Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Do you have a reason to smile?

Have you ever thought you are about to die? Have you ever thought about it seriously? You might have cancer and not know it, or tomorrow your heart may cease to beat. You could have a car accident…

The only truth is that our existence on this earth is as short as the view of a falling star in the sky. Without even noticing, and if we are lucky enough to reach this stage, we will soon grow old.

This is not a manifesto about death, but a "reminder". Never forget that you are about to die. Yes, it’s a fact, you are about to die!

Sometimes we are so silly that we only think about it when it is too late; when we are really at the end of our life, or when we know we have an incurable illness.

This morning I woke up and felt angry because I am aware that time is fleeting and I'm still not giving the best to the world and to myself, and I don't know how long I have to live. I wish to live for a time long enough to wake up from this torpor. Why is it so difficult to wake up? Why should the inevitable always happen for us to understand?

This morning, more than anything else, I know death is not a distant thing. Why do not we live, even in the knowledge we will die? Why do we torment ourselves with useless paranoias? Why do we waste time in jobs we don’t really enjoy? Why don’t we say "I love you" to those we love? Why is it so difficult to be ourselves? Why do we hold firm on resentment? Why do we think about becoming rich and famous? Why, above all, do we forget the little time we have?

Get a notebook before you fall asleep and write down on how many smiles you have donated or received; what you have done for other people and for yourself in order to feel good, and what you have created for this world. Do you have at least one reason why this day has been useful? Do you have a reason to smile and for which to sleep peacefully?

If you do not have it, you have to rethink your life; what you are creating for yourself and others, and how you can change your miserable existence. Your time is running out, so don’t waste it.

Awaken yourself, and live for you and for those people who are about to die or who are already dead. Bring their love within you and give it back to the world. Wake up with a purpose. At evening go to bed with a smile on your face because you have a reason to do so! Face your fears and destroy them.
Let’s wake up from this anaesthesia! Death is close and it is our guaranteed companion. It reminds us there are beautiful things to which we no longer give value: the sky, the sea, the smile of an unknown person, words that give us emotions, beautiful music, intense hugs, loving looks, the hands of those people who work with passion, and the gestures of those people who live for others...

Monday, 10 April 2017


At certain point you realise that, no matter how much you fight to keep things under control, events will always have a certain degree of unpredictability. Understanding it will cause suffering at first, but then you will be aware and awake. By awakening, acceptance will come to your life. Accept that unhappy moments or episodes can come to your life when you don’t expect them or even if you refuse them. By accepting, instead of controlling, you will get peace of mind.
If your suffering is caused by other people’s behaviours towards you, start to accept that everyone has the freedom to act as they want, no matter your judgement about their actions and no matters your love for them. Drop your will of controlling and set yourself free. Accept that life is a journey and sometimes you are supposed to walk alone. Some other times you will find someone on the way who will fill your soul with their smile.
Never give up. Don’t allow other people or events to hurt you. You have the power of choosing, every single day, what life you want to live. Chose to accept that things don’t always go as you planned and that there is a universe of beautiful things and people that will get to your life. Nothing is for ever. Accept that you are flowing and things can always change. It is a circle of feelings and actions: suffer, awake, accept, enjoy!

Train yourself to be free, because there is no greater happiness than acceptance and freedom.   

Friday, 1 May 2015

I am all those people I love

Sometimes I feel alone. Suddenly all the faces of my beloved friends and family populate my mind. I can almost hear their voices and their words to cheer me up. I start typing messages to receive their attention and I desire to be with them, hug them and feel full of love. In reality, I’m physically far from all of them. The distance is a wall and I feel trapped.

I close my eyes.

I see every single face again. A face is not just a face: it is love that comforts me, it is hope, it is smile. Now I can see clearly. There’s no real distance. If you love someone there’ no closer place than your own heart. All people I love live within me.

Distance is only an illusion as well as verbal communication. Heart has its own silent language.

I feel alone but I know it is only an illusion.
I am all those people I love. I am love.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Inspiration Can Stop And Start At Any Age.

It’s all about how to get it started it again.
A six-year-old girl with long dark braids, I ran up to the front of my first grade classroom wearing my red sparkly shoes with rainbow laces. My teacher, Ms. Hintz, squatted in front of me and handed back my card I’d turned in with the first story I’d ever written in pencil on the inside. I took the card from her hand and stared at the little unicorn I’d drawn on the very top of the card, when she said, “Erika.” I looked up. “You are going to be a writer someday.”
Always a dreamer, always a great storyteller, I’d lie in the grass, watching the clouds roll across the sky or the stars twinkle at night, imagining great people and their lives, and all the what-ifs.
College created a giant distraction and I became trapped in the whirlwind of decisions with what I wanted to do—I forgot how to sit still with my thoughts. I dabbled a little in everything, from Dietetics, Zoology, Landscape Architecture, Advertising, and finally settled in to Fine Arts/Graphic Arts and Communication. I've been in the professional world of Communications and Public Relations for more than 10 years, serving in just about every capacity you could imagine.
After my son was born, I had a really great dream about writing. I couldn’t shake it, and I learned how to be still again, to read books I enjoyed, and how to listen to the whispers of my imagination, slowly surfacing.
Two years later, my daughter was born. Watching my kids grow and play, and how they processed the world, helped push me to cycle back to my one earliest and biggest dream—writing. So I am writing, and I haven’t stopped since. I write every day after I’ve tucked the kids in their beds and they are sleeping soundly.
Finally, thirty years later, I’m doing what I knew I was meant to do.

Erika Beebe

Erika Beebe's Blog 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Wake up! Interview with the Miserable Man

On a cloudy English day that makes you feel a bit sad, you might finally decide to walk randomly through the street of Norwich city centre. If you are lucky you might be captured with a joyful and energetic reggae that makes your feet move without control. The Miserable Man is busking in the street: trumpets and drums come from his mouth while he beats the time with the guitar and the tambour beneath his foot. His voice warms up the air and his music moves the clouds away.

Filippo Masè, or Miserable Man, believes in the power of dreams but, as he explains, what really matters is “to wake up” and start to act in order to turn dreams into reality. He is Italian and plays in the street for happy and sad people, for children, for rich and for poor, from city to city, from Europe to Asia. He lives his life with joy just doing what he really loves: playing and travelling.

Sometimes dreams are only few steps away from you, but you need a bit of courage to move forward, maybe just some words, some music or someone else’s example.

AL: What did you dream about when you were a kid?  

MM: When I was a very young boy I used to live with my grandmother most of the time. She was helping missionaries in Africa and South America so we used to receive their publication magazines. At that time I had two dreams: I wanted to breed dogs and I wanted to be a missionary. I had the idea of myself in villages with lots of kids (I love kids). Moreover, as my grandfather was sailing in the 50s in Africa and Asia, I had images of Java, Singapore, Hong Kong, and India so I grew up with these memories in my mind and, maybe without being very conscious, I started to work to make my dreams come true. Nowadays I think that in a way I am a missionary with my guitar and I am in the process of the realization of my dream.

AL: Was playing around the world the dream you wanted to realize? 

MM: In the past I used to do lots of boring jobs and I never really had dreams. I wanted to play music and I always played. Maybe if I had a dream it was to be able to have a band, maybe a typical job in a café in order to go on a six months tour later, in a very American style. In Italy you can’t do that. If you leave a job when you are around 30 or something you are going to be “in the box”. When I started busking three years ago, it was because I had nothing left. I lost my job and my friend Richie, who was in Norwich, told me to come here.  I remember I sent him an email saying that I had no money, I had lost my job, the Police got my Vespa and I was left with little money. Winter was coming and I was a gardener so there was no work. At that time I actually thought about my grandfather and more in general about all the people that emigrated to Russia, Germany, America. I remember thinking: “This is the perfect moment. You can turn this bad luck into an opportunity”. I think you get power when you don’t have anything to lose and so I came here in Norwich. 

AL: Could you tell me anything about your first step toward the realization of your dream? 

MM: For ten years I used to work, save money and travel. One year before I came here I was in Indonesia, and I remember I was having a really good time playing ukulele on the beach. I was thinking: “There must be a way to do this for living, being in a nice place where people want to have fun, enjoy the nature and be involved in the environment”. Sometimes you have to visualize things because this is the way things come true. So I had a very clear picture of me playing and now I play in Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, and I think I play a kind of music which is perfect  for the places I want to be in: beaches,  holiday and tropical places. 

AL: Did anything happen or did you meet anyone who gave you hope to realize your dream? 

MM: My ex-girlfriend has been very important because she believed in me and pushed me towards the realization of my dreams. Also my friend Richie has been a very important piece of the puzzle. I met him while travelling in India and he has been the person who technically made this possible because he encouraged me by saying: “Come to Norwich, I will give you a place to stay, free of charge.” I would say that nowadays everybody helps me: all the people who follow me on Facebook, the people who buy my cd, those ones who give me work… People who support me in any way are the people who contribute to keep my dream alive.  

AL: When did you first play in the street? 

The first time I played guitar in the street I was very young and it was 1996, during a holiday in Greece. I was playing guitar for beer money. I never thought I could do it. When I came here I remember spending one week locked in Richie’s house, completely terrified, I was like: “No, I can’t do it”.  I remember Richie showing me the habitat and saying: “You know, if you want to make some money, that’s the place!” And I remember feeling like my legs were shaking, but there was a voice in my head saying: “Man, you are going to go on, you carry on. Go through!” So a week after I was busking with Jade (a local singer and writer) for the first time. We made 18 pounds and I gave her all the money because she needed to buy new socks. And there was my first real busking day. And I remember in Italy, before leaving, telling to myself: “You are scared but the first time someone will throw a pound coin in your case, it will help your confidence.”  And so it was! I remember a woman throwing 2 pound coins in my case. I was playing Wish you were here in an original reggae version and she said: “Very interesting version!” And I was really happy because she not only enjoyed the song but she also recognized that was a Pink Floyd song.  

AL: Why did you choose the name Miserable Man? 

MM: I don’t know technically how it came to my mind, but in Italian “Miserabile” is more like pitiful, something that has to do with God, living life, being humble. That was my idea at the beginning. And maybe it reflects in my life style: I still wear the 70s old school shoes, and I follow my grandmother’s advice. Then I also had hard times in my life, so probably Miserable Man was a name to say: “Why do I have to hide the pain, why pretending to always be happy?” I’m not always happy. I’m happy when I play. When I play music, I make people happy and this makes me feel happy.

AL: What kind of music are you inspired by?

MM: A lot of different stuff: African, Jamaican, Latin, Cuban, Indian and Arabian, lot of world music. Then I love pop. I like to be able to write songs that are easy to catch for people.  I was also influenced by people such as Tracy Chapman for the acoustic guitar, and the Police because they made good melodies and basically for the way white people were playing in a very black way. They were able to play black people music for a wide audience and this is what I am doing. I take Reggae, Ska, Calypso, Soul, Funk, Jazz and Blues and I filtered it to my way. I’ve also been inspired by grunge and alternative rock of the 90s maybe. 

AL: How can a dreamer become the Miserable Man? 

MM: When people tell me: “Ah your life is like a dream” I always tell them: “Well, it is a dream if you still sleep; but I’m awake now, so it’s not a dream anymore! I don’t need to dream now. I was dreaming when I was working in factories or doing gardening and hard jobs. Maybe I was more miserable then than now. I keep doing what I like and I work hard and I don’t really have the time to dream. Of course I have ideas but I try to be very practical. I think the key is stop being afraid, have confidence in yourself and in the universe and follow what you like because this is the only way you can be yourself. I think the only secret of my success is doing what comes naturally to me. I can play at weddings, in the street, in a bar. For me it is the same. So dreaming is a very functional thing. 

AL: What are you dreaming about in this period of your life? 

MM: Sometimes I dream about not having to play gigs and just busking all the time in order to not have responsibility. The dream of being a Miserable Man Is a dream of a world where I can go and play everywhere simply setting up my amplifier and I don’t get crazy because an airline wants to charge me 200 dollars for my guitar on board. So the reality makes me dream about a world where I can just do music, playing for people, getting some money day by day, but the reality is planning a little bit for the future and invest some money for the business side of my work. My dream is playing in the street, making some money and seeing that people are happy with my music and children are smiling. I would do it every day of my life. 

AL: What are your future plans? 

MM: To be able to stay independent and reach a big audience. I‘d be happy if I could play in all the beautiful places where I want to go to. I’d be happy if I could have the time to organize myself in a way that I can be free, independent, efficient and organized. This is possible but it takes a lot of work. My plans are to keep working with the connections I have so far in Italy, England, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to reach a wider audience and going where I can go. I also would love to have a band. 

AL: Do you think are we able to realize all our dreams as humans?

MM: Potentially we can do everything. The problem is that we sleep, we believe what all the news reports say, we watch TV, we eat crap food, we give too much importance to money, business position, what family and friends say. The reality is that no one really gives a shit about your life, apart from you. So definitely we can realize our dreams but it is all about trust, faith and hope. I know it sounds very hippie but it really works. Moreover it’s about a very fine balance between understanding what type of energy you can develop and how you can reach the world. Each one of us has different ways: you can be a musician, a painter, a writer, a cook, a sailor. The first thing you can do is to understand what you can do for yourself and for the world and then find a way to do it. At that point I think half of the job is done. 

AL: Would you like to give any advice to all those people who have dreams?

MM: Stop dreaming, wake up! If you dream too much this means you are sleeping too much. It’s all right if you are dreaming, but if you are awake dreams are worth much more. You should be very honest with yourself and focus on what your fears are because fear is the main obstacle in people’s realization so get rid of cultural conditioning: what your family thinks, what your friends think, what your culture thinks. This is you and this is your life to experience and you will die. This life is short and you have to understand it and if you are not afraid of living, then you are not afraid of dying and then you can start living your dreams. But if you don‘t get to this stage you will keep dreaming while sleeping.  

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Me as you

Probably you are suffering in this moment: probably you lost someone in your family, you have cancer, you are suffering from anger, you are feeling the lack of love, or you are depressed, you had an abortion, you were abused when you were young, your relationship with your partner or your best friend has ended…or maybe you just hate your job, you miss home, your mind is always in the mode of “being sad”. Maybe some feelings are worse than others; maybe you hate the world and yourself, God and all the life around you. What does it matter? Suffering is suffering.  And you suffer, as I do. Probably you suffer more than me and there are other people who suffer more than you and others more and more… It doesn’t matter how and for what you are suffering. Just assume that suffering is part of life. As a human being I’m often unhappy, sad and scared. I judge and I feel judged, I cause pain in other people and I receive the same. I could beat my head against the wall time and time again until I finally realize that some things have to go in a direction and I can’t do anything to change them. With all my effort I will fail. And I will suffer.  Simply because I’m under this sky and I’m not perfect at all. Me as you.

So what I (you) can only do is taking one step at a time, looking around me (you) and start to appreciate again the nice things I (you) can enjoy.  Things like the sun that rises up in the sky, the smile of an innocent child, a hug received from a stranger, the beauty of a landscape, the music offered by a musician in the street, the hot coffee in the cold days, the shining warm sand under my (your) feet, an interesting book, a piece of bread, the sound of the rain.

You (I) can’t ignore what hurts you (me) but you (I) can also choose to focus your (my) attention on things that make your (my) path sweeter and nicer. And you (I) can walk slowly. Until you (I) will realize that you are (I am) smiling again and you are (I am) strong enough to feel your (my) pain and not be stuck in it.

We can reach our dreams, but only when we start focusing our attention on things we really love, more than on our pain, when we will understand that we can realize something really big with small steps.  No one really knows which one is the right path; it is all about failures and following attempts, all about going and believing we can do what we really love.

Let’s get off the ground, then. Let’s walk together. I am your reflex, you are my reflex. We are all one.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The way to my dream

I walked a long way to find my dream.

When I was a little girl, I always felt lonely. Rather than playing with others, I liked walking to an unknown destination alone to discover something different. At that time, I didn't have my own dream and no direction at all. But I still believed that there must be something waiting for me in the future. So, although sometimes I was so depressed and even attempted to suicide, this belief gave me courage to go on.

In my whole teenagers and earlier twenties, I was still groping in the dark and didn't know who I was and what I wanted to be. I knew nothing about my major before I went to college, knew nothing about my first job until I were there. All things had just happened and seemed wrong to me. I was distressed and complained all day.

The situation changed when I met the spiritual part of my life. One of my best friends coached me to "balance cycles" and the whole life spread out slowly like a scroll painting in front of me at the first time. Since that great moment, my journal to find myself began. I attended some courses and workshops in the psychology field and finally got to know that all the difficult moments are present from the destiny to teach me. Nothing can help you except yourself. Happiness is a state of mind and it's not something you can find outside but inside yourself. The power to change is in your own hand and everyone has enough capabilities to take charge of one's own life.

I finally encountered my dream in a workshop. When I was required to imagine what I will be doing after 10 years, the imagine that I was working and helping others in my own office came to mind suddenly. And my values also settled as Love, Joy and Inner Peace. After that workshop, I kept this dream in mind. The feeling that I had a dream comforted me when I met problems, but the dream was just a dream and looked still far away from my daily life. I thought about it less then 3 times in more than 3 years and didn't know when, where, how, who to achieve my dream with.

I must show my great gratitude to Coursera's CIC course. I'm attending it because I have interest in creativity, but the course has changed my mind in a deep way. The "Life Ring" exercise recalled the memory of my dream, the "Ventures" exercise let me being committed to my dream. On the12th of Sep, a day to remember, I finally decided to start my project : Focus on your dream 10 minutes per day, and I posted it in the course's forum. I had never imagined that this project could  help to focus on my dream not only myself but also other people.

Here, I got a lot of amazing ideas. With Dawn Lagunas's suggestion, I reviewed my values and turned them into Love, Being Positive, Active, Supporting others and Inner Peace. With Alessandra Lacaita and Arnoldo Del Toro's great help, we even made a blog for dreamers to tell their stories. The great stories of Emili Bermudez, Francois Brillon and Freen also inspired me and enhanced my confidence. I took so many actions in only 21 days and realized how powerful the actions are. I never felt as energized, confident and enthusiastic as these days in my whole life.

I am still on the way to accomplish my dream and I would like to call myself a WALKER of life. Of course I want to achieve success in one day, but the way itself is beautiful enough to learn, share, enjoy and to deeply communicate with myself.

Let's keep going on to dreams together! Thanks you all!

Lucy Cao