As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress.
It was grotesquely shaped.
I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort
to speak to her.

Deformities are a low blow to our society and, heaven forbid if you make
a step toward assisting someone who is different.
As I got closer, the little girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my
intense stare.
As I approached her, I could see the shape of her back more clearly.
She was grotesquely shaped in a humped over form.
I smiled to let her know it was OK; I was there to help, to talk.
I sat down beside her and opened with a simple, "Hello" The little girl acted shocked, and stammered a "Hi" after a long stare into my eyes.
I smiled and she shyly smiled back.
We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty.
I asked the girl why she was so sad.
The little girl looked at me with a sad face said, "Because, I'm
I immediately said, "That you are!" and smiled.
The little girl acted even sadder and said, "I know."

"Little girl," I said, "You remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent."
She looked at me and smiled, then slowly she got to her feet and Said,
"Yes, you're like a little Guardian Angel sent to watch over all the
people walking by."
She nodded her head yes, and smiled.
With that she opened the back of her pink dress and allowed her wings to
spread, then she said "I am."
"I'm your Guardian Angel," with a twinkle in her eye.

I was speechless -- sure I was seeing things.
She said,"For once you thought of someone other than yourself.
My job here is done."
I got to my feet and said, "Wait, why did no one stop to help an Angel?"

She looked at me, smiled, and said, "You're the only one that could see
me" and then she was gone.

With that my life was changed dramatically.

So, when you think you're all you have, remember, your angel is always watching over you.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

"There Are Plenty More Fish in the Sea?"

Today I took a magical journey around the coast of Massachusetts, from Manchester by the Sea, through Gloucester and on to Rockport. The weather was perfect, because it is no longer summertime, the roads and towns were not crowded and I was under no pressure to be any particular place by a specific time. The views of the Atlantic and the various bays and beaches along the way were breathtaking and my camera was never idle for long. In Manchester, I admired the old buildings and particularly the main church in the town and spent longer than perhaps I should in a wonderful bookstore called “Manchester by the Book”. The selection of new and used books was incredible but I steeled my self against buying any of the dozen or so I should have liked to buy! The town had a warm, welcoming feel to it that I liked very much. It was with a little reluctance I moved on to Gloucester, although that was the town I had most wanted to visit ever since seeing the movie “The Perfect Storm.”

The Fisherman’s Memorial is a very simple but impressive monument on the sea front before reaching the Town Centre. It records the names of the thousands of fishermen from Gloucester who have perished at sea since the town was formed in the seventeenth century. It was lunch time by then and I enjoyed a most delicious Crab Roll at one of the many cafés nearby. I have never tasted such sweet crab meat. My next stop was the fishing port, the ‘raison d’etre’ for Goucester’s existence. After being moved by the simplicity of the Memorial and the huge numbers who have given their lives in fishing, I was appalled to see how much the port had shrunk and the number of fishing boats laid up or for sale. I was soon to be left in little doubt about the reason, for on the wall of a Fishing Shed were placards spelling out the dramatic impact over-fishing has had. Factory ships from countries such as Russia and Japan were singled out as the chief villains of the piece but the domestic fishermen were not spared either. Factory ships using marine ‘vacuum cleaners’ sucked up all marine life in their greedy maws, leaving no stock to renew the species but domestic fishermen began using smaller and smaller mesh in their nets, which also prevented smaller, younger fish from escaping and renewing stocks. Between the two the tonnage of fish landed not just in Gloucester but all over the world, shrank alarmingly during a mere 20 or 30 years.

How can humanity be so stupid? Due to greed and total lack of concern for the future, we have made nearly all Atlantic fish species so scarce and therefore expensive, that fish, a very important item in human diets, is now absent from many families’ tables. If the reason had been that the growth in population had been such that we had to have more and more fish to feed them, it might have been more understandable but that is not the case. Much of the fish caught by factory ships for instance, was turned into agricultural fertilizer! As if we did not have enough other sources of fertilizer without imperilling the livelihoods of thousands of brave men and their families and removing a nourishing foodstuff from many household menus! Amongst no other species would you find such stupidity and the reason is undoubtedly the complete absence of concern about our own and future generations’ long term well-being caused by the growth in materialism and the compulsion to make more and more money, no matter the effect upon others.

There is a long overdue need to re-assess our moral, scientific and economic mores. The pernicious doctrine of materialism, supported as it is by so many in the scientific disciplines, is eating away at our ability to live on earth, let alone enjoy this life. I feel the one ray of hope is that Particle Physicists will sooner, rather than later, prove the existence of non-physical dimensions with the dramatic repositioning that will bring about in scientific assumptions.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

What Does It All Mean?

Are you searching for a meaning to your life? Does little make sense as you see the apparent unfairness of it all? Good people who reach a time in their lives when they can finally look forward to a few years of relaxation after retiring and then find themselves struck down by a fatal illness. Others where it appears nothing ever goes right; they seem to have one problem after another whereas other people, who seem less deserving sail through life without any problems at all. How do we make sense of all this?

When we look at the trials of life and the varying impact they seem to have on different people, I find it helps to try to remember four things. First, we learn far more quickly and effectively from our mistakes and difficulties. Second, life is eternal and anything that happens in our earthly lives can often only make sense when viewed from the perspective of eternity. Third, we make assumptions about how other people are affected by certain events and they are usually superficial. Fourth, we are what we think. Some people seem to go through their lives expecting the worst to happen, whereas others are always expecting the best.

I want to examine these in reverse order. If you are always or mostly, expecting the worst to happen and things to go wrong, then you attract to yourself negative forces that bring about what you fear and expect. If you are positive in your outlook, always look for the best in others and expect the best for yourself, positive forces will be attracted and the universe will do everything to ensure positive things happen to you. It is not easy at first but if we can train ourselves to think positive uplifting thoughts, even when faced with difficulties, bad things will not happen to us.

It is all too easy to assume when a person appears, on the surface, to be unscathed by a particular event, that they have not been affected at all. Often this is just not true but they have been able to hide its effect from the outside world. Inside it is often a very different story. If we lead our lives assuming earthly life is all there is, we will constantly be misled about most things. How can we make any sense of the comparison of one person born into abject poverty and having to endure a constant struggle for existence with one born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, except by realising earth life is a very small portion of our eternal lives? If, as I am certain, life is eternal, two things follow. There must be a purpose to all aspects of life, especially earth life and the probability is that we choose to come to the earth precisely at the time and into the family we have. The American poet, Robert Frost says it is “for some good perceived”*. It may even be the case that the “silver spoon” person has to overcome much greater challenges to achieve spiritual progress than the one born in poverty.

I think it was Thomas Edison who said he learned far more from his unsuccessful experiments to invent an electric lamp, than from the one when he succeeded. So it is with our individual lives. We learn far more lessons when we make mistakes than when we get everything right. I firmly believe that we come to earth to make mistakes and in doing so and learning (maybe not from the first mistake) from them, we eventually make good. The wonderful thing is we do not get just a single opportunity to profit from our mistakes. If we fail to learn, then we will be presented with different circumstances that will help us learn the same lesson we failed to learn the last time. Even if we fail to learn in our earthly life we will be presented with opportunity after opportunity in our future spirit life, to learn what we failed to learn on earth.

*“The Trial By Existence”

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Speaker Andy Sherman tells about learning to ride bulls in the rodeo. At eighteen, he told his father he wanted to be a professional bull rider. His father said, "You want to do what? Why would you want to do that?"

Andy said jokingly, "I don't know - I guess I like the hours. You just work eight seconds at a time. That appeals to me."

His father, concerned about the inherent danger, responded, "I absolutely forbid you to do that!" And, at that moment, young Andy instantly knew his life's calling!

The only problem was - he couldn't ride. Always 7 1/2 seconds away from making the eight­-second buzzer, he decided to enter "Rodeo School."

The first day of school he was told to get on a bull. He got on and was immediately thrown off. The instructor said, "Get on another one." He was thrown from a second bull. Then a third. And a fourth.

He finally asked the instructor, "Are you going to show me how to ride these things?"

"That's how you ride them," came the reply. "Just get on one and ride."

By the week's end, Andy had climbed on, and been thrown off, about eighty bulls. But he learned how to ride.

Experience can be a great teacher. Unfortunately, there is only one way to get it, and that is to fall a few times until you learn. Like the employer who told her new employee, "I hired you to make right decisions."

"And how do I do that?" he asked.

"Experience!" she answered.

"How do I get experience?" he asked.

"Wrong decisions."

But experience will never come if we are afraid to try. And fail. And try again. And maybe fail again. We may have to "get thrown from a lot of bulls" if we are ever going to learn to ride. But that is part of living a full and happy life.

REMEMBER ...anything worth having is worth working for

You can have whatever you want in this life ... provided you are prepared to work hard enough to get it! If achieving what you want requires some special skill or knowledge or attitude or anything else - you can acquire the necessary talent. True - it may require hard work and dedication on your part, but you can do it!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Two Horses

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing....

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing.

If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to the horse's halter is a small bell.

It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends,
You'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse,
And that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk
To where the other horse is,
Trusting that he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns
To the shelter of the barn each evening,
It stops occasionally and looks back,
Making sure that the blind friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell...

Like the owners of these two horses,
God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect
Or because we have problems or challenges.

He watches over us and even brings others into our lives
To help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse
Being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.

Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way....

Friday, 18 September 2009

“For the Beauty of the Earth”

It will soon be autumn here in the United States, one of the most beautiful times of the year when the trees become a blaze of colour. It has already begun in the most northerly states like Maine and Vermont and the tide of glorious colour sweeps gradually south over the next four weeks. The spectacle has been called “God’s Pallette” and it is a heart-warming way that nature has to prepare for the harshness of the winter months.

Unless you are totally without feeling, you cannot fail to be moved by the brilliance of the colours, particularly in heavily wooded areas, where whole mountain sides come alive in the most glorious hues. Even in this modern world where so many of us think we are ‘too busy’ to look around us and see the wonders of nature that abound if we try to see them, most people are stunned by the unique displays of the American Fall. It demonstrates so clearly the contrast between the beautiful way nature builds and changes, compared to the often drab and functional way we humans build today. How often have you seen a beautiful old building torn down to be replaced by a totally utilitarian and ugly structure?

There is so much we can learn from nature. If we allow it to, it will inspire us in every field of human endeavour. Especially the rhythm of the seasons can teach us to appreciate patience – everything has its time – the seasons also mirror the pattern of our own lives. The spring when we are young, enthusiastic, growing fast and our world is full of promise. The summer when we reach our full powers and bloom in many different ways. The autumn when our powers begin to wane, when experience takes the place of enthusiasm, when if we allow it, our lives can take on new colour like the autumn leaves because many of us can follow our hobbies then. The winter when our powers wane more but even then there are the compensations provided by family friends, books etc and we really do have the time to appreciate the natural world. Eventually though the winter brings an end to our lives. However because we then return to our normal dwelling place, the Spiritual world, spring comes again to our souls, just as it comes again on the earth. In that springtime of the spirit we blossom anew, without the cares of earthly existence.

Each season may prompt such thoughts as these but the brilliant colours of the North American autumn do so especially, reminding us not just of the mortality of our physical bodies but also of our immortality of our spirit. Now is the time to open our eyes and see the true glory that is the earth on which we are privileged to live for a short time.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Finding Peace

We have created a world where peace seems impossible to find and stillness an impossible dream. How can we be still when there is so much noise and so many distractions? It has been said that art reflects life. I believe the state of the world reflects the people who populate it and if only more of us could try harder to reach that stillness which lies at the centre of our being, the world would be the better for it. It will not just happen however, we have to work at it and create the conditions where we, as individuals, can be truly still.

In order to make a start, we should try to create an area in our home where peace and quiet are sacrosanct. A place that everyone in the family knows and understands is “our quiet place.” A place they will respect as such. If this is impossible because you just do not have the room, then choose a time when you know you will not be disturbed, turn the phone off, silence the doorbell and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, pausing between incoming breaths and outgoing ones, do this three or four times and then resume breathing normally but listen to your breathing, become aware of its rhythm. After a minute or two you should start to feel more relaxed and enter a state similar to daydreaming. Try not to focus on thoughts that enter your mind, just allow them to pass through and continue to concentrate on your breathing.

After a little while imagine yourself moving from the room where you are, to a place where you have enjoyed being in the past; it maybe the open country, or woods, or an empty beach, or beside a stream. In your imagination, see everything clearly. Look at the colours, smell the freshness of the air, feel free and either sit there or wander along until you reach a place where you would like to sit. Sit there quietly and feel all the life around you, feel the energy coming from the trees, the earth, the stream, or the ocean. Feel yourself being energised but at the same time relaxed. Enjoy the stillness; allow it to wrap you in a warm, comforting embrace. You may find that sometimes you are joined by someone else who will help you to take the stillness deep inside and use it in your everyday life.

If you do this regularly, everyday, for around 20 minutes or so, you will find after a few weeks that the things in life that used to upset you or make you impatient and even short-tempered, no longer have the power to do so. You will also find that other people will begin to remark on the change in you. That will give you the opportunity to explain to them what you have been doing to make this happen. In that way you will be spreading the good news about the importance of and the ease with which we can be still if we are determined enough. Some of these people will try it for themselves and so it will spread until sufficient people are seeking stillness for it to affect the world and bring about a transformation in human behaviour and understanding. The noise levels will abate, people will begin walking more slowly and have time to look around them and appreciate the beauty that is everywhere but which in our haste we miss.

Logic seems to dictate that if people begin walking more slowly and stop to take in the beauty all around them, important things will not be done when they should be. This is an illusion. Nothing of importance will be adversely affected by us slowing down. Indeed the reverse will happen because fewer mistakes will be made. There is an old saying, “Haste makes waste” and it is so true. When we are rushing around, we cannot concentrate properly on what we are doing and we make big mistakes. The vast majority of people will also be happier because they begin to understand others in a way that was impossible before as well as realising they themselves are now being understood and appreciated in a new and wonderful way. I urge you to try this if you are not already doing it.

Monday, 14 September 2009

New Places & New Faces

This weekend I made only my second ever visit to New York City. Last time I went with my wife and we both thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the city, as well as all the usual “sights”. This time I was there to visit the Spiritualist Church of New York City and although equally enjoyable with my previous visit, it was very different. I was able to see another side of the city and also to make some wonderful new friends. I stayed in West Village and thus discovered a side to the city that I never knew existed. It truly is like a village where I was and this morning as I sat at a pavement café to eat breakfast in bright sunshine, with leafy trees around me, I felt truly blessed

The church is relatively new, having only been in existence for around five years but they have a growing congregation and many enthusiastic workers for the church and for Spirit. They also meet in the most beautiful of buildings; it is The Swedenborg Church right in the heart of Manhattan. The church was refurbished not long ago and is beautiful to behold, as well as possessing the most wonderful atmosphere in which to work with Spirit. Swedenborg features prominently in the annals of Spiritualism, for he was a medium in addition to his many other accomplishments – scientist, philosopher, engineer, etc. He described during a dinner party in Gothenburg, Sweden, the fire that was busy destroying that country’s capital city which was more than one hundred miles distant. He was able to describe in detail the progress of the fire and the buildings destroyed. Later one of the dinner guests, I think it was Franz Kafka, went to Stockholm and discovered that everything took place exactly as Swedenborg had described. He was the spirit that inspired our own pioneer, the seer Andrew Jackson Davis, to write “The Great Harmonia,” a learned set of volumes, to write which was quite beyond the normal ability of Davis who received but four or five years of formal education. In one of his philosophical writings Swedenborg described wisdom as follows – “Love is the life of the world, Wisdom is the light in which love sees.”

There were many younger people in the congregation and it was a real joy and pleasure to feel their vibrant energy which made linking with loved ones in the spiritual world an even greater pleasure than usual. Unless all Spiritualist churches are able to attract more young people, it is difficult to see how the religion can survive, let alone grow and fulfil the role spirit intended for it. That is to bring conviction to all people that life is eternal, we are spirit here and now, should live our lives in the knowledge of the world that is to come and be assured our loved ones can communicate with us to bring us comfort and joy. The philosophy of Spiritualism could and should transform the world by transforming individual thinking and opening people’s minds to the power and beauty of the spirit within them. This can only be achieved if all involved work hard in the service of the Spirit, forget self, prepare themselves thoroughly for their role as mediums, speakers, healers and administrators and follow the dictates of the spirit, rather than those of the ego. For too long now, the development of mediumistic gifts has been shallow and those who should know better have been willing for the sake of having someone to serve their platforms each week, to accept the services of mediums clearly not yet ready to work before the public. Many bemoan the passing of the mediums of earlier years who gave such detailed and convincing evidence from the spiritual world but the reason there are so many fewer such mediums today is precisely what I have just described.

I pray that new spiritual centres, like the one I visited in Manhattan will be brave enough to reverse this trend and bring the world to life once again with the light and power of the spirit working through gifted and fully developed mediums who are dedicated to following the path of spiritual service. I thank my new friends in New York for their generous welcome and look forward to watching their progress over the coming years.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


When we travel, as I am doing now, we discover all kinds of things. We discover just how kind and helpful people are, even total strangers who are willing to give you directions when you are lost and offer help about where to find a particular object or service you may be trying to find. We also discover how important to us is our family and how much we miss them. Hopefully it makes us appreciate them all the more when we return home.

We discover that the natural world is beautiful wherever we are and especially when we are travelling we seem to take more notice of the world around us. I know I do anyway. Each country and each part of each country has its own charm and its own specialities where flora, fauna, food and drink are concerned. The people, though universally kind in my experience, also vary and it is this very variety that makes life so interesting. Dialects differ from place to place and one is often surprised to come across people from one’s own country in the most unlikely places. In one country it seems almost everybody is open, friendly and garrulous whereas in others they seem more reserved and it takes longer to get to know them.

The world is a fascinating place and I guess when we are travelling, we are forced to be more aware of others and focus less upon ourselves and this is good for us. It helps us to understand that if we take people as we find them and ignore any prejudices we may have had, we will invariably discover almost everyone is helpful and interested in where we come from, where we are going and what we do. I find travel helps me learn things about myself also. It teaches me just how much habit comes to dominate my life when I am in the familiar surroundings and with the familiar people at home. When moving frequently from place to place you learn to become adaptable and to take setbacks, unusual developments and even pleasant surprises equally in your stride. No two days seem to be the same. There are new faces around, new voices with strange accents, new experiences to hear and to relate. There are sometimes unexpected changes in the temperature and humidity and new scenes to take in and enjoy.

All this is there for our edification and enjoyment. “Variety is the spice of life,” ran the old saying and it is true. For anybody feeling a little jaded and bored with constant repetition in their lives, I strongly recommend travel, even if it is only to a nearby place. Take the bus, walk or cycle to the next town or district and keep your senses alert. Feel the changes going on around you, watch the different scenes passing before your eyes, listen to the different voices and dialects, smell the different scents and taste both the air and any different fruits, foods or drinks that you find. Do that and your boredom and dissatisfaction with your life will vanish, for we are meant to enjoy the infinite variety the Great Creator has placed before us in this beautiful world that is full of joy, love and friendship if only we learn to recognise it by retaining a positive outlook.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I watched an eagle today as it soared effortlessly into the bright blue sky and began to circle around and around, moving higher and higher as it found a thermal to ride. What majesty, what grace and what perfection! I thought, “If only I were able to enjoy the freedom and power possessed by that majestic bird, to be able to soar into the air whenever I wanted or to fly up to the highest crag on a mountain and with my keen eyes be able to view the world beneath my feet”.

I guess that earth-bound as we human beings are, we have always had a fascination with flying, especially have we envied the apparently effortless way in which eagles and other birds are able to just lump off a tree branch and launch into flight. Then I thought about the other aspects of the eagle’s life and was no longer so certain that I would be willing to change places. I thought about the cold winters, when food was in such short supply and I also thought about the apparent solitude of his life. It is rare to see many eagles together usually it is just one or a pair, except of course when mother eagle is teaching her fledglings to fly. I compared that with the friends I have all over the world and who I am able to join from time to time. Friends who accept me as I am, who I know would be willing to help in any way they are able should the need arise, as I would them; friends who offer companionship and understanding; friends who write me loving messages of support and encouragement.

The more I thought along these lines, the more convinced I became about how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family and friends and that I really have no justification for envying the eagle or any other bird. I began to realise that freedom is a state of mind and not merely an ability to quickly escape from wherever we happen to find ourselves at any given time. It is the ability to open ourselves to the universal love that surrounds us, to take time to appreciate the beauty of the earth on which we are privileged to live, to smell the glorious scent of the flowers and the colour of their petals. It is the ability to watch the humming bird and the butterfly as they beautify our world merely by doing what they have been born to do.

I realised also the truth of those immortal words, “In contemplation of created things, by steps we may ascend to God.” Words that apply equally to all God’s creatures and instead of envying the eagle and wishing I could have his apparent freedom, I should be treasuring the moment given to me to contemplate and enjoy his magnificent presence with its reminder that all creation reflects the love and power of the Creator, whose gifts to us human beings are so munificent. “When through His garden the Father walks, his steps are beauty and His presence light,” and He walks with us and all life that shares this wonderful planet. If only more of us would take the time to “…mark the matchless working of the power that shuts within the seed the future flower.”

Saturday, 5 September 2009


This lovely little story was sent to me by a friend today and I want to share it with you all.


A man was exploring caves by the Seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock . Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls.. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.

Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel.. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.






Friday, 4 September 2009

Thoughts from the coast of Maine

As I look out on the beautiful bay that stretches before me bathed in sunshine and dotted with the white sails of yachts, I realise anew what an incredibly beautiful world this is. It was dead calm earlier and hardly a ripple disturbed the surface of the bay but now the breeze has picked up and little wavelets are scurrying across the water. It reminds me that the sea so often mirrors the events in our lives.

For a while everything seems to be calm and peaceful, we do not seems to have a care in the world and then suddenly the wind picks up and we are trying to cope with choppy water that is making it difficult to retain our balance in the boat of life. We learn to steer our boat into the wind so that it is no longer fighting the waves but is working with them. Sometimes though we are made aware of a storm brewing and then steering into the waves won’t help us, we need to find shelter where we can ride out the storm. As we mature we learn to recognise the signs that tell that a storm is imminent and also get to know where it will be best to seek shelter. Sometimes it is necessary for us to fall out of the boat or try to ride out the storm in the open, before we learn to recognise the warning signs and find out the best places to shelter.

Almost as suddenly as it began, the storm begins to subside and our boat is on an even keel once more. We are grateful and make a resolution not to be caught by a storm in the open again. We have learned from the experience, have become stronger and more resourceful. We have become aware of some of our limitations and know what to look for in future. Life is all about growth and learning and it is a fact that most things we have to learn by personal experience. It seems that although the experiences of others are available to us, there are many things that we only learn from making our own mistakes; we seem incapable of learning from the experience of others.

I believe it is important because of this, not to be too hard on our friends, family or others when they make mistakes, even mistakes that we feel we would have avoided given similar circumstances. It is far too easy to criticise from the safe distance of our own self assurance. Instead, we should try harder to understand and to accept that the individual has enough trouble handling the problems brought about by their mistake, without us adding to them with our condemnation. Our reaction to the mistakes made by others is a measure of our own maturity and wisdom and I can do no better than to accept the definition of wisdom propounded by August Swedenborg: “Love is the light of the world; wisdom is the light in which love sees.”

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War and in London a service was held for all those still living who were evacuated from their homes and families and sent to the country to keep them safe from bombing. It was a traumatic time for all, although bombing began only months later, parents were fearful for their own and their children’s safety. They were faced with a terrible dilemma, should they risk keeping the children at home and run the gauntlet of the bombing which was bound to come, or should they send them away to total strangers. They knew that whichever way they decided their children were likely to be traumatized.

Most parents decided upon evacuation and there were many tragedies as a consequence - children not collected by their foster parents and left to fend for themselves in tumbledown buildings; children who were dealt with like slaves by their foster parents and often brutally handled, others who were terrified at finding themselves on farms in the middle of nowhere when they were accustomed to crowded city streets and in the case of one group sent to Canada, death on the high seas as a result of enemy torpedoes. Of course there were many dedicated and kind foster parents who treated their evacuees as members of the family. City streets became quiet and deserted overnight because of the mass exodus of children and the population of country villages and their schools often grew four or five times. Finding room for all the new children in classrooms caused many headaches for head teachers.

I was one of those evacuees but was lucky with my foster parents, although I had to be moved from my first place because there was a boy there my own age with a wooden leg due to a mowing machine accident on the farm. It was a small farm and we shared the same bedroom. I became terrified each night when his mother removed his wooden leg and I was able to see his poor, misshapen thigh which he delighted in showing me. I couldn’t stand it, used to scream my head off and the local vicar kindly arranged for me to be moved to another farm in the district. My new foster mother was kindness personified and I am forever in her debt and that of her youngest daughter who was the one who really brought me up during the five years I was with them.

I remember well the journey to the railway station from my home, accompanied by my sister, who was also being evacuated and my father, who was coming to see us off safely. I had to wear an identity label (a luggage label attached to my coat) and carry my gas mask (a horrid thing, the rubbery smell of which can still give me nightmares) as well as my suitcase with what few clothes I was given to take with me. I remember both the excitement of riding on a steam train for the first time (I was 6 years old) and the fear of the unknown as we neared our destination in the heart of Wales. I remember the reception party in the local Drill Hall when we arrived and the long snaking line of us as we were marched there from the station. I remember the distinctive smells, for I had never been in the countryside before and also the tears as I said goodbye to my sister, for we were allocated to different farms.

I was extremely happy once I had settled in with my new foster family and I have kept in touch with them ever since, visiting whenever possible, which I still do when I am in Britain. I realise now just how important was the influence of that family, the peacefulness of the surroundings and the closeness with nature there, in developing my character. However, I would never wish the experience of forceful separation upon any child and pray there will never arise an occasion when it becomes necessary again.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


How aware are you? When somebody walks up behind you quietly, how close are they before you become aware of their presence? When you meet someone for the first time, do you receive an immediate mental impression about whether you are going to get along with them or not? When you walk into an old building, do you often become aware of differing emotions like joy, happiness, fear or even terror? Do you notice any difference in the way you feel depending upon which colour clothes you wear?

When humanity was at its most primitive, savage stage, it was exactly the type of awareness I have questioned above that kept them alive. Since we became more ‘civilised’ and sophisticated many of us have either lost much of that awareness or it is greatly reduced. I feel it is important to reconnect with our awareness and to understand why I need to explain the forces behind awareness. Each person and indeed every living thing including rocks and minerals are surrounded by an energy field or aura. This aura is part of our invisible or spiritual self and consists of several ‘subtle bodies’ – The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual subtle bodies. These subtle bodies convey information to and from the various parts of our being. We are frequently not consciously aware of this process but it still goes on and to develop greater awareness we need to learn how to transfer the results from our sub-conscious to our conscious minds.

To do so can help us understand ourselves and others much more clearly. It can also protect us in the same way it protected primitive humanity. As in all things, some people are naturally more aware than others but each one of us can make ourselves much more sensitive to the invisible energies all around us if we so choose. We need to recognise first of all that it is perfectly natural and in order to feel. I say this because many of us have suppressed our ability to feel emotionally because we want to avoid being hurt. This is understandable and I sympathise with it but there is a downside also. If we make ourselves insensitive so we don’t get hurt we also make ourselves less sensitive to feelings of love, happiness and joy.

If you need in your job for instance, to assess quickly whether a particular individual is suitable for a specific responsibility or is someone with whom you will be able to work closely and harmoniously, then developing your sensitivity, your awareness, will help you enormously. There are many people who specialise in awareness training and I myself will be conducting an Awareness Workshop called “The Sacred Flame” in Kissimmee, FL on Saturday 3rd October. Also in Salem MA on Saturday 26th September I am conducting another type of awareness workshop that concentrates on our awareness of colour, how it influences us subconsciously and how we can use it to help us and others. We are all sentient beings so it makes no sense to deliberately dampen down our natural sensitivity. Learn to open yourself to the subtle energies around you by learning how to control the expansion and contraction of the energy field around you – your aura. It is not difficult but it does demand practice and determination. There is nothing weird about it, it is merely learning to use more effectively what we have been given by nature.