Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fearlessness is a gift I try to give; fear & mistrust corrode

Yesterday I spent all day in the shrine room where, prompted by Manjusvara, on a writing workshop, I followed the amazing instructions to write my autobiography A) in 50 words, B) then re-write in 10 words, C) then in one word. (Anyone want to have a go at this exercise & share? Feel free)

Last time that word was "justify"; yesterday (with only the memory of last seeing Manjusvara alive in that shrine room), a two word autobiography arose: "Imperfect fearlessness". I guess I'd better get out of bed and now live up to these words; particularly the second.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

some links

For more on timebanking:

Next actions?:
Please follow me on twitter, subscribe to the YouTube Channel toothpaste007 & have you looked at other blogs about Community Development (with just occasional new posts) such as

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Sharing the big plan for the next 6 months

For the summer of 2012 my plan is getting the Hastings local dignataries into a tent surrounded by meditators and mediators.

To Brighton Network of Engaged Buddhists I have requested the following:
...That Brighton NEB group might support an event in the summer in HASTINGS in which I have the 5 key people in the town in a tent to talk about ethics:
1) The MP
2) The Leader of the Council
3) The Mayor
4) Chair of Pier Trust
5) CEO, Pier Trust


My aim is that after some discussion the MP, Head of Council and the Mayor, not to mention the pier trust leave with an intention to support all the aims of St Leonards Sharing Consortium; generating a more creative, caring & sharing town.
In particular, a town that knows that restorative justice can be regenerative for victims, offenders and communities in a way that no other policy can create greater safety (perceived and real).
Secondly, I'd like to learn if they see any reason why more eg a third of the local economy might switch from cash to the trading and banking of hours. One of my companies - Mediation Support Ltd- has started doing this with Sussex Police in order to deliver restorative justice in (informal) partnership, so what stops this approach from also raising all the payment in kind from the community for the terms of the Heritage Lottery Bid for the pier to be met?

I'm really looking forward to the summer of 2012; in particular the YouTube clips with Amber Rudd (MP -Consevative), Jeremy Birch (Leader of the Council -Labour), Kim Forward (Mayor until the Spring of 2012 -Labour), Simon Opie (CEO, Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust) & Ray Chapman, Chair of the Pier Trust.
The hope is they will all come out of the (Hastings 4) Happiness Tent of one mind; the mind of greater wisdom and compassion.
Will you support them going in that mysterious tent?
Will you be there to interview them too, or simply applaud their Community Spirit when they come out?
"If the King is Righteous His Subjects Will be Righteous"

1. Once the Lord addressing the Almsmen said:
2. "Bretheren during such time as kings are unrighteous their ministers and officers also become unrighteous. The ministers and officers, bretheren, being unrighteous, Brahmins and householders also become unrighteous. The Brahmins and householders, bretheren, being unrighteous, the town-folk and villagers become unrighteous.
3. "But whenever, bretheren, kings are righteous, then kings' ministers and officers also become righteous. Whenever Brahmins and householders become righteous, the town-folk and villagers also become righteous.
4. "When cattle are crossing, if the old bull swerves, they all go swerving, following his lead. So among men, if he who is reckoned chief walks crookedly, the others crooked go.
5. "Similarly, the whole realm suffers when the king goes wrong. When cattle are crossing, if the bull goes straight they all go straight because his course is straight. So among men, if he who's reckoned chief walks righteously, the others live aright. The whole realm lead happy lives when kings are good." 

An in-depth Buddhist talk on asking/challenging our local politicians about their values:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Some days epitaphs for the Imperfect Idealist spring to mind:

"In the light of all the contributory factors, I did my best. I'm still interested in understanding what happened & doing better. Long live the highest forms of restorative justice, generating universal compassion, wisdom & humanity working in teams applying energy in pursuit of the good."

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The chapters about door-knocking & then running away (to Hastings)

Here are three films which have the text of chapters about fundraising by door-knocking.
These were filmed in situ in North London, in/near Muswell Hill:

And a film about a significant house in Muswell Hill and the move to Hastings:

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Streetbank-Pier-College in India

Draft text for comments please- Fundraising booklet:

In your neighbourhood and the groups you belong to, you can build connection with others and save money by using

In your local area, if you want to support the pier regeneration, the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust really value a broad base of local community support &  regular financial support from residents as well as the new funding from the Lottery.

"If you have a vision that extends your support to where just £1 a day can provide a college education for those at the bottom of the caste system, the college I recommend supporting is a Buddhist college I visited and built a strong connection with, called Nagaloka. I have great confidence in the benefits of the work done there and would like you to join me in having this opportunity to make a really big difference for just a modest monthly sum.

I filmed the ambitions of these students from all over India & how they are going to use their education to generate personal dignity, empowerment & social change in the places they are working.
16 students in particular are being followed for what they will achieve for others in the next 10 years.
You can follow this on:
and/or through annual reports sent to supporters.

The course leader from the college has won a grant to come to England for two months and has chosen to spend three weeks of this time with me, fundraising in Hastings, St Leonards & Bexhill, where I live & work.

Together, I hope we shall show Nagamitra from Nagaloka in Nagpur (the central city of India), that those of us on the south coast of England are willing to make a difference when the cause is so worthwhile. Human rights, education and social justice matter the world over and you have a unique opportunity here to become personally connected with students at Nagaloka who are, one person at a time, getting empowered and helping others in a country divided by a caste system of great injustice."
(words from Paul Crosland, Director, Mediation Support Ltd)

Here's some personal stories that will help you imagine the difference you could make with each of the following projects:

1) Share some gardening tools with Anita in the Southwater Area (or someone closer to you) and some benefits may be: 
- a new friend or smiling acquaintance locally
- a sense of helping someone save money and clear their garden
- the creation of a 'pay it forward' system. 

Though it doesn't address all Anita's concerns, living as she does in a house with large cracks in the walls, support to Anita to clear/tidy her garden near St Leonards Warrior Square station gives her more of a sense of freedom & frees her to give more time to the charity store where she works.

2) £x a quarter sponsors a series of planks for Hastings Pier.
(Jocelyn* remembers how the pier featured in so many significant times of her life; not least in courting Frank* & they both want to see the new 21st century pier, or peoples pier, as they sometimes call it, rise from the ashes in their twilight years).*NB Jocelyn & Frank's story is a story made from the words of a number of people and by door-knocking I hope to meet people willing to share their pier stories.

3) Just £1 day pays for all the costs of a college place, food, teaching and administration at Nagaloka in India and you can follow how the student you sponsor progreses & makes a difference over the coming years.
Maitriratna was born in the state of Aranchal Pradesh, born into the Chakma tribe who have always been denied citizenship rights. Inspired by a contemporary of Gandhi, called Dr Ambedkar, his mission is to work peacefully and with determination towards his people getting those rights. (Maitriratna can be seen on and you can email him in Nagpur.)

If I choose to support the college in India that Maitriratna is at, does all the money get to the college in India?
90% does; only 10% is taken to pay Mediation Support Ltd for the cost of producing and distributing these booklets.

The person who gave you this booklet will call round to collect this booklet back, saving resources. By then it is hoped that you will have had a chance to consider 
1) sharing more with neighbours and groups you belong to;
2) supporting the pier
3) providing the £1/day costs of an education geared to social change in India.

The door-knocker who called on you will call back with the forms that enable you to divide the support you want to give the pier and Nagaloka college however you see fit.

Monday, 28 March 2011


At a "wolf at the door" writing workshop in March 2011, we were tasked, within 10 minutes to do the following:
1) Write your autobiography in exactly 100 words
2) Whittle it down to 30
3) Now sum-up your life in this number of non-hyphenated words: one.

For me, that word was 'justify'.

10 web-pages with photos and films make up and within these pages there is only a hint of the book's central secret.

Two days after the writing workshop, I recognise that, on one level, all 200 odd pages of The Imperfect Idealist are, so to speak, just a longer justification of my existence.