Be gallant, be great, be gracious and be grateful

“Be gallant, be great, be gracious and be grateful’

– Jake Bailey


The video attached at the end of this post is amazing – this young man, Jake Bailey, is beyond remarkable.  Perhaps it affected me as much as it did because I have two sons about Jake’s age. But I think this will impact everyone who watches it. How can it not?

Jake Baliey was due to graduate and give a speech at graduation. One week before his graduation, 18-year-old Jake Bailey was told he had cancer.  He was diagnosed with one of the world’s fastest growing tumours – Burkitt lymphoma.

He had written his speech before his diagnosis and managed to leave his hospital bed to deliver it from a wheelchair. Words made more poignant than he ever could have perceived when he wrote them:

“My challenge to each of you, and to myself, is to continue to grow and to develop for the better . . . Forget about long-term dreams, let’s be passionately dedicated to our short term goals, micro-ambitious. Work with passion and pride on what is in front of us.  We don’t know where we might end up . . .”

For those of you not from New Zealand, may not understand the end of this video – it ends in a spontaneous Haka – an incredible sign of respect.  Kia Kaha Jake. Thank you for your inspiration.

Thank you for taking the time to watch this and read this post. I appreciate it.

Paying Attention to the Coincidences

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133182.html#cRzVZOHjpM8tGpjB.99

Alice Walker


Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous! (God, Goddess, The Source, Higher Power – use whatever word evokes power for you.) It’s my connection to that higher self or higher power that helps me when,  as Alice Walker reminds me,  I start thinking I don’t have any power.
One of  the ways I know I’m connected to that power is when I am paying attention to the coincidences. And one of those lovely coincidences has been happening in the last few days.
On Saturday,  I got together with my friends to do a fun, informal goal setting night where we had a lovely dinner and discussed what we anticipated our lives would be like in 2019.  During the evening, one of the things we talked about was finding new streams of money through Social Entrepreneurship,  or creative fund raising.
On Sunday, I attended an amazing event in Auckland called The Auckland Writers Festival (Thank you Trudi!)  During one of the events, I heard four amazing women speak: Eleanor Catton, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Sandi Toksvig and Jessica Jackley. As Jackley spoke, I got chills as she elaborated on Social Entrepreneurship and what great ‘givers’ New Zealanders are.  I sat up and paid attention.  And then on Monday morning, while reading the NZ Herald online, an article jumped out at me, again about New Zealanders and their generosity, with a link to an incredible website called Give a Little.
Givealittle is the free, safe and easy way to receive online donations for charities of all types and sizes.
In three days I had heard about the amazing generosity of many people in New Zealand and the wonderful giving being done, often anonymously, through various ways of giving, micro-financing, social entrepreneurship, etc. I was paying attention.
So on Tuesday, I went to our office at Figjam Workshops and my business partner and I set up an account at Give a Little.  We published the information on our page on Facebook, and we are getting the information out there.
When I pay attention to the little coincidences around me, and when I remember to act on those little nudges, then I am connected to my power.
Although I enjoyed every aspect of the Auckland Writers Festival, the highlight for me was hearing Alice Walker.  What an amazing woman!
So I’d like to finish with a video clip of Alice Walker speaking at Google.  Please take the time to watch and be inspired!
Please let me know what you thought of the video. And I’d love to hear of any ‘coincidences’ that you’ve experienced lately.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

Compassion, Connection and Unity

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis…it is the lack of love and charity; the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor.”

– Mother Teresa


Bishop Desmond Tutu once said,  “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”  We have to start somewhere to start healing our world. In I AM the Documentary, Tom Shadyac asks the important questions:  What’s wrong with our world? And what can we do about it?

Through wonderful, insightful interviews with Bishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, Thom Hartmann, Howard Zinn and David Suzuki to name just a few, Shadyac explores what we can do to heal our world. Everyone interviewed agrees:

“This is the most profound discovery in all of physics.”

“The science shows us that we are all connected.”

“What we do at the individual level, really does affect the global environment.”

We really are deeply connected, and with compassion, we will experience unity.  And when we experience that deep sense of unity, I believe we wil begin to heal our world.

Bishop Desmond Tutu asks us to “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  We can all start today.

The Shift is About to Hit the Fan!  All Aboard!

Have you seen I AM the documentary – if so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.  And as always, thank you for stopping by.  I appreciate it.

Be Kind Now!

”Our lives are not our own.  We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.”

– David Mitchell (Cloud Atas)


I watched an amazing movie last night with my sons, Lukas and Devin.  The movie is called Cloud Atlas – if you get a chance, it is well worth watching.  It’s a long, ambitious film – it has to be – since it’s based on the tome by David Mitchell.  Check out the trailer, even that is pretty epic!  At times it is confusing, but the main point comes through loud and clear – as our lives intersect, karma prevails, and one way or another our kindnesses or our cruelty come back to us. It is a bold and creative book/movie about karma, unity and connection.

I love the concept to Pay it Forward (another wonderful movie if you haven’t already seen it.) Practicing random acts of kindness makes such perfect sense to me. And even if we really don’t reincarnate, and even if karma does not prevail, paying it forward and being kind just feels good.  So how about we all just Be Kind Now! And with that in mind, I want to close with a wonderful video clip about paying it forward.  Enjoy!

I’d love to hear any stories of how you’ve experienced kindness being paid forward.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Keeping things in perspective . . .

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

– Maya Angelou


My son Devin shared this with me today.  Thank you Devin – it took my breath away!

There is nothing I can add to what Carl Sagan explains so eloquently and the video shows us so incredibly beautifully.  As Mr. Sagan puts it:

“To me it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

 

Please take the time to watch this, it is truly inspiring and spectacular.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of Carl Sagan’s short clip.  And as always, thank you for visiting, I appreciate it.

We really are all connected

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson


My son Lukas sent me a video link to an amazing video: The Most Astounding Fact.  He saw it and said that he immediately thought of me and knew it would fit well in my blog.  Thank you once again Lukas!
The video is an excerpt from an interview of Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  He was asked: What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe? And who better to answer this question than this inspirational man. He shares his information in a concise and easy to understand way, that is both inspirational and educational. To me, his explanation is unity explained. We really are all connected.

“The atoms that comprise life on Earth, the atoms that make up the human body are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements . . .  stars collapsed and then exploded scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy, guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us.”

We may look different and sound different, but in fact our make up is the same. To me, this is a call for cooperation, for collaboration, for compassion, for love.

As Dr. DeGrasse Tyson puts it:  After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?
Please take the time to watch this wonderful video, not only is the message timely, but the pictures of space are incredibly beautiful.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this video. And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Happy Aging?

“When grace is joined with wrinkles it is adorable.
There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”

– Victor Hugo


Happy aging?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?!

I was at a birthday party this weekend, a nice group of people, good food and music. But often I’ve found that at birthday parties for people around 50, conversations start to gravitate toward aging.  Sigh.  People see people at the party that they haven’t seen in awhile, there are hugs and then often those embarrassing moments when one of the folks has to ask for a reminder of name and/or affiliation; after dances, people come off the dance floor complaining about aches and pains in knees and joints, and the consumption of too much alcohol is no longer quite as cute or funny.

When I got home from the party, I wanted to do a bit of homework about happiness and aging.  I’ve read quite a bit about older people being happy – but wanted some empiracle evidence.  The first thing we have to acknowledge is that we are all living longer, across the board.  And this is a good thing, right?  Well I want to think so, but I can’t help wondering what I’ll be like at 80 . . . hopefully wearing purple with a red hat that doesn’t match!

One of the things from the research that made a lot of sense to me was that as we grow older and we realize that we won’t live forever, we change our perspectives on life in positive ways; our goals change and we realize we don’t have all the time in the world, we see our priorities clearer, and we don’t worry as much about what constitutes trivial matters – essentially we don’t sweat the small stuff.

Basically it seems that older people are happier in themselves and with others because they choose to be.

Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Laura Carstensen has researched this topic extensively.  In the following TED talk, she discusses happy aging, and pretty much empiracally proves that, on the whole, older people are happier!  Yay!  This is good news for those of us that are attending more and more birthday parties for people over 50!

 

I hope you take the time to watch Professor Carstensen, especially for those of you over 50! I found it uplifting and hopeful.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Cooperation . . . we can make beautiful music together . . .

“We could make beautiful music together. “

– Gary Cooper


As I thought about my last blog post, Our Need For Connection, I started to wonder what is it that helps us connect, or fail to connect.  The first thing I thought of was communication. We need to communicate, to listen, to be present  with one another to find connection.  When we don’t communicate with respect, we fail to connect.

Someone once said: ” The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value.  Communication and respect.

And then I thought of cooperation. We need to practice cooperation, working together with respect.

I think this music video by Walk Off The Earth is a brillian example of cooperation.  The song is pretty, the words are fine – but it is the cooperation between the artists in this video that, in my opinion, is absolutely stunning!  Watch how they work together.  It is Awesome!

 

I hope you enjoy this music video, and if you hadn’t heard of Walk Off The Earth before, watch them on YouTube, they are great.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Our Need for Connection

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ”

– Herman Melville


As human beings we need connection. I believe our deepest need is to belong.

But to have true deep connection, Brene Brown explains that we need authenticity and vulnerability.  She explains that we need:

Courage – to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

Compassion – to be kind to yourself first and then to others.

Connection – as a result of authenticity, letting go of who we thought we should be in order to be who we are.

http://www.brenebrown.com/

In the following TED Talk, Brene Brown beautifully explains that we need to be vulnerable to have true connection.  We need  to let ourselves be seen as we really are; we need to love with our whole hearts even when it is hard; we need to practice gratitude and joy even when it is not easy; and finally each one of us needs to know, on that deepest level that I AM ENOUGH!

I hope you can take the time to watch Brene Brown in the wonderful video, it is uplifting and enlightening.

 

Please let me know your thoughts on this TED Talk video, and any stories you have about vulnerability and connection.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.