Gabor Maté, Trauma Matters, North Ken 2019

It was a surreal moment for me; Lancaster West estate was where I first encountered Dr Gabor Maté’s teachings on trauma, addiction, mind-body health and parenting. Years on, I meet Dr Maté on Lanc West for a mini tour of North Kensington: through the estate, up Blenheim Crescent, across Ladbroke Grove and Portobello and to the Tabernacle, where Gabor was speaking at the day-long We Coproduce event Trauma Matters.

My meeting with this mentor was even more unreal as this was 15th June 2019. The previous night the community had walked in silence, in our thousands, to honour the dead on the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire; a dignified, unified response to a horror and injustice which had seen no arrests.


We Coproduce, based in Hammersmith, intended a neighbourly gesture for the Grenfell anniversary and flew-in this remarkable expert to the most traumatised community in Britain. When asked to engage the North Ken community, I asked Jane, CEO of We Coproduce, “What’s the aim?”

“To get individuals to become aware of their trauma”.

Good answer, because North Kensington had been bought off inundated with money and ego. Here was a thoughtful organisation we – myself and the local artist Woïnkpa – could work with.

Trauma from a huge-scale disaster starts to manifest two years after an event; it is what we carry inside ourselves. So many local people had filled the vacuum left by the council and national government; mindful of those who had lost everything, or everyone, the trauma was suppressed but easily triggered.

I met Gabor near the foot of the burned-out Tower, the plan to equip him with some understanding of the neighbourhood before speaking on such an emotive day.

The injustice and the slow, sure return to the business-as-usual imposition of grinding poverty on this outwardly vibrant neighbourhood darted around in my mind as I tried to capture it in words. Gabor cut through; looking up at the Tower, he said, “I bet those responsible don’t live in housing like this”.

Stopping me short as I started to explain local dynamics, Gabor asked me “What was your role after the fire?” This set the tone for the day.


Gabor was entirely present as we walked and talked, curious about me, my travels, my thoughts. He would stop, look me in the eye and tell me about his trip as a medical doctor to Gaza when he had “cried for two weeks straight’,” or about the treatment of the indigenous population of Canada

Gabor’s assured presence on the street flowed seamlessly into the packed event at the Tabernacle; challenging audience members to go deeper, unapologetically interested in the reality and truth.

During breaks, he was surrounded by people seeking one-on-one advice and sat offering the same perfect attention.

For those immersed in the recovery of a community, the Trauma Matters event was a reminder that healing starts with us. Gabor’s unerring eye contact betrays an aching vulnerability and uncanny ability to use words to stir our compassion and wisdom.

We Coproduce had carved out a space for these qualities – vulnerability, compassion, wisdom – to be present in the neighbourhood that needed it most, at the time we needed it most.

This article was first published by We Coproduce CIC

by Tom Charles @tomhcharles


Happy New Years


Use of the word ‘we’ does not constitute ‘My self’ in a manner that makes Me complicit in the issue/subject but is used only as a formality and effort not to violate writing tradition. Even though it may appear that my use of ‘we’ means ‘us’, I reference only My self as ‘we’ in respect of the overwhelming shared sentience of the masses, of which I am but am not of, in respect of My unfamiliar peers and their ignorant acts antonymous to My autonomous weighs. I, just as all corporations do, hold My self harmless from the collective wrong that society willingly partakes and I take personal responsibility for all things that I willingly, clearly and openly consent to by clear (non-tacit) agreement, without force, duress or coercion.

I Am.

It’s now 2023 and as we step into this great unknown, I must say that ‘ignorance’ is a choice.

As abstract as it seems, knowledge is not the property of schools of education but readily available for all who genuinely search for it–the reward of the seeker. It’s just that most would rather collect pointless data steered by either peer-esteem, likes or something of the egocentric nature. This is despite the fact that, over the decade, all that seems currently unknown was previously (widely and openly) available and easily accessible to all via online. That is at least before the colonisation of the Internet in 2012 (New Hampshire RSA 193-F:4.).

The result of this pathway to policing dialogue and searches, hiding behind cyber bullying, is comparable to a mass book burning and the resulting chaos. With today’s corporations learning algorithms, our search engines can guarantee failure as we try to stick the salvaged pages back together again. This colonising of websites and the heavy concentration on child censorship, made way for key information to be available only in select jurisdictions. Even though tangible location is somewhat of a fiction in the online world, we ignorantly opened the doors to communist ideals.

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Grow Something

Good News.


If you’re part of the North Kensington community and would like to participate in growing stuff (lawful) there is a program just waiting for you.

If you can get yourself down to:

The Argan Tree Cafe under the Westway, Maxilla walk, on Tuesdays at 2:00pm

Your skills will be welcomed to give back to Mother Earth. By tending to her skin and watching the fruit of your labour blossom you will surely feel at one with yourself.

All zen, calm people with green fingers welcome. Contact details below


The Intensity of Insomnia

Love and stillness to all; dive within – find yourself, the kingdom of God is within you. Salvation, revolution, liberation, to take back out and play in the world. Play your role with presence and love. Attune, be a child, be wise, it’s all there in your heart – love, be loved, connect. (God).


Sleep anxiety leads to sleep problems, wakefulness and so on

Must relax, must relax, relaxing is worthy, relaxing is good, a good person would relax – Now, if I’m a good person I’ll relax – here comes the test – here it is, hold your nerve, woah – I’m in bed – Yes! Surely I’m doing the right thing – now I’ll be a winner…Oh no! Wait, I’m awake, nevermind, Nirvana will come now – time has passed now I see – oh no I’m a bad person…now only mindful awareness can save my sleep and therefore my soul.

Body scan, okay? Yeah.

Thoughts – bad person. No thinking

Scan and zzzzz

Fits and starts – “I’ll go on manfully”

Oh my? I just haven’t earned it yet, baby.

Spread thin. Warrior thin. Thin warrior. Tomorrow, next week will bring salvation – were we meant to live in concrete blocks?

A hut in the woods, to simplify life = to be present to what goes on, surely that promotes sleep – But not Be Present Man,

Look at me,

listen to me – hear it, I’m present,

But Be. Do you ever meet anyone that impresses you? I don’t mean admire, I mean, impress, Someone at ease with themselves ∼ you know they’ve done the work. It is the most admirable,

Cast your mind – can you name anyone? One or two in 38 years.

Now that’s my mind tired and negative.

Better plan – be it. Be admirable. Impress yourself – do it good.

Being and life are you – flowing with energy, you’re fully alive ∼ come into that.

Now from there what do you need? You need sleep. What’s stopping you? Nothing.

Spread Thin 2


By Tom Charles

Folk and Mirrors

A deep psychological journey into a cosmic waltz (Buckle up)

So what is the value and nature of truth on earth? In asking this question with some research one realises that most people today are only equipped to run from it and have become inured to finding refuge in lies to protect the all important ego.

Richard Bandler is one of the fathers of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He studies the natural communication between people, the psychological affect of the experience and how to consciously steer it to make the results more desirable for the individual. In his practice he often uses ‘Mirroring‘. Mirroring is a natural mimicked response to another’s way of communication towards them. Although one of the subjects is unlikely to be aware of mirroring, the action effectively causes a more harmonious interaction between the two parties because the point is to appease and magnify what is natural to the other party. Only this, in Bandler’s system, is achieved consciously by one person, leaving the other vulnerable, unaware of the actions towards them as the unsuspecting participant.This is almost always to the advantage of the user of NLP. Yet this is oxymoronic for the fact that the unannounced study of the character can also be seen as manipulative and lying by omission.

There is definitely an agenda. Yet there is truth in the actual reflection of the person evidenced by the harmonic result.  Without external observation, we cannot easily know our selfdom, yet this reflection does appear subconsciously in subtle, peripheral ways within nature. Analogous to a rhythmic dance you can see the lovely tone is set and then nature follows.

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 06:  Amanda Lepore prepares backstage at the Heatherette Fall 2007 fashion show in the Tent during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Bryant Park February 6, 2007 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG) *** Local Caption *** Amanda Lepore
Amanda Lepore

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All about ME – The Guru Within Chronic Fatigue


What happens when you run yourself in to the ground with work, stress and life? This is what I have been finding out and the results have been more educational and transformative than I could possibly have imagined…

One Wednesday in October 2014 after I suddenly started to feel run down, beat up and for some reason itchy, I was anticipating perhaps needing a day or two off work to recuperate. Months later I was still off, diagnosed with ‘fatigue’ by the doctors.

At first I found this a painful mental struggle: I fought back, thinking each night that if I felt okay at six the next morning I’d go back to work. I could barely concentrate on anything, but managed to function enough get through the days, albeit fairly miserably, at work and off work.

Not yet trusting my body, and listening to the doctors and everybody else (everybody seems to know the cure) I set about on a policy of doing whatever was suggested to me, including the following (not always simultaneously): Resting; Not resting, but getting back to work; Working part-time; Working full-time; Eating no red meat; Eating red meat; Drinking coconut water; Drinking more water; Eating spinach; Exercising; Anti-depressants; Mindfulness; Vitamins; Other supplements that boost energy; Taking a mystery potion every day; Not sleeping for more than eight hours at a time and so on etc.

All the advice was well-intentioned and gratefully received, but what I wasn’t doing, and what I now believe was the cause of my crash, was listening to the wisest teacher of all: my body.

My ego had been dictating terms for years. My ego was allied to my mind, that brutal ruler who would tell me: ‘you’re not doing enough’ – ‘Yes, take on that extra project’ – ‘Do the right thing’ – ‘This is what you should be doing’ – ‘If you keep suffering you’ll get there in the end.’ You just haven’t earned it yet baby. Sound familiar?

I was letting this mind-ego complex run my life, telling me that I could juggle, control and manipulate any and every situation.

Was I that far removed from my true nature? From the compassionate self that knows that what I am is enough already, that I don’t have to prove anything to anybody?

Well, my body wasn’t removed at all – how can it be? It shut down when I embarked on a restive period of moving flat and starting one full time and three part-time jobs, balancing all of these with childcare, relationships etc…

And after that initial phase of crash and burn, in which my ego’s defeat was initiated, and after trying earnestly and repeatedly to get back to good old work, I embarked upon a new approach:

I slept whenever my body ached, whenever I felt like it. And I carried on, allowing my body, my gut instinct, to dictate.

This meant relief from the grinding exhaustion. But something was still lacking. That something was my acceptance of what was, and what is. I still believed that I could control my health and my life.  

So then, every day I made a point of acknowledging that I was powerless over my fatigue. And here is where I am so grateful: I came to believe that I burned out for a reason: to teach me to live according to my nature, to live in harmony with the world around me and end the illusion of control. To learn that the droning, punishing voice in my head is devilishly misleading. My mind is a useful tool, but if it is left in sole control, it causes chaos. ‘Once you achieve X, Y or Z, you’ll be happy’ it says ad nauseam.

I adapted to exhaustion with siestas, shorter days and less energy. I did it by enjoying the time I had and the exercise I could do. And I found that by looking after myself I became much more able to engage with others and enjoy life, which releases its own energies.

The seasons have come and gone, and as the cold nights draw in I’m reflecting on a year of chronic fatigue, or ME. I now take eight different supplements/vitamins every day (you pretty much have to work it out yourself), write and do other bits of work. I play football again and swim. I’ve started a course of acupuncture. I haven’t given up on leading an interesting life one bit.


I’m on a different journey now, one of acceptance and faith that illness, by leading me to pay attention to my body, could be the making of me. Fresh beginnings and a harmonious life are the fruits of my diligent acceptance.

Of course it’s not always easy – CFS is not something I would wish upon anyone, and I type this on the back of two days of frustration at the limits imposed by this illness. I fought back, refusing to accept my temporary limits and had to learn again that I have to be mindful of what my body is saying. By staying open to what my illness can teach me, it can be a blessing.

De Dell Seeds – A Seed of hope

Food for thought.

More than three millions tonnes of soy is imported into the UK every year, a large proportion of which is GM.   The Telegraph.  

While I have a genuine interest in my diet, I must admit sometimes it can become a little overwhelming remembering what is sustenance and what is poison. Case in point; The empty packet of Amaizin corn chips that lay on my kitchen table. Although they were organic, they had me looking at them with suspicion like a cheating spouse.


I wondered if the corn was pure. Was she true? Did she lie by omission, telling me only part of where she had been in the hope that I wouldn’t cross-examine?  Maybe I’ve lost faith, most things that tasted that good were always too good to be true. I needed to know more about corn. What I did know is that corn and soy are the easiest consumable substances…

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