The one where I quote Gandhi.

So I don’t know if I mentioned it already *cough*  but I went on a trip to Israel last week.

One of the places we visited was the Essence of Life Centre in Tel Aviv. This is a non-profit organisation owned by the Arison Foundation that is based on the idea that to achieve world peace, each of us needs to achieve inner peace.

The centre welcomes children of all faiths to the centre, to play games and take part in activities designed to teach them how to achieve inner peace.

Now, I’m a Northerner.

So of course I was sniggering like a fool as I sat in the centre’s relaxation room listening to a mantra of self-acceptance (very nice I’m sure, but it was in Hebrew) while looking at images of beaches and rivers and trying to ignore the photographer and camera man, not to mention the light man in the corner, who was shining his light in my direction like an interrogation tool.

Not particularly relaxing, it has to be said.

But I think the idea of inner peace – and teaching children how to create it – is really interesting.

The Essence of Life centre uses games and interactive exhibits to encourage children to think about a set of core beliefs based on the idea that we are all unique and bring a spark to the world. That we are all different from one another, and that we’re different ourselves, from day to day. That everyone has some bad qualities – but equally, everyone has good qualities, too.


However cynical I try to be, I can’t bring myself to think those are bad lessons to teach children.

And of course, they’re lessons that might help the odd adult, too. After all, there’s no point complaining on the one hand that people don’t treat you with respect and courtesy if you’re out in the world snarking at every opportunity. Like Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Except, I’m basically rubbish at inner peace. I have a gift for self-doubt, questioning my own decisions endlessly and seeking to debate anything and everything with most people I meet. Also, I am secretly a bit suspicious of anyone who claims to have inner peace – I can’t help wondering if they’re actually psychotic and about to go postal.

Anyway, because I am a positive parenting GURU (it must be true, Cathy said it) I’ve decided that this summer I’m going to teach Flea swimming — and inner peace.

We were given some special 'The Dolphin Within Me' cards at the Essence of Life centre where you pick a card each day, that has an action and a picture. You then share the card with your child and discuss how to incorporate this lesson into your day.

Today’s action…


 Bit worried. Does this mean Flea needs to get her own flat? 



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. susie@newdaynewlesson
    8th July 2011 / 1:07 pm

    LMAO-loving that you were quoting Ghandi and was expecting a more tongue in cheek post about inner peace and cameras in your face.
    As for you inner peace-I don’t think that and questioning yourself and debating things are exclusive of each other. If you remember the post I wrote about embracing your “flaws” ( ), that is exactly what you need to do with the way you are. your inquisitive nature is what makes you a good writer, journalist and businesswoman and there is no reason you can’t find inner peace doing just that.

  2. 8th July 2011 / 2:26 pm

    As a Brit but also a bit Israeli, I appreciate acceptance of a phsychobabble idea with a sense of humour. These cards could either be a wonderfully bonding experience for you and Flea – or she’ll think you’ve gone nuts. Either way, it’ll be fun! Love Rachelxx

  3. 8th July 2011 / 8:12 pm

    this is one of those great opportunities to see how Flea’s brain works – show her the pictures and see what she says – should be hilarious! Sounds a lovely place though, and a positive idea.

  4. avi
    12th July 2011 / 9:20 am

    I’m from Israel, and u can be as cynical as u want to be. Shari Arison is a very controversial business oligarch in Isreal. She fires employees to hurt their rights only to hire them back in the same job, but this time in an outsourcing company so they will not get the same rights or salary. Arison is known in Israel as an equivalent to someone like Margaret Thatcher, as a capitalist neo-liberal pig who doesn’t care about her employees. She is very cynical and calculated and no one here is buying her “spiritual” mask (actually, we have here several neo-liberal oligarchs who pretend to be “spiritual”).

  5. TGR
    12th July 2011 / 6:38 pm

    I refuse to accept the idea that a multi millioner/billioner can have a soul.
    Mrs. Arisson’s fake spiritualism is just one of the many escapistic ways some people in Israel take to convince themselves that they are still Human.
    Always doubt.
    An Israeli