Archive for October, 2009

Can a leopard change its spots?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

We are told from an early age that a leopard can’t change its spots as a self evident article of truth.  As a professional in this field I obviously don’t see it quite this way.  Obviously we are born with a certain nature, a body and a genome that gives us a predisposition towards certain strengths and weaknesses.  We are brought up in a circumstances that gives a set of views and values, though obviously many of us rebel against those and end up in the opposite position.  As we grow up (a process that doesn’t necessarily finish when we leave school) we explore our world, experiment with different strategies, experience success & failure, pleasure & pain and all of these forge us into a particular shape.

Certainly this process continues throughout our lives, but many people tend to keep repeating certain patterns once they get into their thirties.  We can read ‘self development’ books, study and give ourselves  new and different experiences that can and will change us to some extent, but as long as we remain in the same environment, then we do tend just develop within the same space rather than transform.  However, transformation is possible, if the circumstances are right. 

However, I tend to think we come here to become the very best version of ‘us’ that we can be.   We are born with all the raw material that we need to succeed in our mission, and in the perfect circumstances too.  As we know ourselves better we can show others more of who we truly are.   As we accept ourselves, we cease to try to model ourselves on others and can adopt strategies that align better with our true natures.  So perhaps rather than change our spots, we learn to display them more honestly and clearly.

I’d be interested to hear your experiences…

“A leopard can’t change its spots, but can it climb up a different tree once in a while”

The Art of Forgetting

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I was listening to something on the radio today about how with all this electronic data available to us, more and more of our lives are documented and increasingly  we are drowning in data and memories.  We can retrieve snaps from drunken parties taken on our phones, daft emails sent in anger, old letters and goodness knows what else.  I gather that Microsoft is even funding research into this with one of their chaps literally documenting every aspect of his life, but I was far from understanding why one would want to!   However, the point that the man on the radio was making was that forgetting is an intrinsic and important aspect of the human experience and part of moving on and letting go.  Forgetting is one way of decluttering our minds.

One example of the benefits of forgetting is that one day Pythagoras was taking one of his regular walks past the local blacksmith’s workshop, he temporarily forgot that the banging sounds produced by the smith’s hammering of iron bars were “noise” – his usual reaction – and instead viewed them as “information.” He subsequently discovered that musical pitch is a function of the length of the material being struck, his first principle of mathematical physics.

Another thing is that whilst our memories naturally decay with time, we tend to assume that we have ‘20:20’ recall and that what is imprinted in our minds is automatically complete, true and accurate, which of course is never the case. 

So what was the point of the blog….. I forget!

“Learning is about more than simply acquiring new knowledge and insights; it is also crucial to unlearn old knowledge that has outlived its relevance. Thus, forgetting is probably at least as important as learning.”   Gary Ryan Blair

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A gift of time…. TICK…..TOCK..

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Last night at 2am the world decided that we needed to change our clocks, and we set them back an hour.  Now I don’t know about you, but I unfailing find this adjustment an unnecessary dislocation in my natural rhythms, not to mention that every blooming thing now has a clock built into it and I have to adjust stoves, cars, clocks, phones, cameras, satnavs and… and ….

However [rant over]… Today we have been given the gift of time.  You have an extra hour to do with what you will… so what are you going to do with it?  You could call your mum, sweep up the leaves, go for a run, sleep in, meditate…. why not make time for one of those things that you keep saying you don’t have time to do?

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
you can never get it back.”

Harvey MacKay

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The Fall

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

I was out walking in the some beautiful woods in West Sussex today, enjoying the colours of the leaves.  As I walked along, one particular leaf caught my eye as it fluttered to the ground and it got me thinking about the process by which trees shed their leaves.  Once the season changes, and there is no longer enough light to make sugar, the tree withdraws the chlorophyll from leaves.  They seal off the leaves and their job done, they let them go and move on. 

As people, we often find it hard to know when to let go and move on, we tend to associate it with pain and a raft of other negative emotions.  I have to say that I feel we might do well to learn from the leaves….

So it occurred to me that today might a good day to let go of something….

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”   Havelock Ellis


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My path

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I was out walking today, amidst the beautiful autumn colours and in woods filled with birdsong and red & white toadstools straight out of a movie set.  I never cease to be amazed by how easy it is to miss your path.  We navigated very accurately for 98% of the route but twice we managed to not see a path we need to take.  You take the what seems like the obvious and right path and as you walk along you start to realise that you are not getting the right feedback, not seeing the right signs.  Do you back-track and hope to spot what you have missed or do you carry on and adjust your bearing to try and reconnect with your route?  It is always tough to make that call.

For me, Life is like this too.  You think that you know where you are headed and then slowly you become aware that things aren’t ‘on track’.  Sometimes these little diversions can be very fruitful, and I often feel that the Universe steers us into these places; other times we are just plain lost, the trouble is that we can’t always tell the difference!

I help people construct plans and recognise their importance, but they only take us so far and there is definitely a value in reacting to what we find before us and capitalising on it.  I think knowing when we are ‘on track’ is one of the biggest challenges.  How do you know?

“There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same”   Chinese Proverbs

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge”   Audre Lorde

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

I was talking today about a project to create a new website designed to bring inspiring thoughts to people.  Four relative strangers coming together to explore possibilities and try and create something positive.  I guess you could think that was pretty inspiring…

Of course it got me thinking about what I find inspiring and what inspires others.  You might feel it should be easy to answer what inspires me, but though it is an increasingly common word to bandy around these days, it isn’t a label I often attach to my experiences.  I am easily moved by things I see in nature, or by things that I read or films I watch, but I’m not sure if ‘moved’ equals ‘inspired’.  One connects me to my emotions and builds those ‘muscles’.  The other perhaps needs to show me another way of being or thinking or acting.

What do you think?

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  Lao Tzu

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Last Chance Harvey

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I had a lovely time today; I went to see “Last Chance Harvey”, a film I’ve been looking forward to ever since I first heard anything about it.  It is a gentle romcom starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.  It was every bit as lovely as I thought it would be; a perfect little movie.  One of the things that I enjoyed was watching two such superb actors making the whole thing appear utterly effortless.  It left me wishing that I achieve just a tiny bit of the excellence that they have in any field of endeavour.

When we give ourselves to the things that we love and get out of our own way, it can be amazing how good we can be.  I wondered if you had any examples of this you would care to share? 




“Excellence is in the details. Give attention to the details and excellence will come.”  Perry Paxton

“Excellence can be obtained if you:
…care more than others think is wise;
…risk more than others think is safe;
…dream more than others think is practical;
…expect more than others think is possible.”


Latest Lesson from the Kittens: Exploring the Boundaries

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Our babies are growing up now and are about 4 months old.  Yesterday they discovered the cat-flap and can now explore the outside world on their own.  When we first took them out, they didn’t know how to handle grass, and stayed on the patio.  Today the girl caught a mouse!  They are charging round the place like mad things, and have even experimented (unsuccessfully) with walking on water…

It makes me wonder if we are as energetic and fearless about exploring our world and expanding our boundaries.  We spend so much time in our comfort zone (we’re too busy to look outside..) that we don’t see all the new possibilities out there.

Perhaps we need to make regular time for a little exploration if we want to bring new possibilities into our lives?

“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.”   Frank Borman

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Born to Change?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

“Humans have a genetic imperative to change; that is what our genes do. They bring two people together to have children so that the genes can mix and mutate.”  Phylipa Delglyn

I came across this quote by someone writing about Human Design (which a system that allows us to understand who we are and what our roles are and how to live successfully.)  I thought it a big statement but on one level it is undeniably true. 

The thing is we all live in a world that is constantly changing and yet we always seem to feel that Change is some thing to be resisted and we seem to be constantly surprised by it.

What do you think.. are we born to change?  If so, is it something we choose, control and co-operate with or something that we fight and resist?  What is your strategy?

Just Busking the Blues

Friday, October 9th, 2009

I was in Guildford High Street this morning and there was a lone busker playing the blues.  He then started playing “Hey Joe”, an old Hendrix classic, I was really enjoying it.  I looked around and noticed a couple of other men about my age enjoying it too and everyone else just went about their business.  I thought it interesting that he couldn’t really know who he touched with his music.  I suppose there must have been some people who wished he’d just stop, and a few like me for whom it really added to our day.

I don’t suppose that any of us really are aware of who we touch or what effect we have on those around us…..

For those of you who would like to hear it …. Here’s Jimi!


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