Without us we are nothing



“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” – Anne Frank

Name 5 people you would invite to dinner. Only 5? Do they have to be alive? (only if you really are going to invite them) And so the deep thought begins. Who would you invite?

Welcome to my perch amongst the undergrowth as I look, with admiration, at the sky. Another random launch into a blog? It’s just one of a series of questions posed at a rather wonderful meal earlier in the week. But it’s a question that really did make me think. Do you invite family / friends? Celebrities? Sports personalities? Beautiful women? World leaders and philosophers? How about homeless people, or lonely people? I bet very few people think that deeply.

I’m lucky in that I get to eat with 5 wonderful people regularly. Maybe not all at the same time. Sometimes, not always in the same room. But, it’s 5 wonderful people.

“Come together as a team to achieve a common goal” = Team. Simple really. But, what am I talking about? Thanks for the question. Here’s the answer.

I guess I’ve focussed on #TeamDuke rather a lot this year. The collective of #TeamDuke started as me, Ben, and Liv, as we rose like a Phoenix from the scorched pit in which we were sheltering. Dramatic, eh?

However, #TeamDuke is so much more than the 3 of us and it certainly isn’t an exclusive club. Anything but to be honest. I now view #TeamDuke as a name for the hope that I believe we can give others through the blogs about our growth to where we are now.

And, along the way, #TeamDuke, as in the collective, has grown and what a joy that has been. The previous blogs have documented our growth but, again, #TeamDuke is not exclusive. The only qualifying criteria is to have an open heart.

So, here we are, already 7 1/2 months into 2017 and what have we achieved? Against a backdrop of world madness, I think we have come a long way but in reality the course of our path has only started.

This year started with the specific objective of making it a brilliant year, certainly better than last year. So far, so good. Through it being a brilliant year that has allowed us to focus better on what we have and on all of those wonderful mindfulness learnings discussed in the last blog – Always On My Mindful aka It’s Not A Sin. Through that, I am keen that we reach out and share our enjoyment of life, our fun, and our gratitude for where we are in the hope of lifting others to a better place.

I found the following anonymous quote this morning ‘Family is anyone who loves you unconditionally’. It really hit me as summing up everything I believe in 7 words. The dictionary definition of family talks about parents and children, blood relatives etc. Well, in my humble opinion, that is complete hogwash. Apart from it misses out on adoption, fostering etc, it completely misses the wider context of family. For me, family are those that are there for you, and who you are there for, unconditionally. Those that are there for you, and that you are there for, no matter who at.

And, that is how #TeamDuke has grown as a collective. A group of unconditionally connected people. A group who also want to reach out to be there for those in their hour of need. But also to be there to celebrate the good and the great.

This is why I see #TeamDuke as a badge. Not actually a badge of honour. A badge of friendship and family.

It’s interesting that since Audrey graced my life / our lives a splint ‘#’ has formed – #TeamDurk – as our families connect. But, let’s not forget the rest of the Duke, Ashby, Kirk, Waller, Smith, Ramsden, etc who have and are gracing our lives. And all of the wonderful friends who have touched our lives and being there to provide strength, love and unity.

The kindness that has been shown has been overwhelming and life affirming and it is my mission to show my gratitude by being there for others in whatever shape or form that is needed.

Without us #TeamDuke is nothing. Without you, we are nothing. With us, we can and will be awesome. Let’s live life like it’s the first day of our lives. Let’s live life likes it’s the best day of our lives. It is, because it’s today. Don’t forget – “What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day,” said Pooh.

Thanks, again, for taking time to share in our world. We love it. Everyday (even the rubbish ones, because we have each other).



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