Today, due to the ongoing slipped discs in my back I have mostly been doing this punctuated by an excruciating walk to the GP for prescriptions, (what a thrill):
In my mind however I am doing this: Spot the difference!
credit: Miami Kites
I therefore decided that this would be a great day to celebrate my all time Top Ten Awesome People I have never met!
In no particular order of Awesomeness:
At number one His massive-off-the-scale-awesomeness: Nelson Mandela / Madiba. An incredible human being, beloved by a nation and by most of the world, I have no words to describe the impact learning about him had on me. I was lucky enough to work in South Africa for a while and will never forget the standing ovation and deafening applause I got from quoting him in a speech about girls education. This is that quote which I still meditate on daily.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” I recently learnt from an inspirational blogger (The Progressive Parent) that Mandela was infact quoting Marianne Williamson.
No. 2: Layne Beachley SEVEN times world surfing champion. In a male dominated and frequently outright sexist sport Layne is a surfer I’ve watched with awe. Unlike the Kelly Slaters of this world (unworthy of even a hyperlink in my oppinion!) women like Layne have to work twice as hard to be allowed to achieve the same success.
“There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you’ve got to do is turn around and say,’I can. Watch me.”
No. 3: Ellen MacArtur The fastest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed (in 2005)and she is a SHE! I love sailing but I’m not very good at being alone and whilst the sea is magical to me I have huge respect for it’s power and I can’t begin to imagine the challenges she faced, alone out in the deep. Her book ‘Taking on the World‘ totally gripped me. I found in it, like with so many sea faring tales, a deeper more profound understanding of how humanities own story is inexplicably intertwined with the oceans and wisdom gleaned from it is relevant even to a landlubber like me. Ellen’s words stay with me when I feel like my ailments are swirling around the tiny vessel that is my earthly body:
-“When I was out there I was never ever alone, there was always a team of people behind me, in mind if not in body”
-“Courage is not having the energy to go on, it’s going on when you do not have the energy…”
-“You don’t fear for your life in the middle of a storm, you can’t really afford to”
No. 4: Patch Adams Reading this man’s autobigraphy puts a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. To me he symbolises hope, compassion, love and common sense. In the course of my life I have so far seen a great many Doctors in many different hospitals around the UK for a variety of different afflictions, not least for my epilepsy. So many infact that I want to make this topic ‘My search for a Doctor’ a separate post entirely. All those Doctors, specialising in a myriad of medical disciplines, largely trained in the West, some ‘good’ and some less so, all, every single one of them have one unifying fact in common. This fact is that they see the human body as being made up of distinct sections and they all specialise in their own very specific sections. They do not study the other sections and do not consider the possibility that these sections interact. According to these doctors not only do these fleshy-biological-humanoid sections have no relationship to each other they also exist in isolation to their community and environment. To me, this attitude at the heart of so much western medicine seems fundamentally flawed and totally non-sensical.
Dr. Patch Adams is pioneering holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the world, and the health care system itself. His model is organized around these extremly simple principles which are totally lacking in any hospital I’ve ever been in:
- Care is free.
- Patients are treated as friends.
- Ample time is given to the care interaction (e.g. initial interviews with patients are 3 hours long).
- All complementary medicine is welcomed.
- The health of the staff is as important as the health of the patients.
- Care is infused with fun and play.
It is one of my most despearte and feverent hopes that this type of thinking will become a global standard in my lifetime.
“The purpose of a doctor or any human in general should not be to simply delay the death of the patient, but to increase the person’s quality of life. ”
No. 5: Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama Probably features on alot of ‘Top Ten’s’ but I felt that I can’t really leave him out as our home is festooned with more of his quotes than any other. Although I am Christian by culture, many other faiths, particularly Buddhism speak strongly to me and the Dalai Lama’s personal story is also about as inspiring as stories come!
-Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.
-If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.
– If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
– My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
– Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
No. 6: Dan Eldon artist, activist, adventurer (1970-1993) My Mum gave me ‘The Journey is The Destination‘ when I was doing my GCSE Art. It totally BLEW MY MIND. MAAAAN! By that age I had already visited Kenya several times, fallen in love with the country, the people and of course, the elephants. I spent hours looking at his sketch books, drinking them in and researching the young man, only a few years older than me who had made them and then lost his life so suddenly and brutally. Dan Eldon taught me that creativity heals, that being creative does not have to be a scheduled thing. The idea that ‘Now it is the Art Lesson. We must do ‘Art’ and use our creativity’ is completly wrong. Creativity infuses daily life and I need not look further than my window for inspiration, great and powerful artistic opportunities are there for us all if we only reach out and take them. Dan Eldon’s books helped me to reach out and realise that ‘The Journey is The Destination‘, every journey, be it the journey of happiness or even health. The Journey itself is the true destination and therefore we should strive to embrace the wonderful array of journeys we find ourselves on now.
No. 7: Laird Hamilton A fellow Pisces, water lover and there our similarities come to an abrupt end! Surfer and big wave rider. ‘big’ seems like puny weakling of a word to describe the gigantic moving water mountains that Hamilton rides. One human being’s ability to survive, against the odds on some of the Goddesses wildest creations amazes and inspires me. Hamilton along with the likes of Gerry Lopez are the kind of surfers I can watch, in jaw-dropping-stunned-awe for hours on end. They illustrate why surfing is like no other sport, that there is a deeper more spirtiual side to it whether it be in Lopez statement, (on towing into Peahi/Jaws) “Okay, shit, I guess this is a good day to die!” or Hamilton trying to explain what surfing really is… “For those searching for something more than just the norm. We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going down hill, when we stop taking risks.” These men, these surfers, remind me to live in the moment, because afterall, the moment is all there really is.
No. 8: Betty Williams. An ordinary woman and co recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. On my list after I saw her speaking on TV at a youth rally in Canada in 2009. She is here because of he ordinaryness, a mum, a receptionist interested in gardening and dressmaking and founder of the World Centers of Compassion for Children International, in honour of His Holiness the Dalai Lama! She has travelled the globe recording the testimonies of children who have been subjected to horrors beyond belief and has dedicated her life to developing a new paradigm within global cultures and governments that embrace, nurture, and empower children with a compassionate world view.
‘Women are strong enough to help the men to understand. They are the givers of life and they must now protect life’.
No. 9: Dame Jane Goodall DBE, is a mother, grandmother, a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. She carries an aura of Peace whenever I’ve heard her talk and a feminine strength and passion for the earth and its creatures that is almost tangible. I would love to meet her and hear some of her wisdom first hand.
‘People say to me so often, ‘Jane how can you be so peaceful when everywhere around you people want books signed, people are asking questions and yet you seem peaceful,’ and I always answer that it is the peace of the forest that I carry inside.’
and last but by no means least! No. 10: Richard Leakey politician, paleoanthropologist and conservationist. If photo’s speak a thousand words then this one does to me:
In 1989, Richard Leakey burnt a pyre of elephant tusks to confirm the Kenya Wildlife Service’s commitment to a ban on ivory. image credit: Andrew Holbrooke/Corbis
This act caught the attention of world media more than many had previously thought possible and Leakey made great progress protecting Elephants in Kenya. However, there is much still do. Leakey spearheaded a campaign and reform that benefitted, Elephants, Kenyans and the world.
‘Earlier 100,000 elephants lived in Kenya and we didn’t have any noteworthy problem with it. The problem that we have is not that there are now more elephants’.
So there it is my top ten awesomest strangers! Whilst I lie here I wonder what they are all doing right now? If they ever have grey horizontal days too? I suspect they do, but I also hope that like me they are kitesurfing in thier minds on those days too!