Help Me Help More Brave, Sick Children Like Maddison

Happy Friday everyone! 

It’s finally spring time in London – and that means it’s time once again for the London Marathon :-). 
 
Do you get deeply moved by stories of brave, sick children?

And then are you moved to help them in some way?

Today I am going to share the incredible and moving story of Maddison. 

You will then understand and appreciate exactly why I am taking part in the London Marathon.

On this coming Sunday 28th April, I’ll be lining up with over 41,000 other runners and each one of us will be raising awareness and sponsorship for their chosen cause.

I have chosen Well-Child, a charity that helps look after sick children like Maddison.

Some friends have been asking me why I am so passionate about WellChild and why I am taking part in the London Marathon for them once again.

Well, this is my way of contributing and making a difference to children. And you too can do your bit by sponsoring me.

Click here to go to my sponsorship page

Your contribution will be helping Maddison and other brave children like her.

(I have been given permission by WellChild to share Maddison’s incredibly inspiring and moving story).

Here is Maddison’s story:-

Maddison was born in August 2008, full term, at a healthy weight and apparently with no problems at all. Shortly after she was born, she was diagnosed with talipes (club foot) but her parents were reassured that this was an orthopaedic problem, which could be resolved with physiotherapy and possibly surgery.

Then Maddison’s Mum, Lidia, started to notice other things about Maddison, which were a little concerning. Maddison had a very feeble cry and didn’t seem to be moving her toes, stretching her feet properly or demonstrating a walking reflex.

Shortly after Christmas 2008 when Maddison was only a few months old, she contracted Respiratory Syncytial Virus and needed to be admitted to hospital for oxygen and a feed tube.

After a few weeks, although much better, her breathing still didn’t seem right and in February, doctors told her parents that they had discovered an abnormality with Maddison’s diaphragm, which they believed could be rectified with surgery.

Over the next few months Maddison remained in hospital. Throughout this time, although clinically still very poorly, Maddison caused confusion by her cheerful disposition and ability to thrive despite being in and out of intensive care. 

Therefore on May 20th  2009, it came as a dreadful shock to Lidia and Jamie when they were given a diagnosis of SMARD (spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress) for Maddison.

Support from WellChild:-

Over the last few years Maddison has continued to thrive and exceed all expectations. She overcame concerns that mainstream school might be too much for her, attending along with all her peers and keeping up her stamina.

Since then she has been able to eat without a feeding tube and even has up to three hours a day off her ventilator. Maddison is doing well at school and she can propel herself independently using her special walking frame.

Maddison still needs 24/7 specialist care and the support of her ventilator is crucial.

WellChild Children’s Nurse, Rachel provides vital support for Maddison and her family in ensuring that any concerns with equipment, training for new carers or worries over Maddison’s breathing are addressed swiftly.

Rachel liaises with Maddison’s school and carers, rushes over with a replacement ventilator when Maddison’s equipment shows signs of malfunctioning and provides constant expert reassurance to the whole family.

This continuous monitoring, specialist advice and ability to intervene really quickly can make the difference between Maddison having to go to hospital or staying at home.

Maddison has proven that if she’s given the chance, through the medical and other support she receives, she can thrive and get the most out of life just like her siblings and her school friends.

So there you are – my participation in the London Marathon and your sponsorship will help provide more nursing support for children like Maddison.

My target is to raise at least £1,600 and more for WellChild.

Please help me get there! 

Click here to go to my sponsorship page

If just 160 people sponsor me for at least £10 each, I’ll reach my target easily.

Thanks everyone for your kindness and generosity.

And look out for me on Sunday at the London Marathon – I shall be wearig my famous Red Wig! 

7 Harmful Things to Finally Stop Doing This Year: Make It Your Best Year Ever

Happy New Year everyone!

Trust you had a wonderful festive time and New Year celebration with your loved ones.

As we now get into this New Year, here’s possibly the most important question you can answer this year:-

Just HOW will you make this New Year a Happy Year?

The key word we use to greet each other at this time of the year is “Happy”. As we move away from the old and bring in the new, we expect things to somehow magically be different and better on the other side of the New Year fireworks.

As you know, life is not like that!

You and I have to consciously make it happen so that things are magically different and better in the New Year. The MAGIC comes from us – through our clear intentions, effort and focus.

And the important question is this – how will YOU make this year your best year ever?

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8 Smart Ways To Make This Christmas Your Best Ever

Christmas Lights

Is Christmas a joyous time for you? Or are you stressed?

Around Christmas time, overspending on presents, pressure from kids and other loved ones, prolonged and close proximity to difficult family members and loneliness can all build up your stress levels.

Christmas can also be very demanding on your relationship as you spend a lot of time together with your immediate family and perhaps your extended family and even the in-laws.

However, it doesn’t have to be so.

Christmas is meant to be fun and joyous!

This year take charge and make it work for you.

Make this Christmas the best ever for you and the family.

Sit down right now for half an hour and decide for yourself what YOU can do this year to make it so.

Here are my tips for making this Christmas your best ever:-

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Happy Thanksgiving Day – Time to Celebrate our Challenges!

celebrationtime!

Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!

Well, a lot has happened in the world over the last few weeks. Just what is the world coming to!?

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.

Even at a personal level we all face so many challenges. Right now I have dear friends who are going through a painful divorce whilst a very close coaching friend is going through her last days after a serious illness and is now in palliative care in New York,

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.

Life is so precious and it breaks my heart every time I hear of the killings and atrocities that happen every day in the name of religion, politics etc.

Right now the world is a very different place compared to last Thanksgiving Day with the Brexit outcome and the USA election.

A while back, a blog reader emailed me directly to challenge my way of looking at the world through “rose-tinted glasses”.

Well, as I replied to him, I am happy to see the world the way I see it. Of course it’s not about being blind to reality, but choosing to see how things can be different and in a way which uplifts and benefits everyone.

So yes, I for one am happy to be upbeat about our humanity and our potential to solve the huge problems we face today.  There are so many inspirational people who are striving to change to things for the better – and their number is growing.

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I am always inspired and filled with hope when I learn of all the good things happening in the world. For example, Nirvana School in Pondicherry, South India, is going from strength to strength with over 500 children now receiving a good education and being well cared for.

These children may not have much in material terms, they have so much more to offer us and teach us.

And yet we in the West who have a lot to be thankful for so often take life and all our goodness for granted.

We all have deep within us this calling and a capacity to help others, to make a difference in some way and to make ourselves count.

So my invitation to you on this Thanksgiving Day is to remember to be grateful for all that you have – and to strive for something bigger than you.

Check out my tips on how to live with an attitude of gratitude

No matter what, celebrate your challenges too!

Also, a while ago, I wrote 5 special articles for this week of Thanksgiving. So to help you celebrate and appreciate all that you have to be thankful for, check out all 5 articles about this special time.

Thanksgiving Lesson 1 – How To Embrace What You Already Have

Thanksgiving Lesson 2 – How To Let Yourself Give and Receive

Thanksgiving Lesson 3 – How To Add a Little Sizzle to Your Relationships

Thanksgiving Lesson 4 – How to Harvest the Wisdom from my Blogger Friends

Thanksgiving Lesson 5 – How to Serve Others at the Global Table

Thanks everyone!

PS As I said, please remember that no matter what challenges you may be facing in your life we all have so much to be grateful for. 🙂

Life is short. Cherish this moment. Treasure this memory. Celebrate this life…

lifeisshort

 

Life-Changing Love Wisdom for Every Day from Around the World

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This is my 600th blog post!

To mark my 600th blog post, I could not have chosen a more appropriate topic for me – love.

And on Valentine’s Day too!

I looked around at many Facebook pages to get the best image quotes to share with you on this momentous day – and I found a real treasure trove for you all!

Firstly, what does the word love mean to you?

Does it evoke a vision of red roses, serenading in the park, moonlit walks and champagne?

In our world of glossy magazines and glitzy media, where we are constantly bombarded with images of the ideal, love struck and “perfect” couple, is it any wonder that the real meaning of love has been so diluted.

Love for some is about being starry eyed and going gaga over someone. The actual being in love becomes more important than ever truly loving someone.

Some people are even  in love with the idea of being in love! 

I have shared these words before on my blog and I make no excuse for sharing again these famous words from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (by Louis de Bernieres):-

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.

And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day.

That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those who truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches they find that they are one tree and not two.”

The question is what will it take for you to be able to love like this?

And what will it take for the world to wake up to the true meaning of love?

Remember that you can have at least 23 top ways to be love today and every day, not just on Valentine’s Day.

So Just What is Love?

Love is the most amazing thing in our lives. It is what makes us human, what makes life worth living. Nothing else truly matters. The size of our homes, bank balances, the beauty of our spouse, the speed of our car – all these things pale into insignificance when we face the splendour of what it is that makes us tick.

Love does not make the world go around – it simply makes the ride worthwhile! [Read more…]

8 Powerful Strategies That Will Make You That High Achiever that Everyone Loves to Hate

High Achiever Strutting Her Stuff

Have you ever hated someone who was just so good at everything they did?

They couldn’t do anything wrong whilst there was poor you, struggling with the most mundane of things.

You know what I mean – that smart ass kid at school who annoyingly always got straight As. That hot girl who everyone wanted to date, was super at all sports, knew all the latest dance moves and came top of the class.

And worst of all while you slaved away every day immersed deeply in your books during your college days, these smart students never seemed to study. Instead they were out partying every night – they were the smart in-crowd.

It was as if they were born high-achievers.

Yes, we have all been there. And didn’t you just hate these guys and gals?

Of course it doesn’t end there – at work there is always that one smarmy work colleague who just knows it all – and you hate to admit it but he really knows far more than you do. Like him or not, you grudgingly accept that he is simply brilliant. And sadly you are not anywhere near their level.

Yet deep down you know that you are as good as them. In fact you just know you are better than them. You even feel smug knowing that you are actually smarter than them – it’s just that no one has discovered this about you.

Worst is this pain of knowing that you could be so much more in life – it hurts you to the core of your being to know that life is passing you by whilst you are being mediocre. And others are getting the glory.

Life seems so unfair – you are from the same gene pool. What have they got that you don’t?

Well, what if I told you that there was a way to become just like them? To become even better than them?

If you wanted to, you too could become such a high-achiever. Indeed you could ruffle so many feathers with your brilliance and your success that others would love to hate you too.

The good news for you is that it really does not take much to raise your game and become a high achiever yourself.

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Peace in Our Time – Special Evening of Peace with Eva Schloss

PeaceDove2

“Peace in the World begins with you and me – every single peaceful action you take makes the world a better place” Arvind Devalia 

Today there is more conflict and strife in the world than ever before. At the same time, we are all more stressed out. It almost feels hopeless as we all strive to improve our lives.

So where do you even begin to bring more peace into the world? And what needs to change?

This is a question I have struggled with almost all my life – it seemed so daunting and overwhelming I had no idea where  to even start.

Then I realised a few years ago that change begins with me – and I can only do what I can – and  I can make a huge difference to others by my inspirational words and powerful actions.

To this end I have written a number of articles, such as 9/11 remembered – 11 articles to sow peace and healing.

Yet I still feel I could be doing much more, especially in light of the current world situation and the refugee challenge in Europe right now.

So I am excited and yet humbled to announce my first ever Peace Evening.

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

picnic2013

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!

budhist bootcamp

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 90 Year Old 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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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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