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The One Course

The One Course Blog

Up to date information on The One Course. The One Course is all about feeling good, connecting with others, learning from nature, being inspirational and taking positive action.

Endless War or Natural Sustainable Systems? Its our choice.

Connecting with others Posted on Tue, May 17, 2022 08:11:33

We know, in our hearts, that what we all really want is a balance of freedom and safety for ourselves and those dearest to us.  War makes us realise this.  It doesn’t matter whether we live in Britain, Europe, China or Russia or even the poor Ukraine.  Until very recently, Ukraine seemed relatively rich in both grain and natural gas.  The leader of Russia wants those riches and so do western government leaders. The resulting wasteful war is very sad particularly for the innocent people of Ukraine.

We do not want our homes and fields bombed and our loved ones killed. The ordinary people of Ukraine are suffering because they are caught up in a continuing power struggle for their valuable resources between other militarily powerful nations. Unfortunately the people in charge of both sides, believe that they know best and they see themselves as the powerful father or mother of ‘our particular country’.  This elected or otherwise surrogate and apparently ‘protective’ parent, backed by powerful economic and military interests, will promise, when in search of power, to keep us safe and protect our freedoms. Once in power, those parental promises are quickly overshadowed by the fear of some external threat and the need for firm control. At some point we all need to stop behaving like irresponsible children expecting our elected or unelected ‘powerful parent’ to protect us, we need to grow up quickly. Our safety and freedom depends on all humans living sustainably on this one planet.  We need to share resources more fairly around the whole world, particularly food and energy.

We need a sustainable system for planet earth and ourselves if most of us humans living now are to survive the next 20 years. The climate is changing and people will continue to argue about the detail of why, whilst the planet slowly cooks.  I think most humans can agree that these inevitable changes to the climate will be enough to significantly disrupt existing economic systems, including food and energy supplies, across the world with or without war.  Some will claim that this trend has already started and is exacerbated by growing global political and social instability. The outlook could be very bleak or perhaps there is hope, because we do have choices.

In the past, many separate countries and even some empires have tried and succeeded in sustaining themselves and their GDP growth model by choosing to gather more resources from ‘other places’ and more recently by choosing to externalise costs to ‘other places’. This exploitation of what appears external cannot continue because it cannot be sustained.  In the new interconnected global economic system there really are no ‘other places’ to exploit. We humans have just one precious planet to call our home and perhaps many more people are beginning to realise we must protect this natural, life giving, support system if we wish to survive and thrive. There is no ‘other’ we are all one.

Now people are realising that most of the technological and economic fixes of the past were only short term solutions. This was only effective for the short term outcomes for the next quarterly company report or the next term of government. Much of this short term thinking is underpinned by the flawed notion of endless economic growth based on borrowing from our future selves or future generations.  A war is good for GDP!  Instead of spending our next 20 years finding and punishing who is to blame for this ridiculous short term thinking we can choose to focus on new creative solutions which will provide a more sustainable future for us all. The apparent economic efficiency of the past is mired in exploitation of people and planet and what we need is ‘real’ efficiency based on more frugal and simple local solutions. We know that technological efficiency gains provide economic growth of about 2%. Trying to achieve more GDP growth than this will always result in misery for someone, somewhere, perhaps in a country near you, or one on another continent.  By some strange coincidence 2% of GDP is what NATO expects member countries to spend on military ‘defence’. At some basic human level we know that fair shares and local sustainability is the right direction; we know this without the need for debate or argument or war. There is only one beautiful planet, for us all to share, in our hearts, we all know this.

I hope we can start to put this instinctive permaculture knowledge into action soon, Earth Care, People Care, Fair Shares.

Wealthy Blood Sucking Vampires

Connecting with others Posted on Wed, April 27, 2022 10:14:54

Strange title, I know, but these are strange times. I have often thought about blood, although as Ann will tell you I am not particularly keen on the sight of it, my own or other peoples. Squeamish, I think they call it. My worst, bloody injuries in the last two years have been to do with thumbs, one involving a large hammer and a rock, the other a dropped cordless drill I caught awkwardly.  But let’s talk about blood and the wealthy modern day vampires.

Since childhood, I’ve always thought about what blood is, and what it consists of and how the condition of your blood might be related to your health. I didn’t do biology at school which might be a good thing because I’m not too constrained when it come to new concepts in health. So all of your environment and what you eat and drink in particular, effectively creates the physical you and that includes your blood which is flowing round your body. I say flowing around your body because whilst many people say your heart pumps your blood around your body we now know that that’s not the whole story but that can be another post. Your heart regulates the flow of blood so it’s more like a collection of valves. Your blood is flowing and while it does you are alive. The better condition your blood is in, the better you feel. 

I have in the past thought about giving blood and blood transfusion and the fact that perhaps your blood being transferred to someone else may carry some health benefits and information too, or vice versa. I personally think perhaps the best blood to have transfused might be your own blood. For example what if you were to take some of your own blood when you were young, fit and healthy, say every 3 months in your twenties, and keep it for when you are old and perhaps a bit unwell? Would that be good? Would that be better than someone else’s blood, which could be from anyone? 

Well some people, wealthy people, have gone one step further than the above idea now. What about just every few months having a transfusion of blood from a young fit healthy person, or perhaps just plasma from such a person? Not because you have been in an accident but because there may be something about “young blood” which makes you feel better. This might be expensive but if you live longer and are able to make even more money then perhaps you could live forever. In the “Land of the Free Market” you can now buy and sell blood through intermediaries. If you are young you can actually sell your blood (or plasma) for a few dollars a pint and that can be then sold to wealthy people who want to feel younger. So perhaps this is something you want to get involved in. Personally, I am too squeamish (and perhaps too old and poor) to become either the willing victim or the wealthy vampire but it’s an interesting concept.  

But if you are interested, companies like Ambrosia(not the rice pudding people), Alkahest and Dr Dipnarine Maharaj are offering young blood and plasma services for between $8000 and $285,000 dollars per person. Perhaps the concept of one of the richest people in the world taking the very blood from one of their poorly paid teenage staff is somehow going a little too far?  But hey these teenagers are doing this willingly, for a few extra dollars, it’s a free market. What the wealthy perhaps don’t realise or remember is what those teenagers get up to in between those blood giving sessions. 

Next steps, make lots of money, create clone through paid surrogate, raise child in sterile environment, transfer brain into young body, live forever. 

Connect with yourself.

Connecting with others Posted on Tue, April 05, 2022 13:26:58

Do you ever take the time to be with yourself? The answer to this question is often no. Its not something we tend to consider. We are often good at making time to connect with others, but less likely to make the time to connect with ourselves. During the last two years of the Covid 19 restrictions many of us had more time alone than we were previously used to. For some it was a feeling of isolation and disconnection, rather than one of pleasure, but what I would like to explore here is the benefit of actively choosing to spend time alone on a regular basis.

I once worked as a manager in a college of Further Education. It was a busy job, more like two jobs really, and very different from anything I’d done previously. Within three months my diary became filled up with meetings – ones that other people had requested. I was hardly at my desk, and it was a real struggle to find the time to do my actual job. I was so accommodating to everyone else’s requests that I had no time to lift my head up and organise my own work.

I knew I needed to do something to ‘take control’ of my working week and therefore I decided to ‘book’ some meetings with myself! I did this at the beginning of each week, then when people rang to arrange a meeting with me I could arrange things around the time I had previously prioritised. Of course I could choose to be flexible about this if something urgent came up. It worked extremely well and I felt happier and more capable of managing my workload as a result.

I happened on this idea by chance – or sheer desperation – but this is actually a common tool for managing time effectively and can be used in any situation, not just at work. Prioritise the things that are really important to you and allocate specific time for doing these in your diary. Then ensure that you do it!

The above is about making time to do practical everyday things, however, the power of allocating time to be alone has a far deeper, restorative value. This is unappreciated in our western societies I feel, often seen as a negative thing and something almost to be feared, but on some level I believe many of us are craving this connection with ourselves.

Last year I was very lucky to spend a whole week on my own. It felt like the most luxurious, precious time. I planned for it, took a big notebook and lots of pens so that I could draw and write – writing is one powerful way in which I can connect with my inner self. On the first morning I planned my week, giving thought to what I hoped to gain from this special ‘time out of time’ experience. There is something very relaxing about following your own rhythm. You decide when to get up, eat, walk, read, write, watch a film, walk again, sit, sleep, meditate. At first it feels strange and a little daunting to have so much time just for you, but it doesn’t take long for it to be the most positive experience.

Follow your own rhythm.

Not everyone has the luxury of a whole week to themselves, but it is often possible to find a day here and there, or at least an hour or two in a week when you can be on your own. This gives you the space to get in touch with your own thoughts and feelings. You can choose to use this time in any way you wish. You might decide to relax, have a long bath, read a book, sew, knit, sit in the sun or make a cake, write, go for a walk, but whatever you choose to do with this precious time – do it on your own – and begin to get to know the unique, special person that is you. Enjoy.

Bombings in Brussels

Connecting with others Posted on Fri, March 25, 2016 12:24:07

Ann and myself have been thinking a lot about the recent Brussels incidents over the last few days. It is very sad for everyone, especially the families of those killed and injured. It is extremely sad that a very small number of disturbed human beings have caused such suffering to many other innocent humans. We have been thinking about the friends and families of the victims. How do you to come to terms with such an event. We have been thinking about how other people usually react to this type of event, especially politicians and the mainstream media. Perhaps we all need to think about what our individual human responses could be to an event like this. Anger? Fear? Something else?

The usual reaction from most people is a mixture of anger and fear. This is a normal reaction because we feel threatened. The level of threat we feel is magnified by the reaction of others. Many politicians in France and the U.K. have said we must increase our security and step up the intensity of the ‘War on Terror’. We need to put more resources into fighting the people who are to blame. They are at the root of this. Drop more bombs on terrorists and potential terrorists in other countries. There will of course be some unfortunate ‘collateral damage’ of more innocent humans. This is an inevitable consequence of a war that we need to win at any cost. We need to put more resources into protecting our borders and we need more surveillance of everyone. We must be vigilant and spy on each other. Extreme events seem to be producing an extreme response. Is there another response which may reduce this threat? I feel that although I don’t have an answer, a very wise monk living in France may have an idea.

One of the benefits of our wonderful life here in France is the time we have to spend thinking and reading. I have read a couple of very good books by Thich Nhat Hanh.

He is a Vietnamese monk who also lives in France not far from us. He influenced the work of Martin Luther King and campaigned in the USA against the Vietnam war. During the campaign the monk met an angry American who berated him for coming to the USA and told him he should “get back to Vietnam where the real problem was”. After a very deep breath and thought the monk said something like “to help a plant to grow you need to water the roots, not the leaves.”

I think we need to look for the “real roots” of these very big problems we have in the world. I think that some of the roots may be in the complex political and economic systems we have created and are desperately trying to protect. Within these complex systems, countries, governments, corporations and individuals compete for resources. There are sometimes unintended feedback loops in this competition for resources which can often make bad situations worse. So I think to start with we should try to feel LOVE for the friends and families of all the victims in all affected countries. If we can begin to feel that connection to them as individuals, just like us, rather than ‘others’ perhaps we can begin to change the systems which I believe are contributing to the problem.

You can find out more about this amazing monk here

TED Talks

Connecting with others Posted on Wed, February 24, 2016 08:06:16

This is not a post about the latest electronic teddy bear or the revelations of a long dead President brought back to life. It’s about “ideas worth spreading” which is a tag line of a very successful organisation which holds inspirational speaking events across the globe.
Each talk is limited to about 25 minutes but some are less than 10 minutes. The talks are on YouTube and some have had over a million views.

What I like about these TED talks is the diversity of the subject matter and the competence of most of the speakers. You can view a talk by a specialist on virtually any subject which would normally cost a lot of money to watch, absolutely free. I have now watched over 200 of these talks and have learned something from all of them. It’s an amazing free resource and even though a few talks have been “banned” you can even watch these with a bit more effort searching. Also, you can even apply to host your own event, which I would like to do one day.

When I think about all this information on new ways of doing things it gives me a sense of hope that the world is slowly changing for the better and that our existing systems of health, education, shelter and food production will change radically in my lifetime. There are some very different ideas out there which challenge the existing system. This can make us realise that we can connect with others in different ways and begin to follow our own path and discover and create our own alternative future which is different to what large governments and large corporations may have in mind. Its not my view that governments and corporations are evil it’s just that they are caught up in unsustainable systems which value GDP over people and the planet. The people involved in them are trying their best to keep these systems going, but that’s for another post.

Back to TED

So the TED talks have loads of information on all sorts of subjects which is really worth a look. In fact, it is a bit like a cuddly talking teddy bear or a good President brought back from the dead. Have a look.

Positive News

Connecting with others Posted on Thu, February 11, 2016 13:37:52

I often find myself involved in discussions about the fact that most of the news we hear on television or read in the newspapers is bad. We know that people tend to buy more papers if the news is ‘sensational’ in some way.

It seems that there is a biological reason for this. The most basic parts of our brain respond very quickly to fear. We are ‘pre-programmed’ to respond to fear as this has been vital for our survival. The ‘flight or fight’ response has been very useful for escaping from wild animals but in modern times not many of us have to do this! The response can still be activated though by what we read and hear on a day to day basis. This can lead us to believe that the world is more scary and dangerous than it really is and over time can adversely affect our health.

We can help ourselves by choosing what we watch and read and how often we do this. Do we really need to watch the news several times a day? Here is an alternative news magazine called Positive News that has just been re-launched after 1,526 people bought community shares during a 30 day ‘Own the Media’ campaign.

The Positive News Magazine began life as a ‘free’ newspaper when it was founded in 1993 by an amazing lady called Shauna Crockett-Burrows. It helps to highlight some of the good things that are happening in the world and connects people and ideas. Here are a couple of links, one with information about Shauna Crockett-Burrows and the other to The Positive News website. The magazine is produced 4 times a year and would make a lovely present for yourself or someone else.


Connecting with others Posted on Mon, February 08, 2016 00:10:37

Communicating with others is always difficult when it involves language. I often wonder that if the human race had not developed language, where we would be as a species? Language is very useful but can also lead to so much misunderstanding. Although we live in France, my French is still very poor and I sometimes find it frustrating that I cannot understand others or make myself understood. However, there are some upsides to this. Not speaking the language very well has made me pay more attention to what people say, how they say it and made me observe their body language more. I can then pay more attention to what I say, how I say it and what I say with my body too.

Gestures, particularly hand movements are fascinating to watch and openness is often shown by how people sit or stand, and their facial expressions. Other situational things (sights, sounds, smells) and objects can also influence someone’s perception such as the positioning and colour of furniture in an unusually lit or shaped room. It’s useful to think about all those things when you meet someone. The most likely influence on communication is people’s previous experience of a similar situation.
We meet a new situation or person and believe we have met this before and we know how to deal with it. Without really listening, observing or treating this new situation with compassion, we interupt people and tell them what they “should do”. Alternatively, we ignore what they actually say and tell them about a very similar experience we had and what we did. Responding in this way we are trying to be genuinely helpful but usually failing to provide the support they usually seek. They often want us to simply listen compassionately to them and acknowledge their feelings at this moment. When they feel they have been understood they are often then prepared to face the choices which will move them on to their next stage of development. In a similar way, if we want to grow and help ourselves we can acknowledge our own feelings and make our own choices. What do you think?