Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer in the Forest review – affecting study of Jean Vanier's vision of peace and love

Jean Vanier, centre, in the documentary Summer in the Forest.
 Pursuit of vision and faith … Jean Vanier, centre, in the documentary Summer in the Forest. Photograph: Randall Wright
his is a calm and often affecting study of L’Arche, a community of people with learning disabilities in Trosly-Breuil, northern France. It was founded by the Canadian-born Catholic author and philosopher Jean Vanier, a saintly, snowy-haired figure who is now 88. As a young officer in the British Royal Navy, Vanier was stricken by the horror of the second world war and the Nazi death camps. He felt a vocational calling to do good that found its focus in the early 1960s, when a priest showed him the grim conditions in which mentally ill people were housed.

Watch a trailer for Summer in the Forest
Vanier began L’Arche, which now has hundreds of franchise-type offshoots all over the world. His is, above all, a peaceful vision, if not precisely non-partisan. Summer in the Forest pointedly emphasises the branch of L’Arche in Israel’s cccupied territories, showing Vanier’s arrival there: he voices his approval of non-violent Palestinian activism. The most touching moment comes at the end of the film, back in France, when Vanier presides over the wedding of two of the community’s young inhabitants: a man and a woman. It is an event that permits us to ponder the enigma of the bachelor Vanier and his own romantic feelings, what he has renounced and what he has embraced in pursuit of his vision and faith.


The Greenbelt Festival - so much a big part of my life for 40 years and more ..........

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Our lineup is now complete. You can browse it by genre on our website and download a sharable poster bill.


Everything you need to know about camping, glamping and sleeping under the stars is here.

Be a part of it

Whether as a volunteer or on the bill(in a choir or giving a talk), you can be be part of the festival this year.

The things left unsaid

Leaving things to the imagination, Greenbelt makes space for encounter and change.
Our mailing address is:
Greenbelt Festival
1b Snowhill Court
United Kingdom

My reflection following a Training Day I facilitated on Saturday.

I facilitated a Training Day last Saturday.
I want to reflect with you on something which happened.
I only clocked it after the event.

I use several exercises midst using Blob Tree Materials and mini-movies.
All about creating experiences which stimulate reflection growth & development.

One exercise I sometimes use is with balloons.
I get three volunteers to sit on chairs facing the rest of the participants.
I give them a balloon each and ask them to to hold it on their chest with both hands.

I ask them to close their eyes and then, waving a big pin, I say I am going to burst one of the balloons.
I walk around them as the rooms stills.
Behind them
In front of them.
Slowly ……

Then, after two or three minutes, I announce that I am not going to burst a balloon.
Then I ask each to talk about their feelings.
And what tumbled/raced through their minds?

Very powerfully the three volunteers expressed their anxiety.
Their certainty it will be them who is chosen.
Their steeling of their emotions to cope….. and more.

Powerful reflections indeed.

The objective of the exercise is about experiencing the numbing of emotions to survive.
The total preoccupation about the balloon but in real life it can be like toothache - 
totally blocking out everything else.

That is experiential learning which I specialise in - I don’t do talks - 
I can’t teach people anything - I facilitate experiential learning.

Later on in the training day I referred to the need to manage emotions - not control them - or suppress them.
I reminded participants that feelings travel to the brain four times faster than our thinking.

Only after the day in my reflections - I put both of these together because……
During the Balloon exercise one woman made a comments saying::
“ I realised when holding the balloon that I had no control over whose balloon was to be burst so I thought about it and relaxed!"

WOW - she had allowed her brain to take the balloon issue into a thinking mode rather than retain it as an emotional matter.
That is a perfect example of how we can learn to manage our emotions - emotional intelligence in action.

I don’t know the woman's name - but thank you for being able to step outside the fear bubble and manage a situation.

We can all learn to do that in real life.
Life is for learning.

Stay Beautiful


You - Me ..... we have in COMMON = Beautiful Imperfffection - Video here

Blob Iceberg helps ever human open & develop emotional literacy - understanding ourselves - behaviour & internally ..... Blob Tree DOWNLOAD

There is a great Blob Tree Tool 
Blob Iceberg (not this one above but one full of Blobs)
which shows the behaviour 
above the waterline
below the water line  =  FEELINGS .........

Great to get people 



When we see a person we make immediate assumptions .............


RISK feeling a fool

RISK ridicule

Love not Judge

Because LOVE does a better JOB


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Miracles happen ............

Miracles happen
Somebody loves me
I am not alone
The majority isn't always right
Wonderful things happen in dungeons
Death is only skin deep
Poverty is temporary and so is wealth
He who dies with the most toys loses the most toys
You can always go home again
Things will look better in three days
I always have at least one friend that is closer than a brother
Family is everywhere
There is always something good to look forward to

It is said that we only really know and truly love 
five humans in the whole of our life.
Have you considered
Have you asked the question
That just one of them could be you?

You are beautiful

- appreciate you taking the journey to the foot of your screen with me .....


The Greenbelt Festival - feeds my soul ....... Mavis Staples + Sign language

Blob Tree - Anxiety Book / Download



Only one thing I ask you to consider - to please me ......

PLEASE consider clicking the right sidebar 'SUBSCRIBE' and you will receive one email a day from my blog/website ....................>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Monday, June 26, 2017

Oily skinned Youth Club kid who ended up in the SAS

So damn beautiful .........

This is Potter.
Years ago I lead a team running a seven day a week club - 
our little family  lived in the flat above.
At 10pm we kicked the teenagers out of the Y Club 
and welcomed in the gang from the local pub and
often stayed open until 2am.
Potter was one of the kids growing up with us.
My earliest memories of him was his continues stream of talking/asking/opinions/questions ......" 
Hey Wilson" he used to say ......... 
at the same time everyone else was talking of course ....
The visual Potter was once a 15 year old with a Leather Jacket, 
eager to catch up to his older role models.
His hair was long and always hanging over and into his eyes. 
His eyes were full of puss having caught his own bacteria. 
Really infected eye lids - the bacteria from his hair I guess.

I have an old cassette recording of an interview I did with him 
when he was 15/16. 
He had become a Christian and he was telling me 
all about the harassment he was experiencing in school 
and in the Y Club.
We were at Gwynfynydd in North Wales, 
a deserted Farm with out electricity, water or sanitation. 
We used to go there almost every month
with a gang of kids of different ages. 
Massive memories - developmental experiences -
building relationships -
the isolation brought us all together 
as well as the made-up stories of how someone had hanged himself 
in that bedroom upstairs, where we all slept, 
and that he still walks around the creaky floorboards at night............

As Potter was doing his interview there was abuse and 
heckling penetrating the sound. Unique recording indeed.
He later, when he left school officially, went off to work on a 
travelling Fun Fair - working on the waltzer!!
He joined the army, went to the Falklands during the war there and 
I have his letters which he wrote from the troop ship 
as they drew nearer to the conflict zone and his fears and his faith ....
He was a Royal Marine Commando and did the chomp 
over the island and eventually recaptured the town. 
Time passes ..............

We had moved to the East End of London working with many who were 
qualified in crime - 
and their older brothers who had professionally qualified in the same industry - 
with their BMWs to prove it.
Then Potter turned up in his battered red Nissan. 
He came into the family home and slotted in with
Joy and Ann (the Sheilas), eating his own meal and all their left-overs too!
He slept on the downstairs floor at nights and then had
usually disappeared by morning.
This was his pattern - in and out of whatever Army work
he was doing and in and out of the Family home.
Then came his extra time running up and down mountains 
with a rucksack full of bricks. 
He was in training for the SAS. 
He was determined to apply and be the fittest - 
and he was so fit as he would have to be to join the elite.
He did it. 
He passed all his tests including the endurance and torture experiences.

We saw him irregularly after that. 
But he returned to us at every break in his assignments. 
He visited the Youth Club often and the local young and
older villains were keen to ask him questions and
offered him great respect - even with his odd northern accent!
He told us some vivid stories from his training experiences -
camping experiences in harshest hot and cold conditions. 
Never about his SAS missions.
One time we let him use our home when we were away for a week-end. 
He had a gang of SAS staying and our home was - let's say,
a bit misused.
He came to the Greenbelt Festival with us often. 
Talked about his faith with everyone. 
He talked !
& talked ........
Struggled with the fact that God loved him.
He carried the Greenbelt daily takings to the Bank
in the days when we all paid in cash ! - a true armed guard. 
He met many of our friends. 
He loved the Sheilas.

When we went to live and work in Romford YMCA 
he again joined us, dropping in unexpected - 
fitting in with anything we were doing and eating of course.
We later moved from the second floor tower block to a
Staff House in Romford.
Potter helped me to screw the wardrobes to the walls. 
I always remembered him, for eighteen years we lived there, 
every time the wardrobes wobbled when the doors opened.

He died. 
We heard about it via a network of friends.
Natural causes it was said! 
I don't believe it.
We will never know - I guess?

One day - back in the day - 7th October 1987,
the south of England and London was devastated by a massive storm 
that stopped trains, blocked roads and became headline news for weeks.
Michael Fish the weatherman is famous saying it was only 'light' weather!

Joy and me were not experiencing this in East London - 
we were in St Helens, Lancashire, at Potters funeral ........
So sad to remember all this but he left a stamp on my soul. 
We, the family, loved him, accepted him and I believe he loved us ........

So damn beautiful  
A beautiful human .............