Archive for November, 2016


Of all the hundreds of trees and thousands of leaves I saw on my walk the other day, why did I stop and photograph this particular group?

It was difference which caught my eye. The striking pink of these leaves amongst the abundance of green ones stopped me in my tracks.

I love diversity. I find it beautiful.

Everywhere I look I see uniqueness. Every patient who walked through my consulting room door was different. Every one brought a brand new, unique story to tell me. And next time, when they would return, they, too would be different, because all of us change all of the time.

Mary Oliver begins her new collection of essays, “Upstream” with

One tree is like another tree, but not too much. One tulip is like another tulip, but not altogether. More or less like people – a general outline, then the stunning individual strokes.

Nature loves diversity. Mono-cultures are more vulnerable, less resilient. By making new connections between diverse, well-differentiated individuals, the processes of integration create novelty and stimulates growth.

So I hope this current wave of division and hatred of “the other” which we are witnessing in the world today will diminish.

I hope the current wave of homogenisation which characterises globalisation will be countered by millions of us reclaiming, not just our individual uniqueness, but the beauty and value which we find in diversity.

We need to find a better way to live together than the creation of binary divisions and calls to exclude, remove or eliminate “the other”.


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I named this blog “heroes not zombies” because we humans have a tendency to go about the world on autopilot. As we walk through the day the thoughts which fill our heads are often ones from the past or the future. We go over what people said or did, recall events and circumstances which made a big impact on us….even the ones which seemed quite inconsequential to others. And we go over and over what might lie ahead and worry about it. All these thoughts squeeze out our attention to the present. I’m sure you’ve had that experience of traveling from one place to another, maybe even driving a car, only to arrive and realise you were so preoccupied with something you are surprised you’re at your destination already.

There’s something else which prevents us from experiencing the here and now. We become habituated. We are creatures of habit and when we stay within the bounds of the familiar we have a tendency to become oblivious to the detailed differences of the every day.

And there’s another thing. People who want power over others, whether that be politically, socially or commercially, pressurise us to conform and be compliant. Difference is singled out as a negative and suppressed. Governments, institutions, authorities, corporations want to control us a mass. The Romans did that through the provision of “bread and circuses”, but maybe now its “sugar and screens”.

Living in a zombie-like autopilot submissive way means we lose touch with reality. Reality is the here and now. Reality is uniqueness. Reality is diversity. Reality is freedom, opportunity and change.

The alternative is to become the authors and main characters, or heroes, of our own life stories. We can co-create our daily reality and claim this one wild and special life as our own.

OK, so how did I get all that from that photo today?

The other day I was walking a route I’ve walked thousands and thousands of times over a lifetime. It’s autumn here in the northern hemisphere and the colours of the leaves on the trees this year is particularly eye catching. In fact I think to walk amongst trees is one of the best ways to draw yourself and your attention into the here and now. So I was stopping every now and again and taking a photo. Then, I don’t know quite why, but I looked up from the base of a tree towards the sky and took this photo.

It wasn’t just the colours which caught my eye, it was the shape and form of the branches. As I look at it now my imagination kicks in and I’m more and more convinced I just managed to glimpse the legs of one of the spirits of the forest as they leapt over my head in the canopy of the trees.

Well, I did say my imagination had kicked in……

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