The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Where There's A Will There's A (Wild) Way

'Three Sisters,'
Blue Mountains, Australia
Will (verb) meaning wish, desire, preference.

Will (noun) meaning purpose, determination, mind.

The phrase ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ is almost 400 years old. In 1640 the English writer, George Herbert, published a selection of proverbs. One of these reads:

To him that will, ways are not wanting.

The phrase has only slightly changed, but the sense is the same. If one has a determination to get something done, then they will find a way in which it can be done. It tells us that nothing can hold us back from our objective. It is an incitement to never give up. It is a rallying cry, advocating that, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’

Within the phrase, and those like it, lurks a desire to control. A will is not simply a determination of the mind, it is a determination to impose order on our own lives, or the lives of others or the planet itself. It is unsurprising that Herbert coined this proverb in the middle of the Scientific Revolution, a time when the world and cosmos were being referred to increasingly in mechanistic terms.

Pursuing the idea a little further, we might conclude that it is a determination to impose order on an otherwise wild place or being.



What of the word wild? Where does it come from? What is it?

There seems to be two possibilities for the origin of the word itself. One is that it derives from the Old German word wald, meaning forest.

The other likelihood is that the word wild and the word will are more closely linked than we might think. Wild may be a shortened version of willed. The rationale for this is that a wild place follows its own will. Hence it is self-willed, self-wild.

A Wild Way

Consequently, if we were to dismantle the phrase ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ and replace it with ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Wild Way’ we might more closely unite and understand the connection between the two words – will and wild.

Coincidentally, with such an appreciation, we might even reconnect with a part of ourselves that, in westernised cultures at least, has largely been suppressed and hidden.

The eco-psychologist, Bill Plotkin, identifies four facets of the self. One of these he calls the Wild Indigenous One. This aspect of the self is, according to Plotkin, ‘is fully and passionately at home in the human body and in the natural world… The Wild Indigenous One is our most instinctual dimension, every bit as natural and at home on Earth as any elk, elm, or alp.’1

When this wild way within us is re-discovered and experienced then the control and dominance implied in the familiar phase of where there’s a will there’s a way is seen for what it is: a self-harming impediment to our full selves, and a disrespectful and exploitative way of treating the earth.

Once we recognise that wilderness is not a state of disorder, but rather a state in which order is not imposed, we are able to find our natural wild state within the fullness of nature.

The American poet and writer, Wendell Berry, expressed this insight beautifully in his short poem The Peace of Wild Things, written in 1968.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

May we all use our will and come into the peace of wild things.


1. Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, New World Library, Novato, California, 2013.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Environment: It or Us?

Since the 1970s there has been much concern for the environment. Just what is this thing called
environment that is of concern?

The English word environment comes to us from Old French. The prefix en suggests in or into. The stem of the word is from viron, meaning circle, circuit. Thus, the Old French word environer means “to surround, enclose, encircle.”

Which is how the term environment has come to be understood: as all that which surrounds us, outside of us, but, significantly, not us. We reside in our environment.

In western tradition, it is only fairly recently that the sense of our environment being outside of us has started to be questioned and challenged.

The word itself, although being used in the 1600s, did not really start to be used until the Scottish historian/philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, translated a German word used in a text by Goethe as environment in 1828.1

It was to be more than a century before the word began to find parlance in the English language. Beginning in the 1940s the word began to trend upwards in usage. With the rise of the environmental movement in the 1960s and 70s the word began to be used significantly more frequently, reaching a peak in about 1997, and trending back down again since then. Today the word environment is used approximately 95 times in every one million words – roughly the same frequency with which it was used in the mid-1980s.

The common use of, and meaning given to, the word environment remains as “all that surrounds us” and commonly also thought of as the “natural” surroundings, rather than artificial, or constructed surroundings, although this can vary from person to person considerably.

However, not many within the westernised world would consider environment to include human beings. In this way of thinking humans observe the environment, and interact, objectively, with it (in both positive and negative ways.)

Yet, there is no distinction. The environment is not an “it” out there.

Indeed, many indigenous languages have no pre-European contact word that translates as environment. The Haida people of the islands off the tip of the Alaska Panhandle refer to other-than-human creatures as their brothers and sisters. Trees are not simply trees, but tree people.2

This is a distinctly different way of seeing the world. It is one that does not divide me from my surroundings.

Perhaps the most explicit sense of an indigenous understanding of this that I have found is that provided by Jack Forbes. At the end of his book, Columbus and Other Cannibals, he offers a poem/prayer speaking of the Native American understanding that there is no such thing as my environment as distinguished from me. Here is part of the poem/prayer he calls The Universe is Our Holy Book.3

“The Old Ones say

outward is inward to the heart

and inward is outward to the center

Because for us

there are no absolute boundaries

no borders

no environments

no outside

no dualisms

no single body

no non-body.


We don’t stop at our eyes

We don’t begin at our skin

We don’t end at our smell

We don’t start at our sounds.


I can lose my legs and go on living

I can lose my eyes and go on living

I can lose my ears and go on living

I can lose my hair, my nose, my hands, my arms

and go on living.


But if I lose the water

I die

If I lose the air

I die

If I lose the sun

I die

If I lose the plants and animals

I die.

For all of these things

are more a part of me

more essential to my being than that

which I call “my body.”



1. The German word used by Goethe was Umbegung.

2. Peter Knutson & David Suzuki, Wisdom of the Elders, Allen & Unwin, Toronto, Canada, 1992.

3. Jack Forbes is of Powhatan-Renape, Delaware-Lenape, and non-American background. He is the former chair of Native American Studies at the University of California, and in 1961 founded the Native American Movement. He is the author of several books, including Columbus and Other Cannibals, Seven Stories Press, New York, revised 2008 (originally published in 1978)

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Grumpy Old Man Syndrome: 8 Strategies for dealing with him.

Statler and Waldorf
of "The Muppets" fame
I am now part way into the eighth decade of my life (no, that doesn’t mean I am in my 80s – do the calculations!) And being that old I discover that occasionally I can slip into one of the hazards of becoming older - Grumpy Old Man Syndrome.

Obtaining an older age as a male does not, of course, automatically qualify one as a Grumpy Old Man. However, the sobriquet of “grumpy” does, in my observation, fit many old men. I am not immune to it either.

Whether it be something as simple as a loud party going on in the street whilst trying to get to sleep, or (as is often the case for me) an annoyance that humanity continues to destroy this glorious planet, or simply a diminished supply of testosterone, being an older man can stimulate grumpiness.

So, how do we older men deal with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome? I outline 8 strategies that I have discovered that helps to deal with feeling grumpy. If they assist you also, then please try them out.

For anyone of a young age reading this, I might add a further strategy. You might call it a pre-strategy, or Strategy Zero. The strategy that gets put in place before these 8. The pre-strategy is this:

Strategy # 0. Don’t wait until you get to be an older man before learning and implementing these strategies. Some of them take years to learn and make part of your life.

Onto the 8 Strategies for dealing with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome.

Strategy # 1. Name it. When grumpiness arises, don’t try to repel it, just recognise it and name it. “Oh hullo, Mr Grumpy” I say to myself, “there you are again.” Intriguingly, when I do, I feel a smile arrive on my lips and in my eyes. Grumpiness then seems to dissolve.

The great psychologist, Carl Jung, is reputed to have stated that, ‘What we resist, persists, and becomes larger.’ Although no such verbatim quote can be found, some of his writings can easily be condensed to this short phrase. Effectively, trying to repel grumpiness in our mind we only end up in a struggle that does not dispel the grumps, but usually ends up with us becoming more grumpy – because our struggle has been futile.

Name it, greet it, and watch it slowly dissolve.

Strategy # 2. Accept it. Associated with the first strategy, this strategy simply accepts grumpiness as one of the myriads of feelings and emotions that we humans encounter every day.

It has been estimated that there are more than 34,000 unique emotions and that most humans experience around 400 emotions in any one day. Grumpiness is simply one of these.

That’s life.

Strategy # 3. It won’t last. Emotions, like all other phenomena, are impermanent. They do not last. The mantra, ‘This too shall pass’ is a useful one to bring to mind when dealing with grumpiness, or indeed, any other emotion that we find unhelpful or harmful.

When we realise that grumpiness is but an ephemeral emotion, then we allow it the time and space to arise and then to slip away.

Strategy # 4. Grumpiness is not alone. Often grumpiness socialises with other feelings and emotions, such as disappointment, despair, angst, anxiety, guilt, shame, or unhappiness. Grumpiness co-emerged with, and because of, other emotions.

Recognising this interplay of emotions allows us to delve further into what may lie behind, or below, the emotion of grumpiness. In doing so, we may discover that we have an unmet need that one of those other emotions is alerting us to.

If we find an unmet need, then we can devise a plan to either a. meet that need or b. find an alternative if the need cannot be met.

Strategy # 5. Grumpiness may be an indication of grief. Of the 5 “stages” of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, despair, acceptance) grumpiness would seem to be an amalgam of despair and anger.

If the feeling of grumpiness is part of the grief process, then that tells us we have lost something, or someone, that we were very attached to. We are grieving the loss. Grumpiness, at this stage, is an expression of that feeling of loss. Knowing this, we can identify what the loss is. With that knowledge, we are able to work through the grief process.

Strategy # 6. Deep Time. Our life upon this planet is a blip in the deep time of the cosmos. When I consider my lifetime against the time that galaxies, stars, and planets (including this one) have been forming and evolving, then I recognise both my insignificance and, paradoxically, my uniqueness.

Noticing my insignificance, the grumpiness is so fleeting that it become irrelevant.

Noticing my uniqueness, my grumpiness becomes a waste of time.

Strategy # 7. Bring to mind the Serenity Prayer. The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr composed the Serenity Prayer in the 1930s. The wording has had different versions over the years, with the following today being the most widely quoted:

‘God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

If you are a non-theist, then you may wish to find a substitute for God. No matter who or what the prayer is addressed to, understanding the difference between what we can change and what we cannot has bearing upon our grumpy feelings.

More often than not, I discover that my grumpiness stems from something I have no control over. Discovering that allows me to step back and accept whatever that prompt is and allow my grumpiness to pass.

Strategy # 8. If all else fails, then repeat Strategy # 1.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Nature Disconnect - Next Step?

The four previous blogposts considered the steps that humankind has taken in disconnecting from nature, and the lessons that might be drawn from such hindsight.

One of the suggested lessons was that by critically examining hindsight we can obtain some insight. From that insight, foresight may ensue.

This blog attempts some foresight by asking, what is the next step that humanity is likely to take in disconnecting from nature?

First: some insights that can be obtained from our hindsight. Each step taken to move us away from nature was done so either establishing or bolstering a meme of disconnection.1 At least six such memes can be identified:

1.     Nature must be controlled, tamed, and conquered.

2.     Westernised thinking is split into dualisms of; mind/body, heaven/earth, inner/outer worlds, and self/environment.

3.     Anthropomorphising nature. In this way, the forces and energies of nature are tainted with human-like spirit, rather than their own (natural) spirit.

4.     Transcendence. The goal of humanity is to transcend nature, either by improving nature, or by ascending beyond nature.

5.     Materialism. Nature is nothing more than a machine.

6.     Human exceptionalism. Humankind is the exception to the rule. Humanity is the perfection of life, either God-given, or as a result of evolution.

So, what could be the next step away from a connection with nature?

It is not so hard to imagine what it is likely to be, as the signs are very clear. Indeed, we have already lifted our foot off the ground to take the next step.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its various manifestations (e.g. robotics, virtual reality, ChatGPT, driverless cars) is well established and gaining momentum at an alarming rate.

We already know how much electricity AI consumes globally. It is enormous! The impact upon fossil fuel use is massive, and predicted to increase significantly.2

What may be less known is the requirement by AI for greater quantities of hardware than other forms of computing. This puts immense pressure on resource use, as well as contributing to the growing e-waste problem.

Those are just two of the impacts of AI upon nature. What of the memes that maintain and propagate our human disconnection from nature? Read through the following quotes and see how many of the half-dozen memes referred to above you can pick:

‘In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents' living room to catch up… We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today,…The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started… it symbolizes that there is always more to build, and there is always a next chapter to the story…The future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.’

Astute readers will no doubt have recognised the reference to metaverse, and hence that these may be quotations from Mark Zuckerberg. Indeed, they are. The quotations come from his “Founders Letter” of 2021.

Mark Zuckerberg reiterated and expanded upon these ideas at the Meta Connect Conference in September 2023. In his keynote address he claimed that, via Meta, ‘(virtual and augmented reality) will be better than we have today.’ And hundreds of bright-eyed techno-optimists in the audience applauded him!

Zuckerberg’s dream (others might label it a nightmare) is still off in the future. However, with the ever exponentially expanding pace of AI it may not be far off.

Zuckerberg is not the only one expounding upon this nightmare. Others too are taking the meme of conquering nature and going a step further to doing away with nature altogether via augmented virtual reality which ‘closely resembles’ nature, but is not nature.

This next step surely is one of the most frightening ones we are likely to take. Critics of AI warn that the dangers in AI are not AI itself, but that AI will exacerbate every other danger that we already face. Think about that. Think of a danger, then multiply it by 10 or 100. Then think of another danger and multiply that also by 10 or 100. Do that with each and every danger. Surely, it is unthinkable. Surely, we should not be thinking of expanding AI in any form.

At some stage, very soon, we must recognise that the steps we have been taking over the past 10,000 – 12,000 years have taken us in an unhelpful and unhealthy direction.

We have to realise the foresight, and find the courage, to walk away from that path.


1. Meme is a word coined by Richard Dawkins and is analogous to gene. A meme is an idea, belief, behaviour, or style that spreads through a culture via imitation. Eventually a meme becomes so common that it is assumed by that culture to be normal, or the usual state of being.

2. For example, Microsoft and ExxonMobil have entered a partnership that will increase production from the Permian Basin (in Texas/New Mexico) by as much as 50,000 barrels of oil-equivalent by 2025. accessed 4 February 2024