people who inspire

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.

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.

 

Brothers Angels and Demons

Today I am inspired by a gig I attended on Saturday night: Brothers Angels and Demons.

It’s probably best I give you a little bit of background. I am a huge fan of the rock band The Angels. The first of their concerts I attended was in February 1981, the last time I saw them was in 2010.

Their lead singer was Doc Neeson. A charasmatic, mad Irishman who was the best front man ever (IMHO)! He left The Angels in 2010 to be replaced by singer Dave Gleeson, a singer I have never been a big fan of, hence why I haven’t seen the band in recent times. Sadly in 2014 Doc passed away after fighting brain cancer for 17 months.

The Angels were formed by Doc and the Brewster brothers, John and Rick. They had great chemistry on stage and wrote brilliant songs including this one.

 

John and Rick are the third generation of professional musicians in the Brewster family, however the first to play rock music! John’s son Sam is now a member of The Angels. So basically there are four generations of the family celebrating and enjoying music in the professional arena.

Because this band have always  inpsired me and given me much music pleasure I wanted to see this show. It has toured in Adelaide (their home town) and Sydney several times but only one other time to Melbourne. On that occassion I couldn’t attend. This time around I was determined not to miss the show.

Brothers Angels and Demons is the story of the Brewster family’s musical journey. With an MC to ask questions and prompt story telling, John and Rick share stories about their grandfather and father, about learning classical music and discovering Bob Dylan. Stories about writing songs with Doc, about nearly giving up on a music career and the highs of success. All of it very inspiring. They also share music.  The music includes a classical piece written by their grandfather, improvised music from their first professional band The Moonshine Jug and String Band, songs they co-wrote for The Angels and for their Brewster Brothers CD and songs that have inspired them.

Performing in this brilliant show with John and Rick are John’s three sons Sam, Tom and Harry. An inspirational show of a talented family who clearly not only enjoy music but appreciate what a great opportunity it has given them. If you are a fan of The Angels or simply Australian rock music, then see this show. It will inform. It will inspire. You will enjoy.

 

Autism and Music

Today I am inspired by a podcast I listened to yesterday. The podcast was from the Only Human series. It was the topic and those involved in the research that was inspiring.

A doctor in America had an idea that the methods used by Opera singers to control their voice could help Autistic people who stutter. Luckily she has a friend who is an opera singer and was prepared to assist with the research.

The results were amazing. A young man who had struggled throughout life to make friends, to be confident and to find a job, had his life changed due to this research. The opera singer spent months with this young man teaching him how to control his voice and breathing using the same methods opera singers use. It did not involve singing, simply the breathing method.

On this particular podcast you can hear this young man struggle with his stutter before he started this project and then hear him speak  6 months and then 18 months later. It was inspirational. The young man’s self esteem has escalated, simply because he can now speak normally.

I found his determination and motivation inspirational. I found the doctor inspirational. She had an idea, a vision and turned that into something very positive and life changing. Due to this research there are now other autistic people benefitting from this project.

 

Magda Szubanski

Today I am inspired by Magda Szubanski and her beautiful memoir Reckoning.

Magda is well known in Australia for her comic work, paricularly as Sharon in the TV series Kath and Kim. Reckoning is her first book. This memoir is not just Magda’s story but also the story of her Polish father, in particular his life in Warsaw during World War II.

It is inspiring to read a memoir that is not a celebrity gush or gossip feast. As one podcaster said recently it is more of an Australian story than a celebrity story.

Her frankness about her struggle with her own sexuality, her weight and her father’s past are refreshing and insightful.

If you are a fan of Magda’s you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy celebrity gossip then this book is not for you. If you are interested in Australian stories then this is a must. If you have an interest in World War II history then this will feed your hunger for knowledge.

Vale David Bowie

Like many music fans across the world today I am in shock by the death of the inspirational musician David Bowie.

His music, his movies, his art, his filmclips and his fashion have all inspired people for decades.

I don’t have a large collection of Bowie music on my ipod. I am very familiar with his hits. I enjoy singing along to the tunes. When I was a teenager I had the Space Oddity LP on vinyl. These days I have his greatest hits on my ipod.

Yet he is one of those musicians that inspires me. He was a genius. He was talented. He was incrediable. He is someone you could not ignore.

Last year I had the privilege of visiting the David Bowie exhibition in Melbourne (Australia). An exhibit of his costumes, music, clips and movies. An exhibit that was inspirational.

I read the following social media post yesterday  “There will never be another David Bowie. There will be another Justin Beiber.”

So true. Today’s musicians may have been inspired by the greats such as Bowie, Lennon, Elvis and Jagger but will any of them ever make it to the greatness of these inspirational geniuses.

Today music fans mourn the passing of another inspirational musician. R.I.P. David Bowie 1947-2016

Friendships

Today I am inspired by friendships. One of the most valuable things in my life are my family and my friends.

I am inspired by the love and warm feelings felt by the friends that are in my life daily. The bond.

I am inspired by the connections with friends whom you may not see very often but when you do there is no awkwardness. It is comfortable, as if  we are frequently in each other’s company.

I am inspired by those who I barely know but welcome me with open arms.

All of these frienship types I have experienced this week. Today I am grateful I have experienced them and confident that I will again.

Talking on the phone with life long friends. Sharing our joys and concerns.

A text message out of the blue from a dear  friend telling me she is having surgery. That she was unsure about sharing it but then knew she should.

Lunch with friends we haven’t see for two years. Greeting each other with a hug. Chatting, sharing stories of our girls, sharing food and wine. Promising not to leave it two years before our next get together.

Friends whom I have an online connection with, who are connected through our admiration for one rock star. Friends who I have meet in person just one other time, welcoming me with a smile, introducing me to others, dancing and singing together in a night to celebrate the life and music of our idol.

There are strong friendships, there are frienships based on a common interest. There are life long friendships and friendships that hang around for a season or a reason. Friendships change with time. Some disappear, some become stronger, others static.

To me friendships are not just inspirational but necessary. They bring joy, love, support and learnings into my life.

Friends; a valuable aspect of my who I am.

 

Inspiration from a homeless man

This morning I read a small piece on Philani Dladla, a young South African man who has turned his life around through book reviews. I found it so inspiring I want to share the story with you.

Philani Dladla, also known as the Pavement Bookworm, grew up in KwaZula Natal loving books but after he moved to Johannesburg to find work he started using drugs. When he could no longer pay his rent he was forced to start living on the streets.  He noticed that many beggars were getting money for nothing and decided he would be different and offer something for money. That something was books and reviews.

He started selling books that he had read and offering a book review with the book. He priced the books according to how much he enjoyed them. The more enjoyment he got from a book, the more it would cost you to buy it. He soon became known as the Pavement Bookworm and his small business started growing.

With this new level of self esteem, some motivation and a lot of self help books, Philani decided to stop using drugs and help others. He used the money he made from selling books to buy soup and bread for the homeless. Soon after he decided to share his love of books with underprivileged children by setting up a Book Readers Club in a local park where kids were hanging out waiting for their parents to finish work.

He would give the children books on the condition that they came back to him to share what they learnt from the book. The children and Philani not only read together they discuss their hopes, dreams and challenges, but most of all they support each other through the tough times.

A story like this, a man like this, gives us hope for the homeless and the drug addicts. Life can be challenging for everyone, but especially these people. If something as simple as the love of reading can turn their lives around, that is fantastic, to share that love and help turn other lives around, is inspirational.

Here Comes The Sun

Today I am inspired by Jeremy Oxley and Mary Oxley Griffiths and their book “Here comes the sun”. Jeremy Oxley is the lead singer of Australian rock group The Sunnyboys. Mary is his wife. In the 1980’s at the age of 22, Jeremy was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He went through some harrowing experiences with the mental health services and of course his own mental health.

Mary had been widowed for 5 years, working as a nurse when she met Jeremy. With the encouragement of her twin boys Mary pursued a relationship with Jeremy after she had discovered he was unwell.

I am inspired by her strength, her dedication, her patience and love to help Jeremy believe in himself again and eventually be confident enough to take to the stage again.

I am inspired by his strength, his resilience and his honesty.

The book is well written. If you are a fan of The Sunnyboys you will find it inspiring and interesting. If you are interested in mental health issues you will find it inspiring and interesting. If you believe in the power of love, patience and resilience you will enjoy this book.