I attended a conference once where one of the presenters said that when people undergo a major change in their lives they experience something very similar to grief. ‘Similar?’, I thought to myself. ‘No, it is more than similar, it is identical; it is grief’. Grief is our reaction to loss, not just our reaction to bereavement. This sounds a very straightforward statement to make, and yet I regularly encounter situations involving significant losses other than death where the people ...Continue Reading →
In the build up to launching the Avenue Professional Development Programme a few people have asked me what the thinking behind the initiative is. Perhaps it would be helpful if I put it in the context of how my thinking has developed.
For several years I taught students week in week out and the advantage of that was that I was able to link ideas together from one session to the next, respond to any concerns or confusions and help people ...Continue Reading →
Our humansolutions bulletin e-zine has featured a few articles on spirituality recently. A couple of people have asked me whether I have ‘found religion’. The short answer is no, but I found spirituality quite some time ago. My long-standing interest in existentialism has incorporated an interest in how we find meaning in our lives, how we make sense of who we are and how we fit into the wider world. Religion is obviously a major form of spirituality embraced by ...Continue Reading →
My wife and daughter were recently at the Beamish Open Air Museum on the day that a 7-year-old boy was killed in a tragic accident. We all know that death comes to us all eventually, but for a child to die is very different, and for him to die in a place of leisure and education seems particularly misplaced somehow. Many people bemoan the fact that they are growing old. Perhaps we should rejoice about the fact that we have ...Continue Reading →
Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend a conference at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the United States. The subject matter was end-of-life care. Many people would shy away from such a topic. However, there were some really interesting, thought-provoking discussions that showed how important and enriching a topic it is. Pretending we are immortal is not such a wise thing to do.
What was particularly good about the conference was the excellent atmosphere there. It ...Continue Reading →
I recently ran a residential workshop on grief in Snowdonia. The beautiful and peaceful setting no doubt contributed to the very positive atmosphere. It was very rewarding to see the group gel so well and to become so deeply engaged in talking about these difficult and painful issues. They were an excellent group to work with. I had seen the workshop as a one-off event, but the group were so keen to have further workshops that I have now started ...Continue Reading →
The idea that money brings happiness remains a very popular one, even though the evidence that this is a gross oversimplification of a very complex relationship has been around for a long time. Financial security can, of course, be a key factor in terms of well-being, as poverty and the anxieties it brings can have a very detrimental effect. Money can also buy power in some ways, and power can be important for well-being (just as powerlessness can be a ...Continue Reading →
A recent survey attempted to establish how happy Britain is. It was called the ‘National Well-being Programme’ and it showed regional differences in how contented people perceive themselves to be. For me this is no surprise. While the traditional approach to well-being is an individualistic one (atomistic, to use the technical term, as opposed to holistic), we need to look beyond such a narrow approach. The emphasis on happiness, rather than the broader concept of well-being, is indicative of such an individualistic ...Continue Reading →