Walking the pages of the world

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Saint Augustine.  

They say once you’ve travelled you get bitten by the bug. I love to travel, with all its wonders and its difficulties. Every  couple of years now I head off on a new adventure away from my homeland and in doing so I have found a greater appreciation for the world,  its people and their cultures . I have also developed a deep love and respect for my own country as a result of leaving to explore the world.

Like St Augustine and many others, travel for me puts so very much into perspective and reminds me that there is so much more than my own existence.  I love too, that at any time I can simply close my eyes and revisit the places I have been and relive the sights, the sounds and the experiences I had while there. It is as Conroy claims;

 “Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”

For all the joys travel brings there are also some small hurdles along the way that force one to really acknowledge the important things in life. Travel forces you to minimise, to adjust to change and difference and to make the most of every day despite the weather, language barriers and lack of home comforts. I’m not sure I totally agree with Cesare Pavese, the Italian poet and novelist, that travel is a ‘brutality’, although at times it can bang you up a bit.  It does however, force you to “trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”

I love that when I travel my whole life is contained in a backpack.  The knowledge that I can do with less is a wonder to me and I am grateful for the simple things; a soft patch of grass to sit and eat the figs bought at a market, the stranger who offered help with directions, the cool breeze that dries a wet shirt after a long hike.

The impact of travel is not subtle. These opportunities for exploration and discovery are about more than discovering places. They are also about discovering and unearthing more of myself. For me it makes great dents in my ego, it tests me, feeds, fulfils and reshapes me. Each time I go away I come back changed. I think Theroux got it right when he said;  “You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back”

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The wonders of the Uffizi Gallery

I wandered the halls of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence today and was blown away by the building itself and the wonderful collection it held. I have a long and varied bucket list of must see art works. Having ticked off the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Pieta, David, the Sistine Chapel as well as numerous Van Gough’s, Da Vinci’s, Picasso’s, Matisse’s to name but a few. Today my one “must see” painting was Botticelli’s Venus.

I was not disappointed. The detail and the colour are exquisite. Photographs simply do not do it justice. The painting is enchanting. I was also captivated by two of Rembrandt’s self portraits along with so many other works. However, one work of Botticelli’s that stood out for me today was The Calumny of Apelles. Perhaps it was the metaphor and allegory that captivated me. I was enthralled.

The painting depicts King Midas with ass ears, into which are whispering the figures of Ignorance and Suspicion. In front of Midas, stands the hooded, dark figure of Hatred, followed by Calumny dragging her nearly naked victim by the hair. Calumny is attended to by the figures of Deceit and Fraud who are adjusting her jewelry. Behind this group is the figure of Penitence, who looks away and towards the naked figure of Truth, who is pointing upwards towards heaven.

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Great art fills me to overflowing. I revelled in the hours I spent wandering this wonderful gallery and have been on a high all day as a result.

Strong foundations

When travelling in Europe I revel in the beauty of the built environment. The architecture is stunning but more than that I marvel at how long these buildngs have been standing.

Taking in the awesome sights of ancient structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and The Roman Forum as well as more ‘recent’ buildings like St Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of Santa Maria Minerva and a wealth of others has me thinking about the importance of strong foundations.

A great deal of work goes into the foundations of a building that will last the test of time and withstand the elements. If we hope to have rich and meaningful lives we have to consider on what foundations are we building. Do we have a set of moral values that guide us, do we focus on building strong and lasting relationships, have we considered what we want our legacy to the world to be?

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What will we leave behind? Certainly there won’t be any gorgeous edifice erected in my name and I’m pretty sure I won’t go down in any history books but if I can leave behind a legacy of love, of joy, of tolerance and acceptance. If I can leave behind a legacy of gratitude, of self belief, creativity and a willingness to seek the truth and beauty in the world, in those I love, I’d be happy with that.

What are the foundations you are building your life on?

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Strong foundations

When travelling in Europe I revel in the beauty of the built environment. The architecture is stunning but more than that I marvel at how long these buildngs have been standing.

Taking in the awesome sights of ancient structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and The Roman Forum as well as more ‘recent’ buildings like St Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of Santa Maria Minerva and a wealth of others has me thinking about the importance of strong foundations.

A great deal of work goes into the foundations of a building that will last the test of time and withstand the elements. If we hope to have rich and meaningful lives we have to consider on what foundations are we building. Do we have a set of moral values that guide us, do we focus on building strong and lasting relationships, have we considered what we want our legacy to the world to be?

values4

What will we leave behind? Certainly there won’t be any gorgeous edifice erected in my name and I’m pretty sure I won’t go down in any history books but if I can leave behind a legacy of love, of joy, of tolerance and acceptance. If I can leave behind a legacy of gratitude, of self belief, creativity and a willingness to seek the truth and beauty in the world, in those I love, I’d be happy with that.

What are the foundations you are building your life on?

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The gnarled torment of grief

“Wear not your mantle of grief.

Shrug off the hollow, devouring creature cloaking you; tugging at your innards with cold, gnarled, spindly digits.

You are not permitted to wear the signs of grief and loss – throw on instead your coloured shawl of bright pinks and yellows and green. A brave and and trouble free facade must shine.

Expect no allegiance in grief.”

The black arm bands are hidden, a vibrant mask in place, the tears mostly dried but your memories are still fresh and your presence ever near. The rawness of your passing is fading and the hollowness in my heart is slowly diminishing but you will never be forgotten ; you are precious to me still.

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Non violence; a powerful tool

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Have you ever caught yourself defending your position, arguing a point, trying to convince someone else your idea, thought, belief is the right one?

According to Eckhart Tolle the need to be right is a form of violence. It is forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious.

Let’s be conscious of our impact on others, let’s be conscious of our footprint in the world. Are we unconsciously creating harm, are we leaving behind us a wake of unintended violence or are we maintaining peace?

Is it important to always be right? Is it important to convince and enrol others? Tolle’s words have helped me be more aware of my own actions and motivations. The idea of honouring the other person and allowing them peace is much more important to me now than needing to be right in trivial matters. I’m not saying it’s easy but I’m working on it.

Let’s transform the world one small act at a time.

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Choosing non-violent interactions

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Have you ever caught yourself defending your position, arguing a point, trying to convince someone else your idea, thought, belief is the right one?

According to Eckhart Tolle the need to be right is a form of violence. It is forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious.

Let’s be conscious of our impact on others, let’s be conscious of our footprint in the world. Are we unconsciously creating harm, are we leaving behind us a wake of unintended violence or are we maintaining peace?

Is it important to always be right? Is it important to convince and enrol others? Tolle’s words have helped me become more aware of my own actions and motivations. The idea of honouring the other person and allowing them peace is much more important to me now than needing to be right in trivial matters. I’m not saying it’s easy but I’m working on it.

Let’s transform the world one small act at a time.

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Hope is not a strategy

Hope is not a strategy. I heard this phrase in a meeting, it struck a chord and has lingered in the back of my thinking all week.

Hope can provide a light in the darkness; it can help get us through a rough patch but hope alone does not get us to where we want to go. Hope alone does not create the world in which we want to live. Hope is not a strategy any more than throwing some coins in a wishing well is a strategy.

Hope is not a strategy that moves us forward

Hope is not a strategy that moves us forward

As a spiritual person I belive in manifestation, the intervention of the universe and the biblical meaning of ‘hope’ but I also know that hoping to lose weight, hoping to win the lotto, hoping to become proficient at a new skill won’t happen without intention, a course of action and taking small steps toward the goal.

Hoping for change diminishes our responsibility; it allows us to skirt accountability, it leaves us helpless and at the mercy of something or someone other than ourselves. Intention, however, followed by action empowers us. Intention forces us to stand on our own two feet and accept responsibility for where we are and where we want to be.

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Intention and action suggest movement. Intention and action suggest commitment. Intention and action suggest strength and determination.

Martin Luther King gave one of histories most powerful speeches – I have a dream – in which he listed all the good things he hoped for America. Did he merely have a blind  hope these things would manifest of their own accord or did he have a plan of action to enact, that ensured these dreams would become reality?

In my work there are key messages I want my clients will learn but without setting the intention prior to my planning and without planning and incorporating specific content and learning experiences I might as well hope the message is transferred through osmosis.

While I firmly believe we are supported and guided by the universe I also believe our spirit guides, our God, our guardian angels want us and expect us to take the first small step in the direction we are hoping to see some outcome or change.

we need to take steps toward our desired outcome - even baby steps help.

We need to take steps toward our desired outcome – even baby steps help.

We can’t manifest a new home for ourselves without first looking at what is available, without checking our finances, without making an offer. We can’t hope to lose those five kilos without making some changes to our diet and lifestyle. We can’t hope to live a peaceful life if we don’t set aside time for ourselves to enjoy peace.

Next time you hope for something to manifest in your life, consider the first small step you can take toward achieving your dream.

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