Saturday, 31 December 2011

January 2012 Newsletter, with guest article from William Bloom

January 2012 Dare to Blossom Newsletter

In this issue:

Guest article: William Bloom
Reflections: on William's piece, and on A New Year

Daring to Blossom Workshops: special offers
News: winner of the December draw for free coaching sessions
Inspiring links

Guest article: William Bloom

My thanks to William for permission to republish this article from his recent email newsletter. To subscribe or to find out more about his work, visit (If you visit William's website at the moment there is a lovely cartoon on the front page!) The article is also featured in the January 2012 edition of Cygnus Review. (


In the weeks before Christmas my heart was moved by the death of two friends, who may also be well known to you. You will, I am sure, want to join me in sending condolences to the families of Roger Woolger and Gill Edwards who both died, too young for my liking. May their journeys be graceful and blessed. May their families feel love and comfort.

Roger, you may remember, was the author of several books including the classic Other Lives, Other Selves about reincarnation and how our past lives affect us today. He was a full-blooded, intelligent, wry and independent thinker who helped to pioneer and clarify a therapeutic approach to past life memories and regression. His company was warm and stimulating.

Gill, of course, was the author of the pivotal Living Magically, which was and still is a crucial bestseller and gateway book, opening up thousands of people to their inherent spirituality.  Like Roger she too had a background in psychology. She was also an accomplished teacher and an inspiration to so many people in the world of contemporary spirituality.  Only recently she published another inspiring book Conscious Medicine.

Both of them were pioneers, synthesising the best of modern psychology with the wisdom of ancient spiritual traditions. I knew them both over thirty years and had collaborated with them in various ways, always knowing that I could contact them for advice or suggestions, and sometimes we shared students who needed special support.

Whenever I met either of them over the last three decades, our conversations were immediately intimate, good-humoured and helpful. We knew that we were part of a movement exploring new ways of expressing and teaching spiritual development. We shared an affectionate solidarity. I am sure that all of you who knew them too, whether as colleagues, students or readers, also appreciated their strength of spiritual character and presence.

And I miss them both.

They were part of my personal landscape for many years. I am sad that their physical presence is no longer here for me and I feel some grief. I imagine that you too, reading about their passing, may also feel some emotions of loss. This is a normal human response, isn’t it, a normal sadness and emotion?


But here is the irony. From the other side of death, looking down on us, I can imagine both of them smiling: Hey you down there, stop all that grieving. Life continues after death. We’re still here, but just in another dimension and we’ll meet again. Stop your sadness and get on with life!

Roger’s books and teachings were all about the continuity of life after death and Gill’s teachings too were filled with information about the invisible dimensions. In fact, after her death Gill’s family posted on her website a letter that she had recently written to someone who had just lost a loved one. Gill’s letter reminded this person about life after death and the continuation of consciousness and connection.

I too write and teach about these realms. I even lead a course on how to support the transfer of consciousness at death and I spend time every day in meditation, contemplating the dimensions beyond the gateway of death. I am sure that many readers of this article are also attuned to these spiritual dimensions.

But here’s the rub for us. For all the beauty of life beyond death and for all the spiritual realities, we are also warm-blooded creatures, mammals, beings of feeling and emotion. And Gill and Roger were also flesh and blood — and now they are gone.

They may be alive in another dimension, but in this one they are missed.

I write all this as a counterpoint to those spiritual folk who may deny natural, instinctive and healthy emotions, suggesting that death should have no poignancy.

For all the wisdom and knowledge we may have about life after death, would any of us dare to tell a parent not to grieve for their lost child? Or dare to advise a young child not to grieve for a lost parent? This would not be humane. It would lack heart, which is at the core of spirituality — heart, compassion, empathy, fully present to human sadness, suffering and loss, as well as to joy, celebration and genius.

Without heart, perhaps all the knowledge of the inner worlds is worth nothing.

So whilst we may know full well that Gill and Roger are smiling, enjoying their new dimensions, and whilst celebrating their lives and gifts, it is also understandable, normal and fully human to feel loss and miss them.

And this perhaps is what I value most about my friends, students, colleagues and teachers. We have a sense of community, a community of the heart. May it expand and radiate to serve all.

So my lovely friends and companions, whether you are in this world or the next, may the coming year be filled with graceful growth, cosmic enjoyment and abundant blessings.

Wishing you all love.


Reflections on William's piece
I found reading this very moving. Both these people have been important in my life through their books: each had a warm, intimate and sharing way of writing that both helped the reader understand their teaching and to feel a personal connection with them as individuals.

I also feel that William's points are important to us all: we all feel grief, sometimes for a big loss as in the death of of a loved one. At other times changes happen that are also a loss: growing old and feeling the effects of that; losing a job; moving away from friends or family; losing a treasured possession.

At such times the ultimate outcome may also be something to celebrate: the release of a person from pain and suffering; the wisdom of growing older; a new job; different ways of communicating and a new respect for the value of friends and family. These mixed feelings may lead to complicated emotions, guilt even.

These feelings and emotions are what they are, feelings and emotions. Many spiritual teachings indicate that the reason that we, as spiritual beings, have decided to come and live in this world as a physical human being is to experience just this. To experience the whole range of human feelings, emotions, and physical experiences that each add to our experience and learning.

So, as William says above: "
For all the beauty of life beyond death and for all the spiritual realities, we are also warm-blooded creatures, mammals, beings of feeling and emotion. And Gill and Roger were also flesh and blood — and now they are gone."

The sharing of joy, and grief and learning, the connections we make when truly communicating heart to heart is what this life is all about for me. In William's words "..a community of the heart. May it expand and radiate to serve all."

Thank you to William, and to all of you in my community of the heart around the world. Namaste: I bow to you.

Reflections on A New Year

2012 will be a special year for me, and in spite of natural reticence on talking about my age, I am happy to say that I have already started my 60th year. As a rule I subscribe to the belief that 'age is just a number', but this year I feel proud that  this is the stage in my life I am entering.

This stage is not necessarily signified by the number of years I have lived, the amount of grey in my hair, nor marked by any feeling that I have by now learned all the lessons (I am sure I have not!), but more by coming to a place, a feeling, that I am able to be me. And by being me, at times messy, unfinished, even unhappy, at other times wise and strong and peaceful - by truly being all of these things I can help others in their own journeys to be truly themselves.

I have been reviewing the newsletters I have sent since I began this practice in March 2007. This is the fifth January edition I have written in that time: each has the themes of reviewing the past, looking forward to the future. The suggested activities below come from the first January Newsletter in 2008, and felt very relevant to me especially in relation to the thoughts above on grief and moving on.

For you: some suggestions for your journal or meditation reflections: 
  • What has ended over the last year? 
  • Have I recognised and marked these endings?  (There may be a celebration, or a memorial ceremony that would feel appropriate to mark them.)  Are they happy or sad?  Is there anything that should have ended but is dragging on?  Should it be ‘laid to rest’?
  • What began afresh this year?
  • Where have/are these new beginnings taking me?  Are they continuing into 2012?  Do I want them to continue?
  • What new beginnings to you want to make happen for yourself?  What actions can you take to achieve this?

Daring to Blossom Workshops: special offers
As regular readers will know, I am running a new series of workshops in 2012 on the theme of "Seeing You, Being You". I have extended the special offer for newsletter subscribers, so if you are quick you can still book a place at half price (£30 instead of £60) for the first event on Saturday 21 January. Book before 7 January for the discount, or contact me to discuss paying in installments.

The venue for the workshops is the wonderful and peaceful Pinetum Park and Pine Lodge Gardens, near St Austell. (Very close to the world-famous Eden Project - why not come for a weekend and spend a day at the amazing biomes?)

Choose to attend any one event, a combination of dates, or all four. Your experience will be just right for you whatever your choice.

Each event is interactive and experiential, this means that ’being there’ and sharing experience is what matters. You are totally free to participate and share as much or as little as you wish.  Each group is special and different and each person present brings their own individual contribution and takes away some particular nuggets of meaning just for them.

Cost: £60 per workshop, with half-price offers for each workshop for early bookings.
For full details and to book visit the Daring to Blossom dedicated site.

Saturday 21 January 2012: Winter: a time for insights, planning and preparation
Saturday 21 April 2012: Spring: a time for action
Saturday 21 July 2012: Summer: a time for growth
Saturday 20 October 2012: Autumn: a time for reflection and renewal

Times: arrival from 9.30 a.m. for refreshments, start at 10.00 a.m., finish at 4.00 p.m.
Bring: a notebook, and a packed lunch.  Coffee, tea etc and biscuits will be provided.

Need more information? Contact me or read feedback from people who have attended past Dare to Blossom workshops, click here.
I am working  on the online course, for those of you who are unable to come to Cornwall for any reason and those spread out around the world in our Daring to Blossom community. 

News: winner of the December draw for free coaching sessions
The draw has been made and the winner informed, but due to Christmas holidays I have not yet heard back from them with permission to publish their name in this newsletter.  If it is you, I’ll look forward to hearing from you and working alongside you to make 2009 a very special year.  If it is not you, there will be another chance to win in the next draw at the end of June, and you can take up the offer of a free consultation at any time, just email me to make an appointment.

Inspiring links
This may be rather 'sugary'  for some tastes, but contains a universal truth about making a difference all the same, click here for the video link.

I welcome any comments or feedback -  if you feel inspired!
all best wishes


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dare to Blossom Newsletter December 2011

December 2011

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom newsletter

In this issue:

New Daring to Blossom workshop series
Personal Pilgrimage to Deerhurst Church

Reflections: Journeys
Euro Coach List Conference: my experience
Inspiring Links

This is a bumper newsletter, with lots for you to read, follow up and think about. Maybe during the Christmas break, although a busy family time, you will take some time for yourself too - to reflect on the past year and form some plans for the year ahead. Maybe make a vision board for 2012 - this is a wonderful exercise to do with members of your family, it opens up ideas, discussion - and is inspiring, not to mention lots of fun.

Daring to Blossom workshop series: "Seeing you: Being you"
Please look out for a separate email very soon with details of the "Seeing You: Being You" workshop programme for 2012. I am very excited about the ideas that have been germinating, and about to burst into blossom: four workshops that can be attended individually as a single experience or as a series moving you forward through 2012.

The first date will be Saturday 21 January and I am just awaiting confirmation of a beautiful venue in mid  Cornwall before sending you the full details. As a loyal newsletter subscriber, you will be able to book a place at half price (£30 instead of £60) to treat yourself as a  Christmas gift as well as looking after everyone else.. There will also be discounts for booking the series of four events or you can choose to book singly.

So, look out for the special email soon, and book your place as soon as you can, the size of the group will be around twelve people.

For those of you not fortunate enough live here or able to come to magical Cornwall, I am working on an online course and a book, so you won't be left out. The ethos of the programme is that the time is now, whatever it is you have been waiting for, now is the time to stand up, be seen, be the truly amazing you that is within. Let's make 2012 the year when we all make things happen.

Personal Pilgrimage to Deerhurst Church
I recently wrote about my visit to Deerhurst here, with some photos:

Reflections: Journeys
My intention this month was to write about my experiences at the ECL11 Conference. (See more below.)

However, starting to write this section in mid-November, and reflecting on that event and the days since, the concept of journeys came to mind. Not only was that trip to Gloucestershire a journey for me physically, but also meeting people, working with them in workshops, emailing and speaking to them since - all feels part of a journey.

I was about to write 'a new journey', but it isn't. It feels more like another step or two on my journey of life. And that includes death too as part of life. This week I have learnt of the death of two spiritual teachers of mine.

One was a very private person who I won't name here. She made a huge difference in my life around 15 years ago, introducing me to art therapy and supporting me with some insights. We had almost lost touch except for Christmas cards. I knew she had been very ill, but not that she had died. Recently I received in the post a little booklet of her poems with a personal inscription, together with a note from her husband. I was moved and touched that she had not only taken trouble to do this (for me, and I imagine, for a number of others) and that her husband, who I do not know, had sent it on.

The next day I learnt that Gill Edwards recently passed on. She is the author of 'Living Magically', 'The Gift', and other books that have helped me immensely. There is a farewell message on her website
. It is a moving encouragement to anyone living with grief.

Depending on your personal beliefs, death may be the end, or the beginning of an new journey. For those of us left behind there is a new stage in our journey. For me hearing the news that these two people are no longer with us was poignant and linked with my personal pilgrimage to Deerhurst, described in my blog post. Even though it is over six years since my mother died that visit felt like a ceremony of remembrance and celebration, and both a connection and a saying good bye.

Euro Coach List Conference: my experience
Overall, I could describe my experience of this as: a feeling of community, meeting friends and making new ones, challenging, varied, full of conversation, discussion and learning, fun, laughter. All in a wonderful country house setting with excellent food and very professional staff.

The conference venue: Eastwood Park

I have pages of notes which will be useful in many ways. There were stimulating discussion and panel sessions on hot topics in coaching. There was such an amazing selection of workshops that it was hard to choose one of the four options for each time slot, under the headngs "You", "Your Coaching", "Your Business".

My first choice was easy as I was delivering a workshop, on the "Feed Forward" process. I learnt a lot from this workshop: that coaches are a different group of people work with (of course!), and that they also have the same issues and concerns as all my other groups. I was honoured that six people chose to come and spend their time with me. For some it was a good experience and for others it was too slow. It was interesting that I had brought extra activities in case it was a small group, but it had not seemed necessary to introduce them. I have reflected on all the feedback and will kow how to improve that workshop neext time I run it.

There is a 
link on the conference website to the programme and information on all the other and how to book for next year, I am going to book early as it was such a great event I don't want to miss out in 2012.

Other people's workshops I attended were:
Sam Chittenden's 
"The Poetry of Coaching" 
Karen Skehel's "Biodanza"
Julia Porter's "Resonate to your authentic voice"
Janine Waldman's "The Question is the Intervention"

Each of these was unique, different, energising, inspiring. Some such as "The Poetry of Coaching" were reflective. I particularly enjoyed discussing the poems  provided by Sam with the group on my table, and thinking about "bringing my poet to work", and using poetry in business and metaphor in coaching.

Janine's session on solution focused questioning was stimulating and thought-provoking. We talked about using questions that illuminate rather than destroy, and practised doing this is small groups.

The Biodanza session at the end of the day on Saturday was an amazing, enlivening experience. No talking, just wonderful and varied music, dance, movement, connection with others in a very deep and elemental way. I spoke to someone after I left the workshop and they commented I was glowing and re-energised - and I certainly felt that way!

In Julia's workshop she used muscle testing with the whole group in a way I have not experienced before. She led us through establishing our highest intention "I love living in my greatness", identifying and removing the key barriers, and establishing a state of being to enable each of us to move forward in taking action in relation to our greatness and authenticity.

Outside these sessions (as well as within them) there was so much sharing oif experiences and ideas, lively discussion (sometimes agreeing to disagree!) and laughter. I certainly came away feelng wonderfully inspired in all aspects of my life and my coaching. I hope I have given you a little taste of the atmosphere.

To give you a flavour of the conference,  David Adams has given me permission to share with you the poem he wrote during the conference, and read to us at the end:

So, on behalf of Amechi,
Just run don't panic
If you know where
The conversation's going
It's not coaching!
A smart coach or
A smart mentor
Does it matter?
What a question
For the Stilton
Of coaches
Blue and white
Rather than black
And white
Does it really matter?
You just have to know
Enough - of course
That's why
We're here.
Where has your thinking
Got you? Are goals
Part of your Vision, or
Is your Vision
Part of your goals?
Have you got the resources?
Have you got the focus
On your seven
Conversations? Has
Your client?
Are you missing
Something important?
Have you created
The team culture?
Are these questions
Powerful enough?
Should we apologise
For the tyranny of
The question?
How long can I wait
For your answer?


Ok, how far should
We go?
(In our coaching relationships)
Being spontaneous
Or being liberal
Internal and external
Individual and collective
Shell or crystal?
As the authentic coach
To the core of one's
Being. Which side of
The line
Are you on? It's something
You do. In this relationship.
Stand up. Sit down
To learn more.
To allow us
To earn more,
Brownie points
That is. Being present
With human beings
As clients, attentive
Informing the space.
Some do, some don't
Some will, some won't
Some are Georges
Some are Johns
Some are Nancy
Some are Gladeana
So, do tell stories and
Build the trust.
Be in the space.

So, why did I sit
At the back for
Breakfast? Because
The observer is not
The observed.
That's the official version
Truth is
All the places were
Taken, by the time
I arrived. The sleeper
Eventually awakes!

So, what was yesterday
All about? A collegiate
Place to look at
Movement, Poetry,
Directive Edge.
Tango, Constellations and
Metaphor; Biodance and
Marketing. What a wild
Bunch we coaches are.
Sensitive, mellifluous, amazing
Revelationary, tantalising
SMART coaches.
Sharing points of view
Sharing experiences,
The panel reflects
The conference, reflects
The delegates. Some of us
Don't feel we're delegates
We feel we're amongst
Friends. IQ, EQ,
The B&Q
Of coaching practice
We have to do it ourselves
We have to do it our
Way. Ethically, Morally
Legally. In which cloud
Is your data? With which
Code do you comply? Let's
All stay confused - it
Tells you that you need
To make a fresh decision
Make a fresh choice.
Remember whose agenda
You are on. Remember
In which framework you
Act. Are your interventions
Provocative enough?
How do you know?
What a wonderful dilemma
What a wonderful profession
What a joyous profession
Safe home! Long life!

Lots of laughter and a huge round of applause followed David's reading of this!
Read more about David using the links below:

David Adams
Accountant, Poet, Coach

Wikipedia David Adams
Inspiring links

This is thought-provoking (and maybe just a little tongue in cheek?): "Dance versus Powerpoint: a modst proposal"

And this is an inspiring piece from a young person: "Being young and making an impact."

For cat lovers, a new twist on the 'cat and (computer) mouse' jokes: "Iggy investigates an ipad"