"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Monday, 22 December 2008

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the greatest Wounded Healer of all time, I wish everyone a very joyous Christmas filled with love and peace, and I pray for a better world for everyone across all Nations in 2009. May all start our own Ripples of Hope to heal a fractured World

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The healing power of creativity

Through Art we can see deep truths that are otherwise invisible. In great works of art we feel the deepest yearnings of our Heart and glimpse the shimmering revelations of our Spirit.
- Dana Lynne Andersen

Creativity in its many forms is an integral part of our lives. We cannot escape its impact. But our creativity can be used for good or evil. There is nothing neutral about creative force. We can use it as a source of inspiration and healing for ourselves and for those around us. Or our creativity has the power to hurt or corrupt, to disturb or destroy.

We therefore have government and industry guidelines that protect us from ourselves! We have rules and regulations that prohibit or restrict certain creative practices. But of course it is difficult if not impossible to restrict what goes on within the confines of our own homes, and the bar of acceptability seems to be continually and subtly lowered. Yesterday’s restrictions often seem to have been diluted to the extent that they become today’s standard! Does it matter?

Yes it does! Because it is our own behaviour, not government intervention, which in the end will influence our future, the future of this planet, and the future for our children. I have no doubt that creativity in all its forms can be used either to help our spiritual regeneration, or to destroy our sensitivities. With its power to hurt or heal, creativity is at the very heart of all our lives, in boardroom or kitchen, hospital or garden, at work or at leisure. And so we all have a personal choice: We can be responsible and spread healing and beauty and a sense of the soul and the spiritual throughout our lives, or we can perpetuate evil and hurt. Those who spread images of violence and ugliness to their fellow human beings are reflecting their own wounded-ness and infecting others in the process.

We therefore all need to reflect on how our own creativity may be a mirror of our own wounds and the effect this may be having on those around us. We have a profound responsibility to change our own behaviour – to heal ourselves and be creative for the forces for good rather than for evil.

Friday, 12 December 2008

community post offices and shops

M Scott Peck warned: ‘We cannot make real communities happen, we cannot heal the mess we have made of the world…(without ourselves)… undergoing some kind of spiritual healing.’
In our semi-rural village, population c. 4000 and not far beyond the creeping urban sprawl that is Greater London, we have a thriving general store and post office. This store, together with the flourishing parish church at the bottom of the hill, forms the dynamic core of our community life. It is not Utopian, we have our problems of petty vandalism and graffiti, of speeding through the High Street, and the occasional more serious crime, but on the whole it is a good place to live.
But post offices are under threat as they become uneconomical to run. Emails, Internet banking and on-line shopping have no need for the post office. Even postage can now be bought on the Royal Mail web page and stamps printed directly onto envelope, labels or paper. These threats of closure always bring in their wake much anguished debate and protest. The fact is that local post offices and stores are not simply economic units and profit centres. They offer a place where people can meet and greet, gossip, find help and companionship, as well as buy the occasional stamp and greetings card. They are part of the soul of a healthy village and a community life. The good news is that there is a solution, a solution that many communities have already discovered when faced with closure of their own stores. A growing number of small and local shops and post offices that otherwise faced closure are now run very successfully by and for the people of those communities. What is more, such stores become a vibrant and vital part of the social network of those communities. I know; our store is one of them!

Is there a similar problem in other parts of the world? What threatens communities in the States for example? And are similar solutions found? Do let me know I’d love to hear.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The Wounded Healer in the Community

A participant in one of M Scott Peck’s community building workshops observed that ‘the greatest gift we can give each other is our own woundedness.’ Only the wounded, says Peck, can heal community.
Real honesty and openness, two of his community-making principles, require us to be vulnerable, to have a willingness to be wounded. In his book on community, The Different Drum, he writes at length on vulnerability in community building. The danger of invulnerability, he warns, of acting as a ‘cool cat,’ is that psychological defences are put up between the two parties, and the relationship between them becomes nothing more than ‘ two empty tanks bumping against each other in the night.’ He talks of a ‘peace through weakness’ strategy to build community, at all levels. ‘For the reality is that …. there can be no community without vulnerability; and there can be no peace – ultimately no life – without community.’ And this involves taking the risk of showing our vulnerability.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

simone weil a wounded healer?

Simone Weil, the French philosopher, Christian mystic and activist, was known for her support of the cause of the working classes in early twentieth century France. She recognised that for any real and positive change to come about, a spiritual awakening must occur in the individual conscience. To achieve this she thought it was necessary to experience for herself the lives and hardships of those she sought to help. She recognised that she had to enter completely into their pain and suffering. She described this as allowing the experience to permeate her entire spirit and being. One must become a slave, she wrote, to understand what a slave endures.
Lasting and real solutions to the many and seemingly intractable problems of the 21st century world in which we live will not be found in Government interventions and interference. The world’s many fractures will not be healed in that way. Positive change must come from within our own hearts, through a healing of our own wounds and our own behaviour. To achieve that we have to rediscover our own spirituality, recognise with new eyes the spiritual in all our material experiences, and feel that spiritual awakening in our own individual consciences.
This is a healing imperative for our world. ‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root,’ wrote Henry David Thoreau. We all have to start striking at those roots.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Nature as a Wounded Healer

We seem to be intent on destroying the creation around us. My heart bleeds everytime I see a massive tractor and cutter ravaging the hedges and ditches down our lanes to keep them under control, without any regard for the wild life, both plant and animal, that are being thoughtlessly destroyed. And what a mess those hedges then look, until nature heals them again. But nature cannot go on healing for ever! Neither can we! What are we all going to do to save ourselves and this world - To save our planet of which we are a part?

We can wait for more and more government interventions before we do anything ourselves. But this only creates resentment and cries of alarm about a nanny state! And as we know many rules and regulations are nowadays widely flaunted.

Or we can heal our own behaviour to define our future. We can listen again deeply to the natural world around us and let it speak to us through the silence or the tempest. We can allow ourselves to rediscover that sense of wonderment and awe and respect for the living, breathing network of all beings animate and inanimate that we call Gaia, and of which we form a part. We need to be open to the healing power of nature. And then we will no longer want to destroy it. We need to rediscover a reverence and awe, a love and respect for the world of creation around us. Only then will we no longer defile it with our litter and filth, our plastics, our bottles and our cans. We can even walk barefoot upon the earth. Because, as Alastair McIntosh has said, we will then experience a harmony of body, soil and soul.
We will regain our spirituality.

May it be!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

healing power of nature part 2

Whether I am tucked away in my writing eyrie in Dorset or travelling further abroad, the one thing that can give me inspiration, peace, and a profound sense of well being is the landscape, and the wilder this is, the more healing it seems to become. Gales that whine around my little attic hideaway, or whip the waves into a frenzy as they crash onto the rocks during a storm, torrential rain that blots out the landscape, these can have a particularly soothing quality about them, a spirituality that is hard to describe. It is something that must be experienced. I have known such extreme conditions lift me out of a serious bout of depression when nothing else could! Belden Lane has described this so beautifully and eloquently in his book: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes – Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality. “There is an unaccountable solace that fierce landscapes offer to the soul. They heal, as well as mirror, the brokenness we find within.” If we do not allow the natural world to speak to us, if we do not allow the silence to reach us, the fierceness to give us solace, then we will turn our wounds, that brokenness, against the natural world.

1 Belden C.Lane Oxford University Press 1998

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

healing power of nature

The natural world can be so healing in its beauty, its peace, even in its ruggedness and wildness. But at the same time man would destroy it by thoughtless actions that reflect his own deep wounds. He damages the very thing that could help him most in his own healing, if he would only slow down and watch and listen; if he would only allow himself to become more deeply aware of that spirit that is in all things.....what do you think?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Shamanism and the Wounded Healer

I am so excited to find Barry Cottrell's new book: The Way Beyond the Shaman - Birthing a New Earth Consciouness. In this book Barry traces the history of the Wounded Healer in the form of shamanism from Neanderthal man to the present day and explains why he believes we are in a tranformational stage in our evolution that connects us again with our roots and our shamanic healing abilities. We just need to be aware of and acknowledge those spiritual changes within us. It is a very readable and earth changing (hopefully!) book and complements Ripples of Hope beautifully - leading as it does into my own theme for how we can now use the vulnerability of the Wounded Healer to heal our fractured world! Do check it out and read it and let me know what you think about his ideas.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

It is you who we have been waiting for

See the message from James O’Dea, Pres. of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, delivered to 10,000 people at the Symphony of Peace Prayers on Mount Fuji, Japan, on May 18, 2008.

I found this at http://ilumine-ao.blogspot.com/ This message is the essence of what I am writing about in my book Ripples of Hope. The time IS now to make change - to be part of a Great Shift. What saddens me is that too many people seem intent on destruction of themselves and ultimately the planet by selfish disregard of their place in a fragile overall ecosystem we call Gaia. Mankind shows such amazing hubris in his misplaced superiority over all other living beings.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ripples of Hope

I am now in the process of finding a literary agent who will represent me and my book, Ripples of Hope. Initial responses have been encouraging. It is just essential to find an agent who is in sympathy with the thesis - that we need to return to the ancient spiritual wisdoms in our lives to heal and save our fragile world.

This clearly has a US as well as a UK market - indeed the US, as in so many things, seems to be there ahead of us!

There is another book on a similar theme due to come out next year, about how the spiritual heart needs awakening if our planet is to be healed. It is by Dr Serge Beddington-Behrens, a transpersonal Psychotherapist and Spiritual Educator, whose website is to be found at www.sergebb.com I await his work with interest.

Sunday, 31 August 2008



We all need hugs!

Andrex -of toilet roll fame - have done a survey. We each need according to experts around 8 hugs a day to have a feeling of well-being - 'cos that releases the feel good hormone oxytocin.
But apparently lots of us are missing out! Andrex found that we are missing out on no less than 2808 hugs each, every year, or in total 368 million hugs a day, and this could be damaging our health! (Why Andrex have an interest in this who knows).

10% of us never hug anyone, 55% make do with 2 a week and only 17% are total softies!! Dont know about the rest - this doesnt add up!!

So hugs all around to you all!


Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Paperless Society

When I was at school no one had heard or dreamt of computers! Whilst I was at University the large Mainframe computer was born! They were massive, were housed in enormous rooms with carefully controlled atmosphere, operators wore lab coats to use them and the sensitive were known to faint in the awesome presence of these mammoths!!

My thesis all those years ago was laboriously written longhand on the huge folded sheets of paper that were the by product of these machines and then it was equally laboriously typed on a typewriter by a young lass in Sheffield who earnt useful pin money that way! And heaven help me if I wanted to change anything later.

And at the end of my sojourn in that splendid city, all my wordly possessions fitted in one trunk taken home for me by British Road Services. Sound familiar to anyone?

Then the desk top computer came along. 'Ah yes' said those who knew about these things. These will signal the beginnings of the paperless office, the saving of millions of trees, the beginning of a truly new era of ultra tidyness in the work place!! Ha ha! I now look around me in my study and am drowning in paper! Loose bits of paper, cuttings, scribbled ideas to pick up on later, newspaper cuttings, post pending a reply, books, magazines I'll read one day, etc etc etc. Is it just me? Are all you others so well disciplined, backed up, tidy people that you do not have this problem? How do I keep it in check?

Tips please before I go quietly mad under the sheer volume and untidyness of it all!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Books - New York Times Bestsellers v The Times own lists

Hi everyone

I've read somewhere recently, although I do not recall where, (perhaps someone could give me a lead to find the source), that the Americans are astonished generally at the frivolity and frothy celebrity bias of our Times book bestselling lists! The New York Times bestselling list is apparently composed of much more serious stuff! Is this really so?

Then let's look at our mind/body/spirit genre. So many of these actually confuse material success with spiritual development - but that is all the publishers want to see because that is what sells. Can we really be so self centred? There is a growing band of those who find the egocentricity of the 'Me-Millennium' repugnant.

'William Bloom is one of the UK's most experienced teachers, healers and authors in the field of holistic development.'(quote from his website!)

He calls the authors of such books the 'success-and-happiness' authors and says such books will actually disappoint in the long term.

If you do not know of Cygnus Review- 'written with love to guide, uplift and inspire you' - Visit Cygnus where he writes a regular column.

I write these blogs with love and prayers for a better world!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Healing Imperatives for a Fractured World

Ripples of Hope – Healing Imperatives for a Fractured World
‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’
Robert Kennedy Speech 7 June 1966 Cape Town
I am a child of the fifties. In those early post war years we had freedom to play outdoors all day with our friends, with minimal adult supervision. We cycled or walked or bussed to school in all weathers, often alone. We had little money and we lived simply. But we were happy. Changes since then to our material "well being" have been immense. But they seem to have come at an extreme cost. Material wealth does not apparently bring us happiness, peace and contentment. 50 years on we now live in a culture where "success" seems to be based on celebrity status and wealth. We buy too much, we own too much, we hoard too much, we throw away too much and we do not recycle enough. The material possessions of others often create envy and greed, and this fuels its own social problems. We have ethnic and racial problems, terror, violence, public disorder, crime waves, the ‘yob culture’ on our streets, binge drinking, metal detectors in schools to combat knife crime and terrorist attacks in our Western European cities. We feel the need for gated roads and secured driveways. Many of these problems were unheard of, even unimaginable, in my own childhood and youth.
And whilst we live in this material splendour, real poverty is rife. 1 billion in the world live on less than the international poverty level of $1 per day. More than 850 million of the world’s 6.55 billion population starve. These statistics are an affront to our humanity. The injustices of the rich/poor divide bring discontent and envy, particularly with the globalisation of information. Poverty brings disease and lack of education, which itself perpetuates that poverty. Lack of resources also increases vulnerability to natural disasters that in the developed nations we are broadly speaking better able to handle. Inadequate and poor quality housing exacerbates the impact of floods, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes. And how many of these are linked to man’s own arrogant interference with the planet?
We have a love affair with our car, our house, and our material possessions. And we all love a bargain. So much so that many of us are unwilling to pay the premium for fairly traded and fairly priced organic or local goods. We love our sanitised, standardised, pre-packaged meat and perfectly blemish free fruit and vegetables. But when we chase the cheapest mass-produced goods we are at the same time casting aside any ethical considerations regarding the production of those goods. We really do not want to think about the possibly sweat-shop conditions of the labourers, the unrealistically low wages that may have been paid, the cruelty inflicted on helpless animals, that our purchasing behaviour may be promoting.
My generation remembers the Cold War, with the Suez crisis of 1956/57 and the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962. We recall the sense of euphoria when the Berlin Wall, symbol of the Cold War since 1961, was dismantled in 1989, marking the end of European communism. We hailed a New Era and a new and peaceful world. How wrong we were!
In his Acceptance Speech following receipt of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize the 14th Dalai Lama remarked: ‘As we enter the final decade of this century I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.’ Sadly his prediction looks unpromising as we start the new millennium. We now live in a more perilous world than we could possibly have foreseen as children of the fifties.
Nick Clegg recently observed, with reference to Britain under the Labour Government in November 2006, that: ‘If legislation was a guarantee of greater public safety, this country would be the safest nation on earth.’ It seems that throughout the developed world Governing and regulatory bodies try to combat every ill of society as it arises by what can only be interpreted as knee-jerk legislation.
Small businesses find it difficult to keep up to date with the continual red tape handed out to them. Private investors have to be protected with an overly complex Financial Service Act and Money Laundering regulations for the simplest of transactions. Schools and hospitals struggle to cope with more tests and targets and league tables. In fact life is becoming far too complex and stressful for us all.
Over zealous legislation not only stresses us. It also takes away our individual sense of ethical, spiritual and social responsibility. And we do have personal responsibilities; towards ourselves, towards each other, towards our communities, our nations and ultimately to our living planet earth Gaia. And of course legislation fails to address our underlying behavioural problems, our selfishness and aggression, our greed and our envy, the seemingly prevalent albeit petty dishonesty amongst so many of us, fuelled by attitudes displayed in popular "soaps" on the TV and in films. Even the normally law - abiding citizens amongst us sometimes ignore the rules and regulations. Simple examples are the widely disregarded restrictions on speeding and the use of hand held mobile phones whilst driving. Such behaviour is obviously selfish. It exposes our fellow road users, pedestrians, cyclists, horses, pets, wild life and other vehicles to mortal danger. Why do we do it? Would we change our driving behaviour if we knew that every other user on the roads around us was a cherished friend or relation or even pet? Of course we would! If we always drove with consideration and care and indeed love for every other person sharing the road with us, traffic regulations would not be needed at all!
It seems clear to me that lasting and real solutions to the many and seemingly intractable problems of the 21st century world in which we live will not be found in Government interventions and interference. The world’s many fractures will not be healed in that way. Positive change must come from within our own hearts, through a healing of our own wounds and our own behaviour. To achieve that we have to rediscover our own spirituality, recognise with new eyes the spiritual in all our material experiences, whether at work or at leisure, and feel that spiritual awakening in our own individual consciences.
This is a healing imperative for our world. ‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root,’ wrote Henry David Thoreau. We all have to start striking at those roots.
This has been prĂ©cised from my book in progress "Ripples of Hope – How to Heal our Fractured World," that explores how healing our own behaviour rather than relying on Government interventions is the real key to solving the world’s problems of climate change and violence that threaten our very existence. For more see www.eleanorstoneham.com

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Winchester Writers' Conference 2008

I went to the Winchester Writers' Conference again in June. This has been organised by Barbara Large of the University for many years, and is an extremely motivating and worthwhile experience. Alongside the plenary session on Saturday, (amusingly droll, delivered by Colin Dexter OBE, creator of Inspector Morse), the conference holds workshops and mini-courses over a few days, alongside the opportunity to submit your work to three different agents, publishers, or other writing consultants of choice, for a 15 minute free appraisal. There is also plenty of opportunity to share stories with other budding authors, some of whom each year find a publisher as a result of their visit.

This year I received encouraging feedback for my book in progress, Ripples of Hope, from Annabel Wright, a senior editor at Harper Press, (who had a gorgeous new baby in tow!), Alison Baverstock, author of Marketing Your Book, an Author's Guide, and Zoe King literary agent for the Darley Anderson Literary Agency.

The big problem with the publishing world these days is that is has been swallowed up and changed beyond all traditional recognition by the 21st century celebrity culture, and the so called Me Millennium! Ripples is definitely NOT a self help book in the "How to achieve Material Success and find spiritual happiness" genre! I find though that the commercial potential of a book in progress in the so called Mind/Body/Spirit genre is judged by that very same oxymoron!

Ripples is the antidote to all that. It offers a refreshingly new angle to self-help by applying ancient spiritual wisdom to our daily activities, showing how healing our own behaviour rather than relying on Government intervention is the real key to solving the world's problems of climate change and violence that threaten our very existence!

People in "the trade" tell me that I must show clearly "what is in it for the reader!" Oh dear reader, isnt it sufficient that we will find spiritual peace and leave a planet for our grandchildren to enjoy? Read Ripples to find out How!

Monday, 21 July 2008

mobile phones in cars

I was waiting at the lights for them to turn green. As I waited I watched the drivers coming across in the opposite stream of traffic. Easily 50 percent of them had a mobile phone glued to one ear. This was a built up area – a 20mph zone going into a 30mph stretch. A road with children, dogs, cyclists, elderly people from the nursing home – and all the cars were exceeding 30mph easily. And on the phone!! And it is illegal. But hey, many seem to think that any behaviour is OK if you can get away with it, not be caught. What happened to respect for our laws?

Is any conversation so important that it cannot wait until you can stop safely? If all other road users around us were our own families, loved ones, friends, would we drive so carelessly and negligently? I sincerely hope not, and I do not think we would. Except that I have seen mothers with people carriers full of children presumably not all their own, negotiating roundabouts with one hand holding the phone to the ear. I would have sacked any child minder (or friend) who took such chances with my children.

We should love all human beings. Just about every faith in the world has that at its centre. At the very least we should respect all other beings and their right to share the road safely with us. So come on out there. You all know who you are. Cast out that arrogance, selfishness, self-importance, thoughtlessness, whatever it is that makes you a different person as soon as you get behind that wheel and drive so dangerously.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

social psychology and the mess we are in

For four years I have been pursuing the idea that we need to look at our individual behaviours to sort out the messes of the current world - not just leaning increasingly on ever more rules and regulations brought on by knee jerk reaction from succesive governments. This is the theme of my book in progress Ripples of Hope, based on those 4 years of research. I was therefore thrilled to read Daniel Finkelstein's article in The Times this week. Integration of work on human behaviour into politics, he says, is in its infancy but represents an important intellectual sea-change. But the most important step forward, and I quote from his article: "has come with David Cameron's correct insistence that social change is as likely, or more likely, to come through influencing behaviour as it is through regulation."

How do we influence behaviour? We need to look at our own wounds, of nature and nurture, and to find healing. We need to get back to basic spirituality, to rediscover our souls, to slow down, to restore relationships in family and community, and to bring these principles into the work place as well as our leisure activities. This is the thesis behind my own book.

How long is it going to take for common sense to prevail and for vital changes to be made. Hugh Montefiore, one time Bishop of Birmingham and Chairman of Friends of the Earth, wrote Time to Change - Challenge for an Endangered Planet - more than ten years ago - but this was a culmination of his 30 years interest and concern for environmental matters. The world, and the human race, he said, was under threat because we had broken the fundamental laws of nature and of God.

How right he was - how sad that it takes so long for such messages to get through to an increasingly materialistic and selfish world. At last there is some glimmer of understanding amongst pockets of mankind. How vital it is to keep on pressing home these vital truths! Ripples of Hope is my contribution to that understanding.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

London book launch

I went up to London the other evening to attend the book launch at the British Museum of my brother's latest book - Mapping Jordan through Two Millennia - a book showing how travellers and scholars since Roman times have put together their maps of the land East of Jordan - a fairly erudite volume - he is after all a biblical scholar of some repute!

The book is published by Maney Publishing.

I have to confess that I had never before been to the British Museum. What an impressive place, and I have firmly resolved to return soon for a longer exploration. As a child I used to travel to London regularly to visit the Natural History Museum, but somehow never made it to the British Museum.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

my book in progress

I have spent several years researching for my new book in progress - Ripples of Hope - offers a refreshingly new angle to the self-help genre by applying ancient spiritual wisdom to our daily activities - showing how healing our own behaviour rather than relying on government intervention is the real key to solving the world's seemingly intractable problems of climate change and violence that threaten our very existence.

At the end of this week I am off to the Winchester Writers Conference again - a superb forum for networking amongst like minded individuals, agents and publishers. It is an amazingly motivating experience to recharge an author's batteries, to obtain new ideas and stimulation and loads of mutual support. Perhaps I will see you there?

It's Time you knew - by Transition Rachel at YouTube

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