The Christmas Chain

She was a new parent at the school. Even though this was the last day of their first term, she felt like a newbie. Lisa had settled in well at her class, though she still felt as if there were some things they weren’t doing right at home. She’d never baked in her life before,…

The Rise of Horizontal Trust

When hierarchies break down or fail us, horizontal trust tends to emerge. A hierarchy is a vertical form of organisation. Armies are hierarchies. Many religious systems are hierarchies. Families are hierarchies. In vertical hierarchies, power increases at highly levels. Often (but not always), accountability also is higher the higher up you go. In a bank,…

Let Go

He was full of anger and his friends told him to let it go He was full of regret and his teacher told him to let it go He was full of guilt and his brother told him to let it go He was full of fear and his guide told him to let it…

This is the age when the old become young

It’s become a bit of a cliche to say that children are growing up more and more quickly. Our education system is engaged in an ideological battle between the idea that we should allow children to stay children for as long as possible, and the idea that we need to get them ready for adult…

Quotes

When you write for a lot of years, some of your words, phrases nd sentences stand out more than others. In the real of social media you sometimes find your work quoted by other people and you also pull out some of your personal favourite lines for yourself or to humble share with the world…

The Invitation

A Short Story by Paul Levy Part 1 Bethlehem, about 2000 years ago You don’t weave baskets in the evening, let alone late at night. There isn’t the light and it just isn’t done. Tomorrow, my mother, her two sisters and my own sister will sit in the cool shade, working their craft, and from…

Advocacy and Enquiry – a First Look

A colleague of mine, Pete Burden, recently led a session at a conference in Slovenia on Advocacy and Enquiry. When we advocate, we assert, we “put out”, we say stuff. In meetings where there is a lot of advocacy, there aren’t many questions. A lot of the questions are actually more advocacy dressed up as questions;…

Notes from a Conversation about Wretched Contentment

A Group Conversation In this 90-minute conversation, we explored whether the performing arts has become a safe, comfort zone and whether this limits our career and personal life opportunities. The session took place at DandD14 on Sunday at 3pm. (Devoted and Disgruntled is an annual open space conference in the UK organised and hosted by…

Sleeping on Decisions

A Wise Approach to Group Decision Making I know we’re all supposed to be busy. Somehow busyness has become equated with effectiveness which has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it, yet too many people have still bought this pup. We need to get to decisions “quickly”; an effective meeting is one where decisions are reached, where…

Involutionary Brainstorming

What is it? Brainstorming is the rapid pooling of all and any ideas that a group of people can come up with before any discussion or judgement takes place. Every idea is recorded no matter how bizarre or irrational. Enable individuals and groups to: · Problem Solve · Evaluate How to Brainstorm 1.      Keep a…

Community is Naturally Obvious and Obviously Natural

We tend to over-complicate Life. Yet the core of any community is a circle. We need only sit together in a circle and open some space for conversation and collaboration with minimal fuss. Often we go into phone, text and email overload when all that is needed is to meet at the same time in…

What is conversation really about?

So much of our conversation is about what we advocate to each other. We speak, they speak. Our turn to say something, their turn to say something. It is usually transactional. Like a game of tennis, we take turns. Often someone wins the point. Sometimes the rallies are long and we tire ourselves out! Our…

The Golden Value of Confusion

Confusion can be a wonderful thing. It is a state of mind that most people don’t enjoy, and certainly don’t want to stay in for very long. Confusion can paralyse us from action. We can get lost in it, slowed down by it, depressed by it. Yet it is also possible to be excited by…

The Voice of the Lord

As the train pulled out of the station, Father Peter found himself a compartment alone with a window seat. Like a child, with nose squashed against the window pane, he gazed out and soon the landmarks were less familiar; he knew he was on his way. He ventured out of town so rarely these days,…

Does, Doesn’t

A short story You could tell by the length of the bags under his eyes that this was a creature who had not slept overmuch. You could tell by the colour of his beard that he was beyond his three score and ten. Not to mention the length. You could tell by the dishevelled clothes –…

Ego and the Small Business

Here’s a paradox: It is ego that often launches a successful new business, realising the vision of a single individual or small group and turning into an energetic, fast growth enterprise. It is also ego that can kill off a struggling business, stopping it from changing, recovering and redefining itself. Without the strong will, focus…

Some of my quotes, collected

Someone asked if there was a collection of quotes from my various writings. Well here’s quite a few of them. Some are from articles I have written on Life, others from my writings on theatre and also on business. “How many versions of yourself must you create before you are satisfied with the original?”  …

Thank You

A poem in which a friend offers to comfort a friend they feel they want to “give back” to     In your coldest of winters I will bring you warmed-white stones for your pillow In your shivering space I offer you toasted smiles and gently simmering cuddles wrapped around your freezing soul I bring…

The Tailors’ Ball

This is a poem about love, spontaneity and playfulness. Somehow our current spontaneity is actually rooted in the past, springing from seeds we planted then.   The drama above the table At Mrs Minsky’s Had been played out before And was all smoked salmon And Cream Cheese There was a Cabernet Sauvignon And a vast…

Dogs and Cats

This is a fairly strange poem on  first reading. Someone who claimed to be clairvoyant once told me that, when a wild animal dies, it dissolves back into the “animal group soul”. But an animal tamed by humans develops a soul that survives death in a more individual form. So, I wrote this poem to…

Again

This is one of the darkest poems I’ve ever written. It’s about how we can be entirely unaware of the darker feelings of other people, especially if they are dressed in the disguise of warmth and smiles. Again I saw you kiss a hand, A hand that belonged to a head; A head that gave…

The Phalanx of Cruelty

A poem about the attacking self Clever words Cradled with evil The cult of projection The bitterness of a lifetime Of addiction to empty lovelessness And abuse dressed as strength and calm The use and abuse of language to hide shame The worshipping of those who threaten The love of those who laugh at pain…

The Trumpet

This is a poem about playing out your private life on social media We do not need to trumpet our lives, Like desperate Hollywood husbands and wives; We have no need to share our secret names Online, to fan these decaying, lovelorn flames. We do not need to talk down the walk of tears To…

Trenches

This is a poem about a grandfather I wish I’d taken the time as a child to ask more questions.   We met in the trenches Of the Somme of your memory; I loved your shrapnel voice, and Your disinterest in my battles of Plastic infantry upon the carpet Of childhood. Now you walk the…

Rain Poem

This is a poem about digital addiction. When we finally return to “nature”, nature simply throws up the problem we had fled into the digital realm to solve and had, instead, covered over.   The cold, insistent electronic beat (Though it taps my feet) Is not the same As a cooling summer rain. Swaying to…

The Man in the Red Suit

For many people, Christmas has become an almost meaningless repetition. Present giving is about “getting things” for other people, often from high street stores or from online retailers. The act of generosity in the giving of a present can vary from being a well chosen gift that lights up another, to the same bath salts…

Further Quotes from … yours truly

I usually collect these together for my own reference. But here they are for you to make use of if you want… “Thoughts are to thinking, as ice is to water.” “Dump the scripts. Go on, risk making it up.” “Vulnerability is a much underestimated strength.” “The pen is mightier than the pixel.” “It may…

Bouncing Poem

Nightly, my spirit  Bounces on the heads of atheists. Those crowns are the springiest of all, Hardened, like walnuts inside, but  Their soul-fleshy exteriors are so springy, So unlike their puppy dogmas. Each night, we step across the river-crossing And leap with laughter upon the stepping stones of Silly Cynicism. I know we shouldn’t, But…

Hear My Whisper

We whisper to you a lot, but mostly you do not hear us. I whispered to you yesterday and, for a moment, it seemed you looked at my voice through a washing-up bubble, but perhaps it was just the sunlight you saw, reflecting your own questions back into your lovely deep orange and blue and…