Sunday, 26 April 2015

Q : the origin

Q is for Quelle (German, surprisingly)  - the lost original manuscript, the contemporary record, the evidence, the first book, the first principles which underlie and stand behind all subsequent interpretations and speculations on the subject - say - of the teachings of Jesus.

I came across this term while reading some of the amazing books written by Geza Vermes - "the foremost Jesus scholar of the age" - about "The Changing Faces of Jesus" and "The Authentic Gospel of Jesus".

Q doesn't exist now, if it ever did, but these works are probably as close as we can get these days to Jesus the Galilean and to his ideas and teachings - his actual words, that is, in Aramaic.

This idea of an underlying original pattern or methodology strikes me as more widely applicable in our culture and in our day. It's an idea close to the discernment of an "implicate order" in all things.

An email conversation today with an accountant colleague turned on how he helps start-up clients with business advice, how he often sees gaps and errors and weaknesses which will lead to failure instead of success, and how he guides his clients round to seeing these and working in slightly different ways to move instead towards success. He works instinctively in a way that seems to approach organisational development, and I immediately noticed that something approximating to his way of working is taught and learned in another field - coaching.

Not advising, which is imparting information. Not counselling, which is sitting with the dynamics of the here and now, making conscious by degrees that which is unconscious. But coaching - especially coaching for performance, which is used for professional development but can be adapted highly effectively for personal development. And the difference between these is in the approach.

All coaching starts with the goal - where do you want to be in relation to this in the long-term and in the short-term?
It then does the counselling bit and goes in some depth into the here and now.
It gives a sense of the gap between where you are, and where you need or want to be.
It explores all sorts of options, and invites you to settle on a few firm action points which you will take in the coming weeks. And then review.

My colleague had hit upon his method instinctively, and after a lot of reading and practice in real organisations. His starting point was accountancy, so the results from his work tended to be the right numbers, showing the business was in the right shape. But in coaching, there are behavioural, attitudinal and emotional results, perhaps even intellectual and spiritual results; so here we are, getting to different destinations using the same method and approach.

Q - the approach that works, the method that can be applied to almost any human endeavour, the underlying pattern of human development, individually or in groups.

I feel an article coming on!

Friday, 24 April 2015

the birds are back...!

So summer officially arrived for me with last week's chiffchaff and sand martins at Dalgarven Mill, a beautiful set of old restored buildings near Dalry where you can go for a walk along the river and the weir, and where you can enjoy a coffee and a bit of home baked coffee cake. It's a good spot for birds too.

So the chiffchaff singing was my first sign of summer, usually the first along with the wheatear to return from Africa. I'll head up to Clyde Muirsheil regional park beyond Lochwinnoch to see if these are back yet, or maybe try along the coast at Seamill or Irvine.

There was a swallow or two among the sand martins, and yesterday a couple of house martins over old Beith cemetery which leads out to the valley and the hills beyond. This is the valley all the winter thushes dropped into for the winter back in October, the redwings and fieldfares who enliven the frosted fields and who shuffle reluctantly into gardens for any apple or pears we might drop for them. But now the valleys are verdant and welcoming for the summer visitors, stretching as it does all the way from the Glengarnock whisky bond sheds to Kilbirnie Loch and along towards the Barr Loch.

A subsequent visit to Dalgarven revealed the presence of several willow warblers in full song, and a blackcap - barely recognisable as a songster! - stuttering his way through a few new phrases. His lusty fluting came to full strength towards the end of my visit, and I had close views of another one at the entrance to the Corsehillmuir Wood in Kilwinning a bit later.

Lesser whitethroat and whinchats have now been reported at Ardeer, and cuckoos as Largs, although they are still absent from Loch Doon - where I heard my first one many years ago, in the mid 1970's. I still look for the at Clyde Muirsheil and near Inversnaid, on the road down from Aberfoyle.

Our local jackdaws are looking a bit lost since the slates got fixed. Their nest-building activities in the loft had been well on, and now they're going to have to go somewhere else. Shame, I enjoyed seeing them give me dirty looks whenever I went up there to pack away drums or whatever - they would hang abut saying "oh hi, when you going away again? This is our place up here. Away back down your hole!"

Jaikies - full of character!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Writing. Really...?

I have moved as a writer to the living room, where the sun starts to flood in around now - late morning - and where the views over the trees and hills are also breathtaking. I can sit at my Chinese carved bureau and see the windows and landscape reflected in the great wall-mirror. I feel just at home here - I think if Ballard can write prodigiously while raising three children in Shepperton, I can overcome any feeling or obstacle to write. Morning, noon, or night.

Setting up the blogs to my own liking was key, and separating out my interests. So this blog is more personal and without boundaries, I can write what I like abou Gary Numan, piano and synthesizer music, Celtic, Ireland and Scotland, symbolism, dreams, serial killers, Hitler and the Nazis, birds and the history of ornithology, the derivation of birds' names, and all my interests, and it's colourful, varied and unstructured and it has no purpose for anyone else but me, and even I don't really have a purpose. Except to write. And put up some pictures!!

I have another place to write about creative learning and training and counselling and coaching. And another place to specialise in birds and spirituality which I might develop into a book.

I was being too gentle with my fingertips on my new laptop yesterday and the cursor just seemed to have a mind of its own. Today I'm being much firmer and it's fine. Like when I played Karin at tennis...I was playing gently at first to get her going but she couldn't get the ball back over the net. When I hit a few hard ones at her she fired them back without thinking and passed me several times. I was speechless.

It's not always the right approach to be careful, sensitive and mindful. Some people need a stiff challenge to overcome, and that is how they function. I remember my frustration with the school system "piling on the support" for one boy whose behavior was disruptive and threatening. I knew he needed to be challenged alongside support, I knew we had to get a balance in order to turn him around. A balance of support and challenge.

I don't think I thrive on stiff challenges, but I do need to overcome this one in a short space of time. I prefer for things to tick over but I know it can also become stale and that I can become lazy and unproductive. Being anxious and living without a safety net is also exciting, as well as scary - and in the void and the fear there are also opportunities and spiritual emergence - already I have discerned changes and possibilities. Something will come of it. I am cool in a crisis. But this is my crisis! Another one.

And there's a snippet I might take over to my learning and development pages! How easy to look out and see, but how difficult it is to remember to turn inward and look there too. Paint yourself into the picture, Michael!

I will write something about "What To Say When You Talk To Yourself" - and about neuroplasticity. But not right now.

I have some organising to do today, books and papers. And I daresay I will get caught up writing on one of my template manuscripts, maybe the A-Z paraphiliac will make an appearance and come back to life, or my tract on Holiness and Business, on being and doing, or living a practical spirituality and a spiritual practice; or more thoughts on Shadowside Projections as Evil, Deeper, Left and Dark (Judas Unveiled); or one of my other books which are developing in a drawer somewhere. And years of poetry!!

Good stuff. Getting reorganised and then adding to these projects would be a great way of using my time, in between the job search and the  business set-up and ... having human relationships!

But this beautiful wee flat makes it all possible.

I will put a picture or two up here if I can, to preserve this moment and this view and this atmosphere so that I can remember what it looks like and feels like.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


How difficult to create a psi-conducive atmosphere, an environment to relax in, to reflect, to gaze across the hills and trees and to enter a state of purposeful disconnectedness - in order to connect!

Candles and lanterns to be moved and lit, window seats to be adjusted, forgotten passwords to be searched for and remembered, finally almost too dark to see the keyboard and - so many specks on the lenses of my reading-glasses! A friend coming in an hour and my thoughts unassembled...

And yet it is a perfect moment, early evening, to write. I feel like Gilbert White in the eighteenth century, a simple clergyman in the parish of Selborne, setting out his thoughts on the willow wrens he noticed might be three different species. Or Jung, writing out a lecture he would soon give on the subject of Nietzsche, or Ballard, in his Shepperton semi, writing longhand then typing up The Drowned World or the Atrocity Exhibition.

Irritated by the word "magic" in my recent post about learning styles and creativity, I went back to the origin of the idea and re-read parts of Serena Roney-Dougal's classic Where Science and Magic Meet. I had a sleep this afternoon, a late siesta, and it so removed the grogginess and irritation in my brain that I felt like an angel on waking. And it is in that spirit that I set myself up here at my kitchen table, with the view out over the old cemetery and the rain-soaked hills leading out of Beith - (beth, the birch) - to Lochwinnoch and the north.

Magic - it's the ancient earth-knowledge of the Irish and highland Scots, the British of Wales and of England. It's the second sight, just as much as the ajna chakra or third eye; it is Wicca, or witchcraft; it is parapsychology, or psi; it is "the hidden variables" which may be will and consciousness; it is bridging the bicameral brain, forging links with our polarities of masculine and feminine, of right and left, above and below; it is the roots of religion and ritual, and other elements and relationships we find in the cosmic web - our electromagnetic earth and its - our - nature.

My highest thoughts and aspirations are energised by these thoughts - my ideas about the architecture of consciousness, the archaeology of consciousness, the whole theory of psychosystemics which I have not yet written about, are all here. But it is not acceptable, even less so now that in the hopeful days of this wonderful book, to talk of magic, to try to weave magic into the fabric of training courses and coaching for performance and psychodynamic counselling - is it? All the things I am occupied with today, this week, this month, as I set up my own practice in a culture which is even harder than it was in 1991 - even more calcified, post-banking crisis, global recession, food banks in the UK and me out of a job with the rest of them.

And yet I have time to craft something, to make something good. I can't say if I will be accepted, if my practice will feed me. But I remember that my Celtic Calendar, inspired by The White Goddess of Robert Graves, is the central (i)mage of my system and the font of all my training, coaching and counselling models. It is my belief system in a nutshell, in colour, in leaves, branches and fruits, in birds, death, and geometry, rebirth and seasonal cycles. It has always been thus - God is in the garden.

The psyche-system is the ghost in the machine, it is the soul or spirit in the body.
It is ensouled structures; it is the structure of the soul, read another way.
The interface of spirit on structures, and the impact of structures on spirit.
What it's like to be human in an organisation, and how the organisation affects me.
Being myself, and finding my place in the scheme of things.
Being, and doing.
Spiritual life in a physical world.
Holiness, and business.

I've been reflecting on these things for a very long time!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Books etc...

So what am I reading at the moment?

Tim Lott - comment is free, Guardian newspaper. On the pursuit of happiness, fairytales are not for fun, and writing tips for novelists.

Dave Meier on Accelerated Learning - particularly on using music, images and stories as learning tools.

Nature and Neuroscience on how our habits can change our biology!

CIPD newsletter on Neuroscience - the key to learning and development work.

Music therapy from brainq, and how music affects the brain, the feelings and the body.

And back to Roberto Assagioli's Act of Will - self-actualisation through psychosynthesis.


Been setting up a "coaching for performance" and "accelerated learning" business and have begun to read quite a lot in anticipation of starting soon with some clients around central Scotland and west London.
Don't know why I didn't do this years ago!
And thinking hard whether I really need to be doing the psychodynamic counselling at the same time, with all the trouble I've had getting a voluntary placement... really didn't think it would be this difficult to give away free counselling services!
Anyways - I've taken to writing up my notes in the form of short articles on where I showcase my ideas and plans for The Creative Learning & Development Practice.
Psychosynthesis underpins all my work - maybe I should go back to my training in London and finish there - quelle gestalt!
But for the moment I want to GROW my practice here and enjoy my wee flat, be around for my family and just build something with hard work and focus!
So far so promising.
Let's hope the opportunities materialise!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

birds, death, & geometry

This was the title I gave a dream from many years ago, and it still sums up my preoccupation.

Birds symbolise the spiritual heights, the architecture of super-consciousness.

Death the depths, the archaeology of sub-consciousness.

And geometry the solid pavements and temples in the middle ground, consciousness.

When I came up with the term "psychosystemics" some years ago, I vowed to write an essay or article illustrating these ideas, which I will now I have the time and the will to do.

Psyche-systemics : the ghost in the machine, the machinery of the ghost, and the interface of the one with the other.

Ideas I want to apply to organisational development and its impact on the individual. What compromises we make in order to fit in to the culture, and how we can change it from within.

Uncomfortable truths and realisations, but with awareness some transformation may be possible...