Keep the Faith

I’d very much like to share my thoughts with you, about a certain book I read over the summer. It’s become one of my favourites, and I personally think it’s up there on those ‘top books to read before you die’ lists. It’s an autobiography called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, written by the neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.

It changed my outlook on everything.

The book is a ‘timeless formula for survival’, accounting his 3 year experience at Aushwitz and various other concentration camps. I don’t think there is any point in me describing these here. How he does it is so accurately chilling and terrifying, I wouldn’t even come close. However, I wanted to touch base on just a handful of his insights. I found his book to be incredibly eye-opening and very heart breaking. I’ve cried watching movies, but never by reading.

Dr Frankl talks about how to suffer (if unavoidable) in life is a way to experience the meaning of life, and therefore the meaning of your life. It’s meaning is unconditional, ‘paralleled by the unconditional value of every person in this world’, and their responsibility to humanity. Dr Frankl states that it was the simplest things which helped him persevere. Things such as images of loved ones, humour (what he calls the ‘soul’s weapon in the fight for self preservation’) and glimpses of nature such as a sunset, despite knowing that he may not survive.

One of the reasons why Dr Frankl wrote this book was to demonstrate to us that life can hold potential meaning, under any circumstances, even in a concentration camp. You can’t choose the suffering or change your fate. But you can choose your attitude, your personal values, your inner freedom-things nobody can take away from you.

If there is a meaning to life, then there is a meaning to suffering. The suffering should be undertaken as a task. So if you’re going to suffer, do so with courage and dignity.

‘Tears bore witness that a man had the greatest courage. The courage to suffer’.

Other things Dr Frankl talks about include the importance of documenting events, particularly those you’re happy to reflect on with pride and joy. Everybody has the potential to ‘actualise opportunities’ and therefore realise the value of creative work, fulfilling their meaning of life. These actions are never lost, but are stored and treasured. Again, they can never be taken away from you.

The last thing I wanted to quote here is directly taken from the book. One of the many things which altered my outlook on life…

‘Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensure, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s dedication, to a cause greater than oneself’.

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Swinging from the Chandelier

I used to dance. I did classical Indian dancing (something called Bharatanatyam) for almost 10 years, from the age of 6. Since then however, I hadn’t really danced much…maybe a special one now and then. 

More recently, I’ve tried to incorporate dancing again into my exercise regime. A couple of years ago, I came across the fitness trainer, motivator, choreographer and businessman Shaun T. I even bought a couple of his home fitness programmes- FOCUS T25 and CIZE. They, amongst other home fitness programmes worked wonders…I lost 7kg with T25!

I use CIZE more for fun really, to practice some dance moves and get in touch with my dancing roots again. The last routine in the DVD series is to the song ‘Chandelier’ by Sia. It probably is my favourite routine, because I feel so free when I dance to it. I saw this youtube video below of Shaun T dancing to it, and it blew my mind…

I thought just for fun, I’ll take a recording of me dancing to the very same song. I’m know I’m obviously not the best dancer, but for me it was about letting loose, and being free.

Song of the Month

I came up with an idea of how to better stick to my posts, even when I’m busy. I decided that once a month, I will post a song which has caught my ears most and which I’d like to relate to. This is a song which I will post on the ‘fifth’ of the month. No real reason why the 5th to be honest, just a number I think I’ll remember best!

This is a song by Jose Gonzalez. Whenever I listen to this song, I am reminded that life is too short, and we should always remember to be free and learn to let go…

I hope you enjoy my song of the month 🙂