Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Rescuing Hug

The Rescuing Hug


“We are not people who touch each other carelessly; every point of contact between us feels important, a rush of energy and relief.”

Veronica roth


As someone who often finds himself in the hands of another, as my guide, the reassurance of physical contact is a gift I receive and perhaps exchange more frequently than is usual in our society.  But  I am always moved to my core by those people who instinctively understand the power of human contact as a means of providing assurance confidence and perhaps more fundamentally, acknowledgement.  For one who is  unable to fulfil these most essential of  human needs through eye contact. The feelings of acceptance and belonging conveyed through the warmth of an arm or the gentle but reassuring sensation of interlocking fingers or connecting palms,  are profound.


I was inspired to reflect on this by a story I’ve just heard about the healing power of a hug.   A pair of premature twin baby girls were placed in separate incubators.  One baby made healthy progress whilst her sister’s health declined.  Going against  hospital procedure, a nurse moved the failing twin into the incubator with her thriving sister.  Immediately,  the healthy baby put an arm around her weaker sister, and from then on the ailing sister’s heart rate stabilised and she began to increase in weight, and both twins thrived.


 Never underestimate the difference you might make by proffering a hand, or offering a hug to someone who might need it! 


Andy Shipley



A Question Of Trust

A Question Of Trust


Andy Shipley



for me, trust is a fact of everyday life.  Never a day goes by when I have to put my trust another.  Human or canine.  The very act of getting around in the world requires me to place trust in the capable paws and head of my Guide Dog Winnie.  There are often times when I have to draw on the assistance of passing strangers also. 

 Perhaps to negotiate a particularly busy station concourse or find a building we have never visited before.  So I believe trust is both an act of courage and faith.  whether its trusting our instincts or trusting a colleague or collaborator to play their part, it takes courage to make that first step into action and faith that taking that step  will achieve the outcome you are seeking.


Consequently, trust is also a gift to those in whom we take the courage to place our faith.  And that includes ourselves!  


I believe my greatest achievements have been due to the degree of trust I’ve placed in myself and my instincts about the path to follow, but combined with trust in collaborators to play to their strengths to obtain our common goal.  One example that comes to mind would be   the successful campaign to change national Planning legislation in 2004.  By pursuing my instincts about the nature of the change needed I was able to give clear direction and vision to the campaign.  But what achieved the change was the weight and diversity of organisations and Parliamentarians that supported and contributed to the campaign.  Each of whom I had to trust to play their particular role.


In more recent times I have taken my experience of working in trust and developed it into an outdoor sensory workshop; ’Super Sense’.  By taking people into nature and supporting them to work blindfolded, i individually, in pairs and teams, they learn what can be achieved when you allow yourself to trust.  No matter how daunting it may seem initially! 

For a short video to see it in action click here.


What can you do to integrated trust into your work and life? 


1Today, think about your work and whether there is some step or action you are shying from because you don’t trust your interpretation of the situation.  Ask yourself the question, What would it be like if I took the courage to trust my judgement about the situation and took that step?


2Is there an aspect of your work you are holding onto, but deep down, you know that  by trusting others you could have greater impact?  What would it take to let go of it and allow someone else, to take it on?

Access Wise



“As a time bomb ticks, an opportunity knocks…”



It’s been called the “demographic time bomb”, but is your business ready to benefit from the emerging market that our ageing population represents?



First – two stats for you:


  • By 2030 the number of over 65s is set to increase by 50%; the number of over 85s is set to double.


  • Half of us over 65 will develop a disability or long-term health condition.  That could be sight loss, hearing loss, mobility difficulties or reduced dexterity.



And now – one question to ask yourself:


Will this increasingly large group of potential customers want to do business with me?


Depending on the nature of your business, there are various things you can do to transform and improve the services you’re offering to this huge group of potential clients.


Given that this market sector has £80 billion to spend… (that’s the latest estimate from the Department of Work and Pensions)surely that’s an incentive to get ‘Access Wise’!



So how can I help your business?


 Having worked with national and local governments, the Disability rights and Equality and Human rights Commissions, for over 25 years, I know how to  adapt the environments, opportunities and services for those populations that are so often overlooked. And as a former Commissioner for a Sustainable London, I had a hand in making the 2012 Olympics the most inclusive ever. And I can have a similar influence on businesses.



Specifically, I can give you:


> An analysis of the key opportunities for improvement


> A Guided Review and Prioritisation Session


> Clear signposting to the best sources of technical support 



And your first step?


Get in touch today for your free exploratory consultation on 07702849479 

Sense And Sense-ability


The Now of Pooh


In the morning sunshine, in the evening twilight, a small Bear travels through a Forest. Why did we follow him when we were so much younger? He is, after all, only a Bear of Little Brain. But is Brain all that important? Is it really Brain that takes us where we need to go? Or is it all too often Brain that sends us off in the wrong direction, following the echo of the wind in the treetops, which we think is real, rather than listening to the voice within us that tells us which way to turn?


A Brain can do all kinds of things, but the things that it can do are not the most important things. Abstract cleverness of mind only separates the thinker from the world of reality, and that world, the Forest of Real Life, is in a desperate condition now because of too many who think too much and care too little. In spite of what many minds have thought themselves into believing, that mistake cannot continue for much longer if everything is going to survive. 


The one chance we have to avoid certain disaster is to change our approach, and to learn to value wisdom and contentment. These are the things that are being searched for anyway, through Knowledge and Cleverness, but they do not come from Knowledge and Cleverness. They never have, and they never will. We can no longer afford to look so desperately hard for something in the wrong way and in the wrong place. If Knowledge and Cleverness are allowed to go on wrecking things, they will before much longer destroy all life on earth as we know it, and what little may temporarily survive will not be worth looking at, even if it would somehow be possible for us to do so.


The masters of life know the Way, for they listen to the voice within them, the voice of wisdom and simplicity, the voice that reasons beyond Cleverness and knows beyond Knowledge. That voice is not just the power and property of a few, but has been given to everyone. Those who pay attention to it are too often treated as exceptions to a rule, rather than as examples of the rule of operation, a rule that can apply to anyone who makes use of it.


Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of a child’s mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same, because without it, we will never find our way through the Forest.


– from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Sense And Sense-ability


“A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see” ―

Terry Tempest Williams



This reminds me that by shunning those aspects of myself, community or society, i can never hope to achieve congruence.  The things I shy away from, reject or 

 decry are as vital on a systemic level as those I embrace.  By excluding them, I interrupt the flow within the system.  By embracing them with compassion,  they are integrated and flow is re-established and evolution becomes possible.  Another word for this process is ‘healing’.    



On Saturday, I was privileged to participate in an event organised by alternatives and led by Justine Huxley of St Ethalburgah’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.  Justine guided us to find compassion for those aspects of ourselves we are uncomfortable with.  The  sense of peace I experienced, enabled me to see that by expanding my compassion for all in the world with which I am uncomfortable: the loggers,  the sweat shop owners, the perpetrators of violence,  and ‘the Devil take the hindmost’ politicians.  Hope for a world in right relationship is possible.




Announcing A New Collaboration

Announcing A New Collaboration!


On 23 July


I’ll be teaming up with Stuart ‘The Wildman’ Mabbutt and William Mankelow 


at 19:00–21:00


Shotover Country Park

Old Rd, OX3 8TD Oxford, Oxfordshire



Join us  for a 2 hour nature and sensory walk. We don’t charge for the event but we ask you at the end to make a donation that reflects the experience, enjoyment and value to you during the walk.


We will explore the local environment and our inner-selves by actively engaging our senses during the walk, touch, taste, hearing, smell and sight.


This walk will focus on experiencing nature through our fingers and feet plus exploring what sound looks like, how it makes you feel and maybe even trying to draw it, with some guidance on recognizing bird songs and some photography thrown in too. 


We may do some silent walking, …meditation, birdwatching, wildlife sound recording, plant and general wildlife identification, art, foraging, poetry, maybe even some philosophical discussions in a isolated setting. Lets see what Mother Nature throws at us on the day.


Stuart uses sensory engagement with nature as an effective tool for pain management as he suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis.


William Mankelow is a photographer who runs ‘Shot at an Angle’ 



Join us,and explore the environment around you and things about yourself that you may have taken for granted or walked past on a daily basis.


Booking essential so we can keep an eye on numbers.  to book, just call me or email me!  


Meet at the main Car park on Shotover Country Park at the top of Old Road (Headington side).


Suitable footwear and clothing for the location and season please. Refreshments you need to bring yourself but we may pop into a local venue afterwards too.


Sense And sense-ability

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”




As I ponder, agonise and procrastinate over my choices and decisions about what to do next, I stumble across this from Rumi.  It reminds me that when i take time out to quiet the myriad voices  presenting a bewildering array of competing choices and options, in my head.  The gentle, resolute and thankfully persistent voice in my heart once again becomes audible.