I love lullabies. Yesterday I stumbled upon this one, by My Brightest Diamond. It’s a wonderful song and video, filmed during a music festival in Berlin, august 2011. The filmmaker: “After the concert I finally dared to ask her what I wanted to ask her that morning, to sing us this lullaby that struck me down. It’s Sunday morning, a morning of hangovers. The whole hotel seems suspended in the air. We ask her to get to the bar, to make it sing for her, to sing for her son (for whom she had written this song). We erase ourselves. She, she doesn’t. After we’re done filming, I cry. She cries too.”

October 13, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags: ,

You’re about to see a 5 second film. Only 5 seconds? Yes, only 5 seconds but don’t worry, it’s a complete story. It’s about a woman looking at herself in the mirror, smiling and thinking: “I can change the world with this smile”. The next moment she walks out the door, smiles and waves to a stranger in the street, who in return gives her ‘the finger’ saying: “Fuck off…”. My first thought: “Ouch”, but then the woman says: “It worked…”. The End. Hmm, pretty intense… I looked for some information and this is what the filmmaker says: “Flip that frown upside down. You’ll never know what’ll get flipped back at you”. Now, it’s a fictional story, I don’t wanna get all psychological about it, but the fact is that any facial expression evokes some sort of a response. And whether you flip your frown or not, you never know what you’ll get back. What I do know is that whatever the response is, it tells more about that other person than about you. I once read: When someone answers your smile with negativity, look at that as if it were a present: you don’t have to accept it. By not accepting it, you don’t absorb that other persons negative energy and you can continue being you in good harmony.

October 11, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags:

Wonder around in Los Angeles at night and be amazed by all the city lights and movement. Although there’s no person in it, thousands of people pass by in cars and airplanes, helicopters, moving from left to right, people going up and down, in and out of buildings etc.. The effect of time lapse cinematography makes everything appear to move really fast: city life looks like a colony of ants. But the images, melancholic music and the subtle montage, create such a peaceful atmosphere that it makes you reflect on life. It made me very much aware of the time, space and peace that is all around us, even in the city traffic, but is so hard to see when you’re in the middle of it all.

October 8, 2011 by: | Category: Video |

I always thought The Beatles song ‘Help!’ was a love song. You know: “Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody…” and then I stopped listening to the lyrics, believing I got the message. Until I came across this video. It’s a beautifully made animation, kind of adorable actually and it made me understand and appreciate the song better. It’s really about getting older, changing times and things becoming more complicated. For instance the line: “When I was younger, so much younger than today… I never needed anybody’s help in any way”, reminded me of my childhood when life was clear and problems didn’t seem to exist. But then of course times change, as they do in the song.

October 6, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags:

Yesterday I watched this short film. It’s called ‘Move’ and tells the story of a guy traveling. He’s in a different situation, in a different part of the world almost every second of the film. A roller coaster ride? Yes, but great direction and editing makes it look tranquil nonetheless. Intrigued by the film I read some information about it and learnt the film was made by 3 guys, in 44 days and 11 countries. It took them 18 flights and they flew an astonishing 38 thousand miles… No wonder they called the film ‘Move’, I thought to myself and remembered a nice Albert Einstein quote about moving: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”. If you enjoyed watching this film, I recommend you watch the other two parts as well. See them here (‘Eat’) and here (‘Learn’).

October 5, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags:

To achieve success is one thing, but how do we sustain it? “Why do many people reach success and then fail? One of the big reasons is: we think success is a one way street” Richard St. John opens his TEDtalk with these words and an interesting (and funny) talk it is. Speaking from his own experience he says: “When we become successful, we must not forget that success is a continuous journey” and he presents 8 rules to sustain success. He calls them 8 to be Great. If you like, you can download them for free as a wallpaper for your computer, press here.

October 4, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags: , ,

Sometimes I yearn for a deep sense of connectedness with a certain moment from the past. Then I want to go back in time and relive it. This desire can be so strong that for an instant, it actually does bring me back there. Me and my memory find each other, look each other in the eyes and dance, bringing the moment back to life. But as time catches up on us, we grow apart. The memory fades away to another lifetime and I wake up to find myself, alone in the present. In a way that is a sad story, just like you’ll see in this video. Buddhism and many of its associated paradigms emphasize the importance of living in the present moment – being fully aware of what is happening, and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. They teach that those who live in the present moment are the happiest. I can relate to that, but I also love a little drama. Drama, to a certain degree is what makes life interesting. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.

September 30, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags:
    • Daring to be vulnerable gives you power to be

      People are vulnerable as individuals and as a species. And fighting vulnerability is useless. No matter how hard you try. Simply because you can’t control everything and so your life can turn upside down at any moment of any day. You may be the King of the World, the Smartest Woman in the Universe or the Sexiest Man Alive; it won’t help. You can however hide from it. And most of us do. Behind a fancy job title, nice car or house. Interesting friends, a busy agenda, designer clothes or healthy hipster life style, but sooner or later vulnerability will find you. So what can you do? Well, it’s simple.

      Simply face it and embrace it. Because when you embrace it, you no longer need to fight it. You no longer need to run or hide from it, by keeping up appearances and putting energy in this hopeless attempt to avoid the discomfort of feeling it. You can now be as you are, vulnerable, instead of pretending not to be. The way I see it: vulnerability is indestructible. So by letting it in and become a part of you, in a way that makes you indestructible. Daring to be vulnerable gives you power to be.

      Vulnerability becomes a Strength

      Are you alive?

      From time to time it’s good to ask yourself: “Am I alive?” Because it’s not uncommon to just be busy doing what you’re always doing. To be caught up in a routine. And that routine may very well result in hours, days, weeks, months or even years of living, without actually being alive. Because there’s more to living, than just breathing. Imagine someone in a coma and it becomes clear… I recently attended a re-birthing workshop and I experienced the difference between A) normal breathing: a mostly shallow, kind of mechanic and unconscious way of getting the bare minimum of oxygen ‘shots’ and B) breathing with full awareness, in a rich flow, organic and fully open to receive life’s energy in all it’s splendor. It let me experience the meaning of the phrase: “Just because you breathe, doesn’t mean you’re alive”. And so I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to wonder: am I  really alive or mostly just busy breathing?

      Just because you breathe

      Who am I… or rather, what am I?

      I guess you’re familiar with this sensation: one moment you feel great, and the next… well not so great. I sometimes feel like I’m nothing and sometimes I feel as though I’m everything. It’s a really fine line, much like it is with being crazy or brilliant. John Lennon had a nice way of putting it. He said: “Part of me suspects I’m a loser. The other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty”. I wrote a post about that one too. Anyway. A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the “I, a universe of atoms…” quote by the American physicist Richard P. Feynman (1918 – 1988). And it’s stuck in my head ever since. Because to me his words are both mind blowing and heart warming. The thought of “I” being a tiny, stand alone atom – and an infinite, whole universe at the same time, blows my ego off it’s socks. Because “I” isn’t (only) the ‘earthly me’. “I” is a single atom and an entire universe, completing one another. Think about that when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror. So yes, it’s a quote I gratefully meditate on. It’s so simple and yet so deeply profound. It makes me feel humble and larger than life at the same time – it’s liberating. Look at us humans. Look at you, look at me. We are both nothing and everything. Again. That’s just… wow.

      I, a universe of atoms

      focusNjoy #122: Stop searching, start finding

      Imagine you’re looking for something, but you can’t find it. Annoying. Yes. Very. But then, maybe you’re not supposed to find it. Or maybe you’re just looking in the wrong place. Or maybe… you already found it, but you don’t realize it yet. Whatever the reason is, you might want to stop searching. Why? Well think about it: as long as you’re busy searching – you’re not… finding!

      Stop searching, Start finding

      A fresh start for focusNjoy

      Dear friends, it’s been more than a year since my last post! Honestly, I needed the break but a lot of good things have happened to me in the meantime. Apart from a great time at Eyeworks Netherlands, where I worked as a Senior Creative with some great people at the Program Development Team, it were exciting times for me personally as well. Too much to tell you in one post. But I will share more in the coming months, because it’s been truly transformational.

      I’m planning on a brand new start of focusNjoy at the end of April. And this time, I intend to actually make some money haha – because running an ad-free blog is great, but from a financial point of view it wasn’t a success and one of the reasons for me to get back to television. Later in 2014 I intend to finally start with my workshops in Amsterdam. I’m super excited about that but let’s see how things develop. Anway – I’m back and I’m feeling fresh. Hoping to hear from you – always feel free to send me an email and say hi!

      Love, Stijn.

      focusNjoy back 2014
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