LIFE STORIES

Today I am inspired by life stories and those who take the time to share them.

Many who know me know that I enjoy reading biographies, in particular those of musicians. Some even go so far to say how can you read another biography of another musician aren’t they all the same?

No they are not all the same.

Each person has a different life story, musician or not, we all have a story to tell. What motivates us? What drives us? What trauma or otherwise has shaped us?

Turia Pitt was severely burnt in a fire during an ultra marathon. Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack whilst surfing. I read their books to learn what gave them the strength to overcome their injuries, their fears, their trauma. Both ladies are back competing in their sports. They did not let their injury define them, or maybe they did, in that they both focussed on not letting their injuries drive them away from their sport but to prove to all that they are bigger than the injury.

I find it fascinating to learn what it is that inspires people. By reading their life stories I learn this. What inspired Bruce Springsteen to become a musician? What is the inspiration behind Richard Clapton’s hit song Girls On The Avenue?

We don’t have to be famous to have a life story. Everyone has a story. Everyone has someone or something in their life that has shaped them, that has inspired them to be who they are. We don’t all have to write a book to share our life story.

Our story can be shared in conversation around the dinner table. In a letter to a loved one. In a blog. Via Facebook status updates or Instagram photos. We can share part of our story or all of it. But never ever let anyone tell you you don’t have a life story to share.

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Holiday Planning

What is inspiring me today? Me.

Now that may sound a little conceited but I encourage us all to be proud of our achievements and feel inspired by our positive actions.

Today it is my  holiday planning that is particularly inspiring.

My husband and I recently travelled to England and Europe for three weeks. The research, bookings and planning I did before we flew out of Australia all paid off. Our tickets for museums, restaurants and tours were all valid. The accomodation I chose was all comfortable, clean and well located. The knowledge I gained before departure helped in our decision making when we had gaps in the day or the itinerary wasn’t quite thought through properly, ie promptly walking to the Jewish museum in Prague on a Saturday….what was I thinking?

Of course there are some things that you don’t think to research, things that you believe will be simple but  end up leaving you feeling a little anxious. Who would imagine that it would be difficult to get a cab in London at 4.30am on a public holiday? Thank goodness our concierge was patient and persistent. After several phone calls he booked us a private driver eliminating our anxiety about missing our flight to Stockholm.

Whenever I travel I do feel nervous that maybe I booked a ticket for an activity in a city we are visiting but on a day we actually aren’t there. What a nightmare. Certainly not the end of the world but it would be disappointing none the less. Thank goodness this has never happened.

I have organised several holidays now and I am pleased and proud, to say, I have done well with each. It inspires me to organise more holidays, not just for our family but for others too.

dscn9359  Salisbury Cathedral. I booked a tour of the towers before I left home.

img_0446 Rooftop waking tour in Stockholm booked well in advance.

Prison Book Club

Today I am inspired by a book I finished last night.

The book is Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley, featuring Ann herself, her friend Carol and the members of the prison book clubs.

I am inspired by Carol’s vision to set up a book club in a Canadian Prison. The book club becomes successful enough for other prisons to support the concept. I find it inspiring that she had a simple vision and took the risk and ride to make this vision a reality.

I am inspired by Ann for overcoming her anxiety that was caused by a mugging in London several years earlier to become involved with the book clubs. It was a huge step to enter the prison but she not only did that but through feeling inspired herself, she went on to give prisoners journals, encouraged them to read outside their comfort zones and of course wrote this book.

I am inspired by the prisoners who embraced the book clubs, found themselves in books, enjoyed the discussions and increased their self esteem and sense of community. Some of the prisoners went on to join or form book clubs once they left prison.

The following is from the book

“A report on the UK project Prison Reading Groups set out anecdotal evidence that fiction has played a role in nurturing empathy among their incarcerated readers and found that book discussions contributed to informal learning and pro-social behaviour.”

 

Take A Walk Through Dorset U.K.

Today I am inspired by a fantastic walk my husband and I completed last month. For six days we walked 118km through South/West England, the majority of the time through County Dorset. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was inspiring.

There were hours upon hours when we had no human contact. In that time we came face to face with sheep and cows but they don’t hold a very good conversation!

At the end of each day we stayed in beautiful, comfortable and welcoming Bed and Breakfasts. Here we could have a bath, a drink with the locals and a good hearty meal.

We walked through fields, through woods, across a working airfield, an active golf course and through gorgeous villages. We had lunch at an ancient castle ruin, in a graveyard, by a lake,  on the side of a track and on top of a coastal cliff.

We got scratched by blackberries and stinging nettles. We saw Doe in the woods and wild pheasants on tracks.

Every day was new. Every day was inspiring. The scenery, the fresh air, the sunshine. All inspiring. All enjoyable.

Thank you to On Foot Holidays for transporting our luggage each day, for booking us into the loveliest Bed and Breakfasts and for your magnificent walking instructions.

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Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Today I am inspired by J K Rowling and her latest book Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.

J K Rowling once again has written a brilliant and gripping book that was too hard to put down. Thank goodness it is easy to read.

The book is actually the script for the play of the same name. It’s great to be introduced to old friends Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore to name a few and of course to be introduced to new characters.

It has mystery. It has darkness and light. It has love and hate. It has you sitting on the edge wondering what could possibly happen next and how will it end.

Harry Potter fans you will not be disappointed.

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The Places We Will Go

Today I am inspired by travel.

Oh yes the places we can go (thanks Dr Seuss). Travelling opens up our minds, our eyes, our horizon.

Travelling gives us life experiences that can be treasured forever. I will always remember the adrenalin rush as I white water rafted in New Zealand. The change in atmosphere when I reached the summit of a volcano in Indonesia and the frustration of not being able to find a vacant yellow cab in New York.

Travelling gives you the opportunity to experience other cultures by living in their environments, visiting museums or participating in events. Living in an apartment in Paris for a week had me feeling like a Parisian. Oh La La.

Travelling can take you to places you once dreamt about. I can still feel the blood rushing through my veins as I stood on the steps of Graceland way back in 1988 and the power of the water at Niagara Falls.

Travelling is inspirational. It is educational. It can be life changing. When we travel we grow. The experiences we have, the people we meet, even the food we eat all have an impact on us that can enrich our lives and effect future decisions.

Today I am inspired by travel. Travelling to a new country or somewhere closer to home. A weekend away or a month. All travel experiences should be embraced.

We all have different experiences. We all have different desires and interests.

Some love cruises, for others camping is the way to go. Our past experiences, our interests, our tastes all influence where and when we travel.

The places we go. The things we experiences. All influential and memorable.

On top of the world

Today I am inspired by a photo and message I recieved from my daughter.

The photo is of her on top of Mt Titlis in Engelberg, Swiss Alps. Her caption simply said “On top of the world”.

What a great caption. It says so much.

Mt Titlis is 3,238 metres above sea level. To us Australians that is close to the top of the world. The highest mountain in Australia is 2,228 metres above sea level.  Mt Titlis is in the northern hemisphere, which to us Australians is also the top of the world. And then of course there is the feeling of elation as she looked out at nature’s beauty and as she said to me “The most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” She was on top of the world.

We feel on top of the world when our soul is filled with excitement, when our hearts are pumping with love and when we have a great feeling of satisification. We have achieved a goal. We are feeling incrediably lucky. We are on top of the world.

The photo and caption were beautiful and inspiring and a reminder that you don’t have to climb a beautiful mountain to feel on top of the world we just need to embrace life and the opportunties it gives us.

 

EVERYONE BRAVE IF FORGIVEN

Today I am inspired by the beautiful novel Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave.

Bravery during WWII London and Malta is central to this novel. The language in which the novel is written is beautiful and engaging. The characters are likable and believable.

If we are brave can we be forgiven for the decisions we make? War certainly effects people in different ways. Some can chose to conduct their lives as normally as possible. Others go out on a limb to serve their country, not just on the battle front but on the home front.

One of the main characters of this book, Mary North, served at home. Firstly as a teacher and then as an ambulance driver. Both occupations were ‘below’ her social standing and both were brave. Can her family forgive her for this bravery of service?

I like Mary. Not only did she show bravery but also niavety, vulnerability and compassion. Her story was inspiring.

The other main characters of the book are her friend Hilda, her love interests Tom and Alistair and the young negro boy whom she befriends Zachary.

I particularly found young Zachary inspiring. He starts off as a shy, weak young boy confused and lacking confidence and ends as a strong young man. Sorry but that is all I can say without giving too much away about him and the subplots that involves him. But let’s say that he and Mary have a very special bond.

One of the most inspiring quotes from the novel is : “It was simply a peculiarity of the British that they should be stoical about two hundred and fifty nights of bombing, while the sight of her with a negro child offended their sensibilities unbearably.”

Turning 90

Today I am inspired by ageing. I know you are probably thinking that it is a funny thing to find inspiring  but if you age well there is much to be inspired by. This all stems from my attendance at a 90th birthday party yesterday. The gentleman who was celebrating his birthday is an inspiration. If I am like him at 90 I will be pleased.

He still has a great sense of humour, something I imagine helps one to accept that they are ageing.

He still attends the gym, something that certainly contributes to good health.

He still looks after the Church garden, something that gives him a great sense of contribution to a community he is proud to be a part of.

He still travels, although last year he didn’t renew his passport conceding that he is too old to travel outside Australia. Actually he admits he doesn’t feel he is too old but the insurance companies think otherwise.

He can still hold an intelligent conversation, something that keeps him connected with many of different generations.

There is also inspiration to be found in what he has seen in 90 years. If one reflects on what has happened not just in his personal life in his 90 years of living but in the world, there is much to gain inspiration from.

The changes in technology in his 90 years is incrediable. His great grandchildren take the television, the computer, the internet and the mobile phone for granted.  They would find it very difficult to imagine how their great grandfather entertained himself at their age.

His grandchildren have always bought their bread and milk from a shop. They can’t imagine a horse and cart delivering these everyday commodoties to their home.

 

The most inspirational thing is that he is happy and able to share these experiences and all with a smile. He will proudly tell you why he has chosen certain plants for the Church garden. He will laugh when he tells you about pumping weights at the gym. He will have a wicked grin when he tells you a joke.

He will share stories about collecting manure  from the delivery horses to sell to gardeners.  He will tell you about all the billy carts he built and rode.

He is 90. He has lived a full and eventful life. He has aged well. He is an inspiration.

 

The Mighty Sea

Today I am inspired by the mighty sea.

Last week I spent a few days at Dalmeny on the south coast of New South Wales. It is a place I have visited often, in fact on average, twice a year for the last 24 years! It is a beautiful coastal hamlet with two glorious long beaches perfect for walking on and one small beach perfect for taking time out to reflect.

The mighty sea and wind were at their angriest the week before my last visit. A huge storm travelled down the east coast of Australia. Winds battered the coast, waves swept in with a mighty force. As if that wasn’t enought there was also a king tide. It was as if nature and the mighty sea were saying “look at me.”

Whilst in Dalmeny my husband and I took a walk along a 2km stretch from the small beach to the boat ramp. I was inspired by the waves crashing in and the whirlpools created by their force. This was a normal winter’s day. No king tide or storm, just waves crashing onto the coastline.

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The mighty sea stirs so many emotions. It can be fierce and frightening. It can be calm and reflective. Quiet or loud. On this day the sea was strong and bold. It was powerful. It was mesmerizing. The white peaks were fresh. The whirlpools were crazy. It was inspiring and fascinating. I was at times standing there totally mesmerized by the beauty and power of the sea.

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The storm and king tide have left an impact on the coast line. The small beach perfect for taking time out to reflect is now sandless. The king tide and storm have stolen all the sand and left sharp edged rocks in its place. Trees along the edge of the beaches are flattened or swept back against the face of their protective cliffs. Bits of trees are scattered on the beach. New rock pools have formed. Cunji, seaweed and sea urchins are lying hopeless amongst the rocks.

All of it a reminder of the storm and king tide. All of it a reminder of the power and wonderment of the sea and nature. All of it inspiring.

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