Why It Takes Love and a Lot of Guts to Survive and Thrive

Life is a miracle!What’s the biggest personal problem you have ever faced in your life?

Given the chance, if you are like most people you may just rattle off some of the challenges you have faced in your life. Some people might even show me their battle wounds

Let me be clear – this is a rhetorical question and not an invitation for you to wallow in your past or share any pain you are going through now.

We have all faced challenges during our life journey – and the very fact you are reading this shows that you survived.

As a wise man said to me once – your life is a success every time you wake up in the morning. You have survived another night and maybe you will thrive for another day!

It’s so easy to feel sorry for ourselves as we meander through life’s ups and downs – and wonder how and why life got so hard for us along the way.

Then along comes somebody who has faced such astonishing challenges and is still dancing and smiling through life. They just blow you away with their zest for life, optimism and positivity.

One such person is my long term friend and mentor Evelyne Brink. Three years ago in November 2011, Evelyne was due to visit my home for lunch. She was 7 months pregnant at the time and was due to visit me after a routine hospital check-up in the morning.

She never made it to mine that day.

Instead she called me in the afternoon to say that the doctors had discovered something not quite right with her baby. She was in shock and still taking in the news. I offered to join her at the hospital but her partner Thomas was already on the way.

That day Evelyne’s life changed for ever. As did Thomas’s and all the close people in her life.

Their son Tuffel was born a few weeks later without a bowel and despite all the odds he is now a bright, gregarious 3-year old.

Tuffel is a miracle baby and has become the first ever survivor of “ultra short gut syndrome“, living with no small intestine.

Evelyne has now written and published a heart-warming book about her journey over the last 3 years – “It Takes Guts” (Amazon UK/Amazon.com)  an uplifting and deeply emotional journey which will fill your heart with new hope for what is possible for each and every one of us.

As the subtitle says, it is a story of love, hope and a missing bowel.

“An amazing story of how crisis can turn strangers into family and the amazing reserves of grace, love, and hope we can all find inside ourselves when we really need them.”Michael Neill, Supercoach

Evelyne has such a powerful story to share – and amidst her busy life of nappy changing and visits to the hospital with Tuffel, she kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog, so that readers can be inspired by her message.

1. Evelyne thank you so much for making time for us despite your busy life looking after Tuffel.

What you went through is every parent’s worst nightmare which turned into a miracle. Who are you and where does your story begin?

Hello and thank you for being here!

What is a parent’s worst nightmare? That your child would die – I’ve luckily only been faced with the prognosis not the event. And herein lies the big miracle (one of them) of my story.

I’m a multi-passionate and naturally happy soul with a colourful background in performing and coaching. I used to be known as UK’s No. 1 Madonna Impersonator travelling the world as the Queen of Pop and I’ve had record deals with Sony in the past.

I’ve written and performed one woman shows and brought out my own music (Check out Diva Eve on ITunes or Amazon).

I’ve also been into stand-up comedy which as a female German was an interesting choice to make in the UK scene. That in itself might have been my best joke. Ah well…

Since 2009, I have been a full time coach, fostering miracles and breakthroughs in other people’s lives as well as my own (I think that bit’s important). I’ve authored a book called “The ARTrepreneur. Financial Success for Artistic Souls”, I worked with creative people in the media and music industry, and I now work as a coach at Channel 4.

So becoming a mum was an important step and a long standing dream for me. I was going to be super yummy mummy with my life coaching skills and my good taste for pampering treatments, I thought my biggest worry was how to lose the weight and get my abs back.

I had started a blog “from yummy to mummy” to poke fun at the loss of identity, personality and figure I was heading toward but then my own story turned darker as the scans showed stuff that shouldn’t be there. A cyst at first than floating loops of bowel.

We had a horrible prognosis but nobody knew it was “that bad”. Although it’s all relative isn’t it. What’s bad? What’s good? And who are we to know?

guts2. Who would want to read your story and why? How does reading this story affect people’s lives?

You will probably love and appreciate your life and circumstances just that little bit much more. If you are a parent you’ll hug your kids tighter and feel more connected to them, more grateful and quite possibly more at peace in yourself.

“If you want to quickly reduce the size of almost any huge problem you are dealing with, simply read “It Takes Guts” by Evelyne Brink.”Steve Hardison, The Ultimate Coach.

The story is not a happy clappy novel but a real life account with people living who shouldn’t be living and some dying who shouldn’t be dying and loving people going mad and mad people becoming more sane and everything in between.

Robert Holden says “this story will make you laugh and weep and feel every feeling there is”.

I promise that you’ll be left uplifted. I was very aware that I didn’t want my readers to be left in the pits of human sadness. I like to see myself as a prism that breaks the light of life to show the different colours.

You’d think my book would speak to women and parents most or the medical professionals but feedback shows that men also really get into it! Even though it has the face of a baby on the cover.

3. What motivated you to write the book?

This was too big a story not to write.

I’ve been writing a diary and loving it from the age of 6.I thought documenting the making of deer figurines created from conkers would be a wise point for future reference. I also thought writing down who treated me wrongly would be important so the world could see the unfairness of the teenage years I had to endure.

I’ve been bullied into doing house chores in exchange for lending a bicycle from my brother and other such cruelties. Preserved in writing for all to see (anyone who can decipher my handwriting and the fading ink).

Later my writing in diaries became about un-meddling my confusions about life, men and what lies in between.

Now, apart from that, I want to share the process of how we co-create our lives and how our inner world impacts our life and I love to connect through words and communicate without having to repeat myself endlessly.

I also feel a bit more smart and witty when I write, as I can sit for minutes to make one point, and you’ll never know it didn’t just trickle out of me.

So writing is my one stop medium for all these wonderful things.

guts24. Evelyne, you spent 8 months in hospital with your new-born son. When did you find the time to write?

I asked myself the same question recently. I didn’t sleep through the night, due to expressing milk and when I wasn’t expressing milk, I was cooking, sleeping, having a shower or getting ready to go or come back from the hospital. Or arguing with my loved one which takes a lot of time and dedication. But you get good at what you practice.

Life and household chores don’t stop – except for cleaning and tidying which can definitely wait!

Something has to be really important to find time in an ultra-packed high stress and sleep deprived schedule.

“This story will make you weep and laugh. It will make you feel every feeling there is – and think deeply about what is real, sacred and true about life”.Robert Holden, author and founder of The Happiness Project.

To me, this story that I first shared in my newsletter was that important. I knew there was so much that was going to get lost and I wanted to focus my energy and consciously witness what was happening. I knew my memory and brain function during this time were less than normal – so now I’m so grateful it’s on paper because I had actually forgotten many of the details.

5. My blog readers are smart people who want to make it happen. How does this very personal story of yours help them specifically?

I like to make it happen. I am passionate about creating in life, it makes me come alive, too.

This is a story of someone who has been told he couldn’t even live and he made it happen to live – and live really well.

Defying the odds is not just good luck, there is teamwork and innovation, dedication and commitment behind it. Thinking outside boxes you didn’t even know existed.

Discussing and arguing your case, talking to the right people, asking more than once or twice, putting your foot down, connecting to your deeper truth.

Those are the ingredients for our personal miracle and they are the same for your success!

I think contrast can be a very useful motivator. If you see what we made happen and the emotional stress under which we and many other families did, you will find whatever you want to get done to be a lot easier.

And feedback from people who have read my book shows that people tend to scrap mediocre, throw away the idea of settling for OK and really go for it!

Our little boy Tuffel has inspired people to change career paths, to be more aware, to do things they were afraid of…so reading this story might do the same for you or if you’re open to the possibility, even more?

I’d be thrilled to hear about that. For me that makes our whole journey and the work of writing this book, all very worthwhile.

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6. You like talking about miracles. You don’t just mean feeling a little better but actually living through the impossible. What makes miracles happen in your view?

I guess I already answered this in the last question but I’ll add that willingness to see things as miracles is important.

Us humans get used to things so quickly and are pros at taking things for granted – and before you know it, we’ve classified a full on miracle as a medical outcome or a little bit of “luck”.

What makes a miracle happen is a lot of detailed effort, trust and for me, good energy.

There is something really important in a peaceful flow of energy for me. When I’m hyped up and my head is running 100 miles a minute whatever happens is not in “miracle mode”.

Miracle feels magical and all things magical have a slower pace to them. If you think of the beautiful scenes in the movie Avatar or any enchanting moment, they are not filmed in time lapse but in almost slow motion. By the way, it’s the same for erotic moments – they are based on a slowed down perception that allows the space to feel and experience the amazingness that is.

I lived in a very slow mode through the hospital time. Anytime I didn’t, I couldn’t connect with my magical bundle of cabled baby. But in slow magic mode I could – and I could feel this amazing presence for both of us and everything was okay even though machines were beeping and stuff happened.

The more we chilled, the better things went. Being quite a bubbly, even hyperactive thing, that was a huge revelation for me!

And the magic here is that in that slower pace, we can catch a glimpse of new possibilities and ideas – and they are what change our whole world around.

So if you want to make bigger and better things happen, this is a super top tip. Slow down to experience miracles in your life.

And learn how to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

7. Evelyne, you come across as very positive. Are you always hopeful and strong? And what advice can you give to those who may not be naturally as optimistic?

I can be a moaner, get stuck in victim mentality big time and way too often for my liking – in other words my shit stinks. It’s called being human.

Which is not something I always readily accept either. I am stubborn I don’t just want to accept and embrace and be grateful when I’m freaking angry and hating it all. I have that side too and I am learning to see it as okay to show it.

I find it amusing (sometimes) that even though we evolve and learn all these wonderful things in life, the stubborn kid still comes out to shut it all down when it matters the most. And then I build shame on top of that as if to say I shouldn’t be like that. I should be positive through and through or wise and mature through and through at all times just because someone noticed that I can tap into wisdom.

I call this the birth and rise of the spiritual Ego. Just when you think you’re over yourself, bang! It slaps me in the face.

My advice to people with a more negative tendency is to take it easy. And give yourself a break, let’s cut some slack and most of all have a laugh.

The biggest difference between depressed and happy people is actually the degree to which they take their own thoughts seriously.

They are really not so important or even real as they feel. The more you can laugh about yourself, the more you’ll laugh in life.

I love to laugh so that is my spiritual practice. It feels even better than Yoga.

Totally Cute8. Where is life going for you and your family? Is there a long-term solution for your son?

I am conducting this interview from a hospital ward. Tuffel is sleeping and has woken up crying and screaming a few times. He’s on 2 machines and has a fever and therefore IV antibiotics running.

That’s part of our life now. Every rise in his temperature and we’re in hospital.

Most of the time we’re out of hospital to the degree where we get annoyed when we have to get in. In fact we can be happy to be out so much!

There is currently only bowel transplant as an alternative option but then taking immune suppressants for the rest of your life is not a healthy option either. Nor is living with a suppressed immune system.  Try that in a nursery…we’ve already been fighting colds for 3 months as it is!

Stem cells will provide a future solution. We’ve already raised the first million pounds to get stem cell research for the small intestine going at Great Ormond Street. But it will take more than £1 million to regenerate the most complex organ in the body. We aren’t done with our work and the more people know about it and how much it will impact them, the better it will be for all of us.

I have a lot of people to thank for supporting us and our new cause.

Stem cell technology is revolutionizing medicine just like antibiotics did. There is a paralysed guy who is walking again, I’ve read about Diabetes and Leukaemia being cured, I mean, we are on the right track. And they can work with cells originating from the skin so no embryos have to be harmed.

You might imagine there will be a part 2 to Tuffel’s story at least.

I am not sure where we are going next as a family – I am open. We want to do more fun things like weekend trips.

Thomas is launching a new business soon and I will speak and coach and lead possibility thinking workshops so as make all this learning available to people who want to make their dreams/visions and missions happen.

First off a family Christmas with my sister and her kids and my mum – in other words a full house. Now that I’ve got a proper house and home, it’s a good idea to decorate and fill it with loved ones. Wish me luck.

Thank you Arvind for your support and to everyone who reads this blog post and shares our story. 

I’m really grateful for connection, I know the feeling of isolation and loneliness which are often self-inflicted – and I really appreciate it when someone reaches out their hands often enough for me to take it.

Wishing you and your community a wonderful and peaceful end of the year and that the new one will be filled with all the creative pzazz you can handle as much as a lot of roaring laughter.

Thank you Evelyne

There you go – please read Evelyne’s heart-warming story over the festive season – “It Takes Guts” (Amazon UK/Amazon.com)

And next time you ever feel sorry for yourself, just remember little Tuffel’s courageous story and his fighting spirit.

It sure takes guts to face the challenges life throws at us.  If he can do it, so can you and I.

At least you and I have some guts.

Your Chance to Win Evelyne’s Book!

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Evelyne has kindly offered a signed copy of her book (Amazon UK/Amazon.com) to one reader of my blog. Simply write below a comment about

To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is write a comment below, and share how you’ve faced a challenge in life and overcome it.

What challenges did you face and what did you do to get out of it? What lessons did you learn?

If you are reading this post via RSS or in your in-box, please click here and write your comments at the bottom of the post.

Evelyne will choose a reader with the most inspirational stories on 3rd January 2015 and directly send them a signed copy.

Thanks everyone!

Why It Makes Sense to do Good Every Day

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Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!

Wherever you are in the word today, I wish you all the best for today even if you are not celebrating this tradition of thanks giving marked in so many countries and cultures around the wold.

I love the idea of having a special day of thanks giving whereby we can express our gratitude for all that’s good in our lives.

At the same time, living with an attitude of gratitude all the time is something we can all cultivate.

Having once experienced Thanksgiving Day with my brother and his family in the USA, I know what a special day it is for so many people around the USA.

On this day, in theory anyway, we get to see all that’s good in our lives and in the world – and for a few hours we connect with our own greatness. Bit like Xmas Day, except a few weeks earlier.

Then we get back to being our “normal” grumpy and stressed selves!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day were to be like this, a day of goodness, gratitude and appreciation!?

At the same time, I feel that people are forgetting the original meaning of this thanksgiving celebration. Even in the UK over the last few years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been marked with a buying frenzy and special deals – so you can buy more of the stuff that you didn’t really need or want in the first place!

And the focus seems to have shifted more to eating, drinking and getting merry – and away from thankfulness and appreciating what we have.

I’ll stop myself there before I start ranting!

Let me walk my talk, by thanking all of you who have continued to read my blog and followed me despite my infrequent postings and multiple cyber disappearances. It is you who inspire me and make me want to become a better human being. Without you and the other people in my life, I am nothing.

Thank you for allowing me to contribute to you – and please know that I continue to aspire to serve you more. And together we can and we WILL make this an even better world.

Also, during this week of Thanksgiving, please remember that no matter what challenges you may be facing in your life, we all have so much to be grateful for.

So why does it make sense to do good every day, and not just on some special day like today?

As Mother Teresa said, do good anyway, no matter what.

People are often unreasonable and self-centred. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa

If you look around, the world faces umpteen challenges today and it’s really time for us to rise to the challenge and make it happen for a better world for all us. At the same time we have to make the most of our own lives and make the most of what we all have.

This morning, we had a tragic reminder of the need to make the most of each day and our limited time on earth.  Australian cricketer Phil Hughes passed away, 2 days after being hit on the head with the ball. A reminder of just how fragile and delicate our lives are – and yet so precious.

Life is indeed so precious and it breaks my heart every time I hear about more senseless killings and deaths.

Of course it is not how or when you die, but ultimately what matters is how you lived your life – and the legacy you created.

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11 Key Lessons from Gandhi for Leading a Powerful Life of Commitment

Gandhi the ultimate minimalist

This week was the 145th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest human beings who ever lived.

If you have never heard of Gandhi, where have you been!?

As Einstein said:-

Generations to come, it may well be, will scarcely believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.” – Einstein

As regular readers will know, Gandhi is one of my all-time heroes and I have written a number of key articles about his life and his message.

Indeed, this post about lessons in life from a 140 year old man is one of the most popular posts on my blog.

Do also check out the following 3 posts:

1. Gandhi the Ultimate Minimalist

2. Let Your Life your Be your Message

3. Lessons in Peace from Sammy, also known as Gandhi

Being a keen and ardent student of people, I have always being intrigued by what makes a “Gandhi” a Gandhi?

What made him so committed to his cause that he changed the lives of millions of people and his legacy still lives on in the world today?

And what makes it so that the majority of us can’t even get committed to our own well-being?

What is Commitment?

Firstly, let’s get clear what we mean by commitment.

The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity etc” – Oxford Dictionary

Please understand that what I mean by commitment in this context is not just another word you throw around loosely – but a way of being and something you take on being for the rest of your life. Just like Gandhi did.

Commitment is an act, not a word.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Commitment is about declaring your word to something bigger than you.

For this life-changing article, the real question is really not about what Gandhi and others like him have achieved in their life – but what made him and them stand out from the rest of us?

So this is really an inquiry about what allows you and me to be totally committed to what we say we are committed to.

And as a backdrop, I’ll use Gandhi’s life as an illustration of what he was committed to – and how he changed the world as a result.

I learnt a lot about the power of commitment when I recently came across The Deuce Story – all about how an American Footballer transformed overnight after declaring his commitment to be the #1 player in his position.

Deuce’s story partly prompted me to write this post – he literally became an overnight sensation. All after just one powerful, chance conversation with Steve Hardison, the Ultimate Coach.

Yes, that’s the power of thinking big coaching. :-).

Ironically, Deuce’s story is also an illustration of how one’s commitment has to be renewed daily. He flopped just as quickly as his star had risen.

You see not even the ultimate coach can empower you, if you don’t take action to renew your commitment on a daily basis.

To use this analogy in my own life, I too have had many false starts. By way of writing this first blog post after a few weeks break, I am renewing my commitment to serve you through my words and by sharing my insights about life.

I am committing today to henceforth write at least one post a week.

In the words of Steve Hardison, I am here to:-

“Be Me, Be Love and Be in Service”.

BeYouBeLoveBeOfService

 

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Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic 2014 (Year 13!)

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Have you noticed there’s so much strife and unease all around us in the world today?

People in so many parts of the world seem intent on killing each other and wiping out civilisations which have taken centuries to grow and develop.

And locally too, there seems to be an ongoing unrest with pockets of violence and in-fighting.

As much as we would like to change what’s happening globally, to me there seems to be a general sense of despondency and hopelessness. Rather than taking a stand, it’s seems so much easier to vent our fury and our prejudices on social media sites!

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Whilst most of us cannot do much about global affairs, or even have the desire to do anything beyond fulfilling our own daily challenges of survival, we can certainly make a difference in our local communities.

What I strongly believe is that more than ever before today, we all need to take a stand in our own communities and see how we can be united and bring people together.

And this brings me nicely to the theme of my post today:-).

Time for My Annual Picnic in Regents Park!

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Lessons in Life, Love and Peace from a Holocaust Survivor

Eva Schloss at dinner party at Arvind's home

Just what’s going on in the world today?

What’s with all this strife, conflict and war around the globe?

For a while now, I have been avoiding watching the news but I can hardly turn a blind eye to what’s happening right now in places like Gaza and the Ukraine.

It breaks my heart to see all this anguish and sorrow happening around us. When will we ever learn!?

There must be people who remember World War II and the Holocaust who can help us get out of this rut” – Martin Scorsese.

I feel that the world quickly needs to remember and apply the lessons taught by the likes of Gandhi and Mother Teresa:-

1. 6 Key Lessons in Life from a 140 year old man.

2. Mother Teresa on Loneliness, Love and Peace.

Then recently, with almost divine intervention, amidst all my anguish and hopelessness I met Eva Schloss.

I had the real privilege and honour to meet Eva Schloss recently at a book reading event in Waterstones bookstore in Hampstead Village. It was a life-changing event and got me reconnected to what’s really important to me and also what truly matters in life.

It was a surreal evening as I then discovered that Eva and I are neighbours, and we literally live around the corner from each other!

A couple of weeks ago, I invited Eva to my home for tea – and also to share her wisdom and views on peace and life for my blog readers.

Eva Schloss has an incredible story. She was arrested in Amsterdam by the Nazis on her 15th birthday and sent to Auschwitz. Thanks to incredible luck, her own determination and the love and protection of her mother Fritzi, Eva somehow survived Auschwitz.

After the war, Eva and her mother returned home to Amsterdam – alas only to learn that both her father and brother had been killed during the war.

Before the war, Eva had been friends with Anne Frank, who went on to change the world through the legacy of her diary. Though their fates were very different, Eva’s life became entwined with her friend’s for ever more, after her mother Fritzi married Otto Frank, Anne’s father.

Eva subsequently kept quiet for many decades about her holocaust experience, but in recent years she is on mission to spread her message of peace and reconciliation.

She has published a number of books and her most recent book is “After Auschwitz” (Amazon UK / Amazon USA) , which is a searingly honest account of how an ordinary person survived the Holocaust. It is also a heart-breaking, exploration of what happened next and Eva’s struggle to live with herself after the war.

When the power of love overtakes the love of power, peace will reign”Jimi Hendrix (click to tweet)

war is organised murder

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The #1 Secret to Living Big that Successful People Don’t Want to Tell You!

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What secrets do successful people hold under their hats that you’d love to know?

How do they progress from zero to where they are today?

How can you do the same?

Let’s see how it all starts:

I turned to look at her one last time before I left.

She refused to return my gaze. Her pain was visible.

As I’d made the decision to leave my home in the North of England for the dizzy heights of London, I had no intention of hurting her. But she was hurt all the same.

She was hurt because I hadn’t listened to her advice to stay in the city I was raised in.

She was hurt because she felt betrayed by her own child. How would she explain to the neighbours that her unwed daughter was now living alone?

But most of all, she was hurt because she was afraid for my safety. She wouldn’t be there to protect me.

She was my mother, after all. This reaction was as much chemical as it was emotional.

It took me some time to realise that her hurt was in her control. It wasn’t caused by me, brought on by me, and neither could it be controlled by me.

She created it. She would make it go away.

But this post is not about forgiveness, difficult relationships, or coming to terms with your decisions.

This post is about a subtle shift in mindset.

A mindset that moves you away from simply dreaming, and starting to truly live.

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21 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Never Complain Again

Arvind at the finish line of the London Marathon 2014Do you go through life complaining about things?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stop complaining and start living again?

I have had some amazing insights recently into this topic of complaining – and it all began during my preparations for the London Marathon in April.

As some of you know, I recently took part in the London Marathon to help little children like baby India and in aid of my chosen charity WellChild.

Thanks again to all of you who sponsored me for this cause – I am basking in sheer gratitude for your generosity and support.

Please know that I felt your support and well wishes every step of the way:-).

I walked the whole way in 7 hours and 28 mins – and it was a memorable and life-changing day – I live my life for days like this!

You can see my pictures on Facebook – The Ecstasy and Joy of London Marathon 2014

I say to all my friends and I am going to also tell you all – do whatever it takes to take part in the London Marathon at least once in our lifetime.

It’ll be one of the best days of your life!

These are my 2 key articles after the previous 2 times I have taken part in the London Marathon:-

1. 10 Life Lessons from Running the London Marathon

2. How to Change the World in Less Than 8 Hours and 27 Miles

So what made it such a powerful experience for me?

Well for starters, I felt like I was part of something much bigger than me.

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Help Me Help Baby India

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Have you had ever had a life-changing experience around children?

An experience which changed you and your life for ever?

Today I am going to share a key experience from my life – and also the incredible and moving story of baby India. You will then understand and appreciate exactly why I am taking part in the London Marathon this coming Sunday.

I have had 2 life-changing experiences around children – one of them was when I experienced unconditional love for the first time in South India whilst visiting Nirvana School.

A few years before this, I went through an experience which affected me deeply – and it was only recently that I had a sense of completion.

We are talking about a time over 20 years ago. My eldest brother’s wife was expecting twins and there was much excitement in the family – my parents especially looked forward to their first grandchildren.

One evening I got the call that the twins, both baby boys, had arrived prematurely and I rushed off in total excitement to see my newly born nephews. But it was only at the hospital that I found out how just premature they were – and how seriously ill. They had been put into intensive care straight away.

Even worse news was being told that one of the babies was really weak, under-developed and unlikely to survive for more than a few days. But the prognosis was very promising for his twin brother.

As you can imagine, we were all in shock – the good news followed by such devastating news.  I still remember to this day how what sustained and encouraged us was the incredible kindness and support from all the hospital staff. Such tender kindness was so welcome during those torrid days.

Four days after the birth of the twins, the doctors told us that they were losing the battle to save the weaker twin and it was only a matter of a couple of hours.

So they gave us the space to be alone so we could say some final prayers and be with the baby.

There we were, the entire family in a private room and we were handed a tiny bundle. We then said some prayers around my little nephew, smaller than a 2 lb bag of sugar- and even lighter.

Having seen the little guy previously just through his incubator, it felt so good to actually hold him – incredibly tender and fragile looking and yet so much personality and presence already after his first 4 days of life.

It was an incredibly poignant and sad moment in my life to feel this little guy, his heart pumping away and his tiny nostrils fighting to take in some last gasps of oxygen.

I can’t even being to imagine what his mother and father were going through. As for my own parents, they were trying to keep a strong facade but I could tell just how hard it was for them too.

And then it happened – the baby was in my arms and I could feel the heart beating ever so slightly – and then no more. A life had been extinguished even before it had much of a chance.

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The #1 Secret to Get Ultimate Happiness in Your Life

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Happy International Happiness Day everyone!

So just how happy are you in your life?

And just how much happiness is there around you?

Today is the day decreed by the UN for universal happiness and this is the second year of this day happening.

So to start with, here are my 17 tips to become happy right now.

And no matter where you are at in your life, always look on the bright side of life!

But just what is happiness – and how can you sustain these feelings of happiness?

Is happiness what you feel when your favourite football team wins? Only for you to get really upset when they get thrashed the following week?

Or is happiness the feelings you get after a night out with your friends and drinking beer and feasting on your favourite dishes?

Or is happiness being with your loved ones and seeing your little child at play?

I believe that happiness is all of the above – and is much more. The challenge comes when we see happiness as transient and dependent on external factors as in the above examples.

So how can you sustain happiness and how can you generate it from within you, no matter what’s going on in your external world?

Let me explain a bit more by sharing what’s going on for me right now.

It was my birthday yesterday and what an amazing day it was!

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Why It’s Crazy and Dumb to Only Celebrate Your Love on Valentine’s Day!

be special to find the special one!

So how was Valentine’s Day and week for you?

Did you spend some quality time with your loved one – or was it just another day for you?

It always amuses me to see people spending a small fortune on just one day every year to show their love for someone!

What happens during the remaining 364 days of the year!?

Why not make it a fun Valentine’s Day every day?

As for me, I did have a friend over for lunch on Valentine’s Day – and yes I too made a special effort by preparing some love based dishes.  It was a fun day but to be honest, no more than usual:-).

Check out my pictures from Valentine week on Facebook:-)

My point is this – you CAN create love every day of the year – and it’s simply crazy and dumb to specially do so on just one day of the year!

valentines day lunch

Today I would like to share a couple of stories about love which till touch and move you.

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101 Ways to Help You Make It Happen!

How is 2014 going for you?

Is it just me or has time speeded up in 2014!?

As is traditional at this time of the year,  if you are also looking to set some goals, please download this article from YogaLife magazine, featuring my goalsetting tips.

A lot has happened in the world since I last wrote a blog post. For a start, the world lost Madiba – and how amazing to watch the world coming together not only to mourn Mr Nelson Mandela’s death but also to celebrate his life – a life that transformed our world forever.

I have worked hard enough, so I can now rest in eternity” – Nelson Mandela

Mr Mandela has left quite a legacy and do check out some of his lessons in leadership.

Around the time Mr Mandela passed away, there was a huge wave of nostalgia as we all basked in the glory of his life and his legacy. But now I feel that we have already forgotten his teachings and his message of universal brotherhood.

As you look around the world today and all the challenges we face in 2014, this is the time when the world needs all of us to be a “Nelson Mandela” too. Yes, quite a challenge, but why not?

We all have to start somewhere. We just never know what a tiny act of kindness can lead to. I remember how my own life changed after I experienced unconditional life for the first time.

So where do you even begin to follow in Mr Mandela’s footsteps? You start by first making your own life the best you can – a life based on high moral and ethical values. At the same time, you do your best for the world around you and you create our legacy.

To help you get started for my first blog post for 2014, I have created a treasure collection of some of the best life-changing articles I have written. This is an eternal anthology to help you get more out of all areas of your life.

Before you dive into my treasure trove, also remember the 7 things to finally stop doing this year.

I looked through all the almost 600 blog posts I have written over 7 years and I have picked out what I consider the best 101 articles.

It was quite a challenge to pick these out and organise them into one post but this has been a labour of love for me this week – and I sincerely hope you get a lot from the 101 articles below.

I have put them under some relevant categories but there’s clearly a lot of crossover. I suggest you read a few articles at a time and bookmark the ones that resonate with you – and of course, do share them as you wish.

I wish you all the best for 2014 and beyond. Thanks for sharing this journey with me – we have much work to do to fulfil Mr Mandela’s legacy.

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