About Alison

A feisty mother earth type, who has an opinion about everything I would like to think I use my "chopsy" attitude to throw some light and perhaps a new slant on current social and cultural issues.

Since I moved to the country for a quiet life I have been lucky enough to create a more healthy more relaxed environment for myself. I love country life, Family, Friends, Horses and Dogs. I also love, photography, writing/chatting and connecting with others.

Please have a look at a collection of my photos blog,


or join in on my chats here or on my otherblog


which follows my efforts to learn to ride and care for horses in my 50s! or just follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back (if you are a real person) on @alisonbarton1. Enjoy and talk to me.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Advice- Cheap or Priceless?

I like to fix things, give me a problem and I become fixated on it until I find a solution. I am not alone, I know others share my predilection, for meddling.  It also has a lot to do with being competitive. I like to be right and if someone’s getting it wrong this affords me with a tempting opportunity to show just how right I can be. Not just right though, I can flaunt all my other abilities, creativity, knowledge, experience, tolerance understanding the list is endless. Its not all about me because I do like to think one of my other attributes is that I care, but giving advice is I am afraid fundamentally a chance to show off and be “Peter Perfect” for a while.

It’s a soothing occupation because while you address the gaping hole in someone else’s bucket, you forget to stem the leaking tap of your own life. So it’s a distraction too! I never realised giving advice was so complicated.

Here’s a bit of advice, I can’t help myself, never offer it, without it being asked for first. Do you see how hard it is for me, I know this is wise and yet I go against my own advice in a heartbeat.

Could there ever be an occasion when advice should be administered like first aid, without the casualty calling for help! Is there an equivalent scenario, in advice giving terms,, of pulling a suicidal person off a railway track out of the path of an oncoming train. Do we have a responsibility to “save” people from themselves and if we do what then?

I used to think it was a Chinese proverb that if you saved someone’s life you were then responsible for them, for ever! Or conversely they owed you. I have “googled” it and there doesn’t seem to be a clear source for either school of thought. It does however highlight the dilemma of, “poking your oar in” wanted or otherwise. For if you do offer advice, at the request of a poor misguided friend and by taking it their life goes horribly wrong, are you to blame? Certainly the argument of your culpability is stronger if you force your opinions onto someone and convince them to change their course. It’s a minefield I’m telling you.

I have reflected on my egotistical compulsion to handout advice “willy nilly” like some agony aunt and concluded, even with my many pertinent attributes, its probably best I stop. Maintain a dignified silence and if someone insists consider pointing them in the direction of Buddhist teaching and particularly


 Advice from Atisha's Heart

"How wonderful!

Friends, since you already have great knowledge and clear understanding, whereas I am of no importance and have little wisdom, it is not suitable for you to request advice from me. However because you dear friends, whom I cherish from my heart, have requested me, I shall give you this essential advice from my inferior and childish mind”.

It continues rather lengthily so follow the link if you wish to! I am not advising you, you understand you have to make your own mind up.

The list of how to get it right in every given situation is probably endless, as long as a lifetime of mistakes can be. What can I say to a friend who’s feeling lost and wants my advice, to help them through a difficult time, or what can I say to a loved one who is heading for danger if their attention is not focussed on the possible outcome? If I can honestly detach myself from my ego and be a true friend I think I would say something. It is not in my nature to stand back, but it must be measured and considered advice, because sometimes people do know best for themselves. The best I can do is offer a quiet time for my friend to reflect. Prevent any immediate danger or harm to them and suggest they consider the problem objectively and think what they would say to a friend who was facing the same difficulty. Above all I would urge them to be kind and forgiving to themselves, be their own best friend.

We all fail and we all feel hopeless at some point, at the lowest look to yourself to be your own guardian angel, follow the link below to see the clip of Billy Joel singing “You’re Only Human” for inspiration.

Alison x

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Hi I am really interested in your comments so let me know what you think and I will get back to you if you want me to. Thanks for reading
Alison xx