Mummy May I

Mummy, May I =


Mummy, May I have a biscuit?

= No, Dear, it’s nearly Tea

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Because it will spoil your appetite!

Why’s that, Mummy Dear?

= Because there will be no room in your tummy for anything else?

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Because there is only so much space in your tummy at a time!

= That’s why we have Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, Supper and, when we’re feeling posh, Dinner!

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Because that’s the way God made it so!

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Ask your Father!!

Daddy, please may I have a biscuit?

= Why, Dear?

Because I’d like one, Daddy Darling, of course!

= OK, My Love, then you’d better have one!


= Result!



Vinnie the Bouncer

Imagination and the Bouncer

Like many of us, I have a passion for writing. Many writers hope that some of their sayings will become quoted by others – something we call a “signature quote”. Like the “Just Do Its” of the World – our sayings can become part of our brand – part of our legacy. One of my favourite sayings is, “‘Reality’ leaves much to the imagination.” I’m hoping that’s deeply profound! And I hope it captures your imagination!

This saying reflects not only my experience but also my understanding of perception. The brain ‘makes up’ a lot of information in order to make sense of World about us fast enough to make split-second decisions. We ‘fill in the gaps’ in what we really sense in order to function effectively.

This works amazingly most of the time, but sometimes we can have an over-active imagination. Feeling low, is often an aspect of over-imagining that happens to us – and what will happen next. We use imagination to fill-in-the-gaps and extrapolate our assessment of circumstances into possible future scenarios – few of them happy ones! We make up meanings too!  [You know the kind of thing, “When they look at me like that, that means they don’t like me!”]

It’s almost impossible to stop this but I’d like to introduce you to Vinnie, The Bouncer (or Boncer?) Vinnie, modelled on Vinnie Jones, is the Bouncer in my Bonce. Sometimes I have to throw out some of the imaginations from the Nightclub of my Mind. Vinnie acts as an interrupter of unhelpful thoughts. He says, “Oi! You! That’s not my thaut! [tought], get arrrt! [out] of me ‘ed!”

Of course, this is ridiculous, but it’s actually the interruption I’m after – to interfere with an unhelpful pattern of thinking. And it works.

Vinnie’s for hire. If you’d like to borrow my Bouncer and let him allow only best-dressed thoughts into your mind, go ahead, be my guest!

Sow Before Bedtime

Sow before bedtime

“Ah, the seeds of dreams!” I thought to myself as I laid there in the bed, exhausted. I had spent the night wandering through a distressing dreamscape disturbed by nightmares. Now, I was wondering why the unconscious mind seemed to fixate on so many negative imaginations – its creative genius perverted to divert me from a good night’s sleep.

There was some comfort in tracing the seeds of those dreams back to the activities that had planted them that day. As I get older, hairs grow inside my ears – a ridiculous if somewhat bemusing state of affairs. I can perceive no purpose for them there. Penelope has a passion for removing them, so she had spent a happy ten minutes deforesting my own miniature Eden project biomes! This seed became a dream about going deaf – very unpleasant, but I could see the link. The other nightmare was about my studio burning down – guilt, I think, because I hadn’t checked on it when I was down in the town that day. Clearly, I sowed the seeds. My unconscious was the gardener. And emotion played her or his part in the direction of growth.

I don’t like nights like that. So I revisited an age old question: can we direct our destiny? Even if this is only partially true, it offers hope. Here, I had the ‘evidence’ that my own activities, emotions and thoughts had played their part in the drama that had developed.

So before bedtime: sow before bedtime. I will deliberately seek a happy emotion to be my resting state before sleep (and, believe me, I know how hard that will be at times – but I will ‘seek’ it.) I will load some wholesome thoughts that I purposefully choose – perhaps through reading some poetry or inspirational quotes. And I shall act as Director even if I cannot play the full role as Producer. I shall be very direct with my inner Producer and suggest that he should create a pleasant masterpiece in the Theatre of the Night!

Dream on!

Words, Will and Ways

Professor Sue Black, the forensic anthropologist, was the guest on “The Life Scientific” (Radio 4) this week. Aside from her excellent taste in music, what she shared was fascinating. She had grown up in a remote Scottish village where her Grandmother had sown seeds of possibility deep in her psyche. Granny had consistently called Sue her, “Varsity Girl” – instilling the idea of going to University.

At school, Sue spent some time gaining experience as a laboratory assistant and had enthusiastically declared to her biology teacher that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Her teacher was a refined man and so shocked her into a change of vision by uncharacteristically swearing at her – saying that she shouldn’t be so (expletive) stupid – she was going to go to University! He recognised her talent, and shoved her firmly in the right direction!

Two influential members of the cast of Sue’s life drama had said the right ‘magic’ words at the right time, nudging the course of her development in the right direction for her. Positive words have power.

Of course, in her heart, Sue agreed with this direction – she was in alignment with it. In fact, she had a very unhappy time at one school and used her will-power to knuckle down to study so that she could qualify for a more appropriate academy. As another demonstration of her will-power, later, she withheld some of the truth about her University funding so that her parents wouldn’t bear the financial burden of seeing her through college. She worked her way through herself. Clearly, Sue is a ‘driven’ personality.

But what touched me most was how she dealt with grief. Her Grandmother smoked over 40 per day and eventually paid the price. As she lay there dying, she told Sue not to worry because she wasn’t “going away”. She said that any time Sue needed her, she’d be at her shoulder to watch over her and guide her. Sue shared on the programme that although she had Christian values, she was not religious and had never had a spooky experience – but that this thought had comforted her throughout life and had influenced her behaviours.

Grief is a difficult subject, but one that should not be avoided. I finished listening to the programme wondering how I might be the messenger of good words into the lives of others – sowing the seeds of possibility. How might I nudge them forward towards bolder choices in life when I could see potential that they hadn’t fully recognised? And I considered how I might be a comfort to my loved ones as Grandmother’s wisdom had sustained Sue years after her passing. It was a moving experience that has empowered resolve in my life to be a more positive influence on those around me.

[After reviewing this, I wondered if there was value in a new definition of “Teacher” – “one who sees potential in others that they have not fully recognised or realised in themselves”?]

Admit Emit Omit

“How are you?” The truth is not always welcome here.

For many people, asking, “How are you?” is mere punctuation to aid the flow of conversation. There are certain phrases that are like warm up shots in a game of tennis. They are not the real thing.

For these types, it is best to omit the truth. However, you can tell a truth without compromise. Instead of saying, “I’m fine” (which for me means, “I’m about as low as I can get!”) or the even worse, “Not too bad” (very English), I say the honest, “I’m doing good, thank you!” This wonderfully ambiguous phrase is my truth. Every day, even the worst days, I still seek to do a little bit of good for some other soul. (Yes, I’m a righteous dude, I know!!!) Of course, the listener reads this as I’m OK, but that’s OK, isn’t it?

For others, they need you to play a role. Some are not ready for the truth. They need you to be amazing or at least OK. A good example is children. So the, “I’m doing good, thank you!” answer works well for them too, but needs a little extra magic. This is where I think we need to emit the ‘truth’. Emit means to discharge something, especially radiation. My children and my grand children, and my listeners to my radio shows, need me to emit positivity, hope, sparkle. While this hasn’t always been my practice and sometimes seems impossible, it is always my intention. Like a cheetah running, I can usually manage short bursts before needing to recharge!

And then there are the rare few who welcome the truth. When I ask you, “How are you?” I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I want you to put your hand on a metaphorical bible and in the court of love, tell me how you really are. Why? Because I am genuinely interested in your well-being.

And by “I” I mean “Moodscope” – we are genuinely interested in your well-being. That’s what our blog support structure is for – to help you deal with your truth.

In this small, safe environment, it is safe to admit the truth – it’s welcome here because you are welcome here.

So, how are you today?


Taking The Plunge

I broke the bath. Yes, that’s right, you heard me correctly. My vast gravitas was way more than the bath could take when I stood in it to have a shower. It cracked up – couldn’t take me seriously.

The lady of the house, however, took the situation very seriously. She was not amused.

So we needed a new bath.

After months of unfulfilled promises from various vendors, we finally had a new bath fitted. But one of the old bath’s problems remained: the water wouldn’t drain away fast enough. The lady of the house was once more unamused.

I’m not a DIY-kind-of-chap. There aren’t many practical bones in my body (well, actually, all my bones are very practical, but you know what I mean.) I do, however, understand a little bit of Physics. I showed the lady how the bends in the pipe made it physically impossible for the water to drain away. In fact, I was quite proud of my scientific stance on the matter.

We’ve known each other for nine years now. She holds me in deep respect. Typically, she totally ignored me! What did she do? She took a plunger to it. The water flowed away perfectly.

“Science” = 0; “Lady of the House” = 1. Game over!

OK, so what’s the lesson? For me, it was the danger of commitment to an idea that was wrong. I was totally convinced, convicted I tell you, that there was no way the water would ever flow given the existing plumbing. So I stopped trying to fix it. But it was fixable, wasn’t it?

Fancy trying on a new belief for size today?

How about challenging an old one that’s stopping you from taking action?

Is there a belief that you’ve quit on that could do with fresh examination?

Go on, take the plunge!

Planting Trees

Planting Trees

The wise teacher asks, “When is the best time to plant a tree?”

I can let you into a secret: the answer they are seeking is, “20 years ago!”

So, when is the second best time to plant a tree? Of course we could say, “19 years ago…” and so on, but the answer I am holding onto today is… “Today!”

Having seen the Dalai Lama recently, several important matters became far clearer to me. One was that “Happiness” is definitely an inside job. Happiness has surprisingly little to do with external materialism. The undoubted value of material wealth is nevertheless eclipsed by: enriching relationships, being in the now, learning, growing, appreciating, giving, and creating a sense of purpose and direction. If I win the lottery this week, I shall be joyful, but that material wealth will only serve to fuel the other elements I’ve listed. Poverty, of course, can severely impact relationships, our ability to learn and grow, and can even sometimes make us reluctant to give. But money clearly isn’t the answer it’s been made out to be. It is not of prime importance.

A second important matter was that emotional change takes time. Becoming resilient takes time and experience and review and reflection. Resilience, like a tree, needs nourishment and nurturing. And so does learning to be happy.

I’d thought of planting financial trees that would help me in my later years, but I hadn’t thought of planting the seeds of becoming more happy, more resilient, more at peace. I certainly hadn’t considered that these trees might take 20 years to come to maturity. Of course, many trees can bear fruit within a few years – so I might be surprised by joy earlier than expected! However, the important lessons for me were that happiness really is up to me, and I need to be planting the seeds for the harvest I want now. With nourishment, those seeds can then grow and bear fruit year after year after year.

What trees would you like to plant? If money isn’t the answer we’d been promised, are we focusing on it too much? Is there a better use of our time?