More masking.

We announced in August that Vasanth’s wife Sumati was making Masks.

There was tremendous interest from our Mysore Bed and Breakfast family. Vasanth has now posted masks to Europe, India, Australia and North America.
Victoria in London is very pleased with her Buddha mask.
Of course, I have to go over the top. I have a great selection of Sumati’s but sometimes carry Manjula with me.
And the boys are spreading the mycycle word…

September randomness

Walking Lucie.
Chai stop
Farmers Market stop
Workers stop
Messing up our park
Will we get a play area like this? and some grass?
It’s all too much.

A little bird told us that we might get a children’s and gym play area. To replace this mess. My initial thoughts are shock horror and against losing our quiet, relaxing natural park. I’ll be waiting a long time for the corporation’s consultation. Ha ha.

It’s history, not

In the late 80’s and early 90’s

I was proud to be part of a bold experiment.

The Level Best campaign invited disabled people, carers, professionals to get involved. To explain what they wanted to see from council services in Kirklees in West Yorkshire, taking in the conurbations of Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Batley and the surrounding rural areas.

It was small scale, focused on a specific community of interest and primarily about local welfare services.

It involved a reference group, not unlike an assembly, public meetings, focus groups, research questionnaires a range of techniques drawn from different professional and community approaches.

It resulted in significant local changes and showed how engaging people effectively brings real and lasting results.

There are many examples of how measures to promote people’s active participation can make a real difference in governance and the quality of our lives. We need to take these lessons to change the way our societies and their institutions work.

One such idea is presented here.

The constructive pressure from Extinction Rebellion (XR) and the opportunities afforded by adopting ideas such as citizens’ assembly and localised practical responses to our challenges will help us develop a more sustainable approach to life that can arise from the people themselves and provide opportunities that are different from traditional work models.

We need to think and act differently.

when we meet

When we dogs meet each other for the first time, with a sniff in the air (or if daring, up the bum) a wave of the tail a look in the eye we quickly decide: is the newcomer above, below or equal to me?

We signal by the tail. If they are lower in status the tail tucks in between the legs and they physically cower.

People often, psychologically and socially do the same.

After an initial look, a few questions, key words they evaluate the other.

Are they on the same level? If so, they’ll behave adult to adult,

Or are they so different in terms of age, caste, colour, race or religion? If they perceive one above the other they’ll behave like parent and child. If they’re uncertain there maybe a tussle to work out their relative positions.

People do this, often and everywhere.

It may help them feel superior or inferior uncomfortable or comfortable, accepted, rejected. It helps define who we think we are and how we relate to others. It’s common and often involves games to clarify, communicate and impose. I’ve adapted this from transactional analysis as featured in the book: “Games People Play’.

Yes, some dogs can read, but don’t tell anyone.

All societies do it, to varying degrees but ultimately in my view can often reinforce status, encourage elitism and highlight difference. It leads to unacceptable behaviours, social distance and it’s not very nice.

from Lucie’s soap box

Who’s a storyteller?

Here’s two things that maybe of interest to storytellers:

1 resources, links, information that maybe useful and entertaining

2 what it is and why it’s important.

But before I get to that I wish to declare: I’m a writer and storyteller. How do I know?

I have writer’s block so I must be a writer 🙃 😉

I have shared my writings (through our sites) for eight years with people from around the world (a handful in England, at least one in Canada, some in India, and a smattering in Australia, Europe, Europe and US.) I didn’t say there were many but at least one reader on every continent, except Antarctica. I now plan to give more attention to writing stories.

I’m also a storyteller, as I believe we all are. It’s only recently though that I’ve realised how much I have shared stories. The first training and puker presentations I gave we’re in my early twenties. I’ve done it lots but was it any good?. 🙃🙂😉 I’m not the judge.

I have a particular problem. The English will joke that as I’m from North England I don’t know proper English whether written or spoken.

Any way back to the two things:

1. Recently, I’ve joined a lovely group: the Mysore Storytelling Network (MSN) who organise events and are a great source of information and help. They are on Instagram. Great group, check them out.

An ex-president of a fanciful country far far away and his wife Michelle like stories.

I’ve also read stories for children during lockdown. They are on this site listed as storytime. Here’s a couple: wonky donkey and a different take on Snow White for others just search

A good friend Victoria sent details of storytelling near where she lives in London . A serious training school with some great descriptions about what it’s all about at the school of storytelling and Storytelling clubs, examples are the crick crack club and story circle

2. What is storytelling? We will, of course, have different views. Here’s a start.

Stories are for entertainment, they enliven, enrich, make us think, stop us in our tracks bring us together, help us manage conflict or disagreement and because it’s sharing and helping connect they create communities. They might be written or spoken and can reinforce, change, adapt people’s behaviour, stimulate interest and stir us to act, or maybe just reflect, learn and have fun.

They introduce and reinforce beliefs, that enable us to relate to each other, without that where would we be?

What do you think?

Otherwise

Other and wise

There’s so many examples of the negativeness of the ‘other’ in society and politics.

Before the time of virus, people would cross the road to avoid walking by my black dog Lucie. It’s a cross-cultural fear.

Now in the time of virus they’re as likely to walk across the road because of me.

Recently, I was cycling on a local road busy with people doing their early morning exercise walk. A woman on the opposite side of the wide road lifts her Sari to cover her mouth on seeing me, a white foreigner. The Indians walking next to her had not been seen as a risk.

She didn’t know better but at the very least, it’s annoying.

The negative other.

Later that day three young children, sitting astride a wall laughing, smiling giggling, waving to me, a wonderful hello.

Shortly afterwards a man pushing a cycle gave a smile and wave.

The positive other

This took me back fifteen years to my first visit.

I came to India and christened it the land of a billion smiles and then I fell in love with and married Manjula, a woman with a billion smiles.

We find what we look for….

Now Manjula is my guru

I spread her smile with a friendly wave.

We might however at this ‘time of virus’ need to look a little closer to spot the smiling eyes shining above the face mask .

This was my story at today’s meeting of the Mysore Storytelling Network. A great new group for me of mostly young things. 🙂🙃😉

Manjula’s kind

Brain pickings on kindness and grief, because like everything in the world they’re connected.

KINDNESS

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

If you haven’t yet discovered brain pickings do pay it a visit and consider joining its mailing list and offering support.

“Those who experience, not the arts, but nature, may have a similar response, and also those who experience another human being. Do we not know the feeling that overtakes us when we are in the presence of a particular person and, roughly translates as, The fact that this person exists in the world at all, this alone makes this world, and a life in it, meaningful.” Viktor Frankl also from Brain Pickings

Or more on grieving

Grief… happens upon you, it’s bigger than you. There is a humility that you have to step into, where you surrender to being moved through the landscape of grief by grief itself. And it has its own timeframe, it has its own itinerary with you, it has its own power over you, and it will come when it comes. And when it comes, it’s a bow-down. It’s a carve-out. And it comes when it wants to, and it carves you out — it comes in the middle of the night, comes in the middle of the day, comes in the middle of a meeting, comes in the middle of a meal. It arrives — it’s this tremendously forceful arrival and it cannot be resisted without you suffering more… The posture that you take is you hit your knees in absolute humility and you let it rock you until it is done with you. And it will be done with you, eventually. And when it is done, it will leave. But to stiffen, to resist, and to fight it is to hurt yourself. Elizabeth Gilbert