Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 1

Bobbing Around

Volume Fourteen, Number One
June, 2014

Bob Rich’s rave

email other issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Ascending Spiral honoured
Buddhist equanimity is USEFUL
Guided imagery interview
A service to both writers and readers
Letter to the Editor

Janet off to Canberra
The Death-cycle of Fracking
A fact of our times
Wind farms intrude on the landscape, from Adam Bandt
Vermont defies GMO

West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse has Begun
The Urgency of Water Security by Anthony Akpan
CO2 levels slide UP
Oklahoma should brace for earthquakes
Another oil transport disaster
On Overpopulation and Ecosystem Collapse, by Dr Glen Barry

*Good news
Stanford on the right path
GetUp stops a coal disaster
…And funding for another

100 richest could end extreme poverty
The main cause of hardship

Mow without a motor

*Deeper issues
Two more reasons why I love Pope Francis
More evidence for reincarnation
Toledo, Ohio and Chippewa, Wisconsin declared Compassionate Cities
…And the Colombian city of Medellin: from drug capital to fair and livable

Why can’t I just get over this? by Anna Baranowsky
Pictures of grief
I’m afraid to let people close to me

Laughter Meditation for Parents and Kids, by Pragito Dove
Glyphosate is a disaster for human health, by Dr Mae Wan Ho

*For writers
“Oh, I never read a prologue…”
The Real Cost of the 99-Cent eBook, by Donna Brown
Need a little help with the stupidities of English?

*What my friends want you to know
Climate refugees: a petition
Instead of secrecy
Support the Tibet Fund
Sustainability in Nigeria
Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly resource for writers
It Never Rains, It Pours: a Tasmanian murder mystery by Rosamond Carter
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy training, Melbourne, 12-14 June
Help defend Avaaz workers
Soil School in the Pacific

*Book reviews
It Never Rains, It Pours: A Tasmanian murder mystery, by Rosamond Carter
Calm Ground, by Megan Williams
Bizarre Bipeds, reviewed by Michael Thal

*A bit of fun
Freudian typo?
A telling sculpture
One of those vagaries of nature?

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

From me to you

Ascending Spiral honoured
Buddhist equanimity is USEFUL
Guided imagery interview
A service to both writers and readers
Letter to the Editor


Ascending Spiral honoured

The Eric Hoffer Award had over 1000 entries. Less than 10% of these were given the title of “category finalist.” Ascending Spiral was one of these.

I don’t know what was wrong with the judges: my book didn’t win. 🙂

Buddhist equanimity is USEFUL

We put in a 60 metre long driveway at our Moora Moora house some 7 years ago. It was such a good job that only now did I feel the need to renovate it. Because it had eroded well below the previous level, I wanted to build it up again, so ordered a truckload of crushed rock.

Friday, it rained so much that the delivery was cancelled. Oh well, it’s been a near-drought for months, rain is good. The quarry bloke asked me to phone on Monday.

Monday morning, perfect weather. I phoned. He said, “Your truck will go about 10 or 10:30. I’ll call when it leaves.”

So, we had a leisurely breakfast — and he phoned at 9:30: “Your truck’s on the way!” Rush, rush… I was at the truck gate, then waited for a quarter of an hour. No worries, I stood around in lovely surroundings (apart from the rubbish bins of course).

When it arrived, I guided the truck in. The driver inspected the location. In the couple of years since we’d moved down to suburban Healesville, some of the fruit trees had spread their branches. “Cut those off,” the bloke said.

Fair enough, but it hadn’t brought a saw. Glen was home, and yes he did have a chainsaw, which hadn’t been used for a couple of years. Still, miracle, it started.

I mutilated my fruit trees. Actually, fruit tree timber is ideal for carving. And did you know, Alexander the Great’s favourite spear handle was pear wood?

I said to the driver, “I want this driveway covered, and a pile down the bottom for the car port area.” He backed the huge truck down, and started dumping… and dumping… and dumping. At last he took off, and spread gravel on about 15 metres of road before running out.

Sigh. You don’t need to be a genius to drive a gravel truck.

I gently said, “I wanted to fix the driveway, and I don’t have a front end loader.”

“You told me you wanted 5 metres in a heap at the bottom.”

I hadn’t.

“Anyway, the next truck can cover your driveway.”

“I only ordered one truck.”

He shrugged.

That was when the Buddhist equanimity kicked in. To mix religions, I instantly decided to do a Mitzvah, and not complain to his boss. (This is a secret good deed. Having told you about it, it’s not a secret, so it’s not a Mitzvah any more.)

My young friend Matt and I got wheelbarrows and shovels, and we started on our gravity-defying task of moving gravel uphill. No good: the stuff the truck spread was so soft the barrow wheel sank into it. I went off to get the tractor.

My last use of the tractor was maybe three years ago. In the meantime, the diesel fuel storage tank at the barn had rusted out. I found the tractor, but couldn’t find the key, and yes, it did need fuel.

Rachael is in charge of the tractor. I walked to her place. She was out, but Laurie phoned her. She told me where the key was, and suggested I talk to Mark about refuelling.

Mark told me on the phone he was in Clifton Hill. It took him five minutes of detailed instruction to coach me on the current fuelling procedure. It took only half an hour to implement.

And yes! I managed to drag all the gravel up, and it was lucky I had to use the tractor, because it automatically compacted the gravel.

Who said annoyances have to be annoying?

Guided imagery interview

Do you want to learn something about guided imagery? It’s a wonderful tool with many uses. This includes improving the vividness of writing, processing trauma and improving your physical health.

Joan Edwards has interviewed me about it.

I used to offer my guided imagery CD for $20. Every week, I sold 2 or 3 to my clients. Now that I have retired, I need to spread it a little wider, so am offering it for only $15, free postage to anywhere on the planet. Check it out.

A service to both writers and readers

Carolyn Howard-Johnson provides a wonderful service to both readers and writers: her review site. She has published a review of “Ascending Spiral” by a young lady who won a copy through my recent Goodreads giveaway. Carolyn’s next issue of her reviews is due to come live on the 18th of June. In the meantime, you can read about lots of other books there.

Letter to the Editor

Recently, one of Australia’s mining billionaires made a suggestion for balancing the budget. No, it wasn’t reducing the billions of dollars of government subsidies he receives. Rather, it was aimed at young people who are on unemployment benefits.

I wrote a letter to the editor of The Age, and it was accepted. Here it is:

Punishing the victims

So another mining billionaire wants to punish unemployed youngsters. I’ve worked with such people for more than 22 years, and can inform Andrew Forrest that few are lazy no-hopers, but rather victims of circumstances they have no control over.

Here are a few examples. Children who experience or witness family violence are often unable to learn and this can be cumulative: missing out on the benefits of the early years can mean they never learn how to learn. Extensive therapy can help — but government funding for school counsellors is abysmal, and Medicare for psychologists has been cut to a wholly inadequate 10 sessions. Bullying in school can have the same effect, with even highly intelligent children affected.

While children with low IQs may receive remedial education, those a shade above arbitrary cutoffs miss out. They don’t have the skills or ability to study. Jobs for such people have been destroyed by automation and global outsourcing.

It is more economical to use compassionate action to help the unfortunates of society than drive them to crime, antisocial actions or suicide.

Bob Rich, Healesville


Janet off to Canberra
The Death-cycle of Fracking
A fact of our times
Wind farms intrude on the landscape from Adam Bandt
Vermont defies GMO


Janet off to Canberra

Janet Rice is the newly elected Greens senator for Victoria. Typically for a Greens person, and very atypically for a politician, she is riding her bike to take up her new job.

The Death-cycle of Fracking

Elizabeth Arnold has crashed a political debate in Pennsylvania, to present a list of over 6000 families who have been adversely affected by fracking. Even the security guard who escorted her out said, “Well done.”
Read the story.

A fact of our times


Wind farms intrude on the landscape
from Adam Bandt


In Australia, several governments have put ridiculous restrictions on wind farms on nonexistent health grounds, and because they spoil the view. These same governments spend millions of dollars subsidising the coal industry.

A picture is worth a million words.

Vermont defies GMO

Despite the certainty that food industry giants will challenge it in court, Vermont has passed a law for the labeling of genetically modified food

You’d think that if GMO foods were safe, the industry wouldn’t worry about their products being labeled. What are they afraid of?

More strength to Vermont. May its example be copied elsewhere.


West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse has Begun
The Urgency of Water Security by Anthony Akpan
CO2 levels slide UP
Oklahoma should brace for earthquakes
Another oil transport disaster
On Overpopulation and Ecosystem Collapse by Dr Glen Barry


West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse has Begun

The New York Times has reported on two recent papers showing that the most dangerous part of Antarctica has started breaking up. The West Antarctic Ice Shelf is so thick that its weight depresses the sea floor under it by 500 to 1000 metres. However, it is inherently unstable because the general slope of the sea floor is away from the land.

As always with scientific prediction, the authors are cautious and conservative, and are talking about “coming centuries.” I predict that the effects will be all too obvious much faster than that. This is because there are interactions. A Northern summer of unusually high melting in Greenland will influence the rate of breakup in the Antarctic, and vice versa.

The Urgency of Water Security
by Anthony Akpan

Everyone knows that water is essential to the life of the planet and to the prosperity of its people.

What fewer people know — and what political leaders are failing to address — is that the increasing pressures of climate change, population growth, urbanisation, and evolving energy needs are together putting unprecedented pressure on our finite freshwater resources. We’ve got to do something about it now.

Feeding the world

Feeding the world has been a top priority for decades. The task is not getting easier. It is estimated that over the next 40 years the world will need to double its food production to meet growing populations — set to increase by around 50% over the next 50 years. As is well known, agriculture already uses more water — a finite resource — than any other human activity. This means efforts to increase food production will have to be undertaken with less water, especially as climate change will put our water resources under even greater stress.

A world of cities

It isn’t just that there are more people to feed, it is where they live. The world’s urban population is expected to increase from around 3.3 billion today to over 6 billion by 2050. Partly as a result of economic development, we’ve become an urban world so rapidly that cities, especially in the developing world, have not kept up with ensuring clean water supplies, sanitation and wastewater treatment for their burgeoning populations.

Depleted resources

South Asia and the Near East/North Africa have exhausted much of their rain-fed land potentials and depleted a significant share of their renewable waters. More than 1.2 billion people live in river basins where absolute water scarcity and increasing shortages are serious concerns. Expanding land under cultivation is possible in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America but requires adequate farming practices, increased investments and sustainable management of land and water resources.

Working together across sectors

The actions needed to move towards achieving water security need to be embedded into national development plans, such as poverty reduction strategies and comprehensive development frameworks. There is a need to bring together fragmented institutional responsibilities and interests in water, such as finance, planning, agriculture, energy, tourism, industry, education and health.

Achieving water security thus requires cooperation between different water users, and between those sharing river basins and aquifers, within a framework that allows for the protection of vital eco-systems from pollution and other threats.

Social change

Building that resilience means financing water infrastructure. But it also means reforming institutions, building their capacity and knowledge, and promoting good governance. This is about financing water resources management, a long-neglected area. Strong links need to be built between water and finance experts to tackle chronic underinvestment and the waste of scarce funds.

Sound economic and social arguments influence decision makers. This means that we must demonstrate why water, and better water resources management in particular, is important for development. Simply drafting water resource management plans does not solve water problems. What counts is how realistic the plans are, what political buy-in they have, what funds are available to implement them, and how much they contribute to development priorities, poverty alleviation and ecosystem health. Making the economic case for management of our water resources and investing in water is crucial if governments and decision makers are to understand the irreplaceable contribution that water and its sustainable management make to the way we live.

Water is key to development

Whether it is food security, nutrition security, poverty reduction, economic growth, energy production, human health — water is the nexus. Water is a key factor in the achievement of each of the Millennium Development Goals. Without water security, there will be no food security, energy security will be compromised and poverty reduction and economic growth will not be sustainable.

Because water is central to development, investing in water delivers immediate benefits as well as long-term social, economic and environmental resilience.

Anthony Akpan is President of Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE).

Atmospheric CO2 levels last month averaged what a year ago was unprecedented in human history
from Laurence Lewis

History was made a year ago. An observatory in Hawaii reported that, for the first time ever, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration exceeded 4 parts per million.

The pre-industrial level was 2.8 ppm. The level for human survival is 3.5 ppm.

Writing in Daily Kos, Laurence Lewis reports that now, 4.00 ppm is the AVERAGE!

Here is the graph:
from Scripps Institute of Oceanography at St Diego

Oklahoma should brace for earthquakes

ThinkProgress has reported the reason: the injection of huge quantities of waste water from fracking into deep layers. That’s 2 billion gallons per DAY.

Maybe this will shake some sense into a few politicians?

Another oil transport disaster

BBC world news let me know that a crude oil carrying train in Virginia hopped off the rails, spilled its guts and started burning. Lots of oil leaked into the local waterways.

Solar panels and wind turbines don’t do this.
oilspill 1405
Photo by Patrick Atkins

On Overpopulation and Ecosystem Collapse
by Dr Glen Barry

Glen Barry has been running Ecological Internet for years, with very effective results. Everything he writes is worth reading.

His analysis of the effect of human populations is no exception.

On the page, you’ll find a link to his next essay, on war. His drawing illustrates what he stands for.

Good news

Stanford on the right path
GetUp stops a coal disaster
…And funding for another


Stanford on the right path


GetUp stops a coal disaster

Amazing news, Bob.

Last year, we discovered a mining company planned to ship coal through the pristine waters of Keppel Bay using new ‘transhipping’ technology.

We heard similar methods were being used in Indonesia, and sent cameras over to check it out. What we found was shocking. Kids sick from playing at the beach. A shoreline black with coal. And it all looked destined for our Great Barrier Reef coastline.

Yesterday, we learned the project has been abandoned.

Congratulations to you, and to everyone else who helped make this happen. Special congratulations to the indominitable Ginny Gerlach and the Keppel And Fitzroy Delta Alliance (KAFDA), who have been running an incredible grassroots campaign against the development. The community has organised rallies, lobbied MPs and so much more to protect their beloved Keppel Bay.

We have now successfully stopped two proposals that would have destroyed the largest and last intact estuarine system feeding into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and we could not have done so without the amazing support of all you GetUp members! Thanks to all — together we have made a difference. — Ginny Gerlach

The campaign has been long and difficult, but shows exactly what our movement is capable of.

First, we commissioned the footage exposing the risky technology for what it was, and discovered the devastating impacts it had caused for the people of Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Next, GetUp members sponsored Ginny to fly to Paris, where she showed UNESCO World Heritage committee delegates the footage, and explained the dangers of the project.

Finally, over 12,000 GetUp members wrote emails to Environment Minister Greg Hunt, urging him to reject the project and protect the Fitzroy Delta.

Thank you for everything.

It’s a tough time for the Reef. We’ve seen the approval of 3 million cubic metres of dredging and dumping at Abbot Point, and there are proposals for coal ports dotted right along the Reef’s coastline. Just last week, we saw UNESCO lament the “serious decline in the condition of the Great Barrier Reef”.

There’s so much to fight for, but moments like today show we’re up to the task.

Congratulations on being a part of this.

Sam Regester,
for the GetUp team

PS. You might have seen the massive Carmichael Mine was approved by the Queensland Government. It will be one of the largest coal mines on Earth, and could see thousands of coal ships driving through our Reef every year. We’re working on a hard-hitting action against the project we’ll reveal shortly, so keep an eye on your inbox. In the mean time, congratulations on the win.

PPS. Click here to watch the video Ginny recorded off her iPhone from her boat, thanking you for your efforts.

…And funding for another


In the early hours of this morning (23rd May, 2914), something incredible happened.

Deutsche Bank, one of the world’s biggest investment banks, ruled out funding the huge Abbot Point expansion on the Great Barrier Reef coastline.

Because of you, it will be so much harder for the Indian coal companies to borrow the tens of billions of dollars they need to dig up coal, dredge millions of tonnes of seabed, and ship it though our Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

This has been an incredible effort spanning multiple countries, numerous organisations and hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world.

Congratulations, and thank you.

It all started on Monday, just days before Deutsche Bank’s AGM, when we knew investors across the world were watching closely. GetUp members mobilised with a huge last-minute fundraising effort to run a full page colour ad in the biggest financial newspaper in Europe.

We only had 24 hours, but more than 4,270 GetUp members, and thousands more from Germany, chipped-in to make sure it happened.

The ad sparked international media coverage, including a major feature in Germany’s leading newspaper. It talked about “the powerful group GetUp who were pressuring Deutsche Bank not to support the Reef projects.” The Financial Review in Australia said it was “another example of increasingly sophisticated campaigning by environmental groups.” That’s you they’re talking about.

Then, when all eyes were on Deutsche Bank right before their Annual General Meeting, you flooded their Facebook page, targeted them on Twitter, and filled their inboxes with emails.

The result was unequivocal. The head of Deutsche Bank’s Supervisory Board declared “we are currently not involved with this project and will also not be involved with it in the future.” Wow.


100 richest could end extreme poverty
The main cause of hardship


100 richest could end extreme poverty

Initiative for Equality, or IfE (pronounced “ee-fay”), is “a global network of activists and academics working on issues related to social, economic and political equality. Along with partners and communities around the world, we develop information, goals and strategies needed to bring about greater equality; we collaborate and coordinate efforts on these issues; and we test and implement the new social, economic and political strategies. We hope you will join us!”

Here is one report from them:


According to a press briefing prepared by Oxfam, the 100 richest billionaires in the world added $240 billion to their annual incomes in 2012 — enough to end extreme poverty four times over. The Brookings Institution had earlier calculated that ending extreme poverty (supplementing the income of each poor person in the world to bring their daily income up to $1.25/day) would require around $66 billion per year (see PDF file). The Oxfam report, released for the 2013 World Economic Forum at Davos, points out that inequality has risen dramatically in the past 30 years. This is harmful, they say, because extreme wealth and inequality is economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive, environmentally destructive, and unethical. They call for a goal of ending extreme wealth by 2025, arguing that in a world of finite resources, we cannot end poverty unless we reduce inequality.

The main cause of hardship

Pic from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre


Mow without a motor

Well, alliteration got the better of me. The usual motor mower has an engine, and unless it has an electric start, it lacks a motor. All the same, this mower will give you lots of exercise.

I have a hand-pushed version and the only caveat I have is that it only cuts short grass. Longer blades of vegetation are bent over. Perhaps the bike version spins faster and therefore does a better job?

Deeper Issues

Two more reasons why I love Pope Francis
More evidence for reincarnation
Toledo, Ohio and Chippewa, Wisconsin declared Compassionate Cities
…And the Colombian city of Medellin: from drug capital to fair and livable


Two more reasons why I love Pope Francis

1. Safeguard Creation, because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!
by Pope Francis

Pope Francis

You will find the full transcript of his speech at Vatican Radio.

2. Pope calls on governments to redistribute wealth

At a major UN meeting in Rome, he called for wealth redistribution: for governments to relieve poverty. This truly Christian message is contrary to what various governments are doing around the world, in particular in my country, Australia. The Prime Monster of this country, Tony Abbott, is a self-proclaimed Christian of the Roman Catholic variety. I am hoping for a miracle: that he will listen to his Pontiff.

I am not a Catholic, or even a Christian, but this man has earned my admiration and love. (I mean Francis, not Tony.) 🙂

More evidence for reincarnation

As I keep saying, you don’t have to believe or disbelieve anything. Examine the evidence. As well as the well-known work of Dr Ian Stevenson and his colleagues at the University of Virginia, there is evidence I was not previously aware of. It is a description of one of the cases from a book by Trutz Hardo.

Toledo, Ohio and Chippewa, Wisconsin declared Compassionate Cities

I don’t think I need to say anything. Read the reports in Toledo’s local newspaper and in Chippewa’s.

This is culture change in action.

…And the Colombian city of Medellin: from drug capital to fair and livable

Noble Laurate Joseph E. Stiglitz has reported from this city, describing its transformation.


Why can’t I just get over this? by Anna Baranowsky
Pictures of grief
I’m afraid to let people close to me


Why can’t I just get over this?
by Anna Baranowsky

Read this excellent, easy to understand essay on post-traumatic reactions.

A great many people go through their lives, living under stress and unhappy, not realising that their ongoing problems are due to their reactions to traumatic events in their past. This is because avoidance, running away from, is a standard reaction. In many cases, this means you think you’ve gotten over it, and while it is not dealt with, it keeps poisoning the present.

Read what Anna has to say about this.

Pictures of grief

A friend is going through a hard time at the moment, and has had a discussion with me about grief. This is what she wrote:

I have been thinking about grief and wondering what grief would be like if it could be personified. I was wondering if it would be a strong burly man or even a little old frail man (for some reason I think it would be a man and not a woman — no offence) and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not about the appearance but about the heart — I think grief as a person would have an incredibly cruel heart, a heart with no mercy.

I picture grief sitting on a hilltop and I feel like I was walking along like a little kid skipping about in the grass as happy as can be and then if grief spots you it lays a trap and snares you. Then I think grief hauls you into a house which has an infinite number of rooms. Each person’s room is different though they share common elements.

You are chucked into a room with nobody else in it and there is an exit door on the other end and you have to try to make your way to the exit. It would be easy if the room was a normal room but it is like a world and it’s pitch black in there so that you can’t see your next footstep. It’s a world where you have to hold onto your sanity because what is real feels unreal and what is unreal feels real. It’s a world where you can walk a bit and begin to feel excited that maybe you’ll get to the exit door after all and then unexpectedly you’ll trip and fall and it’s like falling into sinking sand or mud that wants to suck you down ever deeper. It’s tempting just to lie there and not to struggle, to stop resisting is a sense of relief.

My little story is silly but there you have it.

Strange. This is entirely different from my conception of grief. For me, that’s a combination of compassion and loss. Either could be zero, depending on circumstances. An old friend of mine loves her independence, but is sliding into dementia: forgetting things, repeating herself over and over etc. It’s clear that she’ll soon need to be in care, and she’ll hate it. So, my natural reaction is the compassion part of grief for her losses, and coming increased losses. I protect myself from this through the knowledge that this issue is only temporary for her, until she dies. I accept my reaction, and know that despite all, in the long range it is all right for her.

Loss without compassion is my relapse into depression after I had to move out of the house I had built and lived in for over 30 years. It was a real grief reaction for me.

A Catholic’s or an atheist’s reaction to someone dying will probably have both components. The departed person is facing a harsh judge Who may send him to hell / that person has blinked out of existence. That’s the compassion part. Second, the survivor has a hole in her life, a now unfilled set of needs and familiar habits. There may also be guilt about negative actions toward the dead person etc.

Your metaphor is not silly. It is true. However, the question to ask is, is it useful for you? If it helps you to cope, then practice it. If it drags you down, then modify or replace it. Here: I give you a torch to hold, and a guide, who looks very much like your new psychologist. Holding her hand, you can walk to the exit.

I’m afraid to let people close to me

I am a 16 year old girl, living in India. I am basically scared of becoming too close to someone. I have had many close friends and every single time I have run away from them. I have this feeling that if they get to know too much about my life and about my choices, then they might use it against me. Recently, I shared a very close friendship with one of my classmates. At one point of time, I realized that I am sharing too much information with her about my life and I tried to break away from her. It hurts me every time I do so. But somehow, I have this constant fear of becoming too close to someone. I have never shared any personal experience or anything related to my thoughts and opinions with my parents either. I don’t understand what to do.

Saanhi my dear,

What you have described is a distressing pattern of behaviour. You keep wanting something, and whenever you are getting close to getting it, you feel the need to run away from it.

Many people have a pattern like that, regarding all sorts of things they consider important. Some have it regarding success in a field they value. For you, it is emotional closeness.

Look up “attachment style” on the internet. What you have described is “avoidant attachment style.” This is the worst kind, but don’t despair. I have avoidant attachment style too, and have built a wonderful life for myself. There are people I love and completely trust, and they love and trust me. Inside, in my feelings, I am still avoidant, but in my behaviour, what I do, I act as if I had secure attachment.

Have a look at my relationships page where I show the relationship of attachment styles to attitudes. Avoidant attachment is when I feel that I am no good, faulty, don’t like myself, and at the same time other people are dangerous, may hurt me. These two attitudes come through in your short note.

Since I know nothing about you, I can’t tell why you developed this way of looking at yourself and other people. We do this when we are very young.

One way to cope is to use the Buddhist concept of acceptance. When you are pulling away from some person who has become close to you, it is from fear: an automatic, intuitive expectation that someone who knows lots about you has the power to hurt you. If you can train yourself to accepting yourself as you are, without judgment, then that danger disappears. Nowadays, I don’t put on a false front to anyone, and I don’t care who knows what about me. I can be open with anyone, because their opinions about me are “so what.” If people like me, fine, if not, they can jump in the lake. I genuinely don’t care.

When we have major, ongoing problems, they are there because we are facing a Life Lesson. Your automatic pulling-away from people may be a karmic situation that allows you to grow.

So, the way out of your problem may be to deliberately put yourself in a “risk” situation where a person has the power to “hurt” you (by your current values). Chances are, this won’t happen. If it ever does, then you know not to trust THIS person, but that says nothing about the trustworthiness of anyone else. And many repeated experiences of trusting and not being hurt will eventually get rid of your automatic wish to withdraw.

My dear, you are welcome to write back.


Laughter Meditation for Parents and Kids by Pragito Dove
Glyphosate is a disaster for human health by Dr Mae Wan Ho


Laughter Meditation for Parents and Kids
by Pragito Dove

I first heard about the Laughter meditation when my son was 5 yrs old. Like all children, he loved to laugh, play, dance, sing, have fun. He was a natural and highlighted how much I had lost touch with those qualities in myself. Enter the laughter meditation (instructions at end of article) which gave me permission to invite my deeply buried spontaneity, playfulness, wonder, creativity, imagination and joy to be lived and enjoyed NOW. Wow! All was not lost. I was re-claiming myself and discovering a whole new revitalized me.

It seemed crazy at first to invite my son to do a meditation with me. I thought of meditation as a serious, grown up activity. However, he loved it. His laughter helped me regain my authentic laughter and in the quiet time he liked the opportunity to lie in stillness and quiet.

I had got stuck on the word “meditation”. When I explained that we were going to laugh together for no reason, and then sit or lie down in silence, he jumped right in and had no problem with it at all. It was my mind that had been making a problem out of it.

So there we were, mother and son, laughing (first step) and then sitting or lying down in silence (2nd step) together. His authentic laughter triggered my giggles and joy to arise from the depths of my being. I was inspired by my 5 year old.

Laughing together reminded me of the innate happiness that I also was born with. The joy was still there, buried under all the stress and to-do lists. The more I practiced, the more I laughed. And the energy spilled over into our daily life, as if we were always looking for an excuse to start laughing, smile, have fun and be playful.

The Laughter practice was to kick in for us big time when my son arrived at the roller coaster teenage years. We were still able to find those moments of laughter, when we connected heart-to-heart and all differences dissolved. I was grateful we had cultivated the practice for so many years because it had created a strong bond of love that was able to withstand the hurricane-test of teenage unfoldment.

One of the most powerful benefits I experienced from the Laughter meditation was my enhanced creativity. I discovered an ability to spontaneously come up with creative solutions in tense situations that had the potential to explode into conflict. The highest form of creativity, I found, is relationships. Certain people in certain situations require us to dig deep within ourselves to come up with creative, compassionate solutions that serve the highest good of all. The laughter meditation gave me a creative edge to navigate this uncharted territory. It wasn’t always perfect but I credit the laughter practice with helping us jump through the hoops of life with greater ease and agility.

Now my son has his own son, and tells me he wants to raise his little one the way he was raised. The legacy continues and I know for sure there will always be a lot of laughter, and quiet time, in our family.

Children’s Two-Minute Laughter Meditation


The first step helps children — and you as well — to release a lot of tension, and the second step brings centering and grounding. Try this meditation with your children. Vary the length of time depending on the ages, personalities, and schedule you have to work with.


You and the children shout “yahoo!” three times, and then burst out laughing. Do it for one or two minutes.


Ring a chime or bell (better than shouting out “stop” which can be jarring) and have the kids sit or lie down quietly for one or two minutes. The more you do this with them, the more they will get into the rhythm and idea of it, and you might be able to try four minutes of each step, depending on your situation.

Allow the same amount of time for each step. Allow the children to continue to laugh in the silent step until the laughter dies down naturally. Try and make sure they have their eyes closed but don’t force.

Click Here for more information about my Laughter Meditation 101: Discover-Your-Joy Teleclass Program

Learn how you can use meditation techniques for anxiety relief.

I look forward to your comments and messages.

Pragito runs a web site and email newsletter dedicated to the laughing Buddha. She offers regular internet classes.

Pragito Dove M.A., is a contemporary thought leader, master trainer in personal development, international speaker, and meditation expert who empowers people to free themselves of pain, suffering, and self-limiting beliefs. A best-selling author in seven languages,and a featured columnist on The Huffington Post, Pragito urges her readers to step into the greatest creative expression of who they are. Website:

Glyphosate is a disaster for human health
by Dr Mae Wan Ho

The Ecologist reports that the evidence is accumulating, despite false reports from industry-financed research: even the low levels of Roundup found in human urine is enough to promote the growth of human breast cancer cells.

This has been known, but kept hidden, since the 1980s. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a few hundred women took a class action lawsuit, doing to Monsanto what asbestos did to Hardie?


“Oh, I never read a prologue…”
The Real Cost of the 99-Cent eBook by Donna Brown
Need a little help with the stupidities of English?


“Oh, I never read a prologue…”

I always carry a copy of two of my recently published books when I go out. You never know who might become interested in one.

Having attended a meeting one day, I was about to catch public transport home, when a friend offered me a lift part of the way. Since that reduced my travel time by about an hour, of course I eagerly accepted. We got to talking, and I mentioned the book with me, Ascending Spiral. When we got to her place, she asked to see it before I went on my way.

It so happens that the Prologue of Ascending Spiral is one of the best pieces of writing I have ever done. You can judge for yourself at

My friend looked at the cover, then read the back cover blurb. Then, to my surprise, she skipped over the Prologue, and started the first chapter. If she was reading the book, this would mean she’d miss the whole point of the entire story, until the final two chapters.

When I asked why, she blithely said, “Oh, I never bother with prologues and prefaces and acknowledgements and stuff. I just want to get into the story.”

So, the book I am in the process of finishing, Hit and Run, hasn’t got a prologue or prefaces and acknowledgements and stuff. Instead, the first section is titled “How this story started.” I do have acknowledgements — but I am putting them at the end rather than the beginning, and will probably title it something different, like “My thanks go to.”

I’m interested in your thoughts. Let me know if you are liable to skip over prologues and prefaces and stuff, and give your reasons. What title would induce you to read that preliminary passage?

The Real Cost of the 99-Cent eBook
by Donna Brown

As told by a passionate book loving author promoter

I have nothing against 99-cent eBooks. I’ve bought them, I’ve read them and I appreciate that now it is easier than ever for authors to put their work out there and pricing is at an all time low. Whether books are priced $0.99, $2.99 or $4.99, it’s hardly a financial risk to try something different. When you can get 100 titles on your Kindle or Nook for a couple of hundred dollars instead of a thousand dollars, that has to be something to smile about.

However, is the true cost of 99-cent eBooks all about the sales? Do they take away from higher priced authors? Or is it actually something much more insidious and sinister: do they diminish the quality perception of eBooks altogether?

I recently posted a customer review of a story I loved on Amazon. The writing was excellent, the story flowed beautifully and it was wonderful to read. It cost me five times less than a glossy magazine and was perfect alongside my morning coffee. I gave it a well deserved five stars. Unfortunately not everyone was so generous. The reviews ranged from cynical to scathing then to downright nasty.

But why? Simply put: it was not a 200-page novel but a short story. They felt like they were ripped off because they paid 99 cents for a short story; about 0.0005 cent per word! Hmm… when you look at it like that…

An author may receive just 35 cents from each eBook sold for 99 cents. Once you factor in tax, marketing, writing time, formatting time, preparing or paying for a cover image, hiring an editor/proofreader and so on, an author has to sell an awful lot of copies to even make their money back. So who’s selling whom short?

When authors are kind enough to share quality fiction with us, how do we respond? Not by considering that we got a great piece of writing for less than the cost of candy bar but by insulting them and making them feel that they’re ripping us off?

Drinking instant coffee at home can be just as fulfilling as the three dollar cup of coffee at the local cafe bar. We appreciate the quality, we appreciate the treat, and we appreciate the value in something we enjoy. Is it so difficult to apply the same principles to eBooks?

So, authors, I implore you: the next time you see a 99-cent short story listed for the same price as a 200 page eBook, don’t feel that you have sold yourself short. Feel lucky that there are still passionate book lovers, like me, out there that take pleasure in quality pieces of fiction. At least you’ve given someone the chance to try something distinctively satisfying for less than a dollar.

Donna Brown is a self-employed Social Media, Blogging and Promotions Consultant living in Yorkshire, UK with her author husband and six naughty rescue cats. She works with bestselling author Terri Giuliano Long and has also worked with a number of other authors. Donna is the founder of, launched in 2014: “Connecting emerging authors with talented students/startups.” Find her on Twitter or visit her website.

Need a little help with the stupidities of English?

There is no doubt, English is a hodgepodge of rules that must make people born into cultures with more logical languages run off screaming. This is very good for editors.

If you feel you’d benefit from some help in remembering the right way of writing (write way if righting?) a few of the common problem expressions, have a look at this inforgraphic.

Thank you to Michael Larocca for drawing my attention to this page.

What my friends want you to know

Climate refugees: a petition
Instead of secrecy
Support the Tibet Fund
Sustainability in Nigeria
Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly resource for writers
It Never Rains, It Pours: a Tasmanian murder mystery by Rosamond Carter
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy training, Melbourne, 12-14 June
Help defend Avaaz workers
Soil School in the Pacific


Climate refugees: a petition

There is a petition to the New Zealand government regarding the people of Kiribati, whose island is being swallowed by sea level rise.

This is what I wrote:

While I am ashamed of my own country’s treatment of refugees, I have always admired New Zealand as being more decent and compassionate. Climate refugees are just as deserving as the historically more conventional kind. Please set the world the example New Zealand is known for.

Instead of secrecy

There is a process of multi-government negotiation, the “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which scares me, and should scare you wherever on the globe you live. It is conducted with great secrecy. Highly likely items on the list include giving corporations the right to sue governments who make reasonable and sensible decisions. The openness of the internet is under threat.

If you go to this web page, you can take part in an alternative process of designing how you would like to see the internet run.

Support the Tibet Fund


The story of The Tibet Fund is the story of the Tibetan people’s perseverance and resourcefulness through decades of upheaval and exile. Founded in 1981, the Tibet Fund (TTF) is a non-profit organization that works to address the health, educational, economic, cultural and community development needs of the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal. In the years prior to The Tibet Fund’s founding, humanitarian assistance was declining and it seemed as though the international community had forgotten about Tibet and the hardships incurred by its Chinese occupation. It was within this context that TTF was set up in New York. Since then, TTF has worked closely with the US Department of State, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), and many other individuals and foundations to implement aid programs for the thousands of marginalized Tibetans living in refugee settlements scattered across India, Nepal and Bhutan.

It is The Tibet Fund’s mission to ensure that Tibetan culture and identity remain a vibrant part of our global heritage. Out of concern for the long-term sustainability of the exile community, TTF has established a wide range of vitally important programs and services that have had a tremendous impact on individual Tibetans.

The Tibet Fund continues to strive to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tibetan refugees living in settlements across India, Nepal and elsewhere. Every year, more Tibetans are forced into exile, and every year the need for assistance becomes greater. Our success, and the present and future wellbeing of the Tibetan exile community, largely depends on your continued generosity and support. We remain extremely grateful for your support and request your continued support by making a gift of any amount to enable us to perform better and to continue assisting Tibetan refugees. 
We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As such, your gifts are tax-deductible.

Lobsang Nyandak
Executive Director

Rinchen Dharlo
Please donate here.
Your support is most appreciated. To Donate and Support The Tibet Fund, please click here

Sustainability in Nigeria

Dear Bob,

The Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE) is a non profit, non-political, non-governmental organization establashed with the aim of promoting sustainable development through research, documentation, policy dialogues, workshops, advocacy and consultancy services. PAVE deals with development issues in their environmental and socio-economic aspects with emphasis on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets regarding water and sanitation and other related human settlement issues including Environmental Management, Agricultural Value Chain Development, Climate change and Clean Energy promotion. PAVE is registered (RC 26029) with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria.

The chosen mission of PAVE is to act as a catalyst, mobilize, mediate and act directly in several of society’s processes dealing with the improvement of quality of life and respect for cultural and biological diversity. As its basis, PAVE believes in promoting good governance at all level, across all sectors, be it public or private. PAVE also believes in a democratic system for managing human interests.

The fundamental objective of PAVE is to act, support and collaborate in the elaboration and dissemination of new approaches, policies and activities related to human development questions.

We have over 15 years experience in the development sector and work at the local, national, regional and international level. We have presented papers conducted researches and organized capacity building workshops on various sustainable development thematic areas in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.


Anthony Akpan
Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE)
P.O.BOX 494 , Ijanikin, Lagos, Nigeria

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly resource for writers

Carolyn’s newsletter, Sharing With Writers is a treasure house of tips, ideas, links, networking and more. Check it out.

It Never Rains, It Pours: a Tasmanian murder mystery by Rosamond Carter

Kate never anticipated that her holiday on Bruny Island would be dramatically changed when she found two bodies down on Cloudy Bay beach. At first she wanted to pretend she hadn’t seen them, but curiosity overcame her reluctance and so she dialled 000. What followed after that was a nightmare she never could have believed as she was drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of why two people would have been murdered in such a remote area of Tasmania. The body count mounted before the puzzle was finally solved and in that time Kate experienced life changing issues that would mean things would never be the same.

This Tasmanian murder mystery is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy training

My friend Liana Taylor is one of Australia’s foremost teachers of Buddhist psychology. She is offering her popular training course on mindfulness based cognitive therapy in Melbourne, over 3 days: 12-14 June.

Usual price is $880, but this time she is offering a $200 discount, to $660.

The course is designed for health professionals and educators, managers, and suitable for beginners to very experienced meditators who want to be more present, more peaceful and more inspired about living life. Read about the course content. You can register here.

Help defend Avaaz workers

Avaaz workers go to some of the most dangerous places in the world. Recently, one was arrested in Egypt. They have been targeted with death threats, computer hacking and stalking. So, they need funding to:

  • Build industrial-scale security and hire top technologists, so that no attack can stop them from campaigning.
  • Increase the physical security of their most at-risk staff and action teams in places like Lebanon, Russia and Uganda.
  • Have lawyers ready to leap into action to ensure they have the legal and diplomatic support needed when their team is under threat.
  • Build a direct-response media team, which brings global attention to such incidents right away and ensures that the voices of the people aren’t silenced.
  • Take a range of other actions to improve the security of their team and their members, such as installing home security systems and arranging transport when threats are imminent.

You are invited to pledge a small weekly amount:

  • $2 a week
  • $3 a week
  • $4 a week
  • <a href= target=_blankAny other amount

Soil School in the Pacific

Hi Everyone,

I do not usually use my contact list to promote stuff so please excuse this episode.

“Soil School” is a program run by Organic Matters Foundation to teach basic and advanced organic farming techniques directly to farmers. It operates mostly throughout the pacific islands and is having great effect reducing the abuses of chemical agriculture. That’s why Helen (my wife) and I support Organic Matters Foundation (OMF). One of the key aims is to enable the local farmers and extension services (if there are any) to be self sufficient into the future. To achieve this we select about 10% of the Soil School participants to continue through to a “Masterclass” level that helps them develop and run further local teaching sessions after we leave. When I say “we” it is because I often help teach this “Masterclass” level as part of our volunteer support of OMF. What OMF achieves with the money they receive is fantastic.

That is the reason for this email. OMF usually receives it funding from a raft of government and community groups like UNFAO and Rotary International. However for some of the smaller Island communities these funding sources have failed. We would dearly love to help these smaller communities so OMF is running a crowd funding program. If you can possibly help just click here.

Thank you for being someone who cares. Even if you cannot help yourself, you can pass this email onto others and that will help.

I hope you have a great day and lets hope OMF continues with their amazing success story, Soil School.


Mike McCosker

Book Reviews

It Never Rains, It Pours: A Tasmanian murder mystery, by Rosamond Carter
Calm Ground, by Megan Williams
Bizarre Bipeds, reviewed by Michael Thal


It Never Rains, It Pours: A Tasmanian murder mystery by Rosamond Carter

I edited this book for the author, so am well acquainted with it at every level.

She lives in the setting of the story, so it’s authentic. You can visit southern Tasmania without putting your Kindle down. Also, she is meticulous in the use of language, and in researching all aspects she includes, so the story is genuine.

In the way of the classical crime mystery, the opening is dramatic, involving dead bodies, and from then on, the tension keeps increasing. I won’t give the story line away, but it’s both believable and bizarre at the same time, and will certainly give you all the reading entertainment you’d like.

Available on Amazon

Calm Ground, by Megan Williams

calmgroundModern society is designed to make us dissatisfied, worried, unhappy. Contented people don’t need to buy things. So, we all need tools apart from retail therapy to relieve distress.

Nearly one-third of people will qualify for a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder at one time or another, and people in the “normal” range also suffer stress and anxiety far more than is good for them. So, Calm Ground by Megan Williams is an invaluable tool for most people.

This little book is a plain-language primer on anxiety disorders, and evidence-based techniques for dealing with them, but it’s more than that. It is also a collection of magnificent photos of Australian landscapes including peaceful forests, beaches and mountain streams. Understanding is also aided by helpful diagrams. The pictures are tools for self-soothing.

Although relevant psychological theory is explained, the words and concepts are simple enough for a high school student to follow.

There are useful exercises that anyone can do. They will help at times of anxiety and worry, and more generally will lead to inner peace.

So, do yourself a favour and study this mini-manual, and follow its suggestions.

Available at Megan’s web site.

Megan Williams is a registered Psychologist in private practice and holds a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from La Trobe University. She has over 10 years’ experience working with clients with common mental health issues such as anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, grief, and everyday stress experienced by many people. This book was created from a perceived need for an easily accessible guide to Grounding for sufferers of anxiety, stress and trauma. Grounding is an important component of evidence-based practice for many common psychological conditions.

Bizarre Bipeds
reviewed by Michael Thal

Bizarre Bipeds is an anthology of four science fiction stories written to open the eyes of readers to consider humanity’s place in the universe. Author Dr. Bob Rich threads a link through all of the stories, engaging readers to pause about our place in the galaxy and what other alien races must think of us.

In “Liberator,” a peaceful world inhabited by tranquil sentient beings is upended when monsters from the stars–Earthmen–massacre villages and abduct survivors as slaves to work in their mines to harvest diamonds. The author expertly shows the cruelty and actions of “pocket Hitlers” who use power to hurt others. He adeptly creates a messianic character, Trom, who is born in captivity, and through his drive and intellect finds a way to save his people.

Aliens representing the Galactic Council invade Earth in “Dummies in Dimensional Drive.” Their goal is not to conquer, but to help humanity escape from its dying world.

In “A Different Invasion” aliens take the form of humans to observe us and assist us through our growing pains. Finally, in “Cooked” an alien born of the stars ends up in the galactic boondocks trying to find its way home. To get enough power to feed itself, it must destroy a few moons and perhaps a planet or two. Unfortunately for humans, one of those planets is Earth.

Bizarre Bipeds is a cogent work of literature, showing readers that humanity can’t be alone in the universe and that the universe has a code of behavior we humans need to respect. Dr. Rich’s book is a worthwhile read for all of us.

Michael Thal is the author of The Abduction of Joshua Bloom, Goodbye Tchaikovsky, and the Koolura Series. He was an inspiring teacher until severe hearing loss forced him to retire. This motivated his wonderful Goodbye Tchaikovsky, which I have reviewed.

A bit of fun

Freudian typo?
A telling sculpture
One of those vagaries of nature?


Freudian typo?

For those in other parts of the world, this photo is of Australia’s (hopefully temporary) Prime Monster Tony Abbott.

A telling sculpture

This sculpture by German artist Isaac Cordal is titled “Politicians discussing climate change.”

One of those vagaries of nature?


About Bobbing Around

If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don’t want a repeat, it’s simple. Drop me a line and I’ll drop you from my list.

You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article’s author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be ‘subscribe Bobbing Around’ (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

Submission Guidelines

It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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4 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 1

  1. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 3 | Bobbing Around

  2. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 2 | Bobbing Around

  3. Really enjoyed this newsletter, Bob. They’re always thought provoking and wide reaching, but this particular issue kept me occupied for a long time and touched on many issues that have been occupying my mind of late. Thank you!


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