Well, another New Year is right on us.
According to some sites the numerical value of 2017 makes this a special year. Whether this is true or not, I know not. It is however, always good to look at the ‘big’ picture and others peoples views and perspectives. If you have time, go and check out Pam Carruthers site on astrological meaning and the Astrological Club for what the numbers mean.
For me, I have already drawn my ‘vision’ board with all the goals that I want to achieve in the coming year. I looked at last years drawing and saw that I had actually achieved almost 80% of what I set out to do. Not bad considering all the events and things that were unexpected arriving into my calendar!
Drawing a ‘vision’ board is all about setting our intentions for the next year. All I do is to draw a series of circles and triangles on an A4 sheet. Be adventurous in your shape and then colour in the segments. You will be drawn into what colours you need to display. Happily, there is not much thinking involved, your heart will decide whether it is greens, yellows, red and so on. Having done that, then simply put down the goals that you want to achieve – not what others want you to achieve. Having completed that, put your vision board somewhere you will regularly view it and the law of attraction will do the rest. Try it and be amazed at what arrives for you!
From me, a personal message to you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. From Australia to Sri Lanka, to Alaska and Europe, wherever you are thank you for following my posts. Without you and your comments I would most definitely feel I was a voice in the silent void. I am humbled that you take the time to read, and maybe the posts provide you with a curiosity to try things out. After all, we all want to answer those questions I posed in my post about living, loving and mattering.
I close with wishing you and your families all happiness for the New Year, great beginning and happy endings.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The holiday season is finally upon us, and the lights, trees, and cheer litter homes and outdoors everywhere across the world. For some, there is no better time of the year. Here is a list of the top 20 best things about the holiday season to get you excited!
1. Christmas Trees: There is nothing more exciting than going to pick out a tree and gathering around with people you love to add all the lights and ornaments. It brightens up anyone’s day. Also it’s amazing to have a tree in your house!
2. Chance of Snow: Who doesn’t dream of a white Christmas? Bing Crosby certainly did back in the 1940’s! As children we remember those winter’s that brought snow and it is absolutely fantastic if it falls on Christmas Day itself!
3. Lights: Walking around and seeing all the pretty lights can make anyone smile. Everything just glistens a little more during this season. Some lights around homes and gardens are simply unbelievable! Love them or hate them, it's a sparkly addition to the day.
4. Holiday Time! Whether you are a student anticipating winter break (because finals are just torture), or in the business world waiting for time off from work, this is a period where you can put your feet up all day if you want!
5. Ornaments and Cards: The holiday decorations are everywhere in the home and Christmas cards remind you to get in touch with someone you may not have seen all year.
6. Christmas Parties: There are so many parties during this season! Everyone wants an excuse to stand under mistletoe, sing and dance to aged Christmas hits.
7. Ugly Christmas sweaters: This is the time of the year to have an excuse to wear an ugly sweater and you can get away with it! No one can tell me they don’t secretly love wearing these awful sweaters.
8. Presents: Christmas shouldn’t necessarily be about presents, but we all secretly love getting them. How can anyone not look forward to unwrapping a gift and being surprised (or at least looking surprised!)?
9. Treats: This is one of the few seasons where treats are abundant, and there are no limits to how many mince pies, gingerbread men or chocolates you can eat.
10. Stockings: Stockings are always great to wake up to on Christmas day, with all the wonderful silly little things as well as some surprises! Of course there will always be nuts and tangerines in them, but who cares!
11. Snuggling: It’s cold outside, and this is the season to warm up with someone. There is no better time to snuggle up with someone in front of a movie with some hot chocolate or something stronger....
12. Ice Skating and throwing snowballs: Depends where in the world you are to get ice to go skating, but it is the archetypal scene at Christmas, especially if you can nip off the ice to throw a snowball or two!
13. Mistletoe: Is there any better excuse to bump into that special someone under some mistletoe?
14. Carols and Music: Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, and all those others that we cannot help but hum or sing along to during this season.
15. Turkey: by Boxing Day you may just be getting tired of all the variations of turkey food that you could have, but as a ‘one off’ it's a fantastic food to have and brilliant with excellent gravy!
16. Time of giving: Christmas also brings out the best in others, because it is important to make sure we remember those who are less fortunate. Try giving something to someone out who you know would be surprised and thankful to receive.
17. Time with friends and family: Friends and family are fantastic, and this is the time to gather and remember how lucky we are to have people around us who love us.
18. Snowmen: Building snowmen is so much fun, and if you are lucky enough to have snow during the holiday season, a snowman is in order, carrot for nose and coal for eyes! If you look carefully at night, you may even see him move around!
19. Classic Christmas Movies and Games: Christmas movies time is upon us, and it is time to pull out old favorites and get cozy. Its also the best time to get a game out with family and friends and just be silly once in a while!
20. The Chance to feel like a kid again: Whether you are 5 or 85, the holiday season is a time to really just enjoy yourself and reflect on all the good things in life. Psst – get ready, Santa’s coming!
Happy Christmas everybody!
I heard a voice shouting at me, “are you alright Mike?” “Are you alright?”
It was violent, sudden and devastating. The wave that crashed onto the boat came from nowhere. I hadn’t seen it coming and I wasn't prepared for the outcome. An outcome that would have long lasting effects on the task I was conducting and on my life. All I remember after the assault on boat and body was Rob, my colleague shouting, “are you alright?”
Its 2pm on a hot day in the Indian Ocean. We are around 2000 miles and 50 days into a rowing adventure from Australia to Africa. We were attempting to break a world record for an unassisted row across the Indian Ocean and raise significant monies for a children’s charity. After some scares that the massive ocean had revealed to us earlier in our trip, we were doing well and morale was high. Then the ‘wave’ happened. It changed everything. It changed me.
Rogue waves (also known as freak waves, monster waves, episodic waves, killer waves, extreme waves, and abnormal waves) are large, unexpected and suddenly appearing surface waves that can be extremely dangerous, even to large ships such as ocean liners.
One hit us. The effect was devastating. Firstly, it threw me off clean off board and secondly, it punched a large hole into the bow of our tiny 21 foot rowing boat. As I scrambled back on board I knew that I had hurt my head, but survival instincts kicked in and drove me back from the edge.
Over the next 12 hours my condition deteriorated from splitting headaches to passing in and out of consciousness. These were desperate times as a tropical storm hit us to compound our misery, tossing our little boat all over the sea like a rag doll. I started to ask the question: was this my life really coming to an end?
Questions and statements began to flood into my mind. How will my family react? I’m too young to die! Who will come and recover our bodies out here in a watery grave? This was not how it was meant to be!
Incredibly and slowly however, my mind started to reconcile itself with the fate that I now found myself in. Ok, I told myself, the odds on surviving this crisis appeared to be slim. Rescue was on its way, but we could not expect that to arrive for 4 days such was the remoteness of our location deep into the Indian Ocean. I began to find an inner peace and question myself over and over again centered on 3 core questions:
If it appears that this it, the end of your days, you will certainly need to know if you truly lived your life to the upmost. Your life, not the life others may have desired for you. We spend much of our time worrying about what others think about us. Parents, close friends and teachers have all played their part in trying to point us in a direction for our lives. Their thoughts - not yours. You will certainly gauge to see if you were lively as well as happy enough to actually live. You will want to know if you dreamed enough and fought valiantly enough to accomplish your own potential – not someone else’s. Had I lived enough?
You will surely assess whether you cared sufficiently for those around you, treated them with respect and love. You will ache to understand who will miss you and whom you will miss. You will certainly think of all those times when you were surrounded by love and now perhaps you will miss out on all them. You will certainly wonder about whether you dealt with all individuals with an open heart, compassion and humility unconditionally. Had I loved enough?
Ultimately, in your last minutes, before the light finally twinkles away, a stirring deep in your body as well as in the core of your mind will ask yourself whether your life meant anything and whether you really did matter. Just what did your life truly mean? Had you made a difference some place, some time and to someone. Your soul will be announcing, "Did I matter?"
So, why not live life so totally in the ‘here and now’ for every moment that you have? Why not live through your heart with such strength and purpose that you have the ability to always see the great in others? Why not take the view that at any time the twinkling light of your life may just begin to fade and your are faced with those 3 questions?
In other words, start to view your life and its impact on the rest of the world with fresh intent. Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. Being that change though, requires you to be able to answer those 3 questions in the positive to say, “yes I did all that I wanted to, could have done and chose to do”. So, live, love, matter – now!
“The first rule of kindness is to be kind to yourself”.
It is true to say that most people do not realize how important it is to be kind to yourself. Many of us indeed think this is a silly and immature notion, after all, surely it’s a given that we are kind to ourselves? Wrong.
Most of us walk through the journey of our life with no respect or any love for ourselves. This is dangerous territory and will lead to unhappiness and most probably, an unfulfilled life. As Eckhart Tolle said, “It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living”. Let us not be those people…
I bet that at least once this week, you may have called yourself an idiot, fat, crazy or some other negative adjective. And the truth is this: when we are not comfortable with ourselves, no one else is going to be comfortable with us either. That is why it is absolutely imperative for you to make sure that you are being kind and gentle with yourself.
So let’s get to it with five hot tips to help you to do exactly that:
1. Monitor the thoughts you are thinking
Everyone is unkind to themselves sometimes, but you really must have a think about how you talk to yourself on a regular basis. When was the last time you thought something nice about yourself? If you are like many people and you simply cannot remember, then that is unfortunate, very unfortunate.
A quick tip that works for me is really simple to apply but achieves powerful results. This is it: think of a really great visual or audio moment that you absolutely adore. It could be that winning smile of a loved one, or the start of your favourite music track. The minute you start to get that ‘unkind’ inner talk, hit the brain with that visual or audio moment. You will quickly forget the self destructive rubbish running around in your head and instead start to smile!
2. Make a conscious effort to have more positive self-talk
This may sound a little strange, but give this a go. Start with an "I love you" in the morning to yourself in the mirror or even as you open your eyes. This may seem silly at first, but over time, you will find that it is an entirely normal and wonderful start to the day to do for yourself.
It will set you off on a positive track and thought process for the rest of your day. Indeed, keep it going throughout the day and your self esteem and love for yourself will get a timely boost.
3. Do something you like to do each day
All of us do get caught up with work and life ‘issues’ and if we are not careful these can start to rule our day to day lives – we simply put other things on hold whilst we turn our full attention onto the so called ‘important things’.
So treat yourself like you would want to treat someone you care about, and allow yourself one fun thing every day. It does not have to last a long time, but make room for it each day in your life.
4. Make sure that you surround yourself with like-minded, loving and energetic people
Do not, I repeat, do not spend time with people who tear you down. Being around negative or cynical people is the quickest way to reduce your own energy. This includes the moaners and whingers – we all like to be a friend and willing to listen, however, keep these associations to a minimum if you can.
Keep your mind positive by spending time with positive people who are kind to you and who genuinely like being with you – and you know who they are!
5. Start a diary
Specifically write in it good things about yourself. People are reluctant to compliment themselves, lest they seem conceited, but it's a good idea to go down the list of your virtues every now and then.
Writing them down is a helpful thing to do, so when you feel that you're a mess, you can simply look back over the notebook, smile and see that you are indeed fantastic. Diaries should be about what is real in your life, but contain as many good things that happen to you each day.
There’s a strong connection between happiness, mindfulness and reenergizing yourself through being kind. By all means be kind to others, but also take time to be kind to yourself.
You might be out of practice being kind to yourself, but doing any of the tips above are definitely going to help you. It is important that you take the time to try each of these and put them into practice. Being good to yourself is worth it, some of the techniques do not take a lot of time but they need to be done!
Christmas is a hugely popular holiday celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. It has become such an ingrained part of modern culture that even people in nations with little or no Christian history or tradition are celebrating it in increasing numbers.
Christmas is so big that it plays a key role in the economies of many nations. In the US retail industry, the day after the thanksgiving holiday is commonly known as ‘Black Friday’ – not because its bad, but because this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and stores that have been ‘in the red’ (operating at a loss all year) suddenly see sales shoot up so fast that they are now operating in the black (at a profit) for the rest of the year. ‘Black Friday’ is the biggest shopping day of the year due to its closeness to Christmas sales.
Christmas is big – very BIG. Schools and colleges commonly take 2 weeks or longer break at this time. Some business close down for the period covering Christmas Eve up to the day after New Years Day. Many families plan trips and get-togethers and bizarrely, some people even darken the door of a church for the first and only time of the year!
Without being a ‘humbug’ there are elements that I believe contribute to creating a ‘rip off Christmas’. Year by year it’s getting worse. For some people, this turns the whole festive season into one large nightmare. Much of it is centred on being bigger and better than the previous year.
Christmas lights appear in late November in town centres, and trees that adorn High Streets are ever higher with more lights and flashy things. Interestingly enough, the huge Christmas tree donated by the city of Oslo in Trafalgar Square had two homeless people sleeping at its base for 2 weeks last year. So much for a festive sharing time!
A national brand (global as well), are advertising on the local radio to get ‘one over’ your neighbours by buying bigger and better ‘things’. Unbelievable!
Here are some things you may know about Christmas, or not…
Christmas is mentioned nowhere in the Bible
This is rather obvious, but most people never give it a second thought. The books of the New Testament cover 30+ years of Christ’s life, then another 30+ years of the foundation of the early church following his death and resurrection. But nowhere do we find a hint of a Christmas celebration or anything remotely like it.
THE first Christmas celebrated in Britain is thought to have been in York in 521 AD.
Christmas is almost completely driven now by commercialism
I think that the holiday has become a road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and a God substitute – Santa Claus. All of this is a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt of parents whose children ‘persuade’ them to buy presents that will probably fall apart or get discarded within days or worse hours.
According to a November poll conducted by Gallup, the average shopper intends to spend an average of £650 on gifts this year. Of all those surveyed, 30% however, plan on spending over £785.
Jesus wasn’t born on or near 25th December
As it turns out, the likelihood was that Jesus was actually born in the month of June or the autumn – the fact is no-one actually knows. All we can do is make educated guesses from the scriptures and from records that were kept in those days. These include the Roman Empire census and Greek philosophers writing about the time. All of them when researched would most definitely lead us to recognise that Jesus was not born during the winter.
Christmas is in fact a recycled Pagan festival
History shows that December 25 was popularized as the date for Christmas, not because Christ was born on that day, but because it was already popular in pagan religious celebrations as the birthday of the sun or the rebirth of light over dark. Every winter, Romans honored the pagan god Saturn, the god of agriculture, with a festival that began on December 17 and usually ended on or around December 25 with a winter-solstice celebration in honor of the beginning of the new solar cycle.
Whatever you are doing at Christmas this year, be sure to have a really good time. Be sure to deliver one random act of kindness and where there is someone in need, be of service to them. And as that fantastic comedian Dave Allen of yester year would say, “and may your God go with you”.