|02-20-2007, 12:17 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2007
Hi, I'm Richard.
I'm a "baby boomer" aged 60. Born in Scotland and educated (i.e. taught to answer questions not question answers!) at a well known English public (private) school. Like Steve, I was bored at school and turned to other more challenging pursuits for which I was expelled aged 15. My parents took radical action to ensure that I would not follow a life of crime, and the following year I took their advice & entered the Society of the Sacred Mission as a novice where I remained for three years. The order was a silent order, and although we were prohibited from talking, I learnt more about myself and others, than I possibly could have if I was out in society. At some stage in the future I will elaborate on this.
The final year was spent living in a smaller monastery in a northern English industrial town, and working a a fitters mate in a horrendous factory. This was meant to test my vocation, but the vows of chastity & obedience were still in place. But, at the age of nineteen I discovered girls for really the first time. It was like discovering a new species with whom I was not able to communicate.
To cut a long story short, I did not return to the Society, and although I had been accepted by Oxford and London Universities to read Theology & Philosophy, I decided to take 2 years off and travel the world. What an adventure I had (again part of my life learning experience). I spent nine months living with a nomadic Toureg family living in the Sahara, learning their simple but tough life - learning to ride a camel, milk goats, shoot a rifle etc.
Then finally I opted to attend Kings College London in 1967. I now regret not having chosen Oxford, but after the monastic experience, I could not face the 'Oxford rules'. Although I graduated with honours - I crammed for the last three months - I quickly became involved in the global student protest movement - against the war in Vietnam, against nuclear weapons, against apartheid in South Africa and for student participation in determining their education. In 1970 I was elected President of London University Students Union, and with no exams to take I had the time of my life. This was followed by a one years Masters course.
On leaving university I was at a loss what to do, but I was invited to join the religious broadcasting department of the BBC, and I accepted. I took the trainee journalism course, and moved to the News & Current Affairs Department - working as a foreign correspondent (mainly in war zones), documentary producer, music producer, and ultimately as head of the Documentary unit.
I mainly enjoyed my BBC career, but at the age of fifty, I was invited to head up the communications company of Greenpeace International. I was tremendously excited by the prospect of trying to save the world, but I eventually discovered that Steve is right - the only real change we can make in the world is to ourselves. For nearly seven years I worked 24/7. At the expense of my personal life and marriage. Finally I "burnt out" (severe clinical depression) and spent three months in the Charter Nightingale Clinic trying to put myself back together through cognitive behavioral therapy. One of my best friends in Greenpeace brought a custom made T-shirt to me in the clinic - it is one of my most treasured possessions - on the front is the Greanpeace logo with "Save the Whales" - on the back is "F...k the Whales, Save Richard!"
It was during this time that I was encouraged to search for a purpose in life - to define my values, build a vision and then make it happen. I had some pretty heavyweight help from my psychiatrist and therapy group. And we actually undertook a similar excercise to the one outlined by Steve.
I packed a few personal belongings in a 25 year old landrover and drove from the UK to Turkey. I found my environmental paradise in the Taurus mountains on the edge of the Mediterranean - renovated a stone farmhouse - and lived at one with nature for about one and a half years - no TV, radio, newspapers - just a small CD player. I took up yoga and a number of other healthy pursuits. I also read as much as I could. But, mainly I examined myself ("The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates), and began the search for happiness and self fulfillment. When I found it, I cried for days!
Unlike Steve, I left this search a little late in life, but I brought nearly sixty years of experience to it. I now run personal development courses (for little or no money) under the Greek name AGORA. Perhaps the major lesson that I have learnt from experience is that we can't change people - only ourselves. But, through being the best that we can in every aspect of our lives, and being true to ourselves, people sometimes change around us. I think the Gandhi best summed this up as "WE ARE THE CHANGE WE SEEK IN THE WORLD".
Well that's a bit about me. I will contribute to Steve's blog and I salute him for his courage and insight. The above tells you a little about my context, but from now on I will only share 'Who I am' and 'Where I am'.
|02-20-2007, 01:37 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Wow sounds like an amazing life. Still so more of it to lead as well. Think of all the stuff to pack into the next 60 years
I am moving the thread to the into board where it is better suited.
It is nice to meet you Richard and welcome to the Forums
|02-20-2007, 05:48 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Outside of Chicago in a very ethnically mixed suburb. Love it.
Great Biop!! We are about the same age and born in the same area of the world however I would say that is where the similarity ends. I whole heartedly salute your message and although I am still involved in giving support to my adult children, I know they can only change themselves. I may need the same t-shirt with kids in place of Whales. You have managed to support a theory I have long held that the source of my depression is a seperation from my true self. I believe i can accomplish some of what you have done re:self, within the confines of my life. No need to throw everyone in a tizzy by taking off for areas unknown. I have disconnected the telly, started to mediate and practice yoga. So we shall see. Well off to change the grandkids nappies. Thanks for the message Richard.
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Richard Dawkins: Anti-spiritual or Anti-superstitious?||Megan||Spirituality, Consciousness, & Awareness||139||11-23-2008 12:10 PM|
|Creation / Evolution Debate and Spiritual Development||bylto||Spirituality, Consciousness, & Awareness||214||01-27-2007 05:19 AM|
All times are GMT. The time now is 02:06 PM.