Thursday, January 9, 2014

18 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Need Some Inspiration

                           photo by Katarina Benzova

1. What would you do if you just learned that you only have 6 months to live? — Time has a way of focusing you on what really matters. Are you wasting your time?

2. Is what you are doing something that you should be doing? — You have to decide what’s right for you.  And deep down you know if you’re on course or just wasting your time.
3. Do you currently have the skills required to fulfill your goals? — There is always something new to learn.  The truth is that you can’t be “clueless” and a champion at the same time.
4. What difference will it make if you are successful? — What would you feel? What would be different in your life? The journey is tough, but it helps to keep you going when you know why it’s worth it.
5. What would you do if you won $1 million today, and had absolutely no limitations on what you could be? — Money changes everything in life. It might be holding you back right now.
6. Do you need any help to achieve your goals? — Be brutally honest with yourself. Can you do this all by yourself? Or do you need the contacts, strategy, or the financial support of others?
7. What are your 5 most important values in life right now? — Beliefs matter in life. They make you powerful. They make decisions easier. If you don’t believe in anything you won’t achieve anything.
8. Do you have enough time to reach your goal? — If you can’t get your plane in the air before the end of your runway, you crash. It doesn’t matter what you were thinking when you’re up in flames.
9. What have you always dreamed about doing, but were afraid to try? — It’s probably something you might call “crazy.”  Maybe it’s time to start working on that. Maybe it’s what you have been missing.
10. Do you want it badly enough, and are you willing to pay the price to get it? — Big dreams take big “guts.” You can’t be amazing and a coward at the same time. You’ve got to “want it” — badly.
11. What impact will it have on your life if you don’t achieve this goal? — Maybe you don’t really care about what you say you care about as much as you say you do. If failure is tolerable, it’s likely.
12. Are you being brutally honest with yourself? — There is no room for lying to yourself. You know what’s true, and even though you don’t need to share that truth with anyone else, you don’t need to put your head in the sand.
13. What do you actually do each day that matters? — Take a look at your calendar. Take a look at your list of tasks to do. What are you doing each day that truly matters?
14. What have you accomplished in the past that you thought was impossible at the time? — If you did the impossible before, you can do it again. If you haven’t, you can start now.
15. What do you really want? — The questions is not “what do you tell everyone else that you want,” but what. do. you. want. That matters. Because if you don’t want it, you’re just going through the motions.
16. What new friends or mentors do you need in your life to get you where you need to be? — You need people in your life to help you get to where you want to be. Are you working on those relationships?
17. What scares you the most? — You know the answer to this. There are circumstances that immediately drive you into panic mode — times when you feel hopeless and helpless. What is that for you?
18. Are you tough enough to keep going? — Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is just you grinding out the details in the middle of the night. If today was the day that you were going to win, would you have shown up?

Post by DAN WALDSCHMIDT/ Edgy Conversations. Copyright 2014.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Elvis Presley Birthday: King Of Rock 'N' Roll Would Be 79 Today

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Had he lived, King of Rock n' Roll would have been 79 today.

The incredible Elvis life story began when Elvis Aaron Presley was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953. 

Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager.


In 1954, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture. 

He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards. Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges, his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.


His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.  

Wish you were still with us.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

50 Ways to Find Inspiration: Create, Explore, Expand

photo by : Katarina Benzova

“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
I have always loved that scene in American Beauty when Ricky Fitts shows his video of a plastic bag blowing in the wind.
He’s the complete opposite of his neighbor Lester Burnham, who seems to have decided long ago to live life in a comatose state of submission, completely disconnected from authentic joy.
Ricky seems inspired by everything that most people simply overlook. He explains of his bag video:
“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes.
“And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember—and I need to remember. Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”
Though it can look different for all of us, I suspect this is the feeling we wait for in life: a sense that there’s boundless beauty out there, and we have the capacity to feel, channel, explore, and express it.
We all want to feel moved, and then to use that to create love, joy, passion, and purpose.
If you’ve been feeling stuck or uninspired, these ideas may help you find inspiration:
Find Inspiration in Nature
1. Go for a walk in nature, practice mindfulness, and lose track of time for a while.
2. Meditate or practice yoga in a nearby park.
3. Watch children playing at the park then make a point to carry their spirit with you throughout the day.
4. Watch your cat or dog in nature and try to emulate your pet’s mindfulness and playfulness.
5. Take a camera outside and photograph everything that looks beautiful to you.
6. Practice deep breathing while listening to nature sounds.
7. Draw or paint a scene outside your window.
8. Watch Planet Earth DVDs to experience beauty of the oceans, forests, jungles, Great Plains, and caves.
9. Get lost in nature photos online.
10. Spend some time contemplating nature-based art.
               photo by; Katarina Benzova

Find Inspiration on the Web
11. Watch a TED video to learn about inspiring ideas.
12. Search for tweets with the hashtag #inspiration using the Twitter search functionality.
13. Post an inspiring video, like Validation or The Tutu Project. Then be an active part of the conversation in the comments.
14. Read blogs written by people who have overcome adversity.
15. Join a forum of people who can relate to your challenges.
17. Share yourself vulnerably and authentically in a blog post—give inspiration to receive it.
18. Learn about ways to change the world through social media.
20. Search Facebook for new inspirational pages to follow.

Find Inspiration in Possibilities
21. Try something you’ve always assumed you can’t do but secretly wanted to try.
22. Teach someone to do something and tap into your potential as a leader.
23. Immerse yourself in learning something new and allow yourself to forget about the limitations of time.
24. Write a bucket list of all the things you’d like to do in your lifetime.
25. Create a vision board with pictures of all of those things.
26. Brainstorm for ideas for a new project.
27. Think about the challenges you face and identify possibly solutions.
28. Submit your resume for a dream job instead of assuming you can’t get it.
29. Attend a conference or retreat to connect with likeminded people. (The Wisdom 2.0 Conference recently inspired me!)
30. Read 50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities and pick one to try today.
                  photo by: Katarina Benzova

Find Inspiration in People
31. Ask someone you love what they consider to be the most important thing they’ve ever learned.
32. Ask everyone you see today what they’re grateful for.
33. Ask someone to tell you about the thing they love the most in life, and watch how they light up sharing their passion.
34. Ask your parents to tell you what you were like as a child, and remember what mattered to you then.
35. Notice what matters to someone and focus solely on how they experience it.
36. Join an organization of people making a positive difference in the world.
37. Read an autobiography by someone who has marched to the beat of their own drummer.
38. Listen to music that moves you and think about what the songwriter felt when s/he wrote it.
39. Make a list of all the ways your friends and family members are your heroes. Odds are, there’s a lot of inspiration around you already.
40. Spend time with children and see the world through their eyes.

Find Inspiration in Yourself
41. Disconnect for a while and write in a journal.
42. Make today the day you embrace a new healthy habit that can change your life for the better.
43. Give yourself a pressure-free day with nothing to do except the things you enjoy.
44. Try something new and revel in the sensation of stretching beyond your comfort zone.
45. Express yourself creatively in a way you never have before, by sculpting, for example, and see what comes in your mind and heart.
46. Enjoy something you created in the past—a blog post, a video, a drawing, or a project.
47. Sing in the shower. Put your heart into and release your feelings through music.
48. Recognize in yourself the strengths you see in other people.
49. Make a conscious decision to let go of something that doesn’t serve you.
50. Reflect on everything you’ve learned and accomplished and how you’ve made a positive difference in the world.
What inspired you today?

photo by Katarina Benzova

Article by Lori Deschene/

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lake Natron: A Deadly Alkaline Lake Turns Animals into Calcified Statues

A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues lakes animals Africa
Calcified Fish Eagle, Lake Natron, 2012
A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues lakes animals Africa
Calcified Bat II, Lake Natron, 2012
A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues lakes animals Africa
Calcified Swallow, Lake Natron, 2012
A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues lakes animals Africa
Calcified Dove, Lake Natron, 2012
A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues lakes animals Africa
Calcified Flamingo, Lake Natron, 2012
A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues lakes animals Africa
Calcified Songbird, Lake Natron, 2012
Lake Natron in northern Tanzania is one of the harshest environments on Earth. Temperatures in the lake can rise to 140 °F (60 °C) and the alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5, almost as alkaline as ammonia. Animals who enter the water are almost certainly doomed, save certain kinds of fish that have evolved to survive in such a caustic environment.
While working Africa photographer Nick Brandt stopped by the lake to discover several dead animals on the shoreline. Birds and other small mammals that end up in the water gradually become calcified, turned to stone in the deadly water. Brandt tells NewScientist, “I could not help but photograph them. No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”
These photos and many more are included in Brandt’s new book, Across the Ravaged Land, a third and final volume of photography documenting the disappearance of animals in Eastern Africa. All photos copyright Nick Brandt, courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery. (via My Modern Met)
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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chapman brothers new exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery in London

Jake and Dinos Chapman
Excess and labour ... Jake (right) and Dinos Chapman with 'Fucking with Nature (Somewhere Between Tennis Elbow and Wanker's Cramp)' Photograph: David Levene

Dressed in Ku Klux Klan pointy-hatted smocks, rainbow-striped socks and hippy sandals, an audience of mannequins stalk Jake and Dinos Chapman's Come and See at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. The gallery is filled with familiar horrors: giant vitrines heaving with piles of corpses. There are zombies, Nazis, Ronald McDonald crucified dozens of times, rampaging dinosaurs and a pair of unpleasantly hairy human legs, reproduced at a God-like scale. We might have seen all this before, but the excess and labour and attention to detail is still a wonder

Then there are the tabletop brain experiments, jury-rigged with hammers, glistening cerebellums, bottles of goo, power tools and tubes. These mad torture-decks, sticky with unnameable juices and given a liberal sprinkling of maggots and mealworms, are ossified in distressed, patinated bronze. Somewhere among them, the heads of Jake and Dinos suck at the breast.

As well as a flock of stuffed crows, old sculptures and new, plus delicate recent drawings filled with spidery whorls that look old – as if scavenged from Hans Bellmer's dustbin – the walls are covered with etchings, paintings, art-school life drawings by Jake (Dinos burned his) and lines of vinyl text, like a hyperbolic cosmic gush written by HP Lovecraft orWilliam Burroughs in sci-fi mode. The text is portentous drivel. How many cosmic hurricanes spraying out into the void can one take? This sort of thing rattles some of the Chapmans' commentators. Serpentine directors Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist say in a statement that the Chapmans "compel us to confront the nagging fears that lie at the dark heart of the western psyche". That's one way of looking at it.

Entering middle age, the Chapmans are no longer the enfants terrible they perhaps once were, however infantile the humour might appear. Yesterday, I asked Dinos when they were going to grow up. "Never!" he replied. Horror-movie schlock is but one of the artists' modes. The Chapmans' art is enjoyable rather than shocking. In the end, you focus on their demonstrable craft, drawing, production values and other misdirected skills.

The Chapmans are very good at what they do, even when they do things badly on purpose. They always go too far: but too far is not always quite far enough. How far can anyone go in the name of art? The most upsetting is often the quietest and least dramatic. The rest is a circus and a charade. Real shock lies elsewhere, outside the gallery. The Chapmans know this.
More and more, I feel that their best things are the smallest. One of the cave-like gunpowder rooms in the centre of the gallery is filled with table-top arrangements of cardboard dinosaurs and models of earlier works and exhibitions, complete with little painted card spectators. One paper cut-out woman has fainted. These small, collaged paper-sculptures have a great feel, sense of touch and play. Everything they do comes over as a silent snigger.

The other powder room has been decked out as a cinema, where a hilarious film plays, cobbled together from an early video made in the studio, and the 15 minutes or so of the 2010 film The Organ Grinder's Monkey, all that the Chapmans managed to complete of their commercial debut before time and money ran out. It's a spoof life-of-the-artist movie, starring Rhys Ifans and David Thewlis (with Daniel Craigdressed in a gorilla suit). There is masturbation, cockroaches, there is filth, abuse and dank humour. We even revisit the Chapmans' old art school, where a life-drawing tutor, played by Thewlis, remembers the pair as diligent, affable, "passable" students. In another vignette, the brothers themselves appear in cameo, emerging from a giant vagina, given birth by Samantha Morton. It is all very gooey and despicable, and very funny.

Will children be horrified, corrupted, or given nightmares if they see this show? Adults might have a bit of explaining to do, but there's nothing so nasty here as the eyeball-slicing scene in the 1929 surrealist masterpiece Un Chien Andalou, let alone on the TV news. Kids are not so innocent, and know the difference between life and art. They might just want to go home and make a Chapman for themselves.

Article by Adrian Searle / The Guardian
Photography by Katarina Benzova