Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18a

24 11 2015

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. – George Bernard Shaw (From Man and Superman)

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A celebration of light and hope.

These were my favourites of the evening:

https://southlondoncares.org.uk/

https://www.sceneandheard.org/

http://theclinkcharity.org/

 





In remembrance

11 11 2015

Ode on Intimations of Immortality  – Wordsworth

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight
                 To me did seem
            Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
             Turn wheresoe’er I may,
              By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

            The rainbow comes and goes, 
            And lovely is the rose; 
            The moon doth with delight
     Look round her when the heavens are bare;
            Waters on a starry night
            Are beautiful and fair;
     The sunshine is a glorious birth;
     But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
     And while the young lambs bound
            As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief, 
            And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep,--
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong:
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng.
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep, 
            And all the earth is gay;
                Land and sea
     Give themselves up to jollity,
            And with the heart of May
     Doth every beast keep holiday;--
                Thou child of joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 
        Shepherd-boy!
				
Ye blesséd Creatures, I have heard the call 
     Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; 
     My heart is at your festival,
       My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel--I feel it all.
         O evil day! if I were sullen 
         While Earth herself is adorning
              This sweet May-morning;
         And the children are culling
              On every side
         In a thousand valleys far and wide
         Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, 
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:--
         I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
         --But there’s a tree, of many, one, 
A single field which I have look’d upon, 
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
              The pansy at my feet
              Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam? 
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; 
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
          Hath had elsewhere its setting
               And cometh from afar;
          Not in entire forgetfulness,
          And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
               From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
               Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 
               He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east 
     Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
          And by the vision splendid
          Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; 
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, 
And, even with something of a mother’s mind,
               And no unworthy aim,
          The homely nurse doth all she can 
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
               Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
          A wedding or a festival, 
          A mourning or a funeral;
               And this hath now his heart,
          And unto this he frames his song:
               Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife; 
          But it will not be long 
          Ere this be thrown aside, 
          And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage; 
          As if his whole vocation
          Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie 
          Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,--
          Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
          On whom those truths rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by; 
          To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed, without the sense of sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thoughts where we in waiting lie;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
          0 joy! that in our embers
          Is something that doth live,
          That Nature yet remembers
          What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:--
          --Not for these I raise
          The song of thanks and praise;
     But for those obstinate questionings
     Of sense and outward things,
     Fallings from us, vanishings,
     Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized, 
High instincts, before which our mortal nature 
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
     But for those first affections,
     Those shadowy recollections,
          Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, 
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
     Uphold us--cherish--and have power to make 
Our noisy years seem moments in the being 
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
               To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
               Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
   Hence, in a season of calm weather
          Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
               Which brought us hither;
          Can in a moment travel thither--
And see the children sport upon the shore, 
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then, sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
          And let the young lambs bound
          As to the tabor’s sound!
     We, in thought, will join your throng, 
          Ye that pipe and ye that play, 
          Ye that through your hearts to-day 
          Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright 
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
     Though nothing can bring back the hour 
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
          We will grieve not, rather find
          Strength in what remains behind;
          In the primal sympathy
          Which having been must ever be;
          In the soothing thoughts that spring
          Out of human suffering;
          In the faith that looks through death, 
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And 0, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish’d one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway;
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
               Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality; 
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
   Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
   Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
   To me the meanest flower that blows can give
   Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.






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





RECLAIM-ing leadership

9 11 2015

I think for leadership positions, emotional intelligence is more important than cognitive intelligence. People with emotional intelligence usually have a lot of cognitive intelligence, but that’s not always true the other way around. 

— John Mackey, C-founder & CEO of Whole Foods

RECLAIM is a Manchester-based youth leadership charity set up in 2007 with a bold aim to end leadership inequality within a generation.  Their flagship programme, LEAD identifies young  leaders and helps them develop their skills so that they go on and engage their local community or find work. Big Change is working with RECLAIM to build on their experience and extend their impact to national scale.

 

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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:

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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





UNEARTHING in Kings Cross

15 05 2015

 

The folks at Global Generation developed a methodology based around the three territories of ‘I, We and the Planet’ providing space for people to increase awareness of self, to connect to each other and to connect to the natural world. There are many different ways that you can get involved, whether it be volunteering, doing an internship, visiting the garden, eating at the cafe, hiring out the space for your own party or coming to one of our events. For more information, see here: http://www.globalgeneration.org.uk/ Contactgenerate@globalgeneration.org.uk

They also support wider outreach work with schools and adults who want to learn about how to teach the “story of our universe” to young people as a catalyst for positive environmental and social change.http://www.universestory.org.uk/

                                    

 

 

 





Into the Wild (a dedication to our mothers)

10 05 2015

from Olivia & Niki to our mothers. thank you for planting seeds of love and instilling in us those values that hold us steady along our incredible journey into the wild (- and back).

The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there’s ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it’s really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow. – Carlton Cuse

into wild poster

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http://musicpleer.com/#47222cfe285819b105548cc30b28b236

An American Scholar by Ralph Waldo Emerson