Where being there for others can be a blind spot

In the individualism of much of western and westernising society we can get ourselves into all sorts of knots about our attitude towards the wellbeing of others. In an age when community is in retreat in the mega-cities of today, it can seem as if it is “every man for himself”, “me first”. Yet by contrast we expect a lot of others: witness the current expectation for getting good customer service. However it can be less easy for us to think of others and to put ourselves out for them. And when we do, do we do this our of … Read more

In memory of a very special person

I was very sad to learn recently that a major inspiration in my life, a very special person, has just died of a heart attack. Graham Browne led a very powerful program, Turning Point, that I attended at a very low point in my life in 1989 and it was through the work that followed that a very rapid transformation occurred for me. Many people have come out of seemingly nowhere to confirm what this man, with his fellow teachers, has achieved for them too. It’s one of those very big occasions when people sense another turning point. When someone … Read more

What gifts relationship can offer us

Here is another quote from Tolle, “Human interaction can be hell. Or it can be a great spiritual practice.” (from Stillness Speaks). I’m reminded of Sartre’s great play, Huis Clos, in which several characters in the afterlife are locked in a room together and discover after a period of getting on very badly together that they are in Hell: “Hell is other people.” It’s a very negative conclusion on relationships, but one with which many would probably agree, at least if you are stuck with the “wrong” people. Of course, the characters in this play are unable, or unwilling, to … Read more

The generosity of spirit

Recent upgrade work to my website reminded me of the generosity of the internet. When I was working on my site, at one point I repeatedly hit snags and yet whenever I asked Google for the answer, out there on the net some kind soul had posted a rescue message. Now, what really struck me was how there are all these incredibly generous souls out there who are willing to give their time and knowledge to help others. Yes, I know that the net was intended to be about networking and connecting, and that many also give in order to … Read more

Tied to how to look good

I noticed a certain conflict of loyalties in me on reading this article about the wearing of ties. As one male who hated “having” to wear a tie, and over the moon when finally large numbers of men in work decided to abandon the wretched attire, I usually find myself having strong personal views (to myself) about this aspect of the male dress code in more formal situations. So, I notice, do certain women. I used to be aware of the potential irony in the word “tie” with implications of being tied to how to look good as conventionally perceived. … Read more

When are you authentically in service to another?

For many people a seemingly guaranteed turn-off word is “service”. It’s as if there’s an immediate filter at work whereby what people hear is “complaints”, “awkward” or “difficult” customers, people getting unpleasant, dealing with customers services at call centres and being held on endless call queues and phone menus. You name it, there’s a negative. In fact the word that jumps out for me in that list is “difficult”. People so easily get labelled “difficult”, as though it’s their problem. We don’t see that there may be other factors at work too, including our own attitudes towards “such people”. However, … Read more

Those who are like angels working selflessly to help others

Hidden in the news about rising unemployment amongst young people I saw a link to a charity that specialises in helping disadvantaged young people get a job through football, which I thought was inspiring. It is not easy for a young person getting a job in our qualifications-and-experience-obsessed world. You might study for a degree, now at vast expense and with a debt overhang, and still not get into work in the area in which you studied. You might of course be in the majority who don’t go to university, and you might be a NEET, the acronym for those … Read more

To those who act in service to others

Local to where we live in Wiltshire, UK, the market town of Wootton Bassett has since 2007 being honouring the fallen British soldiers as their coffins have passed through the town after repatriation from Afghanistan to the nearby airbase of Lyneham. Today they acknowledged closure on this seemingly regular process, since the repatriation has been moved to another British base. From very small beginnings organised by the Royal British Legion, the honouring of the fallen by a silent presence along the road through the town has swollen to very large numbers and international coverage. My wife as a local British … Read more

Being of service and not letting your self get in the way

The people industry no doubt relies heavily on those that are keen to make a difference for others. That energy and enthusiasm, that commitment to other people, that willingness even to put others before themselves, that would be the hallmark of the “people” people. But how often have you have felt in some way uncertain about the motives of the helper providing the service? Where being of service to others can be particularly tricky is where we are not aware that our own stuff is skewing our behaviour. For example, there are those who are unaware of their own neediness. … Read more

What does it take to be of service?

Well seemingly a lot more than many of us Brits are willing to do. According to recent surveys we’re well behind other countries when it comes to giving good customer service. Not surprised? Let’s put it another way, try doing it yourself? Fancy it? Just ask yourself. And if not, if you don’t fancy it, why not? Again, ask yourself. It can take quite a bit of honesty to come up with an honest answer, maybe admitting something about yourself you’d rather not. In the link given above, one person puts it down to a residue of the old conflicts … Read more