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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: 1/2/11 - 1/9/11

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Our body’s natural ability to heal

If you cut your finger, you will notice that the blood will clot, dry and seal the wound. Eventually, a scab will form and as the body naturally replaces itself, the wound will fully heal. This happens to a greater or lesser extent according to how healthy we are in general.

It is worth noting that our bodies are designed to heal as part of a natural process. We have the ability to actively allow this natural process to happen. It is the brain and mind that controls the body in the first instance. Our brain is the computer that ensures our heart continues to beat and that our blood continues to flow. Our body needs the sustenance of healthy food and water as maintenance.

In the same way, we can choose to feed our minds with healthy information. Our healthy mind can assist our body in the natural healing process. In the same way, a healthy and well fed body will assist our mind to attract positive thoughts.

One way we can choose to balance our mind with an appropriate amount of positive thought is to use meditation. A free source of assistance in meditation can be found in The Silva Ultra Mind System. There is a good explanation about the function of Alpha and Beta waves in the brain along with a downloadable sound file to practice meditation. This lasts approximately 30 minutes. I have been using this material recently and I testify to the benefit I have experienced from it.

You can choose to try meditation. This can compliment traditional treatments such as medication for illnesses. This is not an attempt to give you false hope; it is to inform you that you can allow yourself to try something different and be open minded enough to see if it works for you.

Why not try tapping into your body’s natural ability to heal? You have nothing to lose.

There are many, many articles written on this subject going back thousands of years. So why have I chosen to write about this subject as well? By doing so, I believe I am renewing the core message with fresh energy as others have done before me. 


Todays video is another from the origins of the band I play for "Beggars' Belief". This was recorded a couple of years ago, long before I joined the band. The song "Roots" is one we still perform today. A political, anti war song. Enjoy!

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Friday, January 07, 2011

The folly of giving credance to negative energy

We have all had those days when something goes wrong early on, we focus on the stress that involves and internally complain at the bad luck that continues throughout the day. Despite wanting that apparent bad luck to leave us, it continues to happen and becomes a frustration. We more than likely wish that the first piece of bad luck did not occur and hold on top the frustration, wishing it away. We give all our mental energy to the negative, thereby creating more negativity. You could call that attracting the negativity. 

It is possible to do the reverse by focussing on positive parts of the day and thereby attract luck.

A few years ago when I wrote blogs on the Yahoo 360 platform, I took part in a short story writing festival. It was fun to do that and helped to build contacts with other writers, many of whom became good friends. Looking back at one of the stories I wrote back then, I now see a message related to today's subject about a bad day.  The character in the story attracted his bad luck by focussing on the frustration. 
It's like a thought such as "Typical, that would go and happen today of all days." 
There is a good article on the subject I found click here

I just I thought I would post that story again today:

The phone rings.
"Hi Charlie. Where are you? We're expecting you at the meeting this morning"
Panic and remorse hit Charlie. How could he have forgotten todays meetings? A promise made and now half broken. Switching the television off and rushing to get ready, a text message bleats on Charlie's mobile phone.
" Hi Dad. Can you come and pick me up? It looks like it gonna rain." Feeling more frustrated and neglectful, Charlie rings Lucy and apologies that he really must get to the meeting. Its very important. "Sorry Lucy, you'll have to get the bus today". It takes another 2 minutes for Charlie to get off the phone due to the pleading of his daughter. This only adds to the guilt. "How can I have been so stupid. I'm really not nearly as organized as I should have been!"

Charlie rushes to his car, then realizes he has left the car keys indoors. More frustration! The clouds gather and the sky darkens. Eventually, returning to the car and reversing off the drive, a yellow light blinks on the dashboard. Low fuel. "Arrrrghhh. Another hold up!" Charlie can feel his blood pressure rising and the panic in his throat. He arrives at the petrol station, only to find that there is a tanker delivery and all pumps are closed. Frustrated, reversing back on to the road and screeching the tyres as he does so, other car flash their headlights at him and one car sounds his horn. Was that
really necessary? These thoughts went through Charlie's mind as the wailing of the horn lowered in tone with the passing of the vehicle on the road.

Five minutes later, a few drops of rain spattered the windscreen as Charlie continued up the duel carriageway toward his office. Suddenly, the engine faltered and the car slowed to a stop. Out of fuel. Reaching for his mobile phone, Charlie realized he was not going to make this meeting. As he pulled the phone from his pocket, it rang.

"Hello Charlie. Where are you? I thought you were going to be at home all day today. Don't forget to pick the bag of spuds up this morning. We'll have none for dinner tonight. "

"Grace, I'm in the car. The fuel is out. Did you not think to fill the tank when you used it last night?"

"Don't blame me! You could have filled it yesterday. You know I hate using petrol stations. Where are you going anyway. Don't let me down with the potatoes. I've go enough to do as it is today without worrying about cooking".

And so the conversation went on for another to minutes, ending with Grace cutting Charlie off mid sentence. The clouds were really quite dark now outside. Charlie searched for the office number on his phone and put the call in. The reception phone rang for what seemed like ages.
"Hello Curz......." BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP. The phone went dead as the battery ran out. Charlie got out of the car, grabbed the fuel can from the boot of the car and started to walk. Nobody stopped along the road and it took 45 minutes before he got to the fuel station and filled the can. Returning to the car an hour later, stressed and exhausted, the rain began to fall steadily and the sky become darker to the north. When Charlie finally got to car door he spotted the ticket tucked under his windscreen detailing the fine for illegal parking. At that very moment, the heavens opened as driving rain spattered Charlie's face.
"When it rains, it pours"

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

This, I just HAVE to add for its humour and relevance to choices

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Enforcement can be the root cause of rebellion

I had originally decided not to blog today because I felt I had nothing to say as such. On the way back home in my car from work this evening, I suddenly remembered funny little event from my life that rings true with regard to choice.

During the 1980's, I worked as a shipping agent at the port of Ramsgate in Kent. Buildings mainly consisted of portacabins including a single staff lavatory for all the staff on the port. 

The banter that went on between competing shipping agents and individuals was quite prevalent during that time. Many people chose to scrawl graffitti on the wall of the lavatory regarding various people and aspects of the port. Much of this was full of wit. In fact, I used to quite look forward to seeing what the latest funny picture or remark was on each shift I worked. 

Periodically, the management would arrange for the wall to be painted over to cover the wall repairing the vandalism. This would last a week or so before somebody started to scrawl again. Gradually the wall would be filled again with topical scribbles. Time and time again over months, the wall would be repainted. Eventually, the management gave in. They fixed a wipe board to the wall with a marker attached. Written on the wiper board was "Feel free to write and draw as you choose. We have provided you the facility to do this". 
Interestingly enough, the wall was never written on again. The rebellion was overcome by allowing freedom of choice. 

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Faulty “all or nothing” thinking.

Negative thought patterns stop us from growing. They stop us from setting goals and believing in change for the better. These thoughts are generated by influences around us by individuals, culture and the media. Without realising it, we start to believe that there is limitation in our lives and therefore, fail to achieve our potential in a massive way.

There is a balance to this argument. There are some certainties that cannot be changed. For instance: - We are not immortal. We will certainly die in the worldly sense. That is simply part of the balance of nature.

When a negative label is put upon us, we need to sort the wheat from the chaff regarding the statement that we choose to believe in.

How often do you use the words “should” and “must” to other people and to yourself?

How often do you use the words “always” and “never” in a negative sense when challenging yourself and others in your family, circle of friends and work environment?

Incorrect uses of these words create limitations in that they can de-motivate us. This is because we are trying to do something that is not is not integral to our individuality and our ability to make choices that are right for us. 

Try the following exercise:
Complete the following statements where you frequently use the key word.

“You always……………………………………………………….…..”

“I always……………………………………………………………….”

“You are always……………………………………………………….”

“I am always……………………………………………………………”

Example of faulty use is as follows: -
“You always shout at me”. Is this really true? It may occur often and may seem like always, but it is more likely that it happens often or frequently, or maybe sometimes.

“I am always late”. This again is an untrue statement. I doubt that anybody has actually been late for something on every occasion.

Applying “always” to what we have done in the past, I suggest for everyone is 99.9% of the time a lie. It’s more likely 100% a lie! A more truthful statement would be to replace the word “always” with alternative words such as “occasionally”, “sometimes”, “rarely”, “often”, “frequently”. This allows us to identify what elements really are true and those that are the “chaff” that do not apply to us.

By making the same changes in the “you” statements, we allow the opportunity for the person it is aimed at to accept the truth in the statement.

Now do the same with these.

“You should……………………………………………………………”

“I should……………………………………………………………….”

“You must…………………………………………………………….”

“I must…………………………………………………………………”

The words “should” and “must” take away our ability to choose what we do. It is worth remembering that making a choice gives us power. To use choice effectively, we have the chance to decide the positive and negative possible outcomes before we make a decision. We stop the action being forced upon us. Whatever we decide to do, we do it with authority, ownership and responsibility.

Again, in the “You” statement, we grant freedom to the person we say it to. That person can then have authority, ownership and responsibility for their action.

“Should” and “must” is used with young children who have yet to develop their maturity. It is done as a protection measure in cases of potential danger. As a child grows, he/she will have the opportunity to decide for his/herself providing we allow them to do so.

I challenge you to look at how we use these words to adults and growing children and how they can impact upon  self image. The same can be said for ourselves. If we believe the all of nothing statement, then that is what we become. We lose self motivation, confidence and self esteem. We effectively become not what we have been designed to be.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011


"Who is the child with no voice?

lost and unseen

A watermark of tear

full of fear

neglected and broken

missing and unknown

who will atone?

Where is the space

full of grace

to heal....

Who is the child?............................."

I wrote this about 14 months ago during a particular challenging time. Reflecting upon it now, I see my tenacity in seeking to overcome emotional distress. The benefit of evaluating this now is that I realize that I had completely lost my sense of identity for a while. This loss of identity is the root of low self esteem and low confidence. It had been there for a long time, but I could not see that root cause. I was fortunate enough to have a small amount of strength to work through the pain and get on the journey of re-discovering myself. This continues to be an ongoing process and the journey is now rolling along at speed on a clear run.

There are many and various labels we take on in childhood. I’m suggesting that for the most part they are stuck on to us, hiding our true selves. Some are heavy burdens with strong attachments.Like the naughty child in the film "Toy Story" who pull apart his toys and the toys of his little sisters, creating grotesque monsters, we too can become something other than as we were designed and made for.

To rediscover who we are, we need to which of the many attachments belong to us and which do not. All too often, we end up owning that which does not belong to us.

So how can we pick apart this mess?

A good starting point is to take a psychometric test. It's a sort of quiz. I’d recommend trying many. They are easy enough to find on the internet. Follow the instructions carefully and you’ll find something about yourself that you had not realized. The revelations are at first difficult to own. They may well feel alien to you. Regardless of what you think or feel about it at the time, it is worth hanging on to these answers and looking again in time. There are no right or wrong answers. All revelations are valid and have equal value.

These tests are used to help you find direction in your life. Many companies use them to help select staff. Ultimately, they are a tool to help build self esteem by allowing a person to discover who they are and perhaps how they evolve. That is why it is useful to do a test more than once.

The test can also show how we can communicate effectively according to personality traits and learning styles. I’d even suggest that if we all took these tests and acted upon them, we would as a human race, begin to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle allowing us to see the bigger picture in human existence.

If there is something in your life that you are struggling with right now, ask yourself the question “Who am I?”
The truth is that there IS a real you inside full of integrity.
Take the journey of self discovery and realize your purpose in life.



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Monday, January 03, 2011

Use your memories positively

When working with groups, I like to use images and metaphors to illustrate the message I wish to put across. Using movies works pretty well for this because it helps people to make a connection and therefore remember. 

I first heard about the film "Slumdog Millionairre" through a friend who had seen it, wrote about it and how he related to the story. At the time, I thought it might be one of those cult films that would not make it into the main stream. I got the opportunity to watch it and really enjoyed the experience. Little did I realise that is was to become a movie of the year. 

I've come to realise that there is a message in all good movies. It's not always easy to see at first. I've not always gone looking for that message, but recently I realise the significance of this. 

The main character Jamal gets through the stages of the Millionaire rounds by apparent co-incidence of knowing the answers to the questions. Everybody assumes the boy could not possibly know the answers because he is a boy from the slums. Regardless of his missing formal education, a number of significant memories from his life (many of them pretty harrowing) enable him to answer the questions correctly. They in fact help him achieve his goal of finding the girl he loves and helping her escape from the tyranny of the gang that is holding her. 

There are many memories that we have, some pleasant and some we would rather forget. Trying to ignore painful memories does not serve us well. They are still there under the surface and can contaminate the rest of our lives if we don't deal with them appropriately. By visiting those memories, we have the chance to set ourselves free from the pain and achieve life goals. I interpret this fact as the message in the film "Slumdog Millionaire".

Are you prepared to use your memories as a tool to help you grow?

Do you want to live the rest your life in "Millionaire" style with emotional freedom and success? 
This does not only refer to finances alone. Wealth (as in money) is not the most important aspect. If you choose spiritual wealth and wealth of attitude and gratitude, then finances may well come to you as a gift. 


It's sad to hear the passing of the actor Pete Postlethwaite in the news today. I remember him specifically in the films "In the name of the Father" and "Brassed Off". With my brass band background, I particularly enjoyed Brassed off. There is a lasting legacy from this talented actor.  
I just felt the need to pay tribute. 

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

What is Love?

So here I go again, writing down thoughts as I go along in a somewhat creative fashion. 

My experience of reading about the subject of "Love" and hearing others speak of it have helped me to come to my conclusions here.

The word "Love" is powerful and can create a plethora of reactions, some of which can be unexpected. It can also create an enormous amount of mis-understanding. 
Doing a little research on the subject brings up a lot of links to "finding love" or "finding a life partner". It's a word that seems to be very much linked to "lust" which is really quite something different. 

The word has many meaning in different languages. A good example of this is the various in Greek
Based on this example and also referring to a description I once heard at the wedding of some friends I see it as this: 

Love as in friendship. The joy of having a friend or friends that we enjoy the company of and communicate effectively. It would be the sort of love that we give freely in this way by not only reading blogs, but commenting upon them and thereby communicating. Establishing a link in common thought. 

Love as in respect. This is having a positive regard for another person and  respecting their situation and point of view. It would be to allow a person some freedom to speak and act as they see fit. 

Love in the physical sense. This seems to me to be the common understanding of what love is. It refers to the love combined with sexual attraction and the physical act of sex. This is where mis-understanding can come in. Stating "I love you" in this case to a friend or somebody you know not particularly well may infer that you are expressing an emotional and physical bonding that may not be wanted. I'm suggesting that it may not necessarily be the case. 

As far as long term relationships are concerned, I remember the minister at the wedding I attended suggesting that achieving 2 out of the 3 mentioned above is a good basis for a lasting marriage. 

Close friendships do indeed involve Love without necessarily involving the physical aspect. 

I wrote about the closest friend I ever had in my life a few years ago. Writing about it at that time touched many people and encouraged a new openness between folk in the social network blogsphere I was involved with at that time. Many chose to share their experiences. I believe it was a liberating experience and allowed many to clear some emotional clutter in their lives. 

I'm going to share it again today (with some minor updates) All writing is, I believe, a work in progress. 

"I heard the telephone ring in the hallway of my parents bungalow. Mother answered the phone and it was Michael. All I heard her say down that phone was “oh no. uh no. oh no!” I started crying. Mother didn’t need to tell me. My intuition told me what had happened.
During the early 1970’s, my aunt took the lease of a cliff top kiosk at Foreness Bay, in Cliftonville, Margate. My parents also got involved in running this little business selling sandwiches, hot drinks, ice creams etc. It was a very popular spot in those days. For me, roughly 9 years old, this kiosk gave me the opportunity for wonderful and adventurous summers spent on the beach building sandcastles and “tide fight” barriers. It was also an opportunity for me to make new friends with other children on the beach.

That first summer I made friends with Mark and we became quite good friends. Mark had another friend, Paul, and we were duly introduced. Paul was not able to run around splashing in the surf as we did, for Paul was a fragile child born with a deformed heart. He spent most of his time sat on a sun lounger watching everyone else. Paul could walk a little, but would get out of breath very quickly. Paul’s mother Joy was also disabled, so Paul’s father Michael cared for them both whilst also running a taxi cab part time. At first, I didn’t think Michael was Paul’s father because Paul called his father by his Christian name. I discovered the reason for this in time. Joy would call out for Michael very frequently because of her needs and as a result, Paul never learned to call his father “Daddy”. This wasn’t at all sad. It was in fact rather endearing. I’d describe Michael as a jolly fellow and seemed to have bundles of energy. He was incredibly fit and went swimming in the sea every morning of the year including Christmas day! Paul’s fragile condition meant that he was never going to live into adulthood, so Michael crammed in as much as he could into Paul’s short life.

The 3 of us lads became firm friends. Mark and I spent a lot of exploring the beach, however, we would always ensure that we spent quality time with Paul. We would design elaborate games that Paul could play with us. This would involve flints and stones collected from the beach that we would throw at targets chalked onto the promenade. Michael would keep us fed with endless cold drinks and slices of cake. Sometimes we would all get the treat of an ice cream. Michael would always stop as the kiosk either on his way to the beach or on the way back, so my parents got to know him too. They were full of admiration for this man and his energy. Mother described him as a saint.

One particular summers day, Michael asked Mark and myself if we would like to go to the cinema with Paul. The film being shown at the cinema was “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. This was the first of many trips to see movies. The friendship between Paul and I became much stronger. In fact I began to spend Saturdays in the winter round at Paul’s house. Paul introduced me to the wonders of Enid Blyton’s stories. We would sometimes spend an hour or two together reading “Secret Sevens” and “Famous Fives”. We would then discuss and grumble “Why can’t we have adventures like Julian, Dick, Anne George and Timmy?” such was our innocence. Building Airfix models was another firm favourite. We saw less of Mark after a while because he went off to boarding school. I guess this brought Paul and I much closer as friends. We would watch our favourite TV programme at the time “Basil Brush”. We were very big fans.
Another movie we went to see was the James Bond thriller “Live and Let Die”. This was my first experience of the Bond movies and I was hooked straight away. Michael brought the album of the theme music for Paul. We would listen to this constantly. It makes me smile now as I remember that Paul struggled to keep up singing along to the fast bit in Paul McCartneys song “Live and Let Die”.

My sister got married in 1972. Paul and Michael were invited along as company for me that day. Paul was a couple of years older than me but because of his condition, he was of small stature. That did make us very compatible as friends. In 1975, Paul reached 14 years old. Michael explained to me in November of that year (Paul’s birthday) that he would be going up to a top London hospital to have an operation. This, if successful would extend Paul’s life by maybe a couple more years. Although I knew Paul’s would not live for long, I guess it all seemed a long way away, as things did at that age. I guess I just couldn’t imagine, or dare not imagine what it would be like for Paul to not be around any more. Michael told me that as soon as Paul was fit enough to come out of hospital, he was going to treat us both by taking us to the Theatre in London to see a production of Peter Pan. This would likely be in January 1976. So I said farewell to Paul and began to consider what could happen. Paul’s chance of survival, if I remember correctly for this operation was 50/50. I can also remember night times trying to sleep with my mind full of imagination and anxiety. I started to fantasise what it would be like and how I would feel if Paul were not to survive. I guess this was typical of my vivid imagination. I’d never experienced any sort of trauma at that time in my life and I wondered what it would feel like. I'd certainly not experienced bereavement.

Then came that day of the phone call. Shortly after Paul’s operation, he had developed a blood clot that ran to his heart. Apparently he never regained consciousness. I cried as my parents came into our hallway and we all hugged. This all happened on a school day for me. Mother decided it would be best for me to go rather than mope around the house. I remember mixing with the other lads in the school yard before the whistle was blown, but I just felt completely detached from everyone and I was close to tears. Crying in front of your peers at age 12 was just not done, particularly in the hard nose days of the 1970’s. I disappeared down a side alley by a class room and sobbed my heart out. I didn't care about lining up for school assembly. Getting in trouble for bunking away from class was nothing compared with the grief I felt right then. One of my school pals had spotted that I was upset and went to find a teacher. This sports master came round to see me and was very kind. He invited me into a classroom to talk. Eventually, he encouraged to join the rest of the school for assembly. In those days we had large hymn sheets hanging on the walls that looked like Biblical scrolls. As the school band played I tried to sing but could not see the words because of the tears flooding my eyes. Somehow I got through that school day.

It was many, many months before Michael and I had the courage to see each other. I didn’t go to Paul’s funeral. In fact it was a long time before my mother told me. By a quirk of fate, Paul’s funeral was on 5th February 1976, my birthday. I remember wondering why mother went out that afternoon but did not say why. She simply did not want to spoil my birthday. When I finally saw Michael, he brought round Paul’s train set to give to me. I still have that train set in the pewter covered wooden box my loft, buried under all the other bric a brac that I’ve hoarded over the years.
I did tentatively keep in touch with Michael over the years but to a large extent I drifted away from the sadness of loss. Paul’s mother died a few years later. I believe this was pretty much of a broken heart.

Paul is buried in a wonderful little church on the hill in the picturesque seaside village of Kingsdown Nr. Deal. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place. Michael told me he used to live in Kingsdown, hence his choice to have Paul buried there. It was not until 1996 when my daughter was stillborn that I finally summoned the courage to visit Paul’s grave. The grief and bereavement was connected. It brought back all the pain I'd put away for so long.
Michael ensured that Paul lived his life full of joy and fun. Paul was to me, a real Peter Pan because he never grew up. He has remained that innocent child, never exposed to the cynical adult world. I loved Paul deeply. He was my soul mate. We never ever argued in all the time I knew him. We had a perfect friendship. I can’t describe it any other way."

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