Tuesday, 27 March 2012

More FACTS about Childhood Sexual Abuse

In the United States, approximately 1 out of every 4 girls and 1 out of every 6 boys is sexually abused.a

Seventy to 73% of child sexual abusers report experiencing sexual abuse in their own childhood.e

Approximately 60% of sexual abusers are known to the child but are not family members, such as family friends, babysitters, or neighbors.c

Approximately 30% of sexual abusers are family members, such as fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, or cousins.d

It is estimated that less that half of all sexual assaults on children are reported to the police.g

According to the APA, women are the abusers in about 14% of cases reported among boys and 6% of cases reported among girls.g

A man in Melbourne, Australia, raped his daughter every day for 30 years from the 1970s until 2007. He fathered her four children, all who had severe birth defects. An Austrian man, Josef Fritz, kept his daughter imprisoned in a basement for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.b

The World Health Organization reports that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual violence globally in 2002.p

While the murder rate for minors is twice as high in low-income countries than in higher income countries, sexual abuse in the home is found in all countries. In many industrialized countries, as many as 36% of women and 20% of men said they have been the victim of sexual abuse as children, mostly within the family circle.p

According to WHO, 1.8 million children are involved in pornography and prostitution. Over 1.2 million children have been trafficked.p Males, especially children, are less likely to disclose abuse than females

Girls are more likely to disclose sexual abuse than boys.o

Francis Phillip Tullier, a 78-year-old convicted child molester who faced hundreds of molestation counts involving young girls, underwent surgical castration in order to be released from prison on parole. He had to pay for the surgery himself.b

The generally lower rate for male sex abuse may be largely inaccurate due to underreporting.

Because men are traditionally encouraged to be physically strong and competitive, male victims may be more hesitant to report sexual abuse because they feel they are “less of a man.”h

Child sex abuse includes body contact, such as kissing and oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Sex abuse can also include “flashing” or showing private parts, forcing children to watch pornography, voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), pressuring children for sex, having sex in front of children, and exploiting children for pornography or prostitution.q
“Child-on-child sexual abuse” occurs when a prepubescent child is abused sexually by another child or children. Often, the child perpetrator has been sexually victimized by an adult previously. “Inter-sibling abuse” occurs when one sibling molests his/her own sibling.g

Nineteen percent (375 million) of the world’s children live in India, which is the largest number of minors in a country. India also has the world’s largest number of sexually abused children, an astonishing 69%, or 276 million children.j

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 100-140 million women and girls around the world have been victims of female genital mutation, including 92 million in Africa.f

In his book Dirty Diplomacy, Craig Murray claims that the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, tortured and raped children in front of prisoners to make them offer false confessions.e

Disabled children are at higher risk for sexual abuse than non-disabled children

Researchers note that some disabled children may not be able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate touching of their body, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse.e

Children living with a single parent or a parent living with an unmarried partner are most at risk for child maltreatment, which is over eight times the rate of children living with married biological parents.g

South Africa has one of the highest rates of child abuse and baby rape. Researchers report that the belief that sexual intercourse with a virgin will cure a man of AIDS has lead to such high numbers. It is estimated that every one out of eight people in South Africa has AIDS. An estimated 40,000 children in South Africa are infected with HIV each year.h

Child abusers often do not use physical force but instead “groom” or use manipulative tactics, such as buying gifts, arranging special activities, exposing children to pornography, and rough housing to keep a child engaged with and often confused about the abuser’s motives.g

Researchers report that the vast majority of sexually abused children do not grow up to be offenders and that the “cycle of sexual abuse” does not fully explain why a person would molest children.g

Only a fraction of abusers are caught and convicted for their crimes. Most of those who are caught are eventually released to back to the community, albeit under probation or parole supervision.e

Children who are victims of sexual abuses can suffer many serious health effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, somatization, neurosis, chronic pain, sexualized behavior, learning problems, animal cruelty, self-destructive behavior, suicide, antisocial behavior, sleeping difficulties and/or nightmares, angry outbursts, not wanting to be left alone, and further victimization into adulthood. However, not all victims show behavioral changes.c

Africa has the highest prevalence of child sexual abuse (34.4%). Europe has the lowest rate of abuse (9.2%). America and Asia have rates between 10.1% and 23.9%.h

Sexual abuse, or any kind of abuse, negatively and permanently affects the physical development of a child’s brain. These physical changes result in psychological and emotional problems in adulthood.q

Women who were sexually abused as children reported significantly lower SAT test scores than women who were not abused.g

Children may not reveal sexual abuse because they feel shame or guilt, they worry no one will believe them, they fear being removed from their home, and they or their family may have been threatened. Very young children may not have the language skills to report the abuse or may not understand they are being abused.g

Approximately 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.e

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 63,527 children were sexually abused in the U.S in 2010, a drop from 150,000 in 1992. While some researchers were surprised that the recession did not cause more cases of sexual abuse, others note that the drop may reflect methodological changes of counting reports as well as lower levels of abuse.g

Most children do not tell anyone they have been abused, and those who do tell often have to tell several people before any action is taken.q

Not all pedophiles are child molesters, and some child molesters do not meet the clinical definition of pedophile. Pedophilia is a clinical term that describes a person who has had repeated arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors related to sexual activities with children for at least six months. Pedophiles do not necessarily have to act on their urges. Child molesters have the same attraction to children, but they act on their urges.g

Child pornography is one of the fastest growing Internet businesses, increasing at an average 150% per year for each of the last 10 years. The National Center for Missing and Exploited

Children (NCMEC) reports that it has reviewed more than 51 million child pornography images and videos.o

There is a clear link between possession of child pornography and the actual violation of children.

The NCMEC estimates that 40% or more of people who possess child pornography also sexually assault children.o

Of the arrests for the possession of child pornography during 2000-2001 in the U.S., 83% had pornographic materials of children between ages 6 and 12, 39% had material involving children between ages 3 and 5, and 19% had material of toddlers under the age of 3 or infants.g

Approximately 1.3 million children in America are sexually assaulted each year. There are an estimated 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America.e

Researchers estimate that 20 million Americans have been victims of parental incest as children.e

A 2004 study revealed that 9.6% of public school children, accounting for 4.5 million students, have experienced sexual misconduct, from being told sexual jokes to sexual intercourse by educators. Offenders include teachers (18%), coaches (15%), substitute teachers (13%), principles (6%), and student counselors (5%).g

Researchers stress that it is crucial to respond in a supportive manner if a child discloses abuse.

Children who disclose abuse and receive a negative reaction or no reaction at all suffer more from general trauma symptoms, dissociation, and PTSD than those who had supportive responses.e

Ninety-five percent of molested children know their molesters.k

The 1992 film The Boys of St. Vincent is a docudrama based on real events about sexual abuse at a Roman Catholic orphanage and its cover up.e

Most child sex abuse offenders are 10 or more years older than the victim. More than half of child molesters are under the age of 35.e

Between 250,000-500,000 child molesters reside in the U.S. today.n Pedophiles are often likable, friendly, engaging, and frequent events that children attend

Male offenders who abused girls have an average of 52 victims each. Men who molested boys had an average of 150 victims each.e

Child molesters come from all backgrounds and social classes. However, most molesters (1) are male, (2) work in an environment surrounded by children, (3) befriend the parents first and then gain the child’s trust, and (4) attend events such as sports, camping, and video arcades.e

Gerald Arthur “Jerry” Sandusky, famed Penn State football assistant coach, was arrested in November 2011 and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys. The choice of his attorney, Joe Amendola, has been questioned because Amendola himself impregnated a 16-year-old in the 90s.l

U.S. researchers have found that women who were sexually abused as girls repeatedly have a 62% percent higher risk of heart problems later in life compared with other women who were not abused. Much of the risk was related to coping strategies, such as alcohol abuse, overeating, and drug abuse.c

Up to 20,000 children were sexually abused by 800 Roman Catholic workers in the Netherlands since 1945.e
n November 2011, Christopher Jarvis, a Catholic Church pedophile abuse investigator, admitted to possessing, making, and distributing indecent images of children. Hired by the church as a child safety coordinator in 2002, he had more than 4,000 images of primarily boys, including rape, from ages 10-12 on his camera memory stick and laptop.g

The Society of Jesus’ Pacific Northwest unit and its insurers agreed to pay a record $166.1 million to about 470 people, mainly Native American children, who were sexually and psychologically abused as children by Jesuit priests from the 1940s to the 1990s. The settlement was the largest settlement by a religious order in the history of the world.g

The Catholic pedophile scandal in the U.S. broke in 2002 when it was reported that many leaders of the archdiocese had moved priests who had abused minors to new parishes rather than reporting them or defrocking them. The scandal has involved almost every US Catholic diocese, including 4,400 priests and 110,000 children who were abused between 1950 and 2002.g

The 2010 documentary Dancing Boys of Afghanistan reveals a custom prevalent in the area called bacha bazi (Boy for Play) where men buy young boys from impoverished families for sexual slavery. The young boys are forced to dress in women’s clothes and dance before being taken away by men for sex. One warlord reported having over 30,000 boys over 20 years, though he was married and had two sons. Some scholars note that repression of sexuality and widespread gender apartheid in the region contributes to homosexual pederasty.g

Child marriages are legal in several countries. For example, in Yemen, more than a quarter of girls are married before the age of 15. As recently as 2010, a 12-year-old child bride in Yemen died from internal bleeding following intercourse. Additionally, it is not uncommon in Saudi Arabia for a 12-year-old girl to be married to an 80-year-old man.i

According to the FBI, approximately 1 in 10 men have molested a child, with little chance of being caught (3%). Additionally, the FBI estimates that a child has almost a 25% chance of being molested.n

The FBI estimates that there is a sex offender living in every square mile in the United States.n
According to Dr. Herbert Wagemaker, an estimated 4% of the population suffers from sexual attraction toward children.g

The re-arrest rate for convicted child molesters is 52%.g

Prison inmates are more likely to assault fellow prisoners who have been convicted of sex crimes against children. Many inmates refer to molesters as “dirty” prisoners and that assaulting or killing them is doing a service to society. In the prison hierarchy, snitches and molesters are usually the most hated.m

Most sexual assaults are committed by the same race as the victim. An exception to this is Native Americans. Those who commit a sexual crime against Native Americans are usually not Native American.k

There is just a small subset of child sexual abusers who are exclusively attracted to just children.

A majority of people who abuse children are or have been attracted to adults as well.k

Classic signs of sexual abuse include odd injuries, ripped clothes or underwear, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, hyper-sexuality, withdrawal, exceptional fear of a person or certain places, unreasonable fear of a physical exam, drawings that are scary or that use a lot of black and red, and attempts to get other children to perform sexual acts.q It is crucial to be nonjudgmental if a child discloses sexual abuse

If a child reveals that he or she has been sexually abused, it is crucial that adults listen nonjudgmentally to the child and report it immediately. If the abuse is within the family, report it to the local Child Protection Agency. If the abuse is outside the family, report it to the police or district attorney’s office. Parents should also consult a pediatrician and a child/adolescent psychiatrist. It is important the child understands that the abuse is not his or her fault. A child should never be blamed for the abuse.q

Parents can help prevent sexual abuse by educating themselves and their children about what sexual abuse is and by staying alert to the classic signs of sexual abuse. Parents also need to teach their children about the privacy of body parts, listen to their children, and to be aware of where and with whom their children are spending their time.q

a “Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
b “Child Molester Undergoes Castration for Parole.” MSNBC. March 4, 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
c “Child Sexual Abuse.” MedlinePlus. 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
d “Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet.” NCTSN. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
e Doak, Melissa J. 2011. Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. New York, NY: Gale Cengage Learning.
f “Female Genital Mutilation.” World Health Organization. February 2010. Accessed: December 30, 2011.
g Floric, MaryLee and Matthew Broyles. 2012. Sexual Abuse. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
h “Global Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse.” Journalist’s Resource. November 15, 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
i Gohir, Shaista. “The Hypocrisy of Child Abuse in Many Muslim Countries.” The Guardian. April 24, 2010. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
j Lal, Neeta. “Hidden Darkness: Child Sexual Abuse in India.” Asia Sentinel. May 2, 2007. Accessed: December 30, 2011.
k “Megan’s Law: Facts about Sex Offenders.” Office of the Attorney General. 2001. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
l “New U.S. Data Shows Continuing Drop in Child Abuse.” USA Today. December 13, 2011. Accessed: December 30, 2011.
m Palmer, Brian. “Are Child Molesters Really the Most Hated People in Prison?” Slate. November 15, 2011. Accessed: December 30, 2011.
n “Protect Children from Sexual Predators in Your Area.” National Alert Registry. 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.
o Smith, Lamar. Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith Full Committee Markup of H.R. 1981, “Protecting Children from Internet Pornography.” Committee on the Judiciary. July 27, 2011. Accessed: December 30, 2011.
p Usborne, David. “UN Report Uncovers Global Child Abuse.” The Independent. October 12, 2006. Accessed: December 28, 2011.q Vieth, Victor I, Bette L. Bottoms, and Alison Perona. 2006. Ending Child Abuse: New Efforts in Prevention, Investigation, and Training. New York, NY: The Haworth Maltreatment & Trauma Press.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Help me

I'm crying inside but no one can hear
I'm hurting inside but no one can see
I'm dying inside but no one cares
Help me break free from this pain that I feel
Give me the love that i've never felt
How can I survive with no love in my life?
How can I survive when i'm wanting to die?
Why can no one feel my pain?
Why doesn't anyone care?
Help me breathe
Help me live
Help me be who I really am
I don't want to feel this hurt anymore
I don't want this stake in my chest
Help me

A Men’s Project - Guest Post via @AMensProject

This week I'd like to introduce you to George Marx, co-founder of A Men's Project.

I met George through Twitter. Resources like his are few and far between.

It's time to make a difference!

Come on guys, step out of the shadows and stand tall. I know the pain and shame well enough. The thing is, it's not our shame! We were the innocent victims. There are people out there to help us. Reach out, change your lives. I did and I promise you life does get better. It's a painful journey, but pain well worth bearing as it brings a bright new future.

Over to George.

George with his son

I don’t recall being abused. Feeling alone has been common for much of my life. I’ve been lucky to be male, while becoming aware how it contributes to my emotional isolation.

Connecting with other men in my early 30’s helped a lot.

We co-founded a men’s anti-rape group which successfully reached a lot of men. I realized again how alone I was in 1987. My “male allies” had no interest in my new world as the father of a newborn son.

I’ve heard and felt a lot of anger from men.

P was assaulted in a men’s restroom as a boy.

J was fishing alone at age 22. Men who joined him left and returned to rape him.

Others have been assaulted by a parent, uncle, cousin or sibling.

I can accept anger from these men, though more commonly I hear muted cries of pieces of their pain.

I can see the importance of these men doing their best to find more peace in their lives.
I hear a lot of blaming. Most of what I hear seemingly isn’t coming from men similar to P and J.

Men are hurting. The problem most commonly seems to be verbalized as being caused by: “women” or “the system” or similar.

I would like to see more men recognizing their emotional isolation and doing something positive about it.

I would like to see men similar to myself reaching out and working with men like P and J.

I would like to see men becoming volunteers in our schools, helping struggling boys.

After I moved to Seattle I looked for a men’s support group to join, but didn’t find one. I then spent a fair amount of effort finding other men to start a men’s group. It’s helped me a lot over the past three years.

In October, 2010 – I started A Men’s Project (AMP) – at: http://www.amensproject.com/ (blog: http://www.amensproject.blogspot.com/) .

Its web links help men and boys in North America find resources for our issues. Most of the links are useful to others. I hope that you will use AMP and tell others about it! Thanks! George

George with his Grandfather in 1952

A Men’s Project (AMP) info@AMensProject.com
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Blog: http://amensproject.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 24 March 2012


if i could live my life again
i'd live it
but only those few minutes
when i knew
you loved me
when i knew
you cared
but i can't
that's why i


I feel lost, scared, and confused.
I look around and realize I am alone.
Suddenly panic settles in:
Everyone I thought cared is gone.
No friends, no family, not even a stranger
Are close enough to hear my cries.
My life is a desolate desert
With tears flooding my eyes.
I scream but my voice echos back.
Life has lost all reason and rhyme.
Then suddenly I stop and realize
Throughout life, I've been alone the whole time.



Of being alone in a crowd,
Of eating food,
Of body twitches,
Of nightmares and day dreams,
Of not belonging,
Of being touched,
Of remembering,
Of pain I too caused,
Of vomiting,
Of emasculation,
Of just being.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Beyond Survivor - Rising from the ashes of childhood sexual abuse

Why "Beyond Survivor" ?

I have survived much in the last four decades. From abuse in all forms, ill health, living on the streets, to business bankruptcy and personal financial ruin. I have found my way through and out of all these. In the process I found my voice!

Due to the way society views abuse very few men feel able to speak about what happened to them and many live a life in the shadows of the abuse they endured. I hope to be able to make these men see that they can speak out and seek help. There is life after abuse. Being a survivor is one heck of an achievment. Getting beyond surviving to the point of thriving is within the grasp of every survivor, male or female. We should all get to "Beyond Survivor".
After much encouragement I decided to publish my first book. The book is a mix of poetry, prose and advice, some of which has been previously published on this website. Much is new work not released before.
Without the support and encouragement of my online friends I would not be doing any of this. I dedicate this first book to you all. Thank you!
This is the first book in what will become the "Beyond Survivor" series.
I am in the middle of the next two books. One will be a self help guide for male survivors of sexual abuse and the other will be a novel based on my own life and experiences.
About Me
I am a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). I love words, written, spoken, and unspoken. For so many years my voice was not heard, I expressed myself through my writing.
As soon as I was able to read and write, I immersed myself in books. I was able to escape through the writings of others and eventually through my own attempts. Writing enabled me to express the pain, and the shame, of what I experienced. It later helped me to cleanse myself, to heal through the medium of writing.

I seem to have lived an early life surrounded by abuse of some sort. At a very early age, I was sexually abused by my grandfather. This went on for about twelve years. Others were invited to use me as they wished. There was also mental, emotional, and physical abuse from other family members. My body was almost broken, my mind fractured, but no one seemed to notice. I grew up thinking it was my fault, I deserved it.

Male survivors live within a society where a stigma surrounds the abuse of boys. It took me a long time to find my voice, to be able to share the horrors that tormented me for over three decades. I hope my words help you to understand.

Available to order now through

AuthorHouse U.K and AuthorHouse U.S.A

Amazon UK and Amazon U.S.A

Interview by Dr Nicola Davies Health Psychology Consultancy

Facebook Page "Beyond Survivor"

I Embraced Death

When the salty air
and the moist beach breeze
and the moonlight
all dripped through
the cracked window
and the hushing of the fan
whispered to me
that everything really was
just fine...
told me that
there was no other place
I wanted to be.

Dark dreams
still upon me,
I felt a calm
so thorough
and a peace
so profound

Outside the night air
had a chill, but
It's touched
warmed me
I stepped into
The silvery sea
I embraced


Wednesday, 21 March 2012


I feel no pleasure
I feel no pain
All I feel is the rain
The rain of confusion descending upon me

"I deserve nothing" I say to myself
As the darkness closes in
Now, feeling doubt
But still firm in my belief
The last shred I have left

Who are my friends?
Who are my enemies?
My life, what should it be used for?

I want to please, want to make happy
But find it hard, find it impossible
Impossible to be of use
Why couldn't it be easier?

Want to reach out, to touch, to help
Want to be a part
A part of something, anything
Whatever I can sacrifice myself to

Running in the darkness
The cold embraces me, I embrace the fear
Fear of what to come, what to not come
Fear of the world, fear of myself

I no longer cry, but why?
The world seems less frightening, more familiar
Still, confusing it is
Sad it is
But not as sad as yesterday
Lonely it is
But not as lonely as yesterday

I slow down, face the mirror
The mirrior in the horizon of darkness
Do I really hate what I see so much?

I smile
I see a sparkle in my eye
The possible fire of the danger that will be born
Within me

I break the mirror
And run away
What was I thinking of?!
Things don't change
They only get worse
The doubt is there

I've been alone the whole time

I feel lost, scared, and confused. I look around and realize I am alone. Suddenly panic settles in: Everyone I thought cared is gone. No friends, no family, not even a stranger Are close enough to hear my cries. My life is a desolate desert With tears flooding my eyes. I scream but my voice echos back. Life has lost all reason and rhyme. Then suddenly I stop and realize Throughout life, I've been alone the whole time.

Take The Time

Each of us has come here
With a story of our own
But we wait in restless silence
So no one ever knows
There is one who sits in loneliness
On the edge of dispair
While another person longs to love
With so much life to share

Someone cannot feel the warmth of love
Through a wall that's built with time
Being burned so often
Makes the heart as cold as ice
There's somebody hurting
From a wound that doesn't heal
And the touch of human hands
Could bring a comfort that is real

Which one are you
Which one are you near
Can you reach across the emptiness
Can you touch the heart of someone here

Take the time
To love somebody
Oh take the time
To show someone you care
Will you have another chance to be
The answer to a prayer
Take the time

We come from different places
And the pain has different names
With different circumstances
But the feelings are the same
If we let down our defenses
And we tear down all the walls
In the center of our souls we find
No differences at all

Which one are you
Which one are you near
Can you reach across the emptiness
Can you touch the heart of someone here

Take the time
To love somebody
Oh take the time
To show someone you care
Will you have another chance to be
The answer to a prayer
Take the time

There's a time when only you will know
When the Spirit speaks within your soul
Dare to reach beyond yourself
And let love go

Take the time
To love somebody
Come on and take the time
To show someone you care
Will you have another chance to be
The answer to a prayer
Take the time

Michael English

Monday, 19 March 2012


A slimy, slithery snake of ill regret
slides into the head, like a dropped glass
the illusion shatters, jagged edges
tearing confidence to tiny, tearful shreds.
Vengeful recollections flood back with melancholy
dancing in delight upon unwanted memories
of each and every stupidity, each misplaced word
like posioned barbs made of lead, their weight
crushing, collapsing self-respect into a ball
to be kicked clumsily about, shouting.
Telling the sorry tale of inadequacy primed
like a hair trigger, always sensitive
to the slightest touching on a dismal past,
bewildered by an unclear, shapeless self-given
rebuke which never tires of its own voice
...screaming loudly, remaining unheard by all.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Living Tree

I've always liked Dame Shirley Bassey. This song is one of my favourites and I can really relate to it at the moment.

I hope you enjoy it.

Let me breathe
Cause I'm drowning in your shadow
Let me leave
Respect me do not follow me believe
I can make me own tomorrow
Let me breathe
Does it make
You feel good cause you own me
Does it take
Your puppet strings to hold me
How I ache
As you're trying to control me
Let me breathe

Let me dance 'till my shoes cry
Let me laugh let me be
Let me dance
Let me choose my life
Let me climb the living tree

Picture this
When you wake up in the morning
And I kiss
Your sorry ass goodbye
What will I miss
There's nothing I can think of as I leave

Let me dance 'till my shoes cry
Let me laugh let me be
Let me dance
Let me choose my life
Let me climb the living tree

Whole Again

As the sun caresses my cheek
With it's gentle rays of warmth.
A cool breeze of summer night eve,
Ruffles my hair in playful delight.
I lift my face to the teasing rain
That it may wash the tears of an earlier time.
So are the thoughts that come
Not demanding.but requesting
Entrance to the cautious spirit.
With the warmth that suggests comfort
As a blanket would the cold.
A gentleness that teases at the senses
With a healing promise.
A sweetness that dare my emotions
To awaken from its' sleep.
To shut this mighty door of fear
Is but a brief reflection of old ideals
The newness of it
Challenges my every instinct.
So I dare to welcome what is unknown
With a soft embrace,
That I may experience
That which I am free to trust.
And I hear on the breeze,
Like an echo in the wind
A voice...
"I will make you whole again.."

Mothering Sunday - Mothers Day

Mothers Day... My mother died when I was nine years old. That was back in 1977 and she was thirty five at the time.

My family had decided it was best if I was kept out of the way in the last week of her life. I was carted off to neighbours and relatives. The same happened the week after she died and I was not allowed to go to her funeral either.

Her body was kept in the house until her funeral and one night I snuck into the room where she was to say my own goodbye.

My Mum and I were very close. She was the only person who loved me unconditionally. I loved her the same way. I was angry for a very long time that I had been kept away from her and denied the right to say goodbye at her funeral.

On Mothers Day I always take some time to remember my Mum. It can be by playing some of her favourite songs, having her favourite flowers in the house, looking at old photos. Unfortunately proper memories of her are still fuzzy in my head. There are certain things I recall, but everyday life with her evades me most of the time.

Although she died when I was nine, her influence has continued over the decades. At times of crisis she has been there for me, lifting me out of darkest despair and putting me back on the path of light.

She was a good woman, much loved by her neighbours, family and friends. She used to run a gift shop and cafe near the beach and was fondly known by most local children as "Auntie Val"

So Happy Mothers Day Mum. I hope I'm doing you proud.

What we would give if we could say,
Hello, Mum, in the same old way;
To hear your voice, and see your smile,
To sit with you and chat awhile,
So if you who have a mother,
Cherish her with care,
For you'll never know the heartache,
Till you see her vacant chair.

Friday, 16 March 2012

St.Patrick was a Welshman...

On March 17th, when St. Patrick's Day is widely celebrated in Ireland and so many Irish communities around the world, most assume that St. Patrick was an Irishman. It is not so.

Though Patrick's birthplace is debatable, most scholars seem to agree that he was born in the area of southeastern Scotland known as Strathclyde, a former Celtic kingdom and Welsh-speaking at the time. (However, a few scholars continue to regard St. David's in Pembrokeshire as the saint's birthplace; the tiny city was formerly directly in the path of missionary and trade routes to Ireland).

When the city of Rome fell to the invading Goths under Alaric, Roman Britain, which had experienced hundreds of years of comparative peace and prosperity, was left to its own defenses under its local Romano-British leaders. One of these may have been a tribal chieftain named Arthur, who seems to have held off the invaders for a while. Centuries of constant warfare, however, meant that the majority of the British kingdoms eventually crumbled under the onslaught of Germanic tribes.

More than two hundred years of fighting between the native Celts, brave but always completely disorganized, and the ever-increasing number of highly organized and disciplined German settlers eventually resulted in Britain sorting itself out into three distinct areas: the Britonic West, the Teutonic East and the Gaelic North. These areas later came to be identified as Wales, England and Scotland, all with their very separate cultural and linguistic characteristics. (Ireland, of course, remained Gaelic: many of its peoples migrated to Scotland, taking their language with them to replace the native Pictish).

Many scholars believe that Patrick (Patricius or Padrig) was born in the still Welsh-speaking Northern Kingdom of Strathclyde of Romano-Brythonic stock around 385 AD at a place called Bannavem Taberniae (Banwen). His father was a deacon, Calpurnius. Not much is known of Patrick's early life, but it is believed he was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland. Escaping to Gaul, he then underwent religious instruction under Germanus and returned to Ireland to join other early missionaries, probably settling in Armagh. In his Confessio, a spiritual biography, Patrick describes his early adventures. His seventh century biographers claimed that he converted all of Ireland to Christianity. Other Information concerning his life comes from the Latin, "The Life of St. David", written in the late 11th century by Rhigfarch (Rhygyfarch) but supplemented by Geraldus Cambrensis around 1200.

In "The Life", Patrick is told of coming to Wales as a bishop and vowing to serve God at Glyn Rhosyn (now St. David's). But, he was warned in a dream that the place was reserved for someone who would arrive thirty years later. He was then shown Ireland in the distance by an angel as he stood on a rock called "the seat of St. Patrick." Patrick's mission was to evangelize the distant land, a task that he carried out in a remarkably short period.

St Patrick's statue at Saul, County Down

Rhigfarch is also responsible for what little we know of St. David, adopted as the patron saint of Wales in the 18th century. David died about 590 AD with March 1st, the reputed day of his death, celebrated by a holiday in Wales. St. Patrick's Day is much better known. It has become an American national festival celebrated with monstrous parades silly green hats, fake shamrocks and prodigious amounts of alcoholic beverages, including -- horror of horrors -- green beer.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


I was sent this by a new twitter friend, @tjacinto Thank you for sharing!

The common myth is that the Desiderata poem was found in a Baltimore church in 1692 and is centuries old, of unknown origin. Desiderata was in fact written around 1920 (although some say as early as 1906), and certainly copyrighted in 1927, by lawyer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) based in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Desiderata myth began after Reverend Frederick Kates reproduced the Desiderata poem in a collection of inspirational works for his congregation in 1959 on church notepaper, headed: 'The Old St Paul's Church, Baltimore, AD 1692' (the year the church was founded). Copies of the Desiderata page were circulated among friends, and the myth grew, accelerated particularly when a copy of the erroneously attributed Desiderata was found at the bedside of deceased Democratic politician Aidlai Stevenson in 1965.
Whatever the history of Desiderata, the Ehrmann's prose is inspirational, and offers a simple positive credo for life.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Sound Of Breaking Dreams via @Das_UK

Last week I was contacted via Twitter by a very nice guy called Dave. He volunteered to write out some of my poetry in his very special handwriting. I think the result is very cool as you can see above. Thanks again Dave. If you'd like to follow him on Twitter he is known as @das_uk

Thanks again!

The original poem can be found here The Sound Of Breaking Dreams

A Sad and Lonely Man

So gently flows the breeze
The streetlamp lights the sky
I whisper in the dark
a saddened lullaby

For now I'm left alone
with nothing else to share
A sad and lonely man
in need of loving care

Beneath the distant plains
of somewhere long ago
lie memories and dreams
and thoughts that lost their glow

Is this that all could be
A silent lonesome prayer
of destiny foretold
and covered with despair

Video by my good friend Roan.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

No Dark Black Enough

No sea deep enough,
no dark black enough,
no death painless enough,
no ressurection coming.
Open myself up,
I see twisted yesterdays.
What has happened,
what will happen,
down to the end,
and down deeper.
No sea deep enough,
no dark black enough.
Sleep not final,
dreams to awake.
To this terrible life.
I know.
Nothing but pain,
darkness and pain.
I know.
On and on it remains,
it's all so simple,
nothing but a grim heart.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Lonely Road

I have walked down this road

countless times before

The path is still the same

for what I'm searching for

Familiarly I walk

this road that I am bound

Upon this haggard trail

perpetually I'm found

This tired weary path

which always draws me near

holds all the emptiness

of loneliness and fear

Onto to this lonesome road

forever I will be

As it is carved in stone

Eternal destiny

Alone as it may seem

but this is all I see

So as my life goes on

this road is where I'll be

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I Love You - I Hate You


The great love that I have for you

is gone, and I find my dislike for you

grows every day. When I see you,

I do not even like your face;

the one thing that I want to do is to

look at other girls\guys. I never wanted to

marry you. Our last conversation

was very boring and has not

made me look forward to seeing you again..

You think only of yourself..

If we were married, I know that I would find

life very difficult, and I would have no

pleasure in living with you. I have a heart

to give, but it is not something that

I want to give to you. No one is more

foolish and selfish than you, and you are not

able to care for me and help me..

I sincerely want you to understand that

I speak the truth . You will do me a favor

if you think this is the end. Do not try to

answer this. Your letters are full of

things that do not interest me. You have no

true love for me. Good-bye!! Believe me,

I do not care for you. Please do not think that

I still love you..


Okay, now that you're done reading, don't you think that it sounds cool..



Wednesday, 7 March 2012

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Increasing public awareness of the need to ensure the safety and welfare of children led to the passage of the first Federal child protection legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), in 1974. While CAPTA has been amended many times over the years, most recently with the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, the purpose of the original legislation remains intact. Today, the Children's Bureau, within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the Federal agency charged with supporting States, Tribes, and communities in providing programs and services to protect children and strengthen families.

In the early 1980s, Congress made a further commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to end child abuse. Recognizing the alarming rate at which children continued to be abused and neglected and the need for innovative programs to prevent child abuse and assist parents and families affected by maltreatment, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives resolved that the week of June 6-12, 1982, should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. Members of Congress requested the President issue a proclamation calling upon Government agencies and the public to observe the week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities promoting the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The following year, in 1983, April was proclaimed the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a result, child abuse and neglect awareness activities are promoted across the country during April of each year. The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children's Bureau coordinates Child Abuse Prevention Month activities at the Federal level, providing information and releasing updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect. Many governors also issue proclamations to encourage initiatives and events in their States.

In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse began as a Virginia grandmother's tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. The Blue Ribbon Campaign has since expanded across the country; many people wear blue ribbons each April in memory of those who have died as a result of child abuse and in support of efforts to prevent abuse. Based on Prevent Child Abuse America's (PCAA) Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, some communities distribute pinwheels and coordinate outdoor pinwheel displays representing children affected by abuse or neglect. Regardless of the type of activity, the focus has shifted to a positive message of supporting families and strengthening communities to prevent child abuse and neglect.

In Title II of the CAPTA amendments of 1996, the Children's Bureau was charged with identifying a lead agency in each State for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grants. These grants support the development, operation, and expansion of initiatives to prevent child abuse and neglect, as well as the coordination of resources and activities to strengthen and support families to reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment. CBCAP grantees within each State often take leadership roles in coordinating special events and preparing materials to support Child Abuse Prevention Month, and they are required to report annually on their activities.

In 2003, as part of the 20th anniversary of the original Presidential Proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, OCAN launched the National Child Abuse Prevention Initiative as a year-long effort. The theme of the 14th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect was devoted to prevention; at that time, a press conference was held to launch the initiative and release the publication, Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. In addition, OCAN and Child Welfare Information Gateway partnered with PCAA and the child abuse prevention community to produce a variety of tools and resources to support national, State, and local public awareness activities.

As momentum grew among national organizations and Federal agencies, an emerging consensus determined that building public will for child abuse prevention required engaging the public in efforts to support families and enhance parenting skills. When the U.S. Surgeon General named 2005 the Year of the Healthy Child, there was renewed commitment to make child abuse prevention a national priority. As a result, OCAN focused on making safe children and healthy families a shared responsibility, a theme that was also incorporated into the 15th National Conference. The theme expanded in 2007 when OCAN's resource guide and the 16th National Conference encouraged communities to join the effort to promote healthy families and work collaboratively to provide responsive child abuse prevention and family support services. At the same time, OCAN invited 26 national organizations to be national child abuse prevention partners so the message could reach a wider audience.

Support for child abuse prevention efforts has expanded due in part to the growing body of evidence that suggests home visitation programs for pregnant mothers and families with young children can reduce the incidence of maltreatment and improve child and family outcomes. In 2007, the Children's Bureau funded three grantees to implement and evaluate nurse home visitation services, and in 2008, it funded 17 cooperative agreements to generate knowledge about the use of evidence-based home visiting programs to prevent child abuse and neglect, including obstacles and opportunities for their wider implementation. Recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 included a provision to create the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The Health Resources and Services Administration has partnered with ACF to implement this program to fund States and Tribes as they provide evidence-based home visitation services to improve outcomes for children and families in at-risk communities.

OCAN continues to revise and expand the mission of the Child Abuse Prevention Initiative. The goal of strengthening families and communities was the theme for OCAN's most recent resource guide and the 17th National Conference, where the National Child Abuse Prevention Partners, now grown to more than 30 organizations, met in person for the first time. The Children's Bureau's Centennial Celebration in 2012 will be an opportunity to celebrate the initiative's accomplishments while also envisioning future possibilities in child abuse prevention.

Today, the Child Abuse Prevention Initiative continues to be an opportunity to create strong communities to support families and keep children safe. Visit the National Child Abuse Prevention Month website for more information on the most current resources and national efforts.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The sound of breaking dreams

Fallen from above
My head is out of the clouds
Waking up from a dream,
I dreamt I could fly

My ears can't stand the sound
Of dreams breaking in my hands
My eyes can't stand the sight
Of the wreckage of my soul

Waking up from a life in dreams
Is harder than you'd think
The truth came knocking on my door
Slapped my face and placed me here
In this burned down soul of mine

Everything I once believed in
Has been crashed to the ground
And all my friends I took for granted
Turned to faded memories
Of a life lived long ago

So now I'm laying in the ground
With my lost pride spread all around
I guess I'm running out of time
It slips away like sand, right through my hands
And I suppose I'll rise again..
Yes, Sometime I will..

A heaviness comes over me

A heaviness comes over me
In the night when the hours nearly
Stand in silence and the sound
Of aloneness falls all around me
There I sit tucked away from a
Life I only dreamed of so long ago

A heaviness comes over me
As I sit in a loud smokey pub
Music as thick as the smoke. Sharp
Piercing hopeful glances turn toward
Me and quickly fade away as if they
Never made contact then they find another

A heaviness comes over me
Though by day I boast about how
Aloneness is OK and loneliness has
Never made an assault on me as I
Stand there with my I really
Believe it myself smile

A heaviness comes over me
And so do the after midnight hours
That soak me in emptiness and my
Soul fills with secret tears as I
Sit in brutal darkness knowing
That I may never again share my
Life with another


The ManKind Project

This video explores the foundation, history and impact of the ManKind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure. Perspectives of men from widely varied backgrounds from across the United States - from Minnesota to Arizona, Washington DC to Southern California.

The ManKind Project conducts challenging and highly rewarding leadership trainings and modern initiations for adult men from 18 to 85 years old. The New Warrior Training is widely regarded as the most powerful and transformative training for men available today.

Skills for life. Community for a lifetime

Coleman Pester is a young man from the Bay area who found the New Warrior Training Adventure after attending this year's Burning Man. The theme for this year's Burning Man was "Rites of Passage". There was a group of ManKind Project men who conducted open men's circles throughout the event.

As a young gay man, Coleman longed to find a community of men who would support him in becoming the man he wants to be ... he found this community in the ManKind Project.

The ManKind Project is an organization where all men can find acceptance, support and challenge to become the best they can be.

Learn more about the ManKind Project at: http://mankindproject.org
Learn more about the New Warrior Training Adventure at: http://newwarriortraining.org

This is a video highlighting the work and accomplishments of ManKind Project Men in the Chicago Center who were awarded the "Way of the Warrior" Awards for 2010. Powerful stories about mentoring, helping youth through music, helping all people through connection to the body, helping families in times of deep grief and loss, inspiring others through self care and health.

Congratulations to all the men who won - and all the supporters who helped make it happen.

The nightmares of my life.

A mist falls upon the evening
As the days travel nears it's end
A cross seen beneath me
Down where the waters bend
The way is lined the map is drawn
The secret told to you
Accept the chance or turn away
Your answer lies in you
You take the chance to live your life
Your journey to begin
Enjoy yourself it's time to feast
The epic is within
Release yourself it's time for flight
The wings of faith we fly
A million for a moment
As years flash before your eyes
Now once again denounce my sight
That foggy misty night
I'm lying down and resting well
The nightmares of my life.


Monday, 5 March 2012

A Journey Into The Past

Yesterday I decided to return to my childhood home, the one I shared with my Grandparents.

It was a strange experience. Their house had been renovated and looked nothing like it did 30 years ago. The street was also changed, cars parked everywhere, houses painted and renovated, gardens different.

Some things however were constant... The dread, the fear. The house of the ice-cream seller hardly changed at all. The playground didn't look as if it had been updated in decades. I drove down the lane to where the ice-cream man had used to have storage units, to where I had been buried alive some 38 years ago. It looked the sme, just much more dilapidated.

New memories surfaced, a new name to add to the list of the abusers.

I didn't spend much time on that street. Scared still...

I drove through the village. Changed with time. Shops and Inns boarded up. It used to be a busy, bustling place. It looked more like a ghost town. I had many ghosts there. It used to be my playground.

I went to the graveyard where the grandparents and my mother are buried. I left flowers on her grave. I sat and talked to her awhile. I cried.

I drove to the nearest town, the one the grandfather used to work in. I went to the shop in where he used to work. Closed. New owners, a new name, but the same old memories. I endured horrors in the back workshop of that shop. I drove away.

I took some photographs, I don't know yet if I will keep them.

I had to go back, but I didn't know this until I was almst there. I had to face the demons.

It has had an adverse affect. I feel morbid. I feel afraid, yet somehow I also feel cleansed.

I haven't been there for a few years. I have recalled much since i was there last. I don't really want to go there again,

I need some time to absorb what I experienced. The new memories have upset me, adding an eighth name to the list of those that used me for their perverted lust.

I'll get through this. I am not that skinny little boy anymore. I am strong. I will grow, I will flourish.

Driving home many songs played through my head. The journey back was almost beautiful. I passed hedgerows aglow with snowdrops, interrupted occasionally by dazzling yellow daffodils. Catkins danced in the late afternoon breeze and red kites flew in the sky.

I experienced beauty, tinged with a sadness for the boy I once was. The man I should have been.

The man I will become.

Puff The Magic Dragon

The Ugly Bug Ball

Two Little Boys

This Used To Be My Playground

A Survivor's Story in Song - "As A Child"

One man's story and a positive statement to both the community and perpetrators alike, concerning the rights of all children. Recorded in 1996 as part of a Community Education Project with thanks to Kim Robbie & the Children. Assist them to spread the message worldwide - share this link :)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Live Your Life Fully

Live life, don't just get by.

A year ago this month I had an awakening. I'd spent a miserable winter, my mind unsettled, thoughts constantly spinning, I felt I was falling apart. I broke down in March 2011, couldn't take any more stress. My sleep had been disrupted by nightmares, I woke frequently in a panic. I seriously thought I was losing my sanity.

Recently I've been feeling unsettled again. I've made some conscious decisions to change my life and more importantly, my thinking. Many people, myself especially, are content to just exist...

If you want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from the mold and drink from life.

I've spent too much time dwelling on my own past, wasted years of my life probably. I've been eaten up with bitterness and anger, to a point where it was making me ill. I've learnt much this past twelve months. A great deal of what I've learnt has been painful, not only the memories that surfaced, but also the things I've learnt about myself.

I've let the past control who I am today. I have moved on from much of it now, I've learnt to lay blame firmly where it belongs and to accept that I was a victim. I was done wrong. I can't go back and change the past, can't undo damage that was done. What I can do though is to accept, to learn and to grow stronger.

I've grown stronger in many ways. I've let the anger that was festering inside me out. Lately I've learnt to forgive. I forgive myself. For years I blamed myself for not only letting myself be abused, but also for how it affected my adult life. No more. I forgive myself and it feels pretty good too.

I will never stop trying to make a difference though. I hope that my writing, my blogging and my social interactions help others as much as it has helped me. I'm no leader, I'm not a miracle worker and I'm certainly no hero. I'm a man, a man who wants to bring about change in people's perceptions and a man who wants to somehow make this world a safer place for the children of the future. I want people to learn that it's ok to talk about their past and I want the listeners to not condemn or judge the victim.

You will note that I don't forgive, or ask forgiveness for those that abuse. The bible teaches that we should forgive those that trespass against us... Child abuse and rape is not "trespass", rather it's an abuse of power and control. It's a crime. It deserves no forgiveness.

So many victims of these crimes cannot recover. Suicide rates are higher in those that have been abused or raped. The shame and pain too much to handle. I've attempted suicide in the past, I understand all too well how it feels. Thankfully I failed, but at the time I was mad that I hadn't had the courage to do a better job of it.

Too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before it. That's fine, and comfortable, until you have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life.

Every suicide by a victim of abuse or rape should be classed as murder. Not self murder, but murder by the abuser or rapist. Many will disagree and it is your right to do so.

I receive occasional hate mail and rude comments. So be it, we all have the right to express an opinion. My blog and it's content are my opinion. You are not forced to read it. If you disagree with me then at least have the decency to do so openly and preferably without using gutter language. I understand why some victims would want to post anonymous comments and i haven't a problem with that, but to mail or post abusive comments anonymously only makes me think the sender is a paedophile or rapist anyway.

I'm moving on with my life. I'm moving away from the negative aspects of my past and I am going to try and be the man I should have been.

I am so grateful that people want to read my blog. It's an affirmation that I'm doing something right. Thank you.

Life is for living. Being happy is the goal. Be your own definition of happy, don't waste life trying to live up to someone else's definition.

This is a short essay based on Oscar Wilde's quotation, I hope you fine it interesting.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

Nowadays people kill themselves to eke out a living, improve their living conditions or keep their high standard of living, but they forget to live. A Scottish proverb says; "be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead." In fact, people don’t live, but they survive each day, for they are too busy, too tired, too stressed and too worried to really enjoy the pleasures of life. Everyone says; “time flies.” Thus, hours become days and days become years and years become a wasted precious life, and what for? Of course, for a better living.

It’s believed that to be successful in life and improve your conditions you have to work hard and never stop, because if you stop, another person will come and take your place.

Besides, as the present society demands a lot of effort to survive and keep a decent living, pleasures are the first thing to be put off when wanting to achieve any goal. However, if you postpone your enjoyment until you have time, money and/or proper conditions arrive that time may never come or come too late and your priceless life will be wasted.

The strains of modern life force people to live in such a hurry that they don’t even have time to enjoy the beautiful world we live in. People forget to take delight of the bonny things nature provides us. It costs no money and takes almost no time. "This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it." - Thomas Carlyle.

Being ambitious, human beings always want more than what they actually need or would really enjoy like a collector. People accumulate things for others to enjoy them, for they value their lives by the things they possess, which is a quite sad way of appreciating life since they’ll never be satisfied. “The true perfection of man lies not in what man has, but in what man is.” Oscar Wilde.

If people at bedtime review of the day ask themselves how much they delight the day, they’ll probably conclude that they miss another chance of feeling alive. Responsibilities are absolutely necessary as well as a job and material things, but life goes beyond that. How many people at their deathbed regret for not taking the opportunities they had to live, to have adventures and experiences? There is nothing better than to look back your past and be able to say; “I lived and lived very well. I made mistakes and I learned from them.”

In conclusion, our time is not eternal. Each second, minute, hour, day we waste is gone forever. To overwork for something you won’t enjoy is as silly as having the opportunity to live but to prefer to exist in order to talk about the ones who do live. Once we value more what we are than what we have, maybe our goals would change and feel what to be alive means. Thus, after feeling really alive, our life will be neither empty nor wasted but full of precious experiences.

Live Your Life

I found this list on a few sites and wanted to share it with you.

What follows is just a list of ideas, obvious ones mostly that you could have thought of yourself, but that I hope are useful reminders. We all need reminders sometimes. If you find this useful, print it out, and start using it. Today.

Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

Get outside. Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.

Savor food. Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.

Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.

Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl/guy you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?

Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).

Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.

Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, and do your work on a laptop, in a coffee shop, or on a boat, or in a log cabin. This may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.

Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.

Pull away from Internet. You're reading something on the Internet right now. And, with the exception of this article, it is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Unplug the Internet, then get out of your office or house. Right now! And go and do something.

Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon. You may need to sell your car or stop your cable bill and stop eating out to do it, but make it happen. You are too young to not see the world. If need be, find a way to make a living by freelancing, then work while you travel. Only work an hour or two a day. Don't check email but once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world.

Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.

Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.

Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.

Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!

Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it. And practice makes perfect.

Kiss in the rain. Seize the moment and be romantic. Raining outside? Grab your lover and give him/her a passionate kiss. Driving home? Stop the car and pick some wildflowers. Send him/her a love note. Dress sexy for him/her.

Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.

Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.

Touch humanity. Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.

Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.

Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.

Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.

Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.

Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha. For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.

Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.

Do nothing. Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.

Stop playing video games. They might be fun, but they can take up way too much time. If you spend a lot of time playing online games, or computer solitaire, or Wii or Gameboy or whatever, consider going a week without it. Then find something else to do, outside.

Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.

Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read a trashy novel or even better, read this blog once a day and be done.

Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.

Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're a news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. Anything important, my wife tells me about.

Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.

Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.

Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.

Make an awesome dessert. I like to make warm, soft chocolate cake. But even berries dipped in chocolate, or crepes with ice cream and fruit, or fresh apple pie, or homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies, are great. This isn't an every day thing, but an occasional treat thing. But it's wonderful.

Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.

Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A Prayer For Every Child

For every child who cries at night

Alone with shame and pain and fright

For every child who wants so much

To only feel a gentle touch

For the beaten child, who cries in pain

Whose tears run silent, like falling rain,

For the child used to satisfy lust

Who never learns to love or trust

For the child taken from his home

And made to feel so all alone

For the child whose home is just a shell

Where life becomes a living hell

For the child who smiles but cannot feel

Because of scars too deep to heal

For every child who yearns for love

I hope and pray to the Lord above

To hear your cries and heal you pain

And give you back your life again.



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