Monday, 31 August 2009

Playing Games

It’s amazing what you can get up to with a little bit of imagination. Some time in the distant past I made up a game for myself. It’s quite simple. Close your eyes. After about 10 seconds open them again but pretend the “you” of 5 years ago, 10 years ago, whatever years ago, is the individual that is reopening the eyes. Now, look around and take in everything that’s all about you, as if you don’t have a clue (hopefully) where you are. Try and feel the surprise. Is the younger you shocked, surprised, bemused, impressed, disappointed, scared, wondering “why, just why?”. Is this picture the dream that you’d been dreaming about all those years ago? Is this picture exactly the same as all those years ago? What's that I'm watching on the television? Since when have I been playing the violin? Is that the sea I can see out of my window? Who is she/he laying next to me? No, we didn’t really get together, did we? Who would have thought…

It’s kind of a crazy game and it does spin the "visualising the future" principle on its head. But it’s a great way of looking at how you have moved on (even if you hadn't actually realised it), and you don’t need to pay a small fortune to a doctor’s couch to find that out either. You can’t go too far wrong with this game now, can you?

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Be thankful for what you’ve got

There’s a saying that I once fell upon: “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” Kind of cool in its thoughts on nature, but what’s that got to do with me, I hear you cry? Well, there are always things that we can obviously be happy about. Winning this or that, getting that date with that hot young thing, and so on. So what about the less good stuff? What about the really crap, nasty, rotten somethings that happen to you from time to time? Or maybe all the time?

Well, you could either wallow in your own messy existence. Or you could take a step back and smile. Smile at the rain, the noise, the hassle, the traffic, the pollution, the rude people, the smell. You’re alive. You’re there to make a difference. Don’t stand on the sideline being the armchair critic (that’s kind of mixing my metaphors, but you get my drift). Smile at the good and bad. There are so many people out there that would swap places with you in a heartbeat. Hell, you've even got internet. Remember that. Yeah, I no, I no – it’s easier said than done sometimes. But, hey, give it a try. The wallowing isn't really going to help raise you above the parapet. And you might even like it.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Scary Carrey

I’ve never really looked too deeply into Jim Carrey films. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tended to like his brand of silliness over the years - some reasonably sophisticated, some so lightweight you can almost visualise cogs churning as a chimp puts its finger to the typewriter for the first draft. But fairly recently I fell upon ‘Yes Man’, a film about a man that vows to answer “yes” to every opportunity, embracing all that’s thrown at him along the way. Carrey plays the lead character with typical comic panache. But taking a step back, I found the concept quite scary – scary what could be achieved if we really did say ‘yes’ to a bit more of life. And, of course, just plain scary, scary, scary. I know I’m mentally light years away from diving head first into a sea of yeses but if I can summon up the gumption to dip my toe in just a little more, who knows what treasures I may fall upon.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The whole world's a stage

Here's a charming metaphor which I fell upon describing life or, I suppose, the theatre of life(well, I'm assuming it's a metaphor otherwise the writer thinks we all actually live in a theatre) :

"Some people are working backstage, some playing in the orchestra, others are onstage singing. Some are in the audience as critics, others are there to applaud. Do you know who and where you are?"

Monday, 10 August 2009

In Good Nick

On my way home from a rather late night out, I popped in on my local kebab shop – the sort of place that you’ll never see inside in the cold light of day but strangely seems to make sense after the witching hour. Anyway, while I was queuing up I fell upon a free newspaper that I occasionally breeze through. It’s called ‘Healthy Times’ and sells itself as a local health and wellness resource and can be an interesting read. However, this month’s edition really grabbed my attention. In it there was an interview with Nick Vujicic. I vaguely remembered seeing a brief TV feature on him and such was my state of being that night (and my inability to read a full sentence) I tucked the copy into my pocket to save for later.

The following afternoon I pulled out the piece and read the interview on this amazing guy. He’s probably already fairly well known and I’m just a bit slow to the party. But for those who don’t know him, in a nutshell, Nick was born without limbs. The article captures his earliest moments: “Arriving in this world without warning of his condition or any medical explanation, his father had to leave the birthing room to vomit. The nurses on duty broke out in tears and the doctor refused to show the baby to his mother.” At the age of eight he attempted to drown himself in a bathtub.

Fast forward to the 26-year old Nick, who holds a double degree in accounting and financial planning and now travels the world as a speaker bringing hope and motivation. Without wanting to patronise or condescend, his life experience really does put some of our day-to-day moans in full-unbridled perspective. I know in the past I’ve mentioned that ‘comparison is the mother of all misery’ but you can’t but take a step back from it all and acknowledge that when looking at his battles and victories most of us have got to learn to be a bit more grateful once in a while. I could go on and on but check out www.lifewithoutlimbs.org and www.attitudeisaltitude.com/.
Inspirational – that’s all I can say really.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Vive la difference

I sometimes think about the ills and tensions of the world, be it in the Middle East, in North/South Korea, or in your local pub, and wonder whether that whole big old noise could be eradicated if we were all exactly alike. 100% the same in our looks, right down to the anchor tattoo on the right bicep and left eyebrow twitch.

Unfortunately, even that wouldn’t be enough. Even if everyone looked exactly the same, with the same length and colour hair, same height, same bell bottoms, people would still be persecuted for being left handed. Even if we were all left handed someone would find a reason for persecuting those with the messiest handwriting. Or those that forgot to dot the “I”….And so on… Sadly, it's human nature and tribalism in its most exclusive form. Based on fear or superiority, there’s always an excuse.

But we shouldn't want to be all the same. We weren’t meant to be. We come in all sorts of shapes, curves, hues, religions, sexual persuasions, races, interests, heights, weights, abilities and ad infinitum. We should be celebrating these differences not trumping up reasons to attack it. So the next time you run into a left-handed person, be kind to them.