Do you remember that beautiful article that went viral around a year ago concerning the five things dying people regret? Representing a summary of a book by a nurse called Bronnie Ware who worked in palliative care for years, caring for elderly and dying people the twelve last months of their life, it briefly explains the five main topics Ware found that almost all dying people had in common to think most about.
Her unique position allowed her to speak to the elderly and dying about what they would have done differently in life, now well aware of its meaning, looking back at the many years alive.
Because of its simple honesty and logic, the article really moved me, like most cases regarding similar topics do. But also because it underlines a rather common universal truth that we, the alive – hopefully with more years to live – can approach and learn from.
The five things people most often said they regretted were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
You can find the explanations to all of them here.
Also, I find this article that builds on Bronnie’s findings, very inspirational for further thoughts about how to embrace living in order to not regret a thing.
So hold the press motha f’ers: FINALLY IT’S CONFIRMED: WE ARE GOING TO BURNING MAN!
Oh God, how I’ve wanted this so badly for so long!! And as I wrote about a time ago, my long time beloved, yet distant, thus missed friend, Monika from Canada is FINALLY getting married to her Tom in the US mid September, which gives us the perfect opportunity to do a much wanted West-coast journey prior to the wedding, and maybe some more traveling in the region afterwards. As Burning man happens in the transaction of August / September, we instantly started dreaming about and planning how to for once get there.
Thing is with Burning man, tickets are sold out ages ago, and left overs or second hand tickets aren’t as easy to get for this fest as for many others. However. Thanks to my man’s industry contacts we didn’t even have to suffer much to get the tickets, because yesterday we got two left overs confirmed! I am soooo happy and excited and just spent the morning reading advices for fresh men, looking at house cars, masks and bikes, temperatures etc.
So. What is so special with Burning man? As said on their official website; “trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind”... Fair enough.
That around 30,000 people leave their homes in order to live for a week or more in the middle of the dessert, far away from cities, shops, traffic and a hectic society, where the day is as hot as the nights are cold, may be weird to some. However, community is the word. The need to escape perhaps, but if so, with a desire of creativity, alternative life style or a more meaningful way of spending time on this planet. With a will to share love and open-mindedness with others. “Burners” as they are called after having been once, will never be the exact same person again, many claim.
Hah! Well, bring it on, I’m ready.
Personally since I discovered the festival through some random Norwegian media articles, I’ve kept an eye on Burning man, dreaming of once attending, mean while getting updated on the fest yearly through blogs, pictures and stories among friends that have been there..
What happens during Burning man is that “once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever”.
I mean, look at this:
One of the reasons of its success, as well as its uniqueness is that “Burning Man isn’t your usual festival, with big acts booked to play on massive stages. In fact, it’s more of a city than a festival, wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the event”.
I like! All sounds very much like Responsible Travel and Consumption to me.
Still keen to learn more?
Here are the festival’s ten principles, as seen on the official website.
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
Ha! To be continued then 😉
Few people would have expected to see Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Skrillex in the same panel discussing social responsibility within EDM (Electronic Dance Music), but that is what people got last Friday at Sonar. The three electronic musical icons were invited to talk about their involvement and experiences with the project of Bridges for Music in South Africa together with the organisation’s director, Valentino Barrioseta. For the lattter it was of course like a dream coming true; seldom have I seen his eyes sparkle as much as this day. 😉
As I lived the experiences up-close together with the above mentioned men and their crews (told in previous posts here), the excitement of seeing them gathered to present it at a festival like Sonar was huge. Considering the full schedules these guys have one can only imagine how much they’ve traveled since February/ March in South Africa.. Thus some days prior to the conference V and I talked about whether it could seem difficult for them to recall how they perceived the special atmosphere during the township events and express it ‘live’. Additionally we were excited to see how many people would appear.
Thumbs up! Despite of being held in English only, the conference attracted over 200 people and what we knew already we just got confirmed again; Rich, Lucien and Sonny are all highly passionate and professional artists that know well how to engage with their audience. From the very beginning they shared their personal reasons for believing in the project and told various anecdotes surrounding their involvement.
Eager to share the moment we posted many quotes directly to Twitter. Have a look:
It was indeed touching and inspiring to hear the way Rich, Lucien and Sonny talked about their experiences and motivation for the project’s future. And after the screening of this video, I spotted that more than one person was indicating the appearing goose bumps on their arms.
Have you not seen it yet? Then have a look.
If this interests you, please make sure to like Bridges for Music on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter. I can assure you a lot of cool stuff is to come from that side!
The video from Richie Hawtin’s South Africa tour together with Bridges for Music is finally live on youtube. It was hard work to put all the footage together to make the best presentation, but I think they’ve nailed it. Like I wrote about here, the days with Richie and his team in South Africa, and the party in Soweto was from another world! Ill never ever forget the feeling I got while there and the happiness in everybody’s eyes. Just by writing about it I get goose bumps!
As if this isn’t enough, it’s now official that not “only” Skrillex and Richie are going to speak at the Sonar + Day panel presenting what Bridges for Music is about, telling their experiences from the launch of it in South Africa, but hold the press: The one and only Luciano is joining too!
Gosh, I can’t wait for this!
Are you going to Sonar this year?
Look at the promotion the event gets on Sonar.es http://sonar.es/en/2013/prg/sm/_38
Like I told about some months ago, I started chatting with the doormen of our building soon after moving in to our flat in Green point. To my surprise all of them are from Congo. Over the last months Ive become found of this guy, and today I took his pictures and asked him if I could share his story on my blog.
Meet Lefills (33).
One morning in January, the door bell rang and it was Lefills from the doorway. He asked if he could come up to talk to me. At the time I hardly knew his name, so I got a little worried. His voice sounded disturbed, and I asked what it was. He said that he was hungry, and asked if I had some food for him. He hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday, and still had many hours to work.
My heart fell to my stomach.
Of course, I said. But don’t you have to stand there in the doorway?
He confirmed. If you would be so kind to bring me something? I’m so sorry to ask about this.
Its not a problem at all. Hold on, Ill make you something right now.
I ran down with a glass of juice, two sandwiches with avocado, tomatoes and an apple. He received it very timidly, and I understood he felt embarrassed over the situation. I convinced him it’s not a problem at all, and since that day we’ve become friends.
Interestingly he told me that he had waited to see my boyfriend leave the building in the morning before he dared to ring the doorbell. I told him that V is not dangerous and that he could ask us anytime he’d like to for food. Later V and I spoke about it, the fact that these men probably see more women being nice to them, than men.. We agreed that women probably come across as more caring in general.. Perhaps it is a simple and global fact that most people (girls and boys) have grown up with more caring mums than dads?
I asked Lefills about it too when he felt more confident with me, and he laughed and said “women just tend to be nicer”. Especially in your country, I thought to my self, well aware of the tragic situation of physical and sexual abuse on women and children in war zones in Congo.
Throughout the coming weeks we had many quite long conversations. As his shifts are from 6 am to 6 pm, Lefills is more awake while working than Costa – the other doorman I told about – thus we’ve been able to talk more. Like Costa, Lefills also says he doesn’t think doormen are treated overly fairly in the area. And like Costa, he’d never complain about the salary or working hours because he knows people can get fired over it.
Besides, Lefills told me that the salary he gets is better than many others’, and that he is proud of having worked hard over the least 3 years to achieve a reputation as an honest man among employers. An honesty that made him admit through our conversations that it’s very tiring to just stand like this for 12 hours and watch people passing by…
Lefills says that he sketches when he feels inspired to make the days shorter and keep his mind focused. It is clear to me that he deliberately chooses to see the positive in things and believes that this period too will pass. As the situation is very bad in Congo at the moment, he feels he just have to wait and see.
Moreover we’ve spoken a little about Norway VS South Africa. As he didn’t know anything about the country part from it being modern and cold, he asked me about many things. And I admit that I’ve had to bite my lip more than once. How do you explain a poor guy from Congo about Norway, if he hasn’t heard anything about it?
Once I asked him how life was for him in Congo, if he had had to go to war etc. He smiled and said:
No, no, no. I’ve been lucky, Ive studied and have a healthy family. My life in Congo is okay, but there is no job. And the conflicts are stressful. I can’t plan a future there. But I know I’m fortunate as my family is safe and not starving or anything.
With little knowledge about Congo, part from it being a mess, I’m curious about the place and have asked many questions. Lefills told me that he preferred the food and the women of Congo. But he thought that it had to better for a country to be an English colony as opposed to French.
How so, I asked.
Because the French heritage we have is so chaotic. People love discussing, debating and making a mess of politics. Nobody ever agree on anything, and partly the conflicts today are to blame for that, he said.
I would of course like to stay with my family in Congo, but the situation is very gloomy. And no African cities can compare to Cape Town. It’s safe and modern here, he says.
Interestingly Lefills isn’t obsessed with the imagination of moving to Europe the way so many seem to be. He says he loves it in Cape Town, that he particularly loves the liberality and possibilities.
Cape Town is Africa’s New York and Id love to create a good life for myself here, he said. Though it’s also very difficult to find a proper job for us here.
Not at difficult as in Congo apparently, because Lefills – like so many others – bussed a long way to get to the more prosper country South Africa. He quickly got a job as security personnel, with the position as a doorman in our building being the last. Although he still hasn’t got a proper residency, he has a temporary working permit.
Which in practice means that while he is waiting for a residency and the right to have the same labour rights as South Africans, he is being exploited as cheap labour, just like other Congolese doormen I’ve got to know. And like Costa, Lefills is aware of this status too.
Another thing the two gentlemen have in common is being proud of their education. Lefills holds a Bachelor degree in Marketing from the university of Kinshasa and means that the French based education system in Congo is much better than the currently offered in South Africa. Although he laughed at the irony that the good education system in Congo is useless as nobody gets a job. And here in South Africa they don’t have the language nor enough permits to actually get a job that is relevant to their education.
When we’ve talked about these topics, I’ve tried my best to inspire him to hold on to his dreams, motivations and to believe in himself and feel confident that hard work will pay off. We have for instance agreed that the most important thing he can do is to study English and continue applying for a residency and better jobs from here.
Overall Lefills is more interested in talking about other things than the challenges he meets in life. He loves to speak about topics like movies, music, Europe vs Africa, racism, my impression of him after he got that sandwich, how we meet a partner or marry each other in Europe..
Not that this was meant to be a Man-seking-woman-add, but you never know what it can serve to. Hah!
(Lefills has agreed to have this text posted about him).
So here I am.
Inside of our 25 m2 flat, with an incredible view over Green point and the sea from which at least some beautiful daylight shines in on me. I strongly convince myself all the sun out there gives me energy, in addition to the 30 snus I do per day.
I’m now in the last part of the write-up of my research report, and work hard on not allowing any stressed emotions run me over.
My amazing mum is out there paragliding and waiting for me to be ready to play with her, my man is on a holiday with his parents (thank god) and yeah, I obviously can’t wait to get a life again.
Pale is the new tan.
This video was made last year in order to promote what the newly established organisation Bridges for Music is about. It features Niskerone, a promising South African artist that also is engaged in the project as an ambassador. My V (who is the head behind BfM) is so proud and excited these days (so am I), and I just have to post this.
Soon, when the upcoming events are to press released, I’ll tell you more about what plans Bridges for Music has in South Africa the next coming months.