Archive for January, 2010

Seth Godin, recently powerfully called for “hope mongers” to counter the “fear mongers”.

Here’s Satish Kumar, Editor of Resurgence magazine, calling for us to have the courage to move away from the control focus of current times.

Humans have, for one reason or another, cultivated a desire to control: first of all to control natural systems and then to control others. It is clear that we cannot control Nature. We cannot control floods or rain, or climate. As far as people are concerned, in spite of our institutions of spying and surveillance, torture and enslavement, permanent organisations of war and structures of conquest, we are failing miserably to win human hearts and minds and to eliminate opposition. In essence we are failing to establish law and order. We are failing to eliminate crime and we are failing to be at ease with ourselves. Now is the time to stop and observe dispassionately the human predicament. Why are we keeping hundreds of millions of people in jail around the world? Why are we wasting a huge amount of talent, technology and wealth spying on each other, controlling others, fighting wars and murdering innocents? Surely we can do better? Surely we could trust the self-correcting nature of humanity and spend our time, talent and technology as well as creativity and ingenuity to care, to nurture and to replenish as the natural world does?

Here’s a real life example of such shifts.

There’s a tradition in Scotland of the “bonspiel” – it’s a mass gathering of people curling played outside on a frozen loch. The thing is, that despite Scotland’s reputation for cold weather, there is rarely thick enough ice to let such an event happen. The last one was 30 years ago. With the recent cold spell, the Lake of Menteith (Scotland’s only lake – the rest are “lochs”) has frozen solid enough to have a bonspiel, but the authorities said “no” – the old health and safety reasons……however, instead of taking no for an answer and being paralysed by fear, more than 2000 people turned up at the lake this weekend and enjoyed curling, skating and ice hockey.

From fear to hope, from control to freedom, from no to yes……it’s a way of living.

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I got an ipod touch for Christmas and one of the apps I downloaded is called “colorsplash”. Oh, it’s such fun! You load up a photo, it turns it into a black and white version then you use your finger to “paint” back the colour.
Here are my first attempts. I hope you like them….

colorsplash rose

colorsplash splash

colorsplash rainbow

colorsplash shell

This app reminded me just how important it is to have some fun in life, to just play sometimes, just for the creative pleasure of it. This week’s been a difficult week for traveling due to the snow and ice, but one of my train journeys home flew by as I made these four photos.

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Hope mongers

I don’t know if you subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog or not, but if you don’t, I recommend it. I enjoy his thoughts, insights and ideas a lot. Very inspiring.

This lastest piece by him has completely hit the nail on the head I reckon.

He argues against all the “fear mongering” which is being promulgated and in favour of a different approach – to become a “hope monger”. I love that. We are bombarded with fear-inducing stories and it’s feeling like serious manipulation and attempts at control. Can we really go about our ordinary lives expecting (or fearing) the worst in every day? What would life be like if we did? Well……increasingly it’s like that anyway! What a difference it would make to our everyday to assume a default position of hope instead of fear.

Well said, Seth!

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apres le marche

This is a time of year when we think about our lives isn’t it? A time for doing some clearing up, getting things in order, making plans, decisions, resolutions and so on…..

I was passing through the main market square in Aix in the other day and suddenly I saw just how beautiful clearing up could be! Yeah, sure, you can look at a scene like this and see a horrendous pile of garbage…..but then, just pause, look again…..don’t you think this scene is incredibly appealing?

apres le marche

You can see where this is going, can’t you? 2010? A better year? A year where we tackle what needs tackled? Where we clear up what we don’t want cluttering our lives any more? Make good choices this year.

And, hey, even if you don’t do that…..at least I challenge you to see the beauty, the wonder, the “emerveillement” all around you, every, single, day.

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I do enjoy word play…..finding other meanings in phrases, or words which sound similar, for example. One thing I really notice about French is how they often love to find the words within words, breaking down a word into separate sounding parts and revealing a relevant meaning within. Here’s a simple example I spotted the other day


You get the idea? This one works because the French don’t pronounce “th” except as a “t”, so for them “therapy” is “terapy”. This is a key part of their word play which is based on what the words sound like.
This was a holistic massage office, by the way.

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So what are your hopes, wishes, goals for 2010?

Here’s a few suggested by a shop I passed in Aix en Provence……..

New Year's wishes?

Need a translation?







For 2010

…….how different would be your list?

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