Living Wholeheartedly – A Retreat for People Affected by Cancer

Benn Abdy Collins

Benn Abdy Collins

Guest Post by Benn Abdy Collins

Anyone whose life is affected by an incident or trauma has something in common with anyone else who’s going through the same thing.

My mum had cancer. I saw what she went through and I wanted to both understand how that affected both her and me and, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people affected by cancer.

As a result, I’ve worked as a volunteer in a hospice and I’ve worked driving ambulance patients to and from cancer treatments. Now I help design and deliver inside-out activities, either as one-day events or three-day retreats, for people affected by cancer, so they may explore the benefit of spiritual tools in their lives.

Living Wholeheartedly is our next retreat being held over the weekend of 1st to 3rd November 2013.

I include the invitation and informational flyer for the retreat, below.

With blessings,
Benn

Please pass on details of this empowering retreat to anyone who has cancer, or is caring for a relative or friend who has cancer, and is interested in exploring meditation and other ‘inside- out’ approaches to support them in the challenges they face.

For more information and an application form please contact:

John McConnel at lwc@uk.bkwsu.org by Friday 11 October 2013, if possible.
(Registration extended until October 18th) 

There is no charge for the weekend but donations are welcome.

Thank you.

Living Wholeheartedly

 

Portraying Life – Manet, Bellows & Unexpected Joy

Manet,_Edouard_-_Le_Déjeuner_sur_l'Herbe_(The_Picnic)_(1)


Lunch on the Grass

Manet, Bellows and the surprising pleasure of the unknown

We were thrilled to attend a ‘friends and family’ private showing event at the Royal Academy of Arts in London last week.  It’s a superb building, Burlington House, close to Piccadilly Circus and Green Park, and the RA brings together some wonderful exhibitions.

Manet (1832–1883)

Somewhere along the line, many people will have heard of and seen French artist Édouard Manet’s famous painting ‘Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe’, or Luncheon on the Grass, even if you’re not an art afficionado. It’s a large oil painting which resides in a museum in Paris, with a smaller version in the Courtauld gallery in London, currently on show at the RA. It created a scandal when it was first aired in 1862, largely because of the female nude and the scantily clad bather, alongside two fully clad gentlemen, and a subtext which implied all kinds of (at the time) illegal, immoral and impossible things going on, but also because of Manet’s style of painting which led to him being described as ‘The Man Who Invented Modern Art’.

Manet,_Edouard_-_Le_Déjeuner_sur_l'Herbe_(The_Picnic)_(1)

The Luncheon on the Grass 1862-63

Manet once said, he ‘felt like a man who knows his surest plan to learn to swim safely is, dangerous as it may seem, to throw himself into the water’.

Berthe Morisot With a Bouquet of Violets 1872

Berthe Morisot With a Bouquet of Violets 1872

It was fascinating to see these famous and important works on display, to get up close and examine the way the paint had been applied, the ‘unfinished’ look of some, with evident brushstrokes,  the colours, the talent and flair, and also the expression of Manet’s life unfolding through his paintings. Because Manet often painted his friends and family, not only models and sitters, and he included contemporary figures such as novelist Emile Zola, poets Baudelaire and Mallarmé, Antonin Proust, and fellow artist Berthe Morisot, whose face is perhaps one of the most well-known amongst his many portraits, so there is a relevance, involvement and intimacy which is charming.

Manet’s artistic development straddled the time between the formal painted portrait as the main form of rendering one’s likeness in a lasting form, and the rapidly developing age of photography and daguerreotypes and their more immediate and realistic representation.

My sense of Manet’s work is that he brought an informality and naturalness to his portraits of people and their lives, and their interweaving with his own life, with a casualness that was daring for its time, yet retained startling realism and depiction of his subjects.

The Railway 1873

The Railway 1873

Some of the perspectives and uses of light and shade, and of so many hues of black, especially those I observed in ‘The Railway’, are stunning, and Manet rightly deserves his accolades as an inventor, if not The Inventor of Modern Art.

Some have said these paintings are not the best of his work, and there may be some gems missing from this exhibit; however for me it demonstrates his acute observations and his sympathetic and daring statements capturing life through his eyes and hands.

George Bellows (1882 – 1925)

In contrast, I had not previously encountered artist George Bellows. My loss, as I found his work most engaging and exciting. Bellows was a gifted artist who found success and fame early in life. He has been described as “one of the most innovative and versatile artists of his time”.  In 1913, at the age of 30, he became the youngest ever artist to be elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design.

His exhibit depicts Modern American Life, and as his career coincided with the industrialisation of the USA, he witnessed the rapid growth of New York, which became a frequent subject for his work.

George Bellows, Stag at Sharkey's, 1909

George Bellows, Stag at Sharkey’s, 1909
Photograph: George Bellows/The Cleveland Museum of Art, Hinman B Hurlbut Collection

His early work concentrates on boxing matches, some very gritty and earthy scenes which exude a raw power and the almost animalistic movements and postures of the boxers are visceral, you can almost smell them.

There is a vigour and life in his work which captures early 20th century America with great precision and power, the scenes of New York very much reminding me of films about gang life, and there are also many touching works illustrating the poverty and grim hardships encountered by immigrants and the underprivileged.

Bellows’ war paintings are also powerful, showing scenes from the First World War in varying forms from huge oil paintings to lithographs. They are quite disturbing in their violence and stark reality. As Bellows did not witness WWI at first hand, they were interpreted from The Bryce Report which had recounted eye witness accounts of atrocities perpetrated by the German army on Belgian citizens.

In contrast, in terms of subjects, his later works have many vibrant and invigorating cityscapes, seascapes and landscapes and scenes of winter revelry and snow which are exquisite. I was very taken with ‘Easter Snow’ and also ‘Love of Winter’, so full of life and exuberance and colour.

George Bellows, Love of Winter, 1914 Photograph: George Bellows/The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection

George Bellows, Love of Winter, 1914
Photograph: George Bellows/The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection

George Bellows, Easter Snow, 1915

George Bellows, Easter Snow, 1915
Photograph: Private Collection

Together with the numerous portraits of women, many of his wife, Emma, and his family, which are very tender and beautifully rendered, there is a wide scope and huge talent on display, and it was an unexpected, unanticipated joy to discover George Bellows and his thought-provoking work.

Highly recommended ****

The Manet Exhibit continues until 14th April, George Bellows until 9th June 2013.

Discover more at  Royal Academy of Arts

 

Love Is – More than rosy moments

Come To Love Christine Miller

heartstone Christine MillerLove Is

I was reflecting this morning that this is the first Valentine’s Day for three years that I haven’t been involved in some kind of poetry competition or promotion – 2010 and 2011, I was working with Hallmark Cards as a judge on a ‘Twittermantic’ project offering a prize for the best short romantic verse, with the winning words being turned into a card. Great fun and we attracted lots of entries both times.

Last year, I was working with QVC, the shopping channel, as resident poet on a Love Letters campaign to help the British public write messages of love to their loved ones – I turned out hundreds of poems in two days, and it was great fun. Each entrant received a beautiful, specially designed card with a personalised verse inside, and the requests came from sons and daughters, parents and friends as well as romantic interests, the long-married and newly established and those hopeful for relationships to develop. There were some deeply moving stories of loss, illness, misfortune – through which Love had triumphed and endured, and it was such a delightfully endearing project.

Although not publicly involved this year, I am,  as well as writing a book about Love in Organisations, deeply engaged in the process of bringing together a new volume of poems called ‘Courage to Love’, and this seems like the ideal time to give you a sneak preview.

This one is called ‘Come to Love’ and seems quite fitting for Valentine’s Day, even if it’s a little alternative. It’s really a statement that hearts and flowers and romance are not the essence of lasting love. We need more of the kind of love that endures and grows, standing up to all kinds of challenges and upsets, just like every aspect of human life. A Love that is present not only between couples and in families, but throughout our lives, including our work, our politics, and the way we engage with nature and the environment – in fact, throughout the planet, even the cosmos.

I like to think of us rising and standing in love, strong and courageous and loyal, collectively, rather than falling in love and being infatuated, on a hormonal high which inevitably recedes and leaves us wondering what we saw in that person in the first place. A Love that simply Is…not always easy, but one we know will endure the ups, downs and broadsides of human life.

I dedicate this poem to Love  - as a way of being and becoming; inclusive, extensive and pervasive, bringing the joy and spirit of human flourishing to us all.

Christine Miller

Happy Valentine’s Day – Loving Every Day, Every Loving Day 

Come To Love Christine Miller

How to cope with the stress of student life

christine-miller

 

How to cope with the stress of student life

christine-millerDear Christine,

My daughter has revised hard and is expected to achieve excellent A-level grades. But over the past few weeks she has become increasingly worried and anxious about going away to university and what may be expected of her. This is a time when she should be looking forward to her future but instead she is locking herself in her room and becoming very depressed. What can I do?

I’m assuming this depression is an isolated condition for your daughter, not an ongoing problem. As a young adult, about to begin life away from home, your daughter will have natural anxieties about leaving and becoming independent.

You say she “should” be looking forward to her future; however, this is a time of great change and uncertainty, and her anxiety is probably based on her holding unrealistic expectations of herself, coupled with high expectations she feels others have of her. Acknowledging and encouraging her to explore these feelings often allows them to evaporate.

Humour, patience and open communications are vital. Since she is focusing on the possible downside of going to university, help her begin anticipating positively, perhaps planning trips to buy new clothes/equipment, and gently reminding her that, initially, universities expect freshers to be nervous and uncertain.

This is a major life transition, and even outwardly confident students will have underlying concerns including:

“Will anyone like me?”

 “Will I be able to cope with the work/finances/social life?”

Essentially, everyone is in the same boat, and once your daughter realises she is not alone in her fears, they will rapidly diminish. Reassure her that you will still be there for support, if wanted, and that emails, texts and phone calls will keep her in touch with friends and family.

Talking to students already settled at university, together with some online research would also help. Listed below are resources.

http://www.thesite.org/workandstudy/studying/studentlife/studentstress

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/stress_of_student_life

http://www.studentdepression.org/stress_anxiety_and_anger.php

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/Coping-with-exam-stress.aspx

© Christine Miller M.A. Author, Mentor Coach & Counsellor

How to write a book proposal

RECov solid

 

Your Ultimate ReSource Guide

11 Key Tips For Writing A Successful
Book Proposal 

from Author & Editor Christine Miller MA FRSA

 

As a published author, an editor and publisher with over 8 years experience, and more than 25 years in business as a consultant and business owner, I am often asked about the best way to approach getting published.

Of course, the publishing world is changing rapidly, and many writers are choosing to self-publish. However, whether your book is launched into the world via a publisher, or you decide to publish independently, it is still a very valuable exercise to set out your aims and intentions and do the research on the marketplace for your book. That’s where my expertise will help you.

Whatever method you choose, there’s going to be marketing and publicity involved in reaching your readers, and in order to create and present your book in the most effective way possible, you will need to be clear about its content, niche in the market, and what makes it special and worth the attention of your readers. A little time spent upfront can ease the path, and gives you a vision and structure to keep you on track through the writing process.

Following this simple guide will help you identify where your work fits in, then whatever you decide about your method of publishing, you’ve got a framework to work to get your words out into the world in front of your audience.

Cover Page

A nice optional extra. It can look like a book cover, or just contain the book’s title, your name and contact information, and the bookstore category under which the book will be shelved (e.g. Health/Self-Help)

Summary

Write this last. It’s the executive overview. Short, no more than two pages double spaced.
Purpose: if the editor reads nothing else, she’ll at least know what you have in mind. Ideally, it will be sufficiently compelling to make the editor read the rest.

Christine Miller's book proposal guideThe Market

This section shows that you have thought through the question of who will buy the book and why.

Audience

How many people would be interested in this book? Give demographics if possible, citing your sources. Show that you’ve done your homework.

Other Books

The competition: how many books are out there on the same subject and how your book will be different.

The Book

Take as much space as you need to give the editor a clear picture of what you have in mind. You might write this with an eye to using some or all as the book’s introduction. Set the stage for what you’re going to tell the reader, provide a bit of factual material (with references if appropriate.) Describe any features that will make the book unique.

Content Overview

Chapter by chapter, describe the contents of the book, one or two paragraphs per chapter. Give samples: e.g. if you’re going to use personal case histories, make up a couple and put them with the
appropriate chapters. If you’re going to use quizzes, make up a few sample questions. Indicate whether there will be appendices and what they will contain. Mention that the book will be indexed (if it’s a non-fiction book, an index is a must.)

Book Length, Illustrations, and Delivery

For example: “A manuscript of about 95,000 words will be delivered within one year after the signing of a contract. Illustrations will consist of line art. Colour will not be required.”

Marketing and Promotion

The publisher wants to know that you will be vigorous in promoting your own book. Here you tell what activities you intend to undertake. Spend time researching and writing this section. It, and the one on the market, are the most important parts of the proposal, from the publisher’s point of view. Show that you have the savvy, energy, and enthusiasm to make your book a success (even if you don’t always feel that way.)

Author’s Qualifications

Who are you, what have you written, and what motivates you to write this book? This is not the time to be self-effacing. Exaggeration is not useful, but an honest statement of your qualifications is essential.

Appendices and Supporting Material

May not be necessary. Depends on the nature of the book.

Download as a PDF here: YUR Book Proposal Guidelines

Provided courtesy of Christine Miller, Porto Publishing & Your Ultimate ReSource © Feb 2011

For details of Christine’s consulting services for authors who want to get published:

Contact Christine  

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Christine Miller – The Resourceful Entrepreneur’s Guide

RESE_cov

‘Resourceful Entrepreneurs Guide’: some great reviews

“We’re All Entrepreneurs Now”
says
Marshall Goldsmith, Top 15 Leading Thinkers of the World,
Multi-million bestselling author


The world needs resourceful entrepreneurs. Global leaders from Presidents to Prime Ministers like the UK’s David Cameron tell us so. They are depending on vibrant business to revive the economy.


That’s why this practical, comprehensive book has been created especially for entrepreneurs and all those interested in success at work.

With a Foreword by the UK’s business guru René Carayol, it offers insights from a wide range of leaders including Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, creator of the globally renowned Grameen Bank, and Lord Andrew Mawson, one of the UK’s most successful social entrepreneurs.

There is invaluable information from top sales, marketing, financial and personal development experts, helping you to define your goals, manage the business lifecycle, get confident with selling, and understand your money and Financial IQ.

You’ll discover how to write books to establish your reputation, learn more effective time management, and be guided in entrepreneurial thinking and being authentic.

FIND OUT MORE HERE

“Let this book be part of YOUR journey; a perfect accompaniment for any entrepreneur – and one that sparks ideas and generates momentum.”
René Carayol, MBE, Britain’s Business Guru, Inspired Leaders Network

“It looks really fantastic – great job. I love it – short, sweet and densely packed with no fluff and the essence of what entrepreneurs needs.
Success in business is not necessarily having the right product or service at the right time and knowing how to get people to buy it.

There is something much more fundamental than that and it’s about having the right mind set. This intelligent and formative book starts out by explaining how key priming your mind for success is. 

What then follows is a wealth of information from some incredible business minds. It is also typical of the generosity of the author Christine Miller not to have attempted to paraphrase the wisdom of the contributors but to have designed the meta-concept behind the book and woven together contributions in such a seamless manner.

This book is easy to read and the ideas it contains easy to implement. If you are serious about business and want to discover a fresh approach, it is invaluable reading.”

Tom Evans, Author of Blocks, Flavours of Thought and The Art and Science of Lightbulb Moments

“Christine has an extraordinary way with words. They reach deep inside of you and touch those thoughts you know are there but have been fearful of acknowledging.

Having turned the key she opens the door and gives you the courage and tools to move forward into becoming a truly resourceful entrepreneur fit for the challenging times we are facing at the beginning of this amazing 21st century. Christine shows us how we can put our special gifts and talents out into this world making it a better place for everyone.  

Whatever Christine writes is worth reading – she has a way of getting to the core of her subject making it readable, practical and usable, and her poetry is sublime. She has a rare gift, check out her books and poetry now.”

Lindsay Hart, Consultant, Fundraiser, Strategist

“The Resourceful Entrepreneur’s Guide  - there’s a lot of excellent material in there – well done.”
Chris West, Marketer & Professional Writer

I am currently reading Resourceful Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business in the 21st Century …..very informative and very well written, I am finding it most useful in my ongoing pursuit of success.”
David Ross, David Ross Acting Academy

“It is certainly a book of inspiration, energy and proven skills for the aspiring and seasoned Entrepreneur.
Well done on your initiative.” 

Carole Spiers, International Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur and Awards Host