A Little Tune To Brighten Up Your Day

During these dark winter days we need something to brighten up our lives a taste of summer and for me the following tune perfectly encapsulates the feeling of an English summer and raises me up. My hats off to you Ronald Binge . Enjoy:

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“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone”

A friend of mine told me today that they are not OK. I do not know what is wrong or what the problem is, I so much would like to help them but they seem to prefer to suffer alone. It is quite a helpless feeling when someone you care for is unhappy so I will post another poem that lifts me up and I hope if they read this some of the words will help them too:

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
 Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make a heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
  And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
  Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
  And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

An Endless Inspiration

I spend a lot of my life looking for inspiration, things of interest or general mental escape from the day to day. Perhaps this is not the right attitude to have but I feel when I find this escapism however short it is a small window into the beauty of life, whether it is the visual in the form of art of auditory in the form of music or other things like literature or inspiring true stories or just the immense and dazzling kaleidoscope of nature.

It is easy to let things get you down, but we are surrounded by boundless beauty which we should focus on and not on the ugliness which unfortunately is also present. I sometimes wonder if negativity is just the easier option, sadly that could be true. One of the purposes of me starting this blog is to seek out and search for beauty, inspirational, funny and generally positive things that I come across in the course of my life. It is essentially a release for me but if in some way, no matter how small it also gives some joy to others then it will feel even more worthwhile.

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from Smithsonian Magazine

Years ago I read “Cosmos” and “The Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan. You may or may not have read them yourself. Whenever I begin to question what I can only describe as ‘everything’ I think back to the words Sagan wrote in “The Pale Blue Dot” as I find they put ‘everything’ in perspective for me and I once more feel inspired and at ease with it all. In 2017 we find ourselves facing even more uncertain times than at almost any other time during the course of my life. I can not help but feel the world would be a better place if we had more Carl Sagans in it and sadly the one we did have is no longer with us.

I’ll leave you with a YouTube video in which the great man himself speaks, which for me are some of the most inspiring prose ever put to paper.

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

I don’t profess to know much about art and probably what I do know you could put on the back of a postage stamp. In any case though, should it matter? Isn’t artistic taste subjective? As Henry David Thoreau said in the quotation above. I do know what I like however and one of my favourite artists is Paul Gauguin. I do not think I possess the words to describe exactly how I feel when I see his paintings but there is something about the colours and technique he uses that I find inspirational and uplifting.

As someone said, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let Gauguin speak for himself. Here are some of my personal favourites:

So vibrant and colourful it really warms my soul to look at such beauty. A wonderful variety of different subjects demonstrating a rare versatility. I hope like me, you will find an escape in Gauguin’s perception of reality.

I’ll end this little piece with a portrait of the man himself:

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When life Gets You Down

We all have off days, or times when we feel down and depressed. We have our own ways of coping with these dark times in our lives. For me I turn to poetry to pull me out of my funk. One particular favourite of mine is the superbly inspirational “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley a poem borne out of the author’s battle with tuberculosis which after several years he sadly lost.

The poem recurred in the popular consciousness after the Clint Eastwood film depicting the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa and the dramatized relationship between  President Nelson Mandela and Springbok (SA rugby team) captain Francois Pienaar. The poem inspired Nelson Mandela during his captivity on Robben Island and from my point of view it is easy to see why. The poem has a unique ability to lift ones spirits however far they may have fallen.

So next time things are not going well for you and you feel disheartened read this poem and let yourself be lifted up and inspired:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.