certainty

counting for something

Here I am closing in on my 100th blog. I feel a bit like a cricket player nervously perched on the edge of my crease wondering if I should play conservatively or just cut loose, throw caution to the wind and smash it out of the park. But it’s just a number and part of me is also intrigued by our relationship with numbers, statistics and putting numerical values on things. The saturation of data available and our reliance on numbers to define the boundaries and boarders of what becomes significant value doesn’t add up. Data can be forgotten, omitted, discarded and interpreted more ways that you can shake a bit of willow at.

I suppose I have an aversion to the normal curve anyway so its probably no surprise I’d rather use it as a moustache, slide, or bow and arrow or something similar. People love to throw numbers around to get their point across or claim some for of truth status, especially if has been ‘scientifically proven’. Padded up and staring down someone charging into a conversation I sometimes wonder what on earth I should do – I don’t want to be caught on the back foot but learning to anticipate what might be coming down gets easier if you do your research. Sometimes the best way to play a shot is to take the momentum and simply redirect it.

I was always a pretty average batter but I wasn’t a bad wicket keeper, catching people out. Get to know what shots to play depending on the kind of data thrown down. Some will have more spin on it than others so you need to be quick on your feet. Being stumped isn’t the best feeling but it isn’t the end of the world.

Things aren’t always what they seam . Time to run that single – Howzat.

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Groan Ups

Adults can’t seem to up their mind about young people. In the five years between 13 and 18 the strange and unusual behaviour that should be under the spotlight are older people. Yet we seem desperate to turn this extraordinary timeframe into a complete cultural and social zone of contention. Without wanting to borrow too much from other rhetoric, it does feel a bit like a war of terror. I suppose my role as a counsellor working in a secondary school gives me more access to the ‘front line’ (again – kind of not keen on the metaphor – hoping not to induce PTSD which is real by the way). I know Nigel Latta has captured the market and I’m not attempting to replicate his ‘stand up psycomedy’ but I reckon I can at least describe my observations.

‘Groan ups’ (GU’s) seem to want a bunch of things from young people (YP) with ever increasing complexity and shifting rules, much like a hyperdimensional maze, where the walls keep moving and paths that appear open close down. To be fair, parents have the best intentions and worry because they care. I’d struggle to identify any person in a parenting role that didn’t absolutely believe that what they wanted for the young person was the best possible future. In my role I’ve been asked to ‘talk to’ teens and ‘tell them what is right’. Those who know me will understand what a conundrum this is both ethically and personally. I also experience YP who feel fully supported and affirmed by the adults in their lives.

There are some patterns to the relationships where YP and GU’s just talk past each other – if they are talking at all. Here is a quick rundown: We want them to talk to ‘us’ not other adults (especially counsellors). When they are open about difficult things some groan ups like to minimise, judge and criticise, or plain ‘freak out’ then wonder why they talk to someone else. It’s important they be unique individuals so long as they aren’t different. We want them to remain innocent yet be aware of world events, have empathy and want to change the world. Know what they want to do focus on that but keep their options open. They are supposed to learn from experience without making mistakes or having awkward moments. We ask them to be mature and take things seriously, and develop their own ideas and opinions – so long as they are the same as ours or at least modelled off our values and beliefs. Be independent and self-reliant but need us to fight their battles for them and stay needing us. The very idea that they will want to develop intimate relationships is perhaps the most difficult to find a clear path through. We acknowledge they will have these feelings but not to act on them because of course adults never act on impulse or go out and ‘hook up’ (while under the influence of socially lubricating substances). It’s important to love someone for their inner qualities groan ups say, but if their sexual organs are the same as yours that is going to be an issue for many (multiply that for those YP who were given the wrong plumbing from birth). It’s ok to take risks and push boundaries but don’t do anything stupid or that you’ll regret (one of my favourites) – sex and alcohol/drugs being hottest risk zones. Whilst they are allowed to be ‘moody’ they cannot be angry or upset or sad or frustrated because they just don’t know what the real world is.

This pattern I have generally termed as N.U.D.E. When GU’s get NUDE they are Not Understanding Diversity Exists. It’s not life threatening but can be managed. For those experiencing a NUDE GU try the following:

• Maintain a sense of humour – including grown up friends of groan ups
• Accept there will possibly be some ‘no-go-zones’
• Take nothing personally but if you need to make a stand – do it in the name of respect, concern or genuine worry for the effect actions might have on a YP
• Remember they will often want the last word in the conversation to slam home their point
• Appeal tentatively to their memories of being that age (depends on the context of course)
• Avoid comparing
• Use familiar social and cultural reference points
• Avoid advice – listen and listen more
• Look for the love and concern in actions – even if they are hard to understand

GU’s often struggle with diversity in all aspects of life. Our general culture is to assume that change ends once you are in your 20’s that you will then be over any ‘phases’ and be ‘who you really are’ like some strange version of metamorphosis…who doesn’t want to be a butterfly.

If we could be more courageous and speak as grown ups about continuing to change, evolve, devolve, grow and decay our identity and sense of being then our chaotic expectations of YP might just take on new meaning as a mirror of our own desperate misunderstanding of complex relationships we have with ourselves and making sense of what it means to be.

Perhaps the ultimate irony is older people trying to reclaim their youth. Mid life metamorphosis/crisis is a Chrysler rather than a chrysalis.

Waking up to being asleep

I remember when The Matrix hit the big screen in 1999. The ‘splinter in my mind’ embedded deeper infecting my consciousness and grew to a full blown pustule that needed to be squeezed. So I read and read as much as I could on everything that seemed to take me toward alternative ideas about reality. But it was frustrating talking with others who just ‘thought it was cool’ and quickly went out and bought large black boots and coats (guilty as well) with that being the most significant influence on their lives.

That was 15 years ago but The Matrix has grown as an idea to explore systems of social control much like George Orwell did with 1984 and many others – but these are the two that stand out for me. I haven’t tried to remove the splinter – it’s important to stay in a state of irritation and inflammation because without that I think I would potentially fall into accepting the program and falling asleep again.

It’s a bit of a fine line talking about control without someone instantly putting you into the ‘conspiracy theorist’ box and shutting the lid. Perhaps this reflects an awareness at a deeper level that ‘ignorance is bliss.’ I’m not sure but another possibility is the belief that once you start down the rabbit hole it could drive you crazy and would suck the fun out of life. Living outside the Matrix in the movie was far from comfortable, they ate ‘snot’ and lived underground – not the best or most aesthetically enticing representation of freedom. I’d like to suggest it is possible to delve into these areas and still maintain a sense of humour and enjoying life – yes it is possible to live in a contradiction without being a hypocrite, expecting consistency is a brilliant way of keeping people in check. Embracing contradiction is one version of the red pill.

The meaning of ‘control’ and ‘the program’ probably represents the essence of what I am talking about. Others have done this work and you can certainly scan the world wide web for allusions to The Matrix. I’ve referenced David Icke before and he would most likely be one of the more deeper rabbit hole divers – he didn’t just take the red pill I’m sure of it. I’d rather not put my own definition up because the splinter is the key – it is the catalyst that invites questions and a personal journey. It’s not as simple as ‘red or blue’ pill or even ‘awake and asleep.’ The best I could do is to offer some observations and invite anyone who stumbles upon this to keep wondering – I certainly don’t have a sense that I ‘know exactly’ what the Matrix is and would never claim to.

1. Language to me, is a key splinter. Any time something falls into a binary/dualistic paradigm it inevitably closes down the idea it might be neither or both or something else. My favourite example that is popular is ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture.’

2. Perhaps because of our general reliance on putting things in a binary/dualistic relationship there tends to be an over simplification of ideas into facts/opinions or myths. If certain knowledges throw their weight behind an idea it can be moved onto either side. Science does this with great efficiency.

3. Maintaining social division through stereotyping, notions of harm, danger, superiority and self-righteousness is supported by one of the most powerful dualisms ‘right and wrong.’ I think fear is a powerful controller and the use of extreme images and emotive language shuts down processing beyond reactions. This can be done on an individual level, communities, nations, cultures and no doubt if we meet another version of life in the universe, the same would apply – thanks Hollywood for your fine work in this department.

4. Reducing nature the environment and all other living things to either a resource to be used or an obstacle to progress that must be overcome, owned and controlled is shameful yet completely necessary for enabling a constant source of total paralysation and puppet mastery through the use of fear tactics and the manipulation of ‘scarcity and abundance.’

5. Mapped onto this we have a devoted programme based on creating a certainty that without a monetary system civilization would collapse – and ‘go backwards’ or ‘become uncivilized.’ Economics has become ‘naturalised’ and more questions are asked about ‘why mother nature is doing this to us’ than there are to artificial systems of ‘us doing this to ourselves.’

6. Finally we have media saturation of information and images. Why is this important? Because the illusion is more believable when based on an ingrained ‘truth’ that ‘seeing is believing’ and anyone who can control the strings of what is seen with the naked eye has the ability to manipulate at a very deep level.

Not sure if your head is hurting, it could be a splinter or you have been in front of the screen too long. How do you know if you are awake or still dreaming?

…knock knock The Matrix has you.

Press the escape key.

Animal Instincts

I am of the David Attenborough generation of natural history documentaries. My ‘education’ of the natural world, the idea of instincts and virtually all things seemed to be infused with some version of Darwinian evolutionary certainty. Learning about the ‘birds and bees’ was just birds and bees because we got to see how Mammals did reproduction and it wasn’t ANYTHING like pollination or egg laying.

We love a good comparison to the animal world, especially if it makes us (humans) look good. Far from being a realistic or even ‘natural’ version of the animal world my sense is that all documentaries aim to construct a preferred version of things. Think I might have just felt some of you do a sharp intake of breath as science is objective and neutral right? I am critical of all things claiming a single version of the truth, history is written by the winners – and most historians accept this idea to varying degrees. Less so is the idea that the story of the natural world might also be somewhat ‘made up.’

My angle on this is really how we have used the animal world to justify, reinforce and solidify particular ideas about ourselves as a species. We have selected evidence of our superior abilities and relegated the animal world to some object of curiosity that reassures us we are ‘better than them.’ It is interesting to note however how often ‘mating for life’ is celebrated, even marching long distances to find food and reunite with loved ones after suffering over many months apart. No prizes really for guessing what relationship is honoured here as ideal and monumentally over represented. We are not Penguins people!

Up until now we have been at the mercy of documentary makers who are human and will have something they ‘want to show.’ Not all of this has been intentionally deceptive but it has limited our understanding of the complexities and diversity of all life, including our own. Welcome the age of the internet and the plethora of cameras capturing this. The awkward bit is the alternative evidence that animals might not be so ‘animalistic’ and humans could actually be the ones ‘lacking’ genuine compassion, empathy and intelligence. These images are ‘shocking’ to us because of the monocular perspective presented by traditional documentaries.

Here are a few to dive into if you haven’t already come across them via Facebook or another medium (this is a one of the few ‘likes’ I have for FB):

1: National Geographic Camera Man and Leopard Seal trying to save ‘useless human by feeding him penguins.’
http://www.pakalertpress.com/2014/04/19/pics-this-terrified-diver-prepares-to-die-as-a-predator-approaches-when-suddenly/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pakalert+%28Pak+Alert+Press%29

2: Dolphins recognising themselves – very existentially challenging

Good to know vanity has crossed species as well.

3: Understanding loss – love – grief (have your tissues handy)

4: Joy and Gratitude – skip to 6 minutes if you get over the ‘beast in speedos.’

5: Unusual animal partnerships that ‘defy’ nature

6: Recreational pursuits – don’t stone the Crows – give them a lid and they will surf!

6: For ‘big’ cat lovers – some serious kitty love and a genuine message about habitat loss (14 minutes but well worth it).

You might have seen better examples, the list is endless and they all have one thing in common, defying our assumptions about the natural world and what might transcend the boundaries of predator and prey. Some of the commentaries are direct about the wondering this provokes and I agree and hope science can embrace some of these challenges without dismissing them as peculiar, simple ‘imprinting’ or deviations from the norm.

Alas, science has its own version of ‘survival of the fittest’ its called publish or perish. Whilst other areas such as physics appear to have embraced uncertainty – quite literally (Heisenberg), the natural world of biology has remained relatively unscrutinised and almost wrapped in a protective academic bubble. There are many in the field of biology willing to stick their necks out but they do so at great risk from within the establishment, much like other strong social institutions. The tide will eventually turn and I just hope many of them can cling on long enough. Again, perhaps publishing online and via alternative avenues will enable more radical ideas such as plasma life forms to be made available. It literally could be ‘life Jim but not as we know it.’ Life definitely might be stranger than science fiction.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4174-plasma-blobs-hint-at-new-form-of-life.html#.U1gse6iN3_0

As evidence comes to light there have been monumental shifts towards accepting the animal world as more or less equals. I find it painfully ironic that one of the countries leading the way has been India. They have declared Dolphins ‘non human sentient beings’
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/india-declares-dolphins-non-human-persons-dolphin-shows-banned.html

At the same time they decided to ‘recriminalise’ homosexual relationships, no death penalty just life in prison – the national ethics committee decided not killing people for being gay was ‘humane’ – thank you George Orwell we now have the Ministry Of Love for real. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Love
As for what has been happening in India, do bother to take a look.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Supreme-Court-makes-homosexuality-a-crime-again/articleshow/27230690.cms
But this has serious implications for our Cetacean friends. What about all those gay dolphins then who are not allowed to be held in captivity anymore? Ethical conundrum there.

Perhaps it comes down to something incredibly simple, yet profoundly important. Animals do not hide their emotions, they are authentic beings. They show us exactly how they feel and they express something few human beings do – unconditional love. We have relegated emotions to things that get in the way or need suppressing, something I believe has not advanced humanity as a species. Animals are beings of pure connection unclouded by ego or narcissism and perhaps reflect a ‘higher’ state of consciousness.

So lets not ‘do it like they do on the discovery channel’ and acknowledge animals are conscious sentient beings that we must stop exploiting for our own gratification. And please, can we get over using avian and insect reproduction processes to cover our ridiculously self imposed shame about sex!

Free the birds and the bees please!

Same puzzle – different pieces

Dinner party conversations can go from cacophonous to complete quiet in the blink of an eye (that could also be a disparaging wink in disguise). While people are processing what to say or how to respond – a loud voice booms out in a mocking tone “so you’re a conspiracy theorist” followed by rocking back in their chair and eyeballing the innocent participant who has just realised they have met a skeptic.

Chances are the conversation will slip back something more mundane, but if the awkward pause continues it could be that dessert will be served with a cup of hot posturing. Time to volunteer to do the dishes? Or place bets on who will win. But what might appear on the surface as a ‘healthy debate’ or ‘robust arguing’ in actuality represents ‘drunken boxing with a cobra’. Or something like this:

Not everyone is comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, views about sensitive or controversial themes. It’s kind of like stripping in front of your grandmother. But others find it a bit of a sport to toy with those daring to step outside the usual or more commonly accepted ‘truths’ of the world. I grew up with a few in my family and learned very quickly when to exit the scene before getting bitten. It left me questioning my beliefs and it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this little gem on skeptics linguistic ‘slight of hand’ that creates the illusion of knowing what they are talking about:
http://www.discord.org/~lippard/stupid-skeptic-tricks.txt
That I finally felt confident to become a ‘snake charmer’ – although I would still rather avoid them if possible.

It is a very useful set of observations about the tactics skeptics use to create the illusion of skilled debate without actually offering any of their own thoughts or ideas. It’s also a balanced view. To be fair most people who are skeptical are also open minded, but the closed minded skeptic is definitely not EVER going to agree that the pieces of the puzzle might fit together differently. There is a list of 10 tactics but my favourites are:

1: Continually ‘raising the bar’ on the evidence needed. They ask for the evidence – you give it – they require more – and no matter what – it’s never good enough…like drunken boxing, you know you are swinging but the punches never connect.
2: Defaulting everything to ‘Occam’s Razor’ – that the simplest explanation – that fits all the ‘facts’ is preferred. But that requires the facts to be agreed on.
3: Proof – ‘I don’t need to prove it – I’m not claiming XYZ’ – They assume they can win by default – that doubting the other side is enough. Carl Sagan put it best when he said “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

The other 7 are variations on the above as well as, character attacks and the use of body language (sneering). I have a couple of my own to add:

1: The personal is proof – or the ‘I know I’ve been there’ argument. A classic example I have encountered is someone who is absolutely certain (closed minded skeptic) that life ends when you die because when they had a heart attack and they had to be defibrillated – they didn’t see a white light. There is the proof ‘I’ve experienced that – and that’s not how it is’.

2: Shoot the messenger and you shoot the believer – if you discredit the person or the source of the view point (David Ike is a good example) – then the target is also anyone who subscribes to what the messenger espouses. The more radical, extreme and unusual the idea helps here and if that is combined with someone who ‘seems’ a bit weird then to follow that person means that ridicule is as contagious as herpes. Going back to Mr Ike – he was media fodder in the early 1990’s

He has not backed down and never diluted his theories no matter how obscure or ‘bizarre’ they seem to the general public. I respect people who think for themselves and brave the cold social outskirts of respected ideas. We could do well to remember other visionaries, extremists and revolutionaries who were imprisoned and outcast only in later centuries to be revered.

But if we can all find the balance of the skeptic and conspiracy theorist within we might all have richer lives. I suppose it is another form of adventure and some might feel able to travel within their country, others might seek wider experiences – but one doesn’t have to mean the other is less valid. The advent of the world wide web means we can explore all sorts of radical ideas and possibilities. Discerning ‘fact from fiction’ can be tiring and is perhaps the reason why people ‘throw out the alien baby with the bathwater’.

One technique I have found useful is ‘triangulating information’ – that is I wait a few years and see what sources and themes are strongest and how other forms of knowledge might support this. I’ve also realised something can be located in multiple paradigms and this doesn’t need to be resolved. The intersection of spiritual and scientific ideas is a curious place that is worthy of anyone with an esoteric adventurous streak.

So if anyone is looking to spice up their next social occasion – don’t bust out the 1000 piece jigsaw, try throwing in a wild card such as ‘what about the illuminati, and the Queen being a reptilian shape shifter?’ and let the fun begin.

The fine line between pleasure and pain

Learning to unicycle is nothing like learning to ride a bike regardless of whether you have feet or fins. Helping a 6year old learn to ride one is like a nexus of vicarious emotional and physical pain and joy. There is also only one way to learn – and that is to get on and FALL OFF…lots. It’s ugly and uncomfortable and I can speak from experience. No amount of verbal feedback or understanding the biomechanics and physics of unicycling will do anything to improve your riding of one. Experiential learning is powerful but is often overlooked as it side steps the expert knowledge of the teacher. It requires a back down of ego and having been a teacher for a number of years I can put my hand on my heart and say I have struggled with this.

Aside from the obvious physical challenge of learning to unicycle there is the grappling with the inner workings of the mind – particularly fear and doubt, they camp out rather comfortably for quite some time. Then friends of fear and doubt – frustration, annoyance and irritation join the party. Just getting on one without gravity giving you an ass kicking requires enough perseverance to solve a rubik’s cube (and I’m not talking about those insanely talented people who complete them in less than a minute!).

While all this is going on there is still the issue of moving. You see you cannot fake unicycling – it is a fully authentic experience. Perhaps one of the more curious effects is the perception of movement and time. People who have given it a go will probably understand what I mean when I say a few inches or centimetres feels like miles and whilst that might seem an exaggeration the joy and sensation of moving are exhilarating. I suppose it could fall into the realm of altered states of consciousness.

The compression of time is more intriguing. The pendulum can swing in the blink of an eye from an ecstasy to agony, screams of delight to tears of pain. Mind, body, spirit and life compete to imprint the meaning of that moment and this is where resilience emerges. If courage, determination, patience and acceptance are allowed to speak into that moment then no amount of skin loss, bruising of bodies or ego will get in the way of getting back on.

This isn’t just learning it is ‘know-ledge’ as unicycling itself is a beautiful metaphor for life. The only way to go forward is to be in a constant state of falling and balancing this with peddling. Even trying to stay in one spot still involves constant movement.

At the end of the day, it’s just the best leveller in the world. It truly does not matter who you are or how good you are at ANYTHING before attempting to ride one – it counts for nothing. You will be chewed up and spat out.

That is the grav-ity of the situation – this clowning around is quite serious business.

Lessons written in the sand really stick

Growing up in New Zealand more or less comes with compulsory beach experience. I was a child growing up in the 70’s when the only sun tan lotion was coppertone with a maximum SPF of 6 and flannel was a highly respectable form of beach attire. My first surf board was polystyrene and whilst buoyant rubbed against your skin to produce lumpy red rashes which were dutifully treated with Qtol. Experiencing discomfort was part of the joy of riding the waves. Getting dumped and your sinuses flushed with sea water was accepted as right of passage. Looking back I see now just how much I learned through these experiences that masqueraded as fun.

Nostalgic as this sounds I am hoping it rings true for others as we race from one event to another even our ‘beach time’ has become interrupted with technology and other paraphernalia that detract from the connection with nature and the lessons it can impart.

Something I have been thinking about is the challenge of dam building. Whilst futile against a rising tide it provided for an amazing opportunity to explore the tension and illusion of control. My Dad was heavily invested in maximising this and had my brother and I furiously throwing sand into piles like our lives depended on it. He would laugh hysterically as we the incoming tide would tease by sending the odd rogue wave to test the structural integrity of our dam. Teasing would give way to a full on onslaught of relentless surges and we would accept defeat by lying down in the natural pool that would form temporarily before the power of the ocean erased any trace of our presence. We’d retreat, regroup, and start again further up – taking our lessons from the first encounter and altering our technique, timing and teamwork.

It was serious business for a 5 and 7 year old! It was our version of “The Matrix” a chance to play with creative power and accepting there were forces beyond our control that if used appropriately could add to our understanding of pushing boundaries and perceptions of success and failure. Being aware enabled us to en-joy the process without falling into the illusion. The adults around us modelled how to play and be free from attachment to our sense of self-importance.

I still build dams, perhaps a little less vigorously but with no less intensity – I don’t even need a child present to enjoy myself. Why bother? It’s my ‘red pill.’ It keeps my ego in check by reminding me I cannot exist in isolation. It serves as a physical metaphor of the ‘social structures’, beliefs and values I might hold onto in one particular shape, might be reshaped after evaluating their effectiveness at providing me with a particular experience of life.

The flannel might not have returned and I am grateful that sun block is SPF 15+ these days. Some things never change though – people who shake their towel without checking which way the wind is blowing deserve the ‘squinty – sand in my eye – evils.’

The Gene Genie

Jeannie here, talking about the ‘gene genie’, that is the mystery of the genetic code and many feel that the person who cracks it would be – well – a ‘genius’.

There is a little bit of my previous tongue in cheek swipe at people preferring to be ‘right’ rather than the truth re-entering via the never ending dualistic dance that science does around ‘why we are the way we are’. That is all arguments still boil down to ‘nature vrs nurture’. The ability to control what is seen as ‘true’ is the ultimate form of power. Science and Religion have battled this out for long enough in my opinion.

So it was with great delight that all of a sudden – geneticists were thrown a curve ball with Schizophrenia – its never good when genes don’t fit. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11193204.

Have you ever been at a dinner party where politics, science or religion comes up? Watch perfectly reasonable people suddenly become feral and feel yourself slipping slowly under the table to escape (or wish you had a magic lamp!).

What is lost in the zealous disparaging remarks about the validity of either argument is the possibility that neither might have a firm grasp on the ‘truth’. But the investment in being ‘right’ by sociologists, biologists (the scientists – who argue with each other) and godologists – leaves a damaging ripple throughout the collective consciousness of humanity. That is – you have to ‘pick a side’ – its worse than English football fans! (football fans anywhere in the world actually). Loyalty to one side is absolutely required.

So as a genuine Jeannie/Genie – I would like to grant humanity 3 wishes (I have made them on its behalf – because I can).
1: That science be divorced from its forced marriage with the pharmaceutical industry – stop the invention of ‘dis-ease’.
2: We reintegrate our curriculum – bold but necessary – the separation of subjects is fundamentally flawed and doomed to maintain the current fallacy of ‘knowledge’.
3: That there be no more Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals generated by the Psychiatric ‘industry’.

Time to get back in the lamp – but keep the light on.

Being more childish

It’s funny how we use insults to shut down particular ways of being. Some of the more common ones (I can think of at least) are:
– Don’t be a dreamer
– Grow up
– Get real
– Harden up (or the modern version ‘take a concrete pill’)
– Get serious
– Don’t be so childish

Our language constructs and reveals (in the same moment) just how afraid we really are about being open, curious, emotionally responsive, creative, imaginative and playful. In other words we are supposed to leave childhood behind – including all the good bits, which is really annoying because some of us LOVE to play and laugh at farts. Yes I said FART.

Playing with children is something everyone should do – it is the antidote to the stuffy, confined and claustrophobic constraints of life as an ‘Adult’ (defined here only in terms of chronological age). A good example was yesterday when I went from playing Barbies’ – where Ken got to wear Barbies’ pants, onto Chess – where we decided that you could move the other person’s piece if they were in check mate (great for me as I’m definitely NOT the next Bobby Fischer), onto building Lego – where storm troopers (Star Wars) dived off diving boards into hoops with pink bows in their helmets. Rules? Conformity? Not in this world – in fact I would go so far as to say I really didn’t know what was coming next, revealing the surreptitious effect of ‘certainty’ on our lives, that is our need to know everything and be in control at all times as adults.

So those of you over 25…ish…
– Maybe don’t jump on a skate board if you can’t skate, or ride a bike! – but do if you can.
– Go to a park – and don’t just sit there on your mobile! hang upside down – your top is likely to fall over your head – so wear precautions
– Read children’s stories – I have never stopped reading them myself, classics like Dr Seuss are for everyone (love the Sneetches)
– Question EVERYTHING – kids do – we should to
– Blow bubbles – I hear they do weird things in really cold temperatures http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddST_7n9peg

I mentioned I play chess – well- I pretend to, but I do remember being incredibly moved by the movie ‘Searching For Bobby Fischer’ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108065/- its a beautiful movie celebrating the wisdom of parents who see the gifts children have and putting their own desires aside.

Play hard out – not just hard.
The person with the most scabs wins!