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Navigating life. Finding happiness.
In my mission to play my part in making the world a happier place, I spend a considerable amount of time contemplating the human condition and particularly why oh why so many people seem to be living in a state of denial and avoidance.
Living amidst the chaos of London has certainly led me to frequently ponder whether a simpler life would be a better one. "Would we be any happier if we chucked it all in and set up home in a fishing village in Goa?" I asked myself.
Breathing the body with the inimitable Ajahn Sucitto
Yesterday, I attended yet another terrific London Insight event; 'Breathing the body' was a day of meditation with Ajahn Sucitto, the very down-to-earth, funny and personable abbot of Cittaviveka, Chithurst Buddhist Monastery. The teaching took an approach to mindfulness of breathing meditation that is very different to how it is usually taught. It was a much more holistic, dynamic and embodied experience, very accessible for Westerners and not at all conceptual or esoteric. I expect that if Buddhism and Qi Gong were to marry and have offspring, this would be the result.
Compassion, disability & mindfulness: convergence on the road to happiness
Last weekend, the inimitable Sharon Salzberg led a 2 day retreat on Compassion; I have long been her 'distance learning student', courtesy of audiobooks, dharma podcasts and suchlike, but these can never replicate the dynamic and interactive nature of a retreat.
Tech For Good: Where passion & innovation meets impact & profit
Navigating the UK social investment marketplace has been simultaneously exhilarating and infuriating; the belief that building and maintaining social capital through a profitable and scaleable business model is one that I have long held and it is encouraging that UK investors are making the right noises.
Misogynism & sex discrimination amidst the Digerati
I'd like to think that I work in a reasonably egalitarian industry, but some pretty unpalatable stories have begun to surface about the ill-treatment of women on the web conference speaking circuit; as I read about the experiences reported by Sarah Parmenter, Jen Strickland and Relly Annett-Baker, my heart began to sink as I realised that, mathematically speaking, it is highly probable that these incidences are not rare. As those who have spoken up are strong women in a testosterone laden industry and with very few women, let alone speakers, in the digerati, I fear what lies beneath.
Parents, children, life, love, self-esteem and confidence
Life for most people is just downright complicated, but it doesn't start out this way: as small children life is pretty uncomplicated. We begin life with no responsibilities and are afforded the freedom to approach all that we encounter with an open and seemingly reckless abandon, to learn and grow with boundless curiosity, hope and anticipation.
Society and subculture: rights without responsibility
I have agonised this past week in a vain attempt to formulate an opinion about, not only what has occurred on the streets of England but, what on earth has caused so many people to have so little respect for anything. I have grappled with thoughts about human behaviour and the many different things that influence it - biology, family, culture, community and so on - and why, oh why, no matter how civilised or democratic we think we are or hope to be, there are people in our society who behave so deplorably and with such little regard for themselves, others and ultimately human life.
Digital Inclusion in the Big Society: you can't legislate human nature
In my mission to further social inclusion, I have been observing the interplay between the third sector, disabled activists and government: whilst everyone involved seem to be going along with happenings in a matter of fact way, I have been sitting, watching and thinking "What the.....".
All this talk of the Big Society has led to a lot of discussion and debate in our house. However, the conversation has not been a theoretical one about whether it will or won't work, but about why on earth the fabric of our society has become so threadbare.