September 2009


I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

                                                            ― Mark Twain


      Education annals tell of an elementary school teacher who arrived at her classroom on the first day of the term and studied her class roster.  To her delight, she saw high I.Q. marks next to each name – 121. . . 128 . . . 138.   “Thank goodness!”  she told herself.  “Finally a class I can do something with!”   

      The teacher gave the students challenging lessons and freedom to create.   As expected, they all excelled and at the end of the marking period most received A’s.   The next day the principal called the teacher to his office.   “How did you turn these low-functioning students into geniuses?”  he asked.   “What do you mean?”  the teacher replied, pointing out their I.Q.’s in her register.  The principal studied the register and shook his head.  “Those are their locker numbers,” he explained. 

      Excellence in any educational arena is based on (1) the passion of the student; (2) the passion of the teacher; (3) the self-image of the student; and (4) the image the teacher holds of the student. The role of a true teacher is not to cram facts into an empty brain, but to see the student as capable and powerful, and ignite the fire of purpose. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are teaching, you are robbing your students as well as yourself. If you are enthusiastic, you are giving your students the gift of aliveness. Education is not just about facts. It is about vision.

      In the movie E.T., young Elliott has met his extraterrestrial friend and hidden him in his bedroom closet. Elliott’s older brother Michael discovers E.T. and befriends him too.  On their way to school the next morning, Michael asks Elliott, “Did you explain school to him?” Elliott answers, “How do you explain school to higher intelligence?”

      Many schools have become little more than holding tanks and babysitting institutions.  Yet there are some teachers and administrators who remember that the goal of education is expansion of the spirit.  Students, they realize, do not come to school to be contained, but to be inspired.

 How can you draw forth the greatness in your children, students, employees or friends?

 I regard people as intelligent and capable, and ignite their potential by acknowledging it. 

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

The Beach Dancers. John in Purple Wig!

I’ve made several posts over the last months describing my family’s involvement with our monthly Céilís in Mangonui. I thought I’d paste below an article I wrote this week for the Northland Age, a local paper. Hopefully it creates for you a picture of this special event. The photos should help too.

Saturday, September 19th saw the unfolding of the monthly Céilí (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) in the Mangonui Hall. One of the features of a Céilí is the opportunity for attendees or band members to present an ‘item’ at some point in the evening. These items can take the form of a song, a dance, a story, a skit or an instrumental performance. Over the three and a half years the Céilí has been running in Mangonui there have been some pretty amazing items. The September Céilí was no exception. First, after about four dances, MC Brian Farrant announced there were some people about to arrive modelling 1920s beach wear. In bounded 8 members of the Kaitaia Scottish Country Dance club led by their gregarious leader, Brian’s wife, Gladys Farrant. The beach wear was colourful, if not exactly true to the period, and the dancing performed by the group brought smiles and laughter to the audience. Not to be missed was Gladys chasing fellow dancer and interestingly attired Ron Rice with a child’s plastic spade.

One of the founders of the local Céilí, Jill Freeman, entertained with the hilarious story of the gender of a computer (a story currently making viral rounds of the world via emails) and later, after more dancing and supper, Kerikeri’s Bill Dawes demonstrated his considerable prowess on the tin whistle. One listener was overheard saying, “That first song was powerful. It brought tears to my eyes.” Bill was quick to point out after his poignant offering that it was all done on a $5 whistle!

The Céilí band, Spootiskerry Spraoi (pronounced ‘spree’), was there as always providing foot stomping, toe tapping music led by band leader Jax Pellett on fiddle. This band gives their musical accompaniment entirely voluntarily and the composition of the band is fluid as members take off temporarily to fulfil other obligations. Replacement musicians jump to the fore to ensure great music is heard and danced to every month. The aforementioned Bill Dawes was one such fill-in on Saturday together with Grant Goodwin on the Bodhran (‘bow-ran’). People who were lucky enough to attend Trial by Jury by the Bay of Islands Singers would have seen Grant in another musical role.

The Céilí organisers invite you to attend on the third Saturday of every month at the Mangonui Hall. The next one will be October 17th. The doors open and the music starts at 7.00 pm.

Dancing begins at about 7.30 pm. Entrance fees are $2 per adult plus a plate for supper. Entry is free for accompanied children. It doesn’t get much more reasonable than that.

This is good old fashioned fun for all ages in an alcohol-free setting in the enchanting ambience of historic Mangonui Hall on the waterfront. Come along and enjoy. No dance experience is necessary and it is perfectly permissible to simply watch.

The Kaitaia SCD Beach Dancers in Mangonui

The Kaitaia SCD Beach Dancers in Mangonui

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

abdulbaha_01A few weeks ago a dear friend who’s a Baha’i lent me a book, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, complied and edited by Annamarie Honnold. I’ve been steadily working my way through it. Rather one could say, it and the subject of the book have been working their way through me. Here’s a description found on the publisher’s website.

Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdul-Bahá is a unique collection of stories, sayings and comments, providing a special insight into the life, character and station of Bahá’u’lláh’s eldest son. He was universally known to Bahá’ís as the Master but wished only to be known as the Servant. Not only those qualities for which He was chosen as the Centre of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, but also the human virtues which made Him the Perfect Exemplar for all Bahá’ís, are amply illustrated in over two hundred and fifty vignettes of His life, drawn from a very wide range of published, out-of-print and unpublished sources. The book is divided into three main sections, His Pure Heart, His Kindly Heart, and His Radiant Heart; and for those not already acquainted with the main events of His life, there is a brief factual introduction. The book is enhanced by a mixed selection of rare and well-loved photographs, and is itself dedicated to ‘Abdu’1-Bahá.

VignettesI have read many books by and about Masters from around the world and throughout history. Our home and my room is adorned with photos of many, Jesus included. A photo of ‘Abdul-Bahá is now included, sitting in a place of honour in my meditation area. Yesterday a friend brought roses for Lucia’s yoga class and these fragrant beauties are in a vase beside the photo. ‘Abdul-Bahá loved roses. So do I.

 I have been profoundly touched by this man’s words and by the absolute sanctity of his actions. He was a man of the highest character with unbounded generosity and humility. Someone told me once that it was ‘Abdul-Bahá who inspired Kahlil Gibran to write The Prophet. After dipping deeply in this book, I can believe that.

Another Baha’I friend said recently that whenever he is caught in a challenging situation at work or at home he asks himself, ‘What would ‘Abdul-Bahá have done in similar circumstances?’ I can understand that now.

 Just a few excerpts:

‘For ‘Abdul-Bahá truthfulness was as natural as breathing. He spoke not to gain popularity, nor to tell people what they wanted to hear. His words served to educate and help the hearer.’ Page 100

 ‘You must speak and write in such a way as not to offend anyone. The Lord addressed Moses and Aaron saying, “When you go to the Pharaoh, speak in a moderate, sweet language.”’ Page 99

“Let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who may cross your path.”

 ‘Abdul-Bahá was a family man of utmost compassion for the poor, to whom he would and did give the clothes off his back. Visitors to his extended household were stunned by the peace, harmony and laughter found there. He was truly an exemplar of what it is like to be fully human.

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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Take one genre, two combative critics, five authors angling to break out of the pack and what have you got? “Blurb!” – the new book show that’s anything but bookish. Each week, bibliophiles Sally Shields and Dr. Kent review not books themselves but pre-recorded pitches from five writers whose literary works are hot off the presses. And each has got a mere three minutes to convince the hosts that theirs is the one worth cracking. But if they succeed, they capture the coveted Book of the Week title. That means Sally and Dr. Kent post the winning work prominently on the Blurb! Radio page, and invite its author on their show a week later for a live pitch to thousands of listeners. Plus, each winning work will be featured on the BlogTalkRadio blog!

I just received news that In Search of Simplicity will be one of the books featured Friday, 25 September 2009 on the above Blurb ! Radio Show at 12:30 PM EST. Have a listen. This is exciting! I better a few hours of sleep. That will be 4:30 AM Saturday here.

Book Cover TargetHere’s the link:

Dr. Kent Gustavson: Publishing Guru

Dr. Kent Gustavson: Publishing Guru

Sally Shields Bestselling Author

Sally Shields Bestselling Author



Wow. Monday’s Wake Up call was unbelievable – 2632 events in 134 countries, tens of thousands of phone calls crashing government lines, unbelievable creativity and diversity of events, directly reaching heads of state and cabinet ministers from Australia to Europe. Words can’t describe it — this video gets close:

Click here to watch the video.

The Wake Up call was covered by hundreds of major news outlets and made the evening news everywhere from Germany to New Zealand. Europe’s environment chief praised “the mobilisation of so many people by”, the UK Prime Minister became the first major world leader to agree to our demand to go to Copenhagen and said that with “the pressure that can brought by organizations like yours…what people think is impossible can become possible”. The Spanish environment minister called the action “extraordinary”.

World leaders have heard us. But as Tuesday’s UN summit showed, one day of action won’t be enough to get real progress on climate. We need to come back again and again, louder and louder, until we get a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty.

We’ll keep the pressure high through the TCKTCKTCK campaign until Copenhagen, with another global day of action on October 24th, and start planning right now for the LARGEST CLIMATE MOBILIZATION IN HISTORY ON DECEMBER 12th, in the final days of the Copenhagen negotiations.

Avaaz is now 3.6 million members strong in 14 languages, in every country of the world. On Monday, our movement took a huge step forward — we showed that we can not only send millions of messages to leaders or donate millions to worthy causes, but that in just a few days we can flood the streets and crash phone lines from Mexico City to Mumbai.

If we stick together, anything is possible.

With hope and excitement for the future,

Ricken, Ben, Paul, Milena, Alice, Luis, Brett, Taren, Margaret, Iain, Pascal, Graziela, Paula, Benjamin, Rajeev, Veronique, Raluca, Julius, Yuri, Saravanan, Vladimir, Tihomir, Sam, Emma and the whole Avaaz team

PS – the video above was made from over 10,000 wake up call pictures and 600 videos uploaded to Avaaz in just 24 hours! There were many tears among people making the video as we saw the amazing dedication of everyone, from the Avaaz community to our TCKTCKTCK campaign partners to people joining the first climate action of their lives. Click here to see the video of this amazing movement in action:

Want to support Avaaz? We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated online team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — donate here.

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter!

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.


I recently did an email blast with links to a few blogs I felt could be relevant to many people. One such blog concerned the various pandemics caused by vaccines. The link is here:

I then received the following email this morning. I print a very slightly edited (grammar and I’ve changed the names for the sake of anonymity) version below. I think this is interesting because this health practitioner points out the World Health Organization’s agenda and what is already happening in Europe.

 My name is Hilda. I am a friend of your friend Richard. I am working as a health practitioner in a clinic here and I am so much aware of what’s going on with the vaccination plan of WHO! The other day Richard got an interesting email about this topic from you, the whole story from last century! Unfortunately he couldn’t forward it to me! Would you be so kind and send me this email too. It would be very much appreciated. I know they are starting right now to force people to have these contaminated vaccines in Switzerland where I am coming from and in France and Greece.

 The world should wake up or like we say, “l`histoire se repete.” Have a wonderful day.

In October I’ll have a previous guest, Ashiya Austin return to Voices from the North.. Two years ago we spoke of Sea Shepherd and their efforts to halt illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. This time she’s going to share a plethora of gathered information on vaccines and their dangers. Keep tuned in for more on this topic.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

I recently connected with a woman on LinkedIn, Martha Jette. She is a former newspaper editor and five-time published author. Out of the blue she asked if she could review my book in exchange for reviewing one of hers. She indicated she would post the review of my book on her blog and promptly sent me one one her books, Glimpses 2. I couldn’t turn down a possibility like this so I had BookSurge send a copy of In Search of Simplicity to her address in Ontario.

A few weeks later Martha got back me to say she’d finished the book and I could see her review on her blog. It was then I discovered she provides reviews for a fee of $25 to authors who wish to have her services. I felt privileged to have received the benefit of her experienced perspective for free.

And you can imagine my delight when I read the review she penned and posted. I’ve pasted it below. This is just one of many surprisingly pleasant experiences I’ve had on this journey of self-publishing. For more on Martha and to see the reviews she’s written visit



I just finished reading In Search of Simplicity by John P. Haines and feel like I’ve been given a great gift. That gift is a rare glimpse into the most remote reaches of our planet where people live the simple life – happy, long-lived lives with little more than their families and the clothes on their backs. It’s an almost forgotten existence that those of us in supposedly more progressive countries find hard to even imagine.
John began his mystical journey and search for truth after being sent on a two-year contract with Bell Canada International to Saudi Arabia. Already a manager with Bell, John always figured he’d pursue a corporate career. However, this was not to be. He found himself with new friends swimming amongst the beautiful coral reefs and abundance of life beneath the Red Sea, and his eyes were opened to a new and to him – as yet undiscovered world.


The itch to travel got hold of him and soon he found himself in such remote locations as Yogyakarta, Java, Papua New Guinea, Guilin in southern China, the Hunzas in northern Pakistan, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi, Nepal, Kathmandu, McLeod Ganj, Tibet, Dharmsala, India, Malawi, Africa and a sprinkling of tropical islands such as Kiriwina and Telofomin. He also traveled to such countries as The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Iran and Germany. Along the way, John learned about meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Chinese medicine, breathing exercises, the value of herbs and natural foods. As well he read books about renowned spiritual teachers, various philosophies and more. He also intermingled with the natives and learned their natural way of living long and contented lives. He learned that material wealth doesn’t come anywhere near as close to bringing happiness, as spiritual peace and good health.

“ I loved this wandering life where every day was an unknown adventure,” he said.
But traveling often on foot to less than sanitary places lead to some serious problems along the way. He suffered almost constant diarriah, severe headaches, fevers, a bout of appendicitis and even rabies. Even so, John came away from his traveling experiences a much more enlightened and happy man. He also fell in love. He met a beautiful Dutch woman named Lucia in McLeod Ganj who eventually became his wife.
I loved reading along as John traveled from one destination to another and I learned as he learned too. A couple of things really stood out to me. The first was an experience he had in Tibet. While meditating, he traveled out of body and understood the true essence of time, space and his place as a divine presence in the Now. He discovered his true Self. Anyone adept at meditation can achieve this and it’s truly a wonderfully enlightening experience.
As John traveled, many synchronicities occurred that put him at the right place at the right time, brought the exact information he needed or friends he’d met thousands of miles away suddenly appeared in some remote village. I also felt synchronicities while reading this book. John has been around the world but was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario. So was I! We shared an almost identical meditation experience and to my surprise, on Page 362 he recounted the time he heard the angels sing.
“The voices were, quite literally, out of this world,” he wrote. “I have never in my life, before or since, heard anything at all close to as beautiful as this. The sound was so profound and so melodious that it seemed to stir some deep musical memory in me.”
When I first told my daughters of a similar experience a number of years ago, they looked at me like I was from Mars. Now, with John’s written words, they know I’m not crazy! I have heard this heavenly choir on three separate occasions – all while I was praying in a meditative state.
The greatest lesson John learned through his myriad of experiences was that having just enough – was enough. Today, he, Lucia and their children live a simple, self-sufficient yet full life together in New Zealand.
I would highly recommend this book not only for it’s colorful descriptions of remote places and peoples, but also for the many insights that will have you re-evaluating your own life and how you live it. To get a copy of In Search of Simplicity go Here.

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