Friday, December 30, 2011

JDS Insights: November 2011

Catching up slowly but surely!

November had a four memorable areas: 1) school, 2) chocolate and exercise, 3) closure and clarity and 4) alcohol.*

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1) School
Building on the book I read in October:



I had some interesting feedback in November. My Sixth Form Pupils said comments like:
"The lessons are much better because we actually do something."
"I remember more."
"We haven't had a normal lesson for ages."

My Year Tens were saying:
"The lessons are a lot more fun."
"I feel like we always learn something."

However my Year Elevens were saying:
"I don't learn anything like this. I learn more when I copy off the board."
"Oh no not group work - I don't learn anything like this."

There are a few more nuts to crack. But because of this book, I'm taking more risks, I feel more enlivened (even when my Year Eleven get to me) and I'm remembering why I became a teacher.

2) Chocolate and Exercise
Through the month of November, not one piece of chocolate passed my lips.

No joke.

This is a significant achievement given my history with the stuff. (It gets mentioned in my blogpost 'Reflections' from Jan 2010). It's true that a have a sweet tooth and I really enjoy chocolate (particular favourites being Lindor and Reese's Cups).

The ostensible reason for stopping eating chocolate was because one of my work colleagues called me fat (and so did one of the pupils at school). They may have worded it slightly differently, but what I chose to hear in my head was that. So I started refusing chocolate.

As well as that, since August's Ankle Incident, I hadn't been exercising regularly and I'd piled on the pounds - shown when I weighed myself on returning from holiday.

So, during November I returned to Urban Krav Maga on a Wednesday night (or 'keep fit' as my mum calls it - because she can never remember what it's called). I was very nervous about starting again as I'd hurt myself. Through November though, I regained my confidence and enthusiasm.

My wife and brother-in-law also started coming along too - and enjoyed it - which validated my experience.

Apart from this, I'd also read this book (recommended by someone at Urban Krav)


I actually read this in the summer but completed the Basic level workout by the beginning of November - and actually enjoyed it because it was all based in the house! I don't like the gym because I find it intimidating and it reminds and highlights my own inadequacy. This book is written by someone who used to train US Special Operations personnel - the hardcore nutters - and the workouts are all based around using your own bodyweight.

He covers the basics of nutrition - it's all pretty sound - but nothing that's not been mentioned in other places (which perhaps says a lot about what various experts says). He does make the useful (and important) point that exercise accounts for about 1/3 of your body shape - the 2/3 is0 nutrition (something I keep re-discovering and re-reading over the years).

The real value of this book though is the index of bodyweight exercises and the workouts he's created. Pictures are included - mainly of him - doing the exercises but they can be customised and you can create your own because he explains the thought behind the workouts.

Me being the particular kind of weirdo that reads books - and then acts on what the book says - started doing the workouts. I found the Basic Level a challenge and it was cool getting to use all the stuff around the house: doors, surfaces, chairs, tables etc. Level One is even tougher...onwards and upwards...

3) Closure and Clarity
There are people in my life where I've not said anything and let stuff lie and then it becomes a maggot that eats away at my brain. I've done enough stuff and read enough material over the years to know that sorting out things like this can positively impact the quality of one's life dramatically.

Knowing it doesn't always mean I'll act on it though.

And I've only given up when I stop taking action - any moment I can re-start the action - so any moment becomes a chance to pick myself up and carry on.

There were two different people I managed to clear the space with. The impact of one was felt significantly in December. The other brought a smile to my face and made me feel warm inside - and less like a total nutjob.

I think that's why I wrote a lot about having a clear head in November.

4) Alcohol
Now I've never said I'm a non-drinker. I call myself someone who drinks alcohol very rarely. Until 19th November 2011, I hadn't had any alcohol since Boxing Day 2009. But on the 19th, we had a Birthday Party - at our house - which meant I wasn't driving and didn't need to be sober. My wife and sister were particularly vocal in their encouragement of me to partake in sampling some of the alcoholic beverages on offer. Of course when drinking games were played, it became obvious that I was being 'stitched-up'.

The cocktails tasted great and included: Pina Coladas, Caribbean Breezes and Strawberry Daquiris - and I have to say that Jaeger Bombs taste very nice - my sweet-tooth means they go down very nicely.

And yes, I was most definitely drunk - but not any wilder than usual...just more brazen and blunt.
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So this month's insights are a reflection of this mish-mash of incidents. Make of them what you will.**

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Nov 01: There's a balance to be struck between effort and flow.

Nov 02: There's a time for keeping going no matter what, and a time for going with the flow.

Nov 03: Surrendering to the flow of life and fighting to go in a particular direction are the same except for my perspective.

Nov 04: Life always takes me where I want to go. Knowing where I want to end up is the trick.

Nov 05: Masters continually reinvent themselves.

Nov 06: You're not the same person you were five years ago.

Nov 07: There are always enough hours in the day.

Nov 08: Thinking takes energy - even about the smallest things.

Nov 09: Save energy by finishing the thinking about stuff.

Nov 10: Any big accomplishment can be achieved with lots and lots of small, simple steps.

Nov 11: Just because there is no instant response doesn't mean someone isn't thinking.

Nov 12: We have the gift (or curse) of being able to think about what we're thinking about. Use it wisely.

Nov 13: Willingness opens. Listening guides. Understanding creates.

Nov 14: Take the easy way and achieve little.

Nov 15: Take the hard way and be a martyr.

Nov 16: Truth lives in the space between (the easy way and the hard way).

Nov 17: I have my strategies for getting what I want: drama queen, control freak and angry boy. Not always effective.

Nov 18: My struggle is not your struggle. Stop trying to make it so.

Nov 19: Unsolicited help is just patronising.

Nov 20: Imposing my help on someone else's issues causes upset.

Nov 21: We have all the answers we need.

Nov 22: An empty head allows for things to be remembered.

Nov 23: Create loads of ideas. Lots will be bad. One or two will be gems.

Nov 24: One thing happening can change everything.

Nov 25: Sometimes it takes big things to realise humility.

Nov 26: I can choose whether I hold on to something or not.

Nov 27: I can let go, or hold on, at any point.

Nov 28: Individuals make up institutions. One person can affect the whole.

Nov 29: Working together multiplies individual effort.

Nov 30: We are all part of something much larger than we can articulate.

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*No this is not a typo
**All mine

Saturday, December 24, 2011

JDS Insights: October 2011

I'm aware that it's Christmas Eve...and I'm posting about stuff that happened months ago.

But a lot has happened in those months.

Re-reading the insights for October and I'm instantly transported to my state of mind back then.

The big thing was my birthday. This year on October 3rd I turned 35 years old.

At this age I have become more contemplative about the future; I'm more aware of how *old* I am and I suppose my own mortality. But I don't *feel* 35 - I'm not sure how 35 is supposed to feel (that shows how reliable feelings are for understanding reality).

We also had a nice holiday in October which included more opportunities to feel self-conscious about my body on a beach but really consisted of doing very little - a brilliant chance to switch off.

I also read some.

The main book for this month was something that's helped my teaching.

As teachers we're meant to be 'reflective practitioners'. That means we're constantly evaluating and reviewing our lessons and teaching practices so we can improve. More so than most jobs, I think it's essential to maintaining sanity in a world of constantly changing goal-posts but also getting a handle on the actual process of teaching.

So I read this book:



And then I laughed a lot, thought a lot and resolved to do some of the stuff suggested in the book in my classes. The full title of the book is actually 'How to Teach: The ultimate (and ultimately irreverent) look at what you should be doing in your classroom if you want to be the best teacher you can possibly be'. It really is ultimately irreverent and that's what makes it such a great read. It manages to balance profound truth with hilarity. This can only be found in classrooms across the country as teachers pull their hair out every day.

Now, a lot (actually, pretty much all) of the time, teachers adhere strongly to the old phrase 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Me being the particular kind of weirdo that reads books and does what the books say took a baby and some bath water and well...

Apart from that - the author's humanity is in this book. He really gives his whole self and I feel enriched as a teacher because of it. He is a Jolly Nice Chap - his twitter is HERE and his website is HERE!

There will be more on this in November's post.

That was October.*

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Oct 01: State of mind affects the ageing process more than we like to admit.

Oct 02: Age only brings wisdom when knowledge is acted on.

Oct 03: Age does not guarantee wisdom.

Oct 04: Age brings physical maturity but not necessarily any other.

Oct 05: Ageing sees growth, maturity and decline. At least we have a choice about gracefully going through each.

Oct 06: Step back, calm down and the way forward reveals itself.

Oct 07: Somewhere inside I have all the answers I need. Discovering them is the challenge.

Oct 08: Nature cannot be separated from our experience.

Oct 09: Spending time with nature reaffirms who we really are.

Oct 10: We don't need any more reason other than: just because we say so.

Oct 11: Growth happens at the limits of what you can do.

Oct 12: Your destiny gives you direction.

Oct 13: I never know what the response will be unless I do something different.

Oct 14: My body allows me to get stuff done. Why not take extremely good care of it?

Oct 15: Plan something and you can relax.

Oct 16: Everything starts as a creation in someone's head.

Oct 17: Holidays allow for contemplation that would not normally happen.

Oct 18: Contemplation gives space for creation.

Oct 19: A result is the meaning we add to specific things that happen.

Oct 20: Things are happening all the time. Whether we like it or not is up to us.

Oct 21: Old habits are hard to break. New ones are easy to create.

Oct 22: Just because I have been doing something regularly for a year still means it can be forgotten.

Oct 23: Just because I have been doing something regularly for ten years, still means it can be forgotten.

Oct 24: Just because it looks clean doesn't mean it is clean.

Oct 25: Truth can be found everywhere.

Oct 26: The space around me for new stuff to show up is always filling up.

Oct 27: Clear out old stuff to make way for new. Now apply that idea to your headspace.

Oct 28: An empty space will get filled.

Oct 29: I am always creating. Until it gets comfortable. Then it's repetition.

Oct 30: Being comfortable requires no focus.

Oct 31: Achieving comfort at one level allows creation at another. But only if I commit to grow.
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*All my shit.

Monday, October 24, 2011

JDS Insights: September 2011

It's been a while.

September was back to school...for someone like me.

Teachers approach the new school year in a variety of ways...but perhaps mostly with trepidation at the impending tiredness, late nights and the deeper appreciation of weekends.

Since returning to school and listening to the grapevine I've got the impression that a few of my (current and ex) pupils are reading my blog.

Hence my attempt to clean up the language...but not necessarily the vitriol, vigour and ranting.

It just means I have to be more creative.*

Anyway - returning to school full of inspiration and new ideas from the books I've been reading namely:


...which is actually the follow on from another book I read in May.

I've found something interesting has happened. Instead of marking (and planning) being the bane of my life and being unwilling and unable to get myself to sit down with books and get through it without my eyes rolling to the back of my head...I've actually been getting on with it.

Shocking.

Perhaps it's the sheer bloody-mindedness of staying the course in a career like teaching and I've just crossed my own Rubicon and become A Good Teacher. But I don't think so...I think it's because I've actually taken on the stuff in the book above. Over the years, I've noticed I'm one of a particular kind of weirdo who reads books and does what they say.


I've also noticed no significant drop in my energy levels as half-term approaches. Normally September starts well and I'm all happy with my nice new shiny teacher planner**, clean books and good working space. By the end of the month I've created my own special countdown to half-term as the frustration of teaching Year 11 begins to set in.

Not this time.

It's not that I'm all up-myself and high-and-mighty (although I get accused of that sometimes) - it's that I enjoy my job. I like to think the boys I teach know this and they're along for the journey too.

I also sat down and looked through the surveys*** I got back from last year's Year Ten (now this year's *wonderful* Year Eleven) and I've taken no nonsense in a way that I haven't before - as they requested. I adapted The Behaviour Guru's classroom rules template and it's worked.

It's also worked because I've been relentless at chasing people for sanctions and detentions. At the core of all this is me being organised and having certainty. Which I got from implementing the ideas in the book above.

See it's all wonderfully, virtuously circular.

Let's see what the future brings.

That was September.****
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Sep 01: Simple pleasures make life beautiful. I just forget they are everywhere.

Sep 02: Clearing a space allows for something else to emerge.

Sep 03: We clutter our minds and our lives and wonder why we don't achieve what we want.

Sep 04: Acquiring stuff does not make me richer.

Sep 05: The space between is as valuable as here and there.

Sep 06: Mastery lies in understanding the space between thought and the result.

Sep 07: Mastery is never really getting there, but exploring the myriad of ways that you can.

Sep 08: Nostalgia is only satisfying when you're happy in the present.

Sep 09: The bin needs to be emptied daily of the nonsense that builds up.

Sep 10: Our mundane daily habits contain snapshots into the profound.

Sep 11: Experiences we keep forever. Stuff will eventually get recycled.

Sep 12: Knowing why really can make all the difference.

Sep 13: Understanding the principles that govern something enables real power.

Sep 14: Understanding the principles behind the principles creates mastery.

Sep 15: I am not better than you. But you're not better than me.

Sep 16: Dominate, intimidate and subjugate your way to power and unhappiness.

Sep 17: There is a difference between results coerced and forced and results inspired and created.

Sep 18: Truth is difficult to come by.

Sep 19: Find out what people think before taking action. It saves time.

Sep 20: Over-thinking prevents action. At some point action has to be taken.

Sep 21: Keeping an eye on the prize keeps me motivated. I just gotta make sure I am going for the right prize.

Sep 22: Inspiration cannot be forced.

Sep 23: Cleaning one's physical space can enable cleaning ones mental space. And vice versa.

Sep 24: You can't always tell if you have offended someone. But if you ask, you can always clear it up.

Sep 25: When I am comfortable with the uncertainty of life then I tend to be able to respond to it effectively.

Sep 26: When I attempt to stay fixed - that's when the problems start.

Sep 27: I don't need to go to church or adhere to a set of religious ideals to experience God. God transcends all that.

Sep 28: Until I make it up, nothing happens.

Sep 29: There is a difference between taking things personally and taking responsibility.

Sep 30: Men act simply but are not simple.
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* Although I do think swear words have their place. Just ask George Carlin.

** Another post will go into the wonders of my Teachers' Planner later...

*** Every term I give my classes a survey about my teaching. It's pretty insightful and I get some stuff to think about and change.

****All Mine

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

JDS Insights: August 2011

August for a teacher really means one thing: Summer Holidays.

Although it didn't feel so much like that for me for several reasons. I didn't go away anywhere on holiday (combined with being in and out of school) and I managed to sprain my ankle quite badly doing Urban Krav Maga. I suppose it comes with the territory that I was going to injure myself.

It meant that I was showing some kind of a limp for the month of August. It also mean no exercise. I *never* thought I'd get to the stage where I'd miss exercising - but there it is!

Funnily enough, I also wrote my first guest blog post for Urban Krav Maga - you can see it here. I'm quite proud of it - because on a whim all I did was ask the instructor if he'd like me to write something and he just agreed!*

Despite only having one ankle to play with, I still pwned everyone on a dancefloor in Bristol...

Apart from that...the riots were shocking...and yet not (perhaps I say that as a teacher). As was the way I kept up with what was going on - Twitter! I suppose it really came of age during the Arab Spring. Here in the UK it took something like those riots to showcase some interesting commentary.

Summer holidays are also a time where I read a load of stuff. Except this year I developed the beginnings of a rather disconcerting habit of reading several books at once. I attribute it to owning a Kindle and I'm calling it 'The Kindle Effect'. It's brought on by the fact that several (thousand) books can be carried at any one time...and I've ended up flicking from book to book a little.

I've settled on one that I'm really into - but that will be in September's blog in a bit more detail.

The two that caught me were: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and


:59 Seconds Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman


The first is actually a classic of self-help/ financial literature and is based on research of some very historically wealthy figures. It's a little 'American Dream' type stuff but the fundamentals are sound. I really think it's way, way ahead of its time - perhaps it's the earliest example of the self-help genre. I don't know if anyone's examined a history of that type of book but it's great. In truth I got it because it was 75p on Kindle - and I'd been recommended to read it by someone I respect.

The second was on Derren Brown's recommended reading list from his blog. (There are some fascinating recommendations on there!) It's written by a professor and based on scientific study of so-called 'self-help' techniques and actually debunks and destroys them. A great read!

This month I also learned a valuable lesson about not interfering in stuff but holding the space for something to happen. I have a tendency to think I know everything about everything and can become hard-headed about stuff. Sometimes the way to resolve a situation between people is to give them space to breathe and own their own humanity.

No mean feat for a pushy so-and-so like me...

It produced a dramatic result that's made a couple of important areas of my life a bit more relaxing...

And of course, August was about the culmination of the teaching profession. Everywhere teenagers were getting exam results and validating teachers lives. I was very proud of my a-level guys and proud of the whole year group going to university. I've written about them here. I wish them very well.

The AS guys were slightly different...but not unexpected...

GCSEs were similar...and I assert another truism: that the amount of work put in is related to the results achieved.

Funny that.

So August was mainly spent reading, thinking and drinking hot chocolate in coffee shops. Can't think of a better way to spend it really...

By the way - if you click on a link about a book and end up buying it...it helps me! I'm trying out some Amazon affiliate stuff...so perhaps more detailed reviews will come along the way...

That was August.**
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Aug 01: Speaking without listening is like breathing without air.

Aug 02: Owning our own upset gives our self a space to breathe.

Aug 03: Saying what makes a difference requires an appropriate expression of truth.

Aug 04: Saying what makes a difference cannot be done when upset.

Aug 05: Saying what makes a difference requires standing one's ground.

Aug 06: Saying what makes a difference needs deep understanding of another.

Aug 07: Saying what makes a difference is knowing when not to interfere.

Aug 08: All behaviour is a communication.

Aug 09: Whilst listening, breathe.

Aug 10: Acknowledge, discuss and attempt to understand differences.

Aug 11: Create violence by hating the difference.

Aug 12: Create violence by enhancing the difference.

Aug 13: Create violence by ignoring ignorance.

Aug 14: Create violence by division.

Aug 15: The root of the problem is often difficult to identify.

Aug 16: The root of a problem is found when someone is willing to take responsibility.

Aug 17: Stand back and let people sort out their differences. Hold the space and love both sides.

Aug 18: One of the hardest things to do is give space for love to grow.

Aug 19: Listening to someone requires me to be silent.

Aug 20: I can't make anyone listen to me, any more than I can make them think something.

Aug 21: Push and something will push back.

Aug 22: You can't achieve a goal without measurement.

Aug 23: Without a stated commitment and goal, achievement is nothing but chance.

Aug 24: Getting to the root of something provides choice.

Aug 25: Getting to the root of something requires a willingness to be responsible.

Aug 26: Our minds are like gardens: regular maintenance required for effective growth; otherwise weeds overrun.

Aug 27: Without space to grow, nothing lives.

Aug 28: Knowledge and action are different. Taking action is what makes life happen.

Aug 29: Knowledge of something doesn't mean I will act to change it. All my exams tested my knowledge. Oh well.

Aug 30: To close down life, close your mind.

Aug 31: Having an open mind, opens life.
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*He did misspell my surname: De Souza instead of D'Souza...but I'm glad my words are out there!

**They all came from me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

JDS Insights: July 2011

Truthfully...the stuff that comes out as insights arrives in fits and starts. Some of what I've written for July relates to events that happened in August.

You might pick up on it.

Otherwise, school ended and July saw me take a dive into the mess and melee that is my cultural community: the Goan Diaspora. And diaspora is the word. I'd never really investigated what the word meant until July - but it basically means settled away from one's ancestral homeland.

http://www.goaukconvention.co.uk/
Represent...

Pretty much how I experience my culture and upbringing.

So in July, I went to something called the Global Goans Convention - the fifth one ever and the first to be held in the UK, organised by the Goan Overseas Association (G.O.A.) UK.

I met some very interesting people, opened some doors and was similarly frustrated - all of which will be explained (perhaps) in another post.

I also had some very useful feedback on my writing. Suggestions have ranged from: reducing the swearing and serialising it on a blog to thinking about a proper structure.

The net result is the general encouragement to keep writing.

But July felt like a re-discovery and re-connection.

Enjoy!*

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01 Jul: Cynicism is black. Optimism is white. Skepticism can't choose.

02 Jul: To be optimistic is to deny the existence of the dark side. Balance is missing.

03 Jul: To be pessimistic is to deny the existence of the light side. Balance is missing.

04 Jul: A cynic looks back. An optimist looks forward. Yet truth lives in the present.

05 Jul: Our relationships give rise to who we are. Who we are gives rise to our relationships.

06 Jul: Being on time doesn't have to be difficult. We make it so.

07 Jul: No-one is always on time.

08 Jul: Being real with people purifies the space.

09 Jul: Grow by discovering your own incompetence.

10 Jul: I don't have to get angry about anything.

11 Jul: Absolute truth cannot be comprehended in the realm of the relative.

12 Jul: Our physical life takes place in the realm of the relative. But we exist beyond that.

13 Jul: Anger chosen is righteous indignation. But it can only go so far.

14 Jul: Everyone has something unique to bring to the planet. Discovering it can take a lifetime.

15 Jul: Our motivations for our behaviour are either much simpler or much more complex than we realise.

16 Jul: Our motivations are always deeper than they seem.

17 Jul: What drives us is very rarely what we say it is.

18 Jul: Data is a better guide than opinion.

19 Jul: Facts don't lie. Opinions do.

20 Jul: Inflexibility usually leads to pain.

21 Jul: Flexibility is not the same as being a push-over

22 Jul: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Neither is it a sign of strength. It's just a request.

23 Jul: Leaving things incomplete is just ...

24 Jul: One aspect of clarity: knowing what you're doing now, doing next and not doing.

25 Jul: Another aspect of clarity: being present.

26 Jul: Everyone wants to impress everyone else. Being conscious to this provides freedom.

27 Jul: Everything you say and do, or don't say and don't do is a communication.

28 Jul: Strength is not only brute force.

29 Jul: Life has no purpose until I make one up for myself.

30 Jul: Everything we are is a communication. Freedom is communicating with awareness.

31 Jul: Communications don't always work because not everyone is listening.
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*All Mine!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

JDS Insights: June 2011

So...June...

The last few weeks before the end of the year at school are always interesting. Everyone is in the winding-down mode - even though they sometimes give the pretence of not thinking like this.

I had the joys of being invited for Jury Service earlier in the year...I was asked to defer it...and well - June it was.

Jury service is amongst the most interesting activities any citizen can participate in. It sounds cheesy to think of it as one's civic duty but after completing it, I realised how important it is to the implementation of the law in the UK.

Putting aside my opinions on the functioning of a democracy, the application of the process of law was instructive. I actually felt *privileged* to be with some of my fellow Londoners. And I have to say that the group of us were from as wide-ranging a group of people as could have been selected from walking down any street in suburban London.

That was the most interesting part - we were just ordinary people; I'm glad the variety of the jury I sat on reflected the mosaic of peoples I witness every day in a suburb of London.

Aside from that, this month's book was intriguing to say the least - especially given I was sitting on a jury for part of the month. See the link below:



Truly fascinating practical psychological stuff. Really well-written and thoroughly researched. It also gives practical tips on avoiding the everyday weapons of influence employed to effect changes on our behaviour.

We are closer to being stimulus-response mechanisms than we think.

That was June.*

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Jun 1: Putting off starting that dream idea? Never mind just remember every day that passes is a step closer to death.

Jun 2: A relationship founded on lies will have a particular future.

Jun 3: There's nothing an open and honest conversation can't resolve.

Jun 4: Hate all you want. Just be aware that it will give you a certain kind of world.

Jun 5: God created life, the universe and everything. Therefore God created the word cunt.

Jun 6: God hides in plain sight. A bit like the Transformers.

Jun 7: I never really know how someone is going to react to me.

Jun 8: We are more insightful than we realise. Too often we just ignore our insights.

Jun 9: Truth creates a space for more to happen than hard work alone.

Jun 10: You can't avoid what you know about yourself. But what you know about yourself isn't always conscious.

Jun 11: We put up with, and can tolerate a lot more shit in our lives than we realise. Easier than using some bleach and a brush.

Jun 12: Does living virtuously make you incredibly interesting or incredibly boring?

Jun 13: I often wonder what has more effect: the teacher's lesson in the classroom, or the teacher's lesson outside the classroom.

Jun 14: Learning happens anywhere and everywhere not just in school.

Jun 15: Does school teach obedience or creativity?

Jun 16: Breathe deeply and enjoy it-you never know what's going to happen tomorrow.

Jun 17: It's the direction that you're looking that affects what you do now so consider what happens if you're always looking back.

Jun 18: The world moves fast: no past, no future, just present.

Jun 19: People know you only from what you show about yourself.

Jun 20: Being concerned about what other people think of you is different from being aware of what others think of you.

Jun 21: Being self-aware allows more freedom to choose.

Jun 22: Put less in and shrink. Put more in and grow. True on so many levels.

Jun 23: Simple pleasures make daily happiness easy.

Jun 24: There's stuff to make us smile anywhere and everywhere.

Jun 25: Intention is the difference between an innocent question and prejudice.

Jun 26: Getting clear about my intentions gets me in touch with what's really going on...even if it's not very nice.

Jun 27: Not wanting to do something you said you would do is human. Actually doing it - despite that - is something greater.

Jun 28: Anything can become truth. It just needs enough people to agree on it.

Jun 29: If you have good news, give it greater life by sharing it.

Jun 30: Keep your truth alive by being consistent with what you think, say and do.

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*all my own!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Class of 2011: Onwards and Upwards

The staff room floor...
Teachers always approach the last day of school for a group of Year 13 students with a certain amount of trepidation. Traditionally, it’s viewed as the Annual Day of Practical Jokes. This year, their last day coincided with the day of the Leavers’ Boat Party where the Leavers of Our School and Another Local Girls’ School enjoy a boat cruise along the Thames.

Before the night’s festivities, however, my school’s staff were greeted with several slightly surreal scenes: hundreds of partly-filled plastic cups of water in a staff-room devoid of furniture; a spectacular pyramid-shaped sculpture of tables gaffer-taped together on the lawn and inside several teaching rooms, a variety of computer items cling-filmed together.

It was all very good-humoured. I will miss this year group in particular, as their start as fresh-faced young men was also mine. Their metamorphosis into gentlemen was brought home when I arrived at the local pub for an informal drink. Every one of the boys was wearing an evening suit and looked impeccable.

This good humour continued through the night. Boarding a boat at Putney pier it became apparent that it was not just our School Leavers (and staff!) who had made an effort to look their best: the girls ensured the limelight was not stolen by the sharp lines of a well-cut tuxedo.

Quick consumption of drinks (including those of the alcoholic variety) was followed by a very pleasant two-course meal. London’s landmarks along the Thames provided an excellent backdrop to the sharing of embarrassing school stories, anecdotes of times gone by and musing about the future.

The DJ provided a range of suitable music to get our feet moving. The enthusiasm (perhaps fuelled by a certain elixir) with which certain songs were embraced was impressive. This was even more so when the boat suffered a power failure and plunged the celebration into darkness. Undaunted, our boys continued singing party anthems, clapping and taking the crowd with them.

The Head Boy continued this undaunted spirit by giving out the Leavers’ Awards. Each one was accompanied by his wry, humorous take on his peers. These awards, organised and voted for by the boys themselves underlined the strong sense of community present amongst our pupils – due in no small part to the positive environment staff create.

Other highlights of the evening included: a Kilt; a cowboy Hat; a teacher’s smooth dancefloor moves (no not mine) and the Girls’ School Leavers remarking on how wonderful our staff were.

This evening not only gives the Leavers an opportunity to dress up – it also represents a chance for boys to say their goodbyes: to each other and to the staff who have nurtured them. It really is about their moving on to pastures new – the call of life beyond the cosy walls of Our School must be heeded. The ‘special relationship’ between staff and student that makes Our School unique was palpably present on the boat that night. I’m sure each boy will take fond memories of their time with us as they move onwards and upwards.

Monday, July 18, 2011

JDS Insights: May 2011

May...I remember that month.

People moving away...the weather brightening up a little...and me discovering my anger doesn't have to run me...nope - my worry does!

Worrying about all the things I have to get done.

I think everyone worries about this. Aside from being wholly unproductive, the effect is to take us away from the present moment. Which makes us even less able to deal with what we have to get done.

I mean, *everyone* has more to get done than they actually have time for.

Still, in May I read this, did it and it worked. And still works.

It took a bit of thought and tinkering but I've got something that fits with me.

So I worry less. And the present moment is more appealing.

-----------
01 May: If it can get worse it will. It all depends on how you think about it.

02 May: Everyone has an opinion about everything. It doesn't always help to express them.

03 May: Unsolicited opinions make no difference.

04 May: Aging and maturity don't happen at the same rate.

05 May: We all get something from complaining otherwise we wouldn't do it.

06 May: We are not as rational as we justify to ourselves that we are.

07 May: A good justification obscures the truth.

08 May: Hiding something is the same as lying about it.

09 May: Deceiving oneself takes a lot of energy.

10 May: Keep digging and it is fascinating what I can discover about myself. But it makes no difference until I share what I notice.

11 May: Everyone has something to contribute to the planet.

12 May: Good ideas kept in one's brain make nothing happen. When shared, all sorts of stuff can happen.

13 May: Navel-gazing is pointless.

14 May: We all know the thing to do that will make the biggest difference to our lives. But why do so few of us do it?

15 May: If I keep doing something I get better at it. Whether it's conscious or unconscious.

16 May: If I keep losing my temper in response to something. Losing my temper will become the way I respond.

17 May: Miscommunication happens because I don't listen.

18 May: There is always another way.

19 May: Think deeply about what's really important and it might surprise.

20 May: It can be very difficult to discern what is worth your time and what isn't.

21 May: Is there anything worth losing your temper for?

22 May: Arguments can be useful if there is a deeper commitment to something much bigger behind it.

23 May: Lying can be easier than telling the truth because in the short-term it takes less energy.

24 May: The planet is the way it is because people don't clear up their broken promises.

25 May: There is only so much information you can process at any one time.

26 May: Is it possible for humanity in its entirety to agree on something?

27 May: The less we can agree the harder it is for us to embrace our humanity.

28 May: Writing down and clarifying what I need to get done empties my head and frees me up to create.

29 May: When commitments are clear, the right tools can make a huge difference to action.

30 May: We behave more like stimulus-response mechanisms than we realise.

31 May: Old habits don't die hard. They just never get replaced with new ones.

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*These are all mine.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

JDS Insights: April 2011

April was a while ago.

Things were changing...and we were settling in. It was the final push before the exam season at school.

Easter Holidays were the turning point.

I also started to discover stuff about my neighbourhood. Community is important and can exist.

But that was then.
--------------
01 Apr: Knowing doesn't make a difference to how I act. Just take the action.

02 Apr: If I'm going to stop doing something I had better make sure I have something to replace it. Otherwise nonsense will fill the space.

03 Apr: You don't change habits. Just create new ones.

04 Apr: I can either be creating the projects in my life or be driven by my demons.

05 Apr: You can't live an interesting life using default settings.

06 Apr: Creation can't happen in a foggy head.

07 Apr: Daily living fills my head with stuff and nonsense.

08 Apr: Empty your head every night and get more done every day.

09 Apr: You can only fill up an open box.

10 Apr: There is actually always enough time in a day.

11 Apr: It's not the size of the house but the size of the welcome.

12 Apr: People love to be told what to think, do and say.

13 Apr: I am the source.

14 Apr: We are always creating our next experience - whether we like it or not, whether it's conscious or not.

15 Apr: Life has no morality. That's a human construction. Life just is.

16 Apr: There is beauty in everyone. Yet some people choose to hide theirs.

17 Apr: Without ugliness there is no beauty. But ugliness and beauty are both opinion.

18 Apr: Ugliness and beauty depend on which way you look at it. Like everything in life.

19 Apr: There is nothing wrong with properly expressed anger.

20 Apr: Deny your expression of an emotion and deny your self.

21 Apr: You always know the truth.

22 Apr: There is a difference between living and surviving.

23 Apr: We are all going to die. But the need to he right about what happens (or doesn't happen) next is wasted energy.

24 Apr: Live your own truth - not some half-baked version based on what someone else tells you.

25 Apr: Religion: how to avoid: i) thinking for yourself and ii) being responsible for making judgements based on your own experience.

26 Apr: Lift your head above your own petty existence, to discover that everyone has their heads buried in their petty existence.

27 Apr: Enlightenment: embracing your own petty existence whilst remembering the possibility of something bigger.

28 Apr: You can't look to the past and the future at the same time. Choose one as a guide.

29 Apr: The only time I can do anything about anything is right now.

30 Apr: Everyone has something to contribute.
------------
These are all from me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Out Through The In Door: 2010/ 2011

Ah yes.

This post is loooooooooong overdue. We're already part way through the second quarter of 2010! Anyways another year has passed into the ether and I might as well compete my musing and reflecting.

This is becoming a running theme. I think it's part of of the reflective process; taking stock and thinking allows for greater accomplishment in the future. Just looking back at my old posts reminds me how far I've come: 2008 - Sign "☮" the Times, 2009 - Flash-Back, Flash-Forward, 2010 - From the Shinings of my Reflections.

In fact, the 2009 Flash-Back, Flash-Forward post was written almost two years ago to the day. It took me that long to pin down exactly what I felt 2009 was going to be about...

So - 2010. To say it was an interesting year was kind of an understatement. From the Shinings of my Reflections picks three areas.


1) Creating a house, a home and everything in it...
Well in 2010 we started it...the process stalled...and then it took off again. We put our first place on the market in about April 2010. And then did very little. It was a learning process: Estate agents, valuations, pictures...the whole deal. And it works very much like selling anything. I certainly felt as if I was taking my first steps into a larger world with all the talk of mortgages, house prices, interest rates etc. It moved from being something purely theoretical I would talk and teach about, to something of very real significance.

But life has a way of throwing a spanner in the works. It was really tempting to take it all personally but changing job circumstances highlight the inherent uncertainty of life. At some point action is required right now - regardless of what's happened or what I think might happen in the future.

So yeah - the place went on the market in April 2010 and we accepted an offer in November 2010.

The foundations for creating a house, a home and everything in it started in 2010.


2) Completion
Well this was an interesting one. Firstly, my Unpredictable post hinted at stuff I've had to deal with that I won't go into. Suffice to say it affected me. And I am a little stronger as a result. It is true what I've heard - there's nothing that can't be resolved in communication.

Secondly, speaking with a few people I hadn't spoken to in a while and being honest with them - as well as being truthful with some people close to me laid to rest some demons. The result is that the future can go any which way. The past has happened - I can't change that - but in 2010 I realised that I'm not obliged to behave in a particular way. Yes I can be more considerate of the stuff I'm saying and the effect it has (2010 saw me explore this and realise a lot about how I come across) but also if no-one tells me what I'm doing or saying is mightily out of order - I'm not going to have the opportunity alter it.

Finally, 2010 also saw me continue to develop my relationship with my body. The beginning of the year saw me voluntarily re-do something called the 'bleep-test'. It's basically a physical fitness test. This was part of the ritual institutionalised humiliation inflicted on my 15-year old self at school that scarred me deeply and gave rise to the inadequacy I felt for a long time about my physical ability at *anything*.

And I went there. Yes I did. And I succeeded in bettering my original rating.

As I ran there by myself in the school sports hall I re-lived my nightmare. I wasn't in my thirties. I was a painfully awkward teenager with no sporting ability.

And something got laid to rest and complete for me.

It might sound like an exaggeration but I think incidents like that in my school days contributed to my perception of my sporting ability and coordination being very low. I think this also spilled over to my opinion of myself as a male. As if I was a less adequate man because I wasn't particularly sporty or physically imposing.

So as that got laid to rest it opened up exploring other things in relation to my physicality.

Like starting proper martial-arts/ self-defence classes. Yep - in September 2010 I started doing Urban Krav Maga. Which I've been doing pretty regularly since then. I've noticed that my relationship to my masculinity has altered. I still play down my ability and willingness to take part in competitive team sports without a healthy dose of piss-taking. But I have noticed that I feel a greater awareness of my body, of myself and the environment around me.

And according to The Fella I "punch less like a cunt."*

3) Power
So here, I was exploring power as the difference in the amount of time between saying something and it actually happening.

I suppose the most obvious thing has been with the whole creating a home part of my life. That's been the area that's taken the most energy and I've been the most conscious of.

But it has showed up at work too. I have created my own role at school: agreed the job description with senior management and got the appropriate salary increase.

Inevitably the question is:

Now what?
2010 was a year of unexpected twists and turns. Of getting things resolved and clearing a space for things to happen. Of re-engaging with the things I love the most.

2011 has already seen things take a step up. I've already initiated another community-type project to do with my cultural background. It's called 'Filling In the Cracks' - it will for the basis of another blog post quite easily.

And of course moving into a house.

Onwards into 2011 then: my themes for this year are going to be:

1) Creativity
Now this is going to show up in a two areas namely: money and writing. I'll be exploring interesting ways of making money with a view to becoming financially free in the future (uh-oh). I'll also be getting the structure of my book done because I've also *finally* picked the format for it - which again will be the basis of another blog post.

2) Contribution
This is something that will show up everywhere by virtue of my job but also within my family, friends and community.

Contributing to others can be a really good way of creating and re-creating relationships. Effective contribution can't happen without it as I found out when putting together 'Filling in the Cracks'.

3) Mastery
This isn't just about picking one thing and doing it lots. That's what mastery is usually defined as. Apparently 10,000 hours of doing something will give you the foundations of mastery. I'm not talking about one particular thing: guitar, writing, DIY or martial arts.

I'm talking about life. Mastering the aspects of living a complete, full and engaged life.

I've got over 10,000 hours of living right?

That's why I've re-named the subtitle of this blog. I'm re-positioning and focusing on something that interests me. I've always been interested in people, spirituality, making a difference and exploring the human condition.

But I've never been one to limit my thinking. I think part of what makes us human is how we engage with our lives. How the different intricate parts fit together to make us what we are. I'm interested in the whole thing: family, friends, health, studying, money, sex, home, leisure, music, guitar, shopping, style, blogging, community, culture, writing... the list goes on.

This is what my blog will be exploring from now on: (mis)adventures in practical spirituality whilst living a life I love. In the process I hope to enrich your existence through reading it.

So enjoy the insights, enjoy the posts, comment and criticise.

We are all one.

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*You should follow TheFella on twitter. Just for his Binary Reviews. And to keep him on side - you don't want to be fighting him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

JDS Insights: March 2011

OK we are in to the second quarter of 2011 and I *still* haven't let go of 2010 yet...the post is still being planned.

Pretty much events of March have been momentous. I mean it's not every day one moves house. I think that's the big thing about March. A whole new space, a whole new set of problems and whole new side to my learning.

This month was also a reflection of the stress that changing one's living arrangements puts on a person. I found myself thinking, acting and reacting in ways that I don't normally.

That and a reminder from someone close to me - 'you can't control everything'.

Shame about that.

March also saw a contribution to my community in an interesting way. Speaking about things that *never* normally get spoken about. 'Filling In the Cracks' was by all accounts a success.

No pressure then.

That was March.

---------
01 Mar: Discover, develop and embrace what you're great at.

02 Mar: Sometimes life happens all at once. That's when you know you're growing.

03 Mar: Eloquence is saying what there is to say with as few words as is necessary.

04 Mar: It's not all black and white, just shades of grey.

05 Mar: Stuff is easy to accumulate but harder to offload.

06 Mar: It had to start somewhere. Someone started the ball rolling. Who was it?

07 Mar: Is it cause then effect? Or just effect then effect?

08 Mar: We are all human regardless of what's on the outside.

09 Mar: We are more like our parents than we realise. But we still have the capacity to change what happens next.

10 Mar: You can only change the rules of the game if you play by them first.

11 Mar: Breaking the rules means you have to acknowledge you're playing a game. (If you're playing a game that means it has rules.)

12 Mar: Some say it's all a game anyway. Others say it's more important than that. Which means they don't play very much.

13 Mar: Your life doesn't depend on anything. It just is.

14 Mar: It always works out just the way *someone* intended.

15 Mar: Knowing when to walk away can make *all* the difference.

16 Mar: Our deeper intentions give rise to more of our lives than we know. Question is - what are our deeper intentions?

17 Mar: Why is it easier to follow than lead? Oh yeah no thinking, commitment, creativity or risk required!

18 Mar: Nothing new ever got created without someone taking a risk.

19 Mar: Impatience is not a virtue.

20 Mar: When you absolutely need to you can punch harder and run faster than you think.

21 Mar: Sometimes I behave *just* like my dad. Sometimes I *really* don't. The point is I do have a choice.

22 Mar: Forgive your mistakes and clean up your mess. That's competence.

23 Mar: Forgive others' mistakes and clean up others' mess. That's mastery.

24 Mar: Have patience with yourself. Everyone else does.

25 Mar: Somehow something being inevitable sounds different to something being certain.

26 Mar: Nothing has to be inevitable. Try saying it with the emphasis on the word 'nothing'; then on 'has'; then on 'inevitable'. Now choose.

27 Mar: I waste time.

28 Mar: Learning doesn't have to be difficult but the best learning is challenging.

29 Mar: There is no *particular* way that teaching in class should look. But people expect it to be *their* way.

30 Mar: Unless you measure it, you have no idea if you're making progress.

31 Mar: I *know* I can choose how I react to something but I don't always *act* like it.
----------
I am the source.

Monday, March 14, 2011

JDS Insights: February 2011

I've done it again...two posts in one day...it's because I'm on a roll and expecting a lot of people to be checking my blog...hahahahaha! I'll be posting more on the reasons for that...

Well February...such a lot happened. Organising. Negotiating. Discussing. Inspiring. Creating. Travelling. Skiing.

Things like: organising a home-move, whilst negotiating with estate agents and discussing boys' learning at parents' evening including inspiring (Goan) community leaders and members in creating an event and travelling to Austria with 42 boys on a skiing trip...

It meant I was quite tired. And the daily insights dried up on Twitter...for a while...

Within that there has been some really good news...people finding jobs that really express who they are (and knowing that I had my part to play) and others stepping forward to contribute to an event I put together as well as confirming our change/ growth in living space.

This month's insights reflect the slightly frenetic pace of life but also the sense of 'going for it' and 'creation' that's happened.

Thank-you to all the special people around me. They know who they are.

This was February*
------------------------
01 Feb: There is always something to learn about the people we think we know the best.

02 Feb: Family don't know everything about you. Friends don't know everything about you. You don't know everything about you.

03 Feb: Sometimes I think I know so much what's best for the people I love, I miss what they're actually saying.

04 Feb: There *is* enough time for everything you want. Just be clear about what you want.

05 Feb: You don't know the reason for something as it happens. You only realise after time and reflection.

06 Feb: When you're ready and aware it will happen.

07 Feb: Getting stuck on a particular outcome can close down the opportunity for it to come to you in a number of ways.

08 Feb: Doing nothing opens nothing to happen. Being nothing opens everything to happen.

09 Feb: Life happens to me but having some direction means I can make life happen too.

10 Feb: You never know how someone is going to respond until you ask a straight question.

11 Feb: Unless you ask a straight question you won't get a straight answer.

12 Feb: When someone answers your question, *listen* to what they say.

13 Feb: Young people are in the process of growing up. Sometimes they genuinely don't have a clue.

14 Feb: In life, expand or contract.

15 Feb: Life is ups and downs. If I am down-I know what's coming next. Equally if I am up-I know what's coming next.

16 Feb: We only have limited time in this world.

17 Feb: It starts with who I am being and ends up with reality.

18 Feb: If I am being loving I will do the things loving people do and have the things loving people have. Imagine being angry?

19 Feb: Being scared can mean I am out of my comfort zone and I am alive.

20 Feb: Nothing has to stop me if I don't want it to.

21 Feb: Sometimes things are loud for a reason.

22 Feb: If someone repeats themselves to me perhaps I didn't get it the first time.

24 Feb: If the same stuff keeps happening to me, what is life telling me?

25 Feb: I can handle more than I think.

26 Feb: Most people have no clue what they *really* want.

27 Feb: It's only when you stick your neck out for something that you realise what you're truly capable of.

28 Feb: We all have the capacity to create something that lives and breathes outside us. Metaphorically and literally.
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*Quote the source.

JDS Insights: January 2011

Time definitely flies when you're having fun.

We're now almost a quarter of the way through the year...and I haven't even picked my themes for this year and reviewed last year! Ah well...it's in the works.

Back to January...and it was a month of recovery and action.

I've been engaged in something I had turned my back on. Contribution and community isn't always something that people think is important or even something that we can provide. Leadership too - it seems as if people are born with it rather than something that anyone can be.

It was also a month of new starts - which is something that always happens in January - and this year is no exception. Little things like a phone call can make a big difference - and it's keeping it going that helps a lot. That and dealing with all the little things that go with changing your living space...there are a lot!

Enjoy the thoughts from January...*

------------------
01 Jan: Could people behave *every day* as if it was New Year's Eve? Or would that diminish the power and mystique of that night?

02 Jan: Most of what passes through my head, forwards nothing. But it still came from me.

03 Jan: Discerning what's useful from what's useless is half the battle.

04 Jan: Don't kid yourself: mostly the internal voice chats shit. But it's still part of you.

05 Jan: Listening to *everything* I say to myself, gives me a full understanding of myself. Anything less is incomplete.

06 Jan: If every day is exactly the same, where is the creation?

07 Jan: I don't know - make something up.

08 Jan: Everyone makes it up as they go along. Or they're good at pretending they're not.

09 Jan: Choosing to let go of one thing opens up choices for something else.

10 Jan: Revealing ignorance - and dealing with it - is better than pretending you know.

11 Jan: Knowing something that could contribute - and holding back - isolates self and pushes humanity apart.

12 Jan: Saying what there is to say, shrinks my dark side.

13 Jan: Use your head and trust your instincts because logically your feelings will guide you. Got that?

14 Jan: Tough challenge: Be Yourself.

15 Jan: To be yourself, you have to know yourself; which needs self-awareness; which in turn, needs you to shut up and listen.

16 Jan: Express yourself.

17 Jan: Everyone knows what there is to do; whether you do it is a different matter.

18 Jan: Just because you make a New Year's Resolution does not mean you will fulfil your dream.

19 Jan: A little every day is usually better than a lot once or twice a month.

20 Jan: Deflecting genuine compliments you receive is like slapping yourself in the face and then slapping them.

21 Jan: Say "Thank-you" and mean it.

22 Jan: Heartfelt thanks acknowledges the spirit in everyone involved.

23 Jan: Blink and a year can pass. Make the most of each moment.

24 Jan: Knowing the reason behind doing something is more important than all the doing.

25 Jan: Never underestimate the positive effects of little thoughts that show you care for the people you love.

26 Jan: Exercising the mind is as important as exercising the body. But how do you exercise the soul?

27 Jan: Consider that your opinion of someone else doesn't match their opinion of you. If that's true, now what?

28 Jan: Nothing is real until you take action.

29 Jan: People want to be inspired. Anyone can do the inspiring.

30 Jan: A risk is an action with an uncertain outcome. But we are afraid of risk. Does that mean most of us have lives of certainty?

31 Jan: Creating inspiration is a natural thing to do. I don't always behave naturally.
-----------
*If you find what I've written interesting, please acknowledge the source. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

JDS Insights: December 2010

Only now am I getting around to posting about December.

And it was an interesting month. As a teacher, I've started to realise how important the holidays are for physical well-being.

What I mean is that in my job, I choose to give of myself. It's pretty tiring. I trained a PGCE student, I sang in the choir and kept the Sixth Form on track as well as I could, wherever I felt I could.

So - not surprisingly - I got ill on the last day of term.

Like properly ill for almost 10 days. Yes I was hit by the 'flu!

Apparently it's not uncommon for teachers to get ill when the holidays start.

So much for having weeks of holiday eh?

That was December.*

--------------
01 Dec: What happened before does not have to dictate what will happen next.

02 Dec: Truth is challenging to tell. Telling the truth challenges.

03 Dec: What's the difference between a half-truth and a half-lie?

04 Dec: Am I driving my life or being driven in my life? One sounds worse.

05 Dec: I actually don't know...until I make it up.

06 Dec: People can handle truth.

07 Dec: Teach history by giving *all* the evidence and letting people make up their own mind.

08 Dec: Offending seems to be easier than inspiring. But inspiring is more natural.

09 Dec: Playing full out gets harder as I get older. Is that because I have become sensible?

10 Dec: Happiness is not found in having more stuff.

11 Dec: To achieve a goal keep removing what's between here and there. The rest is easy.

12 Dec: Complete the preparation and you're ready for anything.

13 Dec: Moving forward after a setback doesn't have to be any more difficult than it was before.

14 Dec: Nobody actually listens to what's out there. Knowing that doesn't help. Practising it does.

15 Dec: Truth makes no difference in your head. Expressing it alters something.

16 Dec: Words are not experiences. They are just noises; signs of reality.

17 Dec: Changing something is different from creativity.

18 Dec: No thing is still forever. Nothing is forever still.

19 Dec: Communication is still possible without knowing another's language. But it requires opening oneself to one's humanity.

20 Dec: It all starts with truth.

21 Dec: When things are cold we understand the value of warmth.

22 Dec: It's difficult to appreciate all the ripples of one's actions.

23 Dec: Embrace your humanity. How else to deal with consistently fucking up? Oh yeah - a sense of humour.

24 Dec: Aspire to something.

25 Dec: Family does not *always* know best.

26 Dec: The previous generation doesn't have to dictate what happens next.

27 Dec: Never discount the emotional and spiritual benefits of exercise.

28 Dec: Never discount the emotional and spiritual problems of physical illness.

29 Dec: Continually doing something will either rob it of its significance or bring deeper insight. Your choice.

30 Dec: Sometimes the appropriate response is to walk away and not bang your head against that particular brick wall any longer.

31 Dec: Hit the reset button. You can do it at any time not just New Year's Eve.
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*If you find what I've written interesting, please acknowledge the source. Fanks!