Work and self-fulfilment

At many social occasions one of the often talked-about questions is the idea of work. When you are at a dinner or lunch with someone, or perhaps even at an event like a meeting, strangers often end up straying into the conversation of work. And why not? After all, work occupies a large proportion of our daily lives.

In fact, nowadays, you may even argue that when you are not asleep, you spend most of your waking hours thinking about work. Some people may refute that, pointing that even when they are preparing to go to bed, work is the last thought they have before they drift off, and then when they wake up in the middle of the night (not “If”, but “When”, because it is a given that they will definitely wake up from all the stress), they think about their work and it keeps them awake.

There are two lines of thought at this point. Some people say that since you are awake, you might as well think about the work until your body drifts and lulls you back to sleep. Others think that thinking about work does not necessarily keep you awake, but thinking about it might send you back to sleep, especially if you perceive your job to be repetitive and boring. If you were a librarian, for example, thinking of the stock check you may have to do in the morning may bore you to sleep, or induce you to save your energy by going to sleep. But I have digressed – we talk about work a fair bit.

Does work keep one awake at night? Or does it send you to sleep? I suppose the fair answer would be how fulfilling your job is to you. Fulfillment – or a sense of it anyway – may be one of the most important things in a job, alongside money – so finding one that allows you to blend both to a degree is a useful important skill to learn.

As the Piano Teacher Stroud Green website mentions, learning is a balance of several factors. And self-fulfilment may just be the most important factor. How fulfilled are you at work? If you are feeling excited, and your work gives you a buzz, then good for you! But if you are feeling drained, and work is getting you down, a holiday break – even a short one at the seaside – may do you good, recharge your batteries. And if you ever need a place to stay, visit the Blue Mist accommodations. There are plenty to cater for couples, small families and groups!

Social Media Possibilities

Is there any truth to the following hypothesis? The theory goes that if you are a social media user, you would be stuck using a platform that was predominant at the time. For example, if you subscribed to Facebook and use it extensively, you are likely to be in your thirties and forties. And there may be some basis in this argument. For example, once you have taken the bother to sign up, and interact with individuals with a similar inkling to you, you may form a little clique of followers who hang on your every word. And as each interaction cements the links between you, and other followers join your followers, the web of interconnectivity deepens. Through this process you become hooked. And when perhaps you decide to leave the platform, it becomes difficult. After all, you have spent all that time typing and reading teach others posts. You have formed connections with people you might have even never met in real life. You might have talked or chatted online while never having may met. Leaving the platform becomes difficult because it is like removing a part of yourself that is so entwined and engaged in the fabric of the social network.

Whatever conclusion the discussions about age groups arrive at, there is no denying that social media opens up possibilities. If you were a creator of some sort, such as a writer, jewellery maker or web designer, you could flog your wares to your followers. But even if you did not have a product to sell, you could earn some income selling other people’s products. This is known as affiliate marketing, which takes the fuss of managing the most part of the product out of your hands – you merely sell to your followers. A less overt form of marketing that has developed over the years is social influencer, where there is no direct selling, but where a seemingly successful person impresses upon others the brands they use, so that other followers that aspire to the same level of success may be influenced to use the same brands.

Building a group of followers requires a lot of time and effort and self-determination. But you must be patient with it, and not rush. If you intend to go down the “sell my product route”, make sure you also retain the rights to your creation though, so that royalties can grow to a significant income. The singer Michael Jackson made a fair bit of money by holding the rights to the Beatles back catalogue – you can read about this more in the Piano Teacher Crouch End blog- and the small percentage of an income may seem insignificant at first, but it is a minor thing that might transition to a significant sum!
St Ives is famed for its crafts and being an art hub – why else would we have the Tate here? If you are a crafts person, social media can help you enhance your business.

If it doubt, clarify – don’t ignore!

If there are any lessons to take away from Shubnum Khan’s experience, one to be mindful of is that one should never expect anything for free. Another could be perhaps to be speak up whenever you feel uncomfortable about something, and not to simply brush it away simply because you are afraid of speaking up.

The aspiring author signed up many years ago for what she believed to be a free photo shoot. The photography had been organised as part of a project called the 100 Faces Shoot, where a photographer promised a hundred individuals a free professional portrait shot in exchange for the right to use the images as part of a project. The author signed a disclaimer and agreed to the terms, in exchange for a professional shot which might have been useful for future promotional purposes. What she had not counted on was that her picture would have been used for many purposes without her consent. Khan found that her image had been used in a Canadian newspaper for an advertisement on immigration, as the ‘after’ picture for dermatological advertisements, and even more alarmingly, as a testimonial image in various websites for purposes such as child minding, as if to suggest she were endorsing the product.

It turns out that the photography promised was not simply for the purposes for an art project, but to build a collection of stock images. Khan had signed up and allowed her images to be part of a stock image collection, which meant that any one could have bought her image and then used it for whatever purpose they desired.

One might argue that the writer has a cause for litigation, but as it turns out the contract that had been signed prior to the shoot listed out these terms. In her rush, excitement or perhaps naivety, she had not felt confident to clarify any terms that might have raised alarm bells, and brushed them aside. Or perhaps she believed it unimportant, or was too naive about the repercussions. The moral of the story could be – if in doubt, don’t be afraid to speak up, or raise an issue. Sweeping it under the carpet is not going to work!

There are things we may not understand – we may not understand why the world economies function as they are, or in the field of music, why musicians would claim to be aliens (you can read about the Mysterians in the Piano Teacher N15 blog, but when you face something strange – clarify!

Summer’s here – move it or lose it!

As the summer season gets into full swing, why not start making your plans to enjoy the good weather?

Britain for much of the year is bathed in cold temperatures. We are luckier to have better warmer weather in St Ives, and when it is the height of summer one can imagine that the town takes on a livelier edge. There are many things to do and see, and may take a bit of planning, but in order to make the full use of your limited free time, why not?

St Ives has many beaches you can visit – some of them are dog-free and some are not, so it is worth checking out in order to make sure you get the one you are looking for. If you don’t like dogs and don’t want them running up to your picnic basket to have a sniff, then you’ll want to know which ones to head for. While you are in St Ives, you can visit Godrevy Lighthouse, or if you fancy a bit of art, why not head for Tate St Ives, which has recently re-opened?

St Ives has always had a history of art and crafts and one of its most popular artists was the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, whose works are exhibited in various locations around St Ives. You can visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum in Barnoon Hil (TR26 1AD) and get a glimpse into her working life.

There are also many places that offer day courses in crafts such as candle-making, knitting, and woodwork if you hunt around. If your stay in thie busy seaside town is only limited to a long weekend, you can check before you are coming as these things tend to get booked up quite quickly.

Rockpooling is one of the hidden treasures and Kennack Sands has been mentioned as one of the ideal locations for these. Or if you prefer more active sports the St Ives Surf School can teach you a thing or two about conquering the waves!

There are many things to do and you will never run out of entertainment. The thing you must do, however, is to commit to a visit, whether you are coming for a music festival or other form of entertainment, or as a piano teacher in Harringay says, you would be forever on the outside, looking in and wondering. If you need a place to stay, why not try the Blue Mist studio or apartments? You are minutes away from the beach on foot and all the other things St Ives has to offer.

St Ives traders worry armed forces will hurt them

St Ives traders are worried that a parade by 42 Engineer Regiment, part of freedom of the town celebrations, and Armed Forces Day – together with traffic restrictions – will put off shoppers on a busy Saturday.

Now Corrine Harwood-Davey, of the La Muse clothes shop, has written to the town council urging closer liaison with traders when major events were planned for the town centre.

But St Ives town clerk Alison Benfield said the event, on June 30, was expected to bring in between 4,000 and 6,000 visitors and that the two elements had been combined to reduce the number of Saturdays facing potential disruption.

A motorcycle festival was to have been held the following day, meaning access would have been affected from Friday night through to Sunday, but it has now been moved to another venue.

Mrs Benfield said the loss of the motorcycle festival, although disappointing, meant that disruption to all but Market Hill was now limited to Friday night and Saturday morning.

Corrine, who has had a shop in St Ives for 18 years, launched a petition urging the council to hold such events on a Sunday to reduce the impact on trade.

She said it had been backed by the majority of independent retailers and some of the nationals – but she had not had the time to carry out a comprehensive survey.

Corrine stressed that there was no objection to the event and they appreciated the amount of hard work involved in organising it, but said holding it on a Saturday, their busiest day, was detrimental to retailers.

“While it will bring people in to the town, they are people who are coming to watch a military parade and not to go shopping and the extra people may be enough to put off those who want to go shopping,” she said.

Corrine said that, like many other towns, trade in St Ives had been hit.

“It really isn’t great at the moment,” she said. “A lot of people have been struggling since Christmas, no-one knows why, although the cold weather hasn’t helped.

“The difference for us between a bad day and a good day could be £1,000 which is a lot of money to me.”

Mrs Benfield said: “It was decided to hold the freedom parade on the same day as Armed Forces Day to minimise the impact on trade there would be if it had been an additional Saturday.”

She said it was hoped the thousands of visitors would make return visits once they had seen what the town had to offer.

Mrs Benfield said the freedom of the town was being granted to the Royal Engineers and that 42 Engineer Regiment from Wyton would parade through the town on Saturday morning.

There would then be more events associated with Armed Forces Day in the town and a chance to see what the 42 Engineer Regiment did at Wyton by application through the town hall.

Relaxing

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.

Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.

No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.

It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.

Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.

As you can tell, all the above wise words are about relaxation. And what better place to relax than in St Ives? Sign up for the beautiful Blue Mist properties, where you can enjoy the beauty of the sea, the warm temperatures and the lovely beaches. Summer is coming. Are you ready?

Petition for dog ban reversal

The spring season is in full swing and now that we have reached April is it a good time to bear in mind that the dog ban on certain beaches is in force. Don’t get caught out!

The ban on dogs is rescinded in the winter months because there are hardly any sunbathers on the beach during the colder months and the dogs are hence not a threat or a nuisance. However with the warmer months approaching and more people heading for the beaches, the dog ban is now in operation.

There have however been calls for the ban on dogs to be reversed. The few beaches where dogs are allowed a poorly accessible, rocky and not just a danger to man’s best friend, but to man or woman itself.

Campaign group ‘Life’s a beach – Stop the extended dog ban in St Ives’ posted to their Facebook page as the seasonal rules came into force in St Ives over Easter.

It means those with four-legged friends are being forced to use beaches which they say are poorly accessible.

Now the post has created a huge debate online, with many dubbing it a ‘disgrace’.

One user wrote: Ok so you’re a resident of St Ives…you pay your council tax and your extra st Ives town council precept. You own a dog….this is your access to one of the only dog beaches in town…what would you do/think/feel?

The health benefits of owning dogs is well known. It gets children out and about, provides companionship and supports people with depression. It keeps older people active…so why the heck to we have to put up with this! I don’t want to break a leg to walk my dog!

There are three beaches dogs can go on in the summer. The beach at Lambeth Walk has been highlighted for its stony paths and the council has agreed itself that that could be improved. But council representatives also claim that Barnaluz beach near the recently-opened St Ives museum is more accessible now, and has been since the steps were repaired, and dog owners may find it better there to let ttheir dogs go for a run.

Non-dog owners claim that their enjoyment of the beaches is tainted by dogs running free, threatening younger children, following their noses into picnic baskets. But dog owners claim that they are being picked on, and that non-dog owners can also spoil the beach for others in terms of litter and drug-related paraphanelia.

A holidaymaker also waded into the debate.

David Ray said: “Our family (and dog) used to visit St Ives at least twice a year, but not since these ridiculous rules were introduced.

“I wonder how much additional revenue is being lost by local business’s due to the intransigence of their local council?

“Vote them out and lets have some more sensible rules. We will then no doubt return.”

Even though the dog ban is now in force, it seems some are ignoring signs which have been put in place at the spots where dogs aren’t allowed anyway.

We just simply need a bit more consideration for everyone else.

Learning a new skill?

How do you feel when you have to learn something new? Some people feel a sense of excitement at the thought of a new experience. These individuals are generally more open-minded, open to learning new things. But there are others who perhaps come with a sense of reservation, or even caution at the thought of learning something new, or trying something different. For them, the extension of oneself is effortful and they are unwilling to make the effort – or at least, the initial reaction is of unwillingness, and then some people overcome it, while others are content to remain within it.

There is no doubt that the attraction of learning a new skill for many people comes with a sense of aspiration and idealism. We envision how the skill we would like to acquire can benefit us, not just financially, but also in enriching our lives. But sometimes we look at things from the wrong perspectives, looking for fame and recognition itself. It is not wrong in itself to seek these things, but when they become the sole purpose of learning a new skill then we have started off on the wrong foot. An aspiring singer of course should want to make a living from doing something that he or she likes, but when the focus is on wanting to make it big as a singer-songwriter, and being the object of attention of millions in a big arena, then the lens needs reviewing.

Why should we not look for these benefits primarily? When we learning a new skill, it takes time to do it well. Skills develop over time and continually revisiting these skills in order to do well requires patience and the correct mindset. Focussing on the wrong things at the start, unfortunately, blurs the focus and invites you to shorten the natural process. A lot of people go for the product and not the process, because they want to end-gain, to get to the final product immediately, because they are hungry for the success. While the idea is to produce a final product as a result of going through a process, producing a product just to say it’s been done and thinking it’s finished is wrong.

How long do you think it takes to learn the piano? Many pianists go through hours of practice, going over boring things such as scales and technical exercises to sightreading just to learn to play music. But there are others who think that being able to play Fur Elise means they have learn to play the piano. That is the difference between process and product.

Perhaps it is a good idea to learn little craft skills to subconsciously learn the life skills of patience and practice, which build on a deeper level good estimations of time and required effort. Instead of leaving it till late to discover that you have not quite yet have the correct mindset to things, when the stakes are too high, it may be a good idea to do little artistic skills, slightly less ambitious tasks, to learn about learning. This gives you a mental framework of what it takes to learn a skill. If you’re ever in St Ives, you’ll find many things to do, from weekend workshops to day events. Try to get some ideas of what you might like to try just browsing around the many crafts shops around. There’s knitting. Surfing. Cake-decorating. Art. Painting. While it may be good to try something you are drawn to, trying something that might not come naturally in the first place is also a good place to develop a healthy mindset to new situations, if you belong to the latter group of people I mentioned in the first paragraph.

St Ives offers you many opportunities to learn about learning – it is a skill that will benefit you for life! And if you are ever looking for a place to stay, why not try the Blue Mist properties? You can choose from a small studio, a mid-sized room to a larger room for families or groups. Located near the harbour and gorgeous scenic views, the Blue Mist properties will allow you to enjoy your stay and make full use of your time here.

Peter Lanyon exhibition to mark birth centenary

An artist from St Ives has been honoured with an exhibition to mark then centenary of his birth.

Born in 1918, Peter Lanyon unfortunately died in a gliding accident in 1964. His traditional landscape art works were held in high regard, particularly by the singer, the late David Bowie, who had four of Lanyon’s work in his collection.

At first glance, Lanyon’s work may appear to be oil drawings by a young child, with colours smeared over one another. But perhaps you have to understand the artist to appreciate the art work. Within the art world, Lanyon is credited with transforming landscape art. The use of colours is a vibrant attempt to capture the unbridled emotion of being physically in the place at the time. Sure, it is not neat as in a photograph, or a detailed still life painting. But the art perhaps captures the underlying emotion, albeit a raw, childish one, of the subject in question.

The last of the above paintings, Wheal Owles, is an oil on board painting that dates back to 1958. At first it looks like a fishing boat on sea, and visitors unfamiliar to area may think it is a representation of a boat and St Ives history as a fishing town.

However, Wheal Owles is actually a tin mine near Botallack, near St Just. In January 1893, miners working underground were drowned when water rushed in. When you look again at the picture, now that streak of black in the middle makes sense – it is the mining shaft. The boarded shapes around it not only suggest the materials on the ground, but the feeling of being trapped and bordered with no way out echoes the fear of the men who were trapped and eventually died. It is said that before the water flooded in, a gust of wind blew out the lights, leaving the man trapped in darkness. This mirrors the lack of light in the work.

‘Peter Lanyon: Cornwall Inside Out’ at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert, in St James’s, London, is open until 16 March.

Any progress with the Edward Hain?

Will there be any breakthrough in the standoff over the Edward Hain Community Hospital? The one-ward hospital has been closed for nearly a year over fire safety concerns – the government and NHS were not convinced that in the event of a fire, the twelve inpatients would not be able to be evacuated. Hence the inpatient unit remains closed, and those requiring such services have to go further afield, out of our town for treatment. The outpatient unit, however, remains open to existing residents.

Residents held a protest over the closure of the hospital in October. The common feeling among residents is because that because St Ives is far out to the west, and run by Labour council, the conservatives will not give it the resources in order to modernise. It is almost as if the Conservatives are trying to turn local feeling against Labour by using health as a means of creating dissension. It is no good for the people caught in between. The current building is an old Victorian building and getting inpatients down the stairs could be problematic. The Friends of Edward Hain recently raised £600,000 towards the hospital, but the money remains largely unspent because of the threat that it may be wasted. If improvements are made to the hospital but it still remains closed, the money would have been spent for nothing.

Part of the problem lies not just with underfunding alone. Some believe it lies with a lack of foresight by the local NHS, who failed to cater for post-hospital care services in the area. As a result, there is a lot of bed squatting and those in post-operative care are taking up the spaces on the ward.

The answer could be in building a new community hospital. This consideration has been touted before, and some believe that the creation of a new hospital would alleviate the pressure of the already taxed services in the area. If the problem lies with the existing building and there could still be a protracted political battle over it, then starting completely from scratch to develop a modern building that meets fire regulations, and one that is large enough to provide services for the region, could be the long term meaningful solution.