The Power Of One…..And So Say All Of Us

I don’t go looking for TED Talks but they seem to come looking for me. Today the first blog post I read was on Fi’s page. A blog post of honesty and self-reflection and one that led me to writing this post.

I don’t know Fi all that well, partly because I haven’t followed her for an immensely long time and partly because, during that time, Fi hasn’t always been around. I don’t know exactly what keeps Fi from her blog but, from poems and pieces she has written, I sense someone who, like us all, needs to go searching at times.

The search may lead us to places we would rather not go, to thinking of things we, for whatever reason, need to think on even while those thoughts may not lead us immediately to where we want to be.

The place most, if not all of us, want to be is a place called Happiness.

The Ted Talk below is given by a man whose job title is, for real, ‘Jolly Good Fellow’.

Google business car jolly good fellow


He works for Google and it sounds like an amazing place to work.

Imagine a company whose profitability and success grows by being mindful of its employees, where the autonomy to actively promote happiness, for yourself and others, allows your job to develop in directions almost impossible to imagine. A compelling reason to go to work each day, for sure.

Imagine a step further, if you will, where being compassionate is proven to make you happy – scientifically proven, just one of the hits arising when googling for ‘compassion, happiness, science’.

Imagine then how much fun it is when you feel happy. How freaking amazing it is! Remember happy? That visitor who is sometimes too infrequent in calling, all too elusive in the search.

Imagine if none of this needed to be imagined.

If the equation were C=H.

Let C be Compassion, let H be happiness.

Maybe the equation would look somewhat different to mine but algebra wasn’t my strong point and I could never, way back then, figure out why there were letters where I thought numbers should be.

I understand it a bit better now, recognising that the letters signify an unknown factor to be worked with.

But this equation doesn’t seem to have any unknown factors.

Compassion actually does equal happiness. Tested and proven..

The guy in the video seems like a really happy guy but not a patch on Matthieu Ricard  whose happiness quotient, apparently, is off the scale. What was he doing when it was measured? Meditating on compassion (for those who will not watch!)

I seek happiness. I seek it for me. I seek it for others. I get thrown off course at what goes on in the world and, admittedly, by my own wandering down paths that can never lead there although do help on the journey.

And I wonder how happiness for all can ever be possible as long as there are people who don’t care. Sometimes I want to give it up as a bad job.

Except it’s not a job so much as it is life.

I don’t need to work for google. I don’t need to be the Dalai Llama although I would like a blether with him.

Dalai Lama quote for use


I don’t need to carry a card declaring me the ‘Jolly Good Fellow’ (although how cool would that be!)

Google business car jolly good fellow for me to use soon

We could all carry one!

I just need to remember, every time I’m with someone, to be conscious of the thought, ‘I want you to be happy’.

From that one thought for their happiness, that mindful awareness, my happiness quotient grows. I feel it. I know it. Because I also know, when I’m not doing it, the type of day that can follow. I know those days well. Don’t we all?

I could waffle on for ages here, as you know, when the real Jolly Good Fellow says it so much better.

From Google engineer to emotional coach to living a life of happiness.

‘ I’m now semi-retired. My current job description at Google is: “enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace”. In my free time, I try to save the world. ‘

No one can force us to be compassionate but being happy is a compelling reason. Saving ourselves from misery by saving others first and letting that grow has more potential than all the zeros google could ever add.

I doubt if the child who coined googol and the brilliant minds who created Google itself had any idea of the impact one word, one idea, could have in conjunction with the one highway we use here. A highway so interconnected that maybe it could take us to that place we all so desperately seek – Happiness.

The power of one raised a worldwide times.




Lift up your voice, let the clear air carry

From the Sounds and the Firths out to the seas,

Enter in the inlets, in the estuaries,

Vocal now, no supplicants’ pleas.

These are not the voices of the woaded tribes,

But the born to be, destined to be free,

Lift up your voice, let the message ride,

Polemicists, apologists we.

These are the voices of the meek grown bold,

Emboldened by the truth when it is known,

History rewritten, in the present told,

Seeds of justice long ago sown.

Vanquish defensive, the cringe once bred

By the words of the woeful, books and news,

Lift up your voices, elevate your head,

Sing songs of freedom born of battled blues.

Carry the banner of the free, unveiled,

Perish the thought of lowly born,

People of the future, never more assailed,

Abandon ashes, sackcloth ever worn.

Shrug off the fear, designating state,

Antonym to action, thus enslaved,

Write now with purpose on a wipe-cleaned slate,

Capitalised, italicised, writ brave.

Be the free citizens where’er you live,

Terminology none may revoke,

Pass on egality as the gift you give,

Charter of mankind now quote, invoke.


World keeps right on turning

In spite, not because

Of everything done and said,

Following natural laws.

Impact from external

May just change its course

Devastate, deviate,

Improve where none can force.

Rotational, cyclical,

Dizzying cyclone,

Spinning, spinning, spinning on

World no one may own.


People Do

I soothe your fevered brow if it is wanting,

You read me books to while away the hours,

He feeds you broth and silences the phone calls,

She tempers any tantrums, treats the sores.

We nourish where the need is for the easing,

You speak for me and lighten half the load,

They furnish love by all their actions,

Proving that village has a road.

I pick you up when fortune leaves your bedside,

You listen and you do the same for me,

He cries and smiles, relieves all your misgivings,

She tells you jokes to ease and help you see.

We be there when no other one is looking,

You care with such compassion for my plight,

They stand along beside us, fuel our courage,

Have your back at all we have to fight.

We do this, all as one and all together,

We do this, for that’s what people must,

We do this for our families, this our village,

We do this and prove that love is just.

We do this for each other despite choices,

And pity anyone who doesn’t have a clue,

Of the things that love, in all its hale and ailments,

People do for people, ’cause they do.



Earth Angels

A new visitor to my blog yesterday particularly caught my attention by the title of his blog. Angel Frequency – subheaded Earth Angel Insights. I like angels. I spent some time browsing and clicking on links to other blogs. By the time I was finished ‘Earth Angels’ was stuck in my head as a name and a concept. This arose.

Calling all earth angels,

To the klaxon’s silent horn,

Insistent in its trumpeting,

Alerting silver’d swans,

Those keepers of the vital wings,

Enfolded in repose,

Vigilant to nascent cries,

Answering, they chose

To rise above, beyond, around, where

Compassion is required,

A glisten’d shift as up they lift,

Transcendent in clear fire,

Burning coals of snow and ice,

Fuelled from whiten’d lode,

A stone so small, a pebbled pulse

On gacial keep’s brick’d icy road,

Concentric in its lightning bright,

Spiralling in waves,

Attesting to the call, Awake!

From light beyond, they save.

Klaxon sounds from far away,

A pole we’ve never spied,

Calling all earth angels

To the time to rise and fly.


Perfect Play – Excess of Words

The stage was set, two actors to the fore,

No masks of tragedy or comic worn.

Parts were learned, as too, the orchestra and score,

Awaiting now crescendo for their turn.

Love was heard

in notes that spilled

and spiralled

and rose to rafters, to the gallery,

where eyes strained

to figures poised for action and their part,

to faces on the stage,

too distant,

too abstract,

too indeterminate for those vaulted there to clearly see.

The music fades,

a silence waits around in tones of hushed expectancy.

The one begins to speak.

And halts.

Love lingers in the air,


settled on plush chairs,

in stalls,

in balconies.

Nothing can compare to rapture heard.

Say not a word.

He takes her hand and draws her closely to a kiss,

Deepens dulcet depth still lingering.

Only this.

To standing ovation.

No single word.

A bow.

Departing hand in hand.

Stage left.

A play enacted perfectly.

Field of Dreams

There’s a clearing in my mind where I can wander,

Like a field of dreams was planted long ago,

Sown by whom I’ve met and all I’ve felt there,

Waiting for the crops that had to grow.


There’s a feeling that I’ve been this way before then,

Like someone gave me glimpse then left my side,

Notional directions then abandoned,

But – not really – more as if they ran away to hide


To see if I could unearth in the threshing

Or the harvest, whenever it should come to pass,

If teasing, in a tempting sort of measure,

Should balance books bet or if I’d come in last.


I feel I’ve failed the test before I started,

Like the race was rigged before I left the block,

Like someone changed the rules and I, as usual,

Was writing or just reading some strange book.


There’s a field of dreams I guess we all get lost in, when

In a semblance of a future once glimpsed past,

We entered name and limbered for the race and

Hoped against all hope we’d not come last.


Strength to muster, this was all we asked for

Strength sufficient and a well-kept pace,

Sweat and toil, all that work notwithstanding,

We thought, believed that we could maybe win this race.


I never was a runner in my dreamings,

Nor in life – I’ve always walked with ease –

Sauntered through, feet always planted firmly

Though my mind has gone its own way as it pleased.


I s’pose, like most, I’m just some kind of farmer,

I trudge through day and work and fret and always feed my sheep,

I sow and reap and gather where I can do,

I rest my head and pray for easy sleep.


But the voice inside my head that keeps on saying,

‘Arise, awake, you’re sleeping when it’s dawn,

Get up and move, the day is almost over,’

Urges me to seek a brand new morn.


One where fields are harvested with fairness

And work’s a task we gladly take in team,

Singing, laughing all the while with gladness

That this is real and not another dream.


I guess I’m dreaming even while I write this,

The status quo exists for world and also me,

The race is almost over, I’m exhausted

And weeping for we all who just won’t see.


I wish I didn’t care and love was easy,

The way it was when dads and mums were glad,

Once upon a time, in some strange dream land,

In field of dreams where none are ever sad.


I can’t believe I’m writing and not hoping,

It’s the news, you see, I really shouldn’t hear,

All that goes around and races onwards

Fills my dreams and field with crop of fear.


But, listen, I know I can’t leave this foray

Into dreams and fields and races and this life

Without one, at least just one, little seed sown.

In love and light, the work is cleaved with sharpest knife.


I guess that what I’m saying is I love you,

Bizarre, I know, when all of you are figments of the light

Cast across my screen like all the seeds sown

Filling field of dreams in day and night


 I wish that I could write in brief, a haiku,

Syllables all counted and best said,

Time being of the essence, that would serve well,

But, alas, that knack in me, bypassed my dreams and head.


I’ll go on dreaming just because I have to,

I know no other way to make things real.

Arise, awake, enact, forgive my earnest ramblings.

I call it, tell it, dream it as I feel.


So, I was never a punk, back in the day. Although I did do my fair share of pogoing when occasion warranted.

I never did the pins and needles thing. Although the black eyeliner made more than one showing with the blood-red lippy and the back-combed hair.

I never felt the need to conform to a particular style set nor adhere to only one musical form. For me, back then, it was a bit like Hallowe’en. I occasionally dressed up the exterior while the truth was somewhat different.

You know, like politics. I knew who I was inside but it didn’t stop me from celebrating variety.

Radical wasn’t in my nature. I was much more conservative (never with a capital ‘C’!) in my younger days.

I look back now and wonder at myself and what I didn’t say and do because of notions of correctness – not politically – rather, an inherent or instilled sense of the right thing to do. To be what my elders and betters expected. To follow on from where I had been led by those who wanted the best for me and lived lives that demonstrated the way to do that.

Not to say I didn’t have my own rebellions. That I didn’t have my share of questions and wonderment at the world. And voice them loudly. All kids do. I’m dealing with them with my own kids day and daily and have to remind myself that that is the nature of youth. Mini-rebellions and a few of the grander ones thrown in to keep parents on their toes and to remind them of their own path through adolescent angsts.

In fact, I like to think that my rebellions were a journey of discovery graduating to the ‘who I am’ and ‘the whats’ I have come to believe in all spheres of life. That imbibing culture in all its myriad forms and selecting/deselecting was a sign of the growth that we all go through. I like to think that I’ve always been fairly rational in my life choices even while embracing everything with a sort of manic heartfeltness.

I like to think.

Funny thing is that I think I might be in time reversal mode here.

Reason still rules in my head and feeling still rules in my heart. But, the sense of how they should be made manifest is altering in a way I did not expect.

Last night, I went to a gig in King Tut’s in Glasgow to hear The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

I adorned myself with black eyeliner (not too much!), the now perfectly normal red lippy, slipped into my black skinny jeans, topped off with a long black sweater cinched with four inches of belt and buckle and added three inches to my 5’ 6” with a pair of black ankle stiletto boots. One fitted multi-zipped donkey jacket later and a homemade hooded scarf for the rain and I was good to go. Well, it is near enough Hallowe’en! Except that’s kind of my normal now. (One person mentions mutton and lamb or mid-life crisis in the same sentence there’s a Glesca kiss in it for them!) 😉

Past and present have caught up with each other in a new unity.

Which is just as well.

The flavour and feeling of the whole performance from the get-go was one of unity and rebellion. Gathered in a large room – you could never really call it a hall – were around 300 people varying in ages from mid-twenties to older than me! (I’m 35 btw, having decided last year to reverse my age and stick with that one. I’m good with it!)

The twenty-somethings were in pogo mode and danced as one to almost every song played as if they had discovered punk for the first time and found it liberating and energising.

When I looked around me though I saw the faces of the older crew and was met by rapturous looks that they were witnessing, live, the voices and sentiment of a socially-conscious group who no longer could be called punk/folk in appearance but whose lyrics and verve in performance stay true to that legacy and called out to a renewal in political awareness and asked the question over and over again, ‘Do you see what’s done in your name?’

The history of the Britain that I have grown up in and other parts of the world I’ve never seen, during times I haven’t lived, was retold in music. News footage I can remember from my youth and right through till now was streamed all over again in words that called for reason and feeling.

The first song played,  ‘Devil On The Wind’, set the mood of the occasion, a look from the long viewpoint at what passes for our humanity. Their next had me jumping as I had fervently hoped they would play, ‘The Ghosts Of Cable Street’. Oh, they played it all right! And so did all in the audience. No, not audience. Rather, part of the band. Part of their raison d-etre. Here was a recognition in music and recollection of a generation past but whose voices still carry. Their voices carried on the wind from a not so very distant time to the present where the same issues still apply, just dressed differently.

For Cole, here is as much of the set I could manage to note.…quite hard to scribble when you’re dancing! I wish you could have been there. You’d have been in your element. And we could have pogoed together, although the boots would have to have come off for that, and I might not then have seen over the few heads in front of me that separated me only feet – not years – from a band whose socio-political message needs no dressing up. Not at all like many of our politicians nor their political agendas.

Devil On The Wind

Cable Street

Wishing Well

Bounty Hunter

The Colours

Raising Hell

Night Ferry

Going Back To Coventry

Donald Where’s Your Troosers



Barrett’s Privateers

Shirt of Blue

Green Fields of France



One of the band dedicated ‘Shirt of Blue’ to insights behind the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 as depicted in a new documentary film released on 4th October and being screened in and around the UK at selected cinemas.

I remember it well because teachers were taking strike action too. I was marching with my union in George’s Square back then (I know. I was a very young teacher. Only five!) I remember seeing myself on telly later on the news and admiring my dad’s coat that I had been wearing!

When I think about it, maybe I’ve not changed all that much in the intervening years. I’ve always been involved in politics in one shape or form although I had, in recent years, taken a total scunner to it all.

All the music and voices from the past and present caught up with me last night, all the rebellions I have ever experienced, the ones I am still experiencing – ‘cos, fuck, I ain’t dead yet! – and I had a night of semi-wild abandon, because, well you know, you can’t change all that you are but you can embrace life and passion …with reason.

And music, poetry, words, actions, thoughts, shared hopes and dreams are a reason. Back to the black eyeliner and some hellraising. 🙂




Time and Tides

Seeping into pores,

Now joined with heartbeat,

Blood of oneness,

Child of globe, be blessed,

Ones communing,

Now alive in union,

Hear the whispers

Rising on the crest.

Undulating waves,

In tune with moonlight,

Tides of rapture,

Oceans spilling to the shores, decreed,

Blood and water,

Time and tides united,

Bands of brothers, sisters

Know they’re freed.