Grow with the Flow

Sacred Tinned Pears

I love metaphoric expression. It reveals the truth about something almost intangible. 

I have a personal childhood experience of adversity and years of professional experience teaching and leading schools of disadvantaged children.  As a result, you could say my bag is leadership and social justice—personal leadership in others’ service. My life’s mission is to ensure everyone, especially children, get the same chance to thrive and flourish, regardless of circumstances.  

Sacred Tinned Pears are the metaphorical equivalent of caged birds.


We are all fruits of creation. Whether you believe God made us, or we were forged in the death throes of stars – the same truth applies. We are made of the same stuff.  All engaged in the sacred endeavour of becoming and evolving – whether we know it or not.

Tinned Pears

Whilst some fruits flourish; others are not so lucky.  Those in the high branches can bask in the sunlight. They ripen and fill with seed that has the potential for new life.  The sun’s warmth and energy doesn’t reach others to the same degree. To survive, these fruits surround themselves with a hard layer to protect the soft flesh within.  These are my tinned pears.   (I know – a mental analogy – but it’s mine.)

And the outside label doesn’t match what’s inside.  We need to open the tin.

Tin openers

Gadgets that open the tin include education, love, faith, psychology and meeting a basic need.  Sometimes all at once. But always through personal leadership first. 

You can only open the tin from the inside.  Outside forces rarely work although they definitely make leaving the tin much more likely.

I’m lucky.  Fate, the universe, God, The Force, luck  (delete where appropriate for you) provided tools that released my potential, and as a result, I live a full life.  I know many who have not been so fortunate.  In my job as headteacher, I see underprivileged children underestimated too often for it to be ok.  I see too much potential in teachers, parents and children wasted because people don’t know how to release their fruit.

Unsurprisingly, my life journey has influenced my thought. Coming from an impoverished background, complete with its associated traumas, I know firsthand how personal mastery can transform lives. My upbringing, time spent inside (and outside) of the Catholic church, education leadership (both Catholic and secular), Carl Jung, nature, Richard Rohr, Teilhard de Cardin, Deepak Chopra, Nouwen, the study of Eastern philosophy, Brene Brown, Jean Vanier, Jeremy Kyle (really) have all had an impact on my views, to name only a few.  (It seems you can read much in 50 years!) 

I want to use the voice of my experience and share what I have learned.  I’ve got lots to learn as a writer and a communicator, yet I hope that this honest blog will provide insight to help others release the fruit with its joy, wonder and truth, from many a tin.

A life lived to the full is a sacramental journey, and one everyone – not just some – deserves to take.