Living

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“We have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter. Too much of the time, we are blinded by our own pursuits of people to love us, people that don’t even matter, while all that time we waste and the people who do love us have to stand on the sidewalk and watch us beg in the streets! It’s time to put an end to this. It’s time for us to let ourselves be loved.” ― C. JoyBell C.

You know that feeling when you wake up and your first thought is “what the f**k?”.

Welcome to this morning’s View From The Bed. 

As is usual, I wake up – and for that I am extremely grateful. The sky is grey, the breeze a few degrees less than it was a month ago, the bed contains just me. Audrey’s back in Harrogate, being a wonderful mum, and Ringo is downstairs. Zeekee is somewhere else. So, I’m just laying here thinking “what the f**k?”. 

My routine walk through social media has posed more questions than answers. 

  • Are Leeds Rhinos going to win today? That’s anybody’s guess, the way the team are playing.
  • Does Boris Johnson want to be the next PM, as he pitches in with his post Brexit doomed mongering again? Make you own mind up. If he dies and he succeeds, god help the U.K. We’ll just move to Scotland, vote for independence and live happily ever after.
  • Will the U.K. government ever wake up and realise we need to throw money at the police force to help tackle the worsening crime rate? Of course not. Their leader is far happier rigidly dancing like some smiling freak.
  • Empaths are a very special type of human… (from a Facebook group) What’s an empath??? Definition of an empath – ‘(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual’. Hello! It says science fiction. 
  • “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and simple. And yet, everyone rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond them.” – Alan Watts. 

AT LAST! An answer to a question. In fact the answer to my waking question – “what the f**k?” And it certainly answers the questions raised by everything else I’ve read on social media. 

We wake up and, most of us, worry. What’s today going to be like? Have I enough money? During the week, what hell will work bring? Is it going to rain? In Manchester, they don’t need to ask because it will. What shall I eat tonight? Are empaths a very special type of human?

Rather than being alive we almost suffocate ourselves with questions. Some answerable but nothing to worry about, and some unanswerable so, what is there to worry about. We certainly shouldn’t worry about science fiction.

Wait – how do you spell epiphany? 

I think we can easily worry about unanswerable stuff, try to achieve what doesn’t need to be achieved and forget to just be alive. 

So, my quest today is to breathe, to open my eyes, to hug those who I can hug, and to be alive. I don’t need to worry about the other stuff. Boris will do want Boris wants because he’s a first class, deluded fool (and we all know one or two who fall into that category don’t we); the U.K. government will do what it wants because it is littered with deluded fools (and we all know more than one or two of those don’t we); empaths? And, will the Rhinos win? I think I’ll just go along with the idea of being alive.

And, so my dear reader to this Sunday morning blast of words. My mantra today ‘What The f**k. Just be alive’. Perhaps imagine being stood on a beach. But, let’s not lose the plot.

That’s all.

Happy Sunday 😀😀😀😀

Take care

Jon

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Communication won’t let me down again. True!

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“No one can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody” – unknown 

“All I know time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day. The clock ticks life away” – Linkin Park

Such beautiful words from an awesome band. So sad the loss of the inspirational Chester Bennington and, I guess, there’s the starting point for the latest View From The Ground.

I’ve just had 3 wonderful days at the Leeds Festival with Ben and Audrey (the plans are for Liv to come along, for at least part of it, next year). And, I’d better not forget that Gaby and her friend Emma made a welcome appearance. 

It’s such an amazing experience being at the Festival. A feast of music of the highest order.

It’s great to see the age range expanding at the Festival. It’s the 14th Ben and I have attended, and Audrey’s 4th, I think.

It’s incredible to be amongst over 70,000 people united by music – of so many genres. Rain or shine, and it did both, the crowds gather together to bounce along and around like nothing else matters. And for those few days it doesn’t.

It was very poignant this year as Sum 41 we’re playing. The very first band that I took an 8 year old Ben to see. 15 1/2 years ago, we still remember his excitement, tinged with slight nervousness about whether it was going to be too loud 😀. Still a beautiful memory.

And on the same day, Mike Shinoda was playing – of Linkin Park fame, the first headliner Ben and I saw at the Leeds Festival in 2003. 

As I’ve already referred to, the wonderful Chester Bennington was lost to his family, friends, band mates and the world of music in such sad circumstances. So, when Mike sang In The End, accompanied by the thousands in the crowd it was a highly emotional time. So, so sad.

However, an added bonus of the day, and Festival was when Mike joint Sun 41 for an energised version of Linkin Park’s classic, Faint.

But, it’s the loss of Chester Bennington that has prayed on my mind. A man with everything, but everything was not enough to stop him taking his own life.

Of course, Chester is one of too many who feel that they can not deal with their troubles and sadly decide to take the worse possible option – and one from which there is no second choice, unless the person is lucky and found before it is too late.

We all read of too many tragedies like this and I’m always left wondering what we can do to help people before it is too late.

I know I’ve written about it before but I really believe that talking is such an important release of the poison that can effect our minds. I’m not saying this is the solution to all ills, but I’m just throwing it out there was a possibility.

In the last blog I wrote about my concerns about 24 / 7 news. I really worry at how that poisons the mind. Just today, in the U.K. news there’s trouble brewing with Russia; The Trump was internal battles – I mean with his people, not his inability to be rational; a beautiful BBC presenter has lost her battle with the evil that is cancer at the age of 40; restaurants might have to put the calorie count on their menus (WHAT? We kind of know that a cream based dish is going to add a few pounds); and Brexit is just a pain in the ar5e. 

And then we wonder why people are perhaps struggling. Finances are tough, global warming is paraded before us, terrorism looms. And then, you walk throw your nearest city – there are more and more people sleeping on the streets; more high street shops are closing; security bollards are erected to stop the evil of terrorism and so on. 

It is enough to get you down, but let’s not forget. We woke up this morning – the greatest gift of all. That’s a starting point to celebrate. 

Everything else we see, read, feel, experience is secondary. But, where they become a threat to our daily life, we shouldn’t hide from them. We should talk them out.

In respect of many of what I have highlighted, in reality what can we do about them – individually. Yes, we should be vigilant against terrorism; we should be environmentally conscious in relation to the planet; we should try and help those on the street – starting with food, drink, conversation, inclusion, and moving on to speaking up and getting the government to do more (that’s more that what has recently been announced in the U.K.). 

But, what can we do about Russia? What can we do about The Trump? In the U.K., what can we do to stop Teresa May dancing?

And, let’s not forget, those bl00dy restaurants who put calories on the menu. Let’s compete with our dining companions and select the meal with the most calories. Stick it to them. Down with celery sticks and up with mozzarella sticks. Down with salad and up with steak with peppercorn sauce, triple cooked chips and lots and lots of lard!

Of course, I say the above with my tongue placed firmly in my food filled cheek.

Let’s talk talk and talk some more. As they say a problem shared is a problem ……………… shared. But, I guess we all worry. We all carry some concern for things. But let’s reach out and don’t let lack of communication let us down.

And, so, this is where I will in fact stop talking. For now. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I really appreciate that people take the time to drop in on the blogs. I hope you enjoy them. They always come with the disclaimer of never meaning to fend and apologies for the typos. This one is been finished on a train journey from London.

Take care.

Jon

A. Young. Mind. (Please read and share 😀)

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“Together with open conversations and greater understanding, we can ensure that attitudes for mental health change and children receive the support they deserve.” – Kate Middleton

“Mental health needs a great deal of attention. It’s the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with.” – Adam Ant

And a great big welcome to another view from the ground. Another day, another bonkers news story. 

Imagine a world where your only exposure to news was TV news twice a day and / or your easy to read broadsheet newspaper. Imagine! 

Well that’s the world I grew up in. Three TV channels – news at 1 pm (when I was at school) and 9,00 pm on the BBC, at the legendary 10 o’clock news on ITV with the infamous chimes of Big Ben at the start.

I chose – or more a case, my mum and dad chose what I watched. And, once a TV channel was selected, that’s what you watched. To change it you had to get up and change the channel on the TV.

As for newspapers, any look at them was at the weekend AFTER dad had read them. And then, in the main, it was a quick look at the Sports news.

How did we fill our days? Not a 1,000 channels to wade through; no 24 / 7 news; no PS4 or whatever; NO social media or internet; no raving bonkers world leaders …………………….. well, let’s take a rain check on that one.

And, so, we walk unaided into what I want to explore in this wall of words. It’s something that I have written about before but, I’ve been inspired to raise this again. Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives. 

Of even greater concern is 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

If you don’t believe me, have a look at www.mentalhealth.org.uk, the source for my information.

It’s incredibly worrying and it’s something which needs dealing with and, certainly, an issue where awareness needs raising. 

And this is where a brilliant group of young folk, including Audrey’s wonderful daughter, Eilidh, are looking to get involved. To raise awareness of the challenge that is faced by children and young people with facing up to the real life problems that they face every day.

Eilidh and her group have embarked on the NCS programme. For those that don’t know, NCS (National Citizen Service) is a phenomenal UK initiative aimed at 15 to 17 years-old to build skills for work and life. Over 400,000 young people have already signed up. Thanks to government backing (yes, the U.K. government have done something good), the maximum cost to participate is £50, depending on a person’s circumstances.

NCS exists to help tackle some of the biggest social challenges in the U.K. 

Social cohesion – to bring the U.K. together by building stronger, more integrated communities and fostering understanding between young people from different backgrounds. 

Social mobility – to build essential skills for life and work, investing in future talent.

Social engagement – to engage young people in social action in their communities and the democratic process, building their understanding of their responsibilities as citizens.

Yes all of the above information is courtesy of the NCS website – https://www.ncsyes.co.uk. If you’re interested, take a look. Liv did the programme a few years ago and I can’t speak highly enough about it – and those who work with the participants.

Anyhow, back to the purpose of the blog. Eilidh and her group. One of the pieces of work the participants need to complete, in their group, is to undertake a project which contributes to their community. They have selected to raise awareness about mental health issues faced by children and young people. They are planning to raise money to donate to the local MIND branch in Harrogate who do such magnificent work with those who need somewhere to go for support, guidance and understanding. 

When I heard what they were looking to do I could only look and admire.

As stated on the mental health website, the emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up. Think back to my above observation about the ways I could access world news when I was young.

Mostly things that happen to children don’t lead to mental health problems on their own, but traumatic events can trigger problems for children and young people who are already vulnerable.

I have a real belief that the ability to access news 24 / 7 can contribute to the worry that then adds to a potentially vulnerable mind. Social media is a window to all kind of wonderful information and new friends but it can also be the edge of a precipice for someone who is low on confidence and open to on-line bullying, or worse.

Think about the nonsense that is being trotted out at the moment by Donald Trump in the USA and Boris Johnson in the U.K. Think about the poisonous effect that their words have on people. Their words are splashed over every possible media outlet, with the beliefs of the writer included. Hate, worry, hate, worry. It can eat at the mind if care and balance isn’t brought in. 

And then life changes can take effect – moving home or school. Some start school feeling excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment. 

Teenagers can also often experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. An important part of growing up is working out and accepting who you are. Some young people find it hard to make this transition to adulthood and may experiment with alcohol, drugs or other substances that can affect mental health.

There is so much that children and young people see these days that just seems worse than I remember. It can breed true anxiety.

Homelessness – on the streets of every major city. Could it be me?

Terrorism – Manchester, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, London to name just a few. Could that have been me?

Brexit – so little is understood. And that’s just by the idiots negotiating on our behalf!

Illness – everything we do, eat, drink could cause us harm?

That’s just a few things but we need to wake up, stand up, look and be ready to help. It’s real!

So, the call to arms by Eilidh and her NCS group (including the also wonderful, and smiley, Tash) is magnificent. 

But, they need you! If you want to help by sponsoring a walk they are doing in onesies, enter a raffle to win a rather nice prize, or fund other ways to contribute and in turn support MIND, read on.

The idea with the sponsored walk and raffle is to raise money to then hire Everyman cinema in Harrogate for 2 films and the profits go direct to the fund raising efforts, i.e. MIND.

I can hear the screams of ‘how can I donate?’. Bless you – you can either do this by their Instagram page – @harrogatecinemind, or drop me an email to jonlduke@icloud.com and I’ll put you in contact.

This is an inspirational initiative and I really hope it receives the support it deserves.

Thank you.

 

Jon

Good for the sole. Good for the soul

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Don’t you hate it when you look at a blog title and think – ‘WHAT????’ I guess that the case with most of my blogs. Okay, all of my blogs. Welcome to my world.

Rain? Yes, it seems the U.K. returned to its default position of grey sky and rain for a while. After weeks of people complaining that it’s too hot, we then hapeople complaining about the rain. Well, when I say people I mean ME!

Join me on my reflective perch on the ground whilst I rejoice at these glorious days of sunshine and blue sky.

“Nothing soothes the soul like a walk on the beach” – unknown 

“A simple life is good with me. I don’t need a whole lot. For me a t-shirt, a pair of short, barefoot on a beach and I’m happy” – Yanni

Oh, the sun. That big yellow ball of firey happiness. The cause of miles of smiles. But, of course, it does bring a health warning so always ensure you protect yourself from the sun’s glare, and take care of the elderly and your pets.

For me, to wake up to see Mr Blue Sky doing it right, and the sun smiling with his hat on, it gives the day a damn fine better chance of being a good one. Even for me!

I think this year, more than any, I’ve appreciated the power of blue sky and sunshine. It might be because we had such a lousy winter – and early spring; it might be because I’m appreciating life’s beauty through just being happy; or it might be just because I’m just grateful. 

Whatever it is, I just love good, warm, weather. It gets me out of the house. It gets me out exercising through walking with Ringo. I even find the outer edges of my mouth curling into a shape that some may call a smile.

We’ve been lucky this year, with the wonderful weather including a couple of music festivals, a couple of days out for birthdays, and The Wee One’s big birthday. Beautiful weather meaning everyone being outside – wonderful. It’s good for the soul.

And then there’s been #TeamDurky’s trip to Catalonia. It’s been 3 years since the last visit to Tamariu, and it was Audrey and Gaby’s first trip there. And, it certainly didn’t disappoint. Quite the opposite. 

We were very, very lucky to have the opportunity to travel to Tamariu. It’s hard to put into words the beauty of the coastline around Tamariu. Mainly unspoilt by commercialism; a full English would be a term for someone who’s had a good meal rather than a sizeable breakfast with the full trimmings.

But, the jewel in the crown of Tamariu is how the village’s ‘persona’ changes throughout the day. 

The traditional has always been a morning walk into Tamariu by me and Ben. Hunter gatherers in search of croissants and bread. It’s also our chance to get excited about the up and coming Leeds Festival, to talk about the pending football season, to reflect on the rugby league season and generally chat. We always amble on the promenade, stare at the sea, and just enjoy that time together. I’m so lucky to have such a strong friendship with such a wonderful young man.

Of course, don’t get me wrong. The invitation has always been there for Liv to have a separate walk. I love walking. But, Liv always gratefully declines. But, we have our time in the sea or the pool. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Liv’s progress makes me so proud. 

Family, it’s everything – to me anyway. I’m so lucky and, as was seen as The Wee One’s big party, the family – and friend group – just gets bigger, better and stronger. I feel so sorry for those without family and I feel equally sorry for those who have family but choose to ignore it.

However, I’ll always celebrate how lucky I am. 

A new dimension to our visit to Tamariu is that Audrey equally loves walking and was so keen to have a morning walk into Tamariu. However, the challenge was not letting that encroach into my routine with Ben and it not delaying our drive to the beach. Audrey did express the desire to see Tamariu early, before things started opening. So, for the 2nd half of our week in Tamariu, we set off nice and early and, suffice it to say, we were rewarded in abundance.

Early morning, walking on the beach, and then standing on the edge of the sea with the water gentling rippling on our feet, whilst watch small boats swaying on the calm sea. Can you picture it? I can as I write this. Beautiful!

It felt like the best form of meditation; perfect peace. Two people, in love, standing on the edge of the Mediterranean been just so. The feel of the pebble and sand on the feet, along with the sea, almost massaging. 

It was so good to seize the moment. Before the day started, we started our day. We saw a different a Tamariu to that I would see with Ben an hour later, and a different Tamariu to the one we would all see, including Liv and Gaby all beautiful in their own sweet way.

But, as we stood in the sea, we knew it was good for the sole and good for the soul.

I guess it’s just wonderful to get that chance to share such a moment.

So many of us are lucky to have that place that we can return to. For me, Ben and Liv, it felt truly stunning to see a place we probably didn’t think we’d return to. But we went, we inducted Audrey and Gaby to our little bit of heaven and, until the next time, it is framed in our memories.

And, there it is. A bit of a reflective blog. I hope not indulgent. Hopefully, just my way of sharing how we’ve been lucky to find of spot of happiness. I hope the same for all. We have a beautiful planet, let’s find our place to experience all that is at least good for the soul.

Take care.

Jon

Tip tap, it’s The Wee One aka the retro lady

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“If someone is facing a difficult time, one of the kindest things you can do for him or her is to say, ‘I’m going to love you through this.’” — Molly Friedenfeld

“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” — Mother Teresa

“All you need is love” – John Lennon and Paul McCartney

‘Unconditional love — in its most simplest form — means appreciating someone else for who they truly are. It means loving them when they are unlovable, and in spite of their imperfections and mistakes. At a deeper level, it means never, ever questioning whether you’ll feel any other way toward a person.’

I make no bones about it. I dedicate this to my awesome and beautiful partner, Audrey.  

A gush fest? I wouldn’t say so. More a few words about gratitude and how re-opening your heart can lead to unexpected joy.

So welcome to a clearer view of the ground ahead.

Clearer? Yep, I’d say so. 

I’m lucky, I’ve had a lot of love in my life. The road has been a bit bumpy but, I’d say I’ve been lucky. 

Of course, the love I get from Ben and Liv has been remarkable. I know we always say that about our family but they have been there for me – in the good times, and we are blessed to have had many, and the not so good. 

We have, of course, welcomed Gaby to into the family and for that I am grateful.

We have our wonderful family and friends. To quote the Beatles again ‘love, love love’.

But, for this blog, I want to look at unconditional love, as I see it through the eyes of The Wee One aka Audrey.

I am so fortunate to have Audrey in my life and to have such a beautiful soul as part of #TeamDurky.

This isn’t some declaration of love. I do that every day anyway. But, I guess, in celebrating the wonder of The Wee One, it’s a chance for us all to look and to rejoice when we find someone who is our true partner in life.

When looking at the definition of unconditional love, I see so much in there about Audrey.

First one ‘Appreciating someone else for who they truly are’. Liv describes Audrey as being pure. I know what she means, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the world in a way where you appreciate the people around you for who they are, not for what they can do to better you? Does that make sense? To be able to see the good in someone. To be able to enjoy the good and to enhance it by being such a good person as well.

But it’s not just about being able to appreciate someone else for who they truly are, it’s about appreciating the moment for what it is. And it’s being so excited about something, no matter what it is, where you tip tap your fingers with pure excitement. It’s infectious this happy excitedness thing (and that’s not even a word!).

Next up – ‘It means loving them when they are unlovable, and in spite of their imperfections and mistakes’. Now, some might find this a sure but, at times, I’m a grumpy old bu66er. I know, I cover it up really well. Sometimes, I drive and rant. I think it’s called road rage. There are occasions when I sulk. YES, SULK!!!! And, throughout it all, there is no judgement; no criticism; no ignoring. Just love, pure love, and a hug. Magic.

And then – ‘Never, ever questioning whether you’ll feel any other way toward a person’. Isn’t it nice to feel so comfortable in a relationship where you just know. It’s that simple.

I hope I’m making sense here, and I hope you can reflect on your own relationship and feel the same. It is magic – to have finally arrived at this place. 

As I said earlier, I’ve been lucky in life I have had love there. But, now, I am so grateful to have unconditional love looking right at me. I hope, over time, I learn to be the mirror reflection. I know what I feel, but I also know I have a lot to learn from The Wee One.

And there you have it. A short but sweet blog. Just like the subject.

Thank you Audrey. The Retro Lady will soon take centre stage for a rather special birthday. The next part of our awesome journey together.

Jon

Lemon meringue pie for your soul

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“When life throws you lemons, make a lemon meringue pie.”

“Harnessing adversity is a discipline tailored to a world of unpredictable outcomes–a world where one can disturb, but not wholly direct, a living system. Because the unexpected – adversity – is guaranteed, this discipline is about routinely making lemons into lemon meringue pie.” – Richard Pascale

And, so we step from the View From The Ground into a great big dollop of lemon meringue pie. A few weeks away from the keyboard has whetted the appetite in more ways that one. The zest to share ideas has slowly risen. The energy has been whisked into a light but fluffy frenzy.

Enough!

Thank you for joining me at my perch, to have a look at what is on my mind.

So, lemon meringue pie for your soul? What? Well, it’s a bit of a long story but that will become apparent as I walk you through my mind state. However, as I muster the creative will to commit to this damned book I continually bang on about, I have been searching for the kind of title that might appeal to a casual reader. Well, I may just have it ………… with a series of titles afterwards, such as ‘Practical Mindfulness with fudge cake and cream’. Work in progress.

It’s a funny old world. When I heard that Donald Trump wanted a new career, my euphoria was short lived when I realised my mis-spelling. Then I heard that Kim Jong-un had just topped trump. Bizarre world. 

The World Cup is just around the corner, and within days of it starting most of us will be round the bend due to the abject boredom after waiting 4 years since the last bout of abject boredom. Mad Vlad will put in (think about it) his profound thoughts on its success, as he wrestles with the idea of what a Trump and Jong-un baby would look like. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Boris Johnson.

And then, here in the U.K. we brace ourselves for waving goodbye to Europe and saying hello to ……………… hang on a minute, where’s Donald gone?? Shite, hello Europe, we were only joking. Honest, we thought the question was ‘what happens if you thrown a brick at a window in Leeds?’ – it Brexit! (Think about it 😀)

Anyway, that’s enough rambling. Or is it?

I know I’ve written this year about our memory jar – an awesome present from Ben and Gaby – but the more we fill it with memories the more I’ve truly appreciated the magic of those memories. As they say memories are made of this and, as I say, thank goodness for the memories.

It’s simple – create a memory; lock it into your mind, write it down, take loads of pictures, write a blog, whatever. But do it! Let’s start creating memories. I know since I’ve started on this path of creating as many memories as possible, I really appreciate the moment in which that memory is being created. It could be something small – but, it isn’t small really. Because it’s what you are creating. Does that make sense?

A meal with your family and / or friends; a weekend away; a holiday; a concert; some major work in the garden; a hug after a few days apart from a loved one. Whatever. Create it, bank it and, when you need a little ‘pick me up’ bring it back to mind and love the memory.l

I guess, expanding the point, if the chance to create a memory presents itself – take it. Plunge into the ‘live for the moment’ ocean and enjoy your chance to seize the opportunity. Create it, bank it, cherish it. If you let the moment pass you might regret it. It might be something as simple as a spur of the moment chance to do something when you would normally do your housework. The choice is simple. But how many times have we said “I’d love to but ………..”? 

Don’t look into your memory jar of life and see loads of blank pieces of paper because you let the chance to create a memory slip. 

I know I’m blessed and I have plenty of memories already in the 2018 jar. I know we have things lined up to create more memories. When I need reminders of the memories, the house is now full of photos, framed concert tickets and tour posters, and other such things to keep us all focussed on how lucky we are. These memories are not reliant on money – good job! They are reliant on seizing the moment and loving every minute of it.

Lemon meringue pie for your soul? Just think about it. How many of us see Lemon meringue pie and are immediately transformed back to a happy childhood? A Sunday afternoon tea treat? Or something to feast on at a cafe at a nearby seaside town?

I’m positive further opportunities will come along, some unexpected, and it’s just a case of being ready and willing to take them.

So, again, the View From The Ground fades until the next blog. As Vera warbled, who knows where who knows when.

However, my finally moment from the blog comes from taking a moment to listen. I was recently recommended a book – Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat. I’ve only just started the book, so I’m sure there will be references to it in a future blog. But I like to look into who the author is. In doing so, I became aware that he was started a crusade – #onebillionhappy (www.onebillionhappy.org). The objective is clear – make one billion people happy and then watch the impact and see how that grows. Interestingly, this has already grown from the original  objective of .#10millionhappy as planned in the book introduction.

The website shows there are 3 steps to being part of this growing movement: –

Step 1: Make happiness your first priority and recognise that happiness is your birthright.

Step 2: Invest in your happiness (reading Solve for Happy is a good starting point).

Step 3: Tell two people about the message that you have learned, who will tell two people, who will tell two people.

Now the challenge is, on the basis that this blog will be read by at least 2 people (me and Audrey) for us the tell 2 people about #onebillionhappy. We owe it to the world – in my humble opinion.

Take care.

Jon

Many money moany

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“I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have pay. Ain’t it sad” – Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus 

“Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy. Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common sense. Dignity.” 

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

‘I need a dollar, a dollar is what I need’; ‘I need to spend a penny’; millionaire’s shortbread; Pound World; Cash Converter emblazoned as a sponsor on a sports shirt etc etc. Everywhere we go it’s all about money, money, money.

Welcome to the latest View From The Pound ……………………. sorry, View From The Ground!

Another subject that bounces around my minds lot – money. There’s the song ‘money makes the world go around’. Well, the blog is really my attempt to challenge this view.

We are obsessed with money. ‘Money’s too tight to mention’ said Mick Hucknell or however you spell his name. 

An interesting report from a Oxfam at the start of the year appeared on the BBC news pages: –

‘The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed.

Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said.

Oxfam said its figures – which critics have queried – showed a failing system.

It blamed tax evasion, firms’ influence on policy, erosion of workers’ rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap.

Oxfam has produced similar reports for the past five years. In 2017 it calculated that the world’s eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.

This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year’s figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of “widening inequality” remained.’

Now, 2 things I realise need to be borne in mind. 1) This is the research from one organisation and, clearly, it is open to challenge; and 2) it was on the BBC news website which, in a previous blog, I have expressed concern about their reporting at times.

But, to have so few controlling so much of this thing we call ‘money’ is frightening. 

There is so much talk about world debt. But, in reality, who is the debt to? What is this debt? No, really, what is this debt? Think about it.

We are indebted to which ever God we worship or who ever the source was for this planet that we affectionally call home – Earth. We also owe an apology for the mess, the hatred, the greed, and the poverty that has been created.

Probably straying into areas that greater minds could debate so let me stick to my area of discussion.

‘In for a penny in for a pound’. 

Looking through the Oxfam report, it really is quite startling that we have a handful of mega wealthy, controlling the finances of the world – the grip of greed held of governments, corporates, other businesses and individuals alike.

Watch how the mega wealthy control our thinking through fear. Who owns the media outlets and influences the words we read? 

Anyway, my concern is more on the level that the majority of us operate in – from my view from the ground.

So many of us complain  about not having enough ‘money’, don’t we? Enough money to do what? Eat? If we have food on the table, surely we have enough money? Drink? If we have clean water, surely we have enough money. Of course, if we have tea, coffee, wine, beer etc etc, we have riches! A better house? If we have a roof over our heads and somewhere dry to rest, we must have enough money. And so I could go on.

But, we constantly want more ‘money’. We constantly look at those with more money than us and wish we were that person. But, is the person with more money richer than us? As is asked, what is money. I guess, simplistically, it is what allows us to acquire something which we want. The more money we have, the more, or the better, we can acquire. But does it buy happiness? Does it buy love? Does it buy peace? One thing for sure, money buys greed. With greed, we become self centred and through being self centred, how can someone be happy? If all we think about is ourself, how can we love? And, if we strive for more money, we fear it being taken away and we attack those who pose a threat.

However, if we cherish what we have – every penny / cent; if we use what we have sensibly and for the betterment of ourselves, and others, then this thing called money can be good. And, people are fortunate enough to have sufficient money to eat and drink well, to live well, and to enjoy their own lives, then surely as their cup overflows, monetary wise, sure they can use that to help those who don’t have food, drink, or a roof over their heads? Rather than always looking to the next person who has more money than them and striving for better wealth.

Does that make any sense? I guess, having seen days, over the last couple of years, where money hasn’t been there. Having gone to the money machine, when part way on a taxi journey, to find there wasn’t enough money in the bank account to pay, resulting in a panicked phone call to Ben for help, you realise the power of money.

But, then, as you walk the streets of all city centres these days to see the increasing number of homeless people, you start to see the disproportionate spread of money – or lack of it.

But, ultimately, the richest people are those surrounded by love. And, as the song goes ‘money can’t buy me love’.

So, my commitment, the next time I think ‘I wish I had more money’, to remember just what wealth I have – that is, true wealth. Not the smug, arrogant, glint of an apparent ‘moneyed’ wealth. Keep it. Actually, no, invest it in homes for the homeless; food banks for the hungry; clean water being made available to the thirsty. Then, sit back, and realise the love that you have just shared.

And, there we are. Time to stop the many money moany. Lets be happy with what we have, and don’t let it be the winner takes it all. Better to be a dancing queen or a super trouper!

Take care.

Jon