Sunday, 27 November 2011

Foundational archive

I am inspired by Dana's blog (Awareness) this morning and ponder on her term foundational archive. Similar thoughts were already swimming in my mind even before I read her wonderful piece, about the silver link between our senses and memories; being sparked by sights, sounds or smells and transported back to a memory.

The memories that made a difference, if I were to group them together, would almost certainly be about family and those close who were "always there". Uncles, great aunts, friends of our family that I grew up alongside; there was a knowledge that much of what happened had a purpose and was dependable. When things went a little off balance, there was a root to hold onto a branch to shelter under, something to climb and see things from a different place. So many people are already flooding back into my mind, times and places of togetherness, happy events; but even the sad times, there is peace.

How do we teach this to our young generation? Have we lost the skills or the will to share these moments, to build foundational archives for generations to come. It seems to me that there has been such a gap in time when this way of living has been left to one side, we can blame the technological age, materialism or pressure of work; it still comes down to us. I also believe that the giving of self in this way, being there for those around us, provides us with a vitamin that cannot be purchased over a counter; a different kind of energy that you will not find in a gym. So remember those times, value and treasure them; it is our turn to be those people.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Light beneath the canopy

Light beneath the canopy

Time has stood still only at this Blog space; elsewhere it has been moving at an alarming rate. I realised some time ago that time was against me in relation to achieving my goals, and embedded a sense of disappointment. My creative thoughts and ideas appeared on, what I imagined to be a large sheet of white paper and immediately blurred with everything else. I was not prepared to reduce the amount of ideas so in my mind, I created a much larger sheet of paper. Each one of us have ways of organising and visualising life and its demands, and to balance our own creative side is important.

Walking recently through the streets of Saltburn by the Sea (the back streets & alleyways to be precise) I noticed far more people choose the alleyways; there is a busy highway running through our town that you would not notice unless you stepped onto it. I was surprised who I met and will choose these streets more often.

Awaking early as I do this time of year, feels like the middle of the night. It is strange to see that we can see, much much further these dark times; light years in fact - to the distant stars. Durham was lit up this week and thousands flocked to see the amazing colours; I didn't stay long among the hustle and bustle, people with cameras, tripods, mobiles and an assortment of personal light sabres. I returned home to my own light show and my very large sheet of paper, which in itself contains a whole universe.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The morning sun

My eyes are squinted at the bright morning sun.

What filters will I use today to distort the brightness of others.

Monday, 22 August 2011


I am walking and listening, and most of the sounds are part of the background mush; occasionally something is brought to the foreground and then sent back.

The sound of my old sandals caught me by surprise, it is a personal sound and made up of many parts. The left and the right steps have their own signature and the combination of leather and flesh creates something close to a squeak, but not. The side-walk and the soul beat together as the body swings in time.

I may be recognised by the rhythm, the sway, tempo and shape from a distance; something I am totally unaware of. So it was good to listen, as I walked; beginning to recognise part of me that others see.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Books & Knowledge

Today a wonderful book arrived by special delivery from some very good friends; a simple note inside saying “Saw this and thought of you”.

It’s a third edition, original printed in 1947 so circa 1956-65. Radio Television and Electrical repairs; it made me smile. As a boy I had a keen interest in short wave radio and enjoyed pulling things to bits to see how they worked; I did manage to make a few things too. This lead to an apprenticeship in Radio TV and Hi Fi servicing and books such as these were essential to feed the mind.

I remember college clearly and wondered just how I was going to figure everything out, there was so much of it and they used such strange words and formula. I gathered many such books and subscribed to magazines to keep abreast of new ideas. Still it was a struggle to me, others seemed to grasp concepts quickly and move on; I knew all the answers were in the book. Trying to race ahead, looking at the pictures, making some sense in my own head was not a good strategy as I only became more confused. Final year exams were tense but the results were a pass and I qualified.

It is strange today looking at these books and still thinking, I don’t understand it all. I guess reading is not my preferred learning style (something that was never thought about in my day). Looking at my collection of books, I know they contain much knowledge. To sit down and transfer that knowledge into workable, usable skills and benefits is a struggle and sometimes I think I collect the books, in the hopes that the knowledge will just magically seep out and become part of me.

Before we can learn we must first learn the language in which the subject is taught.


NB. A great day at Saltburn by the Sea today as it was 150 years since the first Steam train pulled into this very new Victorian town 1861 and Saltburn became the fastest growing Victorian town in England.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Little people

This weekend has seen a young family staying with us, two small children and a large dog; there has been much fun and I don’t know how we kept our energy levels going. I opted for what I thought would be an easy option; walking the dog. He is an extremely large long haired German shepherd but a trifle nervous despite his stature. He walks very well on the lead till something spooks him, then he rears up like a horse and lurches to the side; but we managed to complete a 3-mile walk (twice). I enjoy walking, time to think, but not with a dog such as this.

We decided it would be a good option to take the children out, run some energy off them and get some fresh air. I dressed the little girl and managed very, I thought; only to be told the Velcro  belt I had put round her was in fact a head band, she was more impressed with it round her middle and refused to have it on her head (I have started a new trend). Our trip onto the North York Moors took us through Danby and a chance to see sheep being sheared, wood carved and many country crafts, the children just wanted the swings that are there every time.217555_10150333757736111_752431110_10034363_2465140_n

Onward to Hob Hole and the best part of the day, throwing stones in the beck and trying to fly a kite in very little wind, you can just imagine me running with the string and the young boy chasing the kites shadow as it darts over the grass. Larger stones make bigger splashes and you can’t throw them so far; so we all ended up a little wet. Time for home and some tea. I tried to explain about Hob Hole and how mischievous goblins used to live there, the 5-year old wanted to know more; where are they now? I began one of my stories that I had chased them away when I was a young boy, so how old were you and were they invisible, how did you see them, where did you get the magic glasses from.. .. .. I didn’t bargain for the inquisition but managed to cover most of it and promised a bedtime story about the whole episode.

Meal times were a riot and although all around the table were well behaved, the routine and actions were very different to the norm. It seams the whole friary has been turned upside down (in a nice way). It is always a challenge to experience something different, stepping out of our usual run of things, especially when it is for the benefit of others. Soon the friary will return to how it was, comfortable and predictable. I wonder how good it is for us to live in a predictable status?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Alnmouth Friary

I sit in the library at Alnmouth friary, a room that has not changed in its purpose since its beginning. On both sides of this great bay window, nothing much has changed in almost 100 years. Some of the surface material of course is new, furniture, books, and outside, a golf course and greenery. Coquet island in the distance maintains its shape and the stone work of the window frames our view; the clouds have many different shapes but their familiar types denote our weather. P1100130

This is one of my favourite places and I think it is more to do with the quality of silence. Its 6am and the faint smell of incense lingers from last night’s lucinarium, (the chapel being immediately below me) and the echoes of plain chant still in my mind. There was a moment last night, at the end of the service, I did not want to leave; the everyday distractions were so far away from me, they had no hold.

I notice three young men approach the waters edge and cast their lines as far out into the sea as they can; the tide is on the turn. A little farther out in the estuary, a host of sea birds are performing intricate aerobatics and diving for fish. The spray of white foam as they plunge into the water is quite impressive, even from this distance. The movement and excitement is like an underwater firework display, some going in two or three at a time. This was a great treat for me, to witness a great mastery of both air and sea; climbing so high, to turn (almost back flip), dive and at the last minute, with wings swept back – splash.

In contrast, the advancing tide is no more than a smooth ripple, the gentle morning light shimmering across its surface, but slowly, and persistently, it pushes in; the two men with their cameras begin to retreat. I am reminded too that I also must retreat from this place, into the world that is my life, I take with me many things, the sights, sounds, and taste and smell, the conversations, laughs and thoughtful moments. I have appreciated company while still finding time for solitude; this silent place touches into the fabric of our soul and feeds us. The rhythm of the tide reminds us that this is a much needed part of our life and should not be an optional extra or fashion accessory.

P1100075 Stepping into this different routine of prayer and silence is like trying one an old overcoat, that someone else has moulded; there is a surprise at how well it fits. Silence is kept between nine pm and nine am, breakfast in silence is not so strange if you don’t think about it. The silence drives thoughts to the emptiness, where speaking normally resides and presents us with a different level of awareness. Discipline in a routine, how ever that may fit into our life, will always overflow into the rest of our life, (in this case) becoming more content and focused. So do not trouble your mind with what will be; attend to the now, in serenity and confidence that Gods will is being effective in the moment.


Coquet Island.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Early morning and I am awake before the alarm again. Anticipating the chime and hanging on the moment to see if it will strike now.

In this moment I am picturing a clock makers shop, its not the kind of shop that displays its products for sale, but a range of time pieces from small to large, ornate to plain and very old classic to not so old. These are all cared for by the clock maker and wound
till almost tight (just right). The ticking of each clock is adjusted with fine attention, counting the seconds and giving substance to the passing of time.

Some of the clocks chime on the quarter hour and some on the hour; the time being set by the same clock maker. Although each clock counts the seconds, some tick at double speed and some seem very slow indeed. The moment has arrived - the o'clock marker and each clock, in its turn chimes, strikes; making its own sound in its own time. The room fills with individual sound, moving around the room as some begin moments before others, chimes in quick succession, longer and deeper ones; until silence save the ticking once more.

Note to morning office: Thank you for my individual time.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Light pervades


Morning office:

Strange light this morning, the sun is risen,

light is diffused and spread evenly across the horizon.

It is as if light itself has been pressed and made uniform.

How will my day be levelled that I can see things in balance?


Friday, 27 May 2011

Too Late Posts

The month is almost through and I seem to have written very little; at least here. Time has been spent in developing a new resource to be launched in September, I have also completed my Master Practitioner training in NLP – that was quite, an amazing journey.

Note to morning office:DSCF0006

Don’t seek a new piece of land to conquer and make it productive;  instead, seek to regenerate what you already have.

Note to evening office:

The prayer book we use is not what's important; its the opening, turning the page, and giving time to God.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Saltburn Pier

Saltburn Pier001

A challenging day; I took a short walk to the upper promenade.

Gazing at the pier stretching out into the sea, I saw its stability and determination to be nothing but a pier. It has no wheels or moving parts but people journey on this wooden deck; to look back at the town buildings and the bustle of life.

This structure has the ability, to take you to another place, above the land and the sea - and by its own position, to view things from a different corner.

Just what I needed.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Dufton Pike

P1090745a A lovely weekend, spent with friends. Times of sharing thoughts and dreams, concerns and choices, interspersed with laughter and love of one another.

Dufton Pike was too inviting, despite the strong wind; worth every step.

I could barely stand at the top as the wind took my breath away. The rest of the small band of travellers set off on the decent, I stayed awhile to take in the experience, intent on revisiting this experience throughout the coming weeks.



Psalm 2

O Spirit of God’s eternal springtime heart, grant me the virtue of elasticity. Make my heart as boundless as my Beloved’s heart which at this moment is creating new galaxies and infant suns.

Stir my mind well with your sacred spoon to awaken the fermentation of ideas. Stirred by the ten thousand little compromises required for me by the stiffness of the old leathered skins of society and religion.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

In the bag

I awoke this morning to the image of and extraordinarily large bag, so big I was able to climb right inside it. The bag was indeed large and empty, but there in the corner, between the stitching of the material was a precious stone.

I stood in the emptiness of the bag, holding everything, in my hand.

Note to morning office: Consider today emptiness and much may be achieved.

Friday, 8 April 2011

My Window

I was sitting in my old chair, deep in my room - surrounded by my memories, furniture, pictures and books; withdrawn and safe within my world created.P1010104

The window surrounded by fabric and walls, allows light into this world of mine. 

The morning sun in its colours of gold orange and yellow cast shadows that move swiftly across my world.

From where I sit, the view through my window is limited; occasionally a bird will fly past or circle in the distance.

Noises outside bring curiosity, and I rise to approach my window.

I breathe in familiar senses of this beautiful NEW world that is my present future.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A million shades of green

Laughter abides in the tree at the bottom of our garden;

the cracking and popping of the buds and the rapid change in its shades of green.

The distant view through its branches, takes on a filter of foliage;

change is here, and what we now see, is something quite different.


Monday, 28 February 2011


Almost a week ago I began, not for the first time – a journey into rather than away from. Though the week was spent with others, it was very much time for self; the others, provided the reflection necessary, for the internal reference.

A story told, crammed with metaphors, lead us through fields to an old house; cared for by a very special couple. Visitors were clearly changed having spent time at this magical place; it was as if they could take some of the very fabric of the building with them. Cases packed, taxi waiting in the drive, each one carried out much more than they had brought.  Time

Returning to places that have been important to us, is not always that easy. The woman in the story, after leaving the old house, paused on a bridge and gazed into the water; seeing herself looking back at her becoming.

This evening was spent at a Vin Garbutt gig, which I thoroughly enjoyed; he saved the best till last and sang “What’s the use of wings”.

Sunday, 23 January 2011


The purpose of a testimony is to encourage, and I want to encourage you.

I encourage you to imagine the impossible, because God is good at doing the impossible; you know when God is about, when incredible things happen – and the strange thing is, that these things often happen in the most normal of ways – because God is involved in the normal.

I could tell you many stories of incredible things and many normal things too; each one, leaving within, a sense of awe.

Each one requires a response, a response to change; to move forward.

The purpose of a testimony is to encourage us to change, as a response to a personal experience. P1070031

So imagine the impossible, find it in the normal and share it.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


I am not sure what makes a good blog or if we should define good, being dependant on number of hits. I have come to a conclusion that the Internet and it’s “Hits monitor” is just a lottery. “The post” on this modest site attracting most attention – 15th Feb 2009. I have no idea why this should be?

We all have a need to be accepted and occasionally to be told “your doing good”. Fame is quite another thing and I think that’s important for some and for others to aspire to. I was working recently with a young man and we were talking about confidence. Now this person has quite a lot of self confidence in some areas of his life – lack of confidence in other areas holds back growth and drives him into a stuck state, unable to move forward.


Imagine where we might not find confidence? We would not find it in any of the jars in a sweet shop, we could not fill a bucket of it from a stream, we can’t pick it from trees, it won’t arrive in the post and I am not going to win it in a lottery draw. In short, we came to the conclusion that confidence is not something that grows or develops, magically appears or that it can be strengthened by some form of exercise. Our theory is that each person has sufficient confidence for their needs; our ability to use this confidence is restricted by barriers and issues, both internal and external. Removing the blockages in the pipe-work allows the product to flow through.

Note to evening office: Lord, thank you for equipping me with all I need.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Without intention

P1090432The silver birch in the friary garden, adorned by a beauty that was not of its making.

New years arrive more frequently than they used to (or at least, that is my perception). I am feeling I have more to look back upon than to look forward to. Until you begin to see the possibilities  of what will go on beyond our time.

Moulding/ creating with a piece of clay in my hand; I shape and give form to to what was just a lump of clay. I begin to bring into being a thought, a feeling, an idea that is more than words or a sketch; this is more part of myself than I would dare to admit. It would take a fraction of a second to re-form this creation back to a lump of clay – so take a moment to hold it in the palm of your hand and try not to compare it to anything else (it is unique). As it stands, it is perfect; without criticism from within or without, it just is.

How easily we put down our dreams and creative thoughts in this competitive and critical world. It seems that when we compare our efforts to something else, this is when we decide we are not good enough. So the next time you get your hands on a piece of clay or plasticine, mould a thought and accept it as perfect, comparing it to nothing else.

Note to evening office: I am a creative being, moulded by the creator – who said He was pleased with what he saw.