Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Death and Birth of Dreams

I'm happy to announce that my new book, Happiness & Honey, is now out to buy in paperback and on electronic formats.

The short fable is about a bee who exists at a time when bees didn't believe they could fly. They spend all their time slaving away to make honey. Billy was a bee who dreamt he could fly, but was told to turn his back on his silly dreams, to get some responsibilities and to go to work and make as much honey as possible.

I remember when the idea came to me: I was out walking on a cool day after a really hot spell. It was early in the year, too - Spring, I believe. I stepped over a bee on the pavement that also looked like it was out for its daily stroll. Then the idea popped into my head about a bee that couldn't fly.

I'm a guilty dreamer . . . for ten years I entertained the dream of becoming a music producer. I pursued it right to the very end, signing along the dotted line of the contract when I was 23. But it turned out that I had outlived the dream. I no longer resonated with the role of music producer. So much resistance and uncertainty took place around that time that I can remember crying myself to sleep one night.

I was saying goodbye to a part of myself that I had lived and breathed for a decade.

I was grieving the death of a dream.

It didn't help that I had identified myself with the outcome of the dream - so when the dream was realised and fell flat on its face, I was left asking who I was.

I remember a friend saying to me at the time, 'This could be the best thing that ever happened to you.' And he was right, for now I had space in life for something that would be up to date with my ideals and my sense of self.

It occurred to me that if I had got a recording contract, I could have and do anything I put my mind to. 

This is how writing came into the picture.

I had wanted to write a book since I was very young, but making music always took precedence.

Having written three books so far, I intend to continue . . . but who knows, maybe I'll turn my back on it further down the line and take up painting as a means of expressing myself.

Although I can't draw to save my soul . . .

Happiness & Honey is available on Rowanvale Books

I hope it touches the dreamer in you.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Caterpillar People

It's hard to believe that the last time I wrote a post was five months ago.

Updating my blog is kind of like updating Facebook, or posting new tweets on Twitter.

If I don't feel like I've got that much to say, then I don't feel like saying much, so I settle for silence.

That said, now I have some news to share with whoever happens to chance upon this blog:

A new article of mine called Caterpillar People, is in the latest issue (Winter issue) of Watkins Mind Body Spirit Magazine. The magazine also contains articles by Ram Dass, Steve Taylor and Lorna Byrne. If you're interested in the MBS field then I'm sure they'll be something for you within its pages.

If you don't have a WHSmiths near you (which is where I found the magazine) and would like to buy a copy, please click on the following link:

Just a quick update:

My bereavement book for children is currently being illustrated. Both the illustrator ( and I are really looking forward to the finished product . . . it should be quite special.

The end of the month should see the publication of my new book, Happiness and Honey. It's in a similar vein to my book, The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair, but focusses on a colony of bees who believe their wings to be useless. It's being published by Rowanvale Books. (

I'm currently working on my next book which is allowing me to revel in my dark side. It contains elements of witchcraft, suicide and domestic abuse . . . not the usual stuff that comes through in my fiction! It's an exciting process for me, though. I'm discovering a lot about myself as an individual and as a writer.

If you're interested in my first two works of fiction, please follow the link.

Love dogs.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

What It's All About

A journey is made rich by the experiences we have along the way.

When I go walking, it's always the people I meet, who are strangers 99% of the time, that give it depth and colour.

I enjoy meeting new people at the best of times, but there is something unique and hugely rewarding about conversing with these new faces whilst out walking. Straight away it feels like we have something in common; something that can remain unspoken; something that can only be experienced when out trekking. Because of this unspoken, yet not at all unknown bond, first impressions are usually made up of a smile, a nod, a simple greeting and sometimes a whole conversation may develop.

This is what happened to me yesterday.

I had just entered the gaping mouth of the woodlands, and noticed a man looking up at a tree, standing quite Poirot-like with his hands behind his back.

He didn't have a backpack on, nor was he dressed in outdoor gear. His attire simply consisted of blue jeans, navy blue t-shirt and white trainers.

As I got closer, the snapped branch underfoot got his attention. He smiled at me and continued his walk in my direction.

'This is what it's about,' he said. 'This is what it's all about.'

When something like that is said whilst standing in nature, you don't need to question the meaning. In fact, if you truly understand what has been said, and if the person who said it meant it, silence will surely follow.

And it did.

Two strangers sharing the experience of stillness.

We listened.

We looked.


'I don't understand,' he said after a moment or two, 'how people can be cooped up inside. They're stagnating. They're wasting away. They don't know what they're missing when they're sat in front of their TVs and computers. This is why obesity is on the rise. This is nature's gym! And it's free!'

He was right, of course.

Walking in nature isn't just good for you physically, it's also good for you mentally. It alleviates stress and depression. It calms the mind, producing inner space. It boosts creativity and lifts the spirit. After a brief look on the net; studies from 2010 showed that 25%  of obese people are diagnosed with depression.

'People would be generally happier if they spent more time outside doing an activity like walking, than inside doing something like browsing the internet and watching soaps,' said my new friend.

I told him that I have a TV but it doesn't have an aerial, and he smiled.

'I enjoy Springwatch,' he said, looking almost as excited as a child does on Christmas morning. 'I never miss an episode. Now . . . you might not have a TV, but I don't have a computer.'

He began to tell me about how he had recently changed cable companies. 'They gave me something to connect to the internet and then insisted that I plug it in. I told them I didn't have a computer but they didn't understand. They told me to go to their site - this .com that .com - stuff your .com, I said!'

He instantly looked like a rebellious child. 'I can't be bothered with it. You know, even if more people did go for walks, they wouldn't see a thing because their eyes would be glued to their phones and their ears would be only alert to the next text message.'

It's sad, but I think he's right.

I just hope that in time peoples' gaze will rise from their phones, computers and TVs - just once in a while for them to see what it's all about.

There is an unfathomable amount to see - and I don't mean within the TV guide.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Shadow and the Song

We really are surrounded by the most breathtaking beauty - it's a wonder we get anything done!

The reason why we don't see the opulence of beauty around us, is because we have become numb to it.

All the time, our senses long for more. What is right in front of us isn't good enough.

The Just Mode of Perception is the term I coined a few years ago. It's how the majority of us perceive the world around us.

And it comes about by believing that what we observe, be it a tree, a flower, a cloud, an animal or a person, is the label we attach to it.

I touch upon this in my book, The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair.

Krishnamurti is known for saying, 'As soon as you teach the child the name of the bird, he will never see that bird again.'

We look at a blackbird and we say, 'It's just a blackbird.' But, as a child, when we first saw a bird we were no doubt amazed. Then someone tells us the name of the nameless thing we were amazed by. 'That's a BIRD.'

So we attach BIRD to this object, which before was without a label. Then when we see another BIRD we say, 'Oh, it's a BIRD.' Then as time goes on, the ornithologist in us might want to know what kind of BIRD it is. 'What bird is that?' you ask. 'That's a blackbird,' you're told.

Then the inevitable happens; the next time you see a BLACKBIRD you say, 'It's just a blackbird, I want to see something else now.'

Magic and wonder - gone.

If we become conscious of this pattern of perceiving the world, straight away it starts to undo itself. And as soon as that happens the light of immense beauty begins to scintillate around us once again.

I'm not saying labels are wrong or bad. They're very useful for communicating. It's how we differentiate between a tree and an ant, for instance - we describe the different characteristics. But what has happened is that we have formulated a habit of believing the object is the label we attach to it.

Labelling has always been a method for separating this from that.

It's not a tool to know what something is.   

A few days ago I was on my delivery and I heard a blackbird sing, but my perception of it changed instantly. It changed so that I didn't actually hear the blackbird sing. I don't know what I heard. But I can tell you how it felt when I heard the unknown: it was like nothing I had ever heard before. It flowed so smoothly and dipped and dived and swept and curled - and it did none of those things! Because it just was.

Then instantly a pigeon flew overhead and splashed its shadow on the pavement in front of me. The whole process, but this time with my eyes, not my ears, started all over again. I saw the shadow of the pigeon but I didn't see the shadow of the pigeon. It just was. And because I observed it without a label what I perceived was breathtaking.

Simple, day to day, occurrences, and with a flick of a switch their real identity - which will always remain unknown - becomes known.

You can't beat a good-old Zen paradox.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Break that Damn Dam!

My last post was about the benefits of smiling. Well, I think this entry is also heading in that direction.

The other day, whilst on my delivery, I got talking to a lady who was doing a bit of gardening. It was a beautiful day, the second one in a row, and I was preparing my daily weather comment, such as:
  • Nice day today
  • Don't hold you breath, it might snow next week!
And then I prepare to hear in return:
  • What a job you have in this weather
  • A great day for posties!
But as I got closer to this lady, she stood up straight, wiped her brow on the back of her garden glove and simply said, 'I have one question for you . . . are you nice to your parents?'

I was a bit taken aback. All my weather replies were useless.

'Yes, I am,' I said. 'Why do you ask?'

'I thought you would be,' she said, smiling. 'You see, our son is a consultant. We put him through all the education he needed, but he doesn't want anything to do with us now.'

I know this is only one side of the story, but honestly, if you were to meet this lady and her husband, you would instantly want to be their friend. They come across as genuinely nice people, really warm and caring . . . and they're always smiling and willing to talk.

Don't you think life is too short to hold grudges?

I personally feel tainted when I hold a grudge, as if I've created a ball of tension in my mind. It clouds my senses, making me numb to life and it's breathtaking expression.

So much time is wasted when we're unwilling to move on from past hurts. I know the deeper the wound the longer it takes to heal, but come on, people - LIFE, HERE ON EARTH, IS GONE IN AN INSTANT.

Unwilling to forgive someone for their past actions (or reactions) keeps you in that space and time when whatever it was occurred. You can't move on from it. It's like you've built your own mental dam; it prevents your life from flowing with ease.

How much regret one must have when the person (a member of our family, a friend etc) who we have issues with, who we've given the silent treatment for months or years, suddenly dies. (How do you feel about the permanent silent treatment now?) Surely then, when they've died, it must hit home that the only person who suffers for holding the grudge, unwilling to forgive, is the one who is holding the grudge and unwilling to forgive.  

I'm sure it was the Buddha who said this (I apologies if it wasn't . . .) 'Holding onto anger is like holding onto a hot stone with only the intention of throwing it at someone. You are the one who ultimately gets burnt.'

And the same applies to grudges.

If you hold a grudge, if you're unwilling to forgive someone, then it is you who suffers. The grudge is within you, and so is the resentment, the hatred, the anger and the frustration - it's all there in you, poisoning your body and your mind, making you blind to the wonders of life that forever surround you.

Therefore, it is true that forgiveness is a selfish act, but that's fine, right? We can live with that. By forgiving, you're not letting the person off the hook, you're letting yourself off the hook.

How sad it is when people go through life blinded by their grief and their hatred for certain individuals. They have no idea (because surely they wouldn't do it if they did) of the damage they are causing themselves.

The lady then said, 'I've been telling everyone about my postman, and how he's always smiling and happy.'

One of the reasons why I'm always smiling and happy is that I forgive . . . I forgive others . . . and this is an important one - I forgive myself for any past actions that may have caused pain to others.

I know it's hard to forgive some people for the things they do and say. You only have to tune into the news to see how hard it must be to forgive people for the atrocities they commit. But when we choose not to forgive, we choose to suffer. And the last thing we want for ourselves when going through a tough time is more suffering . . . self-inflicted suffering at that.

Breaking Down Your Mental Dam

In your mind, picture the person who you find it hard to forgive.

See them standing before you.

Smile at them. (Try! Notice how it feels)

And say, 'Thank you, but I'm letting you go now. I'm taking my life back.'

And then make the image of them get smaller and smaller until it vanishes.

Take a few deep breaths and smile.

Notice how it feels to be back in control of your life? The burden as been lifted. If you don't feel like it has, then keep doing the exercise until the burden begins to feel lighter until eventually it vanishes.

You're in control - break that damn dam!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Teeny Tiny Smile . . . and Dolphins

I was talking to an elderly lady about diet and eating habits.

'Little and often,' she said.

It's advice I've heard before.

After a quick search on the net, I came across an article from the Daily Mail:

'Grazing was the way our body was designed to eat,' says nutritionist Antony Haynes. 'Large meals burden the digestive system, often causing bloating and lowered energy while the body struggles to digest them.

'By eating smaller meals you prevent this, and the body functions more efficiently throughout the day.' When we eat a big meal, the sugar level in our blood rises, but once that meal is digested that blood sugar level falls, taking your energy and mood with it.

The problem is, the bigger the meal, the bigger the crash - and the higher your need for sugary snacks to refuel your body.

'The regular influx of food with a little-and-often approach keeps your energy level stable and makes it easier for you to cope with everything you have to do in a day,' says nutritionist Natalie Savona.


So that's our food intake, but then I thought, why not practise little and often with smiling?

Back to the net. Ten facts about the benefits of smiling:

1. Smiling makes us attractive
2. Smiling changes our mood
3. Smiling is contagious
4. Smiling relieves stress
5. Smiling boosts your immune system
6. Smiling lowers your blood pressure
7. Smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers and serotonin
8. Smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger
9. Smiling makes you seem successful
10. Smiling helps you stay positive
(You can read the entire article here:

I think they were clutching at straws with a few of these pointers, but you get the gist - smiling is good for you.
So back to the little and often technique. You don't have to paste a massive grin on your face to gain the health benefits of smiling. 
Right now, do the smallest smile you can manage.

The teeniest, tiniest smile you have ever done that it almost can't be seen on your face.

And this is the important part: listen to your body.

What does it feel like?

Because if you're anything like me, it feels great. I can feel something comforting starting in my stomach and working its way around. Maybe it's those good 'dolphins' that are released every time we smile (point number 7 above). They go swimming around, soothing everything they come across.

So if we practise doing this tiny smile throughout our day, we're going to feel great from the inside out. 

We don't have to give the world a huge Cheshire Cat grin to show that we're happy, to give off good vibes, to improve our state of mind, or to appear attractive. 
Little and Often.
Try it and see if it makes a difference to your day.
You might find that the things which would normally irritate you, suddenly don't have an impact. Or the things that would normally cause stress (traffic jams, deadlines) simply roll of your shoulders.
'You seem very calm today,' a work colleague might say. 
They've no idea that you've got a teeny, tiny smile working its magic, and dolphins in your belly.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Later Life

On my most recent post I mentioned the walk I did in Almondbury.

What I didn't mention was the elderly gentleman I came across on entering Molly Carr Wood. With walking stick in hand and wearing a flat cap, green waterproof jacket, green rucksack, walking boots, waistcoat and a tie, he smiled at me and said good morning.

After the small talk about the weather, I asked him about his travels.

'I try and do this walk every Sunday,' he said, looking at me through his thick framed glasses.

Snot was slowly running down to meet his top lip.

'Whereabouts do you go?' I asked.

'I live in Almondbury,' he said, wiping his nose with the back of his hand (I instantly tried to remember not to shake his hand when saying our farewell), 'so from here I walk to Holmfirth.'

I was impressed. That's a bit of a hike for anyone and this guy was easily in his seventies.

'Once I'm in Holmfirth,' he continued, 'I call at the pub for a sandwich and a drink, and play dominoes with the lads.'

I smiled thinking about the bond him and his buddies must have formed over the years. There's something very pleasurable about seeing a group of old men having a good time together; all sat around the table playing dominoes or cards; packet of crisps split open on the table for anyone to help themselves. Some of them have pints, others have halfs. They don't talk about their past nor future, they just enjoy the privilege of being in the stages of later life.

I'm suddenly getting flashbacks of Last of the Summer Wine.

Then he said, 'Well, technically there's no dominoes team any more. They've all popped their clogs, one by one.'

'Oh really?' I said.

(What else could I say?!)

He nodded. 'Two of them were only in their sixties. They retired and then a few months later, they died.'

'Some people live to work,' I said. 'Working becomes their sole purpose in life and when that gets taken away, so does the meaning of their life.'

'Ay, lad,' he said, looking over the landscape of Huddersfield that lay before us.

'We're not here for long,' I said.

He laughed. 'We've got to make the most of what we have,' he said. 'Who knows what's round the corner.'

On that note we thanked one another for our mini conversation and said our goodbyes.

I didn't shake his hand.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Walking and The Reason I Don't Eat Lamb

Going for a walk in the countryside is undoubtedly good for you. It's known to alleviate depression and stress, calming both body and mind, and it's a good source of exercise too. 

Being a creature of habit, I'm known to walk around the same area on a regular basis. Some take the micky, saying it's (or I'm) boring, but I beg to differ. It all boils down to perception.

There's something very comforting about seeing the same scenery, touching the same trees, walking along the same paths, and stepping over the same stiles. It forces me to play a game of spot the difference. Every time I walk the same route I notice alterations. It's never the same. Every day is a blank canvas allowing nature to play with her colours and sounds.

What makes a good walk is not necessarily where you walk, but how you walk where you walk.

If your head is full of concerns and worries then even during a beautiful spring morning, with a pool of blue sky up above and a blanket of blue bells below, you're going to walk as if these amazing spectacles don't even exist.

If you're mood is lighter and your mind calmer, if you walk with a spring in your step with no concern for keeping time, then your senses are going to be more alert, allowing you to absorb more of what's on offer.

And there's a lot on offer.

Making an effort to open your senses makes you more receptive. Sounds become sharper. Colours scintillate like crystals, all because you opened the doors to your senses, which naturally then turns down the volume of your mental chit-chatter. This then leads to a sense of tranquillity and well-being, alleviating stress, anxiety and depression - it's great!

By investing your time in nature, nature will invest her time in you, resulting in experiences that will leave you smiling and speechless. You will be rewarded with bountiful gifts that you're thinking mind can't even begin to comprehend.

This morning, at 7:30am, I set off walking on my favourite circuit in Almondbury, Huddersfield. I reached the summit of one of the many fields and sat on a bench to breathe deep and be present. I got out my flask and poured myself some warm ginger tea and began to nibble on some mixed nuts and raisins I had brought. I dug out my book and began to read as the sun made the pages glow.

Then I heard something stumble behind me.

An unexpected visitor, but one I was surely grateful for.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Baby Steps

When was the last time you went to the library?

Although I have my own library of books to read through (I blame Amazon), I've started to visit my town's main library more and more.

And check this out - the books are free!

And you get them for two weeks!

I've spent so much money on books in the past . . . and the books in my town's library are free!

(As they are in all libraries, in case you didn't know . . . )

But it's common knowledge that the number of people who visit libraries is decreasing quite rapidly.

After doing a bit of simple research, I came across an article written in 2010: In 2005, 16.4% of adults people attended their local library once a month. New research indicates that the figure had dropped to 12.8% last year.


It boils down to this: reading books is perceived by many as uncool.

The vast majority of young people spend so much of their time glued to their ipads and iphones, playing games and downloading the latest app called, 'Please Put Me Down And Stop Ignoring The Person Who Is In Front Of You.'

I wish there was such an app . . .

Reading a book takes time and effort and therefore requires patience. It's just not stimulating enough for so many of us, which is why they now have interactive ebooks for children, for instance.

Patience isn't exactly one of modern society's strong characteristics. We want fast results. We want overnight success. We look at people who have 'made it' and we say, 'Lucky so and so. I'd love to be like them, to be doing what they're doing'. Then we flick over to the next channel and repeat the procedure. We don't see the ingredients which have gone into the end result.

Ingredients such as: effort, hope, sweat, self belief, conquering self doubt, conquering self limiting beliefs, setting goals and working to attain them, picking oneself up when one is down, making wish lists for a more desirous future and believing one deserves to meet the fulfilment of those wishes, seeing the bigger picture, not taking one self too seriously, trusting the inner voice and decreasing the volume of the inner critic, practising self discipline, practising self talk, motivating one self to keep on going when it seems like one is treading through mud, confidence in oneself - I could keep going but you get the gist.

And check this out; all these pointers are self-related! There's a whole other list for how one deals with others. Because there will always be those who don't want to see us progress, to succeed and to better ourselves. It's the nature of the game.

I have more patience to listen to someone who is complaining about the state of their life when they're making the effort to change it. Even if they're 'just' doing some constructive thinking. But when it comes to those who moan and moan from their sofas, 'I want this. I want that. I want this to happen. I want that to happen. Life isn't fair. I've been dealt a crap hand. Poor me'. I find myself wanting to shake them from their shoulders and say, 'GET A GRIP!

I understand that life can be difficult sometimes, but I also understand that what happens happens to us all. It's how we deal with what happens that separates us from those who use the undesirable circumstance and add it to their drama (satisfying a false sense of self) from those who use the difficult situation as a learning tool, to expand and to grow, to gain strength and determination.

We always have that choice.

Those who are living their dreams (those who breed envy in the couch sitters) and those who suffer from a nasty case of inertia, have so much in common. But of all those common factors, there is one specific point which stands out for me, and it is this:

They all have 24 hours in a day.


How you manage your time is up to you.

And it all starts with baby steps.

Will Smith said, 'If you want to build the best wall you've ever built, don't concentrate on the wall. Concentrate, instead, on the brick you are laying. Make it the best brick you've ever laid - then you will have created your wall.'

Well said, Mr Smith.

I'm constantly trying to better myself. I'm a postman. It's a good job. I get to meet and work with some great people. I get plenty of exercise and fresh air in my lungs every day. And it gives me loads of spare time, of which I'm massively grateful for. (This is why I chose the job!)

BUT . . .

Although I'm grateful for the job, there will come a day when it no longer meets my requirements. It will become unsuitable. Think of it as if your grandma had knitted you a jumper but it was way to small. You would be grateful for the gift and would take into consideration the amount of time, thought and effort, she would've put into it, but it would be unsuitable for you.

What am I working towards? I'm not entirely sure yet. It's hard to pin down. But baby steps are being made and I'm confident I'm the right track.

One of those baby steps took me to the library. I looked around. The people who were lost in the books, studying and making notes were middle-aged. Those who were sat at the computers were youths (some were my age - late twenties) and what were they looking at? . . . Bookface or Youpube.

We're not here for long. A blink of an eye, really. As I heard Jim Rohn once say, 'We're only here once, at least what we know of. Let us play at discovering how much we can achieve.'

What books did I get from the library?

Get the Life You Really Want by James Caan (A Quick Read)
Confidence in a Minute by Tony Wrighton
Follow Your Heart by Andrew Matthews

So many books out there to help us!! And they're free!

Instead of posting a piece of music I thought I would post a meditation instead. So take 30mins out of your day to relax your body and mind . . .   

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Happy Prince

I didn't realise it had been two months since my last post.

Time really does fly when you're keeping yourself busy.

And how have I been keeping myself busy?

By finalising and releasing my new book!!

It's called The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair and is available on Lulu.

It follows a friendship between a boy and a girl (who has green-tinted hair . . . ) over the course of four seasons. Each seasons contains within it a lesson.

It's a pocket-sized book, containing 79 pages, so it's easily read in less than an hour. But it is my hope that its message(s) will stay with the reader for some time to come.

I touched on the underlying subject of the story in my first book, Waiting for Wings.

The idea of somebody aging with the seasons wouldn't leave me alone.

Just over a year ago I was in the Dr's waiting room and I looked around at the other people who were waiting to be seen. Beside me was an elderly man - flat cap, walking stick -  and sat in front of him was a young lady with her young daughter, who was running around frantically.

And that's when something happened - I saw them as leaves. And each one of them could be slotted nicely into the seasons. The young girl was spring. Her mum was summer. The elderly man was autumn.

This was one of those experiences that followed me everywhere.

Sometimes, when certain people come into your life you just know that they're going to play a significant role in the unfolding of your story.

Six months after moving into the Buddhist Centre, a girl called Monika moved in (she designed the cover for the book and also drew the leaves which begin each chapter). We became good friends from the start, sharing a love of music and nature - and tea. One day we got talking about hair colour (I was probably mentioning that my mates take the piss out of me for being ginger - which I kind of am - but not really) and she said that she dyed her hair to match the colours of autumn.

I will never forget when she said that because I was taken straight back to the experience I had in the Dr's waiting room.

I told her my idea for the story and she said that I should read one of her favourite tales, The Happy Prince, by Oscar Wilde.

What a huge effect that story had on me.

I loved it.

Without that, I can guarantee that The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair would not be the story it is.

It's true, people come into your life to help your story move forward. Sometimes it's a challenge and you may end up wishing you had never met them - but sometimes it's as if you've been waiting for them to come along, and when they do, it's almost like a reunion between souls.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading the 'Miraculous Fable' (as is the subtitle to the new book) and you end up benefiting from its content.

Once you've read it, pass it on to someone who you think will also attain something positive from it.

Thanks for all of the support I've received up until now and for all the support in the future that I'm sure I'll receive - even from the people who say I'm weird - I use that as proof that I'm being myself.

Signing out . . .

A Happy Prince

Post track: Waterways by Ludovico Einaudi:

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Buddha Vs Postman

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it in a previous post somewhere, but I live in a Buddhist centre along with eight other people. It's coming up to a year since I moved in.

First thing's first, I'm not a Buddhist.

Out of the eight people I live with, four are practising Buddhists - one being a Buddhist nun.

At the moment there's a silent retreat on.

I personally find it quite pretentious, but I'm trying to simply accept that this is what these people are into . . . because, after all, it's just a trip, isn't it?

Maybe I'm just expressing my own ignorance.

I would like to go on a silent retreat sometime, but for no other reason than to honour the silence and to go within; a bit like an extended Quaker meeting. But what I hear coming out of the meditation room is a symphony of chanted meditations.

That's not my thing.

One thing I find quite frustrating is that some of the people don't even smile at you, even if you smile at them. It would take a lot of effort for me NOT to smile at someone if they smiled at me. There doesn't have to be verbal communication - a smile is an expression of a kind acknowledgement from one person to another.

But where certain individuals are concerned, aspects of etiquette seemed to have flown out of the window during this retreat.

A few days ago I had a minor drama whilst cooking my dinner.

I was in the kitchen along with two others (one of those being the nun). Whilst waiting for my pasta to cook, I was looking for my spinach. Everyone has their own cupboard and fridge space, so I was looking through all of my food stuffs, but to know avail.

When suddenly, the Buddhist nun pulls out a bag of spinach from her shelf in the fridge.

Is that my bloody spinach? I thought to myself.

I've had plenty of things go missing in the past; whether it be eggs, bagels, salad dressing, fruit juice - but I'm always told to either label all my food or to accept the fact that this is what it's like living communally.

But had I just experienced first-hand, someone using - no, not using, stealing my food?

How am I going to find out when I can't bloody speak!?

I stood there for a few moments thinking of what the worst that could happen if I spoke to her:

1. She could ignore me - not so bad.
2. She could give me a nasty look and still ignore me - again, not so bad.
3. She could suddenly lash out and hit me with the massive spoon she had in her hand - that would be kind of bad, but seriously unlikely.

What if I just dipped my hand in the bag of spinach when she wasn't looking and threw some in my pasta?

. . . . I couldn't do it . . . .

I took a deep breath and did it - I spoke.

'Is that my spinach?' I asked.

She looked at me in not exactly the nicest way possible, but neither in the meanest way. The kind of look I would get if, say, Buddha was in the kitchen and I asked him why he was a bit of a fatty. That kind of look.

'No,' she whispered.

'OK,' I whispered.

But then I thought how would I know if she was telling the truth or not!? I couldn't ask her any more questions! When and where did you get it, for example.

I had to settle for a whispered 'no'.

I wasn't satisfied.


Later on that day, I asked my mate, who also lives there, if he knew where my spinach had vanished to.

'I finished it off,' he said calmly whilst making a cuppa.


'You told me to.'

' . . . What . . . When?'

'When I had that couscous, remember?'

' . . . '


So that was that: I was losing my memory and I had broken a Buddhist nun's vow to remain silent.

My bad.

Sorry, Mr Buddha.

Post track:  
The Cinematic Orchestra - Everyday -

Saturday, 5 January 2013

G-Man - Master of the Universe

For a few weeks I've felt strange. Distant. Detached. Quite like an alien. I watch people go about their daily routines but feel separate from all of it. It's not a negative feeling as such, just weird.

I've also felt like something needs doing, but I don't know what that thing is. And what brought on mild anxiety was that this unknown task had a time limit!

Christmas day was spent with my family, but the only company I wanted was my own. I just wanted to sit and be. My family hadn't done anything wrong, I simply had a desire to be alone. This wish was granted on Boxing Day (26th Dec) when I spent all day by myself. The sense of relief was overwhelming.

I felt like a scrooge but I couldn't resist the urge for some alone time.

When the clock struck 00:00 on the 1st Jan 2013, I was sat alone in my room on my meditation cushion, and that was exactly where I wanted to be. I went to bed not long after.

Last week I decided to do some yoga. I used to practise on a daily basis but haven't done for a while.

What a difference it made!

The day after, I felt like a new man.

That strange, anxiety-type feeling flew away not leaving a trace of its presence.

I felt light on my feet. More present. Colours were more vibrant. Sounds were crisp and clear. But it was my mental well-being which had been affected the most.

I was quiet inside.

My thoughts had ceased and any thoughts that did arise, I could take control of; they were no longer in control of me.

Do you know what that feels like? To be in charge?

It's like being in charge of the remote when the person who's usually in charge leaves the room to take a piss. Any thought which is of no use, you skip. Then the next one arises . . . any good? No? Skip!

My attention wasn't being led astray by them. Which meant my attention was here - now.

The Now is where God hides - well, at least my own definition of what God is.

You will have your own definition, and therefore we will all have a different God, but I believe there is one God which lies beyond all definitions - a bit of a contradiction, I know. But for as long as I can remember, my relationship with my definition of the G-Man, has been a healthy active one.

I ask questions regularly and get answers.

Problems get solved.

Help comes when I ask for it.

I'm not sure how it works, I just know it does.

'I pray and coincidences happen. I stop praying and coincidences stop.' Archbishop of Canterbury.

This week, though, I felt such a strong urge - and there is no other way of saying it, but I had such a strong desire to know G-Man - The Master of the Universe.

I'm not religious and didn't have a religious upbringing. My Nan always spoke about Jesus and my Mum has always loved to watch and sing along to Songs of Praise, but that's as religious as my family get. So I have no religious foundation for the beliefs I hold.

This strong desire to know G-Man came hand in hand with the amazing feeling of being at peace.

All of my desires, goals and ambitions, seemed to take a backseat, for I had eternity to make them a reality, so therefore any striving I had had ceased to be, creating loads of inner space. The past also dissolved, leaving the present moment to bloom.

Later on in the day, I was walking out of my room to have a shower, when the top of a blue bookmark, which was in a book called West Yorkshire Folk Tales, caught my attention. There was nothing special about the bookmark - in fact, I could only see about 1cm of it, but, nevertheless, I had a strong feeling to go and check it out.

I walked over to it and slowly pulled it out of the book, revealing one word at a time.

This is what it said:







This gave rise to a massive grin across my chops and a feeling of pure joy.

This is how G-Man works.

You know when you've been touched by the divine. You feel it. You feel in tune with something supreme and your core resonates with it.

Me telling you this is really of no value because words will always only point to the experience, they are not the experience. It's like mistaking the menu for the dishes it represents.

I am merely telling you about the experience for no other reason than to make it clear that it has happened, and that you don't have to be religious or go to church for the G-Man to give you a helping hand.

Like a child, G-Man likes your attention.

Give your definition of G-Man some attention, and watch what happens.

Even if it's just for an experiment.

. . . I've continued with my yoga practice too.

(Music plays such a big part in my life, so from now on I'm going to put a link to a piece of music I like for you to listen to. If you like it, cool . . . if not, that's cool too.)

Boards of Canada - Macquarie Ridge -