Welcome to Keep Calm and Relax.This website was inspired by the profound and insightful wisdom of courageous people throughout the ages. Historically events and circumstances that can cause us stress, have remained surprisingly unchanged. These words are my interpretation of how the inspirational philosophy of yesterday can be a positive influence on how we cope with tomorrow. I have woven my thoughts on coping with difficult times and how to survive them around the wise and wonderful words of great men and women.

Do get in touch if you agree or disagree with anything I have to say. I don't have answers just my thoughts and the thoughts of wise men and women that might just make you think differently.

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Do we really know what we want or do we want what everyone else tells us we should want. Are we so focused on being like everyone else, following the rest of the herd, not standing out, that we have forgotten what it was we were searching for in the beginning?  

It can be like being in a crowd of people who are climbing a hill to see the view from the top; if we never make it,we get angry with ourselves that we can never get quite as high as every one else, so we start off trying to catch up with the others again. In the end it becomes all about keeping up with those above us and we forget that what we started off wanting was the view. Caught up in the feeling of being left behind, we never realize that the same view is just as beautiful from half way up the hill, and that in trying to keep up, we have passed it unnoticed many times.  

Why do we value things more if everyone we know has one, if it is sought after by others. Why don’t we treasure something that no one else wants? Perhaps it is to do with conformity, in not looking odd or sounding different, we want to be like everyone else, and that means wanting what they want. Praxidis Guerrero wrote “To be dragged in the wake of the flock, and to pass a hundred and one times beneath the shears of the shepherd, or to die alone like a brave eagle on a rocky crag of a great mountain; that is the dilemma”.    

There are those who genuinely don’t care what others think of their choices, and they are to be envied. For most of us to stand alone and to celebrate difference takes courage, it marks us out as odd, but the alternative is never to have what we really want, perhaps never to know what we really want. Being content to chase things just because others are chasing them often means giving up personal ambition, never having a dream that is all your own, and never feeling a joy that is understood only by you.  

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of "crackpot" than the stigma of conformity".  Thomas John Watson Sr

Title quote by Lao Tzu



Aristotle wrote” Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” and indeed we chase happiness as if it is a ball just out of reach, if we run faster, reach further, or jump higher, we will have it in our grasp.

We each define happiness in a different way; however it is nearly always about something we want. We know we would be happy if we had money, if someone loved us or if we were recognized for our talents, as if happiness were not a state of being, but a by product of something else.

Thomas Jefferson thought that “Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind” and if we accept that happiness is not a place to travel to, or something to save up for, then we can come to terms with making a conscious choice to be happy, rather than waiting for it to arrive as a response to something that we are constantly seeking but may never find. As we grow older happiness changes its form, so perhaps it is better to grab happiness as it runs by rather than stalk it for years only to find once caught that it isn’t what we are looking for any more.

Often the difference between misery and happiness is like turning a light on, once you flip the switch all aspects of your life are illuminated and we realize that there doesn’t necessarily have to be a particular cause for being happy, except that we are.

When all your desires are distilled, you will cast just two votes:
to love more, and be happy
.     Hafiz of Persia

Title quote by Lavetta Sue Wegman



As the mind records the events of the day, it is as if important issues are recorded in large indelible ink, things we really need to worry about or continue to celebrate stand out in permanent marker. The small niggles and trivialities of the day however are as if written on a blackboard; as the day progresses more and more is written upon it. It gets filled with problems and their solutions, ideas are written in and rubbed out. Mistakes are made and corrected, things are added up and things are taken away.

Unlike words committed to paper, writing on a blackboard is meant to be transient, a work in progress, and a moveable feast if you need it to be. It’s not one dimensional like a blog or secretive like a diary, it is communal and what is written is for sharing. Other people’s opinions are welcomed and recorded, problems are discussed and shared. Mistakes are not personal and solutions are often a joint decision, many will contribute and the outcome is everyone’s shared experience.

It gets dusty and smudged as the day wears on, until it is quite difficult to remember what all the writing was about. When there is no more room left to write, but we feel nothing is too trivial to erase, often overfull and with problems unanswered we leave it to the night. T.S.Elliot wrote “Let us go then you and I when the evening is spread out against the sky, there will be time yet for a hundred indecisions and for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of toast and tea”.  Magically over night the blackboard is wiped clean and when we realise the memory of what was written has faded too we understand that none of it was important and we don’t need to worry about yesterday any longer. Today is clean and fresh, it's a new beginning and has the potential to be a great day, it might even be a day worth writing about in indelible ink.

 “There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk”.            Jean-Paul Sartre

Title quote by Tom Stoppard



New Years Eve is just like any other night; the world doesn’t stop and take a deep breath before plunging into a new year. All explosions of light and colour are man made, no meteors fly across the sky to show the worlds excitement at moving into another year. In fact some would say nothing changes once the clock strikes twelve. Worries remain, dreams are still just dreams, our lives go on.

 Yet New Years Eve is a night like no other, it provides us with an opportunity to create an ending, to draw a line and create change. Ellen Goodman wrote, “We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential”.                   

To make an end is to create a beginning, and a new year is like a new much anticipated and as yet unopened book. Before you open it decide if it will be a book where the story has already been written, a familiar story that doesn’t really interest you but is easy to follow. Perhaps it is a story you have little control over and you’re not sure if it has a happy ending.

Or you could make it a book with empty pages on which you can write your own story page by page, changing and adapting the story as and when you need to. As with all good stories there will be periods of writers block, and others in your life may add a chapter or two, you may even need a co-writer at times. When you begin you will almost certainly not know how the book will end, but authors have a lot of influence and can finish the story any way they like, and as everyone knows, all good books if written well have a happy ending.

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past”.            Henry Ward Beecher

Title quote by T.S.Elliot



Life has a certain pattern, which becomes programmed to reoccur like roses on wallpaper. At this time of year we all gear up to be happy, because that is what Christmas comes packaged as. Adverts don’t show us anguishing over writing cards, or wrapping presents with tears streaming down our faces. Shops are bright and festive with jolly music blotting out any downcast thoughts. Santa merrily ho ho hos. 

 Those who are lonely frayed and rejected cling to the jollity hoping it will somehow be transferable from one person to another. If we wish enough people a Merry Christmas maybe it will make us merry. We reach out from our comfortable bubble of melancholy and attach ourselves limpet like to any happy person who tries to include us in all this cheer, basking in the warmth of company and hoping they will stop us feeling alone.

 Janet Fitch wrote “Whenever she thought she could not feel more alone, the universe peeled back another layer of darkness.” Happy people give off a glow that cannot be transferred, it is their glow. It cannot be borrowed for a little while and then given back, and it cannot be re- used. However if you are going through a dark patch, Christmas is the time of year when the surrounding light and colour can be seen as a beacon. Use it to guide you towards the happiness of others and in its light you will see clearly for a while. If surrounded by happy people the communal glow can illuminate the gloomiest spirit and burn brightly into the corners of the darkest soul.

 So if you are miserable this Christmas don’t hide away, seek out the life lovers, the givers of light, and though the happiness they radiate will not be yours, that’s the thing about happiness, people want to share it and long after the light has gone, you will still feel a glow.

 “An age is called "dark," not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see it”.     James Michener

 Title quote by Jimmy Cannon