Tag Archives: life

The Surprising Legacy David Bowie Gifts Us

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“David Bowie changed the course of my life forever. I never felt like I fitted in growing up in Michigan. I found him so inspiring and innovative. Unique and provocative. Seeing him live set me off on a journey I hope will never end”Madonna

“A master of reinvention who kept getting it right”David Cameron

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art”Tony Visconti 

“Every person, when they’re young, thinks they’re the freak, the outsider, the other, and Bowie, through presenting the freak, the outsider, the other, gave people something to relate to”Paul Gambaccini

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Few deaths make headlines across the globe, inspiring tributes at all levels of society from Prime Ministers and Archbishops to musicians and the masses.

And as the snapshot of tributes above show, Bowie’s legacy hinges on far more than his musical talent.

In the spirit of true legacy, Bowie’s life overshadows his death, sustaining and inspiring with a life-like vividness that transcends physical termination.

And as Bowie makes history, never having had a number 1 in America (until now), I ask you, dear Reader, what does Bowie’s death teach us about living? How will our lives be better for absorbing the magic that he leaves in his wake?

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1. Dare to be different

Whether gay, bisexual, cross-dressing or suit-wearing, treat negative reactions as the projections of fear that they are and move confidently in the direction of your dreams. You will inspire with your authenticity and leave an indelible mark on others that will always be remembered. ‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be‘.

2. Do what you love

Self-actualisation sits at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – that feeling that you have led your life with meaning, value and purpose and have made a real contribution to the lives of others. If you’re not sure what your purpose is, play to your strengths and your passions and watch money and happiness abound. As the lyrics of ‘Quicksand‘ go: ‘I’m not a prophet or a stone age man, just a mortal with the potential of a superman’.

3. Never stop being kind and giving love

These are the words which pervade Bowie’s tributes not his $230 million net worth. No matter how high you climb, remember – ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel‘. So be kind – always – for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

4. You are what you believe

As the great man himself said: ‘Even from 8 or 9 years old, I thought, well, I’ll be the greatest rock star in England. I just made up my mind‘. So next time you feel tempted to let entrenched negative thinking get in your way, remember Bowie’s words: ‘It’s the kiss of death in creating something‘.

5. Death can be beautiful

In the words of Henry Scott Holland, ‘Death is nothing at all‘. Bowie remains just as real now, if not more so, for his magnificent departure from life. His taboo breaking work of art, ‘Lazarus‘, released three weeks before his passing, reminds us that death is far more than a physical end. It can also be life-defining, rule defying and positively transcendental. For as Shakespeare so beautifully reminds us, legacy is a life-force which well and truly trumps mortality: ‘So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee‘.

6. Appreciate the now

Bowie’s wife, Iman, recently tweeted: ‘Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory‘. So next time you’re about to mindlessly flick through social media, put your phone away and savour those real, human moments happening all around you. Those are the ones you’ll miss.

The Real Reason That Self Love Is The True Healer

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Happy Monday, wee ones :)

After twinnie’s beautiful wedding and a few emotional attendees present – who have been on journeys far and wide – geographical and otherwise – it seems timely to remind ourselves of the power of self-love in achieving our happy ever afters, whether weddings, careers, friendships or otherwise.

We’ve all been there – bound in that tricky cycle of self-criticism that rears its ugly head when we’re at our more vulnerable – but we’re united in the positive growth that takes seed in those moments – in our strength as well as our humanity – to cherish our hearts – to nurture our souls – and to pull every positive learning we can from this journey called life.

So be kind to yourself today, wee one. We’re all in this together.

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#selflove

#happiness

#journey

What Camille Muffat Teaches Us About Living

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Someone pretty special died this week.

Amongst the victims of the tragic helicopter crash in Argentina was 25 year old Camille Muffat, who at only 22 years old, won three medals in the 2012 Olympics, setting an Olympic record in the 400-meter freestyle in the process.

But way beyond her extraordinary aquatic abilities, which saw her training for six hours a day from the tender age of 14, was her remarkably mature outlook on life.

For belying her machine-like frame which saw her standing at six foot tall, she had an inner simplicity which underpinned her retirement at just 24 years old.

Taking the French public by surprise, the 2012 French Sportswoman of the Year cited her reasons for retirement quite simply. After ten years of intense training, she wanted to “profiter de la vie” – to enjoy life.

You got it. She just wanted to enjoy life.

“De goûter à une vie normale” - to taste a normal life.

Breathe in those words.

What stunning maturity from a young girl who knew more glory than most of us could dream of.

“My body could have taken another 10 years of training and competition but I wanted to be the mistress of my own destiny,” she told L’Equipe. “I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a swimming pool.”

And it was with that splendid independence of spirit that she left this world. A world so often blinded by things that don’t even feature in our last days.

It is, of course, bitterly ironic, that just a year after retiring to live life, hers was so cruelly cut short. She understood the secret of happiness way before so many of us, yet had no real time to enjoy it.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

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The Surprising Secrets Of Happiness From Jim Carey

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How Do We Change Our Lives?

What’s the #secret of #attracting all that you #desire into your life? Why are some people #happier than others? How do some people seem to be #luckier than you and how can you #change that?

What Is The Secret of Happiness?

#Jim #Careys Commencement Speech to the Maharishi University of Management gives #remarkable #insight into all of the above. I’d assumed that he was just a #funny guy with extraordinary #comic #gift, but the below shows him to be far more than that…

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Highlights You Won’t Forget...

“The #decisions that we make in each moment are based in either #love or #fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear #disguised as practicality. What we really want seems #impossibly out of reach and #ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the #universe for it. I’m saying that you can #ask #the #universe for it. Why not take a chance on #faith?

You will only ever have #two #choices. #Love or #fear. Always #choose #love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart”.

Whether you’re feeling a bit disillusioned in life with work or relationships, or in tip top shape, we can all learn something from this guy. Watch the highlights from his #speech below and #be #inspired.

And If That’s Not Enough…

Watch the #full #version here.

How To Have A Year That Counts

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“Go ahead. Tell me all you really want is…a life spent in the furious pursuit of…buying stuff you don’t want with money you don’t have by doing jobs you can’t stand to impress people you don’t like to fit in instead of stand out…just so you don’t have to remember, even for a nanosecond, there’s a truer reason you are here. To live a life that matters.

Sure. You can tell yourself that’s all there is to life. But nobody’s going to believe you. Even you”.

How To Have a Year That Counts” is a seriously thought-provoking essay written by author and economist Umair Haque and brought to my attention by the brilliant team at Escape The City. Read it. It will make you question reality as you know it.

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Ten Famous Blind People Who Changed the World

Feeling a little dejected, demotivated by your job or just suffering from the Sunday Blues?

This eye-opening video which chronicles the achievements of 10 Famous Blind People will put some fire in your belly.

20 of the Best Shakespeare Quotes

  1. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so (Hamlet)
  2. The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool (As You Like It)
  3. The course of true love never did run smooth (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  4. Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear; Where little fears grow great, great love grows there (Hamlet)
  5. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind (King Henry VI)
  6. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (Romeo and Juliet)
  7. Love is not Love which alters when it alteration finds (Sonnet 116)
  8. Man is a giddy thing (Much Ado About Nothing)
  9. All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts (As You Like It)
  10. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin (Troilus and Cressida)
  11. These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which as they kiss consume (Romeo and Juliet)
  12. Give every man thy ear but few thy voice (Hamlet)
  13. Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win. By fearing to attempt (Measure for Measure)
  14. Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow (Romeo and Juliet)
  15. The lady doth protest too much, methinks (Hamlet)
  16. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more; Men were deceivers ever; One foot in sea and one on shore, To one thing constant never (Much Ado About Nothing)
  17. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity; For wise men say it is the wisest course (Henry VI)
  18. Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot That it doe singe yourself (Henry VIII)
  19. Speak low, if you speak of love (Much Ado About Nothing)
  20. This above all: to thine own self be true (Hamlet)

19 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Was 20

Career

1. Follow your Passions.  In the words of US business coach, Fabienne Fredrickson: ‘The things you are passionate about are not random.  They are your calling’.  Instead of analysing what you ‘should’ be doing, identify what you’d really like to do with your day and see if you can make money out of it.  As the saying goes, ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’ (Confucius).

2. Work-Life Balance is Key.  Studies show we never regret not having worked harder in our final hours – we regret not having spent enough time with those we loved and not having laughed enough.  Insufficient down-time is sustainable in the short-term, but it will end up undermining valuable relationships and sapping your soul.  In the words of W.H Davies: ‘What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?’

3. Money Won’t Buy Happiness.  Two Princeton University researchers (including a Nobel laureate) recently published a study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the price of happiness.  They concluded that while not having enough money causes emotional pain and unhappiness, surplus levels of wealth don’t make a person happier.  Their study also identified a tension between high levels of money and happiness: ‘There are some indications that when you have a lot of money, you will savour each pleasure less’.  So if money is your core driver, think about thinking again.

4. Tick the Right Job Boxes.  According to a report by The National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top three skills employers look for in graduates are teamwork skills, the ability to make decisions and the ability to solve problems.  But in today’s marketplace, you also need to stand out from the crowd.  Application processes can deaden originality so craft a Unique Selling Point and increase your chances of being noticed, whether charity skydiving dressed as a baboon or travelling through India in a rickshaw.

5. Be Prepared for Interviews.  No matter how charming or brainy you are, there’s no substitute for interview preparation.  Once you’ve got the work experience to show genuine interest, mock-interview your life away until model answers trip off the tongue.  Instead of pre-learning a script as long as your arm, identify possible questions you may be asked and learn two bullet points for each answer with an example to back up each one.

Happiness

6. Live according to your Values.  In the words of Roy Disney, ‘It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are’.  To determine these, ask yourself what’s important to you.  If in doubt, think about what annoys you and turn this on its head.  Whether success, family or health, identifying your core values will help you to make positive decisions which bring you true fulfilment.  As Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony’.

7. Love as many things as possible.  Life is short.  Make it count.  Step outside your comfort zone and try as many things as possible, whether taking up a new sport or travelling alone.  Opening yourself to new experiences will only bring good things, whether meeting new friends, increasing fitness levels or gaining clarity on who you are and what makes you happy.  It takes courage.  Be brave.

8. Don’t compare yourself to others.  Social media can lead to unhealthy levels of self-branding but others’ lives are rarely what they seem.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming that other people are happier than you.  Living your life through a computer points to the reverse.

9. Take Control.  Your life is the result of choices you make.  If you don’t like how things are going, it’s time to start making better choices.  If your job makes you feel repeatedly despondent, identify the causes and look into new avenues which play off your strengths.  If you are constantly moaning to friends about a boyfriend who makes you feel miserable, maybe it’s time to move on to someone who makes you happy.

10. Practice Mindfulness.  Whether mediation, yoga or rock-climbing, taking time-out from the commotion of the mind is essential in reducing stress, anxiety and depression.  Just ten minutes of ‘mindfulness’ a day can have a huge impact on your sense of balance, even if this is meditating on the bus to work.  Mindfulness involves focussing on calming the mind through observing all thoughts and feelings but letting them go so that you can focus on the present moment.  The ‘Headspace‘ and ‘Take a Break‘ Apps are top-notch.  Try them.

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11. Be Yourself.  In the wise words of Shakespeare: ‘Love alters not when it alteration finds’.  True love will be there through thick and thin.  If you’re scared to be yourself, there’s someone better suited to you out there.  Conversely, don’t make the mistake of trying to change someone.  If you find yourself trying to do so, it may be time to move on to pastures new.

12. Trust your instincts.  People can be complex but if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s for a reason.  If a love interest comes with a health-warning, you’re right to feel wary – there’s often no smoke without fire.  Asking for others’ advice is helpful to a point but you are the one in the relationship.  Learn to listen to your inner voice – it’s almost always right.  In the words of Mandy Hale: ‘You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you.  True love is crystal clear’.

13. Don’t Let Other People’s Baggage Mess You Up.  The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being, not a statement about you.  While there is something to learn from every relationship, don’t dwell on the behaviour of people who probably didn’t even love themselves much in the first place.  They are the ones with the issues, not you.

14. Beware of Unbridled Passion.  Chemistry is essential but lightning-bolt stuff can be dangerous, numbing rational thought.  Take note of Shakespeare’s advice: ‘These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume’.  Though intense passion doesn’t always end in tears, Erich Segal makes a good point: ‘True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights’.

15. Spend Time with People you Love.  In the words of the financial advisor, Hannah Foxley, who lost her battle with cancer this year: Life is about love and connection and not having flashy, overpriced stuff.  The latter doesn’t keep you warm at night or provide love and support’.  Don’t waste time chasing money and status or hanging out with people who make you feel negative.  It won’t bring you true happiness.

Adversity

16. Adversity is the first path to truth’.  As Lord Byron suggested, hardship brings clarity, forging strength of character and leading to a richer life of wisdom.  And put another way by the gifted musician, Zelda Marshall: ‘Emotions are fleeting’.  Hold on to that when you feel hopeless.  And if you’re at an all time low, think of Winston Churchill: ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’.  He led the country through war and came out on top!

17. Don’t over-think.  Keep it simple.  Life is complicated enough – don’t make it more complex than it needs to be.  As the sage Shakespeare wrote: ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’ – old speak for ‘don’t over-think things too much’.

18. Learn from experience.  Everything happens for a reason.  Don’t view things that don’t turn out how you imagined as mistakes but experiences from which you can learn and grow.  As Pema Chodron says: Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know’.  The truth can be painful, but learning from the past helps us avoid future hurt and appreciate things we may otherwise take for granted.

19. Don’t go changing’ – The closing words of a very special man.  Tough times may shake your self-belief but never try to be someone that you’re not.  Beauty is the opposite of perfection.  It’s about confidence, charisma and character.  So if you’re ever feeling really lost, hang on to the wisest of words of all: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’.

10 Things Every Man Should Know About Women

1. We like chivalry.  If we suggest splitting the bill on a first date, it is just that – a suggestion. Most women, no matter how modern, like to feel special. Being treated makes us feel valued. If you want a second date, invest in the first!

2. All women cry.  This isn’t something to be unduly concerned about. No matter how strong we seem, we are emotional beings. Alcohol, tiredness and hormones can be a heady mix. Never suggest that we’re over-emotional or worse still, hysterical. We won’t forget it. The safest reaction is a hug!

3. Women like hugs.  Back to the latter. Women love affection. No matter how tough we seem, we are little girls at heart who want to be looked after. For us, kindness is the ultimate, especially if we’re feeling vulnerable.

4. Romance.  Every woman likes to feel special. The smallest of gestures whether running us a bath, buying us flowers or telling us you love us goes a long way. Doing things that make us feel valued is what romance is all about.

5. We love flattery.  While we don’t like to feel objectified, we like to be told that we’re beautiful and unique – but there’s a fine line. Do this reasonably frequently, but not so much that it makes us suspicious and you’ll reap the rewards. Successfully compliment a disrobed lady and you’ll have a woman who feels comfortable with you. For the body conscious female, this is the best aphrodisiac… For the body-loving man, this is a no-brainer!

6. Cook for us.  For complex beings, we can be surprisingly simple. Cooking for us takes us back to our childhoods, making us feel safe and secure. Actions speak louder than words and this is an easy way to show you care.

7. For better or for worse.  Ok, we may not be married yet, but we’re die hard romantics. Don’t flinch when you see us without make-up or run at the first sign of emotion. In the wise words of William Shakespeare, ‘love alters not when it alteration finds’. Stick around through the tough times and you’ll reap the rewards. After all, we’re looking for a best friend we fancy – and best friends are there through the good, the bad and the (sometimes fairly) ugly.

8. Listen to us.  ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’. You want to solve problems while we like to talk them through, sometimes in circles. You may not understand us but listening patiently after a bad day won’t be forgotten. Don’t say a cup of tea will fix things – it won’t! – just acknowledge, playback how we feel and offer hugs. Easy!

9. Make us laugh.  Men are often surprised by this. How can such tricky creatures have such simple needs? Laughter connects with the female body and mind, making us feel relaxed, valued and stimulated. Humour can also be a great indicator of shared perceptions and values. Make us laugh and we’ll consider you a potential keeper.

10. Don’t take forever to propose the fairytale.  If you’ve been with a girl nigh of 3 years, you can bet your bottom dollar she’s looking for something more than ‘I love you’. Times may have changed since the good old days, but we grew up on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Most of us are just looking for the slipper that fits.

Review of ‘The Dirty Life’

Ever thought about turning your life upside down – job wise, love wise or place wise? If so, read my review of The Dirty Life here, a true story of a Harvard educated journalist who did just that, leaving her glam New York life to be a farmer alongside her one true love.