Welcome to Life in 361˚. This blog is an 'open journal' - a space where I keep notes on bits & pieces I come across day-to-day - including books and articles I've read that I feel are worth sharing, interesting pictures and photos (I'm a visual learner, you see), random musings - and anything else that happens to catch my eye or ear. It also acts as a kind of 'open experiment' in terms of developing my views and writing skills - and networking with other people of a like-mind.

If you've stumbled upon here randomly, then I suggest you check out my biography and other pages.

Please Note: This site, and the social networking profile pages connected with it, reflect my personal interests & views which do not necessarily represent those of organisations I am affiliated / associated with.


Peace of mind?

"There seems to be something close to a peace of mind industry out there, complete with its own sales force. Nothing makes me want to cancel my life insurance like those smug inhabitants of magazine adverts and billboards, lying back in hammocks or staring out at the ocean, at peace with themselves because they have the right kind of insurance policy, or pension scheme, or investment fund."

I listened to a great piece on Radio 4 today, by chance, on 'Peace of Mind' by Michael Symmons Roberts - above is one of the cutting opening lines. He explores the different aspects of 'peace of mind' and, as far as I understood, settled on the idea that to be at peace is to be living constructively both for yourself and others - though not necessarily conflict-free or noise-free. 


To be free-range

I recently read the book 'Why look at animals?' by John Berger (available free online if you look around hard enough). It's a fascinating read but also one that, to use a term I've recently encountered in academia, creates 'disturbance'. It has certainly left me considering certain aspects of my lifestyle - particularly my consumption of meat, but also how I cultivate the garden, how I look after my two pet cats, how I approach my work with educating young people via my day job.

This write-up more or less sums up much of what I took from the book:
In a roundabout way, the book taps into a conversation that I have started with a friend, someone with the same longstanding affiliation to Unitarian Christianity, about the experience we both share of being wanderers - of somehow being 'free range' in our mentality, a mentality that never really allows us to become too immersed (or excuse the pun - 'cooped up') in churches, societies, political parties and so on.

It is a restlessness that is both potentially creative and destructive. And I have found, both in recent times and as I cast my mind backwards to events over the years, it can be a threatening position for those who have built their nests (another pun!), be that the self-declared conservative types or those who go under labels such as 'liberal' (yet nevertheless exhibit similar traits).

Hopefully I'll be able to write more about this later, but for now this blog post and this little book - this point in time - marks the start of what might be a new conversation, an exploration that might lead me, and quite possibly my good friend, in new directions.