Focus on Connections

Alive Inside

What is more important people or relationships? Species or evolution? Planets or gravity? Neurones or synapses?

In an attempt to understand the world or provide answers we are constantly classifying things. We define people based on nationality, race or religion. We have identified over 2 million species of plants, animals and microbes. The body is studied largely as separate organs. Matter can be divided into planets, stars, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons etc.

Yet everything is connected through forces, actions, consequences, relationships and experiences. Imagine a world where we focused on the connections between everything in the universe rather than dividing and classifying.

How would this impact racism, terrorism, inequality, science medicine and the environment?

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John Steinbeck’s Letter to His Son

The Plaid Zebra recently published John Steinbeck’s letter to his son.

Here is my favourite passage:

“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.”

How to Find Yourself

A good article from brainpickings:

“Nietzsche on How to Find Yourself and the True Value of Education”

“Any human being who does not wish to be part of the masses need only stop making things easy for himself. Let him follow his conscience, which calls out to him: “Be yourself! All that you are now doing, thinking, desiring, all that is not you.”

Every young soul hears this call by day and by night and shudders with excitement at the premonition of that degree of happiness which eternities have prepared for those who will give thought to their true liberation. There is no way to help any soul attain this happiness, however, so long as it remains shackled with the chains of opinion and fear. And how hopeless and meaningless life can become without such a liberation! There is no drearier, sorrier creature in nature than the man who has evaded his own genius and who squints now towards the right, now towards the left, now backwards, now in any direction whatever.”

Maya Angelou

Today I am discovering the poetry of Maya Angelou. Who is your favourite poet?

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Lessons From My Daughter

My daughter is now two years old and brings laughter, love, happiness and new challenges to my life everyday so I have updated this post

The Global Art Experiment

Or things I’ve learned since becoming a dad:

  1. Leave behind the worries, stress and emotions from your day and treat her with care and respect.
  2. Listen carefully to what she says, not everything is important but one day it will be. Make your child feel like she has a voice that matters in the world.
  3. Do not doubt the impact that raising a family will have on the world. Social interactions will have knock on effects that can bring profound change.
  4. Invest your time learning, exploring and improving yourself rather than worrying about what other people think and seeking their approval.
  5. Wake up happy, let little things make you happy and go out with a smile on your face
  6. Focus on the present and pay attention to all the little things surrounding you
  7. Show unconditional love and affection
  8. You can depend on the people who love you, one day they…

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Great Quotes From Muhammad Ali

Ali

  1. Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
  2. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
  3. Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.
  4. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
  5. The man who has no imagination has no wings.
  6. Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
  7. If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.
  8. Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.

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