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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: 12/26/10 - 1/2/11

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Make space for Inspiration

So here we are at all the "ones" - 1.1.11

After a late night playing our New Years Eve gig last night, I didn't get to bed until 3am this morning and I've had a lie in as expected. 

Switching on my PC, my thoughts drifted to writing a blog today. For a while I considered giving it a miss because there wasn't a subject that immediately came to mind. I just thought, if I'm going to do this, I need some inspiration. And there it was, the title for today's article. So I set about the writing, suddenly feeling inspired.

So what is inspiration?

For me, it is something that generates excitement and energy. I feel "at one" with myself. 
I feel creative.
I feel emotionally connected to others. 
I feel positive.
I feel confident.
I have clear direction and focus.
I'm far less distracted. 

Inspiration doesn't just happen. I believe that we need to make room for it. If we have a life full of emotional clutter, then it is all too easy to get distracted. Emotional clutter drains energy. Effectively, we have no room in our minds to consider how to move forward with new ideas. We become fragmented in relation to the world around us. If this is you right now or if it is something that occurs from time to time, I highly recommend that you consider taking on some counselling or therapy to help de-clutter and tidy your emotions. 

Once you have space for inspiration, the road ahead is clear. Unlike being stuck in a frustrating traffic jam, there is now room to see ahead. You can gather speed with confidence and see where you are going. The road signs are visible and you can choose your direction. 

I've drawn inspiration from many sources in the past. Some are words and poems such as the very famous Rudyard Kipling's "If". 
I've been moved by other items of wisdom such as The interview with God. 
Photographs of sunrises and sunsets such as the one at the top of this blog entry brighten my mind. 
Music, art, books, films, nature and the universe itself are all great sources of inspiration. 

We have a new year and it's always a time for opportunity. I'm suggesting that you make a decision to choose your future. Whatever is going on for you in your life right now, be aware that you have the gift of choosing how you feel about it. Seek help where you need to. All humanity is linked. We have compassion for others. It's natural. We can choose to use that compassion to help each other. If we didn't, we would simply be isolated beings with no connection to the world around us. 

If you feel able to, I ask you to consider what inspires you.
How does that make you feel?
Can you feel energy and motivation enter your psyche?
What can you see ahead of you?
What creative thoughts come to your mind? 

This is an exercise you might want to write down. Try to record your answers on a sheet of paper. See where is takes you. Give yourself permission to write down whatever comes into your mind when doing this. Nobody is going to see it unless you choose to let them. There are no rules or guidelines to what you choose to write. Even if you can't think of anything, it is perfectly acceptable to write "I don't know" or "I can't see anything". Whatever it is, write it down. By doing so, you create space in your mind for fresh thoughts. That is simply proof that it works.

I started this blog today with the thought of one word. "Inspiration". I had no real clear idea of where it was going other than having faith that as I write, I clear the clutter in my mind and fresh ideas come flowing through. 

I wish you all an inspirational, creative and positive 2011. After such a good 2010, I'm looking forward to a fantastic 2011 where I fully believe in the opportunities I have to continue to enjoy life to its full. 
Becoming more successful with my band "Beggars Belief".
Developing and designing my own life coaching material.
I can choose to develop an opportunity to run seminars on this material. 
The amazing amount of material available to read will help in my continued self development. 


Here's another guy I've found on youtube that inspired me. 

Final words, as the words of our song say "Free yourself, Freely"

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Friday, December 31, 2010


I was brought up to express thanks to people. As a young child, it felt quite a burden to “have” to say this and it was even more irritating to be reminded by my mother, father or some other adult in my life when I forgot to do this. Nevertheless, it became pretty much engrained into my behaviour and for the most part, I would remember to express it. The original rules around this linked to “being polite”

I’d state now that gratitude goes far further than simply being polite. When a thank you is expressed as an automatic response conditioned into us as politeness, I wonder if it we miss an opportunity to really make use of the power of the expression.

When you say thank you to someone, do you just say the words or do you really express and feel the emotion of the expression?

I guess there are times when we do and times when we don’t. In recent years, I’ve taken to adding to the words “Thank you” with the added words “bless you”. For some people, that may create some labels related to religion.  . I’d like to state that that is not the case in me. In fact I dislike the word religion purely because of how people do make assumptions and add labels. By adding bless you, I seek to give added value to the thank you in that in gratitude, I’m seeking to call in a feeling of wellbeing for the person I’m expressing it to. Lets call it an aura of positive energy. I’ve used “Thank you, bless you” simply when being served in a shop or fuel station.

Many people add "Bless you" as a response to sneezing

The sort of material I’m reading at the moment speaks a lot of positive energy being attractive and multiplying. The reverse of this is also true. This again comes back to choosing how we think and feel when empowered to do so. Getting to the point of making real choices for ourselves takes quite a bit of work on self development and self acceptance. I’ll state here and now that it is worth it.

As I’ve stated before, 2010 has been a great year for me. It’s had some challenges particularly with regard to bereavement. I’ve seen a friends lose family in tragic circumstances and I’ve experienced bereavement myself with regard to my mother and 2 very good friends of mine. Under other circumstances, these experiences would have brought me down, but I’ve learned to build some good foundations in my life that have helped me to file good and bad experiences appropriately.

At this end of year point, I want to give thanks for all the good experiences I’ve had this year and to give thanks for the power to endure the difficulties.

I give thanks and blessings to all those I’ve been in contact with this year for their interaction in my life. Extra special thanks and blessings to those who have motivated, encouraged, empowered and trusted me. You know who you are!

As a moderate Christian, I give thanks to God for all of this.

I encourage readers of this blog to take a calculated  risk (or perhaps you might consider it a step of faith) to evaluate your last year and give honest and heart felt gratitude to positive events that have happened in the past year, no matter how small they may seem compared to what may appear to be insurmountable difficulties.

  1. Give thanks for being alive and to have experiences.
  2. Give thanks for eyes to see (assuming you are reading this yourself) or ears to hear if somebody is reading it to you.
  3. Think hard about some more simple examples such as these.

Here’s to 2011 in the hope that it will be a better year, regardless of how 2010 has been for us.


P.s. I'll be gigging with my band Beggars' Belief tonight. We've worked a version of Auld Lange Syne  thats not too disimilar to this version on YouTube. See below and enjoy. 

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forgiveness and compassion

After reading nearly all of The Wisdom of the Woods by Wallace Huey yesterday, I'm reminded of a story I wrote myself about 4 years ago and I feel compelled to re-post it again today. Those that have known me from childhood, particularly those I was at junior school with may recognise elements of this story. 

Derren smiled at the little girl across the school yard. He had not caught her eye yet. He marvelled at her golden hair, her pretty face, and the way her eyes shined with joy as she played “hopscotch” with her friend. Eventually she glanced toward him and he increased his toothy grin. The little girls eye turned to opaque dark peals and the smile left her face. “Ewwwww, you’re ugly Dumbo! Big ears!” Derren was hurt and confused by the stinging retort. A few girls joined in and giggled as they taunted little him.
Derren was a slight boy with disproportionate features that are often typical of an eight year old. Straight, lank hair and a lopsided fringe added to features open to teasing by other children. Derren was an over excitable child. His enthusiasm at play was often overwhelming to other children, so sometimes he was excluded from some of the games.
Later, Derren sat in the dinner hall with the liver and watery powdered mash potato on his plate feeling nauseous. Derren had always been a dreamer (at least these were the words her heard mum say to other adults). Staring out of the window he spotted his teacher Miss Frost standing on chairs pinning pictures to the wall, a cigarette dangling from her mouth. He hated Miss Frost. He was afraid of her sterness and sharp tongue.
The next day, lining up for class, Derren watched as all the girls walked into the classroom and chanted in turn “Good morning Miss”. He noticed how Miss Frost smiled at the girls (especially the pretty girl) and returned the compliment. “Good morning Lucy”. Derren looked up at Miss Frost “Good morning Miss”, however it seemed she had no interest in him and and did not acknowledge the greeting. It seemed she was more interested in the girls. Disappointed and hurt, Derren trudged to his seat with his head bowed.
Miss Frost always wore an “Alice band”. Derren was able to gauge her mood each morning dependant upon the colour. Green would indicate a pleasant mood and this would give him a feeling of safety and calmness. If he was lucky, Miss might even smile at him and say “Good morning”. Blue indicated a bad mood and flagged up danger signals, beware! This morning however, Miss was not wearing a hair band. She had hair clips. Derren very quickly found out that Miss was in a particularly bad mood today. She shouted at him to hurry up and sit down at his desk at the front of the class where she could see him. It was not long into the class before Derren’s mind began to wander. He wished he were somewhere else or in another class with a kindly teacher Miss Hall who taught him last year. Miss Hall always smiled at him and encouraged him. Suddenly, Derren jumped in fear and anxiety at the sharp inflection of Miss Frost’s voice. “DERREN! WILL YOU PAY ATTENTION AND FACE FRONT!” His face flushed with embarrassment and he felt hot tears fill his eyes. The class continued. The sound of the girls sniggering behind made Derren feel very self conscious indeed! He looked round and was faced with tongues poked out. Again, he jumped in terror as Miss shouted those words angry words “DERREN! Go and stand in the corner and face the wall!”
Break time came, but Miss did not allow Derren to go outside with the other children. He was made to sit in the class alone. This was made worse in the afternoon when the class was taken to the school hall to watch a TV programme about maths. Not Derren though, he was left behind in the classroom as punishment along with Libby whom he was forced to sit next to. He didn’t like Libby very much and he was sure Miss made him sit next to her on purpose. When the children returned, he really felt left out as the class enthusiastically did the sums that he could not understand. Derren never did find out what it was everyone else learned that day.
As a 47 years old man, married to Susan, Derren was contented with his life. A “run of the mill” office job was by no means perfect but it paid the rent. He loved his son Jack dearly and tried to bring him up to be well balanced. Faith played a big part in the family. Caring for people rated highly in Derren’s life and he was part of the pastoral team at his local church. One Sunday morning, Pastor Jenkins asked Derren if he would go visit the hospice on his behalf this week. The Pastor had a very busy week ahead. Derren agreed. Taking Thursday off work would not prove to be a problem.
Doing the rounds at the hospice, listening to the folk and praying for them came fairly naturally to Derren. One of the nurses told him about a particular lady who had arrived this morning and seemed to be very withdrawn. He made a special note to spend a bit of extra time with this lady. Entering the room, he was struck by the sun shining in through the window and the warm pastel colours. A single card sat on the bedside table. He approached the lady sat in the chair, her face lined, grey hair tied back and a blanket across her legs. He wondered what lay behind the dark sunken, distant eyes. Introducing himself, he sat in the wooden chair beside this lady and waited patiently for her to speak. It was a long while before words left her mouth. All he heard until then was the rasping sound of her breath. In a matter of fact way she said “I have cancer, lung cancer”.
A brief pause “I’m sorry, may I pray for you”.
“If you wish. I don’t see as it will make much difference”
Derren closed his eyes and prayed.
“May I ask your name?”
“Do you have any family?”
“Only my brother. It’s him that sent me the card… for what its worth.”
Another long pause, Derren waited patiently for Sandra to speak trying to make eye contact with her in a gentle and non instrusive way.
“I don’t have any children. I never married. Never had much time for men to be truthful.” Derren nodded inquisitively showing more interest.
“My brother is a successful architect. He always did well. My parents put him into private school and encouraged him. Pity they did not do that for me. I always felt second best in our family. It was always ‘Gerald’s done this, isn’t he wonderful’. I had to make my own way in life”.
Sandra’s eyes seemed to drop for a moment and an atmosphere of sadness seemed to settle up her. Derren noticed the greyness and the pink raw edges of her eyelids. Was that a tear appearing? Sandra gestured with her hands as she spoke and scratched her eyebrow. In an instant, the emotion was gone and her composure returned to that determined, hardened face he first encountered. She continued to talk for a while about the various recent domestic issues in her life. About 20 minutes passed. Derren spoke very little himself other than to ask short questions to prompt Sandra further. Finally, when conversation drifted toward an end, he gently told Sandra that it was time for him to leave and said that he would be happy to come visit her again if she wished. For the first time in the encounter, Sandra made eye contact with him. Her eyes searched his and very quietly she said “Thank you…. For you kindness”. Derren got up to leave and walked toward the door. Something made him stop and turn to ask just one more question. “Sandra, you never told me what you did for a living”.
She once again looked him directly in the eye. “I was a school teacher”.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mind Connections

Have you ever experienced moments of random thought, only for a person you are with to raise the subject of your thought as is by co-incidence? Kinda spooky isn’t it!

This often happens with people that are close, such as life partners. I often witnessed this happen with my parents. My mother would think about a random subject such as shopping for something for our home followed by my father actually thinking the same thing and suggesting it. My mother would then say “Stop stealing my thoughts” and they would both laugh at the apparent absurdity. I have very often experienced the same with my wife on frequent occasions.

This poses the question whether our thoughts alone can manifest reality and whether the power of our thoughts alone can connect with and even influence another.  I've researched some of this and sensed some of the information available as being a little bit too spooky to say the least. That is not a path I want to go down on this blog. I'm more interested in the simplicity of the concept and how it appears somewhat connected to nature.

It does not seem quite so outlandish when you consider how birds can fly in a synchronised manner. See an example, click here. It is evidence to prove that nature allows this to happen. So surely this can work for us on some level as human beings. I suspect that in reality, we do it already.

Consider this:
A sports team performs better when thousands of supporters cheer them and will them to succeed. This is the so called home advantage scenario when the team has a greater proportion of their own fans at the game.

A musician raises his/her performance level when fans show their appreciation.

The power of collective prayer in faith communities can generate miracles.

The power of meditation when this is carried out collectively in a large group of people (much the same as prayer really).

Collective positive thought can produce amazing results. On the surface, this seems magical and somewhat spooky. I’d argue that positive thought “on your own” can work when those thoughts are focused. It does of course need to be followed up by action. It appears complicated, but I think it quite simple really if we choose to accept it as so. 
There's an interesting perspective and commentary on one persons experience of collective vs individual prayer on a blog, click here.  

I had an experience similar to this subject yesterday. Whilst continuing my research of various blogs and Life Coaching, I spotted a blog referring to missionary work with the Maasi in Africa. This subject reminded me of an old friend and work colleague whom I had not seen or heard from for about 3 years. (He has spent a lot of time working with the Turkana People in Kenya.)
Something really interesting happened. A few minutes later, there was a knock at my front door and the very person I thought about was standing there. On the spur of the moment, he came to visit me! We had a long chat over a couple of pints reminiscing about our past. It was a really nice time.

I wonder whether my thought of my friend created his spur of the moment decision to visit me or whether I thought about him as a result of his decision to visit.

I sensed this encounter happened for a reason. I’m excitedly waiting and seeking to discover what that reason is.

One last item I'd like to share today which is not strictly linked to today subject is a really moving article related to wisdom. I really enjoyed reading it. I hope you do too. 

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rest in Peace Kurt Klingspor

Today's blog is going to be a little different in that I want to pay tribute to a good friend (whom I knew only briefly). He sadly passed away on Christmas Eve as a result of cancer. 

I feel the need to celebrate the short amount of time I knew Kurt and to remember the good times we had together. 

Kurt had a very dry sense of humour and had the ability to laugh at himself. I've written about laughter in an earlier blog see here. 

The photograph of Kurt here, eating fish and chips with me in Birchington represents Kurt acknowledging one of many jokes we shared. It refers to that very famous episode of Dad's Army when the German Uboat captain orders his food from Private Walker ".... and I don't vant any soggy chips!" This could be considered as not politically correct humour, however I often think of non PC jokes somebody being offended that somebody else might be offended by the joke.... if you get my meaning......

I first met Kurt when on tour with Torbay Brass Band during the summer of 2008 when we visited the Rhineland in Germany visitng Lahnstein, Rudersheim, Cochem etc. 

Kurt was an engineer from Siegen in Germany. He had a passion for motorbikes, Volvo cars and British brass bands. Kurt possessed some considerable ability on the tuba and was always willing to learn more. He would soak up advice on playing brass like a sponge. His passion was demonstrated by his willingness to travel from Siegen to Lahnstein, simply to play with Torbay band. He stayed in touch and achieved one of his ambitions by playing in a brass band contest with Torbay band in 2009. I remember emailing him the music to "The Once and Future King" and helping him with some awkward rhythms for tuba. This was all done via phone and internet before he made the long journey from Siegen to Torbay for the contest. We then both drove back in convoy to Kent. 

I have to mention here that Kurt achieved a goal in his life. It was to play at that contest in Torbay. He knew the secret of dreaming and believing in his passion. 

It's always sad to lose a good friend. Recognising loss is important, but also remembering good times helps to heal the sadness. 

My final thought here. If you experience bereavement, resolve to treasure good memories. 

Some further photo's and a video memory.

Kurt wearing my comedy flying hat!
Taking some instruction in tuba playing from the very talented and experienced tuba player, Martin Cleave
With the tuba section of Torbay band. At Maximillians
 Need I say more!!!
Good friends....... ermmmm (ahem!)

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Monday, December 27, 2010


My Daughter gave me the DVD movie Inception for Christmas this year. She knows I like thrillers. I think she made a good choice, although I found the film quite hard to follow. In some ways, the movie is quite disturbing. The constant scene changes that challenge what is and is not reality take some proper concentration to follow. 

After watching the movie yesterday, I thought about it for a while and wondered what message there is in it. 

The film, clearly about the dream state, resonated with me in that I've been reading a lot of information about positive thought and fulfilling desires. I've said before that our values in life our very much guided by our experiences. Sometimes these are obvious to us in our conscious state and some are subconscious. There many experiences I've had that have been good and not so good. It's obvious that we all seek to avoid what is uncomfortable, but there are times when discomfort needs to be experienced and looked at. 

In the film, the character Domm Cobb (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) has a skill in invading peoples dreams. There is however, a problem for him for the task he has to perform. This has to do with an incident from his past that impedes him from doing the task alone. This issue from the past needs dealing with and he needs help. I'll say no more than this in case you want to see the movie. I don't want to give it all away. 

Having done a short bit of research on the film before writing this blog, I'm aware that there are many people seeking a deeper meaning to the film and some further interpretation. 

Albeit, a fast paced and slightly frustrating film to follow, I sense the message is relatively simple. Domm Cobb needs to deal with the problem that haunts him in order to be free. It's a difficult task and takes courage. He needs help. This help is available and he uses it. 

A complicated movie that takes some watching, but for me, a straight forward message: -

Pay attention to dreams be they in sleep or in waking imagination. It may be a complicated mess. Deal with it and resolve the blocks so you can move on. 

I have a number of dreams for the future. One of those is to achieve a degree of success with the band I am in. Specifically, to get the chance to appear on the late night TV show "Later with Jools Holland". I believe it is possible. It will take some work. It may well take considerable luck, but luck only occurs if you make and allow it to happen! 

As per the title to one of our best songs. I wish this to happen "Freely".

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Self Healing - achieving goals with a purpose.

Have you ever experienced that moment of feeling particularly unwell with all the symptoms enhanced? 
Have you then suddenly felt miraculously better the moment you have called your doctor and made an appointment, followed by the symptoms almost disappearing the moment you actually visit the doctor? There's a temptation to "put it on a bit" to justify the reason for calling the doctor in the first place. That "wishful thinking" I suspect can actually make the illness worse, simply by calling it into being.
Generates a bit of guilt doesn't it.

In truth, I believe that the mere action of doing something about it (calling the doctor) triggers our bodies natural response to heal. Somehow, we have some sort of faith that we will be healed because we have apportioned some of the responsibility onto someone else - the doctor.  Without realising it, we have set ourselves a goal - I must call the doctor - followed by actions - making that call. It's a simple and natural process really.

So, why not apply this simple process to the whole of our lives. 

I've been reading so much about this sort of material recently. It really does make sense. There is logic and evidence. This creates the faith to confirm it actually is going to work. 

I have created a screen saver on my PC at work that states "The process of your positive and focused mind provides the success you deserve". 

I didn't see this written anywhere else, I simply thought it up myself. I guess that way, I take ownership of the statement which makes it more believable. It's a goal I've set myself.

If you are looking for healing in your life, whether that be physical healing or simply looking to fix some aspect of your life, visualising and setting a goal for the future, working out the process and believing each stage of the process is achievable, no matter how small, is the way to go. The most important part is to action it. 
Like choosing to call the doctor when you feel particularly unwell (a logical process), that ACTION part is what starts the healing process. Lets face it, it can't be any worse than doing nothing at all. 

Wishing you healing in your life for whatever that may be. 


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