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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sharing the lessons - Mortality, Compassion and Giving Unconditionally


In the first of my dedications to those people that have brought quality into my life I would like to begin with the story of a good friend that was in my life for around two years but left me with a lifetime of gratitude. The thanks I give are for allowing me to reach out to him – looking back I believe this was the catalyst that confirmed that ‘BEing the Change’ was a central theme to my life mission. This article is part of my ‘Sharing the Lessons’ Series and the first post developing my theory of ‘Spiritual Genealogy’. As many of the posts cover subjects that may cause distress I have written the articles without a name to protect the individual and respect their privacy.

This man introduced me to my own mortality, compassion and how to give support to another Human Being Unconditionally. I first met him when he came looking for me seeking help at work – he was facing dismissal due to extensive sick absences and it had been recommended to him that he speak to me specifically as I had an ‘open mind’. Now as it turned out he was an openly gay man who was HIV positive, but he did not want anyone at work to know. I resolved the case immediately by speaking to his Managers and having him registered under Disability Discrimination laws.

But he was very distressed and I took him out of work straight away and spent the afternoon drinking with him and talking things over. He was an amazing guy and we developed a strong friendship instantly. Over the following months we regularly met up after work for a drink and took it in turns between the ‘repressed’ (his word not mine) bars and the gay bars often drinking and partying into the early hours. During that time he had an uncanny knack of finding trouble and more than once I received phone calls to pick him up from the Hospital battered and bruised or accompanying him to the Police station for interview. You could say that he certainly lived his life to the full!

His life had been a series of ups and downs and he had travelled extensively and taken many roles. He had spent time as a rent boy plying his trade around the Naval docks and the stories he shared were enthralling – including one moment where he awoke to find the ship which had provided a venue for the previous nights passions had set sail. He had also ended a relationship where he had been badly hurt by stealing thousands of pounds from one of his ex-partners which ended up with him spending a considerable time in prison.

But these Chapters of his life acted as conversation points at his most outrageous moments and certainly livened up any occasion. He thrived on his ability to shock people and would often share details of his weekend frolics – but I enjoyed his humour and he knew it didn’t work on me. He shared with me many other stories that revealed the real him and confided in me that he had contracted HIV from a person he was deeply in love with and although they had split up he still wore his ring.

He had regular visits to the hospital and I instantly received reports about his ‘white cell’ count and was always relieved to hear that his condition was under control. Then one day he rang me in total distress – things had gotten worse and he needed to go on medication. I immediately rushed to the pub he was sat in alone and he explained to me what it meant to him. Now for those of you who know nothing about HIV in his case it meant that he reached an important milestone as he would develop resistances to each drug he took until they run out of drugs to try. He saw it as his own personal countdown had started.

I managed to convince him through hours of talking and soul searching, plus a lot of drink, that he should not give up hope and that he should become a fellow Union Representative to discover new energy and purpose in his life. We ended up hugging in the street for a long time before we headed our separate ways and went home. His spirits picked up after this and he excelled in his Union Role finding new life as he helped many people resolve their own problems.

Things went OK for some time until he again rang to say he was having a bad time. He’d fallen out with his parents and they were no longer speaking – right at the beginning of December. He lived alone in a high rise flat and I asked him if it was OK to tell my parents about his condition as I wanted him to come over for Christmas Day. He agreed and I explained to them what had happened and they approved without hesitation.

Now Christmas Day in my large extended family is not a meagre affair – we each take it in turns to host the family dinner and there can be around 30 people there on the day. I went over to collect him before the clan arrived and was overwhelmed to find out that he had bought me a watch and my son some toys. This was especially touching as I knew that he had severe debts and was regularly short of money.

The rest of the family arrived and he was greeted with hugs from everyone (my family is like that), he was uncomfortable at first but soon overcame the initial nerves and joined in the fun. We all had a wonderful day and he ended up sat in the conservatory sharing a bottle of vodka with my cousin. It was getting late and I had arranged to go over to my girl-friends house that evening so asked my Dad if he would give my friend a lift home “leave him where he is” replied my Dad, “I will take him home later – he’s having a good time”. With that I thanked my Dad, gave my friend the good news with a hug and left him partying with the hardcore of my family while I went on my way.

Total respect to my family and especially my Dad – I know my friend had a fabulous time and a wonderful Christmas.

Things went well for another few months until my friend rang me to say he was off work with the flu. I went over to see him in his flat with a bundle of DVD’s under my arm and some food and drinks (non-alcoholic this time). He was suffering badly and told me that he was finding it hard to keep down food – this was really worrying as he was incredibly thin to begin with. It took a long time to convince him to go to the Doctors and he eventually confessed to me that he was scared that this was the beginning of the end.

We discussed what he intended to do when the time came and he said that when things got really bad that he wanted to go back to his Parents house. We talked long and hard and we both agreed that he needed to make amends with his parents and tell them what was happening. They knew that he was gay but had no idea about the HIV. He rang and arranged to visit them the following week but although I offered to go with him but he insisted that he wanted to make the journey alone.

That was the last time I saw him.

I spoke to him many times on the phone and he had told his Parents everything. His Mum had responded with Love and care and told him that she wanted up to pack up in Manchester and move back in with them near Nottingham. I continued the phone calls and received reports on the worsening of his illness. The calls became more and more upsetting for him and each time he would break down crying and hang up. I tried to find out where he was but he had intentionally refused to give me his Parents address. Eventually my phone calls remained unanswered and I had to respect his wishes.

To this day I do not know what happened to him but the time I shared with him is very special to me. He was a very private man and did not trust anyone so it was rewarding for me that he opened up and allowed me in. A few times he became confused and took my love for him as a friend as something much more romantic but each time I took his approaches as a major compliment and managed to save his embarrassment. He once told me that he had never met anyone who loved him for who he was and that they had always feigned love to get something from him.

I was that Change and he was a very dear friend.

Much love to him wherever he is now – I look forward to meeting him again,

Damian

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sharing the lessons - An Introduction


Stop for a second and ponder this question.

Who, out of the people that appeared in your life, would you like to thank for providing direction, understanding and meaning through word or action?

Before you move on think about this for a few seconds

Now you’ve had a little time to ponder I’d like to welcome you all to my new series of articles entitled ‘Sharing the lessons’ which started out as a 1,000 word post and is developing into a 10,000 plus ongoing ‘living’ epic, which I hope will never be finished.

The initial idea was to give thanks and recognition to a few people for guiding me here to a creative outlet and Community which I love dearly. At the same time acting as a milestone or tribal marker to celebrate my transformation into the new me living my mission of ‘being the change’.

So I sat down and typed out a bullet-pointed list starting with all the people you’d expect – Mother, Father, Gran, Grandad, Partner, Children, Best friends, Uncles, Aunts and Cousins. But while I was working through this list other people began to spring to mind – chance meetings, friends of friends, neighbours, people I’d watched from the window, people I’d seen in the street. This I visualised as a collection of nodes connected by threads – the threads of my spirit connecting with everyone that has acted as a Guide, Guru or Teacher in some way.

When I see the threads unfolding what I'm actually writing is a 'Guide to becoming Damian' and while writing each story and extracting the lessons I’m actually revealing nuggets from the stories of these people that I didn't know were there. Their stories make great reading and act as a 'Blueprint for BEing the Change' too. I hope you enjoy them and accept that everything I’m sharing is the whole Truth, nothing added or embellished to make for better reading.

To ‘Be the Change’ I go through a constant process of reviewing my life and dismantling what I find there. I discard the traits that do not serve my purpose and create the space for the good in me to grow. I compare myself to what I see as good in others and make it my goal to at least match their commitment. Some may say that I’m being to hard on myself but how can I hope to make progress if I don’t push myself – if you wish to strengthen muscles you need to exercise, there’s no quick fix.

Through these stories I’m embarking on a very vulnerable stage of my journey – I’m not only giving you these stories in the hope of guidance – I’m also opening myself wide open. Anger, frustration, violence, over-confidence and arrogance have featured strongly in my past and by meeting key people I’ve learnt than none of them serve me in my constant struggle to be a good person. I guess my whole life has been a struggle for Peace – Peace in myself and Peace in my environment.

I came from a rough area and learnt to be ‘street wise’. Knowing when to talk your way out of a situation and when to throw a punch were either side of a very fine line – running was never an option. I developed a good sense of humour and strong negotiation skills but what I also developed at an early age was the ability to extend my senses and ‘feel’ a situation. Tension could be measured to almost microscopic levels, weaknesses and strengths in other people became instantly apparent and an uncanny ‘spider-sense’ warned me when I was walking into areas with potential danger. In all honesty that sense is tingling a little now but earlier tonight my good friend Slade replied to a comment on his site by saying “Go post something that scares you just a little bit -- but something you hope will be well-received. Best buzz in the world.”

So mote it be.

But that’s just the start and now that I’m inspired I intend to take this a few steps further. I’m not only going to work my way through my list but I’m going to track down the people that are still on this side of the veil and ask them to share THEIR list. I want to work through the connections and unlock the lessons that passed on the magic for them to pass it on to me. Spiritual Genealogy that follows the Spirit-lines not the blood-lines. Genetics may give you the foundations on which the structure is built but it’s the people you meet that provide the interior design of who you are today.

Just imagine the alterations you can make when you’ve unravelled and mapped out the design of what makes YOU.

There’s another step I’d like to take – this time it involves YOU. By finding your way here and by reading this far you’ve already become a part of this story, some of ME has now become YOU. Just as sure as if we were junkies sharing a needle our essences have been forever mixed – but in this case purely for the better, for the Higher Good.

I’m asking for you to share a story. A story of someone who had an effect on you and who you now wish to thank or exorcise – you see it works both ways. You learn from both good and bad - but never indifference. Share your story, bare your Soul, release the pain or invoke the magic of the good – YOUR Choice. This is the Evolution of the meme and the future of the ‘tag’ – lets release it and see where it finds a home.

Guidance



  1. Post your story on your site, leave it in a comment here or if you don’t have a site contact me and I’ll include you in my ‘Guest Authors’ AND ‘Sharing the Lessons’ Series (2 for 1 offer) by publishing your story on here.


  2. If you do choose to publish on your own Blog or Site could you please include a link back to this article and share some 'Link Love' in recognition for the inspiration.


  3. Pass it forward – let others know about this challenge in whatever way you feel is best. ‘Tread Your Path' your way, don’t let anyone else tell you different.


  4. BE the change – or otherwise nothing will change.


Much Love,

Damian

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guest Author - Adam Alexander - BEing the Change


In the second of my Guest Author Series in response to my ‘Unearthing Lost Treasures’ article I'm handing 'be the change - tread the path' over to another wonderful writer and a good friend - Adam from 'Adam's Peace'. This is another site of which I value my subscription and Adam's articles based on the subject of Peace in all its forms have incredible depth and feeling. Adam has been through many changes and has recently returned to his roots asking readers to submit questions which he then answers in a manner that is enlightened and very sincere. This all comes together to make excellent, thought-provoking reading.

As a suggestion you could start by reading Adam's response to my question "As we (the human race) appear to be accelerating towards a point of Spiritual Growth or Ascension, what do you see as the greatest hurdle and why?" which you can find at 'Path to Ascendancy'. His answer touches on one of my major sticking points with Society with the sentence “we wouldn’t be able to mark a specific day on our callendar and say that we became an adult, mentally…”. Call over and read the rest.

While you are there why not take Adam up on his offer and use the Contact Form to leave Adam a question, then see for yourself how he develops the answer in ways that will resound deeply within you. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome Adam to my site and without further ado I'll hand you over.

Hello, I am Adam Alexander of Adam's Peace. Adam's Peace is where I explain how to bring peace into your own life with the goal of bringing peace to everybody. I'm guest blogging because I could not resist the urge to give something back to Damian, who has helped me incredibly over the past several months in my own pursuit of peace.

Now, I realize that a blog isn't only created by the author. The author takes feedback from his readers and changes his opinions and rewords difficult concepts, learning and growing along with the audience. The feedback comes in the form of emails, comments, or even just the site statistics. Because it is impossible to fail to communicate, I would like to thank the entire community around Be the Change - Tread the Path, which happens to be my own community as well, by sharing the useful information that I have learned from Damian.

I would like to talk about why Being the Change works.

First, though, I think it is more fair to explain why being the change doesn't work for a lot of people. The number one reason is because those people just aren't changing. Yes, they're talking about changing, and planning on changing, but that doesn't work. If the ancient Egyptians had planned to build a pyramid, drawing the placement of every brick, researching the tools needed, and doing everything necessary to start, but nobody showed up, then nothing will have been built. The same goes for my life. There are times when I plan out the most functional websites, complete with very rich, very powerful tools, but then, I just don't start writing out the code and nothing ever comes of it. I can write a to-do list the night before, but unless I pick it up the next day and start doing each and every task, none of those tasks will get done, unless by habit alone.

The only time that we can do anything is right now. Yes, time goes on, and we remember the past, as well as plan for the future, but the simple act of procrastinating almost always guarantees that we will never even start. Hours turn to days, and days turn to weeks, and pretty soon, we're left looking at our past, wondering where the decades have gone.

Right now is all that we have, and by not taking advantage of this very moment, we are not being the change, nor are we treading the path. If you decide to stop reading this post now, with the promise to start reading again later, I won't hold it against you... If you're feeling the urge to get something done, well, these words will still be here when you return.

Now, why does being the change work, when we're living that change right now?

First of all, nobody respects a hypocrite. There is little point in trying to change anyone if you do not demonstrate that you have already made that change. If you are trying to teach other people that living in poverty is good for your spirituality, then do not put ads on your website. If you are a manager, and you are trying to motivate your employees, then get down in the dirt along side those employees and show them how it is done every day. If you are trying to bring peace to everybody, then show others that you live a peaceful life.

Of course, don't be arrogant about demonstrating your changes. Simply let others see what you are doing in your own life, and let them make the decision to mimic you.

Secondly, you gain experience that can be helpful in teaching others. This helps those who you want to change immensely, since there is little point in re-inventing the wheel. If a person who wants to make changes that you recommend comes up to you asking for advice, would you be able to give good advice if you have never taken your own recommendations? If I convinced everybody to go bungee jumping, a task that I've never done myself, then would it be wise to ask me how to attach your harness? Can I give good advice on how long and elastic the bungee should be?

The third reason why being the change works in changing the world, is because you get the benefits of changing your own life. Albert of Urban Monk is talking about Aristotle and his description of the pursuit of happiness. In it, he mentions that every person has different activities that make them happy. Without changing your own life, you can not know what truly makes you happy, and you will, instead, adopt society's half-hearted attempt to describe what success and happiness should mean to you.

Without taking the time to make a change in your own life, you will let your dreams and aspirations fall to the wayside as you strive for what society tells you that you should dream about. Is driving a large truck fun? How about owning that large truck, making the payments, paying the mechanic, and being bled dry by rising fuel costs? Some people wouldn't care about the difficulties of owning that large truck, but others would care deeply and it would make them very unhappy. Owning a business seems glamorous to many people, but most recognize the stress involved, including struggling to make the business self-sufficient, constantly worrying about laws that you don't know about, but you might be breaking anyways, and the great hunt for good customers and better employees. Personally, I think that owning a business, especially overcoming these obstacles, would be a very fun challenge.

The final and probably best reason why being the change works, and works well, is because you will affect people that you will never meet. Just by living by your own personal values, acting right now to improve your life and the lives of those around you, you plant the seeds of change in everyone you meet. Most will ignore that seed, but a few will nurture it, and let it grow until they are the change that they want to see in the world. They will, in turn, 'pay it forward' by planting seeds of change in other people. One small change can, if given enough time, revolutionize the world.

I would like to close by repeating that being the change only works if you are the change right now. You can't change the past, but you can learn from it. You can't experience the future, but you can plan for it. The only time where you have direct power is right now, so be the change now, and you'll receive all of the benefits that come with treading the path. Peace and joy come from not just being able to change gracefully, but by being the change that you want to see in the world right now.

I'd like to thank Adam for that brilliant article which is acts as a wonderful 'taster' which I hope has whet your appetite and stirred you enough to follow the link to Adam's Peace. I know it will be worth your while :-)

Take care and by BEing the change may you find Peace in your life,

Damian

Monday, May 14, 2007

Parenting with Spirit - Collecting Crystals


As a father of four young children I’m always on the lookout for ways to introduce them to the Mystical side of life without going into the darker areas of it in too much detail that might scare them and result in the opposite effect of ‘bringing down the barriers’ rather than opening up to the energy and inspiration of the Light. I guess you could call it Parenting with Spirit.

I’m still finding new ideas each day to encourage the Questioner in them as it is not simply a case of telling them what works for me – they need to develop the skills and tools to find their own path in life. I do not give them books and tell them to read but rather leave most of mine lying around which engages the curiousity which no child can deny J

Children are naturally spiritual and will commune with nature at any opportunity, Jeff Lilly describes this with his own vibrant and colourful style in his beautiful article
‘Children in Paganism’. These three paragraphs taken from that article sum it up far better than I ever could.

Children seem to be born with an innate reverence for nature, which fits right in with pagan belief. They fill their pockets with acorns, oddly shaped rocks, bits of fluff and feathers, and young blossoms — they can feel the raw magic sparking off such things. They can easily sense the quiet awe of a forest, and they are most at ease when surrounded by natural materials — cotton and wool clothing, wooden toys, silk drapes.

They are naturally attracted to seasonal holidays and ritual. They can feel the long, slow, majestic change of the seasons, and they are excited to celebrate their passing. They join in eagerly when an adult thanks the earth, the trees, and the sky, because they can sense the connection viscerally. They love repitition of familiar things, whether it’s a short verse of thanks to the sun as the candles are lit for dinner, or decorating a tree every Winter Solstice. The rituals of paganism are the rhythms of childhood.

And children seem like born polytheists. The world of nearly every child, even those of monotheistic parents, is populated with spirits and guides and gods of all kinds. Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost (to pick few American favorites) are just the tip of the iceberg. My oldest daughter spotted fairies four times on her own while we were still waffling between Zen, agnosticism, and atheism, and one of her best school friends, whose parents are Christian, sees them even more frequently. And all children feel the power and presence lurking in odd corners and nooks in the house… places where adults rarely go, where darkness and silence are allowed to gather. The children can sense the goblins as well as the gnomes.

So what practical ways can you provide the opportunity and space for your children to engage with Spirit? I’d love to hear from you all with any further ideas but in the spirit of ‘BEing the change’ this is the first in a series of articles sharing methods and ideas that I’ve discovered that work well for us. I’ll begin this series with an article on ‘Collecting Crystals.

Collecting Crystals – well collecting anything really but the Crystals work really well. My children have really taken to this side of me and actually save up their money for more crystals. This year we asked them if they wanted Easter Eggs or something else at Easter and yes – you guessed it – they wanted MORE crystals. We bought them all a ‘fishing box’ with lots of little compartments and they spend hours sorting their collections by colour, size and now they’ve done a little reading (or pestered me for the info to be more exact) they categorise them by their healing properties! How wonderful is THAT!

We go shopping each Saturday morning on the market for our weekly fruit and veg and the kids are well behaved and no longer whinge and moan for the plastic rubbish placed in their line of sight – they wait patiently for our brief walk back to the car which passes my friend
‘Crystal Carole’s’ shop to spend their weekly allowance. Its great fun watching them walking around the shop with their hands held over the baskets full of tumble-stones ‘feeling’ the energy for the right crystal.

They really surprise me too – I expected them to go for the big colourful shiny crystals like Magpie’s but they don’t. They take their time and let the crystals choose them. Try it with your kids it’s an amazing time to share and you have the additional benefits of helping them research the stones when you get home, discussing the properties, marvelling at the subtle colours and inflections and encouraging them to meditate and learn to ‘feel’ the Spirit moving through them.

To help them research and discover you’ll have to buy a simple book that they can at a later stage ‘borrow’ from you. I have one called ‘The Illustrated Guide to Crystals’ by Judy Hall that is crammed full of lovely pictures and has a lot of information on the history, use and benefits of crystals – the last 30 pages have photos of over 150 of the basic crystals with a brief description of their healing benefits and properties.

To demonstrate the benefits of children owning and collecting crystals let me complete this article with a true account of what happened the other week. It was Saturday morning and we had been shopping and called in
‘Crystal Carole’s’ as usual. Our two year old son, Mason, is usually OK sitting in his buggy while the kids pick their crystals but for some reason he was very unsettled – fidgeting, moaning and crying.

I asked Carol if there was a crystal that he could have that might settle him and she picked up three medium size pieces of Rose Quartz and offered them to him. He immediately quietened down and took the first piece out of her hand and held it a while. He then gave her that one back and went through the three pieces in turn eventually deciding that the first one he chose was the right one for him. He sat there in his buggy cuddling his crystal very calm and relaxed.

When we got home he was stroking the Rose Quartz saying it was ‘his cat’ and that it was ‘purring’. He played with it for a while and then walked over to a cabinet and put it carefully in a drawer. Ever since he often goes over to the drawer, takes out ‘his cat’, cuddles it awhile and then puts it back in the drawer. If ever he is distressed, over-tired or a little under the weather we give him his Rose Quartz and it always seem to help.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that you are now inspired to take your kids out to your local Crystal Emporium. Look out for further articles in my ‘Parenting with Spirit’ series and if you have any ideas for future articles or would like to share your own hints and tips please do not hesitate to get in touch.

A quick special mention – check out my friend Anita Ryan-Revel’s
Virtual Book Tour as ‘Be the change – tread the Path’ will be joining in the fun on June as a culmination of my Guest Author Series and Parenting with Spirit Series. Visit the sites throughout the tour as there are some amazing prizes on offer as well as some more great sites to browse. First off check out Anita’s site and ‘Reconnect with your inner Goddess’.

Also Crystal Carol informs me that if you send an e-mail via her site she can arrange to meet all your Crystal needs –
see the Contact page here or e-mail crystal.carol@btopenworld.com. I thoroughly recommend her for supreme quality and service. Her site also contains a Directory for further information on crystals and their properties.

Take care and continue BEing the Change,

Damian

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Defining Freemasonry - Freemasons Ceremonies


In this article in my 'Defining Freemasonry' series I'd like to take the opportunity to explore some of the details of what goes on in a Masonic meeting. If there are any specific issues you'd like me to me to cover in future articles then please do not hesitate to get in touch but I will again point out that this purely my opinion and not neccessarily those of other Freemasons, my Lodge or the United Grand Lodge of England.


The Ceremony is only part of what happens at a Freemason meeting and much of the meeting is taken up by the business of the Lodge such as Minutes, Charity collections and Reports from various Officers on the work they have done in respect of their respective duties. For this purpose the Lodge has specific Officers much like those in any other area of life where a Committee structure is essential to promote open and honest activity.

It is the duty of the Secretary to keep minutes of each meeting which are either circulated in advance or read out at the next appropriate meeting. It is also his role to issue the Summons each month to every member which act as a reminder that the meeting is due to take place, including an agenda of what business will be conducted during that meeting. This is one of the most important roles as the Secretary ensures the smooth running of the Lodge and acts as a point of contact for any correspondence with the Lodge members, The United Grand Lodge of England, Provincial Grand Lodge, other Freemason’s Lodges or anyone else wishes to contact the Lodge for whatever purpose.

Likewise a Treasurer is elected to act as the point of contact for anything related to Finance. A position of great trust, it is his responsibility to ensure that all subscriptions are collected from the members and that all fees are paid in respect of the rent for the Hall, the Caterers and any other expense that may be required of the Lodge.

The Almoners role is to oversee the needs of the members of the Lodge. He is the point of contact for Charity and looks after the welfare of the members. As part of his duties he also makes regular visits to those suffering from illness, the elderley and the infirm. He is also responsible for ensuring that the members are kept informed of the health and well-being of any dependants of the Lodge which include the widows of any previously serving members, wives, daughters and also sons if under the age of twenty-one. The name is taken from Christian activists who were responsible for charity and giving out Alms to the needy.

Apart from the business the main part of a Masonic meeting is the Ceremony, this is when a candidate is being initiated, passed or raised – known as his First (Degree), Second (Degree) and Third (Degree). Usually the Ceremony is performed for an actual candidate but if a Lodge has no candidates in the pipeline they may choose to perform a Demonstration Ceremony, present a paper of Masonic interest or arrange for another form of demonstration for that evening. The focus is always to offer an item which will satisfy the Brethrens aim in making ‘a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge’.

Lodge demonstrations come in many forms and can demonstrate equivalent ceremonies from other recognised jurisdictions or they may recreate how Ceremonies were conducted in the past to display the differences with those of today. The subject may also cover in more detail some element of the symbols or history utilised in one of the Masonic degrees, providing much more depth to the understanding for those in attendance.

The three Masonic degrees are ‘worked’ by the Officers of the Lodge in the form of short plays which moral, symbolic and ethical value. The Officers learn the words and then recite the separate pieces from memory, this is known by the Brethren as ‘ritual’ and a good ritualist is held in high esteem by the other members. In saying that, however, a Brother who has difficulties learning the words is never chastised or seen as inferior and the other members will go out of their way to assist him in the course of the Ceremony with prompts and hints.

The First Degree is the member’s initiation into Freemasonry, the Second Degree marks the progress he has made in the Fraternity and the Third Degree establishes him as a Master Mason. All three ceremonies contain an introduction, an obligation, the communication of the ‘secrets’ of that degree followed by various explanations of the symbols of that degree and how they can be used as a guide to becoming a better person. The ‘secrets’ are nothing as exciting as depicted in books and film and are merely the methods we use to recognise a fellow Freemason – these consist of the famous ‘funny handshake’ and a password.

I hope that has provide a further insight into the world of Freemasonry and dispels some of the myth and negativity which it has wrongly attracted over the years.

Fraternally yours,

Damian

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Guest Author - Kara-Leah Masina - BEing the Change


This is the first in a series of Guest Author ‘spots’ in response to my ‘Unearthing Lost Treasures’ article. I’d like to welcome Kara-Leah to ‘be the change – tread the path’ as a good friend, a source of great support and a real inspiration to me both personally and through her site @ http://www.klmasina.co.nz/. Kara-Leah’s writing is a favourite stop for me as I sojourn through the blogosphere and her articles cover subjects on Belief, Consciousness, Creation, Guidance, Health, Love, Reality, The Mind and Yoga to name but a few of the headings in the Categories section of her site.

Your first port of call on this site should be to the article
‘Kundalinin Awakening or Bi-polar surfacing’ which is a frank, emotional and honest account of her own awakening and the fears that went with it to the point where she was mistakenly diagnosed as going through a period of mental illness. This article offers an insight as to what it actually feels like to go through a Spiritual Awakening and her transformation to the wonderful person she is now.

So, onward with due haste and I’d like to welcome Kara-Leah to my site and offer my most especial thanks for the following, thought-provoking article on Being the Change.

On BEing the change

It is with great pleasure that I come to Damian's site to write my first guest article.

His title is no mere fancy of words, no tossed off quote from a great man.

No, the title of Damian's blog is the key to the way that we can revolutionise our worlds.

And I say worlds with a plural, because there are as many worlds on the planet as there are people.

Each and every one of us views the planet through our own specific filter of beliefs, ideas, culture concepts, thoughts, fears and limitations.

There are few of us who have dropped the filter and can perceive the world AS IT IS.

When one such as Damian writes to BE the Change, he is touching on this fundamental human truth.

You can not change WHAT IS.

For it is what it is.

You can however change the filter through which you perceive what is... and then your world will change.

And as your world changes, so you change with it, responding differently, being differently, experiencing differently.

Your original change of Self and perception becomes a constant feedback loop.

In practical terms, listen to the words that fall out of your mouth and circle in your mind.

What do you wish other people did?

Then do that.

What do you wish was happening?

Then be that.

If your partner drives you nuts because they are always late... observe yourself and make sure that you are always early.

If other drivers annoy you because they dilly dally and know not where they go... always drive with intention and purpose.

If the service at your favourite restaurant is lacking, ask yourself how you can be of greater service in your life.

See each complaint, each desire, each longing to change another as an impetus to change yourself.

Then watch this change as it is reflected in the world that you perceive.

And so the world changes...

But there is more.

Because to truly step forward and BE the change... you need to drop the filter through which you perceive life and see this world for what it truly is.

You need to see the perfection in all that is.You need to accept the world as it is, right now, today.

And then, only then, as more and more people release their filters and awaken to what is...

Then true change will spread out across the globe and a new world will be seen.

It is a world that has always been here.

It is a world that just awaits discovery.

It is a world that is.

That is all.

Kara-Leah Masina - www.klmasina.com.nz

There really is nothing I’d like to add except to say a big THANK YOU to Kara-Leah for sharing that inspiration and wisdom with us.

If anyone else would like to take the opportunity to write an article on ‘BEing the Change’ please leave a comment and I’ll be in touch.

Take care and take a moment today to ‘BE the change YOU wish to see’,

Damian

Monday, May 07, 2007

Unearthing Lost Treasures


I enjoyed another episode of Lost Treasures on Granada TV tonight – I was really looking forward to this episode as the presenter, Mark Olly, is a good friend of mine and he is very excited about the possible discovery of the main Druid Sanctuary in the UK. The circular site was SO clear in the snow that I had goose-bumps at the thought of the ‘Lost Treasures’ that may be there just waiting to be discovered. Keep an eye out for the episode that covers Dunham Massey and the Templar Knights as Mr Olly assures me that my name appears in the credits for the help and advice I gave him to re-enact the Templar funeral – fame at last – LOL – that’ll look good on the CV.

I’ve been having a reading frenzy for the last week or so and I’m currently surrounded by half read books on some of my favourite subjects – Druidry, Pythagoras, Channelling, Crystals, Tarot, Shamanism, etc – but I’ve dropped them all while I devour ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle – what a wonderfully inspiring read. I was recommended this book by Slade some time ago but had such a backlog of books I wanted to buy that this had slipped totally from my list – or so I thought.

Last Thursday I went for a walk around a local Mill that has one floor full of market stalls. I’ve passed this place hundreds of times but had never even thought about having a look around before but as the idea had ‘popped’ into my mind and I had an afternoon free I made my way over and browsed amongst the stalls. There were some wonderful gems hidden among the bric-a-brac and I spent a good hour talking to a retired couple who had left behind teaching careers to run a small business which revolved around their love of all things Celtic and a passion for Megalithic Standing Stones – I’m sure there will be a future article there when I return to learn more and develop my new friendships.

I also found a large book shop tucked away at one end of the mill floor and was totally unable to walk past without having a browse inside. The owner was incredibly passionate about his books and was very happy to show me around enquiring what subjects I was particularly interested in and directing me to the ‘Paranormal’ section in response to my answer. There were mounds of books lumped together under this catch-all heading – Druids, Wicca, Demonology, Tarot, Freemasonry (?) and even a whole selection of X-files annuals – I’m sure even Mark Olly would have found some ‘Lost Treasures’ hidden amongst them!

But as I moved a pile of dusty paperbacks to one side to see what was hiding behind my eye was immediately drawn to a small purple and blue paperback which seemed to have an energy all of its own. I reached out and picked it up to see what weird and wonderful subjects it may contain and was suddenly hit by a rush of déjà vu – it was ‘The Power of Now’ at a reduced price too – so I scooped it up along with a detailed book on Palmistry for my partner, Tara, paid for my purchases and scurried back to the car. I was so intrigued that I read the first two chapters sat right there in my car, in the mill car park.

The story continues when I decided to check Technorati to see if anyone had sent me any link love while my head has been buried in my book and I was very happily surprised and deeply honoured to find that Adam @ Adams Peace had included me in his
‘Providing Value’ post alongside other Authors that I totally respect and are on my own ‘must read’ list. Adam has returned to his writing roots and offers the opportunity for anyone to submit a question about Peace ‘in any of its forms’.

I couldn’t resist this opportunity to and asked “As we (the human race) appear to be accelerating towards a point of Spiritual Growth or Ascension, what do you see as the greatest hurdle and why?” Adam’s response is both beautiful and wonderfully enlightening and can be found within his article
‘Path to Ascendancy’ which I highly recommend as your next ‘blog hop’.

I’m so excited about the hard work that Authors such as Adam are putting into developing these thoughts and ideas and I’m taking this opportunity to offer ‘be the change – tread the path’ to a number of Guest Authors over the next few weeks with the subject of ‘Being the Change’. If anyone would like to take part please leave a comment and I’ll be in touch to discuss the opportunity of shedding Light on further ‘Lost Treasures’.

Take care, exciting times are ahead,

Damian

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Revolution of the Spirit


I recently drove down to o local country park, parked up and strolled down to my favourite spot – it’s a beautiful place in a wood near a stream where I often walk to ‘get in touch’ with nature and re-energise. It was a bright clear day and there is a bench where you can rest so the idea came to me to sit and meditate for a while enjoying the energies of the trees and losing myself in the rhythm of the stream.

No sooner had I started than a couple in their 50’s appeared walking their dog – greetings were exchanged, the dog was patted and they went on their way glancing back a few times as they went. A slight smile came to my face as I sensed they were wondering what I was doing sat alone on the bench.

I drifted once again and was happily soaking up the atmosphere when I became aware of another man approaching with his faithful hound in tow. The dog scampered over to me and I again greeted it with a pat on the head “Good afternoon” I said as the man caught up “Good afternoon” he mirrored in reply stopping for a moment as his dog sniffed around. I was aware that he too was wondering why someone was sat alone so I broke the silence in true English style “Nice day” said I, “It’s OK” said he, “Lovely spot” I pressed on, “Yeah, it’s alright” replied the man.

A few more moments passed until his curiosity got the better of him “Are you alright?” he enquired, “Yes, I’m fine thank you – I’m enjoying the peace and beauty – it’s a wonderful day and I love this place” I replied with a smile. “Uh, OK” said the man obviously disappointed that I didn’t have a tale of desperation to impart. “Enjoy your walk” said I, “You too” said he and shuffled on his way. I returned to my meditation with a much bigger smile and once finished strolled back to my car and headed home.

This tale demonstrates to me the human instinct to look for the worst in a situation – these people obviously saw torment where I felt peace and escape where I felt connection. Has the Human Race become so distanced from the beauty of enjoying the moment that they find weirdness where there is understanding? Is this simply the English way of seeing things, and if so, why have we become so distanced from our past?

The British Isles was once known as an Isle of Magic – the land of the faeries. These days the ‘strange’ folk can only be found running stalls in reclaimed mills or huddled together in Civic Centres at weekend ‘Mind, Body and Spirit’ fairs surrounded by Reiki beds. The subjects once prized as the knowledge and wisdom of the Mystics is now the fuel of an underground circuit of Pagan Moots, talks and presentations held in the back rooms of pubs or above shops selling crystals and incense holders.

Now don’t get me wrong here as I love nothing more than to attend a good Moot or presentation – these are the lifeblood of the Spiritual Community. The owners of the ‘alternative’ stalls and shops are the foundation of the Art – those that have answered their true calling to provide outposts of sanity in a topsy-turvy soul-less world. Next time you pass one – drop in and say hello – I guarantee they will all have a sparkle in their eyes and a wealth of magical stories to share.

But why is it that this Community is so splintered and isolated – where is the hub of these wonderful and vibrant people? The UK media frequently raise the issue of Britain ‘losing its identity’ but its plainly there for all to see, feel and experience – the Magic of the British Isles is still surging through its veins – if only more people would live in the moment and reach out and feel it.

We have reached the corona of an Evolution of Spirit and a mass awakening has begun. Many are searching for something lacking in their lives and those of us that have been activated in advance have a responsibility to pave the way. We have been primed to act as guides and teachers to signpost the way to the New Assembly. The Community of Light in the UK needs a kick up the arse – and I know that by joining together and coming out of the shadows we really can do it.

Anchor yourself in the Past – Live in the present – have Hope in the future.

Damian

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A spiritual Bacon Barm - 3 stories of me


Not a good day for me yesterday, it seemed that many of the pieces I saw falling into place just didn’t match the picture on the box. Many thanks to Kara-Leah for her well timed e-mail that appeared in my inbox just as I was packing up and heading for bed. Her words were just the lift I needed to take with me to my dreams and provide a spiritual band-aid for the metaphysical knocks and grazes of a draining day.

So up this morning with renewed vigour – got the kids packed off to school with a hug, a kiss and my wishes for a happy day tucked in with their lunch – then straight in the bath for a refreshing soak for me with no-one in the house to disturb my wallowing. How quickly the bubbles washed away the negativity of life and left me in a happy haze to think back on the lessons I have learned that may have seemed harsh at the time but brought a smile to my face as I lay there drifting buoyed by watery warmth.

I feel I have already lived a dozen lives and my aim to live a full life has already been met. Some sad times and some good, some self caused and some not, some tears and many smiles. The kind of life that many would not understand and others would fear to tread but never what I call a ‘flat-line’ life and may it remain that way. You have to have your lowest lows to know your highest highs, I always say.

Here a few stories that I’ll share with you and the lessons I learned from them. Please feel free to laugh with me as I reveal some moments that those of lesser steel would lock away and forget – but that’s not me – I feel it’s OK to find humour in others misfortune as long as you are willing to share yours to exchange their tears for a smile. I’m my own hardest critic and my biggest fan, I’m my demon and my saint, the first to pour scorn on my failings and my own best friend to offer the kindest word. That’s the way I learn from each moment and strive to be a better man.

Story One

One Christmas Eve when I was about 17, I thought it would be a great idea to drink several litres of Cider while in Manchester City Centre. Feeling a little worse for wear I headed for the bus to take me home where it was intention to go straight up to bed. Miraculously I managed to get on the correct, and very full, bus and found a seat upstairs where I could snuggle down and try and gather my thoughts enough to stay awake for the 40 minute journey home.

Everything was fine until around 15 minutes into the journey when I started to feel nauseous and headed downstairs to get off for some fresh air and to spare the other passengers from the image and horror of sharing the journey with a puking drunk – see I’m even public spirited when I’m wasted! I stood at the only door on the bus, by the driver, and saw that it was still some way to the next stop.

By now my stomach was churning and I was close to losing all control, “can you stop and let me off please I feel sick” said I to the Driver, “Hang on mate, you’ll have to wait for the next stop”, said he and carried on driving, I REALLY need to get off mate”, said I my head spinning, “No” said he. WHOOOOOOOOOOOSSSHHHHH came the vomit - akin to a scene from the Exorcist, covering the whole of the doors and filling the foot-well.

Again and again it came – wave after wave – until the bus pulled over and the dripping doors opened wide. I stepped off splashing as I went and didn’t look back as I crossed the street – caught my shins on a low wall and landed on some grass, quickly falling into thankful unconscious sleep.

Waking up some time later it took me all my strength and determination to place each foot in front of the other to plod my laborious way home. I arrived at home and put my key in the door, which was attached to a long dog-chain I clipped to my belt-loop (OK – I thought it looked cool at the time when I put my keys in my back pocket and the chain hung down in a loop). Just as the door swung open I slid to one side and my parents came to the door, summoned by the noise, to find me swinging from the chain, smelling of vomit and obviously very, very drunk.

The lessonif you are a Bus Driver and a drunken kid says open the doors the best thing to do is open them.

Story Two

You actually get two lessons for the price of one with this story. One happy Saturday morning just before Mothers Day many years ago I was lazing in bed when there was a knock on the door – I jumped up, grabbed whatever clothes I could find and went downstairs to see who it was. It turned out to be my younger cousin, Darren, and he asked me if I fancied walking up to the shops with him to get cards and gifts for our Mothers. Caught still dozing I quickly had a wash, brushed my teeth, grabbed a coat and put on my Doc Marten boots (apologies to my non-UK readers these are similar to Army boots).

We set off to shops and purchased the items for Mothering Sunday, thus ensuring that we would be welcome to stay at home for another twelve months. As it was now dinner-time we decided to meet with our Mothers who always spent Saturday at our Grandparents house. Fed and watered we headed to the playing field behind our Grandparents for a ‘kick-around’ with a few friends and a soccer ball.

All was well and I was in the process of spinning round to connect with a spectacular volley when – SNAP – Darkness – then I came round in intense pain. In my excitement I had forgotten that I was wearing the wrong footwear and although my body and leg had spun around 180 degrees my foot had stayed planted in the same place. After some fuss and some screaming and shouting on my part my Aunt drove her car on to the field and whisked me off to Hospital.

While waiting for a doctor and a free treatment room I realised that in my rush to answer the door that morning I had forgotten to put on any underwear. I confided this embarrassing fact in my Aunt which resulted in great mirth. I was diagnosed as having snapped the ligament off my ankle bone and my turn came to be wheeled into the treatment room to be faced with a young nurse.

She got the equipment ready to strap up my ankle and lower leg and then turned to me saying “You’re lucky, I think I can get your jeans off over the foot so I won’t have to cut them” – my face dropped – I hadn’t considered this. I looked at my Aunt with horror on my face and hers had a huge grin “that’s OK said I, my Mother can sew them back up – she’s good at sewing”. The nurse looked back at me puzzled and said “well if that’s how you want to do it” and cut my jeans up past my knee.

The lessonsyour Mother is right, ALWAYS wear clean underwear and never play soccer in Doc Marten boots.

Story Three

I used to have this small ritual each month where I would treat myself to whatever I fancied for breakfast on the way to work of the morning I received my Monthly pay. This was totally guilt free and calorie laden – my little pay day gift to me. This particular pay day morning I had set off for work and it was a GLORIOUS day – the sun was shining bright, the air was fresh and there was real promise in the air – you know, the kind of day where it seems that everyone you pass has a smile for you and the spring is in your step.

This particular day I’d decided that I’d have Fried Bacon and Mushrooms on a Barm with a drizzle of HP sauce (apologies again to my non-UK readers but trust me this is a very good combination - check the pic at the top). I was walking down the street to the Sandwich Shop and could already taste it on my lips – the proverbial ‘cherry on the cake’ for this marvellous day.

As I got to the shop I was so filled with anticipation and promise that I actually skipped up the two steps – caught my toe on the step – and fell FLAT on my face right inside. The other customers all turned round in unison and looked at me lying on the floor just as the Shop-owner asked “Can I help you?”, I replied still lying on the floor with my last shred of dignity “A Bacon and Mushroom Barm please” to which he answered “Sorry mate we’ve not got any mushrooms”. My defeat had become complete.

The lessonwhen all seems well with the world beware that last step.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these stories enough to want to add your own. Please feel free to write a similar article on your site linking back to here so I can follow your track-back (add a little link love) or alternatively you can add your story in a comment.

Please take the time to do this as I’d love to read your stories and see the lessons that you learnt. I’ve shown you mine now you show me yours – LOL.

Take care, Be the Change and SHARE your Wisdom,

Damian

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Striking a balance (1) - Parenting


I’ve been having a few difficulties reconciling some areas of life and wanted to share them with you. Some of these issues are with Parenting, others with Society, one or two with Spirit and most with Myself. They’ve been buzzing round my head and my feeling is that I can’t move on without finding a balanced view and an acceptable integration with them and my personal Belief system.

I’ll start the ball rolling with Parenting as this is I see as the most important role in my life. I’m in a strange place at the moment having four children aged 10 (A), 8 (B), 5 (C) and 2 (D). They all have vastly different needs and different backgrounds which makes for an interesting ‘blend’ and very real challenges. Bear with me on this and I’ll try to explain.

(A) is my partners first son who has no contact with his father and is just coming up to moving to ‘Big School’ in September. He has ‘adopted’ me totally as his Dad and we have a very close relationship where he talks to me about most things quite openly. He is soon approaching his SATS tests which will ‘decide’ his placement in Secondary School and probably the future course of his schooling. He is a very helpful kid and is absolutely brilliant with boys (C) and (D) but has no time or patience with girl (B). His biggest downfall is his ‘attitude’ and a very big mouth which often lands him in real trouble both at home and in school.

Here lies the first of my issues and it relates to his ‘attitude’ in general. Don’t get me wrong he’s no different than any other 10 year old boy but here’s the crux. During a number of conversations where I’ve attempted to invoke a strong work ethic, morals and identity he’s expressed the idea that it doesn’t matter what he does there will always be someone else to pick up the pieces. He has no grasp of personal responsibility, importance of choice or that his actions have an impact on others.

I recently attended an open evening with him at his soon to be Secondary School and they spent more time talking about their Social support structures than they did about Education. I came away feeling that I had Victorian values and he came away with his ideas about ‘having his hand held through life’ totally confirmed. Just what is happening when our children will leave school thinking that life is full of people just waiting to leap out and save them from the ‘Bad stuff’ – that is NOT the case.

I personally strive to make the world a better place but unfortunately I’m in the smallest minority. The Education system has a responsibility to help with my endeavours to guide and develop my children – but to do so in reality. It’s great to tell children they can be whatever they want to be if they only believe in themselves but I’m sorry that will lead to a lot of disappointed and frustrated adults.

There are only Eleven players on the England football team and I’m sorry but my eldest just hasn’t got the natural skill to be one. He tells me that he doesn’t need to work hard at school because he’s following his dream – WHAT! – even if I could afford to hire David Beckham himself for the rest of my sons life he’d still be lucky to play for a mediocre team. Thus comes a BIG issue – what do I do as a loving, supportive and inspirational parent – cut to the chase and destroy his dreams with a good dose of reality or tell him to follow a dream that will never happen?

So on to Child (B) who still regularly sees her father, every other weekend, and worships the ground he walks on. This isn’t sour grapes but rather a stark truth but the guy is one of the least responsible and lacks morals and ethics by the bucket-load. I drop her off with him each Friday night and pick her up again Sunday evening religiously because it’s ‘the right thing to do’. The girl needs to spend time with her father and I’d never step in her way unless she was in danger.

My issue with this is that he tells her not to listen to me and undermines my guidance. She is struggling at school and no matter what I do or say to try and support her she simply looks at me with a knowing smile. If we weren’t living in this ‘politically correct’ world I’d have quite happily given him a good hiding by now but I’m wise enough to know that this would be turned against me. He’s been a petty criminal most of his life and I know she sees this as exciting and fun. His idea of taking her out at the weekend is to a local pub that has swings so he can still drink with his mates while she plays. So here goes again guys – How do I sit back and watch someone I love dearly, under achieve because her Daddy just doesn’t ‘get it’?

Child (C) still lives with his mother with whom I still have a good friendship and child (D) is mine and my current partner's and both are thriving well – so no gripes there you’ll be glad to know. Thanks for listening and I look forward to your input on these and any other issues that you may wish to comment. I promise I’ll pen some more inspirational articles before moving on to ‘Striking the Balance 2’.

Take care and I send you Love and Light to face up to the challenges in your own life,

Damian

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Inspiration, support and dedication - the awards


Post number Thirty and I’ve been presented with a ‘tag’ in the form of a ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ by Titania from Finding Life’s Enchantments. This originated from Ilker at The Thinking Blog (the rules for the meme can be found there) and as the gauntlet has now been handed to me I’m going to ‘award’ five other people stimulate and motivate me to continue my quest. These people put everything of themselves into their writing and deserve my full praise and gratitude for the hard work and dedication they put into their articles and the consistency of the high quality of their posts.

My path has taken many twists and turns of late and I am turning to the Community of Blog for insight and knowledge more and more. The community and ideas fascinate me and I can spend whole days hopping from post to post seeing where the links on each site lead me. This has culminated in my attempt at providing a Terminal in the confusion of the Web where we can meet, play, rest and recharge – so why not make YOUR next hop to the Soul Terminal.

Whilst pondering over the development of
SoulTerminal.com I thought of the Primary locations that would define the Community, after some consideration I narrowed it down to –


  • a place for people to barter, trade and show off their wares (The Market-place),

  • a sanctuary for healing and a supportive word from another kind Soul (The Apothecary),

  • a venue to visit to be inspired by Music, Art, Poetry and other Spirit inspired creations (the Assembly),

  • a living vibrant environment for Learning, Wisdom and Knowledge where people can share the gems they have found (the Vault),

  • somewhere supportive to go to publicise and develop our skills and to advertise our abilities (Life Forge)

  • and in my mind I saw all these leading to a central point where we could all chat and share and meet companions on our Spiritual path (the Gathering).

I was visualising what it would look like and searching for an image that could act as a graphical representation of the place I wanted to create.

Just then I closed down the Windows on my computer and looking back at me was the image I had been searching for – only the day before I had changed my Wallpaper to that of a vibrant, swirling mix of Fire, Earth, Air and Water with a glowing White Light in it’s centre – a Pentacle.

Suddenly it all clicked into place – the energy I had felt culminating in the Centre, The Gathering, was akin to the theory of ‘Sacred Space’ and all the other elements would draw in energy relating to their own areas of Life to create a focus where Spirit could flow with ease encouraging Communication and Invoking the timeless power of the WORD.

This brings me to the first person on my list who is Slade from
Shift Your Spirits who has just launched his new site with the amazing post ‘Stars of the Apocalypse’ that sums up the theory of Soulterminal.com in a very real and artistic manner. He has reached new levels of enlightenment as an author with this article which is a MUST READ. I therefore hand him a Thinking Blogger award without hesitation.

The next person who has been a real inspiration to me and has helped me develop myself and therefore my writing is Debs from
Deb_Inside. She has recently opened up herself through her writing and you can FEEL the energy flowing through the page. Therefore Debs thoroughly deserves her Thinking Blogger award and I send her heaps of Light to assist her development.

K-L Masina and especially her post Now is the time to re-enter the Garden of Eden just has to be savoured and sheds a whole new light as she weaves all the strands together so eloquently. Kara-Leah has been a constant supporter of mine and pops by occasionally to offer words of guidance and support- and her site is one I stop by regularly to get a fix of Positivity. Therefore I offer her the Thinking Blogger award with great thanks.

Another wise and wonderful author is Jeff Lilly from
Druidjournal.net, his beautiful descriptions of moments captured during meditation and the skilful unravelling of his theories and observations mark him out as an outstanding source of inspiration and thought. Jeff is a very worthy recipient of a Thinking Blogger award and I offer it to him without hesitation.

Khlari @
Musings of Khlari is a fellow Author from the UK and her descriptions of her journey through life are wonderfully written. Each article has that ’can’t wait for the next one’ feel to them and you are left wondering who will be the next victim of her wit and scrutiny. For displaying her ‘ups and downs’ in such an articulate manner to the world she fully deserves a ‘Thinking Blogger’ award with my best wishes.

I sincerely hope that they all accept these ‘awards’ with the same grace I accepted mine – this may appear ‘just another tag’ on the surface but it has allowed me to give thanks, recognition and well deserved credit to these outstanding people who are at the pinnacle of writing – and are my own personal inspirations to continue searching, writing, developing and BEing the Change.

Long may it continue,

Love and Light to all of them,

Damian

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stepping up to the challenge


I’ve been coming across many stories of courageous people that exceed all expectations despite suffering from illnesses, disabilities or debilitating mental problems. All these people are an absolute inspiration and each story I read gives me hope in human nature and at the same time shames me into doing more with my own life.

The downside of this is that the more you are aware of those that exceed and make huge advances despite the barriers that life has thrown in their way, so too the excuses and moans of those less inclined to do anything with their lives appear as a drain, dragging their shadow of negativity across the world. That’s fine if all they have a responsibility to is themselves but I hate to see it when they transmit the same traits to their children.

Children are taking over and parents are being encouraged to hand over control. New disorders and Syndromes are appearing at an alarming rate and the kids are frighteningly aware that they exist. What used to be called ‘lazy’ some people are quick to diagnose as Attention Deficit, Stamp Collectors have Aspergers syndrome and children who refuse to help Mom in the garden are probably suffering from Compulsive Cleanliness Tendencies.

But to many parents this is OK as it relieves them of the worry that they may be the subject of a future discussion with their offspring’s Counsellor or Psychiatrist. The suggestion that junior may actually have a medical condition with a fancy name absolves them of self blame when they spend too much time at work, out having ‘me’ time or simply sat watching TV, and no real quality time assisting their children to develop, playing a game or reading a book together.

I am speaking from experience as I became a step-father around three years ago and took on two children aged 8 and 6 who, it had been suggested, were suffering from a variety of conditions. This had never been diagnosed but the children themselves were fully aware of their supposed 'difficulties' and happy to tell you that they couldn't read, tell the time or tie their own shoes because they were Dyslexic.

I was shocked, and with their best interests at heart immediately insisted that they went to the Doctors for a full diagnosis so I could then contact help-groups and societies who were experts in the fields. My intention was to learn everything I could about the conditions and then also understand the skills necessary to assist the children in the best way I could. My partner had never had any support like this before and had done the best she could raising the children against a background of two previous abusive relationships.

So off the kids went to the Doctor, who then referred them to the hospital at my insistence for further tests as the Doctor “couldn’t be sure”. I went with my partner and the children to all the appointments and even joined in some work to look at the ‘family dynamics’ – which I actually enjoyed as it included us playing board games and drawing a huge picture together on a big piece of paper. The kind of things we were already doing at home as a family.

After many weeks and many visits to ‘specialists’ we were called in to talk about the conclusions. I was happy to hear that the oldest had no problems and that the youngest would be referred to ‘speech therapy’ to improve her speech a little. But none of the earlier suggestions had been correct. The kids had simply latched on to the conversations they had heard about them and had used them as an excuse to get away with trying – what kid wouldn’t, I know I used to try and get out of doing any kind of work at their age!

So now the hard work began – the children had fallen behind drastically with their school-work and they had never been introduced to Learning as being a FUN thing to do. I whisked them off to the book-shop and bought heaps of books – OK I also used this as an excuse to get all the Dr. Seuss books because I loved them so much – I then bought them full sets of funky pens, coloured pencils and felt-tips and lots of paper and coloured card.

The early days were a real struggle because they were adamant that they weren’t going to give up their ‘easy’ lives but unfortunately for them – I don’t give in too easily either. I set about making cardboard clocks with different coloured zones and hands that could be moved around, I downloaded everything ‘educational’ that I could find on the Net and I set time-tables that included work as well as play.

I developed a form of ‘punishment’ which entailed…………MORE work-sheets – the kids soon caught on that all they were doing by refusing to do their Learning was creating much more work for themselves in the future – a good Life Lesson there too. But they never caught on that the work-sheets were the same ones they’d already been given just simply cut and pasted into different orders (that’ll be our secret). I explained to them the meaning of ‘Privileges’ and explained how they could earn them or lose them depending on their behaviour and attitude. TV time was cut down and added to the Privilege list.

So we got into a good routine and the boundaries had been set. After a noisy and troublesome start the progress soon followed and with each accomplishment I showered them with praise and gave them material gifts, always learning related. The children soon learnt to tell the time and tie their own shoes and I often saw them sitting with a book.

Their school grades have gone up by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and at Parents Evening, a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to be told that both children had improved by two levels – an outstanding endeavour by both of them. I was so proud of them and their wide smiles meant the world to me, the hard work and frustrations of the last couple of years just melted away.

A love of learning is essential in this life and although I know I’m preaching to the enlightened – to the searchers and sharers of the ‘Community of Blog’ – its always worth reminding ourselves that its not enough to simply drift and hope, its always more worthwhile to face up to reality and make an active attempt to resolve any issues or difficulties. No matter how hard it seems at the time it is ALWAYS worth it in the long run.

BE the change you wish to see in the world.

Take care and strive to learn something new each day,

Damian

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blog Apocalypse - Go find YOU


I’ve been tagged again but this time by K-L Masina to answer the challenge set by The Urban Monk and his Blog Apocalypse – you can find her article here.


The 'Blog Apocalypse' mission




The blogosphere is ending. No more blogs. Blog apocalypse.
The internet is still working, the world is fine. But you can’t write anymore.
Write your last post. Make it a good one. What is the reason you blog? What is
the last gem of knowledge you want to leave? What do you want to be remembered
for? Who are you? What is the meaning of life? Haha…well not exactly but you get
the point. Pour your heart into it.




And not only does he give you such an amazing mission but Albert will also donate money to charity for each article - How much of an insentive is THAT!

I’ve had this ‘on file’ for a few days as something this monumental deserves a more thoughtful approach. If the Blogging world had collapsed then I feel the sense of loss would be in relation to the work, inspiration, information and sense of Community that had fallen too.

The work put in to Blogging is phenomenal – the care and patience that is put into each loving creation ensures the ‘blogosphere’ is a moving, living and evolving entity – each minute of every day it is being fed and recreated by so many Blog Gardeners, carefully tilling the soil in which their hopes, dreams and ideas have been planted.

Those of us that use this medium are fascinated with information in one way or another and wish to share what we have found in the hope of inspiring and touching others. I’m a relative newbie to this pursuit and have already met some wonderful people by doing so, the community of Blog has become an addiction to me albeit a very worthwhile, positive and satisfying one.

So what would my last article be and what is the last gem of knowledge I’d choose to impart. My initial response would be to list all the words of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way or to copy some timeless thought provoking poem such as ‘Desiderata’ but the emphasis is on ME not my influences.

But in saying that are we not the sum of all that we have experienced – do I actually have anything original to add? If I’m to give you something that is wholly ME then I can only refer to the experiences I have lived through – those moments of joy, sadness, belief and despair that are mine alone.

Sifting through my memories there are many moments that were uplifting – times when all seemed well with life and the joy shone through but likewise the times of greatest learning have come from the darkest times – times when all looked lost and change was a matter of survival. Which of these stories from my life will add colour, depth and understanding for those who read it?

The answer to that, my friends, is none. For it to be rewarding YOU have to feel it – YOU have to experience the pain, the joy, the fear and the liberation. Its not for me to tell you how – that can only be a reference point not a full-on Learning experience. These memories are mine and merely stories to you, so look to yourself and find signposts in your past, present and future to where you’re meaning lies. You are unique and you are special and your mission is there should you decide to take it – but do so with caution as there are hard lessons to learn before you reach your prize.

So my answer to the ‘Blog Apocalypse’ tag comes down to this –

The answers you seek won’t be found on the internet, this is merely a tool to reference your thoughts – a mirror of millions of other personalities with a million other opinions – if you seek the meaning of life then go out and find but at the same time seek deeper within yourself – let THIS moment be the inspiration to do something GOOD today – good for you and for the higher good – smile and you will find happiness – find beauty in everything and you shall find peace and joy – soak up experience, YOUR experience, with every breath – take time to find yourself and enjoy the journey – your Teachers are waiting for you to find them, you have students that need you to arrive – your community is waiting for its newest member – you DO belong and you ARE needed – your VALUE is immense and YOU can make a difference – this life is for living and it only takes one moment, THIS moment, to grasp your destiny and to be everything you want to be – take it, hold on to it, nurture it, treasure it, BE it - Take care, Search for Truth, Remain positive - BE the change.


Love and Light

Damian

I’d like to take this opportunity to ‘tag’ the following authors with the ‘Apocalypse Blog’ mission

Debs @ deb_inside

Debs Brother Dave @
Rothacker reviews

Nathalie @
One Life among the Many

Titania @
Finding Life’s Enchantments

 
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