To all you procrastinators out there… Check this out!!!

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Yes… I did procrastinate… Yes I did just lose 14.03 minutes of my life which I will never get back but it was absolutely worth every wasted minute!

Enjoy this video whether you deserve a break or not today! Laughter heals the soul 🙂

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You’ve found your passion… Now what?

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A difficult realisation

So after my last post, something strange and uncomfortable happened when I was answering the questions about finding my passion. It’s something I’ve felt sometimes but never come to terms with.

I don’t actually feel passionate about performing and giving concerts or playing piano anymore… But I felt I had to put it in for some reason. I felt it needed to be my passion. Because I’m a pianist. I’ve spent 5 years of my life dedicating the majority of my time, studies and energy into perfecting my skills to become a “professional” pianist. It made sense if I’m a pianist and I want to succeed, my answer should be performance right? But when came the question of how does playing and performing transform the people around me and what does it bring them, I went blank… It’s terrible because I know I’ve had good experiences performing and I do enjoy playing and studying piano but I couldn’t connect to any of the joy it brought me anymore. Maybe because it’s been over a year that I haven’t really performed publicly because I recently injured my wrist but to be honest, I don’t think that’s the true reason.

This realisation brought about a terrible feeling of angst at the moment because this was my passion for the longest time… (I’d actually written the last post with my responses to the questions almost a year ago before I actually created this space of expression and at that time, I was truly convinced and honest in my answers). But what if I was actually wrong?

Like I said, finding your passion(s) is easy. But choosing to pursue your passion professionally, that’s the challenge! You might fail… or worse… you might one day wake up to realize your passion(s) has (have) changed. Then what?

Hey, it’s just 80,000 Hours of your life…

This whole “follow your passion” story has been a little obsession of mine over the years, reading countless blogs, watching a good dozen videos on the subject… But it’s also been a certain source of anguish for me because I’ve never truly had just one great passion but I’ve always had many varied interests : music, maths, philosophy, languages, teaching, personal growth and development, travelling, reading, writing, creating, cooking… When you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the honest answer I always wanted to give people is… well EVERYTHING! But I felt like somehow that wasn’t right answer for people. I felt I needed to choose just that *true* Passion to find that sense of “purpose” that comes from following your passion. And also so people can put a nice easy little label on you and define you according to what you do… (but that subject is for another post to come).

So here I was panicking about the next 80,000 hours of my life that I could potentially be screwing up entirely when YouTube so gracefully “suggested” the next video to watch and I felt instantly calmed and inspired by the incredibly wise and simple words of a TedX Youth speaker Benjamin Todd.

I realized after this video, I have been adding value by teaching young pianists and swimmers and inspiring them to be creative and confident, challenging them to go beyond their limitations. And if that is all that filled those 80,000 hours, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing… So I’m figured I’m on the right track. Even if I’m still figuring out what else I want to do for the next 79,900 hours of my career know. What more, I realized that 80,000 hours is more than enough time to pursue, combine and explore the many different interests I have!

 

Finding your passion is easy!

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Really the question is easy… I swear… totally easy! You can solve it in 5 minutes or less!

I love this Ted X talk for its genius simplicity and most of all because it’s allowed me to find the best answer to that cursed question which everyone gets asked all too often : “So what do you do?”

So I dare you now, dear reader (yes I figured, it was time I connected with you a little instead of leaving you sitting quite comfortably in front of your screen…), answer these simple questions for yourself and let me know your answers!

Enjoy!

PS : here are my answers! 🙂

  1. Who you are? Issa
  2. What you do? Inspire Love and Beauty through writing, speaking,       teaching piano and performing
  3. Who do you do it for? For myself, humanity, youth and our future generations
  4. What do they want or need? Wisdom, confidence to learn a skill and believe in themselves, a listening ear, experience simple beauty
  5. How do they change or transform as a result of what you give them? I see my students develop self confidence, creativity, I see it bring joy and sometimes frustration which inspires them to grow. Most of all I see profound beauty in what they do and who they are

The “Busy/ickness”

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I seem to be too “busy” to write an article on busyness… kinda ironic isn’t it? So instead, I’m going to slack off a little and leave you with this incredible talk from an inspiring speaker who says it all so perfectly already…

Enjoy!

Find your way to speak your truth

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I tend to complicate things… I overthink, overanalyse everything. I tend to believe it’s my rational-math nerdy way of thinking (I’ve always loved maths in High school…). But at the same time, I’ve always felt much more clearly then I thought sometimes. I tend to believe that’s more my creative-artist side… Creating a balance between all ways of thinking and being, that’s the struggle. Especially when you are diverse and you don’t fit under any specific label (I will most certainly write about these labels and how we let them define us in some near future).

What I find incredible in this video is how rich and complex, yet clear and simple come together in such beautiful poetry here… Maths, Arts, Humour align to speak truth and wisdom.

Enjoy!

 

A small dose of Gratitude for the day

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Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about this new blog of mine and about Wisdom and Beauty, bringing thoughts and ideas together, and wondering how I could ever be able to put in words such abstract concepts and personal feelings and ideas about subjects.

And to be honest, I feel paralysed, intimidated and limited by words in general… I know their power, how they can transform people, relationships, history (just remember those 4 simple words “I have a dream” and how they had transformed our world…). In our society, words are the most common, efficient and powerful form of self expression for people. But what happens when words simply aren’t enough to express thoughts and feelings and bring them into reality?

I’ve struggled for quite some time (and still now) to try and speak about beauty and wisdom. How can I express something that transcends human thought with something as basic as language? Being a hardcore idealist (in the best and worst sense of the term), I’ve searched very often for that One universal language that could express the inexpressible, the “Truth” so perfectly and simply. I searched vainly in maths, music, arts, philosophy… I found extraodinary forms of expressions but not what I was hoping for. And I realized how empty and meaningless it seemed to search for such a language beyond words. Because sometimes (more often than not), words don’t matter at all. Not even art or music for that matter… They are simply tools. Means to an end. Beauty and Wisdom speak louder than any tools.

Wisdom and Beauty 101 is a challenge to myself to put aside the perfectionist in me, and to simply let the ideas and words flow, to beat procrastination and negative self talk and just write unapologetically from the heart. It is also a learning process :  learning to express, to share and spread thoughts and to discover what Beauty there is out there and to let myself to be moved by it. And I hope this blog can help fill you with the same Joy of witnessing and experiencing Wisdom and Beauty…

I would like to share this TedX “talk”… Please don’t listen to the words, watch, feel the emotions charged in this video.

 

 

 

Fear or Love, the choice is yours

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This was not the idea I had in mind as a first article but events and circumstances got me around to thinking a lot about human nature and how we react in the face of violence and tragedy. And I suddenly felt a sense of urgency to write and share a few thoughts and inspiration.

The emotional rollercoaster following a tragedy

As some of you might have heard, on Tuesday March 22d 2016, two bombings occurred in the Brussels metro station and Brussels Airport. Since one of the bombs blew up just 500m from my home, it felt like it somehow hit close to my heart…  It was a strange morning opening my window, hearing sirens go off, getting ready to go to classes then finding hundreds of travellers stranded at the train station just outside my place. And soon as the images from the news channels started to come out, fear began to sink in and I started to realize “we had been attacked”. I know on the large scale of things, two bombs killing about 30 people is not much at all but for us Belgians living in our little, comfortable and quiet Belgium, this was a big deal…

That day, one emotion held us all: Fear. I received texts, messages, worried phone calls from friends and family who all felt as scared, worried and powerless as I felt… That fear and anxiety stayed with me till the following Monday I finally received actual confirmation that all my friends and family were safe.

After the initial shock and confusion, other reactions started to arise from all over the net and Facebook feeds were filled with different stories and opinions about what had happened. From Fear arose anger, hatred, intolerance and even violence… “How could this have happened? Will it happen again? Who is responsible? Those people are monsters… We have to react, fight whoever is behind this! We have to protect our families and countries! “

For a few days, I felt stuck in this paradigm of fear. I could understand people’s feelings and reactions but I couldn’t help but question them. I realized more than my initial reaction of fear, I was filled with a strong feeling of compassion, sadness and confusion. I couldn’t blame the government, Islam nor even the bombers for what had happened because deep down I knew, fear itself was the cause of what had happened. I couldn’t help but think these bombers were not monsters, just misguided young people searching for value, truth, a sense of belonging and purpose in life. These are all natural and human aspirations. In fact, they are truly not much different from you and me. Yet fear is what drove them to religious extremism and fear is what drives religious extremism. Fear of being attacked, of losing basic freedoms, of not being safe, fear of the unknown western society… People who commit violent, hateful acts will always be driven by fear. And their violent acts create more fear and hatred. It becomes a vicious circle. Fear builds up hatred which leads to violence which creates more fear…

I felt trapped in this vicious circle. But how do we get out of this? Responding to fear with fear is such a natural human instinct yet it does not lead to anything good most of the time, and it doesn’t heal…

There is another response to tragedy… Something stronger, more beautiful and moving I’ve seen grow and blossom this past few days.

A story of resilience, Love and Hope

The first video I’d like to share with you illustrates how in the face of tragedy, some people will not accept defeat and respond by fear or hatred but act with the desire to transcend limitations and circumstances.

I’m sure you may believe people like Hugh Herr and Adrianne Haslet-Davis are simply extraordinary super humans… One comes to wonder, “what would I have done in their shoes? Of course I could’ve never done what they did… “

Their actions are what truly set these people apart, but when you analyse what drove them to act as they, you realize it is something so fundamental and so natural to the human experience. Nothing supernatural or unique. Something we all are capable of… Love.

Love for Climbing and surpassing oneself (one of the beautiful things this sport teaches you) is what drove Hugh Herr to go beyond his circumstances and grow and develop the way he did. Love for dancing and a strive for freedom and wholeness is what drove Adrianne to fight and recover and dance! Love is also what drove tens of thousands of people to bring flowers candles and write words of hope and call for peace at the Bourse in Brussels.

Action from a place of Love, is more powerful than any other emotion we may feel .
It is what transforms the world! 

Love is what inspires and drives me to share beauty and wisdom with you. Yet fear is what stopped me for the past few months from creating this space of expression and actually start to write.

I’m writing to remind you that despite what we may feel inside, instead of reacting from a place of fear, we can always choose to act from a place of Love…