Thursday, May 31, 2018

One of a growing number of schools that have adopted "restorative justice - twice a week talking together about feelings.

Twice a week, these Texas students circle up and talk about their feelings. It’s lowering suspensions and preventing violence.

These days, more students and teachers report being happy at Spring ISD's Bammel Middle School, 
and the number of three-day out-of-school suspensions 
dropped from 94 last school year to 47.

Yasmin Riculfy, a student at Bammel Middle School, listens to her teacher on April 20, 2018.
Yasmin Riculfy, a student at Bammel Middle School, listens to her teacher on April 20, 2018. Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON—Two years ago, Bammel Middle School students were often fighting each other in the hallways when the bell rang, and teachers who lost control of their classrooms were regularly handing out three-day suspensions.
These days, more students and teachers report being happy at the Spring ISD school north of Houston, and the number of three-day out-of-school suspensions dropped from 94 last school year to 47.
Principal La'Quesha Grigsby attributes the improvement to a simple schedule change at the beginning of this academic year: a carve-out of 35 minutes twice a week for teachers and students to circle up and talk about their feelings. 

Bammel Middle School is one of a growing number of Texas schools that have adopted "restorative justice," 
which encourages students and teachers to talk through their problems and build stronger relationships in order to prevent conflict and violence before it happens.
"Sometimes those behaviors we see as discipline problems really are because the student is struggling with their academics," 
Grigsby said. 
"We're in a situation where we have to do something drastic ... because what we've been doing is not working."

link to full article here 


Family days I treasure - I am rich beyond words

The last few days I have been living beautiful with these treasures 
= BHPs 

I love them so much beyond words.

AND THE LITTLE UN ................

Blob Tree - Blob Football World Cup - DOWNLOAD

Blob World Cup

* the purchased image comes without watermark and in full resolution
* remember to add your free Blob Tools Guide to your shopping cart
* choose black & white or colour version from the drop down list in box above


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dip your toe into my feelings written on a TRAIN

I am on a Train.
I am not nervous
I am focused
I am not stressed
I am not pressured
I am calm
I am on a Train.

I am on the edge
I am in the centre
I am prepared
I am on a Train.

I have done all I can
I am flexible
I am free
I am on a Train.

I am going to a gig
I will play my part
I expect the spectacular
Humans becoming
Taking risks for development
Humans stretched
Humans blessed
I am on a Train.

I don't expect all to go as planned
I expect to busk it at times

I am on a Train. L2
I am feeling beautiful (imperfection) L4
These humans are stars L3
Oscar deserving stars L3
I feel vulnerable L4
.... but I believe that the most valuable human gifts are rooted in vulnerability L5

( search this website with

'L5' or 'Level Five' & 
you will get some good stuff about L5)

I am on a train ..................

This was hand written on the train
It is over
12+ hour day and beautifully satisfying

Remembering  the weekend just gone?
I was not relaxed
I was in a place called uncomfortable.

After that I was cool and even in the travel
and the midst of the day
totally committed.
I do that
I have the tension in the prep.

But I return to 44 new e Mails and 150 before that
that is when I get the pressure
I love the focus
the work with humans
it is the other stuff ............

How do you like the photos
fab fab fab


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I asked a question online. These are some of the answers I recieved ............

A BECOMING Question  
I asked a question online.
These are some of the answers I recieved ............ 

Will you decide on using a different word when people ask ‘how are you’?
instead of saying a cliche - ‘Fine’ or ‘Good’
Can you decide and use your new cliche word? 

Will you THEN write in an email telling me the story of what happened?
What word you decided to use and why?
THEN how it has worked out in practice?
Please will you give it a go?

Here are all the responders/reflectors/Becomers WONDROUS contributions.

I think whilst I didn’t try explicitly with a different answer this week, there are times when I answer this question properly, and say how I really am, depending on the person who asks! I think that is key to me, because if I feel that the person who asks is a good friend, I would tell them truthfully how I am doing, and what is going on.
I’m the sort of person who likes to be honest and open, and treasure that when it is reciprocated. I find that I will re-phrase the question to some people with how are you doing, or how are you feeling. I know a colleague lost their pet this week, so I asked how they were feeling. They weren’t able to answer at that time, but could talk later about feelings. 
Love two way conversations about feelings, and often find that as soon as I am more open then the other person feels safe enough to be as well.

I could not do this. I do not open up to people about myself unless I am truly connected to them and trust them. This week I gave only superficial answers to the question of 'how are you?', because I didn't encounter any of the people in my life who know the true me and I can open up to.
A while ago I actively decided to try not to reply with “I’m fine” when people asked me. However, on occasion I do still - if it is someone I don’t feel I want to engage with at that particular time, or if I’m not really thinking.
I sometimes correct myself if I have answered I’m fine and that’s not really true. 
I do try to answer honestly - with I’m very busy but life is good. Or things aren’t too bad thanks, they could be worse, or things are looking up or I’m actually really good thanks! 

The past few weeks it’s been more a case of I’m a bit croaky but I’m ok thank you… (I’ve had a very husky/croaky voice) or if they look worried “I’m ok thanks, I’m not infectious!"
Then again there are some people I will be more honest and open with - those who know the background story more already… but then we tend to skip to what’s been happening quite quickly...
Remember the words are only part of what is expressed - a lot is said non verbally!
It is rare I say I’m fine - but if I do then potentially i do actually mean it!!

Interesting question, this one. Some time ago, I decided I wanted to be as open and honest as I could and the standard 'I'm fine' was something I wanted to tackle. However, I quickly discovered that most people really only want that standard answer. Receiving an honest 'I'm not too great today' left people a bit flummoxed (isn't that a fab word?!) not knowing how to respond.
So, I have 2 levels of communication here - 'I'm fine' or 'doing okay thanks' as a reply to those who, in passing, just want to share a polite greeting. Those I know, with whom I have -or am trying to build- a somewhat deeper relationship, I might smile and say 'do you really want to know?' or I will respond honestly 'feeling a bit low today' or whatever.  The non-standard route takes more time and energy to engage, so a busy corridor or a classroom might not be the appropriate context.
On the flip side, I have been known to ask how someone is and if I get 'I'm fine' I might just counter with a 'really?' and then make space immediately or time later to listen ... I'm pretty intuitive when people are not okay.

I decided to answer as honestly as possible when asked  - So today I answered I'm feeling full of anxiety and am very stressed this opened up conversation with my brother about, our past , stuff that happened in our up bringing etc, stuff that we both did with our kids that we felt ashamed about. A very liberating conversation.
No Name

When I'm asked the question "how are you?" I'm aware that the success of the conversation lies predominantly in how I answer, as I have the opportunity to set the tone. If I give a generic answer,the person I'm speaking to may lose interest consciously or subconsciously and the conversation can seem more like an exchanging of courtesy items instead of deep, engaging matters. Because I am interested in psychology I don't always like people asking me if I'm okay, as I prefer to solely focus on how others are feeling. Thus, sometimes when I'm asked "how are you?" I don't reply and instead I ask "well, how are you?"  Their usual reply is that "they're fine" and so, I finally reply with "then, I'm fine because you are". This instantly makes them feel more comfortable. And what's more is that I can identify who genuinely cares about knowing how I feel. If the individual gets annoyed that I don't answer properly, then they genuinely wish to know how I'm feeling instead of asking out of courtesy! Thanks! 

I decided I would reply with my anchor word for 2016: "renewed!" 
I was excited to try this experiment this past week with the people I met. I wanted to see their reactions. But two things happened. 
1) I am so conditioned to reply with "fine thank you," when asked how I am that I forgot to use my new reply word !
2) I am an Educational Assistant and we are off now on summer holidays so I am not encountering as many people to try this experiment on!  But I will not give be continued!

Right now in my life, it is far easier to duck this kind of a question. Where to start? How to actually get the words out? The poor folk are possibly only being polite after all!'s a fair question. How am i with others? Is it actually fair to keep people who know and love me at arms length? And what about people who don't know me? I'm giving them a bland and a not very realistic impression of who i am. So having ducked this question for ages, i intentionally gave it my very best shot and chose a weekend when i was far away from my home town to practice. On the basis that if i sounded an idiot then at least in all probability i'd not be seeing those people again. "FullaStuff" was the nearest i could get.
'Coz i am, full of stuff that is. There is just so much going on right now in my life. It's mostly all good, change and new starts in lots of parts, massive No Entry signs in others, new grandchildren, elderly parent situations, relatives dying. Change. Good change. Bad change. Just change. So i took a big breath and used the new cliche word at each and every opportunity, as asked.
It had a remarkable effect and one that i wasn't quite ready for. What could have been "Hi, Bye" occasions turned into conversations and on two occasions total strangers wanted to settle down for chats, serious chats about serious matters. So we did.
Reflecting on this still causes me to feel vulnerable, scared almost. I think that at this time i don't want to say anything that could be misconstrued as saying how i really feel. Because right now i don't know how i feel. At all.  And maybe i'm one of those people who takes time to process emotions, maybe there are so many emotions swirling around that i can't unpick them all? 

I thought of a response like: “all my eggs are boiling” – “not sure which ones are going to be hard boiled?”
But I was only asked the “how are you” question once, when walking across the office car park after work on Friday:
(it is not an office type question)
I slipped back into my standard “ok”,
But then recounted a story that proved that I had given the wrong answer,
Or was being ‘economical with the truth’ as “ok” meant I was happy to be leaving the office for another weekend!
I have a tendency to qualify my “oks” with an opposite story.
I am good at burping out my feelings over others, whether they want them or not,
But want to learn to ask the question and a be good listener to hear the other person’s real (feeling) answer
(I did a pastoral course that taught this 5 plus years ago, but still have not learnt it yet).
I want to become a listener.
AND YOU?????????????

Monday, May 28, 2018

I move a little to avoid the sun I sway back I need that sun In my face ............

I move a little
to avoid the sun
I sway back
I need that sun
In my face

I find myself
closing my eyes
It is so bright

I need to open them
Me and the sun
have a history
I remember .....

I was on a train
going home
long day
long journey.

The sun shone through the window
through my dullness
through my tiredness.

It was flashing -
the sun.
As it came through the windows
of the moving train
it stayed on me!
Like a spotlight of sunbeams!

I considered it a blessing
It was a signal to offer up some thanks
I did
then it moved ....
It was on someone else -
so I offered some appreciation
for the stranger.

It became like a searchlight
light searching
for beautiful humans
earphones on
books being read
newspapers on knees
and all did not know
I was praying for them.

Some did not catch the rays.
Sleep shuts out light
Sleep will retain the sun
in a beautiful dream dream
sometimes never in a nightmare.

Now I find these beaming places
in church
on buses
between the clouds
gaps in fences
cracks in concrete
sails of boats
gaps in trees
in a cafe
behind and around a human I love
behind a person who struggles to love.

The sun is now a beautiful friend
but I don't only want her
for myself.
I want the sun to shine on
the so called beautiful
the many who don't feel beauty
the violent
the sick
the hurting
in a tunnel of depression
in a home of sadness
in a workplace of oppression.

I want to play my part too ...........

It is a Bank holiday Monday here in the UK - and the sun is shining .................


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trapped inside the hurts continue the lightening strikes twice the thunder is in our sleeping hours ..... MORE

I am thinking how the
lightening is followed by delayed thunder.
How a situation/conflict/interaction
can be followed by delayed and powerful feelings
rumblings which can go on and on .....

Sometime the feelings from an incident
can be more powerful than the incident itself.

I am planning to write about this
giving examples from my life.
It is a massive need to address
emotional intelligence and emotional health.

All of us carry pressures, often stress,
which can be an ever tightening
metal band around our chest
squeezing the emotion out of our life -
whilst we carry on pretending all is well.
Of course.

Most humans I work with who have social issues
relational/behavioural/compulsive/aggressive issues,
are driven by
a wounded soul
a inbox rammed with feelings
and no tools in the toolbox
to enable them to manage life
- which good for themselves
- and good for other humans and society.

I desire intimacy
(the first three words in my book 'Pip Wisdom')
because I believe that when we get
intimate/close/L5/open/revealing with each other
we can then bond together in the reality
of our strengths/weaknesses/wounds and loves.

This year I have had a great number of beautiful humans
who have opened up to me about the lighting and thunder
which they experience inside/secret
and of course it is confidential.

They tell me because they see an open door, 
someone who is a helping friend,
not a distant professional - but someone who can,
at least, receive/listen/understand and love.

The spilling is a great act in itself.
Trapped inside the hurts continue
the lightening strikes twice
the thunder is in our sleeping hours
and our relaxation times -
not going away ..........
disturbing our soul .....

If these few words touch you in some way
go seek a person in your life
who you can trust - and talk about it.
Please don't lock it in.
Live like there is nothing wrong.

We may feel we are cracking up
and really
we can be cracking open.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Beautiful humans from all around the world. SUFH in Norway.

We had a y⃣o⃣u⃣a⃣r⃣e⃣b⃣e⃣a⃣u⃣t⃣i⃣f⃣u⃣l⃣
Day together - at this great post school one year full of 'new experiences' residential college - 
beautiful humans from all around the world. 
SUFH Norway. 

We in the UK don't have this concept - it is a most wondrous model of Whole Person education.


Blob Tree Reflective tools to help everyone through the process of grief = Blob Bereavement.

A series of reflective tools to help everyone through the process of grief = Blob Bereavement.

For many people, losing a loved one is one of the most challenging emotional periods of their life. 

Grief is a process that can take months and even years to work through fully. 
This set of visual materials has been devised to help people of any age to reflect upon a wide range of traumatic experiences. 
Topics covered include:
Illness • A Car crash • Murder
• Suicide • Loss of a child • Accidental death
• Military death • The funeral • Grief
• Stages of grief • Keepsakes
Includes sheets for individuals, small groups and larger gatherings as well as cards with a set of activities.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

NEW 'Blob School' uses the well-known BlobTree characters in a number of school situations.

47 blob pictures on different school situations to initiate discussion and air problems
Blob School uses the well-known blob characters in a number of school situations such as:
  • Blob assembly
  • Blob bullying
  • Blob choir
  • Blob classroom
  • Blob disability
  • Blob exams
  • Blob first day
  • Blob lessons
  • Blob meals
  • Blob parents evenings
  • Blob playground
  • Blob sports day
The book is aimed at both teachers and students, depending on how you want to use the activity. In both instances the aim is to use the blobs to create discussion and air problems. The book covers all key areas of school life so that teachers, assistants, school workers, students and parents can reflect upon a range of issues which occur throughout the school year.
The book includes a free CD Rom which can used to project the images on to an interactive white board or printed off for whole class/staff or small group discussion.
Age: 11-adult
122 page A4 wire-o-bound book

What people forget about when it comes to LOVE

EATING WITH OTHERS “People forget that love is about loving you for the difficult things, not the easy things”

People who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves. People who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves. Photograph: PeopleImages/Getty Images
For some, eating alone can be a joyous thing: forking mouthfuls of pasta straight from the pan, peanut butter licked off a spoon, the unbridled pleasure of walking home from the chippie alone on a cold night. But regularly eating meals in isolation is a different story. This one factor is more strongly associated with unhappiness than any other apart from (unsurprisingly) having a mental illness. This is according to a new study by Oxford Economics that found, in a survey of 8,250 British adults, that people who always eat alone score 7.9 points lower, in terms of happiness, than the national average.

This research is far from the first to suggest a link between eating with others and happiness. 
Researchers at the University of Oxford last year found that the more that people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives. 
The study also found that people who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves and have wider social and emotional support networks.

Robin Dunbar, a professor of psychology, worked on the Oxford University study. 
He says that “we simply don’t know” why people who eat together are happier. 
But it is clear that this is a regular social ritual, a moment of union and communion in our often chaotic lives. 
It can be a place of conversation, storytelling and closeness.

At a psychological level, having friends just makes you happier,” says Dunbar. “The kinds of things that you do around the table with other people are very good at triggering the endorphin system, which is part of the brain’s pain-management system. Endorphins are opioids, they are chemically related to morphine – they are produced by the brain and give you an opiate high. That’s what you get when you do all this social stuff, including patting, cuddling and stroking. It is central to the way primates in general bond in their social groups and relationships.”

Our face-to-face relationships are, quite literally, a matter of life or death. “One of the biggest predictors of physical and mental health problems is loneliness,” says Dr Nick Lake, joint director for psychology and psychological therapy at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. “That makes sense to people when they think of mental health. But the evidence is also clear that if you are someone who is lonely and isolated, your chance of suffering a major long-term condition such as coronary heart disease or cancer is also significantly increased, to the extent that
 it is almost as big a risk factor as smoking.”

One of the most striking pieces of evidence for this, says Dunbar, is a meta-analysis of 148 epidemiological studies that looked for the best predictors that patients would survive for 12 months after a heart attack. “The best two predictors, by a long way, are the number and quality of friends you have and giving up smoking,” he says. “You can eat as much as you like, you can slob about, you can drink as much alcohol as you like – the effect is very modest compared with these other two factors.”

Human beings are biologically engineered for human interaction – and particularly face-to-face interaction. One study from the University of Michigan found that replacing face-to-face contact with friends and family with messages on social media, emails or text messages could double our risk of depression. The study also found that those who made social contact with family and friends at least three times a week had the lowest level of depressive symptoms.

We are the most social of all the animals,” says Prof Paul Gilbert, a psychologist and the founder of compassion-focused therapy. “Our brains and our bodies are built to be regulated through interactions with others from the day that we are born.” This is not the case with many creatures, such as turtles and fish, that procreate in vast numbers. “They don’t need looking after,” says Gilbert. “Many of them will die before they reach reproductive age. The caring behaviour [associated] with mammals is a major evolutionary adaptation – it changes the brain and the physiology of the body so that a parent is interested in staying close to an infant. One of the most important things is the human capacity for soothing and engaging. So, when a mother smiles at a baby and makes eye contact, that positive emotion in the face and the voice of the mother is stimulating positivity in the child. You can see why it’s called mirroring, the baby smiles back.

“The ability to stimulate positive emotions, which is linked to happiness, begins in interactions with others who are having positive emotions about you. So, when we see our friends and they say, ‘Good to see you’ – it’s important.”

But there are many factors that might prevent us from seeing friends and family: mental ill health, immobility, a lack of money. Alison Harris is a consultant clinical psychologist and professional lead for psychological services in Salford. “Austerity has a huge influence on the loss of happiness and wellbeing,” she says. “Homelessness and unemployment in particular takes us out of contact with others. In addition to the obvious harms of homelessness, it does massively increase social isolation and anxiety. To take that even further, many people are in exile from their communities. In mental health services, we see an enormous amount of grief, depression and anxiety in people who are asylum seekers and refugees and much of that is not just due to trauma or torture or detention or fleeing from their country, but from the severe rupture of being cut off from their families and communities of origin.”

When we are around others, it has an effect on our body. Some forms of friendship – going to parties, getting married, having positive interactions with others – stimulate our sympathetic nervous system. Gilbert says that the parasympathetic nervous system (otherwise known as the “rest and digest” system) “is stimulated through the verbal and voice tone of relations with each other. As far as we know, it’s not that stimulated through texts. Generally speaking, you’re designed to respond to voice tone and expression, and stroking. We are physiologically designed for face-to-face interaction.”

Of course, for those struggling with depression, the idea of physical contact can be impossible to fathom. At those moments, the capacity to lift up a mobile phone and type out a text is an enormous mark of progress. It may not be the ideal form of interaction, but it’s a vast improvement on staring at a wall.

Dragging ourselves out of low energy states – be that by trying to cultivate compassionate voices internally or having compassionate relationships with others – is key to Gilbert’s work. “If you ask someone, ‘What is your internal critic most frightened of?’ [you will find] it’s frightened of rejection, of being seen as no good. Of being unlovable, of not being wanted. All the raging that goes on beneath us, the thing that we fear most is shame – not being good enough or wanted. We are frightened of being revealed to be not so nice.”

He says that what has happened in the past decade, with the rise of social media, “is that it has become a very plastic society. 
We are all living like theatrical actors, presenting ourselves as our best. 
That can’t be real, and so we have many people who feel like failures or useless. 
They say: ‘I’m not as attractive as that, I’m overweight, I’m not kind or compassionate to others.’”

As Gilbert says, the best relationships are the ones where people love us for our perceived dark sides and flaws. 
“People forget that love is about loving you for the difficult things, not the easy things” 
he says. It is those who know us intimately who can provide that, and they do it through their physical presence, through touch, and through eating, drinking and sharing with us. 
Spending time together is social nourishment. 
So, instead of texting a friend or messaging them on social media, 
why not knock on their door, look them in the eye and make yourselves both feel better?

from the Guardian which I read every day.