Monthly Archives: May 2015

Ombudsman Watchers

This is one of the matters that the aforementioned Healing With the Masters don’t address: bureaucratic injustice.

The British grassroots websites about the wrongs of ombudsmen receive many hits. I’m sad that the one I named in the title, which focusses on the Public Services and Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), is no longer running, but the site and its related blog remain for now.

There is also one about the Financial Ombudsman (FOS) who claims over 120,000 hits.

I have experience of ombudsmen’s shortcomings myself and note that the ones protecting (yes I think that is the right word) the establishment’s favourite things – law, finance, and government – are the worst to deal with. I’ve noted over time that they allow less cases and that if they do investigate yours, they will not come out in your favour.

The CEO of the FOS told me that they often displease both sides.

However, I think that ombudsmen are not independent, as they are meant to be. They are not publically accountable or equal between the individual citizen complainant and the corporation they complain about.

Most of us use the ombudsman because there’s not really another option; once you’ve exhausted the company’s own complaints procedure – easily done – this is the only path open. I think many firms tell customers to use the ombudsman because they know that nothing will happen. If we’re unhappy with their handling, the Ombudsman glibly suggest we can go to court, but much of the time our situations do not merit the heaviness and expense of judicial review.

It leaves us with a sense of frustration, unfairness, crushed hope, of not being heard, of lack of justice in an increasingly unaccountable administration .

That is because:

Ombudsmen ask for a quick turn round from individuals – 5-10 days, but can disappear for months taking to the other side.

The Local Government Ombudsman makes you apply online by filling in specific boxes and can only upload one document, which is meant to be the other side’s final response. (Note, no forwarding emails or your summary of the whole case which would give a better picture). They give no email contact details until someone has provisionally reviewed your case. That means that they’ve gone to the other side and got all their information but without fully hearing yours. And they’re incredibly rude – and thick.

I have frequently had cause to wonder about the comprehension of ombudsman staff. I’ve sent back a complaint summary 4 times because it misrepresented me and would damage my case. The way they address matters and what they leave out shows they are both blinkered, lacking in intelligence beyond the machines they work for, and guided by unknown principles.

The ombudsman systems feels like being asked your opinion in a survey which will largely be ignored. It’s a show for stats, lipservice to democratic transparency and voices.

The ombudsman “services” – all with web addresses, even the ones that scrutinises the government – can take up to two years, even when the issue is something urgent as having home your home at risk, or no income.

I would welcome comments from those that also have had problems – we are many – and like the film of the same name released tonight, we can unite to be heard.

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Healing With The Masters Season 15

Jennifer McLean has been bringing internationally known speakers and healers to the public for free by online seminar for at least 6 years. I’ve been part of her community for many of these. The latest series has just wrapped in May 2015.

Firstly – what I like about Jennifer. She laughs – which makes me laugh too. She is enthusiastic and excited. “It’s freakin’ off the charts” she often exclaims about the energy on a call. She feels an authentic host: choking up when talking about loved ones dying, being honest when something angers her, and endearing when she says she has to work to love her ‘crazy’ self. Jennifer feels a rounded human, who even though she sounds financially successful and well known (but has been poor too), still has life challenges and doesn’t try to hide it. She never tells us about her home situation, which I like, as it can be distracting to know if a speaker/healer has a family. If their circs are different to yours, you can feel alienated. The mystique allows us to focus on what matters.

I think she is a good host, warmly engaging, asking good questions of her guests, putting speaker’s insights in her own succinct words. Often, listeners have a chance to call in live. Jennifer handled one really well: when a speaker had missed that a caller had just shared about having a crisis, Jennifer gently drew this to the guest’s attention. She is also good at listening to what people on the call feel. When a guest stated what exciting times we live in and what a wonderful opportunity life is, Jennifer said: But lots of people don’t see their lives like that; their souls are exclaiming “This is the last freakin’ time! I’m never coming back here [to earth for another reincarnation if this is how awful life is]”.

Wanting to be healed on some level is mostly the point of listening in – it’s healing with the masters, not sorted with the masters. We’re seekers, yet to arrive. I love how at the start of each call, Jennifer reminds that we’re all masters on the show – not just the guests speakers – and so, by extension, we can learn from each other.

I’m not going to go through all the speakers; and if I have any criticism, I will not name that speaker. This is all meant to be in a good spirit.

The speakers are often North American but their world view is universal, so their nationality isn’t alienating, should you be outside of it (unlike a book I’m currently reading). They’re spiritually inspired with a scientific and/or business slant. Their beliefs are under the new age/spirituality banner, which means they are pretty similar, despite not coming under a creed. Many of them believe in the law of attraction, in chakras and energy fields, and often in reincarnation. Their words for God are inclusive, and may be something like Source or The Universe rather than invoking a particular Name – or they’ll invoke several. The show is usually about personal awakening, in the assumption that opening ourselves helps open the planet. The tumult of the earth is often spoke of, but I’ve heard no campaigning on social or personal justice  – in fact, I’ve often heard speakers say let to those things go, with which I disagree.

Sometimes I observe that people have more power than wisdom and sensitivity – and not just the speakers on this call. I’ve seen it in charismatic healing meetings as much as new age healers who have a huge rush of energy at their disposal, and possibly, the ability to visit other dimensions and to gather information about caller’s energies and pasts very quickly. But how they use that power is not always tempered with the compassion and listening skills and thought for the other persons that it might be.

There was a man who has huge energy and obvious power who speaks very fast. I sympathise with that, but when he did an energy clearing process, it was as restful as a racing commentary. I really wish he’d slowed to lead us through that process. The show was quite hard to listen to – it was exhausting!

Some of my querying comes from the way that call ins are handled. It’s hard for guests to have to say or do the right thing for live callers in just a few minutes. I think it’s actually not a wise thing to offer. Many practitioners in a variety of fields have a long first appointment and work with someone over time before offering pronouncements and treatments. I wonder if there’s a rush to say something wise and quickly, knowing you are live, knowing your time is short, feeling you must deliver as the supposed healing master. Sometimes, callers are talked over and shut down. The guest “masters” don’t always express the compassion for the horrid life events that callers talk about – many call in not with a question, but a request for an urgent life line. I think some showing caring for their situation and its pain before trying to offer a solution would be better; and greater sensitivity about asking personal questions – and expecting a response – on air.

There was a caller named Elizabeth who I felt for. I think the guest speaker (shares name with Genghis, Sheer and Chaka) misheard which chakra she said was blocked and worked on the wrong one. He didn’t handle it well when she said, I’m doing all you say, and I’m still not getting what I need. Every time she came back and said ‘but I am and it’s not happening’, I felt a YES… so many of us must feel this sometimes. And like a doctor enthralled with their favourite prescription, the healer won’t take responsibility for the fact that for this person, what they offer isn’t working. And that they need to try something else. He said, “From the energy in your voice…” I could hear something in his, not all in keeping with his claim of being an empathic loving healer. He kept insisting in effect that he was right, and she wasn’t. Then this lady was kind of talked over and her call wound up. I felt there was pressure for her to accept what was offered, to show gratitude and evidence of healing, and to get off the air for the next person. I sensed she hadn’t left the call with what she came on for, and I was dissatisfied as a listener.

I also queried this speaker’s statement that sounded like he was saying, ‘people who see problems with the world have a lesser spiritual understanding and practice’. Our world is riddled with social justice issues. There are so many people working for a better world in ways which involve the direct and practical challenges, many of whom also have spiritual insight and wisdom – often it is what fires them to work in that way. We need balance between different approaches, and respect for them. Understanding that the world is in energetic flux doesn’t negate the hardships and challenges in it.

I found Sonia Choquette heartening, who’s had huge life challenges since she became known as a spiritual  teacher, and shared her journey since that time on her call. But on Hay House summit a couple of weeks later, she expanded her tale of how she felt led to go on the Camino way pilgrimage across Europe. And she added how she felt that a couple who discussed politics were entirely inappropriate, and angels of darkness. I didn’t understand why she saw this couple that way. One of my frustrations is that these speakers do not engage with political systems. Like Quakers, I believe there is no division between spiritual and political, and I do not see one as sacred and one as profane. I love that this couple later rescued Sonia!

My favourite speaker is Jo Dunning who did 5 shows in a working week – two live, three reruns. I could do a post on Jo all on her own. Jo is restful to listen to. There is a gentleness about Jo, and a deep wisdom, and a multi dimension over arcing view of our lives and the planet. However, I do have a couple of queries. One is that like so many, she believes our issues boil down to childhood traumas. But I feel our core wounds can be at any age and over issues we don’t have in our early life. We’re not mad at someone’s contemporary rudeness because it links to our poopy pants aged 2, as Jo said. She’s also got an evolutionary perspective, which may be common, but is not my world view.

Some of Jo’s products might sound ridiculous: pocket angels, Chakra cups, a $200 healing torch, even a silent CD – all with energy infused. But I’ve been around Jo long enough to know that what would be crazy and cloying in other hands is profound in hers. Jo brings energy to every call and does live processes, including with those who call in. She handled these very well. It might feel like a con when others message the show that they’re reacting to all these energies – and some people (like me) sit there and think – I’m not feeling anything. The reply might also feel like a con to the cynic – or the disappointed: it’s that we’re deep onions and that like ultraviolet light, many of the layers being addressed are not perceptible ones. There is much in her talks, I will not attempt a synopsis to her thought, though I did find it becoming quite similar. I wish transcripts were available – I did try to take notes – because often there’ s too much to take in and notetaking means some of my concentration and enjoyment is lost.

One other thought is that the timing of the live shows means that those of us not in the US would struggle to listen live and therefore not get to “play” with the speakers  and call in. I was sorry that Jennifer didn’t do a show on her own, as I like her healing singing and body dialoguing  – but she is on the forthcoming Hay House series.

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Elspeth on Elections – numbers are not equal

I am dismayed to wake up to a blue world, again. By that I mean to more austerity, inequality in Tory Britain, as voted yesterday, 7th May 2015.

When I say voted… let me unravel a large asterisk:

There are circa 60,000,000 people in the United Kingdom.

46,000,000 of these are entitled to vote – note that 14,000,000 can’t – including prisoners, 16-17 year olds, some immigrants, and of course the children which make such an emotive part of campaigns but who have to trust others to ensure they have a positive future.

There was a 66% turnout – so that’s about 30,000,000 (we’re doing round figures here).

I’m always interested in why the 16,000,000 felt it wasn’t worth turning out at the booths. Didn’t they feel anyone would really make a change, or that their votes wouldn’t count?

I am about to show they are sadly right, at least about the latter.

So already, half of the population voted on the outcome for another 30,000,000.

So when the Conservatives obtained a 36% majority –

64% of voters didn’t choose them

which means 36,000,000 of those who could vote didn’t choose them

and 19,000,000 of those who did vote didn’t choose them

Their 11m votes is only a 10th of the population, and a third of those who voted

These 11m votes translated to 331 seats in government of 650 seats (ie over half, as well as the right to form a government).

The Scottish National Party (SNP) obtained 56 seats with 1.4 million votes, turning the whole of the Caledonia country a pale yellow.

The Green party obtained 1.1 million votes – up fourfold, almost half what the former alliance and third party got – but it got only 1 MP; and no regional swathe.

Rightly, the Greens are starting a campaign for a better voting system.

The unfairness is also seen if you go to the BBC official elections page and toggle “most votes” and then “most seats won” and see how the voting numbers and seats do not match.

I note that Liberal Democrats got 8 seats but with 1.2m less votes than UKIP, who happily only got 1. At well under half UKIP’s votes,  the SNP has 56 times as many seats.

It is also noteworthy that if Scotland had voted for its usual colours – red and a little yellow – we would have another hung parliament; and even more so if the Northern Ireland and Welsh national parties had not featured strongly in the results. I’m not suggesting the Celtic parts of the UK shouldn’t vote for their national parties, but illustrating the hard choice between influencing Westminster’s overall government and what seems a cry for independence. I will suggest that the strong nationalist contingent and alternative parties suited the Tories, who often do badly in the areas where Celtic parties do well.

The Conservatives actually only got 6 more seats than the minimum needed to win the election.

There were 26 parties in the election, many of which have never run in my area; but that wide choice points out that this is a multiple horse race – not the two to five horses often presented. At the end of the BBC’s results is an integrated, undigested lump called Other – 0.5% of the vote, bigger than most of the mini parties, and almost the size of Plaid Cymru and Sein Fein, who won several seats. 164,000 people chose someones that the Beeb – the establishment’s voice, whether they pretend to be or not – chose to not even name.  One of these obtained the only seat out of the mini parties – but I’m struggling to find out who or where it is. I suspect these are independents, which are on the rise – Good – except that they can’t form a cabinet and become Prime Minster, which is why many are dissuaded from voting for them.

I trust this shows how unfair our system is.

See my cloud tag for previous election thoughts

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