Blog Image

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.

http://theonecourse.org

We are not alone!

Feeling Good Posted on Sun, March 19, 2017 20:42:38

Scientists have estimated that each of us has in excess of 100 trillion bacteria and microbes living in our body. We have a symbiotic relationship with them. They are necessary for our health and for our survival and we are necessary for theirs.

When I was at school I was taught that ‘my body’ was just that – ‘mine’. There was just me and then the rest of the world. Research now is showing us a very different world and this is having a huge impact on how we view it. Our bodies, far from being one separate being are actually made up of millions and trillions of living beings – more of a walking community! All these microbes have important roles to play in keeping our bodies functioning properly.

It is particularly important to have a healthy population of ‘good’ bacteria in our gut as it is in the gut that most of the nutrients are extracted from our food. Even though we eat what we think is a healthy diet; if we aren’t able to absorb the nutrients from the food then we will not be as healthy as we could be. One way to improve the health and functioning of your gut is to eat ‘live’ fermented food.

A friend recently lent me a book about fermenting. She thought it might be useful as a means of preserving fresh food as we don’t have a fridge or freezer. I found it very interesting and last week made my first batch of sauerkraut which tasted fantastic!

Sauerkraut is really easy to make by rubbing salt into the chopped cabbage leaves – this breaks down the cell walls and within a short amount of time water is drawn out of the cabbage. The cabbage is then packed tightly into a jar, covered with one of the outer cabbage leaves to stop air coming into contact with it and weighted down to keep the cabbage in place under the salt-water solution. The jar is covered with a cloth and placed out of direct sunlight for anything from 4 – 10 days to ferment. Keep testing it until you get the flavour you prefer. Many different vegetables can be fermented and the best thing is that they are really good for you! They retain all their nutrients and become easier to digest too.

It is not necessary to sterilise the jars, just ensure they are clean.

Why not have a go at making your own fermented vegetables?



Immigrant Robots are coming

Inspirational Posted on Sat, March 11, 2017 14:08:31

The Immigrant Robots are coming, what is our purpose then?

It’s a few months since I did a blog post for the onecourse. A lot has happened, BREXIT has started, President Trump is in the Whitehouse and Marie Le Pen ascends in France. My initial hopes of people flooding(like immigrants) to our onecourse did not materialise, my interest drifted a little and my attention was diverted by other shiny more tangible things, Robots! Whilst we are all busy worrying about or discussing BREXIT, Trump and Le Pen, and Immigrants we should really be focussed on Robots, because that really is going to be the next big thing.

Image result for robots building robots seattle

I trained as an engineer and I have always found the idea of machines and Robots fascinating. Imagine a future where humans live a life of leisure whilst the machines and Robots do the work! Robots can perform similar functions to humans and animals and once they have been created their limited needs can be met by providing them with one thing, energy. I can understand Luddites raging against the machine but I doubt the inevitable ‘progress’ of the machine will ever be halted whilst it is profitable. So here is my own prediction for the next 10 to 15 years of Robot and human interaction.

2017 Background. The earth, all humans and other species are undergoing tumultuous change. The economic and ecological systems are facing huge challenges and it is very unlikely that things will remain as they are. The current systems that we humans have developed are unsustainable and new systems are needed. Algorithms are now in charge of the worlds financial systems because it is too complex for humans to respond quickly enough to changes. Even the humble electric toaster is wifi enabled. The current economic system relies on perpetual growth on a finite planet using up valuable energy on transportation. Corporations, pension funds, and individuals chase better returns on financial capital, thus money is invested in activities which maximise profit. This speculation leads to high profits but at an enormous cost to the environment and significant human exploitation. Increasingly large volumes of technically complex consumer goods are manufactured with minimal wage related costs. Retail businesses employ fewer people as more shops move online. If wage costs of a company can be reduced close to zero, that company will become highly profitable and the home for an increasing amount of investment.

2022 The Immigrant Robots arrive. The costs of Robots is falling and once it reaches a point where acquisition and running costs are cheaper than human labour, Robots will replace humans. The first wave of Robots will be built by humans in low wage economies, but eventually, even these human workers will be replaced by Robots. Robots building Robots! These Robots will be comparatively low cost and sufficiently flexible to carry out the vast majority of the paid work currently done by humans. They will come in their hundreds of thousands or even millions to developed economies where wages are high and cheap human labour is in short supply. The location for the first wave of mega Robot factories are likely to be anywhere with abundant space, raw materials, energy, and political stability. An ideal place would have access to abundant solar energy and a means of energy storage. I am thinking of batteries but energy stored in any form would suffice.

2027 Robots breed like Rabbits. Low cost sites within developed urban population catchments will be ideal locations for the second wave of Immigrant Robots . They will come to build the factories and infrastructure, to farm, to build more robots, and to make the consumer goods. The day of the factory worker, driver, admin worker, salesperson and most other workers will be numbered. Imagine an economy trying to function within the existing system, with 60, 70 or 80% unemployment. Do we then want to increase the population simply to increase the number of consumers? The time is right to rethink our relationship with our planet earth and with each other. What do we really care about, what do we really love? Is it shiny, tangible consumer goods, Robots, or other people and our planet earth.

The above thoughts cause me to ask a question which you might have a go at answering in the comments below.

What is our purpose as a human species, and our purpose as individuals?

I believe this same question will be asked by many people in many countries over the next decade as the Immigrant Robots arrive. So perhaps the onecourse or something similar is needed after all.



October 2016

The One Course Posted on Sat, June 04, 2016 06:49:38

See www.theonecourse.org for further information and to register your interest in attending.



A backwards step can be good.

Positive Action Posted on Sat, June 04, 2016 06:33:05

At the moment I am visiting my family in the UK and while out for a walk I met an old friend. I didn’t recognise him as he approached because he was walking backwards! I was intrigued because I had seen someone a few days earlier doing the same thing in another part of the country. I must admit the thoughts that ran through my head were along the lines of “maybe they have something wrong with their legs and so find it easier to walk backwards?.”, “maybe they are a bit ‘strange’ and I should be wary” or “maybe it is a new form of exercise?”
He explained that he was doing it because it was thought to be very beneficial for the brain and helped to build confidence too. Apparently it has been known in China and Japan for years that ‘retro walking’ is good for you in many ways. For those over 50 its thought to be particularly good for improving balance and coordination. It improves the functions of the cerebellum which coordinates and balances our bodily movements as well as flexibility. It also sharpens your senses as you have to be constantly aware of pot holes, dogs and other potential obstacles!

As I walked away from him it did occur to me how amusing it would be if I then walked backwards too and we would gradually see each other disappearing into the distance in a ‘long goodbye’!



Zen Hen

Learning from nature Posted on Fri, April 29, 2016 17:22:51

Here is our hen, recently named ‘Zen’ after almost a year of being called ‘Hen’. I have just spent the entire morning with her as she helped me to ‘dig’ and ‘weed’ the garden. She is the last survivor of a long line of hens bred by our elderly neighbour who died 2 years ago. We thought she would be lonely so this spring we got three new hens to keep her company but she still seems to prefer to spend time around humans. I suppose moving three ‘teenage’ hens in to share her home was a bit cruel!

We can always learn things from spending time around nature and hens are no exception. They can apparently recognise more than 100 faces. Each hen has its own unique personality and they have 30 different sounds that they use to communicate with each other. They are of course very much ‘in the present moment’ as animals tend to be – not having our ability to think about events in the past and worry about what might happen in the future! As I write this she is lying in a hollow in the warm soil that she has carefully crafted – where I have just planted some potatoes. I think she is probably sitting on one – probably she thinks its an egg!

Maybe today’s ‘Zen hen lesson’ is to sit in the sun while its shining – especially when you’ve been busy scratching about all morning! Nature always has times of rest and everything still seems to get done!



A garden for growing people

Inspirational Posted on Mon, April 04, 2016 11:59:08

Ann and myself had a wonderful experience this week. We visited a place called Embercombe in Devon. A 50 acre garden for growing people. The people we met who have planted themselves there seem to be growing very well. Embercombe has 8 staff and 10 or so associates and many volunteers some who live on site in a variety of cabins and yurts. They build shelters, grow most of their own food but more importantly welcome hundreds of volunteers and students to the site each year.

The business leaders, volunteers and students come to Embercombe to learn about our fragile world and how we can all play a powerful leadership role in transforming our own future. The most amazing thing is that 20 years ago this garden didn’t exist. It was a small private Tarmac runway and a couple of aircraft hangers in the wilds of Devon.

Then along came, one man, Mac with an idea of a garden for growing people. Mac is amazing and we are very pleased to have met him. Mac has inspired a whole host of people to help with his vision. We also met other lovely Trustees, a great MD and some fantastic staff. They are all inspired by this same vision and have transformed this Tarmac strip and hangers into a beautiful place which has most of the elements needed as a model for a new sustainable society. It is not perfect and they still need help to take it to the next stage. If you have some time or money to spare or want to do a course we would highly recommend it.



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

http://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/



The Wizard of Oz

The One Course Posted on Mon, March 14, 2016 12:37:58

The yellow brick road of fear – Victim or Hero – the choice is yours!

The Wizard of Oz is a very odd film, I watched every Christmas as a child, and it left an odd impression, in particular that yellow brick road. The world is changing, constantly changing, more quickly, each day. This road into the future can be a source of fear but these changes will continue to happen. Why not accept this reality and simply decide what you want your role to be, in this constantly changing world. If you are reading this it is likely that you have some choice in how your your life could be. The choices you make can create a new reality for yourself and others. Along with choice comes responsibility, which sometimes makes the choice difficult. What if I make the wrong choice? Even if it is difficult, the choice must be made. At some fundamental level we know which choice to make. The choice is yours, victim or hero.

I know that life is difficult for many people on this precious planet. People are struggling with basic needs such as food, health, shelter and companionship. Many of these people have no choice and really are victims of systems beyond their control. But if your basic needs are met, you can start to think about what else you want, and what you want to give. I am guessing that if you are reading this, your basic needs are met and you are able to choose what to do with your life, or as someone put it to me recently, what is it that you love? How to spend your precious life? We choose how to spend our money but our lives are much more valuable. Being in a place of choice is a luxurious place to be, a place of great privilege.

Let’s not waste any more of our precious time on pretending we are victims and waiting for a hero to rescue us. Who is the hero we are waiting for, a spouse or parent, a child, a government, a corporation? Instead we can all become our own heroes. It is wonderful to sit and think, meditate or even simply do nothing at all, for a while. Eventually though, we have choices to make on how to move forward with our lives. Making these choices can be difficult but by making them we can stop being the victim, overcome fear and become the hero of our own life. Also, if we truly care about the real victims in this world, we can choose to do something for them too as we walk our own yellow brick road.

In The Wizard of Oz, for me, the yellow brick road is the frightening path of choice which needs to be walked by each of the 4 main characters. By walking it, we find ourselves, by facing our fears and making difficult choices. So look within, become your own hero, become powerful, take some action in your own life, and walk that road.



« PreviousNext »