Thursday, 25 June 2015

Give Thanks~ Feel Joyful WK 24- For Personal Power


Each one of us has the power within to lead a fulfilling and highly successful life; in accordance with our personal standards. It is a question of self belief, motivation and aspiration. Here are two quick but deep questions:

What do you most want from life?
What are you prepared to give to attain it?

Once you have married up the answers you will be able to progress, having a vision, and create the life you really want. You will need to identify the sacrifices associated with your aims and these usually include time and money- often leading to strained personal relationships, so definitely require thought and planning.

Our personal power comes from questioning ourselves and we need answers- What makes me me? Why am I here? Two of the most powerful and challenging questions anyone can ask.

Throughout the course of this life it is easy to lose yourself; in fact this is quite common and many people are a shadow of the person they could be, usually without even realising it. That was the thinking behind my poem ‘The Challenge,’ where the mere facts are laid bare.

Inspired people are aware of their power and use it appropriately. They know what they want from life, have visions based around their desires, write it all down, work step by step and constantly follow the process of evaluating and questioning. Let’s break this process down. A small child wishes to build a tower and randomly assembles a stack of bricks, using different shapes. The tower becomes lop-sided and quickly crashes. There are three possible courses of action available:
  •     The child becomes frustrated and gives up.
  •     The child is helped by a more capable child or adult so they can understand the principles of  building a tower.
  •     The child starts to experiment and will find out for himself how the tower works through making attempts and assimilating his findings. Experimentation is a form of questioning.

This is interesting when using differently shaped bricks and some will be discarded in the early stages, but later on the child will realise how much more scope the different shapes provide to create new structures.  As adults we need to question and work out which areas of our lives are the solid bricks, the small bricks or the awkward ones in the box. I will point out that each brick holds value, maybe as an enabler- teaching tool that can be used, replaced with a more substantial brick or boxed until required.

When referring to personal power I do not mean power that we can use to elevate ourselves over others or to control them. These can lead to an abuse of power. People in positions of power should not see themselves as having power over others, instead they have the power to assist others, improve the quality of life on an individual or global basis. We need to aspire to be powerful in our own lives so we are in control of ourselves and in a position to guide others.

We have the power to create opportunities and the power to change our thinking. 
Maybe you consider yourself a ‘nice’ person but feel you don’t have much to contribute. The probability is you have qualities you fail to recognise. Those talents can be abstract- patience, thoroughness, the ability to complete a task. These qualities make you a great role model and short-tempered, scatty people will admire you! It is well worth getting in touch with your own power, writing down the areas of your life you are in control of and comfortable with. You can then consider your weak areas and see how you can empower yourself so that you can tackle these too. If you discover some unpleasant or worrying traits you can bring these into your focus and control- not easy but it may just be a case of forming new habits!

We are all living, breathing magnets and have the power to draw into our aura the things we consciously or unconsciously desire. Unfortunately if we focus on our fears we can attract these to us as well. For this reason we need to exercise the power of positive thinking, so get to grips with your personal power and become the person you wish to be.

Jaz McKenzie

Professional writer/word magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image- includes CV’s, Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs, Business communications and more:

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Michael Jackson - Thriller

Today I'm wanting to share a little music, excitement and all with an edge, so what better than Michael Jackson's revolutionary video 'Thriller' which remains a work of art to this day.

We have grown used to video's that are mini-movies however it's still hard to compete with this! The King of pop still reigns. ~ Jaz

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Challenge- are you making the most of yourself? A Jaz McKenzie poem

The last blog I posted discussed freedom and part of that freedom includes the extent to which we fulfil our life plan. Do you dream big or think, 'that would be nice?' There's a huge difference and unfortunately many of us are self limiting or well-intentioned. This poem summarises the dilemma! QUESTION: Have you opened the door to your cage?


Are you yet the person you aspire to be?
That’s the challenge I have dared to ask.
Making your self-image a reality
Is an awe-inspiring, all-consuming task.
To be, or choose not to be the best
Is a decision that each of us will make.
Are you ready to embrace the ultimate challenge?
Or forever be the icing on your cake?

Jaz McKenzie ©2015

Monday, 15 June 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK 23 - enjoying our Freedom


I’m so happy to be free. There have been times in my life when this statement would have been paramount to a lie because whilst I have never been under lock and key, there are other elements that enslave us from the wrong job or relationship: one of the most familiar to me is depression.

Now, depression has moved from societies bottom drawer to being highly exposed, almost accredited celebrity status given that many celebrities have admitted to Bi-polar disorders- whilst still making a mint. The rest of us who become depressed know what it’s like to want to stay in bed 24/7 at the bottom end of the rung (Phew, avoided that!) to feeling worthless and that they have nothing to offer. Others have been known to dance around naked whilst many of us do the high/low thing and wonder whether there’s any point to life. Unfortunately with depression, the worse you get, the worse you will become as it literally reshapes parts of the brain however, according to some experts, this can be gradually reversed through practising mindfulness and positive thinking- not the easiest answer when you’re ill. I don’t exactly know how I got out of mine except that I made huge changes to my life and now approach life differently. That is the answer because change is essential: the same actions produce the same results.

Freedom is a state of mind first and foremost. Nobody can control your mind except you. No-one can add anything to it or take from it without your consent. People can try to make us anxious, rule us through fear or possibly via the use of substances, BUT they can only do so if we are not fully in control of our thoughts and give away our power. We do this when we lack confidence to make decisions. Some of us do it through being too nice, overly helpful (Hands Up!) I have also noticed that strong women with high powered jobs can end up being abused- not quite worked out the psychological profile for this one except that some degree of self belief is lacking.

You have your freedom- what are you going to do with it? Freedom and responsibility work best hand in hand; sadly that’s not always the case and some people act a little crazy when there are no restrictions on them. The age old ‘rebellious youth’ will always be a part of society but look how lottery winners often react to total financial freedom- the majority end up worse than they started within a few years.

If we want to be truly free we need to develop an enquiring mind and responsible attitude in order to make good decisions and life choices. Sometimes we need to develop ourselves without interruptions until we really know what we want in life. This means creating your own space to think and grow. Sometimes we have major decisions to make- shall we stay in paid employment or risk self employment in a bid for financial freedom?

How free is your mind? Do you think for yourself? Do you question and seek answers? Or act like a universal sponge and soak up the news, chat shows and open conversations styling these into easy-fit beliefs? Some people have been known to tailor their views to different social groups- a sad place to be because we deprive ourselves of inner satisfaction. Genuine football fans only ever support one team however they have total respect for outstanding players across the board.

Allowing your mind freedom enables you to live the life you desire because whatever your life circumstances, you can mentally rise above them. Nelson Mandela was a prime example. Despite incarceration he went on to lead his people and fulfil his life purpose. The majority of us will not reach such heights and depths but we need to operate to the best of our ability and create a mental mindset that enables us to make the best of ourselves and attain our goals. It is only through freedom that we can become who we aspire to be... poem coming soon!

Jaz McKenzie
Professional writer/word magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image- includes CV’s, Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs, Business communications and more:

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Face to Face with Zwanik Artworks!

German Zwanik- 'Woman in front of the mirror'

Tuesday 9th June 2015, Private Art Exhibition, 504 Space Gallery, Old Street: goes down in my personal history as an historic event. Coming face to face with German Zwanik’s paintings for the first time, some of which I had previously viewed online, was a pretty awesome experience. Whilst German’s artwork is impressive from a distance, you can feel the power, the pain, temptation and loneliness once you observe his work up close (and personal!) Funnily enough I was particularly struck by the tracks created through brushwork, an integral part of some pictures.

It was interesting to see paintings created in different styles- oils and water colour, on canvas and material; especially the way German presented his pictures. German left the edging to the painting on one picture of a girl pinned to a washing line above the city- he said he likes the way the colours look!

Returning to brushwork. Maybe I’m stating the obvious, but if you think back to your own early efforts where paints or even colouring are concerned, we often take pains to ensure we do things consistently in an even direction.  I realised that, when looking at artwork, the brush strokes actually cause your eyes to focus in a specific way and noticed this particularly in the painting I refer to as ‘Mirror Mirror’ (might I ask- what secrets lie behind the mask?’...) German gives his paintings very straightforward names leaving the complexity of the works to speak for themselves whereas I re-title them in line with my poetry. Please see ‘BallerinaOverkill’ 

The painting ‘Woman in Front of the Mirror,’ sparked a group discussion where people considered the model’s characteristics. German describes her as innocent whilst one of the participants viewed her as lonely. I believe my opinion will unveil itself with the completion of the above poem, currently in the birthing phase. Whilst the profile of the woman has an almost naive quality, her mirrored reflection is clearly highly sensual and people regarded this as her true inner self. Throughout history mirrors have often been depicted as containing mystical and sometimes evil qualities, rooted in superstition- so feel free to interpret!

German Zwanik commentary:
‘This painting is called ‘Woman in Front of the Mirror.’ I think it’s nice to show a different character: and you can see her and the other part of her character where she’s wearing a mask. There’s something powerful and something sensitive. I like the colours as well and find a kind of mystery in the picture. 

Does she understand herself? ‘Maybe, or maybe she’s surprised. That’s the thing about this. But I think one side is more powerful and the other more sensitive.’

German has painted a collection of angel pictures and exhibited one inspired by the model Kim Jean that is clearly not angelic, sporting a very insolent ‘touch me if you dare’ look, whilst taking drags from her cigarette. I think you can really see the power of the painting and the way the dark angel appears to be feeding off the living model. This is where the true genius lies.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Kim and find out how she came to work with German and why she thought he had depicted her in this manner.

Kim Jean: ‘I have been friends with German for the past couple of years and absolutely love his work; he’s a brilliant artist. So when he asked me if I would model for some of his paintings, I happily agreed. He’s very easy to work with. I felt very comfortable and he’s very professional. His painting is extraordinary, his results are outstanding. He worked ‘live’ for a while and from photo's that he took of me in his studio. I think that as German knows me and the times that I have been through, he really captured an essence of my life within the painting. Now I live in an eco village in the woods at Runnymeade and I’ve been there for about three months. During your life you do grow and change but I suppose there’s always going to be a part of me that’s a dark angel. 

Having had your previous life experiences captured in this picture, what might you expect from another picture? I think German’s an artist who looks into people and finds what suits the painting. I think he’s quite picky about who he works with and what expressions they can give him. It’s good to have a basis and if you know a person it can work well. I think I would like him to come up to Runnymeade and take a look around because he would be quite inspired. It’s the whole thing with the democracy and freedom. Runnymeade is where the Magna Carter was signed and there are current contradictions to address with the Queen’s up-coming visit.’

The exhibition included a particularly sombre picture entitled, ‘Boy on the Ledge’ so I asked German for his thoughts:

Boy on the Ledge- German Zwanik 
 I think it’s a guy sitting on the ledge with the city behind and we can feel how life for him is going on. I like to show this grey behind him. I chose to do it in black and white because I think the city is usually grey and dirty. I find black and white is a good way to show sensations. 

Do you get a storyline for your character in your head? I think every single picture is different. It’s a different person and when I start working on it I start feeling the character of the person that is in the painting. Inside of me, I know this character so I try to play in a good way. This for me is the most important thing in my paintings; the characters, the psychological things and what is going on inside the person. 

Is this set against the moon or a dusky day? I think it’s the day, the light of the afternoon.’

I will leave you now to Google German and explore his works further as these images were taken with my ailing phone and do them no justice!

Jaz McKenzie

Professional writer/word magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image. CV’s, Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs, Business communications- just ask:

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Will the Judges bend over backwards for Bonetics? | Britain's Got Talent...

When we hear the word 'dance' it usually conjours up the classic image of ballet dancers floating gracefully around the stage, but here on Britain's Got Talent Junior's type of dance is the exact opposite. The audience audibly cringes time and again as his physical dexterity is almost beyond belief. Having seen many contortionists over the years I can honestly say I have never seen a single one creased up in so many ways- ultimately appearing like a mini alien.

How did Junior discover this artform? That I can't recall yet I do remember him saying that he had to learn how to dislocate his joints- cringe! To choreograph such an intriguing routine is an extension of Junior's obvious talent and his performance was riveting.

Forward thinking- One person performing is totally enthralling so I would love to see a ballet that encompasses classic ethereal moves with this torturous style: the contrast would enable us to bring a Star Trek type ballet to the stage- not just through movement but also through costume. You could have a futuristic set and bingo, something never seen before. If you are unfamiliar with ballet you may be under the impression that a ballet contains strictly ballet moves. this is not the case. A ballet can include different dance styles for specific purposes therefore this idea is not extreme. In fact a great battle scene could be created if contortion were to meet tap-yes please Matthew Bourne. Let's give Classical Aliens a shot- and bring a new dimension of dance and music fusion to a theatre near you.

Well, enough creative thinking for now. I do hope that Junior will be able to extend his Bonetics act and he is to be congratulated for reaching the live finals- a superb achievement.

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK 22- Inner Strength

Inner Strength is one of the qualities that help to define us as a person. So often we describe people as having a strong or weak character which usually comes about because of the way we see them handle different situations in life.

Quite often people who are bullied are considered ‘weak characters’ because they appear unable to stand up for themselves. As a general rule this is true although there is one group of people who attract negative energy because of their strengths and these are people who hold firm beliefs and refuse to adapt to pressure from others. Religious fanatics, politicians and people with a cause tend to fit into this category of strong people who are under attack from the media or individuals.
The ‘bully’ is not operating from a place of controlled inner strength. The bully is failing to tackle his/her weaknesses and compensates by using physical or emotional abuse towards others to create a sense of personal strength and control. Bullying is an outward display of their weakness.

How do we develop inner strength?- Some suggestions:

Ø  Know and love yourself. We need to take time to understand ourselves, accept who we are and love ourselves unconditionally. Initially this is extremely difficult and we may question whether we are loveable: we need to accept that we are and believe it. Loving yourself is an ongoing and life-long process- the sooner we begin the better. Here are some very simple questions to help you get started- Where am I right now? What do I like about myself? What needs to change? How will I go about making those changes?

Ø  Look at your weaknesses and decide how to start making changes. Once you have identified your weaknesses you need to decide how to go about making changes. What do you want to tackle first? This can be a characteristic such as patience, being consistent, doing a thorough instead of a rushed job. It may be that we need to be positive, encourage others instead of criticising or spend more time with our families. Start with realistic targets so that you can see gradual improvements and congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Ø  Identify your core values. It really helps us to know what we believe and why as this is central to inner strength. Once you have a set of solid core values you know who you are and how to operate. Your conscience is an excellent guide and works far better with a set of rules to adhere to. People do lose their way in life at times and core values can become blurred. Very often people reach a point where they naturally re-evaluate their beliefs, often making changes as they enter adulthood. We might change religions, careers or relationships as we realign ourselves in order to create a code we can live happily by.

Ø  Identify your true friends. It’s very important to have the right people in our lives that have our best interests at heart. These are the people who help us to keep focused and actively encourage us to be strong when they can see us wavering in difficult situations. They encourage us to hold on, or keep trying when we feel like giving up. They will also help us to identify potential change when we are set in our ways. If we have confident, motivated people around us who do not exhibit traits of jealousy or envy, we can really benefit both from their example and advice.

Ø  Develop the habit of encouraging yourself. When developing inner strength we need patience. You will not become a new person overnight but will make strides and learn new lessons. We need to keep progressing and re-evaluating ourselves whilst appreciating our achievements. The aim is to become a better version of ourselves in the same way that products are upgraded. We don’t have to be radically different however we need to question who we are and how things affect us in light of the changes within society, our families, our workplaces and so forth.

It is inner strength that helps us through the most difficult times of our lives and inner strength that gives us the determination to climb mountains! It is an amazing quality and well worth taking the time to cultivate.

Jaz McKenzie

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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Namaste: Meditation Blessing Music for Positive Thoughts embracing the F...

If you enjoy the habit of meditating this is very relaxing music to bookmark. Unlike most meditations there is no visual focus but then again that's not important as we all have our own focal points.

Meditation requires practice and we need to accept that myriad thoughts will naturally enter our mind whilst we are open to the musical flow. There is no point paying attention to them as doing so will arouse us from a meditative state- just allow thoughts to drift through and return your mind to its focus. Meditation is good in semi-light and candles can be good but I tend to forget they're there. You can also read up about crystals and how these can help with different aspects of your life. Have to say my collection of crystals is growing gradually- I like to use them however my son thinks it's total nonsense; each to their own.

I have found that meditation is an excellent way to calm the mind particularly at stressful times and can make a real difference to the day. To begin the day in a calm state of mind helps with decision making, communication and all the usual  transactions. It puts you in control of your thoughts and if you can meditate before sleep this helps you to de-stress. There are many different types of meditations to choose from and many guided meditations to help you achieve certain aims. All guided meditations require you to visualize which I find quite difficult! The main point is to find something that works for you. Quiet is good but silence -challenging! As with thoughts, mentally acknowledge a noise but don't tune into it. Ideally your phone should be off however as I use my phone for the videos that's just not possible so Facebook message sounds are a part of the course.

So, I'll leave you to chill out and enjoy the effects of this wonderfully calming music and trust you will feel refreshed..

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Give Thanks~ Feel Joyful WK 21- Loving Challenges!


Most of us enjoy a good challenge hence the popularity of our current culture of challenging TV shows which appear to become more extreme with each new season. Years ago we were shocked and appalled by the Japanese games shows where the presenters described horrendous challenges such as lying for infinite periods in a bath of ice (by no means the worst fate)- these are Japanese contestants however now even the Brits are trying to cope with life in the jungle or on remote desert islands.

Some programmes are designed to exaggerate everyday challenges with a giant dose of gamesmanship- enter Big Brother giving total show offs an opportunity to irritate the life out of their housemates and undertake ridiculous challenges - a test of popularity, narcissism and determination, yet realistically, we can suffer at the hands of inconsiderate flatmates or neighbours; definitely an unfunny challenge! The difference is that if you do well enough in Big Brother you have the opportunity of being rewarded with ‘celebrity’ status- a poor reflection on society and even if you lose you have experienced your 5 minutes of fame.

Each and every one of us has a multitude of challenges to face in our own lives and these challenges create our personal learning curves. Fear of failure may well accompany a challenge which is why we need to adopt a positive attitude to challenging situations. If we become fearful a challenge will appear huge, often bigger than it is in reality and be seen as a problem. We need to regard challenges as a test of our inner resourcefulness. A challenge demands a solution and if we step back to consider the situation, giving it our full attention instead of trembling internally and wishing to run away, we may well come up with a solution. Being open to ideas is essential as other people often have knowledge we lack and be able to point us in a good direction. Challenges can be individual – choosing the right course for career progression, or face an international company- increased revenue required, or even a group issue- how to raise awareness of a good cause.

Over-coming challenges is both rewarding and character building. If you think back to the beginning of the year how have you changed? How often were those changes a direct result of overcoming a challenging situation? Most importantly, what lessons have you learnt- really learnt so that you are more skilled in some area of your life than you were previously? This is really important because if you fail to learn the situation will repeat itself. This is why we see recurrent patterns in our lives. Successful people go from one success to the next and have the ability to pick themselves up when life knocks them back. They are able to do this because they have the right mental attitude which includes learning from their mistakes. My ‘mistake’ is to constantly side track from personal goals to assist other people with their projects. This happens as I like to be helpful and also it could be a subconscious tactic that prevents me from moving forwards on the business front- however on a personal level I have learnt from my mistakes and made huge strides- hello independence and self love!

We really do need to give thanks for challenges as these keep us alert- acting a little like a car service by oiling the mind. We are naturally inquisitive- how many babies just sit there without trying to explore their surroundings? We have a huge thirst for knowledge and finding the mechanics that create solutions to challenges is a part of this process. The other part of this equation is the need to achieve and we feel great levels of self-satisfaction which give us a great buzz and stimulate us to look for more challenges with each of our achievements. The types of challenges we face will test different aspects of our nature from intellectual abilities to socialisation resulting in improved all-round development. My advice: don’t shirk from challenges- just feel the initial shock, get yourself together quickly and focus on a solution.

Jaz McKenzie

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