Category Archives: Inspiration

A Glimpse of Sunshine…

In celebration of connecting my blog to the plethora of social feeds that exist…

Here is one of my favourite poems of recent years.

A Glimpse of Sunshine

Each morning she leaves for school early
Tells her mum she’s walking with friends

But truth be told, she’s headed to her temple
For a moment of quiet contemplation

No one needs telling the things she faces at home
Whenever dad decides he lives there again

But no one knows her temple
And it’s here she makes sense of life

There are no spires or gilded domes,
Just the vaulting sky

No hymns or incense
But there are scents and songs aplenty

Her pew is one of the swings
In the park behind her house

And it’s here she some to sit
And to feel the world coming alive

Her favourite time is just before spring
When her temple visit coincides

With the rising of the dawn
And the chorus of birdsong it brings

In summer the world is awake
And she loves to watch as the flowers

Having showered in the dawn dew
Spread and stretch themselves toward the sun

She loves to watch the duels between dog and walker
And the joyful play they share

And it’s here, in the stillness
She remembers how to care

For there is too much beauty for her to stay angry
Too much life for her to feel betrayed

Instead she wells up with gratitude, as each day
Life puts on this special show – just to heal her heart

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The Golden You

I have never been there, but I’m told that the Buddhist temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok is not one of the city’s most impressive temples. What does make it worth a visit, out of almost any other temple in the whole of Thailand, is that it houses the statue of the Golden Buddha.

10ft high, and emanating a deep glow, the statue is made entirely of gold and weighs 5½ tons. That’s impressive enough, but what is truly impressive is the story of the Golden Buddha.

During one of the country’s conflicts with Burma (now Myanmar), the monks of the temple where the statue was based feared that their beloved statue would fall victim to looters.

To prevent this travesty, they decided to cover the statue in thick plaster – thus disguising its true value. The trouble was that they did such a good job that when they passed away, so did any memory of the statue’s true nature.

It remained cased in plaster for more than two centuries, moving from place to place, perceived as having less and less value as the years rolled on.

One day, however, during an attempt to transport the statue to a new temple, it slipped from the crane and fell into the mud. It stayed in the mud overnight, during which time a monk from the nearby temple had a dream that the statue was divinely inspired.

In the morning he visited the muddied statue and saw a glimmer of gold shining out from a crack in the plaster, and so began the journey of restoring the Golden Buddha to its rightful place in the hearts of the thousands of locals and visitors who draw strength and inspiration from the statue every year.

I share this tale with you as a way of opening up a question.

The question I must ask is “What’s your plaster?” What fears, what beliefs, what assumptions are currently hiding your true brilliance from the world?

Very often our plaster has been stuck to us for many years. So long, in fact, that, like the passing away of the monks who knew the statue’s true nature, we forget we were ever anything more than a mask of our true selves.

The saddest part is that all too frequently, we plastered ourselves not because it was the right thing to do, but because we allowed the beliefs, fears and stories of others to influence how we interact with the world.

It is my hope that this blog may act as a hammer of inspiration…just enough to crack the plaster, so you can remember the true you, the bright soul of your great self – possessing an incomparable gift to share with the world.

To aid in this inspiration and remembering process, let me share a recent experience that has given me irrefutable proof that we each have far more greatness within than we ever dare to dream.

The experience I refer to is the wonder of becoming a father for the first time

Now I’m not trying to get into a ‘my baby’s cuter than your baby’ competition…but ain’t she a stunner!?

Yet the amazing thing is that before Freya’s arrival just over 9 months ago, I thought I was operating at pretty near my peak potential. The final draft of my book was being edited, I was getting more and more opportunities to wow people with my personalized poetry gifts and live performances, and the youth projects I was working on in my home town were flourishing.

Then Freya arrived…and she obliterated all perceptions I had of what is possible.

It took me a while to understand what was going on. Being a new parent tends to be quite an all-consuming task. Yet once I had some time to reflect, the clarity and insights came thick and fast.

I particularly remember driving back from London one afternoon, I guess in late October, and being powerfully aware of a new feeling. The more I became aware of it, the more I realized that what I was feeling was a whole new level and kind of love.

One of the ways this new love announced itself was through my being able to experience a brand new reason to look forward to going home. It was a feeling that actually felt a bit like cheating on my wife! Let me explain…

Previously, I’d look forward to going home because I knew I’d get to see Fan, and to experience anew the stunning and indescribably loving smile that would greet me each time I’d walk through the door, not to mention the feel of her lips when we’d kiss.

Now, whilst all those thrills still await me even today, there is a new thrill, one that is currently more intoxicating than my wife can hope to compete with (hence feeling like I’m cheating) – it is the smile of unbridled delight that transforms Freya’s face the instant she sees me arrive home.

It is a smile that ignites in me something I never would have thought possible. A love that has expanded the whole of who I am. I know that if I am capable of such love, there is more gold within me than I had ever imagined.

Knowing this has uplifted everything – I have a more intense and powerful love for Fan, for my family, for my friends, for the earth and for all those who I may be able to serve in a small or big way. I am joyously aware that if I am capable of loving in a brand new way, I must equally be capable of doing other things I had previously thought impossible.

I share this example because the same incredible potential is present in you.

I don’t know how thick your plaster is, or how much of it you have already removed…but I do know that there is a golden you, and it is more beautiful and powerful than my words could ever capture.

The trouble is that our society can be a little too good at belittling your gold in an effort to sell you more plaster. The consequence of this is that too many people either undervalue their gold, or, worse, cannot even see it anymore.

One of the profound gifts I have been given, as a result of working with some of the UK’s most talented yet neglected young people, is a knack of helping others to discover and start sharing their gold with the world.

If that’s something you’d like to do more of, and if, after reading this, you think I might be a good place to start…then please give me a call or a text and let’s start chipping away at that plaster.

You can get me on oh seven nine three nine eight five five seven seven four
Or George(at)CreativeUprising.com

Whatever happens…keep letting your gold amaze people.

Massive love.
George.

p.s. if you enjoyed this, I’d love to hear what you thought via the comments, or you could give it a ‘share’.

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Creativity – The New Literacy for a New World

Someone whose work i really value is a guy called Scott Dinsmore, who runs a fantastic blog called Live Your Legend, which is all about making a difference by doing work you love. Sounds familiar right?

I’m very grateful to Scott for sharing the followinn video. up until today, i had no idea who Chase Jarvis was. I’ll certainly now be taking some time to find out.

 

In this viceo he voices much of what i share in my latest TED Talk. I share it not to be like ‘ohh i’m right’, but rather because of something one of my mentors said: that whenever a change is rising, first you have an agreement about it, and that after this comes a shared language that allows the agreement to be communicated to others.

This is what i feel is happening now, and why i’m inspired to share this great video. There is a shared language emerging that is allowing us to articulate and understand why creativity must be held as the new literacy if we are to create the new world we know is possible.

So without further ado…Chase Jarvis and creativity:

Chase Jarvis from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

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Poets Are The New Politicians…

In Creative Uprising, I suggest that performers are the new politicians.

My contention is that ‘we the people’ have lost faith in our governments, and as a result, are turning more and more to artsits and performers to gaina  sense of clarity and perspective on current affairs.

If viral buzz is anything to go by, then spoken word poetry is certainly playing a significant part in offering alternative conversations to the political mainstream.

In this post, I’ve showcased four poets who have wowed me recently.

First up, a couple of poems from Hollie McNish.

You may have seen this doing the social media rounds – the perfect reposte to the red-top tabloid, EDL vision for Britain

And having recently become a father, i’m very grateful to Hollie for making a stand and to all the other mothers whose refusal to be cowed has meant it’s now fine for my daughter to be fed in the best way whereever she is.

You may have heard this interview, where i share some of my views on how important i feel it is that  education evolves to truly serve the new digital, connected era we live in.

That’s why i love Suli Breaks. Here are four videos that i believe any parent or child should watch:

I chose Hollie and Suli because they really speak powerfully on vital issues. The next two poets i’ve chosen less for their issues, and more for the power of their speech, which is simply captivating.

As if to prove poets are the new politicians, here’s the frighteningly talented Joshua Bennet performing at The White House

And here’s the darling of The Guardian and The Independent, and recent winner of the Ted Hughes prize, Kate Tempest:

So what do you think? Can poetry play its part? Can art move mountains and help to shape the new world we long for?

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Learning to trust

Oh the new!

I’m sure you’ve felt it…

The crushing pressure of the ‘new’.

Here we are. A new blog…to accompany a new book…which together I hope will combine to offer a new story of life on earth.

How to start? Don’t you have to get it right first time? Make a bang, make a splash, make a lasting impression.

Probably.

The other option is to let go of the weight of your own expectations, to know that whilst you always aim to offer your best, your best will not be good enough for some. And that’s ok.

Because the other option is to trust.

Trust?

Trust that the person reading your words knows you are pouring your heart and soul into creating something that you hope, in some way, will enrich their life.

Trust that as you read my words, you are supportive, appreciative, wishing the best for us both.

Here’s the kicker though…I’ve got no way of knowing whether my trust is well placed. You might be an absolute ****.

Trust for a better world

But the world will swiftly become a cold, lonely and spiteful place if I choose to assume that you are a bit of a ****** who is sat there judging and hating me, instead of trusting that if I appeal to the best of you, you’ll give me your best.

Why have I chosen this seemingly simple topic as the way to start this ‘new’ blog?

Because this blog, and the book which sparked it to life, have two purposes: to explore how we can live more joyful, meaningful lives, and how by living those lives, we can be part of creating a better story of life on earth.

Trust is the absolute bedrock upon which both these noble aims are built.

But also, Trust needs people to stand up for it now more than ever.

Trust: the poor man of the West

Trust is in a bad way in the West.

We are told to trust governments who consistently lie to, and ignore the wishes of, the people. We are told to trust the official version of events, yet any possibility of investigating both sides of the story is prohibited, with information being “classified for national security”, or given an inhuman spin by media outlets that are beholden to the same corporate interests that have insidiously penetrated every level of what is supposed to be a fair and balanced impartial democracy.

Some laud the achievements of our civilized societies, yet all the while trust – the very quality that allows community to develop and flourish – is being systematically eroded? How can we have let such a state of affairs persist?

Sadly the answer lies in the economic model that we have allowed to dominate. The ‘growth for growth’s sake’ approach can necessarily only focus on one thing – the bottom line. This has meant companies doing whatever it takes to maximise their profit.

The ultimate consequence of this is a society where fear prevails. A populous that is deliberately kept anxious is easy to manipulate and sell stuff to: “You’re not beautiful enough! Buy this product.” “Arabs are terrorists! Vote for this war.”

Trusting Yourself

Living in such a society, it is truly a revolutionary act to trust yourself: to be secure in who you are and aware that the common humanity you share with all humans offers the basis for a profound and empowering trust.

But self-trust goes deeper than trusting your fellow man, rising above the fear-mongers and choosing to see the best in others. You could almost consider this the easy part.

Far trickier is to be able to trust the whisper of your heart, the song of your soul that affirms you have a gift of inestimable value to share with the world. To trust that you can be your true self and live your true purpose takes enormous courage.

Why? Because those who should most support your quest can often be the very ones who most oppose it, who most scorn and deride you for trying. These may be the people you most love and cherish, and when they do not trust your life vision – that you have a valuable gift, and that you are capable of giving it – the temptation to believe their point of view can be overwhelming.

Trusting the universe

Some give up, choosing to remain a fraction of their true potential as they submit to the crabs in a bucket seeking to drag them down.

Others, however, seek solace in a very particular type of trust, which is to surrender attachment to the outcome. Here, you accept that what will be will be, but not from a defeatist or apathetic position.

Rather, you trust that life does not make mistakes, and since life saw fit to place you upon this planet as a unique being among 7 billion others, you trust that you have a special contribution to make to the great unfolding of life.

You trust also that in essence life is not brutish and hopeless, but is in fact loving, compassionate and joyful. Trusting that this is so allows you to take one more trusting step – to trust that all you need do is follow your inspiration, and live what feels right for you right now. Nothing more, nothing less…surrendering your attachment and trusting that life will reveal the next step at just the right moment for you to take it.

Trusting your human brothers and sisters

That’s you sorted…but what about your fellow man/woman? Surely they need your help? Surely you should be doing more?

Here again is a lesson in trust.

With so much seemingly wrong with the world, it is quite possible that either or both of the following may happen, ultimately to the detriment of the world, since you will be drawn away from giving your unique gift as best you could.

Firstly, when confronted with all the ills of the world, you may feel that your gift has to be impacting millions in order for your life to have worth and meaning.

Secondly, you may find yourself questioning the value of your gift if it is not contributing to a domain of life that is commonly considered to be worthy and important.

In countering these two positions, it’s important to remember that one person’s beautiful is someone else’s ugly, as sure as one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

You cannot claim the attention of everyone. There will be people who simply disagree with what you stand for. Brilliant! Life would be massively dull if everyone was the same.

You need only touch the hearts of those who value your value. If you have invented a fantastic new paintbrush, it will be of no interest to a demolitions expert…but painters will celebrate your gift.

Similarly, you need only be a match. A single match can light a fire that can burn for centuries. So…yes, may be you living your true self and sharing your gift won’t change a million lives overnight…but maybe it will change one…and that one may change everything.

Becoming comfortable with the idea that you need only serve who you can serve and be who you can be requires a hugely important and enriching act of trust: trusting that your brothers and sisters in our human family will play their part, and that all will be well.

This is a pretty massive leap to take, yet we can find firm footing by remembering the following:
When someone trusts you to give your best…what do you try and do? You try to give your best, right? In this respect, thankfully, you are not unique. There are far more people who will do the same than you could even dare to dream, and that is why you can trust your brothers and sisters, and why all will be well.

Trust that you don’t have to be original

As we come to the close of this trusting blog, let us build on the idea that nothing more is needed from you than to be your true self, happily aware that you are enough, that you do enough and that you give enough.

When you know the above with certainty, you stride confidently into each new day, thrilled to be sharing your gift.

One thing that can knock you off your stride, however, is the erroneous belief that you somehow have to be original, have to be fresh and new.

This is nothing but an outdated notion falteringly propped up by the crumbling façade of western capitalism, which places great status on whatever ‘the newest’ and ‘latest’ thing is, for the simple reason that a profit can be turned by selling you that ‘latest’, ‘newest’ thing.

The actual truth might be considered to be both more challenging and more comforting.

Comforting in that you do not have to try to be original, because you already are. You are unique in all the cosmos.

Challenging, however, because you do have to serve – ideally at a world-class level.

Cooking, writing, acting…whatever the area of your gift may be, it will be very hard to be game-changingly original…however, do not, for a moment, think this means you do not need to be outstanding. Quite the opposite, in fact.

When you seek to set a new standard in whatever area your gift may lie, you find that sweet spot where your innate originality meets the optimum way you can contribute…and at that point, you uplift all of life in a way that no one else can.

And all because you chose to trust.

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