That Ol’ Black Magic………

4 Sep

hyp

No – this is not a post about the come-from-behind skills of New Zealand’s rugby team.

It is about a master magician and hypnotist, his adoring posturing assistant, and a young man who comes from the audience to be hypnotised. Once on the stage, the lovely assistant plants a kiss on the young man’s cheek – he blushes and his heart melts.

The hypnotist clicks his fingers, and the young man  begins to make donkey noises. “Eeeyorr….snortle, snortle..” Someone shouts: “You’re making an ass of yourself!”

Someone less kind, but just as predictable: “Asshole!”

The audience  screams with laughter. After a few minutes he clicks the fingers again, and the young man instantly stops assing around, returns to his senses, open mouthed and bewildered.

Another kiss from the glamourous lady, and he returns to his seat, to the rapturous applause of  the crowd. Well most of the crowd. Not everyone in the audience is so convinced or appreciative.

Harry didn’t want to go to the show.

“Bloody nonsense…clearly a  fix. I saw them together in the foyer. Money changed hands.”

Harry’s wife Thelma was altogether more charitable ‘Don’t be so suspicious , Harry. Admit it, magic happens. I just wish it would happen more between us.  Anyway, did you record Coro Street.”

Harry nods.

The show ends, the gushing audience, many of them unknowingly under their own lifelong hypnosis, go home with their silent condition fed and reinforced.

At home, Harry switches on the MySky – Thelma has always been confused by the buttons. They watch the very same stage magician  introduce the show.

“Told you he was all right. Famous too” says Thelma.

Harry grunts .”Cup of tea dear?”

“That would be lovely Harry.”

Thelma slips into her happy weekly Coro-hypnosis state. Harry nods off.

Now Harry can’t be hypnotised (several therapists have tried), but Harry can nod off at the drop of a hat, and has vivid dreams. Like this one:

 Harry’s Dream: 

Eeyore_3

Harry dreams not of a theatre but of a courtroom. The magician is the defendant. The glamourous assistant is his defence lawyer. His subject – his potential hypnotee – wears a judge’s gown and wig.

The judge leaves the bench, approaches the defence lawyer, bends down and kisses her on her cheek. The judge then turns his gaze towards the defendant, who gazes back in a fixed stare. The defendant clicks his fingers. All eyes in the court are now on the judge.

Gasps and laughter breaks through the previously stifling atmosphere. Because…through his wig, two donkey ears spout upwards, only to flop to the side once fully emerged.

Someone shouts out: “I’d heard you’ve been doing this for donkey’s ears, your honour!”

“Order, order” shouts the judge, but instead all that comes out is “eeyore, eeyore.”

The prosecution lawyer starts his cross examines of the defendant, who swears with one hand on the bible, but continues to fix his stare on the judge – who has now, to the dismay of the court attendees, turned completely into Christopher Robin’s Eeyore, and who yawns and mutters repeatedly ‘why bother, why bother?”  

Harry, a stickler for detail even in his dreams, notices a dusty old book on the judge’s bench titled “The Law is an Ass – What Every Judge Should Know.”

The cross examination ends. The defendant stops staring at the judge, but does not click his fingers.

The judge returns home  – his wife and family are somewhat perplexed by his appearance, his long floppy ears, his new-found fondness for hay sandwiches, and the mantra ‘why bother’ now repeated from dawn till dusk…. but on balance see the whole thing as an improvement.

His fellow judges however do not seem to be aware of the changes. In fact, in their weekly meeting at their Old Boys Club, they all just sit there as usual yawning, reading their well thumbed ‘The Law is an Ass’ books, mumbling ‘why bother..?’ often in unison throughout the evening. Somehow, they still manage to drink their port (there are clefts in their front hooves perfectly designed to hold port glasses. These details are perfectly acceptable in dreams.) Their eeyores, groans and mumblings now evolve into a low pitched cacophony of  strange noises, somehow harmonising  to become the dirgy Coronation Street theme……………. 

Thelma gives Harry a nudge.

“Wake up, Harry. You missed Coro. You’ll never guess, Ken’s having a sex change.”

Harry opens his eyes. “It’s not real, you know Thelma.”

” Y’know, there are times it seems more real than our own lives” Thelma sighs. “Let’s go to bed.”

“Thelma, forget Coro, I just had this dream about….”

“Shhh. Time for bed, Harry……”

End of story.

Explanation:

At the risk of revealing a disturbing Messiah complex, this blog is in the form of a parable. Jesus, a marked man, had to be careful that his message reached only his required market. And so a parable was the way to go. Had they been available at the time, Jesus would definitely have had a Twitter account. But only for stuff like: “JC gig at Mount. Sunday 7th. 1230pm. Lunch provided. BYO tartare source.” But for the real messages of unconditional love and hope, The Prodigal Son, The Good Samaritan etc., he would have undoubtedly blogged.

Great story telling should require no explanation. Hence it follows that this piece definitely does. Thanks goes to Thomas Sheridan, the Irish bard and artist, who explained in a YouTube presentation how magic works – how the magician or hypnotist relies totally on the adulation of willing subjects. The magician can only do his magic if someone volunteers to watch or participate.

This works for all magic, from white to black. From the fun and games, to the serious deceptions. Deceptive advertising, and confidence trickery will only work if there are people to believe. Black magic relies on the deceived.

The judge in our case, as in Harry’s dream, was conflicted. He was on one level or other under the deceptive spell of the magician – in this case the defendant – and his defence lawyer.

Like Harry, I am not easily hypnotised. This is not something to boast about – just a fact. And like Harry I make a note of my dreams – although most remain completely nonsensical. However, some carry many more searching  truths than the barrage of deceptive  messages that are constantly imposed on us through the media and advertising – messages that we too willingly accept, absorbing them in a trance.

We are now fighting for those who have been living in a cultural hypnotic trance for years, encouraging them to wake up to reality. To a place and a mindset in which they can have true power.

We sometimes wish this was as easy as simply clicking our fingers.

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Ending the Vitriol over Vaccines.

13 Jul

 

There is nothing on social media that comes close to matching the topic of  ‘vaccinations’ for its ability to provoke extremist arguments, outrage and personal insults in the comments columns.

To the mainstream extremist,  the parents who do not vaccinate their children are selfish pariahs – propagating preventable diseases which can maim and kill in great numbers, as they did in ‘the bad old days’ before medical science took its firm control, preventing the human race and its children from unnecessary death and debilitation.

To the anti-vaccine extremist, this is all a dastardly plot by Big Pharma and the New World Order to dumb down the populace, poisoning them with mercury and aluminium and fetal bits and pieces, while profiteering from a plethora of new diseases created by multiple unnecessary vaccinations.

The mainstream extremist will not go to the movie  ‘Vaxxed’ and will tell those that go they are contributing to the deaths of children.

The anti-vaccine extremist will say the movie doesn’t go far enough. All vaccinations are unnecessary for all humans and animals, or whatever race or breed.

Of course, neither is likely to shift their entrenched position.

I was invited to the Auckland showing of ‘Vaxxed’ in April this year.  I had already seen it on one of its many short-lived free YouTube showings –  but was interested to see exactly who was being attracted to this first public screening. It was important for me to go.

For many years, I have had parents coming to me asking questions about vaccine safety. And I have witnessed three severely vaccine injured patients, all officially confirmed by orthodox, mainstream colleagues. Small numbers, but devastating to the patients and families involved -in all cases producing lifelong debilities.

And this has led me to inviting a full discussion of the whole subject of vaccinations during a consultation, together with a joint scrutiny of the written inserts that accompany each vaccination. I do my best to de-jargonise the information, putting adverse effects into a context based on my studies and practice over 42 years. This may take an hour, with parents leaving with internet links to the pertinent facts.

The people coming to me as a doctor are not extremists. Some are heading towards not vaccinating their children at all. After true informed consent, frequently these parents opt for some but not all vaccinations. A few change their minds completely. Most of my advice comes from a personal scrutiny of the literature past and present, but I do explain own bias towards certain vaccines. As a student in the early 70s, I witnessed a child die of diphtheria. Similarly, I have watched on helplessly as  neonates succumb to whooping cough/pertussis. These tragedies stay with a doctor.

But also, in the 80s I administered a cholera vaccination to a middle aged man travelling overseas. He never went on his trip.He developed the life threatening Guillain-Barré Syndrome , ending up in a ventilator in ICU. He didn’t die, but he nearly did.

Serious side effects do occur from vaccinations – all doctors will acknowledge this. And so the true argument rests whether the risks to a community by not vaccinating outweigh the known fact that  small numbers will inevitably suffer serious often lifelong health issues from the vaccination.

This is the discussion we should be having. Presumably, the vast majority of us -including the extremists from both sides -are demanding safety for our children. And so it really shouldn’t be too hard.

But we should also be mature enough to examine the whole debate from a 2017 perspective. Is the baby born today exactly the same, with the same immune system, as the baby born in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s? We now know that the environmental toxic load on a child before birth is different, with studies correlating this with effects on the child’s brain development. These toxins are different from those in the past. Let’s talk about this.

We also now know that gut health and brain development are related. That the imprudent use of antibiotics in a young child adversely affects gut bacteria. Does this alter the child’s susceptibility to environmental toxins? And we now know the emotional state of mothers and fathers, and previous generations, can be passed onto new born babies ‘epigenetically’. What does this do to the sensitivity of a child’s central nervous system?

We live in a rapidly changing, increasingly complex world. Time we acknowledged this with wisdom and humility. We must admit what we don’t know, as much as what we are learning.

The intelligent parent consulting me often knows some or all this, and queries whether all the vaccines that they are scheduled to give their child are going to be safe. Are they adding to this load? They wonder whether the timings, and whether the combinations are ideal. What else is in the injections?

At the screening of Vaxxed, these were the topics of discussion amongst those around me. In the Q and A session that followed the movie, there was one person who expressed a dogmatic ‘no- vaccination at any cost’ message. But only one.

We are now well and truly immersed in the information-for-all age. As a doctor who still works part time in general practice dictated to by the ‘6 minutes of meaningful consultation time’, I realise our health system has not adapted to this brave new world.  I notice the vast gulf developing between what is ‘prescribed’ by the health authorities for the good of the majority, and what is truly needed by the individual intelligent informed patient and parent.

More than ever, parents need time to make these vital decisions on behalf of their precious children. Brief sound bites and dogmatic statements from health professionals are not enough.

We the nurses and doctors do have the power to change this. Let’s demand that parents are given the time to be properly informed. The science can and must be explained.  The questions must be listened to and answered.

Safer more effective health promotion, including safer more effective vaccination programmes, will result.

Censoring movies, patronising proclamations, and emotionally charged hakas will never work.

Good old common sense will.

 

 

WRINKLEX – The Next Big Thing

13 Dec

tips-to-fight-forehead-wrinkles

Ok – we had the stupid long hair. The platform boots. The brown flares with turn-ups.

Then came the punk stuff – piercing tongues, nipples, safety pins through eyebrows, spiky greasy mohawks. Pale, sickly skins, the Young Ones.

Then mullets, big hair, and the perplexing and wet New Romantics. Goths.

And then – a Generation Y that had run out of ideas. Oh, yes, the back to front baseball cap. As a statement for a generation this was perhaps the most insipid. Also the most stupid, most impractical, and the most devoid of creativity and daring – winning the prize for the most pathetic rebellious act since Adam and that apple.

Lleyton Hewitt – how different it all could have been.

Even worse, the rappers who shifted the cap sideways. WTF?? “Hey 50 Cent, Jay Z, Eminem –  I’m talkin’ to youz – when you met at the inaugural Rappers Inc. AGM, was this decision left to the last minute, the ‘Any Other Business’, alongside such things like chord progression and melody?”

This whole insipid lop-sided infection has spread to the Millennials -who sadly know no better. If it was back to front trousers, they would still follow their idols. As it is, their waistbands are somewhere near their knees, making a striding gait a thing of the past. Critical thinking died out many years ago.

But of course, none of these pathetic and failed attempts to define a generation can match the modern and, to me, totally bewildering obsession with tattoos. Leaving out of course the 5%  whose tattoos have cultural and spiritual significance, we are left with a large percentage of the population who have covered vast areas of skin with messy dark permanent blotches, devoid of any artistic merit.

Not to mention the mysterious tiny butterflies that settled some years ago upon the upper gluteal regions of  so many women-of-a-certain-age. (Medical confidentiality does have its advantages.)

I was examining (medically) a 20-something student recently with a back covered in an elaborate fox hunting scene. You know, the one where the fox is about to disappear into an orifice best described, in anatomical terms, as positioned just beyond the coccyx. The tattooist had been an enthusiastic amateur. In fact his very own brother, who shared his own own liking of something called ‘weed whisky’ – a blend that they apparently enjoyed together during the whole creative process.

The session had lasted about 4 hours,  and was going fine with  bounding hounds and galloping horses clearly recognisable down to the shoulder blades. Then drifting south…. well, strange apparently shape-shifting creatures appeared, possibly hybrids from some long lost Greek mythology, then an increasingly blurred blotchy mess, culminating in what could have been, with a vivid imagination, a disheveled fox, or possibly an armadillo, missing its hole of refuge by a sizable 3 inches.

All this seemed then and now to be taken in good humour by the afflicted student, the one person unlikely ever to examine the evidence in detail.

As has been frequently pointed out, these messy aberrations are likely to be even more tragic when on display in the retirement homes of 40 years hence. Saggy wrinkly abominations, with staff applying for danger money to continue their employment.

So here is my idea – my trademarked solution to all this nonsense. A lasting trend – a gift that keeps on giving.

WRINKLEX TM 

Forget Botox – where all folk do is imagine the real you, possibly even worse than the real you.

With WRINKLEX TM   you get your wrinkles early in life. Folks get used to them. You will discover this – YOU WILL NEVER GROW OLD.

Go for the fine lines or the deep crevices – your choice. Use the PERMANENT CREVICE DEVICE TM , or the DYNAMIC FADE-IN FADE-OUT APPLICATOR TM , allowing you to subtly increase or reduce the wrinkles over time!

Of course, it will cost but see it as an INVESTMENT. And as time goes by and you grow your own natural wrinkles, the costs will be reduced. Superannuation in a bottle.

Say goodbye to stupid fleeting trends that make you look daft when you revisit those selfies in years to come.

So phone this number now 0800WRINKLEX.

If you phone in the next 10 minutes you will get not only one bottle, but TWO and a free PERMANENT CREVICE DEVICE TM   and  DYNAMIC FADE-IN FADE-OUT APPLICATOR TM , and our user friendly razor blade. All for $9.99 with $100 p&p.

Children ask your parents first.

Terms and conditions apply.

All the King’s Horses….

17 Oct

hd

I’ve always been confused by certain details within the whole Humpty Dumpty narrative.

Firstly, why would the sum total of all the Royal Horseguards of the day be that interested  in reassembling this, by all accounts, very self-centred anthropomorphic egg. I mean, a pretty poor use of resources I would have thought, leaving the whole kingdom exposed to all manner of dastardly terrorist attacks.

And secondly the horses? WTF? Much as I love these strong sensitive beautiful animals, I would not be asking them to help me with my Lego castle. And although they may be able to locate that critical 2052nd jigsaw piece, the act of slotting it in could prove disastrous and hazardous in the extreme. Weeks of meticulous work would be placed at great  risk.

And even the most patient Buddhist monk, the epitome of human humility and compassion, schooled in the philosophy of life’s impermanence, would struggle to allow Trigger to assist him as he created his mandala one grain of sand at a time.

An internet search for the origins of the HD story only adds to the confusion. Wikipedia refers to him as an anthropomorphic egg ( yes I stole the phrase), whereas physicists get excited as his traumatic demise is clearly a perfect example of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Complexity, entropy and all that.

Leading history scholars cannot even begin to agree. He was either a caricature of the hunchbacked Richard the Third, a 19th century drunk intoxicated with brandy and ale, or a 17th century cannon or possibly even a tortoise shaped siege engine. In other words, they haven’t the slightest clue.

Lewis Carroll depicted him an obstreperous know-it-all, a master of Machiavellian word manipulation.  In his Through the Looking Glass, Humpty dominates the inquisitive Alice causing her considerable frustration and confusion:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”   

So why, I hear you ask, my sudden obsessional interest in this finicky fictional crack pot?

Well, the reason goes something like this. And (woo-woo alert) it’s all a bit metaphysical and metaphorical.

Yogis – no not those cartoon mammals primarily interested in picnic baskets – tell us that yoga is is not simply the practice of tying oneself in a knot on Tuesday evenings, but more accurately the life-long quest to blend our divine soul with our earth-bound personality. Our yoga is that which connects us to our yoke – the colourful and yummy soft-centre of our soul.

Our shell on the other hand is our ego – our armour-plated exterior we present to the world that protects our vulnerable but beautiful yoke. As we grow in this life, our yoke becomes stronger, our creativity flourishes, and our freedom and authenticity emerges like the butterfly from the chrysalis. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

We then no longer need the armour – although it is really handy to keep in the cupboard for emergencies. And this is because there are many  who still hide and battle behind their shells – and we need protection from the jibes from their lances. These bad-eggs are sadly yet to discover their own souls – and seek gratification in hard materialism, only to discover that this is but a fruitless search for an unholy grail.

However those on the first step of the true journey to freedom will become aware of their shells beginning to crack. They will often cry, feel lost and vulnerable, but soon they will begin to sing again. Promise.

Many present to me as ‘patients.’ Patient because they have to be. ‘Patients’ because they have taught me patience

But the few really bad-eggs out there will never come. They have shells so thick that the yoke has all but dried up inside, never to see the light of day.

They prefer to sit all day on high, within their crack-proof shells taking potshots at the butterflies – unable to conceal their jealousy as they float, flutter and dance so gracefully above their heads.

But when these narcissistic oafs do wobble and fall, as fall they will from their precariously narrow and uncomfortable walls, they will smash with such force and into so many pieces, that all the King’s horses, and all the King’s men, and all the King’s panel-beaters, physicians, chiropractors and homeopaths will not be able to but them back together again.

And then, only then, can we remove that old armour-shell from the rack in our wardrobe (hidden behind that old suit we pretend will fit again some day), and dispose of it for good.

Thankfully for our planet, it is completely bio-degradable.

The Lighter Side of Psychopathy

20 Sep

psychopathy

There are a few people, including myself at times, who wonder why I have taken such an interest in the darkest of dark human traits – psychopathy. Is this merely the obsessional behaviour of someone trying in vain to regain some sense of perceived power having being well and truly screwed by someone of this pernicious persuasion? Could there also be some secondary gain to be milked by observing how many others have been similarly screwed by similarly nasty bastards – a classic case of schadenfreude palliating my psychic pain, my self-blame and shame?

Yes, I admit it – they, and I, have a point. The process of being thoroughly done-over by a psychopath inevitably leads to examining oneself, one’s motives and one’s shadow. In fact, if one is to escape the toxic effects of being ‘gaslighted’  – made to feel guilty and responsible for the evil acts imparted on one – then becoming one’s own psychoanalyst is a necessary step to healing. This is because a psychopath will make you feel you are the crazy one – and it takes time for you to convince yourself he hasn’t got a point.

This tactic, however, didn’t really work on me.

“You’re a strange man, you know” – he informed me in a rare moment of honesty.

This felt, oddly, rather nice. In fact, in my 65th year on this planet, I took it as a compliment. I rather like strange, crazy people. The statement made me smile then, as it still does today.

On reflection, it was a kind of ‘funny by gaslight’ statement… (sorry)

And so I have discovered once the psychopath’s hand is revealed, and you can remove yourself from its evil grasp, they can become quite fascinating. And because, along with other signs of humanity and humility, they lack a sense of humour about themselves – they effectively clear the way for others to laugh at them. Think Blackadder,or any Ric Mayall character.

And whilst in no way making light of their appalling crimes to humanity, an Adolf Hitler can instantly transform into a Charlie Chaplin, and a Kim Jong Un becomes ….well remains… a Kim Jong Un.

Their self importance, their facade, their creepy smile, their obvious lies believed by themselves only, their doting clapping goose-stepping sycophants, their jumbled word salad – all become the stuff of great satire and great comedy. Bring back Spitting Image.

And so when a certain face from our past appears on our television without invitation or warning – as happens to us on a regular basis – we have worked through a number of responses. First, there were the involuntary panic attacks as memories of past traumas were triggered, next were the angry responses including a chorus of four- letter-word rhyming slang, and then the painting of a black moustache under his nose on the TV screen  (a short-lived, and in retrospect I admit, a poorly planned venture.)

And  now?

Well, when we can’t reach for the remote in time – there are shrieks of laughter amidst …well the shrieks.

And what’s more, now as a fully fledged member of  Dad’s Army (I received my Gold Card in the post yesterday), I can be heard singing at the top of my voice:

“Who do you think you are kidding Mister H..,  if you think we’re on the run…?”

For more visit: Goodbye Psychopaths. Robin Kelly on YouTube. And Subscribe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware the Coward’s Kiss.

3 May

oscar wilde

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves, By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!”     Oscar Wilde. The Ballad of Reading Gaol. 1897.

One hundred and twenty years ago, Oscar Wilde was languishing in Reading Gaol guilty of the crime of homosexuality. He had been sentenced to two years of hard labour. As he watched a fellow inmate walk to the gallows, he pondered on the blatant hypocrisy, and cruel ignorance of the day. Some say he was also feeling guilty about the fate of his wife and sons.

It was to take seventy  years before homosexuality between consenting adults was made legal in the UK. Homosexuality is still illegal in 36% of our world’s countries.

And so it appears the Western world is becoming more liberal – a shift away from discriminating against citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation, and of course their gender, colour, and creed. The focus instead -and rightly so – is to identify and eliminate society of those who commit paedophilia and rape, where one individual maliciously forces himself (or more rarely herself) on another without their consent. In recent years too, convictions have been handed down to HIV aids carriers, ‘recklessly causing Grievous Bodily Harm’ on sexual partners not made aware of their aggressor’s  immune state prior to unprotected intercourse.

There is a trend. Imposing one’s will by force is now deemed serious even though the act itself may not be perceived as being excessively violent. For example, in a landmark case in 1997 a UK man was convicted of ‘recklessly causing Grievous Bodily Harm’ by stalking a partner with silent telephone calls.

So as a society we are becoming more aware that dangerous bullying can take many forms – a silence, a bitter look, a flattering word or even a kiss – as Oscar Wilde was to observe at the end of the 19th century.

However, we  collectively still remain blind to perhaps even greater evils. Blatant warmongering,  deceitful leaders, psychopathic corporations to name but three. And of course these three are by no means mutually exclusive.

Many of the wicked culprits hide behind masks and medals of rank and respectability. Their lies are often hidden behind half truths.They may even try to seduce us with the occasional metaphorical kiss. Though sometimes it will be their silence and their absence that proves to be most deadly.

We now, above all and more than ever, need to be expert code-breakers. Forensic word, deed and intent analysts. We need to decipher their strange language, their spin, their deceit and their emptiness.

Then we need rip off their masks, boycott their products and vote them out of our lives.

This is next giant step for mankind. We need to make it soon.

 

 

The Rest Home and The Corporation – A Tale of Two Meetings.

25 Mar

restcorp

Tuesday March 15th 2016 proved to be an interesting day.

I attended two meetings in 4 hours. The first, at the super smart boardroom of a leading New Zealand building corporation. The second, at the dark somewhat dingy staffroom of a local rest home.

I’ll describe the second experience first.

A dear patient –I have known her for over 30 years – was causing concern. In her mid 50s, she has a complex and chronic medical condition which has seen her institutionalised in homes such as this for all her adult life.

The young and the middle aged, for all the wonderful help from the appallingly  paid staff of rest homes, are not well-catered for in our small country. This unfortunate group, often severely disabled, are not co-dependent by choice, and the balance between safety restrictions, staff responsibility and independence is a difficult one for all concerned. Tensions and conflicts can mount, and staff can feel they are in a no-win situation.  The middle aged resident can feel frustrated and controlled.

This was the background to the meeting – I was there to help ease tensions, and give insights into her condition.

As I entered the staff room,  this tension was palpable. About a dozen caregivers and therapists, many far from their countries of birth, were seated haphazardly on chairs and around the old functional table. Some aired their frustrations – I felt they expected me to be  so ‘pro-patient’ as to take her side exclusively. When this proved not to be the case  -I tried simply to take a solution based approach – all of us relaxed.

After the airing, there was the caring. Despite the problems and the obvious struggles, each voiced their concern for the woman in question. Their empathy shone through these very real difficulties. There were then some tears from softening eyes. Suspicious stares turned to knowing glances. Smiles emerged.  I felt warmed and privileged.

Although no tangible solutions were reached, we all agreed that after a coming-together such as this, all would feel supported, and we expected that this would be reflected in less frustration and more joyful, fruitful interactions with this ‘younger’ resident.

True human qualities were on display – hard work, empathy, caring, compassion, humility, honesty and vulnerability. A struggle to give and act perfectly within an imperfect poorly-funded system.  A perfect metaphor for humanity’s challenge to balance ethics and morality with practicality–and just maybe the very reason why we are all here in this form on this stunning planet.

As I left the meeting, I reflected on a very different experience at a meeting just a few hours earlier.

It has been well and frequently stated over the past decade and a half that if one was to ‘personality profile’ the modern corporation, more often than not the conclusion would be that the personality was psychopathic. Not that all corporate executives are psychopaths – far from it – but that collectively in corporate form they often ‘tick all the boxes’ for this predatory state of being.

This brief video clip from the 2004 award winning documentary ‘The Corporation’shows this very succinctly.

The company board room was smart and the atmosphere was cold. The positioning of the directors was planned for confrontation. The anger was insulting. There was little room for compromise. Facts were ignored. Fear abound and vulnerability was denied.  Real people skills – for example, warmth, consideration, listening, attention to personal boundaries –were absent. However, for at least two of the three executives, I knew from previous more relaxed informal meetings that this behaviour was no more than an act -either deliberate or hypnotically induced over years. I wasn’t sure exactly which.

As we rose to leave (and as with my earlier meeting, without a tangible solution) there were the prescribed handshakes. These were all as steely and as unforgiving as the look in their eyes. No understanding it seemed of the immense power of softness.

My only personal goal for both of these meetings was to be myself – imperfect, confident, vulnerable, but hopefully smart and solution focused. Trish, who was beside me for the first meeting, was all of these (though, as ever, perfect to my eyes.)

As we left the board room, we bid farewell to the smiling young  woman sitting behind the reception desk. Embedded in the desk’s panel were several large glistening golden medals vividly displaying to all-comers and goers the company’s proven excellence.

On close inspection,  they all appeared to have been self-awarded.

As I left the rest home three hours later, there were no gold medals on display in the dark corridor.

Just the tell-tale scent signalling bladders past their functional best – and a warm, warm glow in my heart.