Monday, June 29, 2015

Two Games books - 'Watching Human People Grow'

This is the cover of one of my Books.
The Rolling Magazine Book.
100 or so games 
the wild wacky messy type of games

Still available from me only for £10

My introduction in this book is reprinted below.
Someone once said to me that this had become their written purpose in life - a sort of mission statement !
How does it fit your Personal Mission ?????


Watching Human People Grow 
Youth Workers and people workers around the world are always looking for new ideas which they can keep /on tap/ or /on shelf to use appropriately. 
Because we are into seeing human people grow. 
Because we desire to see humans open up like flowers do to the sun. 
Everything I know to be good and have tried and unperfected, 
I have squeezed into this book. 

It is a collection of tools, ideas, ice breakers, stories, games and miscellaneous resources for youth workers, teachers, group workers, church workers, organisers of parties, camps, houseparties, training conferences and weekends. 

There is basic fun stuff plus loads of communication tools to take groups of beautiful humans into even more beautiful experiences. 

As a youth worker for years, years and years and a Christian for most of that time I have collected, designed, tried and tested all sorts of activities, not just for fun - even though most are but because 
I live to see God's number one creation - human creation - become more whole. 
Whole being . . . 
Growing in awareness of themselves 
Growing in awareness of others around them 
Growing in awareness of God and his aliveness 
Growing in awareness of the world in which we live 
Growing in skills to enable us to effect change in these areas. 

I know that awareness raising is needed but I am also aware that skills need to be learned to enable the Kingdom of God to 
be established on earth as it is in heaven.


This is another of my Games books.
'Games without Frontiers'

Sadly out of print - I would love to republish it one day.

EMPATHY - you can learn it

Can you teach people to have empathy?

Two men facing each other
Empathy is a quality that is integral to most people's lives - and yet the modern world makes it easy to lose sight of the feelings of others. But almost everyone can learn to develop this crucial personality trait, says Roman Krznaric.
Open Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird and one line will jump out at you: "You never really understand another person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
Human beings are naturally primed to embrace this message. According to the latest neuroscience research, 98% of people (the exceptions include those with psychopathic tendencies) have the ability to empathise wired into their brains - an in-built capacity for stepping into the shoes of others and understanding their feelings and perspectives. 
The problem is that most don't tap into their full empathic potential in everyday life. 
You can easily find yourself passing by a mother struggling with a pram on some steps as you rush to a work meeting, or read about a tragic earthquake in a distant country then let it slip your mind as you click a link to check the latest football results. 
Can you read someone's mind through their eyes?
The empathy gap can appear in personal relationships too - like when I find myself shouting in frustration at my six-year-old twins, or fail to realise that my partner is doing more than her fair share of the housework. 
So is there anything you can do to boost your empathy levels? The good news is that almost everyone can learn to be more empathic, just like we can learn to ride a bike or drive a car. 
A good warm up is to do a quick assessment of your empathic abilities. Neuropsychologist Simon Baron-Cohen has devised a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes in which you are shown 36 pairs of eyes and have to choose one of four words that best describes what each person is feeling or thinking - for instance, jealous, arrogant, panicked or hateful. 
The average score of around 26 suggests that the majority of people are surprisingly good - though far from perfect - at visually reading others' emotions.
Going a step further, there are three simple but powerful strategies for unleashing the empathic potential that is latent in our neural circuitry.

Make a habit of "radical listening"


12 years on we collide again - a poem from the heart

I have worked with young beautiful humans since I was one - 
I was 15 when I started.
I didn't know I was a beautiful human then !
It was later when I discovered -  until I was 40 before I discovered I was a BHP.
Thats when I started to say 'you are beautiful' - to you ..........

From factory industrial work and voluntary work in the evening and week-ends 
I went to work residentially FULL TIME with young offenders BHP's.
It was a 'we' decision.
MrsBeautiful & me.
WE had only been married for one year and we sold up and took a big step of faith
burning bridges (only non-people bridges)
And then we lived worked loved tried failed along the way as we moved to different callings by the wag of a little finger and and inner stirrings of he soul.

I could write a book about these things - (oh yes - I have done - two books about the journey/life and several others full of tools and ideas and games and blobs .... see at the foot below - if I remember to flag them.)

Todays pondering, I have so much more to do but I want to share on this blog daily if I can - is about 12 years ago.
I had left my work at Romford YMCA (yes all that is in a book) to go back to my roots as a youth worker/group worker/trainer - freelance - sacrificing security for freedom.

I was immediately engaged to conduct group work on a daily basis in several locations mainly in London.
Hostels where BHP's - young humans, often hanging on to life by their finger nails, lived and developed their potential in a climate of trust which so many workers strived to build with them.

12 years ago I was working/ loving/ being /becoming with a community of young beautiful (I can't help saying this about them) young adults (late teens and early 20's) and I met Sara.
I would love you to write the story of your life Sara.
It would be great for me and fantastic for so many young guns who are travelling now on the roads you travelled.
Maybe I can encourage you to do some of that - if not all the journey?

ANYWAY - 12 years ago we collided.
We met
She came to my late night group work sessions.
She came to my lunchtime sandwiches and tea group work sessions
and we talked often as I hung out my frame in that large hostel in West London.

Recently we made contact again thanks to her and Facebook.
So many memories gush within as I remember again some of the great exchanges.
She was the one who introduced me to Chrystal Meth.
I had never heard of it and she was my teacher.

That is just a lead-in to a poem she wrote for me back in 2003.
Fantastic - full of feelings = reality ..............

I always encourage people to write.
It is cathartic - it is developmental - it it wondrous for us all.
She gives me permission to print this poem with her name.
(I would love to post a Pipturesque too but I have not asked her !)

The Feeling.

A face so blank
Some eyes so true
A whisper in my ear
But still no clue.

A hidden secret
An invisible past
I-low much longer in this world
Do these tears have to last?

A laugh so loud
A scar so deep
Some words said to me
I'll always keep.

The pain and love
And I'll always remember
The one who was there
2002, last December.

An empty voice
Nothimz more left to say
Except I'm proud to be
Who I've become today.

By:  Sara O’Donovan


Books I refer to with hyperlinks::

Gutter Feelings

The Back Streets of Heaven


Saturday, June 27, 2015

An experience ................

It’s too easy for stockpiled hurt to turn into rage, resentment, and isolation. We must talk about it.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.

I know this is true. I may have learned it as a researcher but I live this truth as a daughter, a partner, a leader, a sister, a mother, and a friend. When we push down hurt or pretend that struggle doesn’t exist, the hurt and struggle own us.
I’ve learned that writing a brave new ending in our personal lives means:
  1. We can’t smooth over hurt feelings in our families. It’s too easy for stockpiled hurt to turn into rage, resentment, and isolation. We must talk about it. Even when we don’t want to. Even when we’re tired.
  2. We can’t pretend our family histories of addiction and mental health issues don’t exist if our hope is to write a new story and pass that legacy of emotional honesty and health down to our children.
  3. We must own our failures and mistakes so that we can learn and grow. It’s hard but I’ve seen how it becomes part of a family and organizational cultures and unleashes innovation and creativity. It doesn’t feel comfortable, but courage rarely does.
Owning our stories is standing in our truth. It’s transformative in our personal and professional lives AND it’s also critical in our community lives. But we don’t think about history as our collective story.
Until we find a way to own our collective stories around racism in this country, our history and the stories of pain will own us.
We will not get away from the violence and heartbreak. Fear and scarcity will continue to run roughshod over our country. Yes, the violence in Charleston is also about access to guns and, more than likely, mental illness. But it’s also about race.
Our collective stories of race in the US are not easy to own. They are stories of slavery, violence, and systemic dehumanization. We will have to choose courage over comfort. We will have to feel our way through the shame and sorrow. We will have to listen. We will have challenge our resistance and our defensiveness.
We have to keep listening even when we want to scream, “I’m not that way. This isn’t my fault!”
We have to examine and own stereotypes and prejudices. Every single one of us has them. It will be tough.
We will need to sit down with our children and talk about privilege. This means honest conversations about how we were raised and what we need to work on. No blaming or shaming, but truth. It’s not productive to deny how hard we all work for what we have, but it’s not honest to deny that many of us are afforded privileges based on who we are and what we look like.
Will these conversations stop violent hate crimes? No one knows for sure, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of love and truth-telling.
This is not bigger than us. This is us.
Yes, we need to own a million heartbreaking stories of discrimination and prejudice, and make millions of changes, and hold space for a million tough conversations. But, if each one of us owns one story and makes one change and has one honest conversation where we listen more than defend or offer false comfort – we can do this. There is a way to write a brave new ending to one of the most painful stories in our history. What remains to be seen is if we have the will and courage.
I believe we do.

Brene Brown - always good stuff from her.



From 500 nights on the streets 
Liam’s journey from rough sleeping

Hackney-born Liam was just 19-years-old when he first began rough sleeping. Thrown out of his family home after his parents’ marriage breakdown and a succession of arguments, he was reduced to finding places on park benches or bus stops in which to bed down.
Read what YMCA has to say about rising numbers of young rough sleepers in London here.
On occasions, friends would offer him a sofa and shelter for the night but, more often than not, Liam would find himself outside and awake, worried about what may happen that night in east London.
He said: “Sleeping rough was stressful and all I had with me were a few items of clothing and a small backpack.

“I remember the things I had to do to stay safe – sneak into places, beg friends, sleep on park benches, bus stops and even on the bus! You don’t get any sleep whatsoever: at most I would get about two hours.
“It was cold and wet and windy but the worst things I remember are being chased by boys and by dogs. People would laugh at me and their social perceptions were hard to deal with. What’s more, my family just didn’t help me as much as I wanted them to.”
Unable to find work, Liam was claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and stealing food to survive. He would sometimes see his mum walk past him in Hackney but, too proud to ask for help, he remained on the streets for two years and slept rough an estimated 500 times.
Liam says he also had no official offers for help while sleeping rough and given no links to the support and accommodation he so desperately needed. Thankfully, this all changed when he attended a youth-orientated New Horizon event, in East London, and filled out a hostel application form for YMCA. Three weeks later, he was in a bed at Romford YMCA
For the first time, Liam, now 22, could concentrate on himself and look to the future. He said: “YMCA has made me a more confident person in every way and helped me make new friends. The activities I have taken part in have made me more driven for my own goals. I’m a lot more positive now.
“I now want to open my own youth club, which will involve football, and help young people get off the streets and into something more positive. Once successful, I want to spread my young club project to different areas.”


Friday, June 26, 2015

Some great music for you from the Vatican - Secret Archives !

.......... It helped push back against decades of racial aggression and restored an overwhelming sense of pride in our shared culture.

:-( guitar bands now days - but some great electronic / dance stuff coming out of Glastonbury

I am not so keen on the guitar bands now days - now I have matured
but some great electronic / dance stuff coming out of Glastonbury

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A collection of inspiration as I have collided with you .....

The Blob Tree Downloads and more and more



3 reasons to be at Greenbelt Festival this August

3 reasons to be at Greenbelt Festival this AugustNo Images? Click here

You won’t get this mix of stuff anywhere else

From Ozzy radical Dave Andrews with his Jihad for Jesusto Ockham’s Razor's aerial acrobatics in The Mill. From the indispensable Iona Community leader John Bell to contemporary dance from TrashDollys. From guerilla gardener Richard Reynolds to housewifely comedian Barbara Nice. From slack-rope-walking and den-building to the quiet of The Grove, The Shelter and The Mount, Greenbelt's programme defies categorisation, slipping from art and ideas into devotion with elusive ease.

You won’t get this togetherness anywhere else

There's an energy at Greenbelt. It's born out of a recognition that activism and justice aren't just political things, but articles of faith. That's why people find Greenbelt a transforming place, where they can be provoked and inspired in a safe and inclusive setting. From working hard to support those with access requirements to our welcoming those of all faiths (and none), Greenbelt brings people together, a temporary tented community with a long-lasting effect.

You won’t festival in a more breathtaking setting

Our theme for GB15 is RS Thomas' poem The Bright Field. It's a poem that urges us not to rush, but to slow down and notice. The Grade I-listed parkland at Boughton House provides the perfect location in which to reconnect with both soil and soul, to build and mend friendships with one another, the good earth, and the good God who made us. Trees, lakes, waterways, waterfalls meadows and birdsong. Welcome to Greenbelt's festival home.

1: Content

Relish the most energising and eclectic arts, faith and justice bill on the planet.

2: Community

Join with us this August. Be part of the movement. Be part of the transformation.

3: Countryside

Check out our Flickrstream from last year to remember just how beautiful Boughton is.

Britain’s greatest festival ... The opportunities to be challenged, affirmed, welcomed and angered as well as entertained ... it’s enough to make me nostalgic the day after it finishes.

Jonty Langley, Huffington Post