Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Reasons to be cheerful

Glass half full
After three blogs about reasons to be fearful and fake news, it’s time to cheer up. Most of my life I’ve been a glass half full kinda person. I admit it can be annoying but I can’t stop myself trying to look on the bright side. Maybe it’s because I’m a Libran, I can usually find another way of looking a problem. Seeing it from the alternative point of view…. On the other hand.  My two favourite mottos are carpe diem and only connect.

Carpe diem
Seize the day is a popular aphorism, attributed in its earliest form to the Roman poet Horace in his Odes (23 BC.) I used to write on the inside cover of my notebooks when a teenager: plan as if you are going to live forever, live as if you are going to die tomorrow. Seizing the day is a tough ask when annoying and frustrating bits of living get in the way. It’s hard to seize the day when you have to buy onions at the supermarket; or hoover the carpet. But I try…. My biggest weapon for seizing the day is my imagination. When on a bus or train, if I don’t have a book with me I can’t stop myself travelling back in time and imagining myself in another place in a different period of history. The Tags list on the right will reveal which eras are the ones I flutter away to….

Only connect!
Live in fragments no longer. I used to think it was my Mum who invented the motto: Every day in every way I’m getting better and better until I learned it was Émile Coué, a French psychologist from the early part of the Twentieth Century. Deep down I think if I haven’t read something new or experienced something new every day I’m not exercising my brain or heart and I think that’s what E M Forster’s quotation from Howard’s End is all about. Focusing on brain and heart without thinking about how my body might benefit from exercise has, of course, been a significant weakness of mine. Who would guess that I was a rugby player between the ages of 11 and 18 and between 16 and 18 I played both union and league? If only I’d made the connection then with being physically fit and living a longer life…. but then again, the connections I’ve made with my brain have given me plenty to enjoy in life. We just have to connect the beast and the monk, the prose and the passion, the body with the brain and heart – see the interlinks between us all and everything else. Live in fragments no longer.
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
Merchant Ivory's film of E M Forster's Howard's End, the source of "Only Connect!" 
Anthony Hopkins as Henry Wilcox, Vanessa Redgrave as Ruth Wilcox, Emma Thompson as Margaret Schlegel, Helena Bonham Carter as Helen Schlegel, Samuel West as Leonard Bast, Nicola Duffett as Jacky Bast, James Wilby as Charles Wilcox and Adrian Ross Magenty as Tibby Schlegel