What you see and hear isn’t always what it seems

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Martin Summerhayes - A to Z of change

Our prisons are other people’s eyes; our cages are their thoughts. – Ruby Wax, from her autobiography, How do you want me?

The world revolves around the events and the interactions that we all participate in. We create our own world inside of us; recreating and reinforcing our thoughts and perceptions, moment by moment, every day of our lives.

Our challenge to ourselves is that we are biologically and mentally stimulated by the negative as well as the positive. Unfortunately, we have a natural born tendency to think more negative thoughts than positive ones. In fact, it is a 9:1 ratio. Yes, we have nine negative thoughts for every positive one. When you consider that the average person will have upwards of 70,000 thoughts per day; that means you are whacking yourself with upwards of 63,000 negative thoughts and only 7,000 positive ones.  

We reinforce this from a cultural…

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Incremental is infinite, too

Peace of Mind Matters

Reading all the social media posts from people who are newly discovering the Principles at work behind life, I’ve been noticing how easily we become disappointed in ourselves, dropping quickly from gratitude for an insight to discouragement that we’re not where we want to be. What we forget is that gratitude and contentment nourish the rich soil in which further insights blossom; discouragement is the drought that turns the soil to dust where insights cannot flourish.

It is rare, though never impossible, that an individual experiences what we call an epiphany, an insight so profound and remarkable that the person is totally transformed in an instant. It is common, though often unappreciated, for all of us to experience life-improving insights as we go. Some are so ordinary as to pass with scarce notice. Some inspire new ideas about how our lives work. Some surprise us into major changes. The gift…

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What Is This “Me” ? By Toni Packer

Standing in an Open Field

[Guest post from Toni Packer on the nature of the “me”.  Enjoy!]

What Is The “Me”?

The following article was adapted from a talk by Toni Packer on Day 4 of the August 1997 retreat.

A somber day, isn’t it? Dark, cloudy, cool, moist and windy.
Amazing, this whole affair of “the weather!” We call it “weather,” but what is it really?

Wind. Rain. Clouds slowly parting.

Not the words spoken about it, but just this
darkening, blowing, pounding, wetting, and then lightening up,
blue sky appearing amidst darkness,
and sunshine sparkling on wet grasses and leaves.

In a little while there will be frost, snow and ice-covers.

And then warming again, melting, oozing water everywhere.
On an early spring day the dirt road sparkles with streams of wet silver.

So — what is “weather” other than this incessant change of earthly conditions
and all the human thoughts, feelings, and…

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I wish I knew that…. It’s not about you.


Claudia McGarvaBy Claudia McGarva

In the words of J.K Rowling, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default”. ‘Ex Post Facto: the Wisdom of Hindsight’ is a blog celebrating and reflecting upon the awkward moments and failures endured as a solicitor, particularly in the early years of practice. Every solicitor has their horror story – and live to tell the tale.

There’s always one: the client that sends you five emails in the middle of the night all marked with the red flag. The client that calls incessantly to see why you have not returned their call even though you have been out of the office. They don’t act on your advice even though they acknowledge it and at times appear grateful for it. They don’t provide…

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The Sad Fate of Totnes

Georgina and Co.

In 2013 Totnes was riding high. It had successfully seen off Costa Coffee,  become one of the world’s first transition towns and a survey done by Prime Location, cited Totnes as one of the most desirable places in the UK to live. It was applauded for its ‘funky’ lifestyle, its alternative inhabitants, the beauty of its location and its buildings, its access to the coastline and its rows of independent shops, all of which made Totnes a rather special place, loved by locals and tourists alike.

Cut to 2015 and its a very different story. Totnes has become a victim of the government’s 2012 relaxation of planning laws.  The failure of South Hams District Council to produce a new Local Plan has given developers and landowners alike a loophole, through which they have swarmed, eager to build all around and over this popular historic town. Landowners like the Duke of…

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The four constituents of Well-Being you can change

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Martin Summerhayes - A to Z of change

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.”  

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Achieving well-being has been the concern of philosophers since Aristotle, and is, in many respects the essence of human existence. In recent years, well-being  has come to the fore and there has been much research on the roots of well-being.

I have heard a number of talks on well-being and one of the most recent was as part of a talk given by His holiness the Dalai Lama. The host was Richard J. Davidson. He is the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder and Chair of the Center for Healthy Minds, at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His…

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9 Sweet humility



In the language of morality, Nietzsche suggests that humility is a defence mechanism: when trodden on, the humble worm does the clever thing and curls up, thereby avoiding further mishap. But my sense is that for the worm, this is a reflex action; the reptilian survival response. The worm isn’t considering its actions in the ways that our frustratingly developed human brains do, evaluating what’s what and in hock to our emotions. Annoyingly perhaps, we have to choose humility. But what a sweet choice…

I sometimes volunteer in the retreat kitchen at a Buddhist monastery. There’s usually a team of 5 or 6 of us, often not knowing each other beforehand, and over the days of the retreat, we prepare meals and cook for around 60 people. It starts with porridge-boiling in the early morning, ends with tea in the afternoon, and centres on the midday meal, which in this tradition is…

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