PHILOSOPHY as a servant of LOVE

20 11 2015

love wins

All our philosophy is as dry as dust if it is not immediately translated into some act of living service. – Gandhi

Faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control. This is the best way to educate enlightened citizens, equipped to fight stupidity and prejudice. The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development.” – Irina Bokova (UNESCO Director-General)

TODAY we celebrate World Philosophy Day and so I’ve spent the whole of the morning devouring the material created as part of the South-South Philosophical Dialogue project designed to provide young people and their teachers with materials for questioning the world, enabling them to grow into responsible, open and participative citizens.

Excerpt from introduction: “True peace is not simply the result of political negotiations or strategic agreements between peoples and States, but the work of human beings with the training and the passion for seeking truth and doing good. True peace therefore has an anthropological basis, which is the humanised human being who is committed to truth and good as the common property of all humankind. This is precisely the fundamental importance that philosophy should have in promoting peace in the world today, as it represents the form of knowledge that quintessentially teaches human beings that the desire for truth and the desire for good come together in the desire to coexist in peace with oneself, with nature and with others.”

The texts selected for this anthology capture the spirits of philosophy in Africa, the Arab region, Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of cosmology, epistemology, politics, gender, ecology and aesthetics.

check out table of contents on page 12 and start exploring:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002284/228411E.pdf

 





Inspiration is an awakening

11 11 2015

Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements. – Puccini

Opera Squad is ENO’s flagship programme in which musicians and singers take over whole schools in a one-day programme of pop up performance and workshops, introducing young people from a wide range of backgrounds to opera. They tailor visits to the needs and interests of each host school.

For any enquiries about Opera Squad, please get in touch with ENO Baylis, baylis@eno.org





Simplicity is the most complex form – C.T.

19 10 2015

Your mind is a powerful asset; use it for positive thoughts and you’ll learn what I’ve learned: I call it, ‘getting-on-the-plateau-of-positivity.’

(and) If at first you don’t succeed, keep on sucking till you suck-a-seed.

– Clark Terry





Mind vs Body: beauty not perfection

1 07 2015

Walk No.30 – Still striving to adopt a growth mindset

All I need is to adopt a growth mindset I tell myself.

I’ve completed 30 walks since I first started preparing for my big hike across Scotland–my hike toward BIG CHANGE. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve walked around 300km of London streets in my boots.

While I’m slightly more confident about hiking the first 70km over 2 days, the thought of having to push my aching body up 1,344 metres on the 3rd day to the top of Ben Nevis makes me physically ill with anxiety.

For comfort I try to remember back to my days as a dancer when my feet looked something like this:

IMG_8714

Physical states influence mental states. Mental states influence physical states. Not sure why philosophers continue to argue over which statement is true. They are both so very true.

When i train, my mind and body are continuously in dialogue. The dialogue first begins over the issue of boredom: My mind feels it is wasting time–if only I could be putting my mind towards something more productive than walking.

Then I begin to feel pain in my thighs, in my lower back, in the sore soles of my feet. I try to distract my mind away from thinking about my body by solving equations in my head. This only lasts so long before my focus returns to my body. I become conscious of my wobbly knees and the cramp in my side.

Why was I able to endure the pain of dancing on bruised toes and sprained ankles all those years ago? Why is this walking business so hard?

I continue to walk and wonder a bit more and walk and wonder a bit  more. Today there are no podcasts or music playlists to listen to. It’s just me, my body and my mind.

Once more I feel the weight of my body slowing down my stride and my mind begins playing tricks on me. First my mind calmly tells my body that it’s okay to stop for a rest. But when my body doesn’t listen to my mind, my mind gets angry and tells my body that training is futile, that i will never make it across the highlands, that it will all just end in heap of embarrassment–why try if you know you will fail?! my mind shouts at me in desperation.

The fragments of my self argue all the way home.

What am I striving for? What will success mean? What is the goal? Am I striving for myself or for others? Am I striving for some ideal of perfection? What will it mean if I succeed? What will it mean if I fail? With only a week to go, I am committed to the idea that I do not know for certain the answer to these questions–that the journey itself will help answer these questions.

For now all I know for certain is that I am striving for big change in whatever form that takes. That I am striving for a metamorphosis.

When I danced I danced for the love of dance. On the one hand, the gesture of raising my leg high above my head was an intended action, consciously willed and controlled; my mind was aware of the complex kinaesthetic sensations of each of my actions. On the other hand, I was equally unconscious when I danced, almost possessed by the vibrations of sound channeling through my body.

The point is that when I danced, my mind was not separate from my body. When I danced I was not fragmented. My parts were all extensions of each other. The phenomenal experience was an experience of wholeness. My mind and my body were joined through my spirit–through my love of dance.

I have 8 more days to work on integrating my mind with my body. I am searching for that sense of wholeness. Doing my best to remove my bias view of the hike as a purely physical feat–as an ambition of the body.

I need to see this hike as art.  As a collective work of art. A collective ambition to manifest beauty–not perfection.

Beauty of shared will and collective consciousness built upon a determination to unearth what Big Change means to us as individuals and for society.

A determination to pool communal resources of mind, body and sprit in order to unlock as much creative thought as possible over three intense and emotional days.

Yes, this is what it’s all about. I’m already starting to feel better about it all.

60 artists will walk together across the highlands in search of wholeness. 60 disruptors. 60 big-changers.

Some will be more fit than others but this is irrelevant. in fact, this is what make’s it an artistic endeavour.

So I will strive for this. For art and for wholeness in the highlands.

——

I would of course be extremely grateful for any financial resources to support the work we are doing at Big Change. Funds raised through the STRIVE Challenge 2015 will be used to support amazing organisations and initiatives that have the potential to shape the future of young people across the UK. Big Change has a fundamental belief in the UK’s young people. They’re our priority, our passion, and our inspiration. And everything we do is designed to help them be the very best version of themselves. Helping them rise above and beyond their circumstances, and giving them the opportunity, motivation and courage to see the positive differences they can make for themselves, for others, and for their community. Whether it be helping young people learn about teamwork, communication, relationships, or giving them an opportunity to improve their emotional wellbeing and physical health, the money raised will support projects that focus on helping young people develop a growth mindset and strive in their own lives.

YOU CAN DONATE BY CLICKING BELOW:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=NikiBB





Metamorphosis: for the love of the caterpillar

29 06 2015




On route to BIG Change

9 06 2015

 I’m raising money for Big Change Charitable Trust. Would love any support you can offer. h





Connecting with our environment through gratitude

18 05 2015

IMG_9595

Art work made by Bella (age 8) in an activity organised by artist and physicist, Geraldine Cox, at St James Junior School (London) as part of our school-wide celebration of the Universe Story.

Here is a link to a recent TED talk & blog post by Geraldinehttps://youtu.be/xkk3CPPFAnY

http://www.findingpatterns.info/journal/2015/4/13/14-billion-five-and-a-half.html