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In Positive Thinking in Issue 01 ...

Focus on your mental attitude by Amy Deane

A transformative approach to money by Rob Bentley

A rise in human consciousness by Valerie Delffori

The Buried Life by Chris White

Finding our life path by Peter Hawkes

Mindfulness meditation by Reinhard Kowalski

Why pubs are community hubs by Deborah Wilbee

Easing conflicts in relationships by Jeannette Redway and Ian Jones

A rise in human consciousness

by Valerie Delffori

We've all heard of the 'Age of Aquarius'… but exactly what does it mean to us human beings and the planet we live on?

Age of AquariusBeing an Aquarian myself, who was a teenager in the 70's, I loved the song but didn't understand the words… 'this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius'. I knew that it sounded uplifting and hopeful and it promised a new and better age; but what did the words imply and did any of us really understand at the time?

People are trying to make sense of the idea of the dawning of a 'new age', and the spiritually minded among us have been long awaiting the shift in earth consciousness predicted Mayans to begin in December, 2012. Whether the Mayan or Astrologers' theories are right or wrong, one thing that many are now positive about is that huge changes are happening on our planet and that maybe these predictions all herald the same thing… which is simply the transition of earth consciousness to a higher level.

So what are the 'ages' that the astrologers talk about? Now for the science bit! The theory is that, as the earth rotates on it's axis there is a slight 'wobble' and that it goes through this little circular wobble every 24,000 years. This wobble is broken into 12 parts (signs of the zodiac) according to which constellation the axis wobbles towards. From 2000 BC to 0 AD, it was the age of Taurus; from 0 AD to 2000 AD it has been in the age of Piscies. And for the next 2000 years, the astrologers foretell, we will be in the 'Age of Aquarius' and we have been in transition from Piscies to Aquarius for the last 50 years… hence the song.

A shift in mindset

Astrologically speaking, there are stark contrasts between the mind set and aspirations of people in the Piscean and Aquarian ages. The Piscean age, which is now basically over, was dominated by power, hierarchy and the concept that to have a happy life one needed someone or something outside oneself to understand who you are; as a rule or guide from which to measure your 'self'.

The Piscean age says 'I believe', which implies the need for something other than ourselves to believe in. Once we have found this other thing to believe in we attach ourselves to it and it guides (or controls) us on how to live. The most obvious of these 'things' is of course religion which has been prevalent for the past 2000 years and has brought many positives but also some negatives into society; giving support, faith and deep spiritual belonging to many, whilst also bringing the deluded inspiration for war and terrorism for others. It is an unfortunate fact that where there group 'belief' systems, polarities or extremes will often emerge.

Other less obvious objects of attachment have been religious or charismatic leaders, political ideologies or even work and career for some who identify their sense of 'self' to what they do for a living. In the Piscean age the spiritual secrets and keys to life were hidden behind the private walls of churches, monasteries and other institutions or halls of power; hidden from other mere mortals who were seen as on a lower tier, or as ignorants. The powers that be created hierarchies, where it was essential to know your place in the pecking order… which in the Piscean age gave a sense of security and belonging.

However the astrologers' prophecies say that the Aquarian age, will bring a new consciousness of openness and sharing which will be dominated by networks for sharing information. The key phrase for this age is 'to be', or ' I know', making it the age for knowledge and information, where information is the source of self-empowerment. The concept is, that in this amazing new age, the old hidden secrets will become transparent to us and much more information will be available at our fingertips.

The most recent and obvious example of this is the Wikileaks site set up to make government secrets completely shared and available to anyone. These radical ideas are currently being viewed as dangerous and scaremongering and of course when what is hidden becomes transparent there is often conflict and turmoil because of it. But looking at the bigger picture, viewed with the concept of the open Aquarian age in mind, maybe these changes will be viewed as essential and ground breaking in the future?

So, where the Piscean age was organised with its vertical hierarchies, the Aquarian age will be an open, horizontal 'network' which, the Astrologers theorise, will over time open the world up to true equality. During this age the belief will not be in your own identity as a separate 'other', but in accepting yourself as a whole person who does not need to believe or attach to something outside themselves whilst still being part of the whole… a very Aquarian concept.

The truth is within

There will be and already is, a growing acceptance that all of the knowledge we need is within ourselves. This is being manifested now in a new kind of movement towards practices such as Buddhism, meditation, natural healing, natural foods and spiritual development, which those of the old age never would have dreamt of.

The new vision of the Aquarian age, is to become a leader of oneself so that rather than allowing ourselves to be guided or driven by the 'engine'(religious leaders, politicians, etc), we allow ourselves to be guided or driven by our own inner compass. This does not mean anarchy of course; true morality, integrity and adherence to the laws of the land should remain at the root of our inner guidance.

Challenging changes

So during the last 50 years of transformation, as with all change, there have been challenging and difficult, as well as uplifting and inspirational times. Whilst some of us are growing, healing, welcoming the changes and using the new tools available to us such as healing and self knowledge; others are becoming increasingly dis-eased, physically and mentally; the increase of depression, suicide, violence and substance abuse being the outer manifestation of inner spiritual and psychological disquiet. So as our planet evolves and transforms, our inner mind sets and beliefs are shifting and changing too.

Our outer world (which is an outer representation of our collective inner worlds), is also changing.. again revealing shades of darkness and light as it shifts to a higher level of consciousness. Some of the negative changes are being manifested as wars, terrorism and political atrocities. While the positive changes have brought a new ecological and environmental conscience, women's rights, gay rights and most importantly the new 'open' and inclusive culture of sharing information.

A process of renewal

The shifts that are happening as the new age that the Mayans predicted dawns, are bringing out the best and worst in mankind as these new vibratory levels engage our earth, our hearts and minds. All we as mere mortals can to is hang on and try to stay on the ride; opening up to what happens as we travel into our new age. Some people stay stuck in the past stubbornly holding on to old, outdated mind sets and rules that make them feel secure and help them to allay their fears. But the more of us that keep and open view of the changes, walking through life looking at the bigger picture of ourselves and our earth as one growing evolving being, the smoother the transition will be.

Seeing our planet as a living entity; a being in its own right, which is in the process of shedding its metaphoric skin to bring in new life and light might not be as airy fairy as some thought years ago; it could be the only sensible way forward.

The bigger picture

New holistic consciousnessThose of us who have the foresight to begin to pull away from the suffocating, fear driven minutiae and dramas of life are beginning to see that there is a bigger picture emerging. A picture of transformation and hope. Many are beginning to understand innately, that they don't always have to understand or 'attach' to a belief and that they can trust themselves and their own sense of what feels right or wrong, without needing to look to outside sources to feel secure or in control. They are beginning to see that using that inner guidance as our ancient ancestors used to, there is much wisdom and clarity to help us move forward.

To me this new holistic consciousness epitomises our new age and the shift in values and beliefs, with all of its implications. When all is in turmoil and constantly changing around us… the answer could be very simple, and that is to just look within. There are many tools out there to help us do this, the best of which for me is meditation. If we stay open to the gifts that the new age is bringing us, without allowing fear of change to hold us back, I am beginning to believe that we will ultimately find ourselves living in the new world that the song prophesises; the Aquarian age that lies ahead for us all.

Valerie has 30 years' experience as a psychic, healer and published writer on metaphysics.

Call: 077 3958 1486

The Buried Life

by Chris White

"But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us - to know
Whence our lives come and where they go."

The lines are from Matthew Arnold's poem, The Buried Life.

We live in an incredibly cynical age, and often by the time we reach middle age it has become the fixed mindset of our lives. Of course no one now reads the great Victorian poets. Victorian. Yes we know about them. A combination of neurosis, sentimentality and moralism. How we have grown up, how have we moved on.

There is a lovely story I heard a few years ago about a sociology professor from New York who was travelling in the west of Ireland. He stopped in a small village where time seemed to stand still. He got chatting to an old man who'd been propping up the bar all afternoon. He asked the man if they had a word equivalent to the Spanish word 'manyana'. The old man sat for a while, puffing on his pipe looking out across the bay, and finally answered, "no we have no word as urgent as that."

I am coming across a growing number of people who seem run ragged by the hectic pace of life, who increasingly ask the question, "for what?" It's often a throwaway comment in a moment of frustration, at other times it seems to come from somewhere deeper: "what is the point of anything and everything?" "What is the point of my husband?" was a rather comical heart-felt plea I overheard in a coffee shop just last week. What is the point of all the rush, stress and hassle? A feeling that something important has gone missing. Without doubt such a line of reflection can lead to rather uncomfortable feelings and maybe we keep busy to keep such anxious thoughts at bay. It reminds me of that quotation from Pascal. "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

Such a distracted state of mind is an excellent starting point for the practice of mindfulness and meditation. There has been a growing interest in various meditation techniques and practices in the last few years. This magazine will explore many areas of life relating to this, by people a lot more qualified than me.

Positive LifeI will finish by making the following observation. Busyness, Usefulness and Efficiency seem like a modern trinity within which we "live and move and have our being". Why do people often ask, "Are you busy…?" If you say yes, their response is often, "Oh good!" Why? In fact, if your answer is no, they are suddenly concerned! What if you said: "You know I've not really been doing anything and it's wonderful." If we were a little less busy imagination helps us see things from a totally new perspective. Suddenly our limited outlook gets shifted and presented with a fresh new view? That takes time and the ability to loosen our hold on our, possibly limited, perspective. Some people are much more open to this way of living than others. I must say I find it difficult. But I'm trying!

Such an alternative way of being would reconnect us to perspectives and practices, that in the past, were seen to be indispensable to any form of what the Greeks would have called "the good life", but today are often forgotten. Many of the most precious things in life don't have any specific "use", they are, as Kant would have said "ends in themselves". He was referring in a moral sense to treating people as ends and not means. But in a wider sense, the contemplation of a landscape, artistic creativity, the activity of play and insights and practices of all the major religious traditions contain the same message: In myriad mysterious ways, just being rather than the busyness of becoming is a quality vital to our lives, and important to a sense of well being. It allows us access to the deep reserves within each of us and helps us to reconnect with the "buried life".

As the German Philosopher Josef Pieper commented: "For it is contemplation which preserves in the midst of human society the truth which is at one and the same time useless and the yardstick of every possible use; so it is also contemplation which keeps the true end in sight, gives meaning to every practical act of life."

Chris studied Philosophy at the University of York and currently works in the art world.

Mindfulness meditation

by Reinhard Kowalski

Coming back to our senses

There is much research evidence that Mindfulness meditation practices can be one of the best things you can do for your psychological and physical health. It helps with anxiety, stress, depression, pain and concentration; it strengthens your immune system, and it activates those parts of the brain that are associated with self-insight, intuition and fear modulation. Mindfulness can free us from the chains of old patterns of thinking, feeling and doing, and allow us to be more open, creative, intuitive and flexible.

To reap all these benefits of Mindfulness you will need to learn the skills and develop a regular practice, and this is often not easy, because we all struggle with the 'human condition' of not having the discipline to regularly do what's good for us.

With my background as a clinical psychologist and Mindfulness teacher in the NHS, I will be offering a Mindfulness Intensive early in the new year. It will start off with a 3 hour session, followed by three 1 hour meetings, and ending with a 3 hour final session. Over the weeks you will notice that you are coming back to your senses, feeling more 'together' with yourself and others.

Reinhard is also a prolific author. He has recently published his 'Mindfulness & Mindbalancing Handbook' (Speechmark 2011).


Mindfulness MeditationFREE Mindfulness Meditation at Christmas. Come and practice Practical Mindfulness at 11am to 12 noon on Sunday 8th December at Laceys Yard in Chesham, prior to the chance to enrol on five weekly sessions in 2014.
Book on 01494 771324.

Finding our life path

by Peter Hawkes

Last year, up in the mountains, one revelation that I had was that WE ARE ALL FREE SPIRITS with the ability to choose our own path. Breaking the rules can be either destructive or courageous; the challenge is always to be conscious of where we're going.

Finding a pathPeople set rules to control things, to prevent chaos and harm to others, to assert power and to create fear. If we break the rules will we be punished? According to the Bible 'the Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies'. Replace the word Lord with whoever sets the rules!

I prefer the karmic model. Every day we are free to choose how to behave and how to think. The discipline is not to conform and obey through fear of being different, but to follow our hearts and intuitions through LOVE beyond EGO (our need to be right).

Far from being perfect, I've realised from observation and experience that acting unconsciously can lead to suffering, whereas acting with genuine truth and honesty can lead to inner peace.

Perhaps the key is to do what feels right, deep inside. TO BE YOURSELF, not what others tell you to be.

See Positive Thinking in Issue 02 ...

Focus on your mental attitude

by Amy Deane

I've never met anyone who has breezed through life without any challenges whether emotional, physical or practical. None of the 'gurus' out there, whatever their practice, expertise or philosophy has managed to swerve the problems that each and every one of us face at different times in our lives; in fact they are more likely to have had their fair share. The difference is, they pick themselves up, dust off the debris, and focus on a solution. Where would Andy Murray be now if he had given up after losing his first grand slam final? Not holding the Wimbledon trophy, that's for sure. And where would the world be if the likes of Thomas Edison had given up when his first invention failed?

If you wish to live happily and achieve the things you want in life, whatever your circumstances, you have to adopt a positive mental attitude. The only result you get from negativity and pessimism is stagnation, depression and ultimately ill health. Negativity will break you in the end; positivity will propel you forward. It is now scientifically proven that smiling and laughter is good for you; they each change the chemical balance in our bodies, promoting healing; muscles relax, allowing the rest of the body to function efficiently, and posture improves (we tend to slouch when we're miserable), giving our organs the space to breathe.

Simply being positive won't suddenly change everything, but it will enable you to face the music, recover, and find new ideas and solutions. It's all about perspective.

As a first step, you could list all the things that you're grateful for, then take this little experiment: imagine for a moment the pictures conjured up in your head when all you can think of is how bad things are. What colours do you see? What sounds to you hear? Can you smell anything? What is your physical state? Your posture? Your facial expression? How does your heart feel ...?

Now think of all the positive things in your life. What are the changes in your picture – the colours, sounds and smells? How are you sitting or standing now? How has your face changed ...? How is your heart ...? Conjure up this picture and this state whenever you need to remind yourself to be positive, or think of a time when you felt this way and return there in your imagination.

No Ordinary Coach
Amy DeaneAmy has herself overcome both emotional and life threatening traumas. At Spring to Life she works with people in business and in their personal lives to move them from where they are, to where they want to be.

Motivational coaching, presentations and group facilitation for discovering and achieving your fullest potential.

T: 07989 440972

A transformative approach to money

by Rob Bentley

There are similarities between our lives as human beings and the life of a business. Keeping your finances, bookkeeping and accounts up to date and in order are an invaluable way to keep your business fit and healthy. Here's how…

Energy: What are the dynamic aspects of your business? Do more of what adds energy and life-force to your business and less of what drains the energy away. A simple bookkeeping system will help you see what products or services are selling well and contribute the highest returns and will also show which areas of your business can consume most of your time, money and resources.

Soul/spirit: Remind yourself why you first started your business. Re-connect with the passion, the purpose and the drive that first got you excited enough to spark new life into something that didn't exist before. Remembering the vision you first had will help to inspire you to move forward and re-energise the core of your business, to help you maximise existing opportunities and to explore new ones. Business plans and budgets, based on the information that your bookkeeping records can be bursting with, are the foundation on which the future of your business can take new direction.

Blood: As humans, we can't survive without blood flowing freely throughout our bodies. Likewise your business will perish if it's life-giving 'cash' stops flowing as smoothly and as freely as it could. A simple bookkeeping system helps you keep track of the money that is owed by your customer's and helps you control the money that is owed to your suppliers.

Preparing your accounts and tax returns promptly helps you to identify the tax that you will have to pay on your profits. It improves cashflow when you know your tax liability sooner rather than later, so that you can put money aside on a regular basis to ensure you can pay the liability in full before the deadline. Cashflow is one of the main reasons why businesses struggle and it is also one of the areas that can be easily managed when good controls and records are put in place.

Friends and family: Our lives with our nearest and dearest are most satisfying when we have regular, meaningful interactions with them. Likewise, your business thrives when networking and nurturing existing relationships is at the heart of your operations. Your records can be used to provide statistics that show when contacts could do with a bit of attention to get your business back into their thoughts. An organised and structured way of keeping contact details helps to make it easier to keep in touch.

Rob at Bentley Accounting Services will help you establish a simple bookkeeping system that is suitable for you and your business. Many of his clients now benefit from a 'cloud-based' accounting package that, along with a monthly fixed fee service and helpline, empowers them to take control of their businesses and start enjoying a less stressful, holistic approach to bookkeeping.

E: rob@bentleyaccountingservices.co.uk
T: 01494 611249


Why pubs are community hubs

by Deborah Wilbee

Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of the times when I went to the pub with my Dad; either after a dog walk, or on a Sunday afternoon whilst Mum cooked the roast. I'd have a fruit juice and maybe a bag of nuts and set about talking to everyone! A pub is such a social environment and, as a friend recently said to me, one of the last places you can visit to meet people face to face, as opposed to the increasingly popular meeting place, the internet.

Community Pub CampaignThe Community Pubs Campaign being run by the organisation CamRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is highlighting the positive things that pubs can bring to a community. Local CamRA member Brian Kilbey shows how we traditionally start and finish our lives: 'Think of how many of our stepping stones are celebrated down the pub. The first adult visit might be on an 18th birthday.

Many will celebrate exam results and new jobs there. We may meet potential partners in the pub, leading on to engagement parties, hen and stag nights, wedding celebrations and, later, anniversary parties!

Parenting may follow, with baby showers, wetting the baby's head and christening parties. Later in life we will still be visiting pubs for reunions with old friends, showing off the local heritage to visitors and searching for information on ancestors, until eventually we retire, with another party. Finally we may be remembered at a wake in the pub!'

So what makes pubs such great community hubs? A pub environment helps us relax and communicate. By opening up and expressing our views more freely, we find it easier to make social connections and, in turn, relationships. Once you find your local establishment and form these links with people, you inherit a new family of sorts. Some of my regulars say they feel like they've missed out on things if they haven't been in for a few days!

A good landlord or landlady must play
the vital role of social host

Good staff promote the personality of the pub and, in partnership with the Pubwatch scheme, maintain the social harmony and deal with confrontations. Good bar staff facilitate lively conversation, listen one-on-one to people's problems and are often the ones who others will confide in when they just need someone to listen to them.

Often, being so well connected, they are good people to ask if you need something doing; a plumber, an electrician, a barrister, an accountant, a tree surgeon, a decorators or a councillor; they all come in to the pub! Just as much as a church or other place of worship, a pub is the social cornerstone of a community, a place where people from all walks of life, industries and backgrounds come together, united by the fact that they are enjoying the atmosphere and environment. Conversation spills over from one table to another. Soon we're all putting the world to rights and feeling rather good about it too!

Jolly Sportsman community events
with a difference

Philosophy: In the Pub Every so often we provide the venue for this evening event, where philosophical subjects are chosen and debated in an open and respectful environment; it really is liberating!

Charity: Just lately we have hosted a 'rock up in red' event to raise money for The British Heart Foundation and an outdoor session with local band Against the Grain in aid of Dorothy House Hospice.

Music: As well as regular Open Mic nights, the pub brings in entertainment from a wide range of well known local bands.

Bar Sports: We take part in the premiership pool league and offer a weekly darts tournament. Crib players also frequent a quieter corner of the lounge!

Food Curry nights: Home cooked Sunday roasts and summer barbecues are some of our diverse offerings. We often source our food locally, for example our Godden Butchers steak burgers.

Quizzes: We don't just test your general knowledge, but have specialist themed quizzes and picture rounds!

Celebrations: St Andrews Day features a Scotch Pie dinner, December sees NYE live music requests with Joe Dumont and New Year's Eve will have more live music.

Mention 'Designs for LIFE' and get 25% off your food bill.
One use only per customer. Excludes Christmas menu. Offer expires 31/1/14

Community hub

Easing conflicts in relationships

Jeannette Redway and Ian Jones

Relationship breakdown need not be as painful or traumatic as many people experience.

It is human nature to try to resolve relationship breakdown issues ourselves. Most people lay the blame with their partner as it protects them from facing the possibility that they might be in the wrong, or even partly responsible for the breakdown of the relationship.

The emotional pain suffered when the methods we deploy to deal with conflict don't work, can be devastating. We can become obsessed about the 'ex' and what he or she has done or how he or she has behaved. We always see ourselves as the victim and our ex-partners are always the perpetrators causing our pain. They can become an obsession which haunts us day and night and our experiences are often described as a 'nightmare'.

Even if you have not experienced this yourself, I am sure you will know of someone who has been through it and seen how it has affected them.
When we are locked in a painful conflict with our partners at the point of, or during relationship breakdown, we can experience a profound sense of fear and loss. The relationships and commitments we make when we marry often provide us with the stability, security and that solid foundation we need to live a healthy life. Research has shown that those who live with a partner in a loving relationship do not experience the same level of mental or physical health issues as those who live alone.

When our security and stability are threatened, our core foundations are rocked and our world is 'turned upside down'. Nothing is what we thought it would be, so how can we ever find that again. This triggers the intense feelings of fear and loss, and projection and blame are classic ways of dealing with such difficult emotions. However, for the majority of people, with the right kind of help and support, separation can be far less stressful.

So what sort of 'help' or 'support' could make such a painful event any better?

Mediation can help a separating couple to begin to deal with the implications of relationship breakdown on finances, accommodation and parenting.

A mediator is a neutral professional, trained to help you through the conflict and resolve practical problems. The mediator does not take sides and will help you address the issues together, understanding the nature of the conflict which is the barrier to communication.

A mediator can also help where communication has completely broken down and help you to move away from a culture of blame, confrontation and hostile language.

All you need to enter into mediation is a willingness to work together to find a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation sessions usually take place as meetings between the mediator and both parties, but can also take place with each of you separately or even in different rooms with a co-mediator supporting the main mediator. We also offer a Skype service where appropriate. The mediator always works with the separating couple to identify the best way forward for them.

At the Chiltern Mediation Centre, we have a multi-skilled team who can help to resolve conflict and identify practical ways of reaching a resolution.

  • Two trained Mediators to support and guide couples through the mediation process.
  • A Counsellor to help with emotional difficulties experienced when faced with the enormity of change. Counselling offers a safe space to discuss and explore, in confidence, the many different possibilities and outcomes that may arise from a change in circumstances.
  • A Family Consultant who can support with managing the impact of separation on children and help parents to work out practical solutions to the challenges of parenting before, during and after separation.
  • A Family Lawyer, a Financial Advisor and a Probate Solicitor to support our Mediators where financial situations are complex.

All in all, we offer a comprehensive resource for supporting separating couples and a passion for getting a fair and mutually acceptable outcome for all our clients at a fraction of the cost of pursuing litigious settlement through a court.

The main benefits of family mediation

  • An effective alternative to litigation
  • Both parties are in control of their decisions
  • Reduction in levels of conflict
  • Reduction in likelihood of long term resentment
  • Cheaper than using solicitors
  • Long lasting, mutually acceptable agreements

'New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings'


Chesham Town News

Chesham Town News

Positive Thinking

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