Christine Miller

business and personal success strategist, resourceful entrepreneur, author, soul poet, speaker, psychologist

read the full info here About Christine Miller

Christine is a psychologist, executive coach, mentor, speaker, published author and poet. With a varied and successful 25-year career in research and consulting across diverse sectors, she now conducts leadership and organisational transformations. As a guide and mentor she seeks to release untapped potential in her clients.

She has recently completed extensive research into creating sustainable cultures for more values-driven, loving, compassionate organisations, with over sixty global leaders, ranging from HH the Dalai Lama to Sir Terry Leahy and The Rt Hon Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business. Christine is a Fellow of London Metropolitan University Business School’s Centre for Progressive Leadership.

Christine is able to adapt to different environments and issues quickly, where she is known for her ethical approach, her empathy, her stimulating and thought-provoking method of questioning, and for her ability to put people at ease. She is renowned for her creative resourcefulness and wisdom, her penetrating analysis, insights and ability to provoke transformational thinking and action for organisations and individual coaching and consulting clients worldwide.

What Do You Want to Write About……………?

Sharpen up your writing tools

Sharpen Your Writing Tools 

 

I’ve had a lot of messages from people telling me they haven’t written anything for many years, or that they dry up when they pick up a pen, or that the blank paper/screen stares back at them like a mean teacher as if to say http://pettypool.org/kebab-pizza ‘who do you think you are, writing poetry, writing prose – writing anything!’

If you’ve ever had that feeling, here are a couple of  ideas for getting started. Remember that writing words can easily be about play and enjoy yourself.

http://oceanadesigns.net/pdfs/Oceana Color Edge Profile.pdf NUMBER ONE:

Pick a topic - any topic, the first thing that comes into your mind, everything is a possibility …..simply say to yourself “I want to write about…(in the instance of writing a Valentine’s verse, then Love rather naturally springs to mind) and start. It’s the same with most things in life – just begin. Getting started is (I know it sounds ridiculously simplistic) the key. Don’t edit your thoughts or words, let them spill out – you can come back and refine them later….

NUMBER TWO:

Pick some random words: for example, I’ve got a piece of paper near me which says ‘Identity Card’ and the words that catch my eye on the computer screen are ‘Save Draft’…. What could I do with those?

Here goes:

My identity as occasional  bard
Is sending you a Valentine’s card.
I thought of you and sweetly drafted,
So cherish and save  these words I crafted.

It doesn’t have to be a  rhyme, it can be anything – just get started. You could  say something like:

What do I think about identity Cards? Will they really make us more secure, and save us from possible terrorists attacks, stop illegal immigrants, will they help prevent extremist cells from drafting in new, impressionable recruits?

See if this gets your creative juices flowing – look at what’s around you and start writing about it  – you may be surprised how easy it can be to get into the flow!

FOR YOUR FREE GUIDE TO WRITING SHORT POEMS, LEAVE A MESSAGE HERE 

 

Nick Inman’s Guide to Mystical France

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Nick Inman’s beautiful book about ‘Mystical France – Secrets, Mysteries, Ancient Sites’, published by Findhorn Press, £14.99, is an exciting and useful addition to any travel library. And it is a volume particularly pleasing to me given our recent purchase of a lovely 17th Century Manoir in South West France, a house and land which are also steeped in secrets and mystery to be unravelled.

A well-known and accomplished travel writer who lives in France with his family, Nick has explored the country with a keen eye and intellect, evidenced by the comprehensive coverage of many sites – and sights – not on the regular tourist route. He offers historical fact, well-researched details of little-known places and their significance, and 240 lavish photographs to illustrate them.

This is an excellent guide to a subtle and rewarding France beyond wine, sunshine, food and fashion, with secrets many visitors don’t know about, and if you are planning a visit or even just passing through, you will discover a wealth of fascinating places of interest. The book is versatile and lends itself both to planning an itinerary of sites that intrigue you, and to dipping in and learning about a wide range of fascinating topics from labyrinths and stained glass, angels and fairies, King Arthur in France, pilgrimage routes, little known caves and their paintings, the Tarot and the Templars and much more – some 60 individual features and 14 standalone chapters.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the hidden beauty of this vast and enticing country. And – as I mentioned to Nick when his book arrived, it’s a multi-sensory experience too, not only rich in colour with heavyweight paper, but it has that delicious (to me) smell of a good covering of ink!
Get a copy whether you plan to visit France or not – there’s much to learn here. 

Christine Miller 

mystical-backcover

Find out more about Nick Inman: nick-inman
http://www.findhornpress.com/blog/cat/ni/post/nick-inman2/

Making Education Work

Christine

Christine Miller 

 

Fail your way to success

This post is inspired, or maybe provoked, by the recent press coverage of a new UK report called ‘Making Education Work’ which is calling for ‘A-Levels to be axed in favour of a new ‘Baccalaureate’ (Telegraph), and as the BBC declares: Education ‘fails to deliver skills for global success’.  

The report has been put together by an independent 14-strong expert group including Sir Roy Anderson, former rector of Imperial College London, Sir Michael Rake, Chair of BT and head of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and Sir David Bell from Reading University. It was commissioned by Educational Publishers, Pearson, and is recommending a broadening of the curriculum and that so-called ‘soft skills’ like emotional intelligence, empathy, team working and other interpersonal skills are given more prominence in equipping young people effectively for the workplace.

I haven’t yet read the full report, and this piece expresses my immediate response as a provocation and encouragement to further thought and comment.

Whilst education reform might be necessary and desirable in some instances, to equip our workforce for employer’s needs and boost economic recovery, I wouldn’t like to see a system which only wants people who are fit or skilled for a limited purpose to be determined solely by business interests. To me that would be stultifying the potential breadth and depth of human beings, would inhibit the true engagement of young people, and create mind and body prisons which ultimately would not serve the values, morale and flourishing of individuals, families, communities, and nations.

Education – that political hot potato that gets thrown from party to party, government to government, a vote-winner because it’s fundamental to the values and aspirations of all of us. Education has always been one of my key concerns and I believe we miss the mark and fail to serve our young people in many ways, and that it is a subject we all need to be aware of and interested in.

But although universal,  it’s not a one size fits all situation. And it’s not meant to be simply a mechanism for churning out bodies and minds with just enough skills and knowledge to supply business with willing and able fodder – ‘human capital’ – to produce its wares and do its bidding. Nor should policies change to win votes, there needs to be a consistent approach where what works is what is important regardless of which party is in power.

It’s an old and somewhat wizened chestnut, but ‘Education’ (‘educere’ in Latin) is really meant to be a process of ‘drawing out’ and fostering the individual skills and talents of each person in order that they may live a fulfilled life and be of service to their community. Given that we are all different and have a variety of abilities, natural and otherwise, which can be developed, honed and practised, any education system needs to encourage independent thinking, recognise differences and offer a range of experiences which cater to academic, practical, emotional, physical and spiritual needs and preferences. We have more opportunity to deliver a quality, varied and relevant curriculum today with the advent of technology and increased knowledge sharing than ever before.

christine-millerBut let’s face facts – some people just don’t want to and are not suited to the intensity of academic study. They don’t want to pore over text books, immerse themselves in literature, conduct scientific experiments and learn periodic tables or historical dates, grid references, or biological processes. It’s still important that they should have literacy and numeracy in order to thrive, but the basic failure in these skills, if it occurs, happens much earlier in the system than at ‘A’ level, and needs to be addressed in a timely manner with understanding and specific interventions.

The more practical type of person might want a big picture overview, a general knowledge, of the way all these disciplines work in order to better understand their place in the world, but they would rather build something, create something, get their hands dirty, than read about it. They have ‘doing’ skills which are critical to our world, and need to be nurtured, encouraged, and valued, equally.

I know I have always marvelled at the spatial visioning abilities of people who build things to work out how the pieces all fit together. I have watched in awe as carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers and other talented tradespeople read and interpret plans or listen to instructions,  and turn them into real structures and objects before my eyes.

And I know, also, that others watch with awe as academics, researchers and people like myself write reports, novels, articles, poems and weave arguments, conclusions, revelations and patterns of words together in a way that seems to defy possibility to those who are not inclined in the direction of word-smith, analyst or poet.

Some people are deeply engaged and interested in studying the theoretical complexities of how the world works, relish academic study and excel in that world. They need a different kind of nurturing, an education which allows their intellect to blossom and expand, to bring forth solutions and inventions, and their requirements demand a different style of teaching, a stimulating environment which values their skills and abilities as seekers of ideas and creative inspiration.

We need to remember that no one particular style, inclination or talent is superior to another, although in the past, practical skills have been undervalued. We are all, with our biases and complexities, essential components of a world which is constantly changing. Our human needs for love, caring, connection and relationship do not change, though. Whatever form of education we experience, we cannot do it in a vacuum – we do need those skills of listening, understanding, respecting, trusting and sharing as a team which bring personal and professional success and fulfilment.

So in equipping our young people for their lives and for the workplace – (and who knows exactly what the workplace may look like in the future) – we need to cater for the diversity of the whole person in the ways we do the following:

      • Respect and celebrate difference
      • Value individual skills and learning styles
      • Foster existing aptitudes and preferences, while encouraging new ones
      • Recognise the unconventional, the disrupters and change makers
      • Create safe spaces with loving, listening and caring teachers for experimentation and mutual cooperation

Then and only then can we say we are advancing education and serving our young people adequately and effectively,
equipping them for life and not merely a living.

 

Christine Miller

© January 2014 All Rights Reserved

More thoughts on Education & Young People:
How to Fail Your Way to Success
Teens, Troubles, Treasures

The Rhythms of Life

carl book

Shamanic Sand Painting for Insights

Carl Greer

Carl Greer

By Carl Greer

Tides ebb and flow, seasons come and go, and the sun rises and sets.
Nature teaches us about the rhythms and cycles of life.

As a businessman, I’ve enjoyed successes and upturns in the business cycle. But I have also been forced by downturns in the business cycle to cut back my operations here and there and ponder new directions for my business.

The same has been true in my life as well: The natural rhythms of life have caused me at times to be unable to effect changes and break through obstacles. At these times, I’ve had to both be patient and get creative. Sometimes, having to slow down and consider what options might reveal themselves, or work with fewer resources, leads to new ways of doing things. That in turn can lead to insights into even more efficient and effective methods to get things done.

During a downturn in any cycle, when growth has halted, formerly unseen options can reveal themselves. It’s important not to become frustrated and simply try harder at doing the same thing we have always been doing out of fear that nothing will grow or flourish again. If we aren’t getting results, it may be that we need to accept we are in a fallow period or a downturn, and the time for pondering, reflecting, or envisioning something new is at hand.

Resisting a natural downturn in a cycle can cause anxiety as you continue to press forward only to see that your efforts aren’t paying off. Holding on when you need to let go can cause you to miss new, better opportunities that are right in front of you or about to show up in your life as the wheel turns and a new season of growth begins.

Sometimes, you have to let go to move forward into something even better—a situation, a relationship, or a project. Accepting a downturn in a cycle gives you the opportunity to question that which has remained unquestioned, and ask, “Is this necessary? Am I directing too much time, energy, and money toward something that isn’t working for me? Was it working once, but no longer? Is it time to establish a new habit, and focus on something else?”

It might be that you have to learn to work smarter instead of working harder and to change the way you operate. It might also be that you need to open your eyes to new resources and bring in new energies.

When you are in a downturn in your life, you might use the practice of sand painting to gain insights. A Jungian sand tray is a technique similar to shamanic sand painting. Both help you access the wisdom of your unconscious mind. However, unlike the Jungian technique, a shamanic sand painting is typically created outdoors. Let your intuition guide you to a place in nature where you can create your “painting,” a small area on the ground or perhaps a tree stump on which you can lay natural items.

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Example of Shamanic Sand Painting

Gather sticks, leaves, stones, and other natural items to represent the story of your life in the present moment. Again, let your intuition guide you, choosing items and arranging them without thinking about what you are doing.

When it feels as if your sand painting is done, sit for a time observing it. Notice what feelings and thoughts come to mind and what insights arise.

If you like, after you’ve completed your sand painting, return to it on another day and see what changes nature has wrought.

What has been moved, and what has been brought into your painting? What does the painting now say about your life and its rhythms?

In nature, nothing remains the same, and for good reason. After a forest fire, new growth can begin because the trees that blocked the sunlight have burned away, offering seedlings and brush a better chance of receiving the light they need. After a flood, soil can be enriched with nutrients that support new plant growth. Trusting that with endings come new beginning and with losses come gains will help you through the downturns in the cycles of life.

You will find yourself more in synch with natural rhythms when you let go of the fear of loss. Whether you worry about not having enough money, not finding a good job, or not attracting a romantic partner who emotionally supports you, you can look to nature to inspire you to trust in life’s rhythms and engage in the process of letting go of the past and creating something new. And you can use the sand painting technique to better understand how to use a downturn as an opportunity for positive transformation.

Resistance to natural rhythms wastes energy and creates emotional and mental stress. Sometimes, you may be afraid to let go of something because you fear that the loss will be irreplaceable. And if you let go of something tangible, such as a house, a second car, or a side business, you can become gripped by the fear that you will never be able to achieve that thing again and that the loss will be felt deeply, for a long period of time. Yet if you find the courage to let go, you may well find that something better comes along. Perhaps nature’s alteration of your sand painting will suggest what you might let go of and what might replace it.

Is there something in your life that you used to think was essential but now might need to let go of? What is it, and when did it stop being essential for you? Why do you no longer need it? Can you accept that the rhythms of life have determined it is time to let go? And can you trust that something new will come in? Can you identify an opportunity or resource that you’ve overlooked and might now take advantage of?


carl bookCarl Greer, PhD, PsyD
is a practicing clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst, and shamanic practitioner. His shamanic work is drawn from a mix of North American and South American indigenous traditions and is influenced by Jungian analytic psychology. He has worked or trained with shamans on five continents and trained at Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s Healing the Light Body School, where he has taught.  Carl Greer is involved in various businesses and charities, teaches at the Jung Institute in Chicago, is on the staff of the Lorene Replogle Counseling Center, and holds workshops on shamanic topics. He is the author of the new book Change Your Story, Change Your Life: Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation by Carl Greer © 2014, Findhorn Press.

Read an extract and purchase from Findhorn HERE
Please note all royalties are being donated to charity 

Now also available at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

I’m Giving Up Nothing for Lent

Christine Miller

Rising from the ashes – still crazy after all these years?

(with credit to Paul Simon) 

The French House

The French House

I found this blog post from 5 years ago – interesting to reflect on how much has changed – writing this in France, in our dream home, for one thing – how much is the same – the actions I was choosing then I choose now, so perhaps they are perennials which keep life moving and us growing.

And, yes, definitely still crazy, and delighted to be so.

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for those who follow Christian traditions.  I’m not a churchgoer any more, but I still recall the walk up the church aisle to experience the scratchy feel of ash being marked in the form of a cross onto my forehead by the priest.  I guess it must have happened for each of the 14 years of my schooldays, and more.

I was brought up in a devout Roman Catholic family, and my childhood memories of Lent are about loads of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday prior to ‘giving up’ something I liked on Ash Wednesday for the remaining 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for Easter.  It was usually chocolate. It probably still should be chocolate. Or wine. Or cheese.

Anyway, I haven’t given anything up for Lent for more years than I care to recall.
And I’m not about to start again.

Not Giving Up

I’ve decided to follow that hackneyed quote from Winston Churchill: ‘never, ever, ever…give up’.

But I am going to do something.
Not penance, but productivity.  
Not denial, but delight. 

I am going to do more.

No, not more chocolate, wine and cheese. Not more of anything material. But definitely more fun. More stuff that delights, surprises and stretches me. Maybe even more stuff that’s good for me like – walking and water.

Being pragmatic, things and actions I’m in control of:

  • Meeting more people, online and offline
  • Launching my leadership and transformation retreats at my new home in SW France 
  • Creating more crucial, constructive conversations
  • Writing at least one blog every week
  • More exuberance and fun
  • More kindness and love

People Ideas Action

So I’m not giving anything up.

I’m keeping hold of what I have that I love.

But I am expanding my life with fresh people, ideas, and most crucially, actions. It’s going to be a fascinating forty days, for sure.

Spring Talks

And as part of the action –  crucial, constructive conversations – if you would like to share your experiences I’m also doing a series of 5 minute ‘Spring Talks’ interviews for publication so contact me for more information and let me know if you want to join in.

Leave a message here or contact me via christine at christinemiller dot co (and no, the ‘co’ isn’t a typo, it’s correct)

Conversations with God

Vassula Rydén

An Interview with Vassula Rydén, author of ‘Heaven is Real But So is Hell’

Christine Miller

Vassula Rydén

Vassula Rydén

On her recent visit to London I had a long conversation with Vassula Rydén, Founder of ‘True Life in God Foundation’, who has been receiving and recording messages she believes are from God since 1985, when her life radically changed from carefree socialite, tennis player and diplomat’s wife, to that of scribe for spiritual messages to mankind.

The publication of these messages has led to controversy and persecution for Vassula, encounters with the Church in Rome and sceptical Christians, and also to the building of a large followership of dedicated people keen to hear the messages she conveys.

Having started out with little or no knowledge of the Bible, or theology, Vassula started to share her conversations with God with the wider world, and now travels the globe sharing them with an audience now numbering many hundreds of thousands.

This is a short extract from our conversation.

Welcome Vassula. As I understand it, you started receiving messages in 1985.  Do you still receive messages; and if so, how often do you receive the messages nowadays?
Okay, the latest message. Yes, I still receive messages, but not as often as in the previous years because in the beginning it was every day, a calling, and I understand why, because it was to teach me many things. The Lord had to teach me many things, the catechism, everything came from him. I had never opened a spiritual book in my life. So to come to your question, yes the latest message I received was about four days ago and that was a message for the next pilgrimage that we are going to do in Rome in October this year and it is for the Priests and for the lay people as well.
It is a long message concerning the church and unity, and it is a message of hope. I am very happy with the latest message that came in.

Tell me more about how the messages have changed over the years.
Yes, there is a kind of order with God. God is a God of order – we know that. Now just imagine how it changed, because, of course, in the beginning, the Lord had to teach me many things: spiritual things, always regarding the scriptures next to my hand. He had to teach me the basics, if you want, of spirituality. I had never had any catechism myself so it was really the Lord my teacher and he told me many things. At first, I would say the messages were like a tête a tête, an intimate, one to one conversation.

Yes, I understand.
It was like ‘try to learn to get to know me, understand me, and love me’. That was the kind of intimate message; but remember, also, as I say in the book, ‘Heaven is Real But so is Hell’, that these messages are for everybody. That means take away Vassula’s name and put in your name, because he speaks to everybody. So it was very simple teachings, but very deep teachings although they sounded very simple. He never talked about his church in the beginning; it was just to learn to love him and serve him because you cannot serve the Lord without loving him, and that was what he was trying to teach me.

Once this was achieved, then he came into the messages of unity and the church and after some time, of course, the teaching was different because it was starting to tell me the problems of the church. In the beginning, I had kind of refused to learn, because I didn’t want to get involved with their problems. I mean, I said to myself, ‘well you know if they messed up the church, I mean, I am not responsible, why should I be the one who is going to sort it out?’

This was the reaction I had. I thought, well so far so good. He told me how to get closer to him and to love him and go back to the sacraments of the church. All this is good. But what am I going to do with all these new messages coming in with the problems of the church, the division and their quarrels? So that was a little bit of my reaction.

However, in the end I accepted and I said all right let it be his way, let’s see what he wants, and what he wants to tell me. So he started to talk to me about the hypocrisy that has spread all over the western world – that means Europe – and how bad things are in the church and that the division hurts him very much, and he began to tell me about the division. But of course, there was a lot of other progress and messages, after the message of the church unity.

There were teachings of how to get to a higher level in spirituality, to the point of getting into what he calls ‘impassibility’. This word impassibility means to have an angelic virtue; that means being so much detached from everything regarding where you are living, in this world, to be much closer to God, almost being like the beatific vision although you are not yet there. It was really mystical theology and that progressed into very, very deep spirituality.

With your book Heaven Is Real But So Is Hell, what is your most important message to all your readers?
The most important message I would say is to get to know God and understand God. To believe in God, Christine, that’s not good enough, because even the Devil believes in God, the Demons believe in God but they do not love God.

But to get to know God and understand him is a tremendous spiritual achievement because by knowing God and by understanding God you become intimate with God and your heart opens to God and you become an apostle to cry out to the world for peace, reconciliation and unity because all of us belong to God and this is one of the powerful messages that brings hope to the people that God is alive and cares for us.

And is there anything else you would like to say about your book or about your work in general, as a concluding message to your readers and people who aren’t yet aware of you and your message and your mission?
Yes, I would say for certain, from 1985 till today I have been receiving so many messages that give hope.
God, the Father and Jesus, I would say, the Trinity and our blessed Mother, because she also gave us some messages, have given instructions of how to pray, how to be, how to follow the path of virtues and how to be close to God to gain heaven.

It’s all in the messages, and I would say to people – God did not spend almost 30 years to write all these messages for them to finish up in a drawer, it’s for them.

It is the love letter from God to all of us. It is his love, him to all of us, and I would recommend everybody to just have a look into the messages and read them, and they will discover God and their life will really totally change.

Totally change how? You know, people say well it’s going to be boring, or something like that. I don’t know how they would react if I say that, but it gives so much hope. The closer they start to get to know God, the more they will be able to feel, through all the trials that you can pass through in life, you can still be passing through them with hope, and not get so desperate and go into despair.

It gives hope. All the trials, all the persecutions you’ll have, all the problems you’ll have, you’ll be able to live them with hope and survive. So I would say I recommend them to read the messages for True Life in God. It’s their love letter from God the Father.

Christine Miller June 2015

Heaven Is Real But So Is Hell -- Hi-res Cover (2)The Book
This bestselling book, which sold over 50,000 copies in the USA, outlines Vassula’s personal journey toward religious enlightenment and discusses recurring questions about God and unjustifiable world disasters. Heaven is Real But So Is Hell ultimately upholds a message of hope. It is a book for those who have strayed from religion as well as those who are seeking truth in an increasingly complex world.

The Author
Vassula Rydén was born in Egypt to Greek parents but grew up in Switzerland. The True Life in God Foundation, www.tligfoundation.org, which is committed to spreading the messages around the world is based in Switzerland and has council members from the UK, Singapore, Philippines, USA, Ireland and Spain. She has two sons by her first marriage and currently lives in Rhodes with her second husband. Vassula continues to speak to God.

Published by Alexian on 17th November 2015
£16.99 Hardback