A hero

I have not been to any David Bowie concert but his music has existed alongside my growth as a person. His talents, not just as a ground breaking musician but as someone who is as a holistic as an artist can be (poet, actor, director, producer, writer, dancer, etc), has been so inspiring. Bowie was a well-read and informed artist who drew upon a wealth of influences such as Tibetan Buddhism, German Expressionism, Mime, Japanese culture, history and Jungian psychology. He has often described himself as a ‘magpie’ and he was able to synthesise diverse ideas and use them in his art. Coming from a poor working class family, it must have taken immense courage to proclaim his ideas and intent. As the philosopher Michael Foley says, ‘Appreciating art is not passive but active, not reverential but familiar, not a worthy act of self improvement but an audacious and cunning ruse. To seek out what stimulates and makes use of it- this is the work of art.’ And Bowie was a master at this and so his entire life became a work of art.

From becoming totally immersed in his various personas- Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke, etc- to his campaigning for others- from Tibet to physically disabled children and to his perceptive thoughts on the internet, death, illness, etc. he comes across as a total person. He acknowledged his mistakes without arrogance or defensiveness (watch his interviews on Youtube) and his fears and died a hero. There was no drama about his death unlike his pop personality life. He even made his death into a work of art and then took his bow, humbly and quietly. I never realised how much influence he had on me until last Sunday when it was announced that he had gone. He wasn’t perfect but he was a hero. And most importantly, his life has taught us that we can be heroes too.  Here is a video of him tapping out his song ‘Heroes’ using a bottle cap on his shoe, raising money for physically challenged children at the Bridge School concert, 1996.


Authentic people and lessons from tulips


(Tulips, Cornwall– photo by author)

What is authenticity?  I made a list of men and women who I think are authentic or true to themselves.  I have been reading about them. Truly their lives are inspirational but what makes them so special?  What do these people have in common? Below is my list of what makes people authentic.  But why the tulip photo?

The name Tulip comes from tulipa or turban (also taliban) worn by people in the Middle East like the flower shape. Tulip is associated with many countries- Turkey, Iran and of course, the Netherlands. Tulips bloom at the beginning of spring season therefore they symbolize a new beginning.  I learnt many things from tulips which apply to authentic people too-

1. They are not afraid of saying or doing what they want to without being offensive.  They are assertive without any aggressiveness or defensiveness.  They have the charm factor like the tulip charms without overpowering.  A simple vase with one tulip is enough to make a room inviting.

2. They are friendly without being a burden, i.e. they will help you and listen to you while setting boundaries and being respectful.  They can make natural allies like the tulips which attract bees.

3. They are natural leaders without being pushy or aggressive.  They do not like to follow but they are always gracious and kind to all. Humility is associated with tulips, so are great leaders humble, looking to learn from all.

4. They are emotionally intelligent- not necessarily having high I Qs. Thus they can relate to everyone without dazzling or bamboozling people with thoughts and ideologies. Like the tulips which all enjoy- regardless of their status or wealth.

5. They are passionate and creative people, following their hearts, not others.  They know like the tulips, they do not have to make an extra show- just being themselves is attractive enough.

Make your own list of authentic people today and see what you can learn from them!