lifestyle Tag

Big Magic

Big Magic

More Big Magic, please!

 

Although there are many great books to read, every now and then I feel like rereading one of the books I’ve read before. Sometimes I really liked the story, sometimes the book was very inspiring, sometimes for no particular reason at all. READ MORE

Morrie&Me terugblik 2017

looking back at 2017

2017 in a nutshell

 

At this second day of 2018, I’d like to take a brief moment to look back at the past year. A year that has kept me so busy, especially the second half of it, that I barely had the time and energy to keep up with Morrie&Me.

Than what has been keeping you so busy? You might wonder… Well this year has been all about 3 big milestones for me and I can hardly believe how much has happened these past few months!

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A survival guide for life

A survival guide for life

A survival guide for life – How to achieve your goals, thrive in adversity and grow in character

written by Bear Grylls, published by Transworld Publishers
genre non-fiction / self-help, 284 pages

 

Since my boyfriend kept mentioning this book I decided to give it to him as a birthday present. Not having any clue who Bear Grylls is and what the book’s all about. But as soon as I bought it, I realized I’d love this book as much as my boyfriend would.
The 284 pages are filled with 75 precious life lessons, personal experiences and hard-earned wisdom. Written down by a man who not only knows how to stay alive in extreme circumstances, but also knows how to translate these experiences into the most down to earth, to the point and valuable life lessons. A book that had to be read!

 


The story in short

Even though I’d not yet heard of the man, it turns out that Mr. Grylls is one of the most well known people around the world, when it comes to survival and outdoor adventure. Starting with training martial arts as a child, Bear joined the British Special Forces as a young man. While serving the 21 SAS he gained many experiences, perfected his skills and trained his heart and mind.

Over the years Bear Grylls has written 20 books and this one is an insider’s guide on how to follow your heart and live an empowered, effective, fun-filled life. As a former member of the SAS, Bear knows first handed how hard life’s challenges can be and how good it feels to keep holding on and to not give up.

A book filled with so many useful lessons can be hard to summarize. Picking my 5 favorite lessons might give you an idea why I loved this book and its author so much. So here they are :

  1. Be the most enthusiastic person you know. Enthuasiasm sustains you when times are tough, encourages those around you and rapidly becomes a habit.
  2. The will to win means nothing, without the will to train. Or as Winston Churchill put it: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
  3. To get, you first have to give. A beautiful lesson Bear learned as a child from his mother. Please make sure to read this chapter in the book, I loved the explanation.
  4. No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. The real value of a team is the people and the relationships between them.
  5. It’s all about that little bit extra. Reaching our summits only requires us to hold on that little bit longer than most people are prepared to endure.

 

And because it’s incredibly hard to pick only 5, I decided to give a little encore :

  • You’ve got two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. Listen twice as much as you talk, don’t listen to reply but listen to understand.

 

Do you get what I mean? It all sounds very logical and sometimes even funny. But we all struggle with motivation or inspiration sometimes. According to Bear, champions never stay down for long. That’s why we need to keep feeding motivation into our brains and souls every single day, that’s what this survival guide is all about.

 

Why you should read this book

Having read quite a lot of self-help books, this one is definitely one of the quickest and easiest reads of all. The 75 chapters are very short and concise, they all add a new lesson or insight and together they add up to one overall story. It’s a book that can be read in just a day or two, or to have laying around to pick up every now and then for just that piece of  advise suitable for your specific situation or mood. If you’re in an instant need of motivation, this book will be the perfect cure!

 

“Life rewards the dogged, not the qualified.” 

– Bear Grylls

 

* Picture in header from Bear Grylls’ Facebook.

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Als jouw leven een cirkel is waar sta jij dan?

Als jouw leven een cirkel is

Als jouw leven een cirkel is waar sta jij dan? / If life was a circle, where would you be?

written by Inez van Oord, published by Kosmos Uitgevers
genre nonfiction / lifestyle, 263 pages

 

As long as I can remember, magazines always attracted my attention. Especially beautifully designed magazines, combining pretty pictures with interesting stories and topics. Being the founder of some of the most successful Dutch magazines, I’d heard of Inez van Oord before. I’d read her magazines and more recently found articles about her; about her life and the brave decisions she’s made. When I found out Inez had written a personal book about life, I just couldn’t wait to check it out.

 


The story in short

Inez’ natural talent for identifying trends helped her to translate the elements that are missing in life, into magazines that can count on big fanbases. Her magazines Seasons (about living a pure and natural lifestyle) and Happinez (about living a spiritual and mindful life) are great examples of following your guts and making dreams come true. But despite her former success, Inez’ third attempt to set up a new magazine called ‘Humanize’, unfortunately didn’t work out the way she’d envisioned and left her with one question : What to do now?

That’s when creativity kicked back in and Inez decided to write the book she’d been thinking about for many years; a book about living life and finding your balance. The book that has been declared the best spiritual book of 2016. With this book, Inez got back on track and shows once more that following your dreams and guts can make you a very happy and successful person.

Having a lifelong fascination for circles (hence the typical Happinez cover design), this time Inez refers to life itself as a circle. A circle like a compass; a compass with ‘Mind’ as North and ‘Body’ being South, ‘Self’ as East and ‘Others’ being West. A compass to help us find our own balance within those four poles. A compass that can guide us back to the centre of it all, back to the essence of what makes life worth living.

 

Why you should read this book

The book is a quick and easy read and the illustrations that complement the stories make reading it even more enjoyable. The book can be divided into two parts. In the first section Inez explains the four quarters of the compass and links them to her own professional and personal life. She tells about her career in the magazine world, how it started and took shape, her struggles and successes. The second part of the book focuses on the reader. Inez hands us tools to help us find our way back to the centre of our own compasses.

To be honest, I read this book mostly because of the first part in which Inez tells about her career. The second part I’m sure can be very helpful for a lot of people, but I think I’d already found my answers to those questions via other ways. Nevertheless I loved reading this book, because it’s a good example of how the most honest and personal stories often are the most inspiring and can help others to make their own decisions.

 

Minimalism

Minimalism

Minimalism – A documentary about the important things

starring the Minimalists, directed by Matt D’Avella
launched in 2016, 78 minutes

 

They say that ideas float through the air and all you have to do is grab them. If you don’t somebody else will, sometimes several people will. When I came across an article in the newspaper about people joining the Tiny House Movement in the Netherlands, in my mind it got immediately linked to the documentary that my boyfriend and I had watched the previous evening. A documentary definitely worth telling you guys about!

‘Minimalism’ is a fascinating documentary about minimizing your life. A life in which less means more. A lifestyle conflicting with the western ideal in which materialism equals happiness. We’ve all heard of Marie-does it spark joy-Kondo who taught us how to get rid off all the stuff that we don’t need. Well, for some people that is only the beginning.

 

“I had everything I ever wanted.
I had everything I was supposed to have.
Everyone around me said: “You’re successful”.
But really, I was miserable.”

– Ryan Nicodemus

 

In this documentary we get to know people that brought minimalism to an even higher level. For example Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, also known as ‘The Minimalists’.

We follow Ryan and Joshua on their tour through America. A tour on which they try to introduce this ideal of living a minimalistic lifestyle to as many people as possible. They go to conferences, give presentations and take part on radio and tv shows to talk about the significant difference changing from a consumeristic lifestyle to a minimalistic lifestyle has made. Both men are now feeling so much happier, no longer working long days to earn a lot of money to buy things they don’t really want or need.

 

Trailer ‘Minimalism – A documentary about the important things’

 

The documentary introduces not just Ryan and Joshua’s version of a minimal lifestyle, but many more people that at a certain point in their life decided to take back control and live life differently.

What really inspires me is how they all explain that living a less excessive life makes life so much easier and enjoyable. There is no more worrying about what to wear when you can choose between five first choice-sweaters instead of a hundred seconds. Something simple like owning less clothes would surely make the morning ritual of many men and women much less stressful (not even mentioning what this would mean for our natural environment and the people working in all those mass production processes.)

Having watched this documentary and having read the article really helps and inspires me to keep focusing on the important things in life. To keep living my life intentionally, to make decisions that will increase mine and other people’s happiness, not just the number on my bank account. When living a more minimal life, life won’t be perfect, nor easy, but it will be simple.

 

“Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.”

– Joshua Fields Millburn

 

To learn more about the minimalists, have a look at their website.

How to become a Buddha in five weeks

How to become a buddha in five weeks

How to become a buddha in 5 weeks – The Simple Way to Self-realization

written by Giulio Cesare Giacobbe, published by Mana
genre educational, 160 pages

 

As a yoga and pilates practitioner, I’ve always considered following meditation lessons as well. But I either couldn’t find the time or the right meditation class to actually do so. When my colleague, who’s an even more fanatic yogi, told me about this book, about the lessons it teaches you and how much it had brought her, I simply couldn’t wait to read it and start the course myself.

 


The story in short

Giulio’s son Yuri was a Bodhisattva, a reincarnation of the Buddha. When Yuri was only 27 he past away and transferred his buddhism to his father. A man who unlike his son, considered himself to be an old sinner. But Giulio changed into a buddha. He found enlightenment and realized that it’s possible for everybody to become a buddha too. Buddhism no longer was just a theory to him, it became something real and finally resulted in this book.

Even though what you’re reading now is a book review. It would be more correct to call this a short course for getting a buddhist state of mind, in the form of a book. The book not only provides us with a clear and easy to understand explanation of the base principles on which a buddhistic mindset can be build. These principles have also been translated into a 5 week course that can be followed and completed by everybody who’s open and willing to do so.

It is not a book about religion. It’s a book about a psychological method with a practical goal; to end your mental suffering and achieve a permanent state of serenity. Perhaps this all might sound complicated or maybe even a bit far fetched. But don’t worry, it really isn’t. The writer explains the essence of a buddhistic mind in a very clear and easy to understand way. And the five assignments derive from this explanation very naturally. Really everybody can do this.

 

Why you should read this book

Reading the book is only the beginning. The writer proposes you first read the book completely, before starting the assignments that each take at least a week. I’ve read the book twice but haven’t finished all the courses yet. I prefer to take more time for each assignment and really let it sink in. But I’m sure that in some weeks, I as well will reach the ultimate goal and become a buddha. Wouldn’t you like to give it a try?

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Morrie Schwartz & Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie – an old man, a young man and life’s greatest lesson

written by Mitch Albom, published by Doubleday
genre autobiography, 192 pages

 

A friend of mine recommended this book to me, he said it’s one of the most wonderful and inspiring books he’s ever read. I ordered the book online and after receiving it, read it within just a couple of hours. Morrie had come into my life, and he never left.

 


The story in short

This book is the final thesis Mitch Albom writes for his old professor Morrie Schwartz. Unfortunately Morrie has ALS and knows the end of his life is nearing as his body is getting weaker every day. Despite this horrible disease Morrie focuses on the little joys that are left in his life, he surrounds himself with the people he loves and feels blessed for having the time to say goodbye.

One of his visitors is Mitch, a former student who accidentally hears about the circumstances of his old professor when Ted Koppel of ABC-tv’s Nightline interviews Morrie for the first time. After the show Mitch travels to West Newton to say goodbye to his ‘coach’, as he used to call Morrie, not knowing that this visit will be the start of the last class Morrie will teach, once a week by a window in his home study, discussing ‘the Meaning of life’. For this class no books are needed, the lessons are taught from experience. The class meets on Tuesdays.

 

Morrie & Mitch | picture by Heather Pillar

 

Why you should read this book

The book is easy to read, but so full of life lessons that you might like to take a little more time to process all of Morrie’s wisdom. Many quotes will stick with you for a very long time. The book is very personal, actually it’s Mitch telling about Morrie, the progress of the illness and what that means to Morrie’s everyday life. At the same time Mitch tells about his own life, about choices he has made and new insights he gets during the classes with Morrie. He describes very personally how the disease and Morrie’s dysfunctional body bring them closer every lesson.

Even if you’ve never met Morrie, reading the book gives you the feeling that you get to know him and that you want to get to know him, learn from him, his positivism and wisdom. He was and still is a teacher. Have you ever had a teacher like this?

 

“People see me as a bridge. I’m not as alive as I used to be, but I’m not yet dead.
I’m sort of . . . in-between.” He coughed, then he regained his smile.
“I’m on the last journey here – and people want me to tell them what to pack.”

– Morrie Schwartz

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