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. 

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.


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