Suicide Prevention – We can all contribute

There is something that we can all do right now to help prevent further suicides, and to support people going through depression (as well as reducing violence generally). It doesn’t cost anything, and every single one of us can contribute at an individual, community, national, and international level. It doesn’t require specialist training, and it is so simple that many people have no inkling of how powerful it is.

‘What is this amazing and powerful tool?’, I hear you ask. It is the words and language that we use with ourselves, and with others. You know the feeling of heaviness as you hear a phrase like, ‘You should do that’, or ‘What you need is to …’; or when you think to yourself, ‘I am depressed’ or ‘I have depression’; or every time you use a word like ‘anxiety’. This kind of language weighs us down, and prevents recovery to our normal happy resilient selves.

I’d like to suggest a few alternatives that are not as widely used yet – I have great hope that they will become the norm very soon. Here are 3 things to make life easier for everyone – have fun playing with them:

  1. Firstly, use the verb ‘doing’ instead of ‘having’ or ‘being’ – this creates a temporariness to the state, which lightens the impact of the words, and creates more feeling of having choice.  Just try saying to yourself, “I’m doing frustration/annoyed/confused/non-calm” (at the moment/right now)”. Notice how this feels lighter, and has more potential for change :).
  2. Secondly, start removing non-useful words from your language, such as ‘should, have to, must, need to, and ought to’. These words weigh heavily on our shoulders when we use them internally, externally, or receive them from others. So instead of “I should do it”, try saying “I am (not) going to do it”; instead of “I should have done it”, try saying “I did/didn’t do it”. Instead of “I must”, try saying “I choose (not) to do this because it is (not) valuable/useful for me (or because I can see how valuable it is for you)”. This is just a simple overview, but I’m sure you get the picture :).
  3. Thirdly, using more positive language by changing words like anxiety to non-calm, useless to non-useful, depression to non-contentment, etc.  The more you do this, the better you will feel :).

Finally, a quick note, to quote what Phil Parker (PPTI) says – people are naturally geniuses.  People who do procrastination or depression (or non-contentment) really well are geniuses at it.  People doing anxiety (or non-calm) who have panic attacks are also geniuses at what they are doing.  I used to be a genius at food intolerances, and pretty highly skilled at anxiety and at hiding it well, too. We are all geniuses at whatever we are doing to a high level. Therefore, if we can take that ability and commitment, and those skills and apply them to something more useful, that would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it :).  A great first step forward can be to realise and acknowledge this.

Whilst these suggestions are only part of the solution, they constitute a fundamental shift in how we communicate to a way that is far more positive and empowering, and can change systems from within. One of the most important aspects for me is that we ALL have the ability to contribute in this way, rather than standing on the sidelines waiting for something to happen.

Posted in Conflict Resolution News | Leave a comment

Literacy in prisons – breaking the cycle with picture books

This is a 5-minute video about the NZ Howard League for Penal Reform’s Literacy programme in prisons. It’s an organisation I support that is doing wonderful work to help the 50% of inmates in NZ prisons who are illiterate, so that when they return to their communities they have a better chance of finding and holding onto a job, as well as being able to read to their own children.  Being literate also raises their self-esteem, and opens up the written world to them.

Thank you for watching :).  For more information, or to become a member and receive the newsletter with current activities, visit their website:

Posted in Conflict Resolution News, Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mindblowing film ‘Beyond Right and Wrong’ about the power of dialogue

“In Beyond Right & Wrong, a woman who survived the death of her five children wonders if she can forgive the man who killed them. A victim’s daughter strikes up an unusual friendship with the bomber who killed her father. And two men—one Palestinian, one Israeli—form a bond after tragedies claim their daughters. These survivors of conflicts in Rwanda, Northern Ireland and Israel-Palestine share their stories of loss and recovery in their own words.”

I’m still reeling from watching this.  Make yourself a cup of tea and take an hour out of your day to discover the immense courage and understanding of those who have been hit hardest by acts of war.  Hear their stories and how they have taken steps to meet those who carried out these atrocities face-to-face.  These are accounts of utter devastation, yet there is a common desire to help prevent such atrocities from continuing (and others from suffering in the same way), and a search for peace and understanding that leads to conversation.

Click on the link below:

Thankyou for watching.

Posted in Conflict at home, Conflict Resolution News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue

Jackson Katz calls on us all (especially men) to stop being bystanders and become leaders of change when it comes to violence against women.  Personally I would like to see us do this when it comes to violence of any sort, no matter who it is against or who is the perpetrator.  One step at a time 🙂  If you’re not sure how you might intervene safely and/or constructively, take a look at, and the ‘areyouthatsome1’ campaign currently running on Facebook.


Posted in Conflict at home, Education, Handy Hints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave

Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave – Leslie Morgan Steiner tells her own chilling tale of abuse in what she calls ‘Crazy Love’.

Note the various stages of relationship: Seduce and charm; Isolate; Introduce the threat of violence; Regular abuse. This is equally relevant to all relationships – heterosexual or homosexual, male or female abuser – to be aware of how it starts.

Especially useful for teenagers and their parents, to look out for the signs in those vulnerable relationships.


Posted in Conflict at home, Education, Handy Hints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As inequality rises, so too will conflict

Inequality is increasing rapidly in many countries around the world.  The video below provides a better understanding of inequality in New Zealand (a good number of the graphics include other countries, such as USA and parts of Europe).

Journalist Max Rashbrooke explains what happened to NZ’s distribution of incomes and wealth over the last thirty years, puts this in an international context, and shows the results for our society. The dramatic increase in inequality has produced, in Max’s phrase, “five corrosions” — eating away at our social cohesion, health & wellbeing, politics, opportunity and in fact damaging our economy itself.

If you think this needs to be more widely understood, share this post and spread the word

Appreciation to Whakatata Mai – for this video
Posted in Conflict at home, Conflict Resolution News, Education, Workplace conflict | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Smacking Okay? – TED talk by Robbyn Peters Bennett

If you ever wondered whether smacking children is okay, take a look at this TED talk from Robbyn Peters Bennett, which details some of the longer-term effects.  Thought-provoking, moving, inspirational, and hopeful, Robbyn uses her own personal experiences to push for change.  Although she is talking about the USA, the exact same situation is happening in NZ and other countries worldwide.

From The Conflict Tool Box, published by Fiona White of Mediation Matters

Posted in Conflict at home, Conflict Resolution News, Education, Handy Hints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Dyslexics Learn: Grasping the Nettle

Whilst we’re on the subject of dyslexia, if you’re wanting to know more about it, you might like to take a look at How Dyslexics Learn: Grasping The Nettle, co-written by my Mum.

How Dyslexics Learn - Grasping the Nettle“By dyslexics for dyslexics of all ages, this is the first book on the subject which one can honestly say is without fault. Not a word of patronage, jargon, rubbish statistics, or repetition of things everyone has heard many times before. Above all, it shows the learning process from what it truly is – fun!” Susan Parkinson, Arts Dyslexia Trust.

From The Conflict Tool Box, published by Fiona White of Mediation Matters

Posted in Conflict at home, Conflict Resolution News, Education, Handy Hints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How We Suppress Genius and Creativity – TED Talk by Scott Sonnon

For all the amazing people with the gift of dyslexia .  This is a very moving and inspirational speech from Scott Sonnon at TEDx, reaching out to educators, parents, and other influencers.  It also speaks to how violence interrupts or distorts learning.  Awesome talk.

From The Conflict Tool Box, published by Fiona White of Mediation Matters

Posted in Conflict at home, Conflict Resolution News, Education, Handy Hints, Workplace conflict | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peace Day 21 September 2012

Global Truce 2012 – Peace Day 21 September

If we all unite, together we can create the largest global reduction of violence ever recorded on one day – Peace Day 21 September 2012 – a world record.

Peace One Day is asking you to become a member of Global Truce 2012.
Join us now, make Peace Day yours and take action on the day.

Be part of the largest ever gathering of individuals in the name of peace.

If you are serious about wanting to make a positive difference in this world, click on the link below and watch the Global Truce short film, then think about what you and your business/school/community will do on 21st September 2012. Every action counts, no matter how small. Whatever you do will ripple out and create permanent change in some way. What will you do to increase the peace?

From The Conflict Tool Box, published by Fiona White of Mediation Matters

Posted in Conflict at home, Conflict Resolution News, Education, Handy Hints, Workplace conflict | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment