Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



Look for My feet. I leave My footprints always.  I have paved the road. Just follow My footprints.  And you will reach home.  



Love is the currency in the kingdom of heaven. 



An Aide-Mémoire :
  • Positive Psychology - Book (2011) :
  • Overcoming Depression - Self-help : 
  • Miriam Akhtar, MAPP



28 February, 2012 

My Dear Child, 


Having now brought to your attention a new book and a new way of thinking in GOLDEN MOMENTS, in this current webpage I intend to explore how (and why) I first used the strategies of Positive Psychology to enhance my life and the lives of the many people my life touches. 

Here and now, My Dear Child, you will meet with me as if for the first time; you will discover a Positive Psychology convert who flew in on a wing and a prayer and landed safely on terra firma - thanks to a determined nudge from your good self in a never-to-be-forgotten conversation in 2001. You were but three years of age.  You lit up the darkness then, and now. 

To me, you are forever the child who listened to God's Heart, and who spoke your truth at just the right moment to make me - in an instant of pure clarity - rethink my soul journey.  You saved my life.  Always remember these words, 'You are special to God, your dad and me. We love you as you are, Our Dear Child!'.  

Perhaps, someone reading this will heed what has been written and yet another person in distress will be rescued.  Let's hope so.  You know the password: I love you. I wish you a life full to the brim with vitality and joy.

Enchanting and enchanted,

  • A Grandmother
  • Listening to God's Heart




3 March, 2012

Dear Miriam (et al),


I first applied the natural principles of positive psychology in the classroom as a chalk-face teacher in Mrs. Thatcher's Britain.  I used kindness.   And, this to good effect as many working women living in and around an ancient township in the North East of England will surely testify.  It was by observing you, who are now grown into your own power, that I knew what I had to do when faced with the enormous challenge of reinventing my life in 2001.  In April of that year after a determined nudge from my young granddaughter, I took stock and not a moment too soon: I had died inside: a total eclipse of the sun.   

  • Bereft.  
  • Afraid. 
  • Jobless. 
  • Friendless. 

Early in 1989, the daffodils changed to blue bells in our garden and remained that way for year after dismal year. I'm painting now the picture of a life put on hold for more than a decade. But worse, it was a life broken into a million tiny fragments, shards of indescribable anguish and fear. The Star Ship Enterprise, with me at the helm, had once flown high above the gathering clouds of North East England, a beacon of light in the dark days of the 1980s. And, it had now well and truly crashed - with me on board. Gone, seemingly forever, were golden moments and golden people.

Please, God.  Beam me up.  And, you did.  

Ten years on and many unforeseen adventures later, I am able to report that I am re-energized; completely well again; even Weller than Well - if that's possible. All this amounts to a life in recovery beyond my wildest dreams and all credit due to good people, good times, and, of course, good psychology. Sharing news of your self-help book on Positive Psychology has to be the icing on the cake. As you know, I still spend quality time (as before) with young people on the cusp of their working lives. To them and me, what greater gift ... 

Planting golden seeds. 

On Monday afternoon this very week, I was in a classroom at a mental health hospital on the outskirts of Durham City speaking to third year medical students. All were relative newcomers to the challenges of mental illness; all were learning of the mind/body connection. I rightly assumed that there was already some awareness of evidence into the harm that can be caused to delicate brain structures by the long-term use of psychiatric drugs. Alarm bells are ringing - and not only in my head. Leaving aside my real concerns, I shared news of your book, Miriam, and am ever-hopeful that its positive messages will be taken on board and incorporated into psychiatry's new model, integrated care. Golden moments; golden people. 

Golden seeds.

Wednesday saw me on the other side of the overhead projector, a student on a 'call-back day' at the conclusion of a course aimed at training service users and carers in research techniques. This is a project initiated by Northumbria University in conjunction with the Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust, the largest employer left in our area (apart from Nissan). The research project sets out to discover - through the use of narrative research methods - why some people recover from serious mental health problems and even thrive, whilst others sadly do not. This, too, was an opportunity to present 'the book' on Positive Psychology for inspection by my fellow students.  Golden moments; golden people.

Golden seeds.

Thursday was yet another chance to spread the word. This time to student social workers who had checked in at New College Durham for a little extra tuition and maybe a little TLC from their peers.  This event saw them engaging in small group discussions with four 'experts through experience', one being me. These  conversations related to concerns around practical and also ethical issues that had arisen on their recent work placements. Next stop is their final dissertations and then entry into the challenging world of work.  Again, I sensed open young minds receptive to promoting wellbeing; more young professionals willing to take the tools of Positive Psychology into the workplace. Golden moments; golden people.

Golden seeds.

And so it is that today (Saturday), I sit writing this as a heartfelt tribute to positive psychologists and earnest young students everywhere. I see my job as keeping the latter group aware of what's going on in the way of new research and new ideas/theories that might well help the patient/client transition towards recovery: the gold standard. I do this work without let or hindrance and as an invited guest into the world of academia.  I venture forth not as a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but as a teacher/researcher with a somewhat unique, even privileged, 'insider perspective' on issues around mental health and happiness. 

And now, a reminder of the contents of your book again:

  1. The Positive Approach to Depression
  2. The Positive Psychology Story of Happiness
  3. Positive Emotions: The Upward Spiral to Wellbing
  4. Savouring the Moment
  5. The Attitude of Gratitude
  6. Meditation: the Mindful Approach
  7. Learning Optimism: Psychological Self-defence
  8. Resilence: The Road to Recovery
  9. Positive Connections: Other People Matter
  10. Vitality: Mind, Body and Spirit
  11. From Strength to Strength: You at Your Best
  12. Positive Directions: Moving Forward

It's been a busy time for you, Miriam, and also I suspect for a number of worn-out young folk coming to grips with the complex field of health and social care around Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham. They have chosen to work on the front-line of care - often their work will be contentious, often it will be messy, and often it will be rewarding beyond measure.  That's just the way it is.  Next week, I'll be turning up at that long-awaited lecture by Gail Hornstein at Durham University. See AGNES'S JACKET for more.  

So, as always, there's something else to look forward to in a fascinating field of human interest and human endeavour - this time it is an investigation into the science of the mind by someone of international acclaim; someone intimately involved over her entire life-time in the ever-changing, ever-challenging Big Picture around mental health.  Meet Professor Gail Hornstein from the USA - a psychologist prepared to stand up for what she believes is right and with a cautionary message for humankind.  Gail Hornstein is an agent of change. 

Would there were more of her ilk ...

Also scheduled for next week is a talk to mental health student nurses at St. Nicholas's Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, this being part of their induction and welcome into the healing professions.  All this and more.  An abundance of golden moments and golden people to enjoy, even savour.  I ask, as did a poet long ago, "Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon."  RUMI

  • Marian @ Krysan
  • Listening to God's Heart




3 March 2011

Dear Friends,


Stitched in golden threads, the following words hang on my kitchen wall as a lasting tribute to times past. The tapestry onto which they were so lovingly sewn long ago is there where all can see, as if for the first time.  Perhaps, its prominent position will provide all who pass by with a chance to  reflect on the many people we have loved and who loved us in return. The words are, of course, from Mary Stevenson's famous poem, Footprints in the Sand.


  • One night I had a dream -
  • I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
  • and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
  • For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints,
  • one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
  • When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
  • I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
  • I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
  • there was only one set of footprints.
  • I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
  • and saddest times of my life.
  • This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
  • "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
  • you would walk with me all the way,
  • but I have noticed that during the most troublesdome times in my life
  • there is only one set of footprints.
  • "I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
  • you should leave me."
  • The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
  • I love you and I would never, never leave you
  • during your times of trial and suffering.
  • When you saw only one set of footprints,
  • it was then that I carried you."  


Unable to better such words of hope, I end by simply saying that your presence makes writing for health a beneficial and worthwhile task for me (and mine).  I hope that what I have written and what you have read, re the good news about self-healing through positive psychology, will also prove beneficial and worthwhile for you (and yours). 

Miriam Akhtar's groundbreaking book on Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression will surely become a classic - and rightly so. On behalf of my friend Miriam and myself, I thank you for helping in the spread of positivity - the feel-good factor - to the whole of humankind.  “Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon.”  ― RUMI.

  • Marian @ Krysan
  • Listening to God's Heart 




AKHTAR, MIRIAM (2011), Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression: Self-help strategies for happiness, inner strength and well-being, London, pub. Watkins Publishing.  See GOLDEN MOMENTS (on side menu). 

STEVENSON, MARY (1936), Footsteps in the Sand.

URQUHART, COLIN (1990), "My Dear Child ...": Listening to God's Heart, Sevenoaks, Kent, pub. Hodder & Stoughton.


HORNSTEIN, Gail (2009), Agnes's Jacket: A psychologist's search for the meanings of madness, New York, pub. Rodale Inc.  See AGNES'S JACKET 

ROMME, Marius & ESCHER, Sandra (1994), Accepting Voices, London, pub. Mind Publications. See PEOPLED WOUNDS


Today, Miriam Akhtar's Positive Psychology book reached No. 3 in Amazon's Bestseller's List for books on depression.  Miriam thanks all who have bought her book and/or visited her website at


If your parents were anything like mine - and they probably were in this respect - they taught you to be kind to others.  Although you may not realise it, your life is a stunning litany of kind deeds done for others.  From the time you first shared a toy with a fellow toddler to the time you held the door for a stranger, your life has been a series of kindnesses, large and small. 

Take a moment and reflect on all you have done.  Don't worry, no one is watching.  No one will feel like you are bragging.  Give yourself permission to pat yourself on the back.  Take a little time to record on paper those examples that really stand out, the kind deeds you feel especially good about. CAPP, 2008 

  • Marian @ Krysan
  • Listening to God's Heart 




Life is too precious to quibble over details.



4,414 reads @ 2015-05-29


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