Sunday, 31 May 2015

How We Change People's Lives

The scene is in my mind still. Actor Robin Williams, playing the role of teacher John Keating, in the movie "Dead Poets' Society", is discussing in hushed tones the Latin phrase Carpe Diem, with his bemused pupils during an early encounter.

"Seize the day, gentlemen. Seize the day". Those words sent a shiver down my spine. They filled my mind. To this day they carry a powerful message for me. The Robin Williams character encouraged his students to open their hearts and minds to their dreams and follow through with actions.

Sometimes, as the movie showed, dreams may not be understood by others. Yet those experiences we have when we reach up and out, to extend ourselves, are the experiences and emotions we remember with great affection for the rest of our lives. They are the technicolour passages of our lives.

Many people live black, white and grey lives. Just notice the colour of the clothing they wear most days. A passing brushstroke of colour may influence them only occasionally. Those who are bold enough to seize the day are seizing life and its challenges. They dare to dream. They dare to be different.

There are always exceptional teachers for us, and not just at school. I'm sure you have heard that perceptive quote, "When the pupil is ready the teacher will come". When you sincerely wish to discover why, how, when and where, the teacher quietly arrives. Be ready. The teacher can just as quietly leave if the pupil is not tuned in.

Most of us never ever understand just how we change people's lives with a comment or remark. When we say what they think, show what we feel, make a fool of ourselves if necessary, we encourage ourselves and our friends to push against the bars of the cage of safety to enlarge its dimensions. I know it is better to lose on my feet than to play on my knees.

I am learning through volunteering, philosophy, blogging and my friends to enjoy the experiences, the scenery, the weather, the food, the "everything". I want to stretch myself and live with other words I want to "seize the day".

“The future depends on what you do today.” 
~~ Mahatma Gandi

Photo taken in Christchurch, New Zealand, December 2014 at one on the Gap Filler sites.
 I always "seize the day" when invited to New Zealand by my friends Celia and Marja. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Do You Ask Enough Questions?

Asking the right question in order to get ourselves thinking, really thinking - there is so much truth in this.

When we can ask that question, at the right moment, and that gives us clarity of direction, how powerful this can be in our lives. And set us off in a direction that has deep meaning to us individually.

I believe very much that this is where it’s at - when we can reach that spot of deep meaning in our own lives - getting to this spot is so life affirming.

These questions I found while surfing the web have no right or wrong answers, because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.

1. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

3. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

4. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

5. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

6. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

7. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

8. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

9. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

10. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

11. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

12. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

13. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

14. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

15. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

16. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

"I cannot stress enough that the answer to life's questions is often in people's faces.  Try putting your iPhones down once in a while, and look in people's faces.  People's faces will tell you amazing things, like if they are angry or nauseous or asleep"
~~ Amy Poehler

I took this photo in January 2011 when hiking with friends at Seal Cave, near Stoney Bay on the Banks Peninsula Track on the South Island of New Zealand. It would be a perfect spot to contemplate some of these questions.