The Nuns and the Preachers.

I mentioned a few weeks ago on facebook that I am reading this wonderful book by Jennifer Worth called “Tales From a Midwife” and over the weekend something about the book struck a chord with me,  I hope that you don’t mind me sharing.

The book is a real life memoir about Jennifer as a young midwife practicing in London’s East End during the 1950’s. The city was still suffering from the after effects of the second world war which, having only finished five-15 years earlier had left thousands homeless and put an additional strain on the bug-infested tenement homes of the Poplars estate.  London in the 1950’s was very much a have  and have not’s kind of place and the East End was the rough part of town.  You may also recall that the Kray brothers frequented those parts during this period in history and reading the book you see that their outrageous antics were not unique as with poverty and overcrowding running rife the black market was thriving and violence was as common as that jovial cockney spirit. 

Anyway, the young nurse  Jennifer found herself based at a Midwifery practice run by the local nuns – a common practice in those times as historically  it had been either the church (via nuns) or other women that had attended births.   Having always had a free-form way of looking at religion (concepts and philosophies sit better with me than ‘labels’) I had always assumed that nuns were mostly just cooped up in prayer or scrubbing floors and other hard surfaces (I guess that I thought that hard, manual labour would be the thing to do in an abbey or maybe that’s what they did in The Sound of Music) , only venturing out […]

What on earth is a Conscious Consumer?

We are all awake aren’t we?  Of course or else how could we be reading this page, be interpreting the words on this page and be processing the information through our brains.  We are awake but that is not the same as being conscious.

Without going into too much philosophy (although I do like to) it may be useful to just consider for a moment what consciousness really means. It is a state of awareness where YOU are in control of your mind. It is about being focused, about being in the moment and about being switched on. Being alert.  
How often do we do things with our brain dimmer switch turned to ‘cozy’? 
You know, the lights are on but they are not staring you brightly in the face, they are not challenging or testing you. The light enables you to see but it is not bright enough to pick out the nuances of the current situation.  We are just passing through, ticking the box and giving the task at hand just enough attention to avoid us falling into a heap. That is not being conscious.

When we talk about being a conscious consumer (and this is something that I am a massive fan of) we are talking of turning up the spotlight on our purchasing behaviour. We are focusing our whole attention on analysing that ‘thing’, that product before we turn over our dollars:

Do we need it?
Do we want it and if we do, why do we want it?
Will it work?
What are the wider implications of me buying this?
What does this say about me and my values?
What will I do with this when I have it?
Do I value this enough to take it?

These are just some of […]