Something To Think About . .

Joshua Bell

A colleague sent me this today, which made me think about what we miss by rushing through life without pausing, noticing and appreciating things that in other circumstances and environments we would love and value.

THE SITUATION

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.


buy gabapentin for dogs online About 4 minutes later:


The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.


buy provigil europe At 6 minutes:


A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


enter site At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.


At 45 minutes:


The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell


This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.


This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?


One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Brought me back to thinking about something I wrote last year – see here: Do You Value What’s Right Under Your Nose?

Doing Well by Doing Good

Social Enterprise, sustainability,  and triple bottom line business have been a major focus for ReSource over recent years; we believe that personal and business growth and development go hand in hand – and we’ve been inspired and motivated by Muhammud Yunus and his Grameen Bank example, an enterprise which won Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize; by Lord Andrew Mawson who has been described as ‘Britain’s Social Entrepreneur’ – his groundbreaking Bromley-by-Bow Centre in one of London’s most deprived areas has transformed many lives and been a beacon for better ways of creating cohesive communities; and dedicated people such as Carole Spiers, Ida Horner, Getrude Matshe, who give their time, resources and expertise to projects around the world aimed at helping people to help themselves.

I recently heard Kevin Spacey talk about his projects ‘Old Vic New Voices’ at the Old Vic Theatre to help less privileged young people develop and grow through theatre training workshops and experiences -he described it as ‘sending the lift back down’ to bring up those not yet in a position to fulfill their potential and use their gifts and talents fully. It’s true that these days many people want a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘hand out’ – and social businesses which offer an opportunity for gainful and worthy employment whilst creating social benefits are a proven way to achieve this.

Later today I’m attending a round table on ‘How to Change Lives with Good Business”, with Sally Reynolds of Social Firms UK giving a heads-up on her perspective as CEO of an organisation championing firms providing opportunities  to find sustainable employment  in the open labour market for severely disadvantaged people. My involvement with setting up our own humanitarian education and development organisation The ReSource Foundation as a social enterprise, and my recent partnership with a major network of Social Entrepreneurs makes this a highly relevant and topical event – I’ll be reporting with more information soon!

Here’s a brief video giving more information about Social Firms:

Happy Chinese New Year

Tiger, Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India in October 2008
Tiger photographed on safari at Ranthambore, India, October 2008

Tiger photographed on safari at Ranthambore, India

We at ReSource were thrilled to be able to visit India, and one of the highlights was our tour of Rajasthan: an amazing place of contrasts (like the whole of India!) where we were privileged to be able to go on a tiger safari. The entire three weeks we spent in India was a source of inspiration and joy – the sub continent has an uncanny ability to draw you out and encourage your personal growth!

About Ranthambore National Park

Once we knew we were going to India in Autumn 2008, we started to look for the most enriching experiences there – and something that really stood out as a must-do, must-see was to go on a tiger safari.


These big cats seen in their natural environment held great fascination, and we found ourselves heading for Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, a protected area, one of the few places in India where tigers are still regularly seen, even in the daytime, and are breeding.

Formerly a hunting preserve for the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore covers an area of 392 sq. km. and is nestled between the Aravali and Vindhya mountain ranges. This deciduous forest was once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India. The rugged terrain, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools makes it a really romantic and picturesque place to be.


It seems we arrived at just the right time, and that we even had good ‘karma’, according to the locals, as we were able to see several tigers in the course of our three day safari. The excitement of being so close to these amazing creatures was almost indescribable, a real privilege – in fact, quite an emotional experience for all concerned, and something I would recommend wholeheartedly if you have the chance to visit.

www.ranthamborenationalpark.com

Video – Life Blessings for You

Come and meditate and relax for a while….


Nourishment for Your Soul

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Joys of Spring….

Bluebells in spring 2009

Words & pictures from the garden

In conversation with my friend Tony Buzan who is currently in Singapore, it emerges that he is missing the English Spring with its flowers and freshness, and the variety that our climate here in the UK offers.

Much as the tropical weather of Singapore is enticing, and the delights of the Far East are unquestioned,  we recalled times together when we had made a point of detouring for the sole purpose of  seeing the daffodils in London’s St James’ Park,  a somewhat ‘Wordsworthian’ experience… and he asked me if the bluebells were out now…..

Bluebells in April

Bluebells in April

That prompted me to take some photos of my garden whilst the said bluebells are indeed in bloom, along with Forget-me-Nots,  and various other delights which are looking very fresh and delicious at present.

It’s so easy to get immersed in the less beautiful aspects of life, especially when you live in the city,  to be overtaken by our daily activities and concerns, and forget to value and be grateful for the  simple pleasure that comes from appreciating our environment and the inspiring moments that nature can offer.

For my travelling absent friend – some refreshing moments in an English garden…..and thank you for re-minding me to acknowledge Nature’s blessings …

yellow-rose

'Potentilla' in full bloom

Above is one of my favourite corners of the garden….it used to be a ‘hide and seek’ game  hot spot when the kids were little…..now it’s providing the same function for squirrels and this year a family of blackbirds, plus the usual robins and great tits, and even a thrush.

Bluebells in spring 2009

Bluebells, forget-me-nots, bergenia, euphorbia - Spring 2009

This sheltered patch amongst the flowers is my cat’s favourite hideout for bird spotting – she’s given up on trying to catch them…

Tree peony 2009

Tree peony 2009

The tree peony gives a brief but stunning splash of colour, and produces an abundance of  massive seed pods which not only feed the wildlife and but also offers a way for me to please friends who admire the plant with a gift of seedlings for their own gardens.