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Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, we celebrate women. Happy International Women’s Day to all the women out there! Remember to be your own fabulous self today and every day! Dream what you want to dream. Go where you want to go. Be what you want to be. Ride your own wave. March to your own beat, sing your own songs, write your own book and wildly dance to your own rhythm like nobody is watching. Don’t be afraid to shine your light as far and as wide as you can and remember that

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save. They just stand there shining”

Anne Lamott.

Today’s blog article is dedicated to women from every corner of the world; it is a snapshot of my thoughts, vision and aspirationS for women, but most of all it is a celebration.

Let’s celebrate international women’s day by being ourselves

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be yourself. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed

Your Quest my dear, is not to find yourself but to create yourself. Make your life a work of art, because that is the only place where you can do whatever you like and tremember that to give style to one’s character is a great and rare art.

“Consider making your life a work of art. You have yourself to begin with and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be who you are, even though you may be quite content with who and what you are; it will not be hard for you to think of something greater than you might become; it need not be something spectacular or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of. Make your life a work of art!”

Richard Taylor.

Don’t let people put you in a box and stick a label on it before they even get the chance to know you. You are the sum total of your genetics, your upbringing, but also the books you read, the countries you travel to, the ups and downs that can be on your path. Respect people but do not worship them. Be a giver, but give yourself enough time and space to advance your interests too. Today you can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as you want and tomorrow, you can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if you feel like it.

In order to create yourself, you need to be courageous. Being courageous doesn’t mean that you have to do bold spectacular acts of bravery and become a hero. You don’t have to be a hero, just have the courage to be yourself. Courage can show up in a very quiet manner and in thousands of unexpected ways. Deciding not to fight can sometimes be as courageous as charging into battle. Forgiveness requires a lot of courage. Learning a new skill, starting a new business venture, stepping outside your comfort zone requires a lot of courage. Standing up to bullies and speaking your mind requires a fair dose of courage. Falling in love, letting your guards down can be an act of courage. Staying positive and upbeat when facing setbacks, ill-health, old age or even death requires a lot of courage.

Let’s celebrate international women’s day by looking after our body and our mind

We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your Quest as a human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. Have a fighting spirit but choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Sure thing, but how?! You can become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from our diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes.

“Above all do not lose your desire to walk everyday. I walked myself into a state of well-being and walked away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thoughts so burdensome that one cannot walk away from”

Soren KierKegaard

You can become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to unexpected events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise. You can become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.

Looking after your mind means setting aside some quiet time to learn the art of being still. Practicing stillness is an essential life lesson that is being taught by wise men. Let’s be guided by the words of two wise men, Socrates, and Blaise Pascal.

Learn the art of being still. Photo by Alize Reed – La Savanne – Ile de la Reunion

According to Socrates: “The source of all wisdom and clarity is to know thyself.” And according to Blaise Pascal “, All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”.

Too often our minds are caught in a cycle of stimulus and mindless distractions, practicing the art of being still will definitely help you unclutter your mind and help you get accustomed to being in your own company, free to let your mind wander wherever it wants to go.

Being still is not an easy state of being, humans are social creatures by nature, we dread boredom, and we are unfit to endure extreme cases of isolation. If we are alone for too long our mental faculties can degrade leading to a state of insanity and deep despair. The use of solitary confinement and exile are effective tools of punishment.

But our modern-day fears are not restricted to extreme cases of isolation, rather many of us fear being alone for any period of time, and being alone is something to be avoided at all costs. Not only are we afraid of being alone individually, but we are also afraid of those around us who seem to be very happy in their own company. We see them as dangerous, unsocial, or maybe even unwanted.

The paradox these days is that we have never been so connected to each other and feel so alone at the same time. Information technology is everywhere, the invention of the radio, the telephone, television, mobile phone, and the internet has brought us closer together allowing anyone in the world instant access to another person via video conference call. These days, you just have to press a button and instantaneously you are transported to the other side of the world. The problem is, we now live in a world where we are connected to everyone except ourselves.

A paradox of stillness is that it requires you to think very deeply, but also clear your mind. In fact, this is not a paradox as once our mind is cleared and emptied insights and breakthroughs can occur. Muddy waters clear themselves through stillness; if we let them settle the truth will be revealed to us. Another paradox is that stillness does not require that you stop moving or even to be somewhere quiet, stillness can be cultivated while chaos swirls around you. Those moments, in a busy shopping mall or airport, when somehow all the external noise is filtered out and you feel a sense of calm and can focus on what is in your control, that is stillness.

Stillness is an important tool on your journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly not only when you are meditating, but in the midst of conflict when you are frustrated, angry, or scared, will help you find a more logical, less emotional response, and give you choices to do things differently, or do nothing at all.

Let’s celebrate international Women’s Day by Being like water

Be like water. Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Rivers represent the source of life and the forward motion of time. Rivers also symbolize the power of nature and impermanence and change that are inherent in our existence. Cities and towns often spring up on riverbanks, seemingly brought to life by the water source and the fertility of the surrounding soil. Rivers capture our imagination, not just as a physical body of water, but more like a symbol of life, strength, freedom, and much more; something that we should emulate

You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life. The beauty is in the journey.  We are always doing things for the first time, and the landscape will always be new as we move along our life journey. Let’s try to face any novelties with joy and not with fear because it is pointless to fear what cannot be avoided.

Rivers move continuously as if nothing can stop them, they are always in a forward motion, just like our lives which we cannot rewind except in our imagination.  We should not wallow in our past suffering or unpleasant memories. Instead of becoming stuck in the past or worrying about what could or could not have been, we should move on with our lives focusing on the present moment and what we can do at this very moment to improve our lives.  

Through twists and turns and numerous obstacles, rivers negotiate their way until they reach their destination. They flow fast when the terrain is favorable and when they encounter difficult obstacles, they negotiate their way around them. Stones should be avoided as much as possible. Trying to break a stone is a waste of your time and energy. Go around them.

The same applies to our life. We should apply ourselves to take advantage of favorable circumstances and negotiate our way through problems and difficulties. We should be flexible in our approach and avoid acting with the rigidity of a rock. We should practice the art of humility, surrender to the circumstances, and go with the flow when the circumstances recommend us to be flexible. But being flexible doesn’t mean that we should bend backward to everything and everyone. It means that we should choose our battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t so. When comes a time for us to be strong and bold we should emulate the strength of water rapids coming down the valley with purpose and intent.

River flow is not constant, sometimes it runs fast when the terrain is favorable, other times it stops flowing joyfully when it enters a hole or encounters dry season. The only way to get out of this dry hole is to call on time as your ally. Call for patience and perseverance, the dry season will not last forever. When the right moment comes the hollow fills up and the water can flow again.

Rivers represent the forward motion of time. Rivers symbolize the impermanence and change that are inherent in our existence. Time is of the essence; it is the most valuable asset each person has. Every day when we wake-up, each one of us has the same amount of time to live a meaningful life, to learn, to give, to share, to experience, to make a difference, to be who you really want to be.

“Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But with time water will wear away rock which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox. What is soft is strong.”

Lao Tzu

And this my dear friend is Your Quest. Happy International Women’s day and remember to be your own fabulous self today and everyday.

Personal Note

I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication. DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice. DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category. Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com