The truth about bullying

The aim of this post is to offer parents, teachers and children a fresh and empowering perspective on bullying.

I will begin by confessing that I have experienced the effects of bullying myself, both as a child and an adult. I still carry the psychological scars from my childhood of being picked on for being underweight. To this day, I am still unable to put on a pair of shorts without feeling conscious of my “skinny” legs. (However, having applied the perspective on bullying that I am about to articulate, I’m very close to resolving this issue for good).

For roughly two years of my teaching career, I allowed my life to be turned into a living hell by one particularly overbearing female line manager. I would regularly drive home with angry tears streaming down my cheeks in response to the way she had treated me. This woman was an expert at making me feel small and worthless. She knew exactly what to do and say to get under my skin and was occasionally prone to humiliating me in front of my students. Back then I didn’t have the courage to stand up to her. I chose the weak, passive-aggressive approach whereby I would take her shit and then bitch about her behind her back.

This line manager enjoyed making unreasonable demands and setting “impossible” tasks for me to complete, such as expecting to have on her desk by the following morning a summary of the outcomes of all my one-to-one meetings with target pupils since the start of the year (I was responsible for overseeing the academic progress of twenty such pupils), claiming that she was carrying out the orders of the headteacher. Not realising that she was deceiving me (the penny did eventually drop) – and being a particularly conscientious individual who hated letting people down – I would dutifully fulfil her requests, even if this meant forgoing a night’s sleep. I must admit there was an element of satisfaction in meeting her unrealistic expectations (the surprised look on her face the following morning was always worth the effort), but this woman knew full well that paperwork was my biggest weakness. I always placed more importance on the quality of my interactions with kids than on the standard of my paperwork. Indeed, this was the secret behind my success as a teacher. She skilfully identified any such chinks in my armour and inflicted attacks on these areas with brutal accuracy, and to tremendous effect.

In hindsight, I can see that I spent two years giving my power away to this woman. Although it was an unconscious decision, I had cast myself in the role of “victim”. In truth, my line manager was reflecting back my feelings toward myself. She was incredibly hard on me because I was incredibly hard on myself. She was providing externalised feedback on how I was treating myself internally. You see, from my perspective, I felt incredibly guilty about my paperwork deficiencies. I would regularly beat myself up over this issue. My guilt and internal condemnation was an energy that my line manager was picking up on and feeding off. From her perspective, she was jealous as hell of my ability to connect with and relate to children. Her bullying behaviour was more a reflection of her feelings toward herself than her feelings towards me, even if she was not consciously aware of this. While she maintained high standards of discipline through authority, fear and manipulation, I did so through authentic connection, respect and offering choices. The truth is, she felt insecure and inadequate in comparison to me.

BULLYING AS A CO-CREATION

In reality, there is no such thing as a “bully”. Bullying is a behaviour. Behind the behaviour is a person. And behind the person choosing the behaviour is fear. Similarly, there is no such thing as a “victim”. Victimhood is a state of consciousness, behind which is also fear. The person wearing the “bully” mask and the person wearing the (less visible) “victim” mask are two sides of the same coin. They are co-creators of the situation that exists between them. They share exactly the same problem: they are both confused about their respective powers. The “victim” has an (unconscious) belief running that he deserves to be treated as a lesser being. The “bully” has an (unconscious) belief running that she is lacking control over her life and uses the “victim” as a means of expressing her resentment toward this. She is attracted to the “victim” like a magnet because the “victim” is radiating energy that says, “Pick me!”

It goes without saying that no one would consciously invite attack upon themselves. Did I “deserve” to be treated so despicably by my line manager? No, of course not. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Was I responsible for her bullying behaviour? No, not directly. She was responsible for her own behaviour. However, the point I am keen to stress is that bullying is not a one-way street. We can’t just blame it all on the “bully”. I was 100% responsible for my contribution to the situation, both the energy that I was emitting and the way I was choosing to respond to her behaviour. Not being consciously aware of something does not abdicate us of responsibility for it.

BULLYING IS AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT A PROBLEM

The bullying dynamic is an opportunity for personal growth within BOTH individuals. When a child tells an adult they are being bullied, punishing the perpetrator and plastering “Say no to bullying!” posters all over the walls is not the answer. This surface-level response is an act of disempowerment that reinforces the “victim” mask (potentially setting that person up for a lifetime of victim consciousness) and avoids dealing with the true source of the issue. When we take the time to look beneath the surface, we discover that bullying is an opportunity to clean up some confusion within both the “victim” and the “bully”.

From this new perspective, my line manager’s bullying behaviour could be viewed as a gift. That gift was the opportunity to reclaim my own power – by changing my thoughts and beliefs about myself. In truth, I was the only person standing in my way. As you think (consciously or unconsciously), so you attract. What you attract into your experience always matches the signals you are sending out. You are a victim for as long as you believe you are a victim. As long as your thoughts are supporting the idea that you are a victim, the people around you will continue to treat you like a victim. The “bully” is always offering you a gift. That gift is the opportunity to sharpen the lens through which you view yourself; to remember who you really are.

In order to empower a “victim” of bullying, we show him how to bring the limiting unconscious beliefs that he is holding about himself (fuelled by painful memories) into the light of his conscious awareness. Once the beliefs have been consciously identified, they start to dissolve. There are numerous techniques from the world of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), all inherently simple, to assist with this process.

Insisting that schools get tougher with “bullies” is morally reprehensible. The “bully” is in pain. She is confused about her power. What she needs is love and compassion. Yes, love is the answer, not punishment. The “bully” is as much a victim as the “victim” in the sense that she, too, is a victim of her misperceptions of herself. We can empower the “bully” by showing her how to bring the limiting unconscious beliefs that she is holding about herself into the light of her conscious awareness.

ENERGY FLOWS WHERE ATTENTION GOES

Of all the well-meaning but hopelessly misguided things I see going on in schools today, the “anti-bullying” culture has got to be about the most harmful. Contrary to institutionalised wisdom, you don’t solve a problem by shouting “NO!” at it. Anti-Bullying Week encourages and perpetuates bullying in schools by reinforcing misunderstanding of the real issue. Does this shock or surprise you? It shouldn’t. What is everyone thinking about during Anti-Bullying Week? Bullying! You don’t solve a problem by focusing your attention on that which is not desired. All we are doing when we march around with our anti-bullying placards is drawing attention to and energising the problem. Energy flows where attention goes. What do we want instead of bullying? How about peaceful relationships?

Several years ago, I was working in a freelance capacity as pastoral coordinator and life skills coach at a school in Bedfordshire. For the reasons outlined above, I made the (albeit controversial) decision to boycott Anti-Bullying Week. Instead, we had a “PRO-PEACE WEEK”. On Monday morning I held a whole-school assembly for students in which we explored bullying from its true perspective. I talked about the need to separate the person from the behaviour and to view the “bully” with compassion. I talked about the need to view the “victim” as a contributory factor in the bullying dynamic. I elicited from my captivated audience possible underlying beliefs driving the thinking and behaviour of both individuals. Rather than focus on bullying, I asked the students to spend their week looking for and recording examples of peace and kindness, both inside and outside school. The kids felt the truth behind my words that day, as evidenced by their spontaneous standing ovation at the end of my presentation – a hitherto unheard of occurrence at this particular school. To this day, that assembly remains the pinnacle of my public speaking career. You may be interested to hear that, following this assembly, the funds were withdrawn from my post and I was asked to leave. Apparently, it was completely unacceptable to disregard a national initiative and “children should not be standing, clapping and cheering during assembly”. (As I stated in my previous post, conditioned, institutionalised servants of The System can’t cope with the truth so they shoot the messenger instead).

The anti-bullying culture in schools is counter-productive. If we want bullying-free environments, then we focus on what we want instead: peaceful relationships. In order to cultivate peaceful relationships, we support everyone in attaining greater levels of peace within themselves.

SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS:

(1) There is no such thing as a “bully”. Bullying is a behaviour, not a person. Similarly, there is no such thing as a “victim”. Victimhood is a state of consciousness, not a person.

(2) Bullying is not a one-sided affair. It is a co-creation between two people, both of whom are confused about their power, both of whom are 100% responsible for their contribution to the situation.

(3) Bullying is not a problem. It is an opportunity for personal growth within both individuals. Both the “bully” and the “victim” are to be viewed with compassion and empowered to identify the false beliefs driving their confusion.

(4) An anti-bullying culture encourages and perpetuates bullying by focusing on the problem. A focus on peaceful relationships with others and within ourselves is the way forward.

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ADHD is a lie

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a mother and her delightful ten-year old daughter, Libby. Greeting me at the front door to her home with a beautiful smile, I felt an immediate warmth and intuitive connection to Libby.
Libby is having problems “fitting in” at high school and has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. Her mother is now under pressure from the “experts” to put her daughter on drugs to deal with her “condition”.

Funny thing is, Libby sat quietly and patiently beside me for almost THREE HOURS as I discussed the pros and cons of home education with her mother. She made numerous insightful and on-subject contributions to our conversation. She shared personal anecdotes to highlight each of her points. She was even grounded enough to propose a potential way forward that took into account her mother’s needs and concerns.
The most awe-inspiring moment for me was when Libby articulated her vision for a very different type of school – “a place where kids are free to be themselves” – and outlined a process by which her dream school could become a viable alternative to conventional school.

Clearly, Libby does NOT have an attention problem. And the only condition she is suffering from is UNRECOGNISED GENIUS.

Just like so many of the other children cruelly diagnosed with this completely MADE UP condition (it’s an arbitrary list of behaviours, not a brain condition requiring pharmaceutical intervention), Libby is a TRUTH BEARER. She speaks a language called Truth. Institutionalised servants of the system can’t handle the truth; it makes them feel uncomfortable. So they view these kids as “broken” and attempt to “fix” them instead. There is an unwritten yet ruthlessly enforced rule operating in this institutionalised world: YOU MUST CONFORM.

I should know, I’m a Truth bearer myself. I was forced out of the school system for exactly the same reasons. My colleagues and line managers didn’t like me expressing my uniqueness and doing what actually worked for me and my students because it made them feel too uncomfortable. “Play the game, Dave,” they would tell me, over and over again. And in a hierarchically structured organisation you have to do as you’re told – toe the line – or you create problems for those higher up the food chain. After all, these people have boxes to tick in order to justify their positions of authority.

Far from labelling and suppressing children like Libby, we should CELEBRATE THEIR DIFFERENCES. They are GIFTS TO HUMANITY.
I could weep for an entire week at the thought of such a sensitive, wise and beautiful soul like Libby being drugged into submission and conformity by a system that is incapable of accepting that EVERY CHILD IS UNIQUE.
Children like Libby deserve a voice. The world needs to hear what they have to say. I cannot stand by and allow this cruelty to continue for one second longer. Somebody has to stand up and challenge this nonsense. That person may as well be me.

ADHD IS A LIE.

I’m prepared to stand up anywhere in the world and say it. I don’t need a medical background to speak the truth. Truth is self-evident. It requires no proof or validation.

ADHD IS A LIE.

It is a symptom of a sick society. It is a product of a society’s dis-ease with the evolution of the human species. It is the result of fearful adults viewing children through the eyes of judgement rather than UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
For the record, if I were a child in the school system today I would be labelled with ADHD. How do I know? Let’s see…… I can’t pay attention to subjects and teachers that I have no interest in. I can’t sit still for prolonged periods of time. I fidget, rock from side to side and walk around in order to engage my brain. I have great difficulty following instructions that provoke internal resistance and discomfort within my solar plexus. I struggle with organisation and am often losing things. I am easily distracted (especially when bored out of my brains). I have immense difficulty looking authority figures in the eye when I know they are talking bullshit. I could go on but you get the picture.

I would also be diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). Why? Because I refuse to do as I’m told. Because I’m an Oppressive Dictatorship Dissenter. Because I’m an unrepentant non-conformist. Because I have an in-built BS-meter; I know when I’m being lied to, deceived or manipulated. Because I’m proud to be MYSELF.

I’m about to launch a TV education channel with the ‪#‎link4growth‬ and ‪#‎link4education‬ networks. I’m going to start interviewing children like Libby. I’m going to give these children a voice. I’m going to let them share their innate passion, wisdom, creativity and genius with the world. They will NOT be silenced. They are the key to breaking us out of the darkness of our grown-up ignorance and leading us back into the light and truth of our child-like innocence.

The Eduspire Paradigm and the New Earth

I cannot change others. And I have no desire to do so.

I cannot heal others. And I feel no need to do so.

I did not come here to fix society.

I did not come here to solve the world’s problems.

I did not come here to decide on the “right” way of living and then to convert everyone to my way of seeing things.

I came here to be my true, authentic self, to the best of my ability.

Being my true, authentic self means embodying and expressing who I am deep inside. It means speaking my truth with an open heart. It means acknowledging those parts of me that are not in alignment with the truth and bathing them in the light of my conscious awareness.

The only healing that ever needs to take place is inside of me. Every trace of darkness, distortion and dysfunction, every ounce of pain and confusion that I identify is an opportunity to fill my inner world with more Love. For my true, authentic self IS Love. Love is who I am at the core of my being. All else is illusion.

Anything that I perceive in another as “negative” or a “problem” is inside of me. The other person is not the problem. The other person does not need healing. It is ME that needs the healing. The person showing up in my life as a “problem” is, in fact, a gift from the Universe. That person is like a mirror, reflecting back the contents of my soul. I cannot fix a reflection. I acknowledge and accept responsibility for it. I go inside and heal the confused part of myself that the other person is drawing to my attention.

There is no objective outer world. I live in my own world. I live and create in my own subjective reality. Nobody else sees life as I see life, for nobody else is viewing life through my eyes. My perspective – my world – is unique to me. My experience of life is coloured by my own unique set of perception filters – my beliefs, my values, my memories, my emotions and astrological influences.

Others exist. Other perspectives are valid. But there is no one else in my reality. I can only ever perceive other perspectives from the context of my own map of reality; through the lens of my own perspective. In that sense, I am only ever interacting with my own versions of others. Thus, others are continually providing me with feedback on what is going on inside of me. In truth, everything taking place in my outer world – events, outcomes, situations and circumstances – is mirroring back information about my inner world.

The greatest gift I can offer the consensus reality that we call Planet Earth is to heal my own inner world. There really is no objective outer world to change. My desire to “change the world” is a desire to change myself. For anything that I see as requiring change in the outer world is nothing more than a reflection of something requiring attention in my inner world. Not until I have acknowledged and cleaned up all the pollution in my inner world can I contribute towards a peaceful and harmonious experience of life on Planet Earth.

Change is an inside job.

The purpose of the Eduspire Paradigm is to liberate children from the chains of externalised conditioning. To inspire them to go within and to connect with more and more Love. A healthy and harmonious relationship on the inside translates into healthy and harmonious relationships on the outside.

This is how we create a New Earth.

The “education revolution” is an inside job. And the people riding the crest of the wave of this inner shift in human consciousness are children. They have a clearer remembrance of who they really are. The connection with their true, authentic nature is stronger. They are not weighed down by so much externally imposed baggage.

Our children – especially the very youngest – are the key to setting ourselves free. They are the teachers now. Our job as awakened adults is to listen, trust and follow their lead.

 

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Two questions

There are only two questions you need ever ask yourself in life:

(1) How may I serve?

and

(2) What would Love do?

The answers to these two questions will solve any problem you face. They will also help you to create the joyful and fulfilling life you deserve.

Just be yourself

I’ve been struggling for months – years, actually – to speak my truth regarding children and education without upsetting school teachers. It has never been my intention to undervalue the efforts of passionate and committed teachers, only to point out the pitfalls of the system around them. I was a passionate and committed teacher within this system myself for 8 years so I am acutely aware of the challenges involved in making a positive difference to children’s lives in spite of relentless government interference. Where would today’s children be without these resilient souls? We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for all that they do.

No matter which way I approach it, I do not seem to be able to avoid appearing to judge teachers when I criticise the school system. After all, they are making a choice to support it. This troubles me deeply. I am a sensitive and empathic soul. Nobody likes to feel judged or to have their purpose questioned.

Today I’ve reached the conclusion that it may be best to avoid mentioning school at all. Our greatest teaching is the example we set for others. From now on, my choice is to focus solely on setting a different example. People are either inspired by my example or they are not. Either way, I am being true to myself, and that is all that matters at the end of the day. Indeed, that is my overriding message to kids: just be yourself.

be-yourself

Speaking my truth

Speak truth

I have spent my entire life suppressing my truth for fear of what others might think of me. As a result of this suppression I became so depressed and unwell last year that I had to make a choice between speaking my truth or taking my own life. I faced my own death and chose life.

I am now committed to speaking my truth, regardless of what others think of me. However, there is a difference between speaking one’s truth and imposing that truth on others.

I never seek to impose my truth on others. That is the antithesis of everything I stand for. That is one of the main reasons behind all the conflict on this planet. Groups of people decide that their way is the “right” way, and then take it upon themselves to convert everyone else to their way of seeing things. My preference is to contribute toward the creation of a peaceful and harmonious world by striving to be peaceful and harmonious within myself, and connecting with those who are already on my wavelength.

When I share something online, I do not share because I want or need you to agree with me. I share because sharing is a means of expressing who I am. I tend to express my truth with great passion (that is the nature of my soul), but I do not seek to invalidate your truth. Either my message resonates with you, or it does not. If it does not resonate, disregard it and move on. There is no need to take offence or feel in any way threatened by anything I am saying or doing. I am just being myself.

I live and operate from the heart. Everything I share comes from a place of love and a desire to serve children, humanity and the planet, never from a place of judgement or a desire to provoke confrontation. Does this mean I am perfect? Far from it. I am human, I make mistakes all the time.

It is easier to conform than it is to speak one’s truth. While I fully respect the choices of others, I did not come here to conform. Conforming to a society that makes no sense to me causes me great pain. I came here to be myself. And that is my life’s message.

truth

 

Hidden assumptions

A mother says to me, “If I don’t send my son to school, he won’t get any qualifications.”

What assumptions is this mother making about school, about qualifications, and about her son, in order to hold such a view?

Here are some possible answers:
* Going to school is the only way to get qualifications
* There is a time limit on attaining qualifications
* School qualifications improve job prospects
* Her son needs qualifications to succeed in life
* Her son will resent her for not sending him to school
* Schools know what is best for children

How many of these assumptions are actually true?

I find that many parents do not think to question the assumptions underpinning their views on education. Why is this? Because these assumptions have become unconscious beliefs that they take for granted. It can be useful to draw these unconscious beliefs back into the light of our conscious awareness.

assumptions