April 2011


That's a Big Hailstone!

We had an amazing storm yesterday which turned to hail for a time. Asha, our 18 year old, got excited and gathered some of the hailstones and saved them in the freezer. She and I went out during a break in the weather to see the swollen streams as they entered the ocean, pushing the surging sea up in a brown maelstrom. Storms are exciting, but I must say my young lettuce plants weren’t too impressed. Some of their leaves were bruised and needed to be removed. Here are a couple of photos Asha took. The photo of the storm was taken through an open door. Do you see the orbs? That’s not reflection in a window. The other photo gives you an indication of just how big the hailstones were.

Orbs Captured in a Photo of the Hailstorm

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

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My recent special guest on Voices from the North was Jackie Connell. Jackie edits the monthly newsletter for International Dolphin Watch (IDW) and, together with her husband, Terry Connell, is the co-founder of Operation Sunshine, a UK-based charity helping special needs families throughout the UK and internationally.

Jackie Connell has always been concerned about our environment and the need to bring a more meaningful and spiritual aspect into people’s lives. From the moment she heard dolphin expert Dr. Horace Dobbs being interviewed by Johnny Walker on BBC Radio 2 in 2000 she knew she was going to meet and work with this extraordinary man. But, as you listen to the hour I spend in the studio with Jackie, you’ll realise this sort of intuitive premonition is nothing new to her. The story she shares of the magic that brought Terry and her toNew Zealandleaves little doubt that Jackie has been cruising in the arms of the angels all her life. From childhood she had a recurring dream of a place she didn’t recognize. When a colleague from the open university where she worked sent Jackie a postcard fromMatauriBaywhile on vacation inNew Zealand, a postcard of a scene identical to her lifelong repetitive dream, Jackie and Terry began an odyssey that eventually landed them on the sunny shores ofNew Zealandas swallows for six months of the year.

Two pieces of music are shared during the hour. First there is a haunting track from Enigma called The Dream of the Dolphin. You can hear that song below.

Later we play A Song of Iruka, a melody from a Japanese woman who claims the song was written by dolphins and channelled through her. Inspired by the work and vision of Horace Dobbs, Konoe Ishizaki co-founded the Ki and Dolphin Healing Centre inKyoto. At 10.00pm on 26 November 1993, two weeks before the Dolphin Healing Centre opened, Konoe had a vision in which the dolphins gave her the following message:

Good evening! The fact is that you were born here to come and play a ‘life’ game. Be generous enough to play with anybody whom you encounter and also with those who say something nasty. You are all playfellows. There are humorous people and there are people who are not so humorous. Imagine that all of you are enjoying the game together. Some play the role of a disliked person, some play the role of clown. Everybody has a role to play.

This philosophical perspective is remarkably similar to that pieced together by regression hypnotist and therapist Dr. Michael Newton in his inspiring book Journey of Souls. As for the practical and loving guidance of angels in the synchronistic unfolding of our lives you need look no further than Paul Elder’s book, Eyes of an Angel.

Konoe Ishizaki’s song, Iruka No Uta (The Dolphin Song).can be heard here: http://www.idw.org/assets/applets/A_Song_Of_Iruka.wma

At the end of our time together Jackie Connell gifted me one of Horace Dobbs’ beautiful children’s books about Dilo, a make-believe dolphin. For more on the enigmatic dolphin pioneer Dr. Horace Dobbs, whose talks, books and films have introduced millions to the magical healing energy of dolphins, and for a complete list of his more than 20 books visit www.horacedobbs.com and/or watch the following video:

 In preparation for my interview with Jackie, I watched the powerful Oscar award winning documentary, The Cove,  featuring former Flipper trainer turned activist Ric O’Barry. Like Ric O’Barry, Jackie and the team of Operation Sunshine do not support dolphins being kept in captivity and therefore will not participate in programmes where dolphins are kept in such a way.

For more on how Operation Sunshine is changing lives through the power of dolphins visit: http://www.operationsunshine.org/

For the International Dolphin Watch free newsletter visit  the IDW web site where the latest news can be downloaded free through the home page at: http://www.idw.org/.

And, last but not least, my complete interview with Jackie Connell can be heard below:

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

Are the best years of your life going into a job you don’t like? Are all those hours of work breeding resentment or undermining your health? We should each be doing what we love.

In a world in which some work too many hours and others work none, couldn’t we learn to share the work that is available? When New Zealand corporatised her national railways in 1982, 12,000 jobs were immediately lost. Thus began a legacy of selling off national assets, increasing automation and, with the full scale onset of the global economy, the exportation of jobs toAsia where labour is cheaper. IconicNew Zealand brands like Fisher and Paykel and MacPac are no longer made inNew Zealand. Today, in a sense, they are Kiwi in name only.

We are only now beginning to witness the dire social implications of increased unemployment due to the policies of privatization and exportation of work. No one out of work remains happy for long. Increasing incidence of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, crime and the abuse of women and children are just a few of the most visible symptoms of the economic choices we’re made in the last four decades.

One way to reduce unemployment is for those who work too many hours to share their jobs. This was commonplace in schools when we were living in the Netherlands between 2002 and 2004. Teaching is an increasingly stressful occupation, not the least due to the collapse of many families and the behavioural issues in children as a result thereof. When a teacher works three days a week instead of five, they have the down time necessary to approach their highly important jobs with more enthusiasm and poise.

Initially it is a challenging step to reduce one’s hours due to the resulting reduction in pay. For many working 50 and 60 hour weeks it is normal to buy lunches and other meals and to rush through those meals. When jobs are shared and work weeks are reduced to, say, 30 hours there is the opportunity to pack your own lunch and to take the time to enjoy it. When you earn less you automatically reduce waste and recycle more. You have to. So as you gain off-work time you automatically treat the world more respectfully. When hurrying and scurrying and overworking, takeaways and throw-aways become the norm. It’s easy to waste when you have more than enough.

I work 28 hours a week at the library. The income from that job just pays our regular bills. Lucia’s yoga, meditation and healing work helps keep us afloat. I have the education, skills and experience required to obtain a full time management position with a significantly higher wage than I receive now. But I wouldn’t even consider looking for such a job. If I did, we’d need to buy another car, immediately increasing our carbon footprint and adding to the waste of our planet’s resources, resources which are diminishing by the day. I’d also have less time for all the other activities I love like spending quality time with my family, gardening, walking, dancing and writing. So what would be the point?

I love my work in the library, but I also love the time when I’m not there. Health and contentment come with balance. I’ll choose them over increased material wealth and stress any time. Will you?

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

Hoorn in the 19th Century:Painting by W.R. Dommersen

Back in the mid 1990s I was mired in a period of depression. I’d almost lost my marriage and ended up in a place I never expected to be—a below sea level part of the Netherlands. I didn’t initially speak the language and couldn’t find work to support my young family. Then, after making rapid headway with Dutch, I landed a job in a biodynamic family orchard in the country near our home. I’ve recorded a segment of Chapter 13 from my new book, Beyond the Search, which tells a little of the beautiful experience I had while working in that orchard. I hope you enjoy.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

Hushe School: One of the First CAI-Built Schools

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.

But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Mother Teresa

I am currently reading two inspiring books, each providing palpable proof that one man, armed only with pure intention and strength of will, can make a difference in the world.

No Impact Man: Saving the Planet One Family at a Time by Colin Beavan is the first such book. Henry David Thoreau retreated from his ‘civilized’ world in the mid 1800s to undertake a life of voluntary simplicity in a hand-hewn cabin on the banks ofWalden Pond. Colin Beavan completed a similar project in modern dayNew York City, only he dragged his partner and young child into the experiment with him. Beavan’s premise: our modern lifestyles are unsustainable and are rapidly depleting the earth’s resources and fouling the environment. He could see that even the best-meaning politicians aren’t taking the steps necessary to halt this potentially cataclysmic global degradation, so why not begin with the individual, with the family? His prose is witty and honest, his choices thought-provoking. He endeavoured to live a year with a minimal carbon footprint and he succeeded. Along the way he learned many things and he has been courageous to share them with us. He has made a difference.

Greg Morenson too has made a difference and David Oliver Relin shares the story of this humble humanitarian in his beautifully written biography: Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson was a mountaineer who nearly died in 1993 after an unsuccessful attempt to scale the planet’s most formidable peak—K2—in northernPakistan. By happenstance, he lost his way on his exhausting retreat from the mountain and stumbled into a remote Balti village in that Shangri La-like corner of the world. The experience of living with these impoverished simple-living Shia Muslim villagers and being nursed back to a semblance of strength and health by them, and his discovery that the village had no school led him to begin his life’s work of providing schools for young Islamic boys and girls in villages where no schools existed before.

Mortenson grew up inTanzaniawatching his father build a 600 bed hospital and his mother a school for the people of that sweltering land. Mortenson’s exceptional linguistic skills were forged in the oven ofAfrica. His Swahili was so fluent that, on the phone, people mistook him for an African. He has used these linguistic levers to masterPakistan’s national tongue, Urdu, together with the Balti and Pashto cadences of the mountain dwellers he serves. Prior to his shift to his humanitarian calling, Mortenson had been a nurse, cultivating compassion for those injured and in pain. These qualities have helped him gain the respect and support of the Pakistani people. And his efforts have perhaps created more goodwill betweenAmericaand the Islamic world than the efforts of all well-intentioned diplomats combined.

The Central Asia Institute (CAI), with Greg Mortenson at its head, can construct a school for less than twenty thousand dollars. That’s half of what it would cost the government of Pakistanto build the same school, and one-fifth of what the World Bank would spend on the same project. Visit the www.threecupsoftea.com web site to find out more. You can also help promote education for girls through a tax deductible contribution to the nonprofit organization, Central Asia Institute, at P.O. Box 7209, Bozeman, MT 59771, phone 406-585-7841 or visit www.ikat.org. It costs CAI $1.00 per month for one child’s education inPakistan orAfghanistan, a penny to buy a pencil, and a teacher’s salary averages $1.00 per day.

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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This one arrived in my inbox at the library. I have no idea who wrote it. I’ve only made minor editorial corrections. It makes me think of the other recent blog of the touching letter from Sendai. There is no doubt that these traumas have positive outcomes as well as significant discomfort associated with them.

You know you’re in Christchurch when …

       The rest of the country offers you a place to stay

      “Munted” and “buggered” are official technical terms

      You go ‘pfffff’ when Wellington has a 4.5 earthquake that’s 40km deep

      You see a nice park in another city and think it would make a good evacuation point

      You sleep in one suburb, shower in another and collect water from yet another

      When you drive on the right side of the road and no one thinks it’s wrong

      You are happy two Policemen came for a visit

      When your bike becomes your best friend

      You think it’s fine for a soldier to be stationed at the end of your street

      You see armoured vehicles driving down the road

      It’s normal to greet people with “do you need a shower?”

Street with Toilets in Christchurch

A bucket of sh*t is no longer that old car you drive

      Every house is a crack house

      Instead of rushing to the clothes line to get clothes in when it rains, you put dirty washing on the line in the hope that it will rain enough to clean them

      Going to Wellington to escape earthquakes makes sense

      Your doctor recommends having a few stiff drinks before bed to help you sleep

      You know how to start and refuel a generator

      You have tied the pantry, liquor cabinet and all the cupboard doors closed and it’s not to keep kids out

      You prefer to sit under the table instead of at it

      You think electronics that have “shock proof” should say to which earthquake magnitude

      You know and actually understand the terms and conditions of your House and Contents insurance policies

      You can see irony in claims about houses made of “permanent materials”

      Your en-suite has a vege garden, dog kennel and grass

Liqufication in the Suburbs

Your teenagers are only too happy to sleep in the same room as their parents

      You stop using the term “built like a brick sh*t house”

      Dressing up to “head into town” means putting on a hi-viz vest, hard hat and boots

      Discussing toilet habits with total strangers is an everyday norm
      Wee boys don’t get excited when they see (another) digger or a dozer – but all the adults in the street cheer wildly

      Voluntarily staying in Timaru for five days seems like a good idea
      You know what that extra gear lever on your 4X4 is for

      Metservice includes a graph for dust

      You have dust mask tan lines

      You can use the term “liquefaction” in everyday casual conversation, even your 3-year old can

      When a massive group of students appears in your street, you feel overwhelmed with gratitude  instead calling the Police. What’s more, the students leave the street in better condition than when they arrived

      The answer to where anything is … it’s on the floor

      You smile at strangers and greet people like you’re one big family

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

 

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

I visited our eldest daughter in Dunedin last August and neglected to post some of the photos of an excursion we made to an isloated beach on the Otago Peninsula to view sea lions and penguins. I correct that oversight below.

Strange Mating Rituals of Sea Lions

 

Amira and John Bundled Up For the Cold Southerly Wind

 

Coming In From a Day of Fishing

 

Emergence from the Sea

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com  

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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