Clap Your Hands Now

Next Steps

Over the last few months/years I have been asked a few times by graduates of counselling and or psychology courses and by other interested parties about the next steps to become either a coach or a counsellor.

Over the next few days/weeks I’ll share a number of ideas to advance ones helping career.

1. Investigate what a counsellor and a coach does.
2. If one or the other appeal to you find courses that you want to do next
3. Ask a number of counsellors/coaches about how they are finding their work and how their course was

Ascent: Looking like a long way up.
Take that 1st Step

4. Find out a little more of the marketing/business side of being a coach or a counsellor
5. Join or research BAATN, BACP, ATPN, Black Minds Matter, UKCP, Counselling Directory, The Counsellors Cafe Magazine, Black Thrive, BPS, Ayanay, National Counselling Society
6. Find courses both online or at a College or University that offer either counselling or coaching or both courses and apply. I believe only UEL do currently.

Made it from the bottom
Onwards and Up


7. Find a mentor who can support and offer insight through the learning process. BAATN provide a fantastic mentoring service for students.
8. Identify specific areas of interest i.e. Trauma, attachment, relationships, mood management, bereavement, anxiety, depression, Intergenerational concerns, the list is near endless.


9. Learn from others Brené Brown, Tony Robbins, Jim Kwik, Eugene Ellis, Rotimi Akinsete are good examples of how far one can go.
10. Read and listen to a few relative podcasts Tim Ferris has a good number, Science of Success is good as is Philosophy Bites, Kwik Brain, and a ton of others.

Resources
Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility Interview featuring Dr Dwight Turner
baatn.org.uk Eugene Ellis and Arike discuss Creating Partnerships with Training Organisations

Images
Cover Image by Daniel Lincoln Unspalash
Inlay Photo by Jukan Tateisi Unsplash
2nd Inlay Photo by Boris Stefanik Unsplash

Perfect Storm: Endings, New Beginnings

The events of the past few weeks coincide with events over the past few months. They appear to have met and produced a swell of human reaction and protest that would have been hard to imagine last year or even 20 years ago.

Liberty Looks

Never
I had thought that my last post on the experience of CoViD19 would be my last. That post looked at the fatigued experience of when will the Lockdown end and things return to something that’s near normal? But something cruel and as life affecting as Corona Virus Disease 2019, has appeared on the horizon and I am drawn to look at this too.

Brutality
3 Black people died in quick succession this year at the hands of law enforcement. A bird watcher in Central Park perilously almost became another casualty. The 3 were Eric Reason, Dominique Clayton, Brennan Taylor.

Demanding Equality

Sailing
A sea person I am not. But I have watched The Perfect Storm and enjoy seeing humans do battle against the elements. I cannot exactly tell you what makes a storm perfect. It may have something to do with weather, tides and currents synchronising to create conditions where storm surges of 40ft hit shores and coastlines. That would be me hazarding a guess.

Gasp
For the perfect storm to have happened in the way that it has, took a tri partisan event. A triple threat. The virus. The Lockdown. 3 Black People being murdered by law enforcement and then George Floyd. That feeling of breaking the surface for air may be the result, after being confined to our homes for long periods of time. We may want and need to react to self and state imposed incarceration. We may want and need to shake the dust off and stretch our collective civil might on streets around the world.

Watching the Watchmen

Swell
The deaths of 4 Black people in the US, may provide the perfect set of circumstances to take our 3 months worth of thinking and feeling, holding our breaths that we all come out of the ‘Rona alive. Then if we combine this sense of surviving with the injustice of people losing their lives unlawfully by law enforcement – repeatedly. If we add in, the deep seated feelings of sadness, confusion guilt, regret, shame, anger and rage. Then and only then breathe out in an exhilaratingly powerful way finally.

The slogan of Black Lives Matter and ‘I Can’t Breathe’ could potentially, take on more meaning. The sentiment being viscerally felt by masses because they, we get it. We too were restrained against our will for longer than we wanted. Some of us, unfortunately, just didn’t make it.

Letting Go
Shedding years of misguided notions and seeing clearly that life for certain groups of people have been harder for hidden and ignored reasons. Black peoples challenges have not solely arisen from our own design. The making of systems that demean and devalue and place one group of people above others. The idea of superiority was deigned as a right of being and has been implemented globally by Europeans. Black people have been demanding equality. It’s time

One
George Floyd’s death gave reason for many to leave the safe protective confines of homes and take to the streets. Stating to ourselves and internationally that the cause of his death was unlawful, unjust and is simply wrong. The world needs to see how we feel #FFS. The videos and articles I have seen of a world united against injustice is heartening.

One Common Goal

Continuing
For Black, Brown and othered peoples this fight has been long standing. We have been fighting for the betterment of all. Austin Channing Brown’s request of being Better Humans stands ahead all other calls for me.

My hope is for the ongoing struggle to produce tangible life affirming results like: access for all to have an outstanding education system, healthcare, job opportunities, secure and safe housing in neighbourhoods that value collaboration and place being part of a community and advantage over being focused on the one called I.

Other outcomes could include an ever present critical awareness of the impact of systemic oppression and racist policies profiting one group over and above others the world over and a willingness from allies to fairly reassemble the pie. The pie will taste better and there will be more to go around.

Anti Racist change is a demand that is to be met globally by everyone.

Resources
Kehinde Andrews 20 positive ways to bring about lasting change
Uncomfortable Conversations by Emmanuel Acho
Brené Brown interviews Austin Channing Brown on Unlocking Us
Explain White Privilege by Lori Lakin Hutcherson
Van Jones discusses George Floyd and what comes next
Harvard Gazette Interviews Prof Lawrence D. Bobo The Fire This Time
Quentin Fottrell discusses George Floyd, white supremacy – and the otherization of African American Men
Brené Brown discusses with Ibrahim X. Kendi How to be an Anti-Racist
This American Life – We are in the future
The Emotional Impact of Watching White People Waking Up to Racism

Images
Cover photo by mana5280 on Unsplash
1st Inlay photo by Donovan Valdivia on Unsplash
2nd inlay photo by Jacob Boavista on Unsplash
3rd inlay photo by 99.films on Unsplash
4th inlay photo by Leandro Valentino on Unsplash




Perfect Storm: Reasons

Brutality
3 Black people died in quick succession this year (2020) at the hands of law enforcement. A bird watcher in Central Park perilously almost became another casualty. The 3 were Eric Reason, Dominique Clayton, Brennan Taylor.

Sailing
A sea fairing person I am not. And yet I have watched The Perfect Storm. The enjoyment of seeing humans do battle against the elements is not lost on me. I cannot exactly tell you what makes a storm perfect. It may have something to do with weather, tides and currents synchronising to create conditions where storm surges of 40ft hit shores and coastlines. That would be me hazarding a guess.

Resource
Van Jones discusses George Floyd and what comes next

Images
Cover photo provided by PK at Diversity Space. Here is a visual ‘Becoming an anti-racist’ model (adapted from the COVID-19 model.) Andrew M Ibrahim.

Vicarious Trauma

Before
I was 17 when the vicious attacks by LAPD officers on Rodney King were made and became a pre viral assault for global audiences. This was before the days of the internet. News was gathered from television news reports.

When
March 1991. This was my first year attending an art college in Wisbech Cambridgeshire. The Isle College was as far removed from the site of the brutal attack as I could safely imagine. Wisbech was then a small rural town.

Heard
Police and their brutal treatment of law enforcement towards Black, Brown and poor people – a frequent backdrop to the music I was listening to at the time – Public Enemy, N.W.A. and Jazz infused Hip Hop.

Understanding the double speak of systemic oppression



A First
The Rodney King event was something I had heard about but never witnessed! The video arrived in as raw a format as it could be filmed. A video 8 hand held camera – shaky – unfocused – capturing a seldom caught, or filmed spectacle.

Art Imitating
A friend at the time a fellow student, asked me the day after if I was okay? He a white male. A skateboarder. Aware of the hare-pin trigger reactions of police both here and there. His query stirred me. Back then I did not have the language, reasoning or capacity to make sense of Rodney King’s attack. I don’t now. His experience was unfathomable. Later that year I queued up to watch Boyz n The Hood. The film gave me a sense of context and framing to what I had been a naïve witness to earlier that same year.

Sho’
This post is short primarily because other’s have words that are far more apt, powerful and relevant for this time. In our age of oppressive acts and fear based divisive ideologies. The Jury left the building a long time ago and aren’t coming back.

Over
For women and men like George Floyd slain because a combination of conflicting factors have violently met. This systemic experience now calls for historic revolutionary unprecedented change.

Resources
Othello’s Children by Jose V. Pimenta-Bey
Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr Robin D’Angelo
Russel Brand with Dr Kehinde Andrews discuss White Supremacy
Whiteness on the Couch by Natasha Stovall
Hell you talm bout by Janelle Monae
When Black Death Goes Viral by Kenya Downs
www.kwanda.co The Community’s Village
#howwefight It takes a consistent approach to change

Images
Cover photo by Tyrell Charles on Unsplash
Inlay photo provided by PK of Diversity Space who sourced the image from: Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence 2005 Adapted: Ellen Tuzzolo 2016; Mary Julia Cooksey Cordero 2019; The Conscious Kid 2020. Originally shared by Michelle Gyimah & Ashanti Bentil-Dhue on their LinkedIn feed.

With thanks to Dr CW, ATPN, The Family Across the Miles Check in and Diversity Space for the videos and commentary.

Boundaries Slipping: CoViD19

With the experience of COVID19 being an extended period of strange, I am noticing things blending that perhaps would not have previously met. Such as home and work. Children and colleagues. Priorities and leisure activities. Tele-video conferencing and unlimited screen time. The challenge is with the frequent chopping and changing to meet a chaotic stream of demands. The ongoing effect of an ongoing strange situation is that of feeling, irksome, bored and fatigued. Can all responsibilities be equally met realistically?

Homogenised
Currently I am working from home. I have not gone in to work since mid March. A warning from a friend who manages a number of hospitals was “if the virus gets in to a prison it will be like being on a cruise ship” she said. I took the cruise ships warning, to mean that if the virus got in to HMP X, it would run rampant and be unstoppable! Me with a compromised immune system and now as of mid May 2020, also being in the high risk category of being a Black Male I have relented and stayed home.

Unease
Regretfully having not returned to my duties at Prison a feeling of malaise is growing. Now at 10 weeks in to self isolation I note that working from home has a number of common/uncommon challenges.

Full House
Everyone is here! Dr CW and my two boys, are home. Where else would they be? I try to juggle a responsible role amongst making lunch, attending to squabbles between the 12 year old and 10 year old. I am also the unofficial teaching assistant (TA) for the boy’s learning. Dr CW is the qualified teacher, dedicating herself to managing the older one’s learning. I am grateful for her insights and perseverance through #Lockdown. I struggle with thoughts of ‘Am I doing this TA thing right?’ or ‘I don’t wanna ask her, but…’ and thoughts of doing not enough or too much.

Distant Guide
I am also supporting my team that do go in to work at the prisons. I supervise remotely either by msn teams, Zoom or WhatsApp video call. Here too elements of guilt seep in to my awareness. Me at home, them there, putting themselves at risk and against the impossible task of welfare checks and keeping themselves safe in a prison! The thought of I should be there too, drags at me.

Lane Change
I have given up the hour long commute – a 3 month old distant memory. The leaving the house at 7 a.m. is no more. The wondering about what to have for lunch at work is absent. The many other trivialities of getting ready for work seem a faint consideration now.

WFH
The challenge for me currently is the blending of environments. Baffling and causing me to reminisce of the times had before the Lockdown. Work and home. Responsibilities of both now being mixed. Competing for dominance because they are both independently more important, urgent, and demanding of my 100% attention.

Pre CVD19
How were things before? They were in neat enough little boxes. Tidy. Distinct. Recognisable. Acknowledgeable for what each box contained. And I knew where those boxes were. And I knew how to open one and close another. There was an order, a schedule, a pattern.

Squared
Now it’s like all the boxes are open. Things are leaking from some boxes into others, some are neglected or forgotten. The reasons for the negligence is that there are fires raging in some and rain pouring against others. Soaking some and threatening to utterly destroy the collection. It is Monsoons and Volcanoes. The Cardboard boxes don’t stand a Chance!

Reflection for Understanding
I mentioned to 2 peer supervisees and to a friend that this time of ours in COVID19 Lockdown feels more stressful and anxiety provoking than anything I have lived through before. There have been other large seismic events that were as incredible as they were terrible. Tiananmen Square, the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster, September 11th, the Boko Haram kidnapping of school girls, the ongoing slaying of Black Women and Black Men in North America by police and security officers, Hurricane Katrina and the July 7 attacks in London all have pock marked my memory indelibly.

Conversations leading to discovery and creation

Never Ending
But this enforced captivity and forgive the crude analogy, is like being sentenced along with family to an IPP indeterminate sentence. With little information as to our possible release dates. Parole options remain hidden. Being able to work towards a release date with good behaviour with our probation officers is off the table. The analogy here looks at those responsible for the management of the Pandemic (Governments). The offence would be catching the disease and spreading it by not socially distancing or non observance of WHO guidelines. With the suspected crime being committed we are then to be summarily mass incarcerated at home: indefinitely.

Tiny
I mentioned in an earlier post that this virus, so small, is like a mushroom fungi spore. Altering the biochemistry of it’s infected hosts turning them into cadavers for birds and other feeding creatures to spread the fungi’s spores as far and as wide as possible. This virus has changed our view/experience of our world in ways that are similarly inconceivable.

Call Time
Maybe I am not alone in thinking I’ve had enough. My fill of Netflix and Prime is replete. Being with the family and Zoom calls with friends, colleagues and clients a depended must. Contact with family overseas was good wholesome and necessary in the beginning of the outbreak. Now seems as tiring as the push me – pull you antics of the UK government. The experience being a blend of missing the simple act of human to human connection and dislocation/dissociation/disruption from what is and what is not real.

Summarise That
Post COVID19’s tag line might read ‘Life Just got Tougher and Now Closer to the Impossible.’

If you contract the illness there is a fair chance you will survive but you might not be the same after you recover! It is probable that our world won’t be as well.

Walking whilst Black through this though, may be another type of story. This tag-line might read: Life was tough before. COVID19 brought out the worst. We are to gather and be limitless!

Demanding better futures and an honest retelling of our world history. Insisting on a closer, more informed and equally educated society, fearing less, eating healthily, thinking clearer and inclined to critical analysis and desiring to be ready to make meaningful change for our lives and for the lives of generations to follow. Perhaps with an idea of a sense of responsibility is a reason for fatigue?

Remembering
There was something about those boxes (mentioned above) that gave a sense of knowing that also comforted and fatigued in a naturally expectant way. Life back then was manageably unpredictable. Now – exhaustively confusing. An old saying is –
‘Life is simple, it’s just not easy’.

Life is also tough but ultimately, it is an ongoing process of change adaptation and learning. I advise us to simply be open to what happens in the years to follow.

In answering the query at the top of this piece, all responsibilities are not equal and so cannot be prioritised equally or fairly or at times rationally.

Resources
Thrive – 20 things to do during lockdown for wellbeing.
The Coronavirus is a Disaster for Feminism I thank EK for this resource. A true reflection of how it really is.
Couples Under Lockdown: Lagos, Nigeria from Where Should We Begin?
with Esther Perel.
After The Storm from The Moth Podcast 9th Ward Burnell Cotlon

Images
Cover photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
1st inlay photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash
2nd inlay photo provided by @therapy_with_kae

Conspiracy Theory: CoViD19

Weather
The reason I am attempting to write a counter conspiracy is for a counselling client (PK) who summed up the mælström that is the pandemic. Wherever one may have been in the last 2-3 months, in all of the countries around the globe, one word has possibly been used billions of times more than almost all others: CoViD19.

More
The meaning of the word CoViD19 is an amalgam for the Corona Virus Disease 2019. There have been other Corona Viruses which this one has become the most famous currently. There was H1N1 and SARs that are also well known to have had deadly effects on us humans.

Past responses
In my last piece of writing, I attempted to show what a millennia of learning has taught us. What do we do in the face an of overwhelming threat? We share knowledge to defeat said threats. With this virus – sharing unverified information can have a large downward spiralling affect.

Valuable
Sharing viable information from reliable and trustworthy sources serves to contain and uplift those that we care about. Putting forward concerning or hopeless material can put even more stress and strain on already overwhelmed biological systems. The effect: more illness and disease and possibly death. Various communities have been hit disastrously by COVID19. Globally – China, Italy, Spain the UK and then the US, have been affected grossly with high infection rates and death tolls.

Guardians
African Americans, African Caribbeans, Black British and Asian British people appear to be experiencing the illness at a considerably higher rate than the general population. Within these communities the disease has spread very quickly: see the Guardian article below. Some time could be spent reviewing incident rates, skewed figures and total numbers observing underlying health difficulties.

You at the Front
African and Asian communities, here in the UK are often frontline workers i.e. Doctors, Nurses, Public Transport operatives, grocery shop employees, refuse and garbage disposal operatives, cleaners, janitors, security guards, delivery agents, postal workers, packers and sorters.
Who come into frequent contact with the disease from a wide array of sources. Often frontline workers are without the appropriate equipment, training or guidance. Simply doing their jobs without due protection.

How did this come to pass?

Responsibility
These women and men as brave as they are, perhaps, are as wary of the set of circumstances we all face but may have little option but to continue to support themselves, their employers, employees, their families, their communities.
Why? Because they care?
Yes, and there maybe a simpler more human reason. If they aren’t able to fill the unforgiving task, who will? If they don’t, will frontline workers be able to stop working if they are the main earner in their household? If family in countries of their origin are in need of the stipend they are able to send each month can frontline workers easily walk away from their frontline roles?

Unknowing Unseen
Perhaps just before we are about to click send on the latest conspiracy theory: showing how this latest crises caused by the Nameless Them will be our undoing. Maybe we should think of others who are fighting for a larger ideal. Rather than the 2 or 3 minutes of edutainment that the video has provided us with. Maybe we can think how is this information going to serve another? Spending time with the idea of – “if I cannot verify or make good use of this too hot to handle information, should I send it?”

Accountability
I am not saying do not send info that you feel can be useful for others. What I am asking is that we make a considered effort to pause and think of others more. Because if what is sent causes another to feel progressively worse and hopeless – do they deserve that? For another to carry the burden of a future that looks as bleak and as unpromising as their not too distant past has been?

Dual Responses
For communities suffering with co-morbid presentations of hypertension, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, poverty, racism, homophobia, sexism, mental illness, personality disorders, substance misuse and pasts affected by the criminal justice system – would adding another straw to an already overworked overburdened back be a compassionate wise or empathic response?

Holding a candle

Light in Dark Spaces
Aim always for kindness I have been told. Always! Aim for lessening the load of others and bearing some of the weight they carry.

Do not click send without forethought.

If the South African term Ubuntu (I am: Because You Are) is used as a guide, CoViD19 could be used as a tool to look to a greater good for all.

Pandemics do not need to separate but throw us all under the same sky fighting a microscopic monster together. Would that not be a better conspiracy to spread?

Resources

P Diddy State of Emergency – A plan of action
The Stoop Podcast – Together and Apart
The Guardian – CoViD19 affecting Black Communities
Pod Save The World – How a Virus Can Threaten Democracy There are many relevant view points incorporated into this episode including David Lammy discussing Corona Virus and his new book!

Images
Cover photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash
1st Inlay photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash
2nd Inlay photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash

Made it from the bottom

Deeping It: Persistence 5

This blog summarises the experiences of being persistent. The costs and some of the benefits of being able to stick with it.

noun: persistence
the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
“Cardiff’s persistence was rewarded with a try”

Similar: perseverance, tenacity, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness, staying power, purposefulness, firmness of purpose, patience, endurance, application, diligence, sedulousness, dedication, commitment, doggedness, persistency, pertinacity, assiduity, assiduousness, steadfastness, tirelessness, indefatigability, stamina, intransigence, obstinacy, Sitzfleisch, stickability, stick-to-it-iveness, continuance, perseveration

the continued or prolonged existence of something.
“the persistence of huge environmental problems”

Peck Peck Peck
When I think about persistence I think about someone who is not giving up on their mission. Whatever their mission might be. Not stopping to seek guidance or support from anyone. Feeling and believing that their mission in life has to be completed at all costs. A number of important individuals come to mind when I think about persistency. My 3 sisters, my wife, a number of friends and people I have worked with who have this drive for fulfilment and will not stop until their goals are met.

How?
It is possible that the question is phrased incorrectly. Perhaps the question should be about the why of being persistent rather than the how to be persistent. For some, the drive to continue comes from a question they are seeking answers for. Others are guided, scolded, rewarded for being consistent and persistent. The outcome for someone who is persistent is that an achievement is made. They arrive at the goal they had worked to achieve.

Internally Motivated
Persisting with Energy

Where?
The drive to be persistent I feel is inherited from a range of sources that can include parents, siblings, school and education, noticing injustices, wanting to see a world where your ideas are seen understood and accessed. Others are born persistent and their drive to achieve was inbuilt from the moment they could crawl or walk.

Looks Like?
Being persistent can be a pain for others to experience. But being knocked back. Shut down and disillusioned, doesn’t stop the desire to benefit others and the will to be persistent. I think of Malcolm X when I think about persistence. His persistence, work ethic and commitment to the cause of uplifting a generation of people was extraordinary. Malcolm and the Nation of Islam gave many people hope. Others much to fear. But the vision of achievement and success of wanting African Americans to emancipate themselves from mental slavery was inspiring for many.

Better Futures
Having a vision is a thing that supports someone’s development and commitment to being persistent. I have 2 visions.
The first is to help make psychology both interesting and accessible for the young. A tool that can be used to improve an individuals or many people’s lives.
The 2nd vision arrives in 2 parts. Part a) is to help make the lives of incarcerated peoples visible. Part b) of this vision is to support those serving sentences in prison to develop a fuller understanding of the lives they had lead. The life they are living whilst in prison and what life they can continue once they leave prison.

So
What steps are you going to take if you want to be persistent? How are you going to maintain your energy, commitment, interest and enthusiasm for your cause? What will it mean to achieve your goal? What will happen if you do not?

Resources
Denzel Washington Acceptance Speech
Malcolm X – The Autobiography Alex Haley
Unlocking Us – Brené Brown with Tarana Burke

Images
Cover photo by Boris Stefanik on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Insistence

Deeping It: Resistance 4

I take the opportunity to let the idea of resistance run riot. This blog in the series attempts to not restrain itself whilst appreciating the topic of resistance.

noun: resistance
the refusal to accept or comply with something.
“they displayed a narrow-minded resistance to change”

the use of force or violence to oppose someone or something.
“government forces were unable to crush guerrilla-style resistance”

a secret organization resisting authority, especially in an occupied country.
plural noun: resistances; noun: resistance movement; plural

noun: resistance movements
“he went underground and joined the resistance”

Current Experiences
There have been a number of current and recent experiences that deal with resistance Feb – April 2020. Staying at home and protecting ourselves and family from contracting COVID19 supports our health services. There are many other experiences that include presenting strong public opinion to those in power like:
Black Lives Matter movement,
the Me Too movement,
resistance protests about nation states going to war,
closing of mines or factories,
the occupy movement and
stopping to pay attention to the crises of global warming by a young Swedish school student that inspired the extinction agenda.

Wall
Putting up a resistance ultimately is about standing up for something you believe in. You may feel that an issue or a problem you face is unfair. You may want the direction of a concept or policy decision or a group of people’s ideas to change.

Being someone who resists can bring with it an experience of conflict. For young and mature individuals the idea of conflict can be a break from the norm. Realisations and advances are made at a greater speed in times of conflict. The conflict could involve intellectual, moral, gender concerns and differences, race, scientific, religious, economic, social, ethnic, cultural and educational *awareni.

Fight
When I think about resistance I often think about buildings resisting gravity or of the American Civil Rights Movement. For something to be resistant towards an ideal or a way of thinking, that something is invited to oppose – strongly.

Beach Peace a coming together after fighting with self, another or the day.
After Conflict Comes Peace

Logically and emotionally the idea appears not to hold together much like Dave Chang’s Ugly Delicious Netflix show. But somehow it does! An idea such as capitalism or socialism exist along a continuum. Both existing to support communities and the state and having different ideas of how each achieves good for all.

Food Journeys
In Ugly Delicious The Chef, Dave Chang, travels the world to discover food origins and stories of the people that cook amazing meals. The show presents us with the idea that food can be much more than pleasing to the eye, or technically advanced. That food can be about just bringing people together with the experience of eating. Ugly D is an intellectual fight and an education at the same time through what looks like amazing food.

Day to Day
On a down to earth level, resistance is about recognising what you want and identifying what you don’t. Making sure you recognise another person’s agenda for you. Being okay to stick with your choice. The choice you made may well be in opposition to another or other people’s ideas. Being okay with that is an awareness of tension and continuing to resist!

Continuing
There is a saying that ‘What you resist, persists’. Here I pause for thought. The reason I say this is because acceptance of something becomes a mindful act. When full acknowledgement of an experience happens, we can then accept it and choose to take it, or leave it. Knowing fully what it is. If we are simply resisting something that is not known fully it is likely to persist.

Let Go
The reason that an idea or an experience persists is because part of our minds hasn’t fully appreciated it and so cannot let it go. 10 years ago (Oct 2010), I started my career at a London prison. I had a genuine curiosity about men and women I would meet behind the wall. What lives did they lead before? How were they living now in prison? What would happen once they returned to the community? Until I had satisfied these questions I would find myself wondering.

With Great Power
Not all curiosities without prior research are to be jumped into. Be aware and satisfy wanting to know more by reading or consuming a lot of media on any subject or topic. The internet is like a Library. Use it well.

With Caution
Lived experience is one thing, sometimes accessing information from others is just as useful. Reducing the intensity of an itch could be a goal. Thereby closing a loop. What are you currently resisting? What reasons do you have for pushing against? What would happen if you stopped resisting?

Resources
How a Resistance Movement Succeeds by Nicolas Berggruen
Kerning Cultures Fight or Flight

Images
Cover photo by Mike Ko on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resilience, Persistence, Insistence

Deeping It: Resilience 3

A short story. A long time ago (Mar 1986), in a housing office in Wood Green North London, I completely broke down and cried like I hadn’t ever cried before or since.

I was 12 years old. We had just been kicked out of temporary accommodation and found ourselves homeless on the streets of Finsbury Park. My mum was able to hail a cab and with our few belongings in bags, got us to said housing office.

Shopping Days
It was a Saturday. I thought about my friends and how their Saturday’s perhaps were going. I felt cheated and that what was happening to us was unfair! What my mother, my 2 sisters and me were going through didn’t add up. I couldn’t understand it. Being thrown out of the Majestic Hotel made no sense to me! For roughly 20 minutes I was inconsolable. Nothing like this had ever happened to us. A sense of being lost in familiarity!

The idea of being a man and not buckling under the weight of being evicted I didn’t care about. The tears came. The tears hot and unstoppable. The tears were about the shame I felt, as much as they were about a frustrated internal pain that I hadn’t known before.

Never
I since have gone on to achieve a number of significant personal milestones. I think the largest was getting married to the amazing Dr CW and raising a family of my own.

Professionally – my latest lecturing experience at UEL was another achievement. I presented a passionate argument about incarceration with 3rd year psychology students.. We (they and I) discussed the demerits of prison and the criminal justice system in the UK.

I mention the achievement because at the age of 12 nothing like a career in counselling or presenting at a University had ever crossed my mind. I had designs that I was going to be an Artist.

Resiliencey
Making decisions. Sitting on a wall.

Achievement or?
What does this have to do with resilience? Being able to not only withstand difficult life experiences when they hit, but when knocked on your ass, to get back up! Rising time and again is almost a dare to the universe. You can make it through an incredibly hard time. To look beyond into a different future and ride out this period of discomfort.

Resilience
Is as much an idea as it is a continuous practice. We all have areas that we can be resilient about. Other words to describe resilience can include Determination, Grit, Toughness or Stubbornness. You may have heard the phrase, get knocked down 7 times, get up 8. The idea is resiliency, in and of itself.

Reset
It’s the getting back up part and being willing capable and curious enough to go again. A perfect film that describes a person’s resilience is the 2020 Netflix release of Uncorked. The tale of a young African American Sommelier (Wine Taster) who takes on the challenge to become what in his heart of hearts he longs to be. A knowledgeable wine connoisseur who can choose wine for guests at a restaurant or hotel and describe what the guests are going to enjoy in their glass.

Propulsion

I mentioned him earlier. George the poet from Have You Heard George’s Podcast, is another person who sums up the experience of a person who is resilient.

George the Poet, has experienced personal tragedy and turmoil. The difficulties jet propel him to go in another direction with his skills in music and words. I can see his poetry becoming lessons for anyone with ears to hear and a mind that is willing to go deeper, to see.

Take Off
Perhaps secondary schools and colleges will unpack George’s many ideas and commentaries about social mobility and being able to pivot. Another Poet/Rapper whose words and music have been made in to school lessons is Kendrick Lamar. To be resilient then is not only for our ‘nows’. But for what follows after. Stick around. You’ll see…

Resources
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and Otegha Uwagba
Science of Success Matt Bodnar with Jim Kwik
Wanna Be Podcast Imrie with Emilie Wapnick Multipotentialite
Pivot – Book Jenny Blake

Images
Cover photo by Lou Batier on Unsplash
Inlay photo by James Baldwin on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence

Deeping It: Substance 2

When I initially think of substance, two conflicting ideas present themselves. One is positive. The other invites risk. Below I will explain my thinking.

Substance Definition
noun
A particular matter tube with uniform properties. “a steel tube coated with a waxy substance”

Similar: Material, Matter, Stuff, Medium, Fabric.

The real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible solid presence. “proteins compose much of the actual substance of the body”

Substances
The other definition is related to substance misuse or substance abuse: Loosely this relates to using various forms of intoxicating elements that cause people to feel differently about oneself or life experiences. The abuse happens when someone uses a substance regularly to feel better. Their using of a substance can be reasonably controlled. When a substance like alcohol is used a part of the brain can stop working properly for a time. Hormones called serotonin and dopamine are released which can make someone feel good. The length of time they feel good for can last for a few moments or a number of hours.

Having Substance
When a person is said to have substance that person usually is: Safe, Honest, Good to be around, Solid, Fair in nature, Level headed, Trustworthy, Charitable, Kind, sort of Golden. They appear to be well liked and have a good circle of friends around them. They stick to their morals and can stand up for what they believe is right. This person of substance can be stubborn and get in the way of other people’s ideas of having fun. They may be left in their own company but seem to accept that others don’t see things their way. They can also admit when they have got it wrong, and not become bitter with people in their close circle.

Having Substance
Jumping into It

Beginning
The person who has substance comes from a range of backgrounds that could include poor, refugee, from lower classes, or from wealthy families. In some instances their character is honed from adversities/tough experiences. Others find their substance going against their families wishes. They may become ostracised/divorced from their family of origin. For many people going through tough times that person can break. For a person of substance the breaking is what is needed to arrive at what they now know, and want to share with the rest of the world. Breaking down can lead to break through.

Light Shine
For someone who is of substance they appear to emit a glow, a deep sense of knowing that is as comforting as it is attractive. We often find ourselves pulled in to their gravity of being – much like a star – a hole in space. Possibly they were not always the way they seem now. We may not have been there as they battled with unseen demons, emotions, thoughts or personal tragedies. But the who they are now, we find captivates our imagination and invites us, also to be more.

Resources
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and Mo Gawdat
Have You Heard George’s Podcast ep 9

Images
Cover photo by Conrad Ziebland on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash
Intro, Resilience, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence