Dear WordPress….

And so, WordPress, it’s farewell. I’ve held off writing this post as I’ve been busy publicising the new co-authored book I’ve been writing and that’s taken priority.

But now it’s time to have my say (which I’ve done before, here and here) about your new Block Editor, which is set as default with no chance of returning the original Classic Editor which was so easy to use. So straightforward. So deviod of confusing techie buttons and blocks and bits to fiddle around with.

So de-motivating too if, like me, you want to write without having to second guess how the hell to get your ideas down without needing to plod through a load of new symbols to find what you want.

And such a killer for any creativity, not to mention making everything much more stressful – for me at any rate.

I wrote to you about the Block Editor and had some interactions with a few of your “Happiness Engineers” (what a job title to live up to!). To be fair, they all responded and did their best, according to their brief, and offered help, even a video. Unfortunately, all the help offered was routes I’d already sussed out for myself and found them unsuitable as they were – here we go again – confusing, stress-making and for me, made blogging a chore rather than a pleasure.

So full marks to the Happiness Engineers for being helpful, but no marks for making me feel happy or doing as I’d requested, which was to reinstate the Classic Editor for me as default.

The Happiness Engineers – four of them in all – asked how they could help and I wrote (mindful that several other bloggers I know, techies amongst them, were having difficulties & disliked the new editor):

You can help by properly restoring the Classic Editor rather than making it an option using the main Blocks Editor, which you have foisted on users. I don’t like Blocks, I’ve tried it and it’s taking me at least twice as long to write posts while I try to figure it out. Even switching to the Classic Editor option, it’s nowhere near as easy. It’s taking up a lot more time now to write a blog post and I’m feeling very demotivated. It’s taken the spontaneity out of my creativity and basically I loathe it. Please restore the Classic Editor as it was. A lot of other users have expressed dismay at this change. I am seriously considering whether I wish to continue with WordPress. I’ve read your help sections for the questions below and it sounds as if you’ve decided you’re determinedly on this new track with Blocks, so maybe I’m wasting my time giving you this feedback.

The response was:

I wish we could set the Classic editor on the WordPress.com dashboard as your default editor, but it has been retired so it is not possible. Yes, it might have a learning curve, and while I do understand that it might take some time – I promise that it will be worth the effort.
I understand that you don’t like the new editor style of editing with blocks so I wanted to offer two other options:

These were options I’d already tried so it was starting to be very Groundhog Day-like. I replied:

I appreciate your encouragement and your offers of help, but I really don’t want to travel through this learning curve and I certainly don’t agree with you that it will be worth the effort of learning something which excites me about as much as a dirty wet dishcloth. And wastes my time as I struggle to make sense of it. Be aware that not all bloggers as techie-minded, and even those that are this way inclined are pretty irritated by the new, all-pervasive Block editor.

So there you have it, an edited account of the saga. But with the same end result, and with my decision to head off and away from WordPress and on to pastures new, which I’ll be posting about when I can face tangling with the blocks again.

This may not be a very creative post, but it’s one I needed to write and get off my chest. Oh yes – and I’ve written it all in LibreOffice Writer so I can (hopefully!) paste it straight in. Let’s see….

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Piercing the Eggshell – the story of Bruno and Louise Huber

Slideshow of Bruno and Louise Huber at various seminars in England, Switzerland and Germany with some of their students from all over the world

What did you do during the first big lockdown on 2019?

Unexpectedly, along with my other half Barry as co-author, I researched and helped compile a biography of Bruno and Louse Huber, pioneers of the Huber Method of Astrological Psychology. You can hear how we came to do it from this short video we’ve made to launch the book, published on 10th November 2020.

This non-predictive use of astrology combined together with psychology is now used worldwide as an astrological psychological tool to help people realise their own potential and, ultimately, contribute to making the world a bit better than it is right now.

The Huber’s story is a fascinating, real-life one, and tells of the obstacles they had to overcome, the sacrifices they had to make and the determination they had to hold on with in order to realise their vision of doing something for humanity.

It wasn’t easy, but these two were people were very special, driven and motivated beyond personal gain and in pursuit of more spiritual goals and the evolution of humankind. They were influenced and helped by Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli, who founded Psychosynthesis, and they founded the Astrological Psychology Institute in Zurich in the early 1960s.

Since then, their well-researched approach, teaching and books on what is now known as The Huber Method, is used in many countries around the world. It focusses on personal and spiritual growth and on moving us as participating humans, into living our lives as kinder, and more aware people.

You don’t need to know any astrology to enjoy it as it’s an intriguing stand-alone read, but if you do understand some astrology you’ll probably get a lot more from it – and if you don’t know any astrology it might inspire to find out more. The photos and the few charts it contains are all in full colour.

Piercing the Eggshell is available from all good booksellers, from Amazon and from the APA Book Shop. Click on this link to see this short video of us talking about the book

youtu.be/zPBoLzt8jJ0

But best of all, go read it and be impressed – not that we wrote it – but by what these two remarkable people did and what their gift to humanity is.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

blogger award - CopyThe Sunshine Blogger Award is about positivity, kindness, and bringing a few rays of sunshine into the lives of readers. But those drops of sunshine are brought about by those who write the blogs which get nominated, and I’m honoured that my blog is considered worthy.

Way back in March when I was still in the US enjoying being with my family and grandchildren – let’s call it BC – before coronavirus, I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Carol Kubiki. She has ever-itchy feet and writes about her campervan travels in her Back on the Road Again blog. Thank you Carol for nominating me. Carol visits plenty of interesting places in the UK and overseas, has had many accounts of her travels published in MMM Magazine, and has won an award for her travel writing. She has a penchant for ice cream too. Go take a look at her blog and read about some of her travels.

I was pleasantly surprised that Carol has nominated me, but that was back in March in Houston. Now it’s May, and I’ve finally caught up with the challenge that goes with this nomination. Since arriving back in the UK we’ve been in lockdown for weeks after making that dash back to the UK so we didn’t get “trapped” in the US. Being trapped with grandchildren would have been no bad thing, we had a roof over our heads and were in the good company of family, but there were small worrying details like travel, health, house insurance and US visas which had limited length to run.

I did initially heed Carol’s comment on her blog that she’d discovered this award comes with a fair amount of work/writing (it does) and I’ve been back to revisit the award guidelines. I’m (sort of) willing to have a crack at it, and I’m going to bend the rules a little because it’s proved to be a bit of a challenge to do the whole thing so I’m not convinced that the 11 people I “should” go on to nominate will be so fulsome in their thanks and praise of being nominated! I follow a fair number of photography blogs, so as much as I enjoy looking at them, these bloggers are more photographers than writers so they’d probably turn tail and run! So my nominees will be fewer than the suggested 11, and of course it’s entirely up to them if they want to take up the challenge.

It’s lockdown days at the moment, and a challenge is always character building and good for the soul, so they say. And rules are meant to be bent a little, so let’s call them guidlines instead. Here goes with my take on things:

The Rules (aka Guidelines)

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you for a blog post and link back to their blog. Thank you Carol!
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you. Another blooming hefty challenge which I have interpreted in my own way!
  3. Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions. I’ve nominated 5  blogs.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog. Done it.

My Nominations

1) Jane Fritz in Canada who writes Robby Robin’s Journey. Always sensitive, thought-provoking and on the button. I’d be so happy to meet her and talk.

2) Graham Welch who writes A New Life In Lille, telling of his ongoing journey from being a UK resident to a resident in France, and on the cusp of opening a cheese and wine bar in the Dordogne. If we get to France when this lockdown is over, we’ll drop in.

3) Little Miss Traveller who writes of her many UK and overseas journeys in her Love Travelling Blog. I don’t know how she’s managing in these lockdown days, but am sure she’ll have plenty of happy memories and photos to sustain her.

4) Karen Harding writes of life from the magical perspective of being over fifty and proud of it in her Some Kind of 50 blog.

5) Paul Handover writes about Learning from Dogs, and as a fellow dog owner I enjoy reading some touching and hearwarming tales on his blog.

And there I’ll stop, throw the ball to them, and answer my 11 questions.

My 11 Questions (set by Carol)

What is your favourite thing about blogging?

It’s a space to express/share/rant/mull over/discuss/pontificate even, about something that catches my interest or triggers a response. It doesn’t matter if nobody reads it (although it’s nice if they do!) because I’m doing primarily for me to keep my writing wheels oiled, my brain active, and to express something which is important to me.

What would be your top tip for a new blogger?

Just do it!  Get on with it, write even if you’re not sure where it’s going, but don’t give up. Keep at it and don’t let a good idea disappear down the plughole of intertia.

Assuming you are still with us, do you think you will still be blogging in five years time?

I’m not quite sure what Carol meant here – “no longer with us” sounds a bit like final curtains…..of course, she could have meant if I was still blogging. In 5 years, who knows? But then I started my first blog in 2006 and kept it going until 2017, when I left it’s presence on the web as a resource centre for anyone interested in Astrological Psychology. On the strength of that, 5 years doesn’t sound all that long.

If you could have something named after you (either your real name, nickname, or blog name) what would it be?

Maybe a rare butterfly, if my real name would translate into Latin for the scientific listings!

If you could have one super power what would it be?

Flying, like a bird or a butterfly – what else?!

What is your favourite road trip film?

Now that’s an interesting one. I’ve taken several road trips in the US since my son and his family went to live there and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. But the film that springs to mind in response to this is Thelma and Louise.

What is your first drink of the day, tea, coffee, smoothie, water or something else?

Orange juice

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Here the choice is difficult – maybe a mash up of the following:

Thank you for the Music by Abba; Human by The Killers; Shine On by Chris de Burgh, The Logical Song by Supertramp and Tallis’s utterly sublime Spem in Alium motet which has 40 different voice parts.

If you could go back in time, what event or period would you go back to?

The Roaring Twenties & the Jazz Age

I was a chef in a previous life and love cooking and eating, what is your signature dish / favourite thing to cook / eat?

My signature dish is risotto, which is often a lot better than some risottos I’ve had in Italian restaurants in the UK.

Where in the world do you feel you most belong?

Here and now at home in lockdown feels pretty good. That aside, and travel once again being permitted, I’m happiest in Audrey, our palace on wheels (aka campervan).

 

By: A one in ten opportunity

I receive occasional email newsletters from Bridget Whelan, author of Back to Creative Writing School, with hints and suggestions for aspring writers. This one has just arrived, and her suggestion is:

When you have time to write, but don’t  know what to write….
Find the 10th  book in your home (or where you are right now). Go to page 10 and find the 10th word on the 10th line. That will be your title. Use it no matter how difficult, even if you have to look up its meaning, even if it is THE. Write for 10 minutes.

Whilst THE sounded challening enough, I thought it was just my luck to end up with BY. So here goes…

By. What does that word suggest? Immediate response is that it means ownership. Something may be written by me (like this) or it may be owned by me, like the laptop I’m using to write on, or the desk that I sit at or the rather snazzy art deco style chair I sit on when using the desk.

If “by” suggests ownership, it also means the responsibility that comes with it. I have to own and use my possessions in a way that doesn’t harm others; if I write something and get it published with my byline saying it has been written by me, I have to own the views and opinions that I’ve included in the article or blog post or tweet. I can’t wriggle out of something I’ve written or said and pretend it’s not been said by me; to do so would be dishonest and inauthentic.

So “by”, in the contexts mentioned relates to ownwership.

Other verbal or written expressions of the word “by” might be spelled differently and have different meanings – “Bye!” as in goodbye; a “bye” in cricket is a run scored from a ball that passes the batsman without being hit; “buy” is commercial, in the sense of buying goods or buying into an idea or scheme. And if we stand or sit near something or someone, we say we’re by them or beside them.

That’s my ten minutes on “by”. By me, naturally!

The Living Birth Chart

LBC in colourI write this with my astrological psychology hat on. My second book, The Living Birth Chart has been updated and reissued with all diagrams and illustrations in full colour, and I’m rather pleased with it.

Based on the material I taught and used in the workshops I’ve facilitated, The Living Birth Chart has an emphasis on working practically with astrological psychology and putting it to use in your own life.

You don’t need to be an astrologer to use the book, but an interest and basic understanding of the subject will help, as will a read of my co-authored introductory book, The Cosmic Egg Timer.

So how might The Living Birth Chart be helpful? Suppose you’re someone who wants to get a better understanding of how the interactions between you and your parents have shaped you, held you back, encouraged you…..well, there’s a whole chapter on this in the book, along with practical exercises to try out.

Maybe you’re someone who finds it difficult to get in touch with or express your feelings. This, working as an astrological counsellor, I found was quite a common problem and sticking point with many people, students and clients alike. Issues around feelings are associated with the Moon, which symbolises our feeling self.

Practical suggestions about working with feelings are featured in The Living Birthchart. Here is a sample. You might like to make some brief notes for yourself as you respond to the questions:

  1. How big a part do feelings play in my everyday life?
  2. Am I making enough contacts with people?
  3. Am I able to state my enotional needs or feelings?
  4. Am I able to ask for what I want or need?

A ‘free Huber chart’ facility is available on www.astro.com (from front page go to ‘extended chart selection’, and don’t forget to select ‘Koch houses’). This provides free Huber-style natal, house and nodal charts plus chart data and age progression dates, which can be viewed on screen or printed off.

I can’t guarantee the quality of the chart, but it should look like this, in full colour, as charts used as examples in this reissue of The Living Birth Chart are.

bruno huber