Saturday, October 31, 2015

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend (32)

Quote of the day: 
The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. -Bertrand Russell

image: HuffPost

A young teenager, 18 year old College freshman Grace O’Brien,  founded a non-proft 'Ears for Years', which distributes low-cost solar-powered hearing aids for kids in developing countries. She was inspired to start Ears for Years after witnessing her father experience hearing loss. The devices, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, has been distributed to kids in five different countries around the globe so far, with plans to reach more families in need in 2016.

image: HuffPost

A bride who survived cancer at 16, Greta Hokanson, by being connected to a compatible donor through the 'Be The Match bone marrow registry', and two years after that she got a chance to meet Danny Daniels in person. And many years later, when Greta was planning her wedding to now-husband Tony Hokanson, she knew she wanted Danny to be in attendance. The birde told HuffingtonPost "It meant the world to me. Without Danny I might not have made it to my wedding day."

image: ArchDaily

As seen on ArchDaily, a vacation house on the Dutch  island of Texel, designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. It incorporates finishing nets on eh exterior and was designed to mimic a traditional storage shed. 


Current Listen: Otis Redding -These Arms of Mine 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

7 Ideas To Help You Challenge Yourself

Quote of the day: 
Life throws challenges and every challenge comes with rainbows and lights to conquer it. -Amit Ray

Do you ever get the feeling that life is at a standstill? That nothing appears to move either forward or backward, with thoughts and actions in a deadlock sort of -like being checkmated at a chess game with no moves to make. Truth be told, maintaining a steady list of challenges can be hard. But then again, what is life without healthy adventures to help fire us up?. The trick though, is to pick a practical challenge, like say for instance a '30 day (insert challenge here) task', or other.

Therefore it can be said that valuable lessons can be gained from stepping out of our comfort zone -including enabling us to make the best out of life. To help ignite your mindset, and lift you out of feeling stuck, bored or unchallenged, here is a list of challenges that you can put to good use.

1. Learn a new language

It sounds so simple, but it takes dedication to commit to picking and learning a new language. You must also decide in what format your lessons will be -podcasts, on-line videos, books, or perhaps a friend or colleague willing to teach you. Sometimes the difficulty in learning a new tongue can be due to cultural differences, and so on.

2. Support a Cause

Find a cause you want to support -there are thousands of them, and give your time and effort to it.

3. Plan For A Getaway 

Our busy schedules can be just that -busy. We often make little or no time four ourselves to put our feet up, relax and not have to worry too much about anything -besides our bodies are not built to work non-stop without rest. This getaway can be to any destination, the outcome of which should be to renew yourself and redefine your life's purpose,

4. Go To Bed Early Each Day

If you've done all you can do for one day, going to bed early makes sense -especially if you have to wake up early the following day. If you are the night owl type, this might prove difficult to do at first, but it definitely is a worthy and beneficial challenge. The lack of good sleep can be detrimental.

5. Eliminate Bad Habits

What better way to challenge yourself than to work at quitting any bad habits. We all have our inner battles, and the only person who can help us win, with determination -is ourselves.

6. Read At Least One Book A Month

Reading has many great benefits. A book can open up new realities and possibilities, stimulate the mind, and can inspire and lead to new found knowledge. It makes for good conversation, and striving to read at least one book a month is practical.

7.  Be Kind & Generous Daily

It could be a compliment to a complete stranger, or a thoughtful note or email to a friend or colleague, it could be buying a meal for a homeless person, or standing up for truth -whatever it is, your kindness and generosity can go a long way in not only making someone feel good about themselves, but also more likely to have the same effect on you too.

Peace. Love. Light. 

Current Listen: Norah Jones -The Long Day Is Over

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

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What I'm Reading Right Now (21)

Quote of the day: 
One of the things reading does, it makes your loneliness manageable if you are an essentially lonely person. -Jamaica Kincaid 

My preferred book for the week is a different author from the previous week. This is me taking a slight break away from Murakami -after about a four or five week reading run. Although finding time to read can be demanding, it offers great distraction or diversion -one that comes with immense rewards.

image: Amazon

So for the week its back to a familiar author, one whose books I've read many times this year. I am reading 'False Impression', by British author Jeffrey Archer. The book contains a murderous plot, and revolves around expensive art, the unforgettable events of 9/11, manipulations, and international crime of varying proportions. Its fast paced, and it definitely is typical Archer -and is quite entertaining so far.

What are you reading for the week?


Current Listen: BB King -When Love Comes To Town

Monday, October 26, 2015

Plans For The Week (29)

Quote of the day: 
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. -Zig Ziglar

As the days grow shorter and nights become longer, this imbalance is inevitable. The unevenness becomes more pronounced with the season. But life must go on. The sun sets and rises, and our quest for success must not be seen to diminish.

The start of a new week need not be a burden, but a blessing -an opportunity to turn things around, a shift from the status quo. So make plans, live life, be happy, and never stop smiling.

My plans for the week ahead includes:

1. Working out at least twice in the week.
2. Do some writing and self study.
3. Assess my accomplishments so far this year.
4. Read a new book.
5. Plan a mini trip to look forward to next month.
6. Be as efficient as possible, and take time out to rest.
7. Avoid commitments that will weigh me down, zap my energy.
8. Eat healthier.
9. Keep dreaming big.

There goes most of my plans, as I've set out to make most out of the week. What can you do differently this time around?. Shifting your perspective, even slightly can bring about great change. Have you made your plans yet?


Current Listen: Duran Duran -Ordinary World

Saturday, October 24, 2015

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend (31)

Quote of the day: 
Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. 
-Dennis Prager

image: ChicagoBluesGuide

A surgeon, Dr. Daniel Ivankovich who grew concerned about patients being put on waiting lists due to their inability to afford treatments -has through his nonprofit, OnePatient Global Health Initiative, treated more than 100,000 uninsured or under insured patients in troubled neighborhoods in Chicago. Ivankovich runs three clinics in Chicago and performs more than 600 surgeries a year, and he was named a 2015 top ten CNN hero. 

image: SocialWorkHelper

A charity started by former NFL star Warrick Dunn in 1997, has helped its 145th single-parent family to buy their own home. The initiative-Homes for the Holidays was inspired by Dunn's mother who was a single parent and raised him and five younger siblings- but never got to own her own home. With community and corporate support, Warrick Dunn Charities has awarded around $2.5 million in cash, food and other donations to help support sustainable futures through affordable home ownership and education assistance.

image: ArchDaily

This inspiring piece of architecture by Swatt-Miers Architects, is located in Silicone Valley, California. The tea house is designed as a transparent steel and glass pavilion, hovering like a lantern over the natural landscape, with the design emphasizing sustainability.. 

Peace & Serenity*

Current Listen: Ray Charles -Georgia On My Mind

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #2

Quote of the day: 
The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble. -Blaise Pascal

1. The Dark

The ideas that knock on doors of reasoning can occur at night time. In the dark bowels of cloudy skies, a shift in the direction of winds may not go unnoticed, like a missing leg from a dinner table. At this odd hour, past midnight -with quiet streets, and not so quiet roads, the only other noise echoes from deep within. A certain element of the night is the stillness of thoughts, a frame by frame replay of events. Sometimes the darkness creeps in from outside, and the only saving grace is the breaking of dawn.

2. It Only Takes A Minute

One minute, is all it takes. Its short enough to go unnoticed, but a lot sure can happen within that time. The truth is life changes every 60 seconds. What can you lose, what can you one minute. It only takes a minute to cut down trees, usher new babies into the world, get soaked by rainfall, lose sight of one's dreams, and war and devastation to occur. A minute is everything. A lot can change, it only take a minute.

3. Rain

When it rain my mood changes. Its like the weather and my thoughts merge into a frequency that remains static -as long as clouds and rain remain. As soon as the clouds clear though, everything vanishes, but before then I savour the moment. The smell of rain, of raindrops on leaves and trees. The ritual of cleansing that accompanies each rainfall, a rebirth or reawakening, the renewal that occurs -refreshing like a warm bath after a long day. It rains.

Peace. Love. Light*

Current Listen:  Bill Evans & Jim Hall -Darn That Dream

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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What I'm Reading Right Now (20)

Quote of the day: 
Learning never exhausts the mind. -Leonardo da Vinci 

For me the essence of reading is in two folds.
One, to maintain a regular stream of knowledge. My mind expands and contracts at will. I get lost in narrative and dialogue, but I find myself again and again. Its like peering over the edge of a mountain, to get a brilliant view of the world below.

Two, it calms my thoughts. When I get immersed in a story, time stands still.  I learn about new places and things, feel emotions, and get mentally stimulated. Its just me, thoughts sharpened by the story, like a camera lens in auto focus.

This week my new book is titled 'After Dark', by my go-to author of the moment Haruki Mirakami. A quick look at my previous posts will fill you in -on his style of writing.

From the back cover:
The midnight hour approaches in an almost-empty diner. Mari sips her coffee and reads a book, but soon her solitude is disturbed: a girl has been beaten up at the Alphaville hotel, and needs Mari's help. Meanwhile Mari's beautiful sister Eri lies in a deep, heavy sleep that is 'too perfect, too pure' to be normal; it has lasted for two months. But tonight as the digital clock displays 00:00, a hint of life flickers across the television screen, even though it's plug has been pulled out. Strange nocturnal happenings, or a trick of the night?

image: GoodReads

Its a tantalizing escape, and a with a bold and refreshing narrative. At just 200 pages, it makes for a fast and enjoyable read so far.

What books are you reading this week?


Current Listen: Charlie Parker - I've Got Rhythm

Monday, October 19, 2015

Plans For The Week (28)

Quote of the day: 
The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. -Gustave Flaubert

Time, how precious a resource. The one thing we seek the most, yet put to use poorly. I'm guilty of this -a lot less than I used to be. I prioritize, and estimate things. You could say I have a certain pattern, a way of getting things done. It helps keep disorder at bay, like a surge barrier protecting against flooding. Time is indeed valuable.

Here are some of my plans for week, keeping in mind that time is of essence.

1. Do three early morning workouts.
2. Prepare for a mid week interview and business meeting.
3. Prioritize pending tasks and goals.
4. Clean up my email boxes.
5. Read a new book.
6. Remember that not all can get done, and not overstress myself.
7. Sleep by 11pm daily.
8. Find time for stillness, reflection.
9. Dream big.

Best wishes in the new week, have you made your plans yet?

Peace & Serenity.

Current Listen: The Weeknd -Can't Feel My Face

Saturday, October 17, 2015

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend (30)

Quote of the day: 
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. -Malcolm Forbes

image: LiberalVideo

NFL player, DeAngelo Williams -The Pittsburgh Steelers running back, has pledged to cover the cost of 53 mammogram tests. This is to honour his mother’s age when she died of breast cancer in 2014. His non proft -The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, will make the payment to hospitals in Pittsburgh and Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to breast cancer awareness, the nonprofit promotes literacy and education.

image: IdealistCareers

One of CNN's top 10 heroes of the year, Maggie Doyne started up a charity in Nepal after visiting the country in 2006 (taking a year off before college)-on a backpacking trip around the world.  She was touched by the people she met, and used her life savings to start the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. With her nonprofit Doyne’s Blink Now Foundation she continues to fund the home, and a primary school she built which educates nearly 350 local kids.

image: ArchDaily
This forest home is by Primus Architects, and is located in Asserbo, Denmark. As seen on Archdaily, the facade is a lapped cladding in solid oak boards and treated with iron sulfate, which protects the wood and creates the weathered surface effect. 


Current Listen: John Lee Hooker -Boom Boom

Friday, October 16, 2015

11 Things That We Take For Granted Every Time

Quote of the day: 

Even the most beautiful of the stars are taken for granted night after night.
-Veronika Jensen

There's no end to the things we take for granted in life. We live carefree, get irritated easily, and on top of that, expect everything to always work. Struggle becomes extinct, appreciation takes flight like birds migrating, and the little things don't matter any longer. Thus familiarity breeds forgetfulness and indifference. Life would be more meaningful if we at least paid more attention to those things that we take for granted.

But the little things, I've come to realise matter the most. I present to you some of those 11 things that we take for granted. And there's a lot more where that came from...

1. Clean water and healthy nutritious meals -We waste a lot.

2. Having a roof over our head and living in comfort. -A warm bed is everything. 

3. Sunshine, moon and the stars, clean air, rainfall, trees.

4. No natural disasters.

5. Great health, and working bodily functions.

6. Books to read, and places of interest to visit.

7. Time. -The one thing we take for granted the most.  

8. A beautiful mind with endless possibilities.

9. Technology -Imagine if it stops working.

10. A great source of income.

11. Friendship, family, and love.

Gratitude can be rewarding. There are a variety of things to be grateful for on a daily basis -taking a pace back and acknowledging those things is the first step.

Peace & Love always*

Current Listen: Ron Carter -The Shadow of Your Smile

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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What I'm Reading Right Now (19)

Quote of the day: 
Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. 
-William S. Burroughs 

In the event that I have no book to fall back on to read, I've taken the liberty to stock up on several titles, at least to forestall any lack of reading material.

In case you've somehow missed it, I'm currently reading titles by Japanese author-Haruki Murakami, his style is melancholic and evocative, with a distinct form and structure in his narration.

image: GatheringBooks

'Dance Dance Dance', follows this same style. Although part of a trilogy, it is also a self-contained book. It follows the story of an unnamed protagonist who makes his living as a commercial writer. He is compelled to return to an hotel where he once stayed with a love interest, who has since disappeared without a trace. Experiencing dreams, he goes back to this hotel to find her, and an entire adventure ensues...

Are you reading anything worthy of note lately? Do share.


Current Listen: Ella Fitzgerald -Someone To Watch Over Me

Monday, October 12, 2015

Plans For The Week (27)

Quote of the day: 
Few men during their lifetime comes anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used. -Richard E. Byrd

The past week went by briskly, like a sudden breeze on a mild day. With it went ideas, observations. and activities -all suited to ideal moments. One highlight of the week was the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet -"for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011".

The focus is now shifted to the week ahead. New beginnings, expectations, routines and preparedness. And with the following plans, the week should be a great one. .

1. Meditate daily.
2. Prepare for an interview.
3. Take a mid week break.
4. Write 500 words for my book.
5. Improve grooming habits.
6. Workout at least twice in the week.
7. Get enough rest daily.
8. Carry an attitude of happiness around.
9. Dream Bigger.

I'm starting the week with a positive attitude. I hope you do the same. Best wishes with the week -have you made your plans yet?


Current Listen: Miles Davis -Blue In Green

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend (29)

Quote of the day: 

We talk a lot about hope, helping, and teamwork. Our whole message is that we are more powerful together. 
-Victoria Osteen 

image: GoodNewsNetwork

The homeless population in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, has reduced to the barest minimum (Pictured above-a homeless native couple). This is thanks in part to the Canadian city's new policy that mandates housing for anyone who's spent close to 2 weeks in a shelter or on the streets. It has become the first city in Canada to officially end homelessness, by adopting the “Housing First” plan, whereby homeless people are first given a place to live, before tackling the underlying causes of their homeless.

image: HuffingtonPost

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 285 million people worldwide living with low vision and blindness. A California-based organization, the Seva Foundation, has been working tirelessly for decades to eradicate this global issue, helping people in more than 20 developing countries around the world. On October 8 -World Sight Day, Seva -inspired by Sanskrit word for “service”, is celebrating by providing sight to its 4 millionth patient. 

image: ArchDaily

As seen on ArchDaily, a house in San Andrés, Santa Cruz de Flores, Peru. Designed by Estudio Rafael Freyre Architects. Located in Azpitia valley, in the coast of Lima, Peru. The house sits on a slope, at the foot of a mountain with a view to the path of the river Mala towards the sea, and facing vineyards.

Current Listen:  Naughty Boy - Runnin' (Lose It All)

Thursday, October 08, 2015

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What I'm Reading Right Now (18)

Quote of the day:
If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. -Khalil Gibran

I continue with a new book for the week which I'm reading alongside the title from the previous week. Same author -Haruki Murakami...different book.

With 'South of the Border, West of the Sun', the story weaves around an average man's life -Hajime, from early childhood to middle age. Growing up as an only child, he meets Shimamoto -also an only child, and the two bonded together for a period of time, before being separated when his family moved away.

image: Kirainet

After many years of drifting, disappointments and success -the story unfolds and builds up to a deafening crescendo. The book is typical Murakami prose, full of hidden emotions and truths, of love and friendship, reality and dreams. Its a strong story and with memorable characters.

Although a short book, its a great read so far.

What books are you reading this week, picked something out yet?


Current Listen: Amy Winehouse -Frank

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

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Poem: Kindling Dream

Quote of the day:
I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man? -Zhuangzi

image: DeviantArt/Kev-kills

I gasped as the cold winds brushed.
Against my face.
Like a painter's stroke.
On a blank canvass.

I watched leaves detach from trees.
Like thieves escaping from crime scenes.

I hear violin strings or maybe a mandolin?
I can picture the fiddlers playing with ease.

Like A.B.C.'s deep inside a symphony...
...Orchestra, two acts conjoined like Siamese.
I'm fulfilled with their striking expertise.
Its like crossing the seven seas.

I close my eyes and take it all in.
I transport back to the present.
I circumvent my emotions.
Contentment and resentment.

Calmness prevails. No more winds.
I opened my eyes to my painted thoughts.
I start afresh, I've given myself a new lease.
A blank canvas replaced with a masterpiece.

Peace. Love. Serenity*

Current Listen: Dave Brubeck -Take Five

Monday, October 05, 2015

Plans For The Week (26)

Quote of the day: 
If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges. 
-Pat Riley

One week merges into another. One dream, one idea, one thought, and a thousand and one other things alike. If I were to cast my mind back to previous week, and attempting to give a blow-by-blow account of each second, minute and hour, it may well turn out to be quite impossible.
Instead, I can remember most of my emotions, and happiness and contentment topped the list.

This week I seek more of that. I've put together my list and structure for how things will flow, so here goes.

1. Workout 3 times during the week.
2. Prepare for a volunteering event.
3. Go over my career plans.
4. Continue with my writing project.
5. Read a new book.
6. Get enough rest and sleep.
7. Remain open to new possibilities.
8. Do something new.
9. Dream big.

Here's wishing you happiness in the new week, and hope you've made your plans too.

Peace & Light.

Current Listen: The Cranberries -Salvation 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend (28)

Quote of the day:
Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs. 
-Stephen Covey 

image: Daily Telegraph

Last month, on the 28th of September, the Moon turned a shade of red in various parts of the world -a result of the Earth moving between the Sun and the Moon. According to Nasa, it is the first time in more than 30 years that the world will witness a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse, and the phenomenon occurs when the moon is full at its perigee - the closest part of its orbit around Earth -meaning it appears larger than usual in the sky.

image: HuffingtonPost

US Basketball player, John Wall of the Washington Wizards has donated over $400,000 to a charity that helps kids whose families are in shelters or transitional housing. Bright Beginnings which provides support to around 162 kids daily, is hoping to start a second child development center that would serve an additional 100 children. 

image: ArchDaily

As seen on Arch Daily's 10 most impressive houses of 2015, a house designed by Architects Olson Kundig Architects and located in Okanogan County, Washington, US.  Set in the remote Methow Valley, the house has compositions of four separate detached structures, that surrounds a central courtyard. Each structure is rotated toward the different dramatic elements in the surrounding landscape. 


Current Listen:- Al Green -Lets Stay Together

Thursday, October 01, 2015

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What I'm Reading Right Now (17)

Quote of the day: 
Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you.
-Carlos Ruiz Zafón

With all things being equal, the books that I've read should amount to about 30 by the end of the year. I am hoping for more, but that number is as feasible as it gets.

For me, its convenient to read several books by the same author over a period. Once you stumble on an author who captivates, its easier to devour book after book after that. Which is why for the week I have settled on another book by Japanese author Haruki Murakami titled 'Kafka on The Shore'. 

image: WowJPN

In his usual poetic style, Murakami excels with unusual plot lines and characters with this dual narrative. It's a story about Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home at age fifteen -under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The book is filled with parallel events and characters. Another main character, is Nakata, an elderly man who at a young age is rendered mentally defective and later develops an ability to talk to cats.

It all makes for fine and deep reading, and its enjoyable so far.

What books are you reading at the moment?

Happy October!

Current Listen: Billie Holiday -Strange Fruit