Ernie is one of the first people I interviewed. He called in from the UK to join the show and it was a lot of fun talking to a practical zen person. Ernie played soccer and rugby he was when younger. The sports damaged his joints, but one day a chance “wrong turn”, promoting him […]
The Holiday (Christmas 2015)
Jack and I shacked…up last night…a duvet for our bed
Jim and I were there as well
sharing the blanket, pillow and glass.
Sherry dropped in to lie with us..and soothe our furrowed brow
and Champagne popped her cork
a Christmas time from hell..
It didn’t happen in this world..a world of pain and crime
It didn’t happen in my world..I just thought I’d make a rhyme..
I’m much older now, but it has the advantage of finding joy in “simple things” Last night the wind howled past my window, treating me to a rhythm of gusts and silence that lulled me to sound sleep, one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in years. So perhaps there was a message in the wind from the South to allow myself the space, for now, to enjoy simple things
This evening it was a moment of absolute beauty. On the horizon the clouds were a frame of dark grey and rolling black against a perfect pink sky that melted into a pale blue.
It was the perfect background for a wafer thin moon as it’s brightest light. As I looked out of my window the trees were silhouetted against this canvas. Oaks and Beech trees were like black girders sticking straight up into the blue, rigid and cold. But a little closer two large Willows which, instead of muscular immobile branches had “wisps” which were dancing in the breeze, Their movement full of grace and elegance were balletic. it was a moment of real beauty. It was free and I am so blessed that I’m able to see these things now.
Stand awhile and watch..
Kibbutz Grofit stands atop a man-made hill top on the road between Ber Sheva and Eilat in the Negev Desert and in 1973 was one of the youngest kibbutzim in Israel and, though that’s another story, was where I found myself as a non Jewish volunteer. Nothing exceptional about that except that 1973 was the year of the Yom Kippur War and found Israel once more defending itself against aggression. This is my “Eyes Closed” story…
The kibbutz had it’s own small garrison, tucked away behind barricades overlooking the Jordanian border. I saw the soldiers every so often with binoculars in their hands keeping watch across the desert.
As well as this, it was the communes responsibility to patrol the inner ring of the compound. One of the volunteers and an Israeli resident would walk the compound twice during the night along with “Bomba” the biggest dog I have ever seen.“Schmera” as the duty was known was a duty I didn’t mind because it meant the next working day was a holiday.
The first time I did it, was nothing more than an uneventful adventure along with a kibbutz member who was great company. We met at the “Hador Ocal” the kibbutz cafe, the Israeli carried his Uzi because we weren’t allowed to carry guns at all. This was just as well because I’d never won a prize at the fair for shooting. We all did a circle of the compound, walked back to the meeting point, drank tea for an hour and then completed the second tour.
On my second duty I arrived as usual at 11.30pm and poured a cup of coffee ready for the first tour. I collected Bomba, who in all my experience of “faithful friends” really was our best friend. He went everywhere with us, around the kibbutz, and down in the fields. Bomba was always there. He sat with me patiently waiting for the Israeli to join us for the first tour. We both sat and waited.
At a quarter past midnight I started to get a bit concerned about why my partner hadn’t turned up. He hadn’t been on kibbutz for long and had a reputation for being a “ladies man” or a lazy sod” depending on who I talked to. At half past twelve I made the decision to get on with the tour anyway. I had Bomba,and there had never been a problem before, so why tonight.=? We just had to walk the compound and inspect the perimeter, nothing moved in the night the stars were still in the sky above and the heat meant that there was no wind to move the trees around us.
Bomba escorted me on the walk as we arrived back at the “Hador Ocal” for warm coffee and to relax ready for the second tour. I was sure the Israeli would be waiting for us with an excuse as to why he was late. He wasn’t there. It didn’t matter though, we would wait till three o’clock and complete the duty .Until then I made a cup of coffee, spread some mattza and read a book. Three o’clock came and we got ready for the second tour, no partner, no gun, just Bomba and me.
Out of the building we turned left towards the chicken houses and cow sheds. The sky pitch black, no lights except my torch we walked out towards the sheds in the open ground. Suddenly Bomba took off towards the cattle sheds, with no warning, he just took off into the the night and disappeared towards the buildings. I stood still wondering the hell to do. No gun, no partner and now no dog.
There were obviously enemy infiltrators behind the sheds coming toward me. The scene was already in my head like a block buster movie, the small enemy group silently creeping into the compound, the grenade pins pulled and ready to explode. The machine guns cocked ready to cut down anyone who got in their way.
I threw myself to the desert floor, trying to figure out my next move.
How do I warn the kibbutz?
The enemy could only have been two or three hundred yards away and Bomba had gone after them, so they would be expecting somebody to be with him. All the time the questions shot through my head as I lay still, trying to keep as low as I could.
How could I warn the soldiers?
If I can crawl to the volleyball court and switch on the floodlights the sentries would see them and come to help.
Or the enemy would see me first and shoot.
Or the sentries would see them, think I was one of the enemy lighting the kibbutz up and shoot me.
I even considered telling the enemy I was not Israeli but an Englishman, only a volunteer as if that would have made a difference. I turned and started to crawl back towards the buildings, keeping as low as I could. I heard movement behind me, very close, I turned not knowing what was going to be there and wondered if it was going to be the last thing I was ever going to see?
It was Bomba, trotting back towards me as big as ever. What he must have thought of me we’ll never know, he made no judgement though because he stopped by my side until I got up and moved towards the kibbutz buildings. Whatever had distracted him wasn’t going to put a bullet in me that night.
The first thing I had to do was report to the kibbutz leaders about the situation and the missing guard. The committee member had to go round and wake the volunteers up for the days work. Me, I went back to bed, the drama of the night slipped into oblivion. As far as I know the invisible partner was warned that he would be expelled, if he ever missed another duty.
In the end it was just another adventure.
Why did Bomba run? I still have no idea.
It was the sixties and as a fifteen year old I’d always been more interested in sport than girls, and the Friday night visits to the local dance hall was so often merely an opportunity to listen to the music.
The strutting “cocks” of the town stood on the balcony looking down on the dance floor where they would snap their fingers to one of the beautiful girls moving sensually below. Me, I sat downstairs on the seats around the edge of the floor like one of the young runts of the litter hoping, praying for a dance and perhaps to walk a girl home.
Week after week it was groundhog day, midnight came and if I danced at all it was with one of the girls also left at the side of the hall. Until that particular Friday evening when a girl walked across the dance floor in my direction. Now I was the sort of lad that looked behind him, to see the “good looking” lad she must have been coming over to. But no, she approached me.
“My friend likes you. Can she come over?”
I looked across the floor, the girl she was pointing to was gorgeous, long blond hair, strong chiselled features and a fabulous mini skirt that extenuated her legs.
I played it as cool as I could, with saliva running down my mouth.
“Yes, tell her to come over.” We moved upstairs to the balcony and kissed for hours. It was beautiful and everything I’d hoped it would be.
The library in St Paul, Minnesota became the catalyst for a major change in my life, where I read “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. The story of being an individual and taking responsibility for my actions. It was 1968 and the lesson still took me over thirty years or more to really take shape.
From this book and “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” followed which more or less introduced me to the idea of the entrepreneur and my distaste of socialism in all it’s forms.
Move forward many years and once again I was in Minnesota and had the honour of being invited to a Gathering of the Upper Mdewakanton Lakota Community where I met their Chief, talked to the people and, most importantly, invited to join the group around the sacred fire as prayers were said to The Six Directions.
When I returned to England, the first book I read was Calvin Luther Martin’s “The Way Of The Human Being” a group of stories around the lives of the Native Peoples before, during and after the coming of Europeans.
It introduced me to the spiritual and the physical side of being a Native American.
Picture this and tell me it doesn’t happen any more. A man, it could be any man, but let’s say it’s me, is invited into your dining room and shown to the table. He (I) sit down and you bring me a cup of coffee. I thank you and sit chatting to the other men around the table. You (if you’re female) bring a plate of bread, cheese and some jam over and place it in front of us.
We continue to talk about football, the weather and the fishing, while you come over and refill our cups with coffee. Finally you bring over the meat, on a plate with just one knife between us and take your seat at the table. A bygone age? Well it may be, I haven’t been back to the Faeroe Islands in over forty years, but this was a typical event when I was there.
The bread, the cheese and the jam were all pretty standard, nothing exclusive, it was the meat the intrigued me. It was raw, dried meat called “skerpikjøt” well aged, wind-dried mutton which has been in a drying shed for “who knows” how long. It is simply that raw, dried meat that you carve slices of and eat as if it’s a biscuit. The smell as it approaches the nose can only be described as the smell of very old, dried meat, and the chewy texture of the meat often used to extenuate the taste which couldn’t be described without reverting to toilet language. But if it was good enough for the Faeroese people it was good enough for me. In fact it might have been one of those rights of passage we see when a white man visits a native camp and is given goats blood to drink.
Now the title of the piece is “Delicious” so the question you may be asking is Was it? Of course not, but it became something I looked forward to after work and was, as I said, like having a biscuit. But if you’re a meat eater do not decry it, because it is one of the healthiest ways of eating meat I know of, raw, unprocessed protein which the fishermen had been taking with them for many, many years while they were away at sea.
So, there is my contribution “skerpikjøt” dried, raw meat. Mmmmmmmm
“It appears to me” the Great Chief said “that all things go in circles,” as he stood below the moon and surveyed the horizon. They circled his world from birth to death, from day to day they brought the seasons which circled his life. From the morning prayer to the evening thanks the circle of events coloured his day, his memories passed from one to another in a circle of generations. His grand son stared up in the footsteps of the Great Chief. “It appears to me” the young warrior said “that all things go in circles.
Metal Element..looking after the Lungs and Large Intestine…Mining for precious metal..how to find the gold in family relationships.
In the Chinese system of Five Element Theory the months August to November are classed as The Metal Element period and the work you do here prepares the body for winter. In physical terms, as alternative therapists we give practical advice on looking after the Lungs and Large Intestine which may not function properly and be damaged by colds/flu and upset stomachs. We also deal with the emotional aspects associated with the element. Grief and Change. So how do we apply the theory to the emotional side of family relationships? Let’s see!
The Metal Element is associated with three major physical and psychological traits:
Each one is a logical step to the way we view our family life over the next few weeks. Each one has the potential for both grief and change. The Chinese view of the metal element is linked to the three points in the following way
- Cash flow
- Family structure
We’ll take them one at a time.
Finance: The precious metal is viewed as gold, but in the context of housekeeping we can look at cash flow the vital element for keeping a relationship on an even keel. Along with this comes our strategy to mine that precious metal by hard work, initiative, daring and the exchange of money for goods, services and love So is cash flow precious to you? Has it caused grief and has it changed your life?
Authority: The Chinese saw one aspect of Metal as authority, as the “father figure” in a relationship. We are talking about the figures who command, or demand, authority. If this is one of us then how do we achieve authority and having achieved it, how do we use it? How did your father demand authority and respect? The two often do not go together. How did you react?
Boundaries: The analogy with Metal is more easily seen here, metal fences, metal armour. Where do you place your own boundaries when you deal with people? When in your life do you hate people getting too close to you? Do you let people walk all over you? Or do you often stand three or four steps away from a colleague with your arms folded as a barrier? Or has it been your experience that people walk all over you?
When we look at the psychological aspects of The Five Elements in terms of Metal we can put some bones on the generalizations of the first three points
- For Finance we introduce Cash Flow, the amount of precious metal we have at our disposal at any particular time and how hard we have to work to obtain it. There is a plethora of stories about the ease, or the difficulties, prospectors had to locate and mine the seams of gold they had right under their feet. As adults some of us have learned the systems for managing cash flow so that it’s there at our finger tips; some of us haven’t.
- Are you Authoritarian in your leadership? The “father figure” of the family (whether male or female) and how do you earn that title of Boss. Have you built relationships on respect and bringing people with you? Or fear? Think back to the relationship to you had with your father, how was the relationship honed? Now take a look at how you interact with family and colleagues and ask yourself if you’re setting good standards for your peers and your children.
- Where are your boundaries? Your ethics. Would you do anything to get the house you desire? Would you walk over a friend to get the job you desire? Would you lie to your partner or children? If you were asked if you can “Go to bed at night and not be ashamed.” Could you answer “Yes?” And would that just mean that you have a low concept of shame?
The Metal Element is associated with your Lungs and Large Intestine meridians. Breathing is the separation of oxygen and carbon dioxide and large intestine’s job is to separate the impure from the pure and extract the liquid from the matter we eat so it can pass out of the body as a solid mass.
Our own Metal Element is the separation of our beliefs and our actions. The Metal Element (autumn) is followed by the Water Element (winter) and the belief is that if we look after our Lungs and our Large Intestine throughout the months of August/September and October our bodies will be better protected in the winter. If we look after the way we interact with our fellow citizens by being honest it will better prepare us for the elements of winter to come.
Ernie is a qualified Shiatsu Practitioner using 5 Element theory to balance both the physical and the emotional challenges of modern day life. He can be contacted on email@example.com www.balancehealth-fitness.co.uk or Call him on 07962 216833
Adding to the 9 Things because I Love America too!1. Yes You Can..though recently I’ve heard this is getting more difficult. In the UK you will all the reasons you can’t do something before the first reason you can.
Friday 18th July 2014 began as an ordinary Friday except I’d arranged to pick up some printing from 10 miles away in Coventry and set out on a beautifully sunny day where the temperatures were in the eighties and perfect for being on the scooter.
The journey went without hitch until 9.45 am when I was riding down Gulson Road, Coventry with some cars parked on the right hand side, so I was towards the centre of the road and travelling at 30 mph.
I saw the Virgin Network van parked outside a shop but it was stationary so not a problem. Until I was some 15/20 yards away when the van swerved out in front of me with no signal or warning. It was as if the driver hadn’t looked and just put the van into gear and sped off.
I hit the brakes and from then on in I was in……..now here comes the dilemma…I stopped one foot away from the side of the van as it drove across the road and up an adjacent road without stopping and I can only conclude without being aware of me at all.
There I was stopped dead in the middle of the road, the braking had pulled my body over the handle bars and jerked my feet to the ground. The car behind me quickly pulled up beside me and what the driver said seemed innocuous at the time, but the words are the reason I’m writing this.
“Thank God you stopped in time. Are you OK?
I nodded and smiled but stayed there while two or three more cars moved passed me and glanced over. I decided that since I was still upright and the road was clear I’d better move off. There was still a mile or so to go and the van had missed me.
But as I got back into gear and moved off those words came back to me “Thank God you stopped.”
I’ll make it clear here and now, I don’t believe in God at all. I believe the spirit of my ancestors are looking after me at the moment but God. No. Because let’s face it if I have to “Thank God” for the fact that I was quick enough and alert enough to pull the brakes; would it be OK to blame him for the time he decides not to help out? What would be the difference between this God deciding today wasn’t the day for me to crash and then deciding the next time is? What about the people who have been injured or killed on the road today why was it not their time to be saved?
Anyway, I arrived safely and found the printing wasn’t quite ready yet anyway so it would have been a very costly journey for nothing. But the people at the company looked at me once and asked me what was wrong, they saw something in my face or my posture and then it occurred to me that I did feel a bit queasy, and a sit down and cup of tea required.
The rest of the day passed safely and here I am writing about the incident and asking the question..
Do you believe God played a part in the incident Yes or No?
Shiatsu study to use
Watch above: Local researchers say an ancient therapy could offer people with chronic pain who have trouble sleeping, get some rest. Su-Ling Goh reports.
EDMONTON – It’s estimated up to 80 per cent of people who live with chronic pain have trouble falling and staying asleep. But a new study out of the University of Alberta is hoping to ease their pain with an ancient form of therapy.
Nancy Cheyne has lived with chronic joint pain since the mid-1970s, after she was in a car accident.
“My shoulder, my hips, my knees, my ankles. It’s everywhere.”
Cheyne’s pain has gotten increasingly worse over the years and has progressed so much she now has trouble walking. Cheyne says getting to sleep at night also causes her troubles.
“If I get to sleep by 1:30 in the morning, that’s good. And I’m up at 5:30,” she says. “It’s always interrupted sleep.”
Dr. Cary Brown…
View original post 329 more words
As a businessman committed to getting people to MOVE I have recently spent more of my time writing as a member of The Working Writer’s Club. The experience has brought home to me just how long we can sit at a computer/typewriter while we discipline ourselves to writing our articles and books. It has also reminded me of the amount of time we can spend sitting down when we are engrossed. So, I want to send this message out to fellow writers:
Let’s Move and Let’s Make It FUN>>
My advice is to find our favourite piece of music (with a beat) and instead of singing along lets stand up or move forward in our chair and DANCE. Just dance as if no one’s watching..but if you want a routine..Try This:
Walk on the spot–Arms swinging…
Alternate toe touches — Alternate heel touches
Raise the heels (calf raising)– Rock from…
View original post 278 more words