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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Disappointment has a bitter taste and just as a smell can evoke vivid memories, so the mind finds it hard not to recall disappointment, and is reluctant to take the chance that we may have to taste it again.  It may have been felt long ago even as far away as childhood, but for some it can colour all future decisions.

If early disappointments are used as a blueprint for failure, we programme ourselves to expect failure in all our plans, and doubt can hold back hope and expectation. Every life will have unfulfilled dreams, failures and disappointment.  People will let us down, jobs will never materialise and love affairs will end. In a world that is full of doubt and disillusion disappointment is a not unexpected bed fellow.  

However expectation is not experience, so whenever life lets us down and all our efforts fail, we are forced to rethink and reboot, to find a new path or a new approach to an old path. Having learned what to do in the worst of circumstance, we become wise, past mistakes are not repeated and lessons are learned, and the success that comes after repeated disappointment is the sweetest taste of all.

  “Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys".   ElizaTaylor                                                                                            

 Title quote by Frederich Von Schiffer                                                                                                                                   



There was once a great movement towards enquiry, when the world was young there were questions to be answered, and undiscovered places to be explored and conquered. Before satnav and internet maps, brave young men set out into the unknown with nothing but a sense of adventure to guide them. Not all survived stormy seas and hostile natives but those that did often became addicted to leading an uncertain life, and the danger of pursuing that uncertainty.   Gide wrote “It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves”.

In all of us we have this thirst for the unknown, the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’ of our life. The road not taken, the dream not fulfilled or the goal not reached.  Not being where we thought we would be doesn’t have to define our lives; it’s not a reason for regret. Having walked through a different door or taken an alternative path means we may not have forgotten old dreams but we may have created new ones, realistic ones, and achievable ones.  

Annie Lennox sang “This is the book I never read, these are the words I never said, this the path I will never tread, but these are the dreams I’ll dream instead”.

Looking back on what might have been is something we all do from time to time whatever age we reach. To still be excited by uncertainty, to build new dreams, start new adventures and to look forward to what we may yet become, is what defines who we are right now, and reassures us that, that brave young person who started out is still in there.

Title quote by Helen Keller



Henry Mencken said “The average man doesn’t want to be free he wants to be safe”. There will always be periods in life when we feel scared and unsafe. Feeling unsafe can be about physical or mental safety, maybe we are vunerable because we're small, or feel insecure about how we look. Maybe anxious thoughts mean we are afraid to live in surroundings we don't trust, when you find the world terrifying, even your mind can be an unsafe place where you don’t want to be alone.

Feeling safe can mean very different things, for some it is living all their life in the same place, it means never moving out of secure surroundings, because familiarity brings feelings of safety. It may not be the place that brings them happiness, but they are too afraid to leave, being contained and restricted makes them feel safe. Prisoners have said they felt safer in prison than living in the outside world where they have to make their own decisions, in a world with no routine and no structure. Often those caught in abusive relationships stay in them because they don’t have the courage to leave and face the fear of an uncertain life alone. Thomas Fuller wrote “Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away”.

Angelou says “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place we can go as we are and not be questioned”. For some that feeling of ‘being home’ is the safest place they know, their right place when everything is wrong. We are all searching for our own idea of safety, whether it’s family, friends, perfect health or financial security,The challenges we face are not supposed to stifle us they are supposed to make us strong. Perhaps we have to spend less time craving security no matter how unhappy or restrictive it is and more time learning to live in an insecure world, where nothing is certain and the only security comes from knowing how to stay balanced on a road that can be rough and often feels as if it is falling from beneath you.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles”.       Buddha



Somewhere deep inside all of us stands that small uncertain child watching the world through wary eyes.  Childhood is often looked back on with half remembered feelings, the ghosts of promise and despair, but where we came from, has led to where we are today.

Every life has a history, good or bad. It can be remembered with nostalgia or nightmares, but the experiences, and events of our past, influence and shape our future, and make us the people we are.  

If we are one of the fortunate few, for whom life has always been good and the future holds no fears, it is easy to stride into it with confidence, you may be naive and ill prepared but experience of the past gives us no reason to suspect that life will not always be just as good.

For others the events of the past haunt the future, holding them back and leaving them fearful of what the world has in store. They approach the future with caution, peering around the corner expecting to see a gaping chasm where their life path should be. They don’t have dreams, they don’t make plans, and they don’t have hope.

The past has a long arm, it holds strong influence, clouding judgement and consuming confidence. So if the past has been a struggle how can we expect anything more from the future?  

If we constantly pick at old scars they will eventually re-open, and out will pour all the hurt and disappointment of battles fought long ago. Whether they were won or lost will no longer be relevant but they will pull us back to feelings of stress and recharge old fears and uncertainties. The past is our history and cannot be changed but it can be left behind.

However hard our beginnings, it is one of life’s miracles that the human spirit grows stronger with experience either good or bad. As a child we are followers but age gives us the ability to be leaders, to shape a different life and create our own  experiences.  

Courage rarely comes from looking back over your shoulder, it comes from the conviction that there is a future worth fighting for.

Nothing is predestined; the obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings”.     Ralph Blum



No one plants weeds but against all odds they appear everywhere. In un-nurturing places that offer no sustenance and no protection, they thrive in deserts and on barren rock faces. Unlike flowers they are eaten, trampled, sprayed with poison and generally reviled, they are universally unwanted, but a weed is a plant who has mastered every survival skill. They know where to grow, how to disguise themselves, and how not only to subsist but positively flourish in the harshest environments, perhaps they are brainier than flowers.

Pufrey wrote “I learn more from weeds than from roses; resilience springing through the smallest chink of hope in the absolute of concrete”.

Just like weeds people are products of their environments, but to go beyond survival and to positively thrive in hostile surroundings is often nothing more than stubbornness in the face of desolate misfortune.  Marden wrote “Success is not measured by what you have accomplished but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds”. 

Just as a weed has no pretentions to be a flower accepting ourselves for what we are with no regrets and no apologies shows we possess the strength not to become a victim of circumstance and stony places.  In not attempting to display qualities we do not possess and in not accepting anyone else’s definition of our lives, we define ourselves. 

Make no mistake the weed will win, nature bats last”.    Robert Pyle.

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