Friday, November 25, 2016

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No High Expectations


Quote of the day: 
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. 
-Khalil Gibran





I was intrigued by the very act of expectations, often ignoring the obvious, thinking I could predict expectations and intentions, often bulldozing my thoughts through every moment of life.
Have you ever felt really excited about what's to come next in life? There are many experiences that have helped shape our existence, and there will always be many more. But alas, our expectations don't always agree with reality. Our sense come alive in varying ways, we observe, and perceive, and make discoveries, and in the end we eliminate that which we feel impedes our journey.

Here are some of the things that I try to stop expecting of myself.


1. Not expecting to always be right

You can be really knowledgeable in one area or aspect of life, but do not expect to always get things right. The truth is, there will be instances where nothing will feel right, where the world will seem to crumble down around you -but then that's all part of life's experiences. I've stopped expecting to always be right about certain things in life.

2. Not expecting to find a path with no obstacles

As the saying goes, 'nothing comes easy'. I've stopped expecting things to be easy, a great reminder for those moments when things actually get tough. Its all just a process, the growth of ways and emotions, through highs and lows, a mindset that helps either way.

3. Not expecting the approval of people

My opinion matters, and so does the opinion of the next person. Therefore, I don't expect that we'd ever come to an agreement on certain things, actions and behaviors. So I agree to disagree, freeing my mind from clutter, and leaving room for understanding. Not seeking the approval of people, but living anyway.

4. Not expecting peace 

On the TV and in the news its pretty much evident with all the conflict going on, that peace will always be elusive, and things will not always be right with the world. As long as ego and distrust exists, the only saving grace is for us to practice inner peace.

5. Not expecting anything

When was the last time you found yourself expecting something that either never comes or arrives too late? Expectation that goes unfulfilled brings distress. I've learned to expect nothing, but to appreciate everything in return.

Lowering your expectations of goals, relationships, and people may be effective over time. Give more, expect less, live more, worry less.


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Elena Tonra- Took your breath away






Saturday, October 29, 2016

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What Have you Taken a Break from Lately?



Quote of the day: 
The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.
-Ralph W. Sockman






I took a break from everything, social media, blogging, and reading. I thought, I may as well distance myself from mundane life, and the comfort zone because we all know its much easier to stay within boundaries than not. I've heard stories of people quitting their day to day work to go on an adventure around the world, doing country tours, perhaps cycling across borders or climbing mountains and valleys, or volunteering thousands of miles in new territory.

Well for me, I took the more road more often traveled -a social media break among other things. I kept music by my side though. However, the mundane became unusual, important things became less important, progression occurred and still is, aroused distractions became muted, and through it all there's been an emergence -through the very simplicity of actions -of greater understanding through positive interaction of mind, body and soul.

In his book, 'The Origin of Species', Charles Darwin explores the struggle for existence notably among populations, with no beings or species specially created but all locked in a struggle for continuation, for survival. Its the first book to set me back to my reading direction, and the theme could not be more apt.

There's a greater chance of adaptation, of conversion to a wholesome life, of taking risks, of evolving -not diminishing, and of unfolding gently like the petals of an orange blossom, crushed and made into the finest tasting tea.


What have you taken a break from lately?



Peace. Love. Light* 

Image: Pexels
Book: The Origin of Species
Current Listen: What I Am - Edie Brickell





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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Poem: Orange Blossom


Quote of the day: 
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. 
-Lao Tzu 




Would you fall profoundly
Into an abyss.
Of self loathe.
And wavering while meandering.
Life is always amiss.

The rising sun is intoxicated.
Frolicking with the Ostro wind.
Joy is happiness inflated.
Love is the absence of apathy.
With nothing left to leave behind.

As the light disintegrates.
Albeit slower than usual.
And as the days become cut short by darkness.
The overbearing vestige appears to be.
Something significant, or not factored in.

Yielding, wondering (wandering) whether to interchange.
Self preservation is everything.
Mastery and complete control of the inner self and mind.
Rise and fall.
Cause and effect.
Leap of faith.



* Thanks to all who've been asking about my whereabouts. I'm very much well and living, taking stock of life and things. Peace and Love always.





Current Listen: Bon Iver -8 (Circle)





Friday, August 26, 2016

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Leave an impression that you'll be able to live with


Quote of the day: 
Experience had taught me that even the most precious memories fade with the passage of time.
-Nicholas Sparks





The other night I lay awake staring into almost pitch darkness, different shadows hiding behind curtains. It was the type of night where sleep is evasive and with no particular thought dominating my mind. I suddenly found myself awake -I tend to be more of a light sleeper who can't bear any distinct sound.

While staring into nothingness, I attempt to think of all those I've crossed paths with in life, and one thing I was quick to acknowledge is that those who left an impression on me were at the front of my imaginary line and self directed film with various actors. Cuts and edits, acts and frames, abstracts and 3-D visions. I recollect moments and events, most obscured due to the passage of time but its they made me feel that lingers on. From the teacher who believed in my abilities, to authentic friends who journeyed with me through thick and thin, and not to forget selfless and hardworking parents who went over and beyond to be supportive. The list is of course vast, and also includes individuals who work tirelessly to help shape the world into a much better place.

This got me thinking about making lasting impressions in life and being a positive influence to people. I always believe that showing kindness to everyone is one way to leave an impression -it shows a great deal of respect, and happiness which is usually contagious in more ways that we can ever imagine.

One day you will just be a memory to someone. Would you rather be a good or a bad one? Right now you are making the memories that you will have to live with later. Live, love, learn and repeat.

So the next time you are unable to sleep, reach into your memory store and reflect.


 Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Frank Ocean -Strawberry String (Cover)








Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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Summer's End / 5 Thoughts on the Rio Olympics


Quote of the day: 

As we grow in awareness, our fear of loss, not having enough or being insufficient matures into love of giving, sharing and collaboration. -Joseph Rain



This past week has seen more cloudy than sunny days, coupled with windswept streets -serving as a great reminder that summer is nearing its end. For me the greatest thing about August so far is the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. It has turned out to be an exciting and worthwhile distraction with more events than ever, and more competitors and countries represented -and finding myself watching sporting events that I would otherwise not follow. I'm talking about sports such as Women's Beach Volleyball, Swimming, Gymnastics, Canoe Slalom, Judo, Handball, Archery and a few others.


Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty

However, as the curtains come down on this great event it can be said that lessons can be learned from from the Olympians, who all share in the Olympic spirit. I'd say the peak of physical performance, the coaching and preparation for the event, the challenges faced, forging new friendships that shape the world -these elements and much more are some lessons to learned.

5 Thoughts on the Olympics:

1. You can achieve anything you set your mind to do -with necessary help from those that matter.

2. When you lose, it doesn't mean the end of the world. You can come back strong.

3. People will sometimes question your achievements because they cannot understand the work you had to put in, and sacrifices you had to make.

4. Achieving goals, planning for the future, perfecting your skills, and staying focused will always yield rewards in the end.

5. There will always be someone out there with more skills, hunger and drive than you. Sometimes working almost twice as hard will suffice.


Have a successful week ahead.


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Coldplay - Sparks



Thursday, August 11, 2016

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Taking Stock of Life & Things including 7 Lessons Learned So Far


Quote of the day: 
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. 
-J.R.R. Tolkien






Happy August dear reader. Thanks for the great comments on my last post, and who knows a part two may just be in the offing. One thing I'd like for sure is to be able to travel more, see more of this beautiful world we live in, and learn about new things relating to people, culture, and environment. That being said, while away on my self imposed hiatus, from blogging, I took the opportunity to glance at my goals for 2016, my attempt to accomplish each one so far, my failings and successes, and my outlook for the coming months. I took stock of things, like when you check your supplies at home before going grocery shopping -is the ketchup low enough to warrant buying a new one? Not a great analogy, but you get the picture.


What I've learned so far

1. Although its good to make lofty goals -actually following through is the hardest part.

2. The bigger the goal, the more work and research that is required.

3. The inevitable may occur.

4. Plans may have to be modified at the last minute.

5. Taking stock is necessary, it helps to be aware of the true position of things.

6. Don't do anything you feel uncomfortable doing.

7. Nothing is impossible.

So, when was the last time you truly examined your life, thoughts and goals? We all want to be happy. And even more so, we want the people we love to be happy too. It then makes sense to pause at some point, to focus on the more important things that get us through each day -the moments, friends, family, and dreams. Those things that we hold dear, and which translates into having a more meaningful and purpose filled life -those are the things we should value the most.


Have a purpose filled week!

Peace. Love. Light*

Current Listen : Bon Iver -I Can't Make You Love Me (David Keller Remix) 
Free Image Link: Pexels


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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3 Places to Visit in England, and No London Is Not on the List! #1




Quote of the day: 
Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing. 
-Paulo Coelho



Tell someone you are travelling England, and their first thought will be: London. Being such a cosmopolitan city and one of the most famous in the world, its not hard to see why visitors would prefer to visit the city known for its landmarks.  But when you do visit, and after taking in the sights there are other beautiful areas of the country that hold vast beauty and landscape.

Below are a list of 3 places -out of many, in England that will prove to be worth the effort in visiting.


1. Exmouth, Devon 

image: Devonguide

Exmouth is a picturesque port town and sea side resort situated in the county of Devon, South West England. Surrounded by the Devon countryside, Exmouth is a bustling town offering a wide array of things to do, from wining and dining to entertaining things like bowling and water sports -which it is famous for. The air is clean and its got 2 miles of sandy beach. Not bad for a small town. Exmouth is over 3 hours from London.


2. Brighton 


image: Bhmpics

Brighton is said to be the most vibrant seaside resort in England and has been voted as one of the top 10 cities with brilliant beaches. A seaside resort, Brighton is the largest part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, south east England. There are numerous attractions including the Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion, and the Brighton Marina -said to be the largest man made Marina in Europe when built. It is has also long been considered as the the UK's gay capital. Brighton is about an hour from London.


3. Cambridge

image: Imperialinnovations

Cambridge is a small but beautiful city worth visiting. It is the county town of Cambridgeshire, situated on the river cam, in the East Anglia area of England. A city famous for its scientists and universities, one of which is among the best in the world. Its historic town center can only be visited by foot, as no cars are allowed. Its greater to explore by foot as its a relatively compact city -famous also for being the cycling capital of the UK (one in four residents cycle to work) and one of the safest places to cycle in the country. Things to do include: checking out its great and majestic architecture, colleges, museums, shops and cafes, going punting on the river cam, and the Cambridge University Botanical Garden. Cambridge is less than an hour away from London.

As with all things, this is only a small list of places I've been to, and I may compile another travel list soon. Have you got any favourite places you've visited in England, or planning to visit? Do share in the comments below.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Moby -Everloving






Monday, July 04, 2016

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Book of the Day/ The Castle by Franz Kafka -short review


Quote of the day: 
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. -Mary Oliver


The Castle is a classic by Franz Kafka. I must admit that this is only the second book by the Prague born author, and German language writer of short stories, novels and the like- that I have read. Often hailed as one of the most important authors of the twentieth century, Kafka has mass appeal and his works gained much more fame after his death. The Castle is one of his most famous writings.


image: Amazon

Its an obscure and narrative tale about a land surveyor who believes he's been contracted to be a land survey in a town that is filled with varying characters, and a castle where the town seems to be governed from. There are high ranking officials, administrators and all sorts of bureaucracy and from the moment the land surveyor, known as 'K', arrives in the village, the events that play is a constant struggle for acceptance from such elusive powers who run the castle, leaving him with barely no contact with the department who hired him .

He searches for the reason for his non acceptance, and that forms the basis for the book. He is not accepted and yet cannot return to where he has come from. It is a long read, and if you enjoy Kafka's writing you will find 'The Castle', a worthy companion in times of solitude.

So what book(s) are you currently reading? Happy July!


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: U2 -With or Without You



Friday, July 01, 2016

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I went Offline for 16 Days and this Is What I've Learned (6 Things)


Quote of the day: 

I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun. 
-Suzanne Collins





You've probably felt the need to stay away from the internet at some point. Without having to check for those things that you are used to (insert favourite social media platform here), but gravitating away from them even for a few days can turn out to be a struggle. I should know, as I've been mostly offline for since my last blog post over two weeks ago. This purge was indeed needed - a time for mental and physical reflection, incense burning, detox, and a host of other names to call it.

Now, getting back into the real world, into the mix of things, what I've learned can be summed up easily as the following:


1. It Is Perfectly okay to Break Away: 
If you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, and feel an overload while being online, there's nothing wrong with admitting that you need some time offline before you burnout. Its not like the while internet will stop working if you don't visit. Life will go on, events will keep happening and most people may not even notice your absence.

2. Do Something Worthwhile
Being offline has its perks like doing things with your hands, meeting people for face to face conversations, and actually having a proper conversation without having to check your phone every 5 minutes.

3. Get Some Rest
Hours spent online can be used for other things, like relaxation, and going to be on time, waking up on time and basically just having a great day with limited internet access for emails and updates.

4. Spend time Outdoors
Go out, enjoy the weather, soak up in the sun whenever its out and just be grateful for nature all around you. Touch leaves, smell the flowers and breathe in the clean air.

5. Read a Book
What better time to read than when your are offline. So get a book, one that you can get lost in, read the chapters, immerse yourself fully into the story till you get to the end. Get a new book and repeat.

6. Things Change each Minute
No matter what everything will change either-way -online or offline. Events will happen, seasons will change, there will be moments of laughter and sadness, and so on. The point is to live your life regardless. Savor each precious time you have, do the things you enjoy the most, with the people who matter the most.

The bottom line is this: take small breaks away from the internet, notice the things around you that you've taken for granted, and lastly be quick to adapt to changes in your real life as you would with technology.


Peace. Love. Light* 


Free Image via: Pexels Current Listen: Jamiroquai - Seven Days In Sunny June


Saturday, June 11, 2016

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #50


Quote of the day: 
If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets. -Haruki Murakami


Where does inspiration to spread love and happiness come from? A good answer may be derived from the stories that are shared below.



Photo of Philip Sossou behind some of his charcoal portrait sketches
Photo of Philip Sossou behind some of his charcoal portrait sketches /Image: NEWSCODEX

The first is of 18-year old Philip Soussou. As all 411 seniors at Boston Latin School in the US arrived for their final day of classes they stumbled on portraits of themselves along the corridors.
Philip sketched self portraits of his entire class as a parting gift, using charcoal and worked on the project sometimes late into the evening. He worked on it everyday for four months and although he didn't know each student personally, he got names from the school registry and used Facebook and sometimes his phone camera to take photos without giving anything away.


Owen who has brain damage and his support dog, Blue /Image: Facebook/Lowes

American home improvement and retail store Lowe's presented two of its newest hires on social media, Owen and his service dog named blue, both employed to greet customers at their new store in North Regina, Saskatchewan. A message on the store's twitter page goes, “Our recent hire couldn’t find a job due to brain injury & a support dog. So meet Blue, our customer service canine!”.



As seen on Arch Daily, 'Valeria House', by architects Luciano Kruk, María Victoria Besonías. Located in Valeria del Mar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its great design is simplistic, 'It is ground in a new development, with lush vegetation and crossed by tall dunes'.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Kygo -Firestone








Friday, June 10, 2016

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How to Identify and Control Comment Spam on Your Blog Posts: #1



Quote of the day: 
A nightingale does not stop singing its beautiful song at the intrusion of an annoying woodpecker. -Suzy Kassem


After having spent half an hour sifting through an old blog post, which for some reason is popular with spammers, I couldn't help but be left wondering how devastating these individuals can be. Don't get me wrong I am used to receiving spam in the comments section -as if those that appear in my email aren't enough, and of course with Blogger.com being owned by Google, it should leave little room for spammers having a field day no? Wrong. It gets worse. Asides from bombarding your blog or website with irrelevant comments, they also leave lots of dubious links.

I've read many bloggers complain about the spamming issue -at the last count I've had to delete dozens of such comments from numerous posts. Some blog owners prefer to moderate comments before they appear live on their blogs and I can't blame them, as I've thought of doing the same especially when things get to a frustrating level.



A screen capture from an old post showing spam messages


Why Worry about Spam ?

Spammers are like party crashers who basically invite themselves to a party they are not invited to. They come bearing goodwill, and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Unfortunately, there is no remote control to block them completely. I'm unsure about Wordpress or other blog platforms, but with Blogger, Google does recommend reporting any offending website and I've seen some blog profiles deleted in that regard.

Although spamming appears to be a never ending battle between good and evil, as these spammers will stop at nothing to enrich themselves, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce their frequency.

1. Check the spam folder (Blogger)

Spam folder view on Blogger
A snippet of the Spam folder view on Blogger

If you are on Blogger, you can keep an eye on your spam folder -as you can see from the image above, mine stood at over 400 spam messages from both new and old posts. In this way Google helps filter out spam from appearing on the blog, but its not 100% effective as some still find their way -which will have to be deleted manually. Its also good to look at this folder to make sure genuine comments are not being flagged. One of the reasons I have chosen not to turn to moderating comments is due to this spam detection tool.


2. Report Spam
As I said above, you can report any inappropriate and offending URL links via Google's Blogger support page. Asides security, these spammers prevent genuine visitors from easily accessing your blog or website as they slow it down with all the irrelevant visits and links. No one should have to put up with that.

If you are on Wordpress, you may want to have a look at their 'Combating Comment Spam' page

3. Moderate Comments

You can manage who can comment on your blog, and in effect the type of comments that readers can leave. This also includes Google + comments. In case you are wondering how, this Blogger help guide talks about how to go about managing and moderating comments on your blog.

4. Show Word Verification
Another tool that can be turned on is the modern word verification which is popular on most blogs, Its simple, and I think user friendly.

reCAPTCHA










It is known as reCAPTCHA and according to Google it 'protects your website from spam and abuse while letting real people pass through with ease'.

In conclusion, spammers will never go away and the best option for us is to fight back as much as possible. Its enough to ask what's wrong with the internet? and although this post focuses mostly on Blogger, there are online resources and tools that you can use to manage your blog, or website against spammers.

Do you have a problem with spam on your blog? How do you deal with the frustration and what tools if any do you utilize?


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Gnarls Barkley -Crazy



Tuesday, June 07, 2016

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Art | 'Everything by my Side' Installation along the Thames, By Argentinian Artist Fernando Rubio


Quote of the day: 
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. 
-Edgar Allan Poe


Over the weekend I caught this display by Argentinian artist, Fernando Rubio along the banks of the River Thames, in collaboration with LIFT festival. Titled 'Everything by my Side', it involves beds, actors and stories and is said to be a dreamlike installation from Rubio -who is a playwright, actor writer and visual artist.


Fernando Rubio at Southbank
Fernando Rubio's 'Everything by my side' puts an actress and one member of the public in each of seven beds along the banks of the River Thames


On the website it says: 'For 15 intimate minutes, this ‘dreamy piece of pillow-talk’ (NY Times) invites you to take off your shoes, lie down and listen to a long lost childhood memory whispered to you from across the covers – a deeply personal encounter in the middle of a busy festival.'

According to Rubio, with the installation, each 15-minute performance calls for the audience to 'respond with silence and an open mind to the challenging ideas and forms being used'.

LIFT works to build stronger relationships with artists from all over the world and the LIFT festival is a biennial event from June 1 to July 1, with work happening all over the city from the Barbican to historic music hall. With LIFT its all about bringing global stories to London, something they've done for over 35 years presenting various shows and events while partnering with the city's major arts venues, theatres and galleries, as well as numerous hidden spaces and areas across the city.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: James Bay -Scars



Sunday, June 05, 2016

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Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali, 'The Greatest', Passes On Aged 74


Quote of the day: 
I'm the greatest thing that ever lived! I'm the king of the world! I'm a bad man. I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived. 
-Muhammad Ali



Image: Source

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, has passed on at the age of 74 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Born in 1942, Ali was a three-time-heavyweight boxing champion who proclaimed himself 'The Greatest'.

His dedicated website best describes him:

Muhammad Ali is responsible for some of the most legendary moments in the ring. His incomparable work ethic, revolutionary techniques, and fearlessness towards standing up for his beliefs, all contribute to the legend that is Muhammad Ali. 


Growing up he was one of those people that always seemed larger than life. The mere mention of his name brought awe and admiration. If not the greatest fighter that ever was. A champion in his own right. Confident as an eagle, up-beat and self assured. A beacon of hope who not only fought inside the ring, but also outside the ring for causes close to his heart.

Tributes from his former colleagues, George Foreman -who fought Ali in the famous 'Rumble in the Jungle' fight of 1984, Frank Bruno, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, among others.









Ali is flying like a butterfly now...even though his loss is like the sting of a bee.


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Mariah Carey -Hero


Friday, June 03, 2016

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #49


Quote of the day: 
If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy 



Following on from previous weeks there is an abundance of inspiration existing all around us -like the story of Jerry Pollard from the last inspiration post. We see it occur everyday, we sense it and can almost touch and feel it. And despite the different things we can get inspired by individually, there is a common theme there -one of happiness and elation, of joy and sensibility. Inspiration comes from everything around us, from the sun shining and the leaves falling. However we shouldn't overlook the small things in life which we could draw influence from.

*


Croatian artist, Lonac

As seen on reddit, a piece of graffiti artwork titled 'HeArtbeats' by Croatian artist Lonac, best known for his photo-realistic murals. He is influenced by skateboard culture, music, movies and more. Although most of his work is carried out in Zagreb, he's painted walls in the U.K also.



Chris Koch

Chris Koch, 37, born without limbs, finishing the Calgary Marathon on a longboard he uses to get around. And although Koch has completed shorter races, the Marathon was his first full race, and it left most spectators emotional -most especially his family who were there to support him.



New House, Little England Farm as seen on ArchDaily. Creatively 'designed to relate to the surrounding landscape in a number of ways' by BBM Sustainable Architects Ltd, and located in Uckfield, East Sussex, UK.



Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Sia -Footprints


Thursday, June 02, 2016

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Book of the Day/ The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare -short review


Quote of the day: 
Virtue is a positive quality developed by taking a firm stand for the right in temptation, or by the suffering endured in consequence of wrongdoing. 
-Max Heindel 




image: bol.com


One of Sun Tzu's sayings about conflict goes thus: The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.  Much of the story in this book explores the effect of war and its psychological effects on a nation. The Fall of the Stone City, a book written by Albanian novelist and poet Ismail Kadare is just about right for quick reading at just 168 pages.

It explores how the townsfolk of Gjirokastër in Albania with their values and culture go about their daily lives, most of it spent speculating about two doctors in their town who are held in high esteem. Imbued with metaphors and sometimes comical narration, Kadare weaves a believable tale and one can't help but be left with a certain affection for the characters.

The novel starts around the year of 1943 and the highlight of it is the arrival of German tanks entering the town with no single shot fired, only to be taken over later by communists after their departure. In the course of the invasion, one of the doctor will help to shape how the rest of the story evolves.

It is a brilliant novel by Kadare, but the book leaves so many unanswered questions and maybe it was done so as to leave the reader with some pondering to do. However, I do look forward to reading more of Kadare's books.

I'm still on track with my goal of reading at least 5 books each month, as was the case last month. You can view my book reading list for May 2016.

What books are you currently reading? Do feel free to recommend in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by.




Other books I'm reading this month: 



George Orwell -Keep the Aspidistra Flying



Kazuo Ishiguro -The Unconsoled 



Franz Kafka -The Castle



William Wordsworth -Selected Poems




Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Foster The People - Pumped up Kicks







Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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The Idea Behind Book Exchange Schemes


Quote of the day: 
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. 
-Christopher McCandless




Westbury Book Exchange
image: LondonService.com


If you are a book lover you are bound to always be on the lookout for them everywhere you go. A bookstore here, a library there, online, and in book markets selling second hand books. One thing that's great to see is local book crossing initiatives and schemes that tend to encourage people to take or donate books in specified public spaces like train and bus stations, parks, libraries, and so on.

Book crossing is a term often used to describe the practice of leaving a book or more in a public location to be picked up and read by people who also do likewise -leaving reading materials has always been a way for bibliophiles to connect, while also serving as an outlet for new readers to discover authors and not running out of books to read. The idea behind book crossing was conceived by Ron Hornbaker in 2001, he developed it into bookcrossing.com, a website that encourages readers to read, register and release books for others to enjoy -and which today has more than a million members, with millions of books travelling through over 100 countries.

Of course there are many other schemes involving books and reading, especially for kids as its always a great idea to start them early. But the general idea behind any initiative is the transfer of knowledge, basically encouraging people to pick up a book to read, to give back and connect with others while doing so. A good example of this can be found in the Somerset village of Westbury. With the Westbury Book Exchange (pictured above, and touted to be Britain's smallest library), the local residents set up the structure -an old unused phone booth, donating materials from cooking books to classics -they found an unusual way to cope with the shortage of libraries in their area. Isn't that what life is about? Finding solutions to problems and having fun while doing so.

What do you think of the book crossing initiative? Have you come across any book schemes in your current location? Do share in the comments.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Coldplay - Up & Up



Monday, May 30, 2016

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5 Steps to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking


Quote of the day: 
Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous. -Zhuangzi





image: Edcast.org



Public speaking anxiety will certainly rank high in most people's list of their greatest fears. At least on mine it does. However, this fear of speaking is to a lesser extent diminished today than say in previous years. Its like the fear of public speaking affects us all. For me, it is a recurring fear but the good thing is that I'm a lot better now at presenting, after undergraduate and more recently graduate studies -where making presentations was part of coursework and assignments to broaden knowledge and enhance confidence and skills.

But you see, the thing with public speaking is, its scary when you try it out the first time -as it is with all things in life it seems. That first time can be a nightmare and can lead to what eventually opens up your inner confidence while relegating fear to the background -because truth be told it is this fear of hearing your own voice, of standing in front of familiar faces and strangers alike, of attempting to recall your points while standing behind a projected screen, not to speak of breaking out in a sweat and having butterflies in your stomach -you could either fail at it or be a success at first trial.

So whether you are speaking in front of just a few people or dozens or thousands, or even being at an interview, public speaking isn't as easy as it looks and it involves lots of preparation. Some of the things I've learned for effective public speaking include:

1. Prepare in Advance: Go over your notes and slides up to a day before at least, and be sure to break things down into easy to understand points. One trick I use it to imagine myself speaking to little kids -where things have to be kept simple for easy understanding.

2. Dress the Part: You want to look the part when you get up there for your presentation. Being as presentable as possible is always a nice touch whether its a talk or an interview, it projects confidence.

3. Don't use Jargon: Its best to keeping things simple and not use too much jargon -even if its a tech presentation there will be people in the audience who have no clue about the terms being used. So its best to just keep it simple by not using too many technical terms.

4. Its Okay to move Around: Being expressive with your hands, moving around, making eye contact with the audience, and projecting a confident voice all help to make for a great presentation.

5. Don't Speak too Fast: Its great to practice beforehand, practice speaking in front of the mirror and maintain a stable level of speaking -not too fast or too slow, just enough for people to fully grasp your presentation without having to strain their ears.

As with all things, practice makes perfect. The very thought of public speaking can be a nightmare at first, but it shouldn't be a lasting one. What do you do to prep for a presentation? Are you good at it, and what ideas can you share for those just starting out?



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Lira -Let There Be Light







Sunday, May 29, 2016

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5 Travel Essentials for a Weekend Trip (Or any Trip)


Quote of the day: 
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. -Confucius 




 


The hardest part about going on a trip is figuring out what to carry along. But notwithstanding, Who doesn't love a nice holiday away from everyday life and stress. It may not be a long holiday like some may yearn for all the time, but instead a mini trip outside one's vicinity. I find mini vacations not only refreshing but also informative. They are mini vacations because they only take up a couple of days as against a long vacation planned for say a few weeks or even months.

Having said that it all comes down to what to take on such a short weekend trip of say 3-5 days that extends over the weekend. Asides the location and booking where to lay your head down, packing has to be as practical as possible. Here are a few essentials to have with you on such a trip.

Little notebook and Pen. Ideal for moments when you have to take notes, directions or just simply write down addresses and numbers.

Chargers. If you are travelling you want to make sure to have the right device chargers, and adopters-especially if going to a new country.

Books. There's nothing like a nice book to read on your journey, so take one along to make the journey more comfortable.

Sunshades. If you are going somewhere sunny you need to take along a sunshade and
A small bag-check,

Headphones. What better way to listen to your playlist during your journey than with great noise cancelling headphones.


Peace. Love. Light*




Current Listen: D'Angelo and The Vanguard - Ain't That Easy





Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Poem: The Onus of Love


Quote of the day: 
Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can't get any better, it can. -Nicholas Sparks




image: ineedchemicalx.deviantart.com


Why won't you run as fast as your legs allow.
Why won't you fly with your imaginary wings.
Why won't you rise without pruning your dreams.
Why won't you practice silence and not wonder out loud.

What if you were right all along.
What if you danced like no one was watching.
What if your life was a vivacious song.
What if you loved like it was the first time of talking.

Where is the glimmer in your subdued eyes.
Where is hope and its unfathomable guise.
Where is decency and its hiding place.
Where is the fondness left to retrace.



Peace. Love. Light* 




Current Listen: The Kooks -Naive






Monday, May 23, 2016

Being an Early Riser And Why Its Beneficial


Quote of the day: 
Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. -Arthur Schopenhauer



Our feet placed on the ground on earth becomes heavier with each passing day. It is said that there is nothing new under the sun. Today's new fad in time becomes trapped in the old walkways of the past. And as we walk -a once beautiful thing that we used to do so effortlessly which then turns into hardship, a burden carried on weakened shoulders. Time is relative or constant whichever way one chooses to view it. A perpetual tunnel without end and devoid of sentiment. Get too attached to it, it surprises you, ignore it and it leaves you in the dust. When the sun comes up it does so without self consciousness. It's presence is always a constant, even behind intimidating clouds. Some believe waking up before the sun places one in tune with its core rhythm. Such that when it does eventually appear on the horizon, all things will work in perfect symphony to perfect one's day and dreams. The whispers of approval from the wind would seem to support this thought.

For the duration of the coming week I shall practice getting up before the sun, just like old times. And just because everything is quieter at that period. No car honks, general noise, less traffic on the roads, less everything basically. More enhanced thoughts, more reserved poise, more writing to get done hopefully. Of course, this is not to say that there exists a lack of creativity during the day, that is far from it. Its just being in that space where time seems frozen, and where all things seem less magnified than my thoughts.

So here are a few thoughts on why being an early riser works.

It's a win-win situation. You not only get to get up early but also have the chance to plot your day, set goals and just organize your day in general. Where are you going to be, what are you going to wear, what's for breakfast? With all that out of the way, you can get around to meditating, and also reading.

You Become Alert. There's just something about being awake in the early rounds of the morning, with a greater part of the populace asleep, it can be exciting, to brood and think clearly, to allow the silence around wrap itself close to your beating heart and mind. This same alertness gets spread over the day and its a positive feeling.

Become More Proactive. You become better at managing time and situations, while having loads of energy to go about achieving things and solving problems. With a good night's sleep, you wake up refreshed and enthusiastic about the new day upon you.

Research Says Yes to Waking Early. Several research work carried out in the past all seemingly point to the fact that early risers tend to be more successful in the business world, and are great at being creative and anticipating problems.

In conclusion, everyone is not cut out the same. Some people are early risers and some are not. The important thing is to find the perfect time to negotiate one's quite time.


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Tango With Lions -In a Bar

Thursday, May 19, 2016

There are 3 Types of People In the World


Quote of the day:
Seek not greatness, but seek truth and you will find both. -Horace Mann



I believe that there exists three types of people in the world. The first set of people go about their lives on a high, with a can-do character (well lets just call them the 'can-doers'), and with a certain way of dealing with issues as they arise. If something were to go wrong for instance, with the can-do attitude as an enabler, it increases their ability to achieve success. They have a certain quality about them which often translates into positive actions.  

Now, the second set of people have little character to go along. Lets call them the 'disrupters'. They find it difficult to grasp things as they occur with no clear cut way of dealing with issues around them. They can get loud when making a point, and they often derive pleasure in pointing fingers, issuing blame when cornered, and oblivious to taking responsibility for their actions.

The last set of people are the hybrid group, a combination of the 'can-doers', and the 'disrupters'. They know when to be in character and adapt to changing scenarios and plots. This crossbreed is of course fascinating as it embraces the uniqueness from the other two sets.

Although most modern day psychologists -of which I am not one, agree that there are five types of people in the world, I have made up my own list and chosen not to delve too deeply, as its all just deductions from my every day life and experiences.

So which one are you?


Peace. Love. Light*



Current Listen: Bob Marley -Three Little Birds



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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What's Wrong With the Internet?


Quote of the day: 
I want the entire smartphone, the entire Internet, on my wrist. -Steve Wozniak



image: DeviantArt/JaySimmons


The internet is a weird place. Its dark and gloomy, filled with pop up ads, but yet with occasions of brilliance and magic. Dark tunnels with unending depth, dark alleys with no light, spiders with cobwebs,  and dangerous life changing actions. If the internet was a physical place it'd be one hell of a place to visit. Comedian, Dave Chapelle's sketch 'If The Inernet Was a Real Place', which by the way he did years ago, perhaps still captures modern day sentiments about the internet.

In the same breath, the internet is a beautiful place, with rainbow skies, fluffy marshmallow like clouds, and golden reflections bouncing across concrete streets lined with flowers and enchanting trees, so beautiful to gaze upon.

But what if the internet was a real person. Would it be male or female? Old or young? This would certainly be a very intelligent individual, smart in every sense of the way. Much more like Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock Holmes, or say Mike Ross from hit TV series 'Suits'.

The internet has its good sides -access to information and resources, entertainment, E-commerce, communication and a host of other advantages which basically makes life easier in every imaginable way. As with all things, something good can be used in a not so good way. And the bad aspect of the internet -Spam mails and malware, bullying, hacking, age-inappropriate content, misinformation, and addiction just to name a few.

What are your thoughts on this modern stage of the internet. Do you feel the internet needs more policing or less? Is it a good or bad place? If the internet was a real person, how would you describe him/her?


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Hans Zimmer -Time




Saturday, May 14, 2016

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #48



Quote of the day: 
No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. -Maya Angelou



84 year old, Jerry Pollard
image: Twitter

Jerry Pollard, 84, graduated from Northeastern Illinois University becoming the oldest student ever to graduate from the school in 55 years, while also earning the prestigious summa cum laude distinction. 



Southbank book market
image: Blogoratti

Said to be one of London's best kept secrets, a secondhand and antiques book market with a wide selection of paperbacks and hardcover books on display. The Southbank Book Market is open all year round.



Cocoon House, Vietnam, as seen on Arch Daily

Cocoon House as seen on Arch Daily
Architects: Landmark Architecture
Location: Vietnam



Peace. Love. Light* 




Current Listen: Pharell Williams -Freedom






Thursday, May 12, 2016

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What I'm Reading Right Now #40



Quote of the day: 
If you shut up truth, and bury it underground, it will but grow. -Emile Zola 



Its not often that I read a book centered around cryptography -writing and breaking codes, so coming across this particular book proved specially intriguing. The writer is Chinese author, Mai Jia, who has managed to conjure quite a compelling and breathtaking story, and in reviews he is said to have created a unique genre that combines meta-fiction, with code-breaking and historical contexts.


image: Amazon


The book is titled 'Decoded', and it is Mai's debut novel, though not a detailed spy thriller it has its highs and lows. The story is historical and revolves around Rong Jinzhwen, from a family of outstanding academics. His mental abilities abound for the most part of the book, discovered as a genius from a young age, one does not really get a sense of the main character even till the very end, as the story delves into historical abstractions, hidden contexts, manipulations and selfless love.

It is an unusual read and may prove to be a hard one to put down once started.

What are you currently reading? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
  





Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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Life Is Like A Ferris Wheel


Quote of the day: 
The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment. 
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge








Life is like a Ferris wheel -a rotating non building structure built to carry multiple passengers in capsules, filled with highs and lows. But in the end its how we deal with it all that truly matters. Its all nice and easy when we are at the top, when we are at a good place in life, with a great view of the world and everything inside it working in our favour. And at this stage what else is there to do but to appreciate the moment, take it all in and be grateful for the highs.

However, like the Ferris wheel, what goes up must eventually come crashing down at some point. Welcome to the life, to the highs and lows. The lows can be terrible, where once you had a good view of the world, all that would be left to view would be nothing but lost hope and regret that feels unending. We transition between these highs and lows. One minute you are on  top, the next you find yourself at the bottom. There is nothing else to do but to deal with each moment as it comes. To enjoy the ride no matter what, and to keep dreaming as each day looms. Our existence, our thoughts, actions, relationships are all interconnected in more ways than we think. And like the Ferris wheel life can move pretty fast, enough to get left behind...

What you can take away from it all is that: 

1. Ups and downs happen to each and every one of us.
2. No matter how high and mighty one gets, there will be a day when it will cease to be.
3. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step at a time.
4. Everything that has a beginning usually has an ending.
5. Enjoy each moment in life, make it all count.


Happy Mother's day to the folks in the US and elsewhere. 
Have a wonderful week! 


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: James Bay -Get Out While You Can


Saturday, May 07, 2016

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #47


Quote of the day: 
Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive. -Matt Cameron




image: Harvey Nichols


Majorie Gilbert, a 100yr old grandmother from Aberdare, Wales modeling for Harvey Nichols in the May Issue of the British Vogue, to celebrate 100years of the magazine -making her the Vogue's first centenarian.  



image: Greg Smith/Facebook

A Florida Salesman, Greg Smith was moved by the plight of homeless woman, Amy Jo, who he passed on his way to work daily, and after buying her lunch one day learned that she was unable to really read. Ever since, renting out library books he meets with her weekly to teach her to read.




H House as seen on Arch Daily
Architects: VACO Design
Location: Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam



Peace. Love. Light* 





Current Listen: Ruth B -Golden




Thursday, May 05, 2016

New Ways of Thinking About Thinking


Quote of the day:

The mind ought sometimes to be diverted that it may return to better thinking. 
-Phaedrus 


I sometimes ponder on how far man can go intellectually. Through the ancient times stories abound of destructive tendencies, of ideologies and upheavals. The prominence of new ideas and new thinking has led us to this point in our modern life.

Improvement, progression and creation –synonyms that reflect our modernity and as with all things the inverse of all these include destruction, waste and disorganization. As it was in ancient history, with the rise and fall of dynasties, empires and kingdoms, so it is today with trade barriers, conflicts and financial ruin afflicting people and nations. There is nothing new under the sun. 

Protagoras, a great Greek thinker, said that ‘man is a measure of all things.’ It can be said that at some juncture in life the struggle to make meaning of both the old and new will materialize. Call it revival, reawakening or renaissance –there is a fire burning and ignited by those who see opportunities instead of challenges and who remind us never to tire pursuing new ways of thinking. Or more to the point a new way of thinking about thinking. Surely, individuals and societies that advocate for positive, creative new approaches to old ways of doing things–for example solving global problems. must be taken seriously, be it academics, leaders, governmental and non-governmental organizations and so on. 

We should not be afraid to think independently, for the greater good.

Our eyes may be used to the darkness but when the light eventually arrives in a convoy of reflections, we should not resist this new found attention. Instead with each new light that arrives we must think about what a great time it is to be alive. 


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Kodaline - High Hopes







Tuesday, May 03, 2016

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Book Reading List #4


Quote of the day:
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. 
-Rabindranath Tagore 





My book reading for the month of May consists of the following:

Mario Vaga Llosa -The Discreet Hero
Mai Jia -Decoded
Ali Smith -The Accidental
Jeffrey Archer -Cometh the Hour

What books are you reading or planning to read during the entire month? Please share in the comments. Have a wonderful week!


Peace. Love. Light*



Current Listen: Hozier -Whole Lotta Love



Monday, May 02, 2016

Plans For The Week #47


Quote of the day: 
I'm in a great place because I've gone full circle. -Grace Lee Whitney


Waking up to a bright and sunny day, bursts of sunshine crowding in through the window. And there is only one thought -what a time to be alive. As it is with each new month there comes a sense of self appreciation or more precisely self assessment. Its like walking and stopping to look back at the footprints -if any, left behind not just by yourself but by an infinite numbers of individuals who have walked the very same path. A lot can happen in a month, a week, a day, an hour...it is how we chose to make sense of everything around us that will determine the final outcome of life.

Here are some of my plans for the week.

Plans

1. Start over

Although, there are a few things that have not yet gone according to plan, I am at a certain place where coming to terms with reality is the only option. Therefore there exists a willingness to start all over, from the beginning, learning from mistakes and such, while also not being afraid to learn new ways of doing old things. Re-evaluate and rethink.

2. Take things Easy

I've learned that although worrying about certain things may help to keep things in focus, over-worrying most certainly never helps and only leads to anxiety problems. It can be difficult to not over step the boundaries which lead to loss in productivity, so I plan to take things easy from now on.

3. Blog More Often

Daily blogging can either be a hit or miss. But I'd like the ability to post daily, and not make excuses about having nothing to blog about during certain periods or more the inability to dedicate time to seeing it through. And if blogging daily is unattainable, then at least five times a week will suffice.

4. Be a Better Version of Myself

There is always room for needed improvement and I keep learning to always be a better version of myself today than the days gone past. Becoming a better human being should always be a life long goal. Becoming a better person often translates to other aspects of life and touches others too. I hope to keep improving daily.

5. Maintain Good Personal Hygiene 

Good hygiene is very important and often translates to all aspects of every day life from personal to social and psychological effects. Proper grooming, always being well presented, and having a great positive image, eating well and working out is my top priority.

6. Step out of My Comfort Zone

I'd like to be able to try out new things that I wouldn't ordinarily do, interact with those that I wouldn't usually relate with, try out food that I'm not used to, and a host of other -To do's.

7. Never Stop Dreaming

Dream and dream and dream. And never stop trying, putting in effort, which in turn nourishes the heart and mind and soul.



Here's wishing you a happy new month, filled with blessings and opportunities.


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Bon Iver -Woods


Friday, April 29, 2016

3 Places to Find Peace & Calm


Quote of the day: 
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. -Saint Francis de Sales



1. A Quiet Beach 

Have you ever watched waves crashing onto the shore? Yes? But have you watched it at past midnight? I have. With no cloud in sight, with fine brown sand caressing your toes, air so crisp you could taste it with an outstretched tongue, with a full moon gently embracing the surface, and a full heart brimming with a thousand thoughts seeking calm and clarity. Of distant vessels and shimmering lights, and with each rise and fall of the tide, imagining the happenings in life up to that very moment. Picturing every detail and immersing fully into nature. Like a movie being shot in varying frames, each part as necessary as the other, each new intake of breath not diminished by the old, and the mere sight of the horizon only helping to elevate each and every emotion.

2. A Park or Green Space

In the middle of a crazy world and city, a park can often be the only escape, the entry of dreams and exit of daily stress . Quite paths and walkways, less frantic thoughts, more green grass, trees and flowers. Numerous studies show that spending time in nature has numerous health benefits one of which is the fact that it helps reduce anxiety and stress. Active participation in nature such as gardening and green exercise (physical exercise undertaken in the most natural of settings).

3. A Museum

When its not too busy, a museum is surely a great place for calmness and contemplation. Apart from supporting learning, it can become a meaningful way for self discovery. Participating in exhibitions, visualizing, and the ability to make sense of things around you can be quite the experience. With invaluable information and history hidden behind its doors, a museum is a special place to visit and get lost in.


What are some of the places you find peace and calm? Do share in the comments.


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Evanessence -My Immortal 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thoughts on Fear and Failure


Quote of the day: 
And the things that we fear are a weapon to be held against us. -Ian Rush



It used to be that one of my worst fears was that of failure. The inability to capture things as they are, to try and not make any headway, to start something and not finish it, to fall short every time that I aspired for something. This used to be a definite fear of mine while growing up. In school, it was the fear of failing exams after studying hard, and a thousand and one other fears of failure. Looking back now, its easy to see that failure can often be a learning process.

History consists of those who failed before they succeeded. Of men and women who toiled over and over again, who subjected themselves to the elements, and had to contend with social rules and expectations. They kept going nonetheless. Like a car with worn out tyres, nothing could stop their determination. Now its clear to see that there is nothing wrong with failing. We live and adapt to things around us, we each have personal pursuits but will only accomplish a handful if the fear of failure stands in the way.

The frustration of letting yourself down, and others can certainly knock the wind out of you, and we've all experienced that feeling at some point. In the end it all comes down to how you manage your emotions, with the people around you, with life itself. Knowing that its fine to fail, to retry and adapt, to quit and start all over...rebuilding yourself piece by piece.

The universe is filled with constant energy. Roving and mingling with everything. It is right inside of us too. And awakening to this fact, realizing the effects of the human mind, how far imaginations can go, how swift our inadequacies and accomplishments take form. In life we undergo many tests. And when you learn from these failures, you have not really lost anything in the end. And that is indeed a beautiful thing.



Peace. Love. Light* 




Current Listen: Stevie Wonder -Superstition