When a word is a Bond

© Getty Images  ……………………………………………………..  HM The Queen in Glasgow, 1953

It is many months since we posted a pondering and, frankly, we’d thought continuing reflection impossible with nothing but an earth tremor able to shake us from that conviction.

Well, yesterday caused just such a vibration.

The funeral of Her Majesty ventilated something of magnificent splendour and for the isles of Great Britain, it meant something. Bidding a thankful À Dieu to a monarch matters in all kinds of ways.

As a 21-year old Princess, she committed herself to a life of service and, normal for the time but depletingly rare now, her word was her bond. She worked hard for the next 75 years. How many people do you know who are working at the age of 96?

Whenever international friends have asked over the years what does Great Britain think of The Queen, the response always included words like Respect, Taken Seriously, Gentle Power and Long-sighted wisdom.

Perhaps few knew at first hand of her humour: James Bond & the Olympics: Michael Bond’s Paddington. Or, the bond of her word which bound her to fulfilling the hand which fate dealt her. Mebbie more knew of her deep empathy (we’ve often written of it in these pages)?

Her Late Majesty has been laid to rest with immediate family: Parents, Sister, Husband. I don’t suppose many know the true impact of Deathness: so we hope that if the immortal soul pertains to everlasting life, the Queen will know how the world appreciated her devotion to her family, her duty and would recognize global gratitude as peace bringer whose words were always meaningful.

The Queen is dead. Long live the King.


Sporting chance of winning at life


© RKO Pictures             Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in balance

It’s a happy collision of chairos – everything having it’s appropriate time – with preparation, such that their balanced waltz glides through to infuse Understanding.

To what do we refer?

Emotional intelligence/literacy/resilience/courage is what.

The Pestilence, in whose grip the world wriggles for freedom, appears to have created … or opened up …the space-time to reflect on matters of crucially fundamental significance yet which in less fraught times lag in the ‘leave it til later’ drawer.

How, and the grace with which, we manage our response to the traffic of our lives appears increasingly recognized as pertinent to its successful navigation.

Rather than witter on here, be encouraged to listen to EQ pin-up, Daniel Goleman in dialogue with Simon Mundie whose empathic warmth to the principles and practises emotional intelligence champions does much to cheer our cause.

Don’t tell me the Score [BBC Radio 4 podcast, 4.iii.21] is a genial wander through all that we here, at The Materials, have promoted over 25 years for the winning at life.


Untangling the web


Image                                                                          Funnel-web spider’s crib

One of the scintillating qualities the mind possesses is that of sieve. It allows the stuff of life to fall through until such time as we’re ready to see it or feel it … or hear it: know what I mean?

A wonderful mathematician & computer scientist was speaking of how she mustered support to save Bletchley Park by means of connecting with like-minded strangers through the twitosphere.

I’m not sure if being ‘very very pants’ is something that can be said in sentient company: nonetheless, it is an accurate description of my techné in this area. Her words had me dashing to squint at @emotionalresilience and #Empathy and … all those aspects of existence on which these pages comment.

It was a depleting experience: seems there ain’t many of us who reason these matters … matter.

The Materials that we supply – not only here but in universal encouragement to let lives speak – inform how generously we can contribute to the wider world. What’s done becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy: being gloomy causes one gloom just as a kind act ignites kindness.

It’s not rocket science: it’s more sophisticated than that.

Expression of empathy


© Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA                                                            HM the Queen being utterly present while talking with victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

Voices are demanding that s/he who investigates the circumstances which led to the cataclysm within Grenfell Tower be sensitive to the trauma of its victims and reality of the lives they live.

They say the chap appointed, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, may be a fine lawyer and forensic examiner of onerous detail but lacks the empathy survivors require.

Never having met the man, I cannot comment on the level of his emotional intelligence. What does seem evident though, is that skills now considered essential to fulfilling specialized work have evolved. No longer is it enough for noses to be in tomes for decades; our humanity must also to be out in the world, mingling itself with others whose air we breathe.

Does this indicate an important flowering in awareness of what it means to be human? That it has never been the case focussing all efforts on one part of our humanness as desirable, is a no-brainer. Fiercely bright intellects who scoff at others more able to express non-intellectual virtues seem as misguided as those prone to emotional naturism who wear it all on their sleeve.

Cultivating innate humanity alongside and in balance with reasoning processes can only produce harmony within. Exhaling generosity of spirit does not entail casting wisdom to the four winds and could even ventilate the chorus of compassion so crucially required at present.

Empathy : word of the year


I wonder whether the rise of interest in Empathy this year is in any way related to the dazzling number of truly miserable events by which the world’s been besieged?

In order to stretch one’s mind to try to understand how it is for someone else, there needs to be a motivation to do so. So perhaps the fact there are few who haven’t been touched by tragedy of some kind has generated this deepening of humanity?

Emotional intelligence is the American term for England’s Emotional literacy; reading the room if you will. Each and both pertain to the skill of recognizing others’ mood and using that knowledge to inform the nature of the ensuing dialogue.

Marshmallow, together with a few other focussed groups promoted these EQ skills since the mid-Nineties and Empathy was one of the foundation stones. In the same way a sculptor will look at a block of marble, see two figures entwined and then set about revealing them, so Madeleine Baird Materials emerged from Marshmallow’s block and continues to stand on those founding principles.

Why am I telling you this? Well, you might not have known how intrinsic empathic understanding is to self-raising flourishing.

Have a happy and compassionately empathic New Year.