Tag - service

The All-One Tree

Can you see the tree that stands all alone on the hill?
How complete she seems unto herself as you hurry by.

But slow down, pause a while and look again.

See how her sure branches reach and merge with the light infinity of sky.
See how she makes love with the gentle breeze; caressed and fondled she whispers her delight in the shimmering of her delicate leaves.
See how the sun warms her and the frost adorns her; different lovers who come to be with her a while.

How the raindrops fall upon her, trickling down her branches and trunk into the soil to be drunk by her and released again into the sky to reunite with the shape-shifter clouds that float effortlessly by.

Her leaves practise their alchemy breathing in and breathing out. Silently, unobtrusively wanting no applause or recognition she stands humbly performing her magic.

If you wait a while you will see how the buzzard comes to rest a while in the safety of her branches and look out on the majesty of creation.
You will see how the finches and sparrows come to dine on the small creatures that have made their homes in the folds and sinews of her woody bark.
The squirrels that scamper and chase along her elevated highways and the mice curled in their cosy nest in the folds where her roots meet her trunk.

When the cold days come she rests and relaxes and her leaves and energy fall,
Down, down, down into her roots that twist and turn, held as they are, embraced in the cool darkness of the sacred earth.

Can you see the tree that stands all alone on the hill?
Look a little closer, a little deeper, a little more slowly with the eyes of your heart.
And she will re-mind you that you are never really alone.

Read more...

Young People are the Future

youth

Today I spoke to the secondary pupils at Maple Hayes Hall Dyslexia School. The title of my talk was: ‘It’s not what happens but how we choose to respond that counts.’ I wanted them to know that despite (and perhaps because) of their challenges with reading and writing etc they can still lead happy, loved and successful lives. Thank you Jackie Tweedie for your repeated requests to the head teacher to get me in to talk.

It’s hard to say how it went but I know I gave it my all and I hope that some of the things that I shared will stick with them. I know my heart felt very open as I looked around into the eyes of so many young people.

With dyslexia they will have their additional challenges as if life isn’t tough enough for young people already. I keep hearing about the massive increase in mental health issues amongst our youth and on Radio 4 while driving to the school there was an interview with a 9 year old boy who was depressed and said he saw no point in living. What is going on??! He said that he asks himself the big questions like ‘why are there wars?’ and ‘why aren’t people kinder to each other?’ My suspicion is that these larger issues, that young people can see no solution to are having a massive detrimental effect on their well- being. It makes me a little sad.

Young people are the future. The extent to which we invest in them now will determine the future of humanity.

One Love x

Read more...

Sacred Masculinity and role models for our young men

Yesterday was my last mentoring session with James (not his real name). I have been seeing James for an hour and a half every two weeks for over a year. Now the funding has run out as he has finished school and moved on to college. The primary objective of the mentoring was to prevent him from being expelled from school. We achieved that at least.
I am sad that I won’t get to see him anymore but he knows that he can call me any time if he wants to talk. He probably won’t. None of the many young people that I have worked with over the last 20 years ever get back in touch. They just disappear and I can only hope that some of the seeds that I have sown will take root so that they may grow strong and healthy and even perhaps flower.
James is no angel. He hangs around in the gang scene, listens to gang music and wears gang clothes. He is addicted to cannabis. It helps his anxiety and his back pain and helps keep him numb and distracted from the shadows of his past that haunt him.
He was fostered by the mother of his best friend and so has been very lucky in this respect. He was taken from his own mother and separated from his siblings by social services eventually when his step father slammed his head in a door as a punishment. He was about 11 years old at the time. This incident was the last in a series of violent abuse that James had suffered. His father has been in prison for most of his life.
I don’t know what life has in store for James but I know the road ahead will not be straight forward. It’s hard to break the cycle of drugs, crime and violence that is his daily life and all he really knows.
In our time together we would always go to a cafe and have a full English breakfast. It felt important to me to share food, for me to offer him some physical nourishment as well as emotional and spiritual. I do this with most of my mentees. While we ate we would talk and I would catch up on what had been happening since we last met. I would offer guidance here and there but try my best not to judge. After we would go for a drive. James would be in charge of the stereo and we would invariably listen to gang music … loud! I didn’t challenge him too much about the lyrics. I know the music is a form of self harm, the pain in the lyrics makes James feel that it is not just him, that he is not alone and the songs sing of feelings etc that he is not able to express himself.
It seems primarily important when we work in a therapeutic way with anyone that we accept them as they are. James says he has listened to hundreds of people who have tried to change him and fix him and put him on the right path. He listened to me when I did challenge him because most of the time I accept him as he is. I never told him to stop smoking because I did the same thing when I was his age. I was stoned for 10 years until I was ready to begin exorcising the pain of my childhood.
Anyway I feel that it is important for me to do what I can, as an awakening man, for James and the other young men that I mentor face to face or via video call. The children are the future. They are growing up in an environment that is far from the optimum conditions for health, self esteem and happiness. When we heal ourselves we help the young people that we come into contact with. As Bob Marley said ‘you can’t blame the youth.’ They are a product of our dysfuncional society. It’s just as well that the old is crumbling and the new is rising for the sake of all the innocent children across the planet.

So I asked James to write a few words by way of recommendation to other young men and this is what he wrote. Not the kind of thing you would expect really from a tough gang member, criminal, drug user!!

‘I highly recommend miguel dean mentoring sessions as they are very useful for young persons such as myself going through family trouble, abuse, bullying, anxiety and any other issues or even just to chat. miguel is genuinely the nicest man I’ve ever met and I hope more people reach out to him as the sessions are extremely useful – miguel thank you so much mate I have found great value in the sessions and I will never forget the lessons you taught me thank you thank you thank you’

Bless him and all the children.

 

Read more...

‘There is no such thing as a stranger. Just people whose stories we haven’t yet heard.’

As I headed out for my morning walk today I walked past a mother with two toddlers. One was in his push chair and as I walked past he kept shouting ‘Hiya’ to me. I turned round and waved to him and his little voice kept chirping out ‘Hi’ as I walked into the distance.
I was aware that his mother didn’t reprimand him and that it was mutually considered to be cute and acceptable. This led me to wondering at what age children are taught not to talk to strangers. Although I understand the reason behind this advice to young people (health and safety!) it also saddens me that we live in a society where this is the norm.
It seems that the instruction ‘to not talk to strangers’ comes from a place of fear. When we tell our children this we are communicating to them that the world is not a safe place to be. It seems to reinforce the belief that we are not all connected and that other humans are not to be trusted and that they might cause you harm. What would society look like if this fear based belief did not underpin the way young people enter into society independently?
I am fully aware that there are people in the world who are ignorant, unwell and are not to be trusted but to believe that there are so many untrustworthy people out there, that just to be on the safe side it is better not to talk to anyone, seems a bit bizarre. Just imagine how many beautiful encounters may be missed by integrating this fear based belief and carrying it into adult hood and then passing it on to our children.
I find myself talking to strangers more and more these days because I know that we are all connected and if I can offer a little kindness, a little of my time and presence to someone then I feel nourished and in alignment with who I really am.
I believe that the toddler I met this morning was also in alignment with the truth that we are all connected and there is nothing really to fear. Some may call it ignorance but I call it innocence. And I believe that the new world that is arising as the old falls apart will be one where the word ‘stranger’ becomes obsolete.
I just hope that my toddler friend can hold onto his innocence and innate knowing before it becomes too heavily blanketed by fear.

 

 

 

 

Read more...