Wednesday 10 April 2013

A4: S4 - Close Book, Open Door

I put one hand on the knee to my left, and one hand on the knee to my right.

My mother gave a small, sharp gasp, muffled by a soft sob, and I heard my sister sniff loudly and reach for another tissue. I clenched my jaw together hard and breathed slowly and carefully, trying to ignore the small persistent lump in my throat. Two hands on either side of me found mine.

It was... okay.

So far, it hadn't nearly been as bad as I'd imagined. In fact, it had been quite lovely.

But as a small balding man in an ill-fitting suit finished his painstakingly emotional poem, put his fist against his heart and in a cracked whisper, sobbed "My Matty..." before breaking down and being helped off the pulpit, it felt it like a cold hard punch right in the sternum.

I choked and bit my lip, squeezing my eyes shut, desperately trying not to cry out.

And then, something happened which cause a flurry of muffled commotion, disconcert and confusion, as family and friends turned their heads in intrigued whispers and obscure sounds, not knowing quite how to react.

For me, it ended up being a kind of half-laugh, half-wail which probably sounded like a poltergeist being tickled, as the guy sat directly in front of me jumped quite spectacularly, fumbling in his pockets as his phone shrieked, echoing unbearably loudly around the church.

Not entirely unexpected I guess, but oh no, it just got better.

Because right in the critical moment of the service, when human emotions were as tightly strung as they could possibly be, so precariously dangling between just about being okay and completely losing one's shit in a howling mess, the entire church was fully assaulted by shrill sound of;


Oh, oh god.

Some people muttered a small laugh, some people looked disgusted and the rest remained completely somber, ignoring it completely.

For me, it felt like a massive weight had lifted from me.

I gave a watery smile down at the grinning portrait of my Uncle on the service program, and I felt like I could almost hear him laughing. That's when I realised that he wouldn't have wanted people crying, mourning and grieving over him, he would've wanted people laughing and having a good time in his honour.

So with warm smiles, raised glasses and the most incredible array of buffet finger food you could imagine, we all toasted in memory of him, grateful for the time we got to have him as a part of our lives for, and reassured that our lives will be just a little bit better for having known him.


The next day, I was browsing StumbleUpon (which consumes an obscene amount of my time) when something appeared which just left my mouth hanging open. Because that was not the first time I'd unexpectedly come across these words laid out before me.

Right then and there, I'd somehow, out of the billion pages on the internet, Stumbled right onto the poster. The very same poster that I'd seen in the Staff Room of the restaurant last summer. The poster which held the words which had changed my life and sparked the idea of starting a blog. 

What most caught me off guard was a little note at the bottom which said "The Holstee Manifesto".

I googled it instantly, my heart pounding and my cheeks flushing.

The poster was actually a... thing. It had a name. The words which I so religiously chose to live by, had actually been crafted by a group of people in 2009, who had decided that it was time to change their lives. I've told of the poster countless times, had people from around the world tell me that those words which I'd recited had changed their lives, and it featured heavily in my Blogging Masterclass Presentation... I'd preached to a crowd of young Bloggers those very words, and here it was, the foundations of a business! This whole time I'd been an ambassador for the brand without even realising it!

I knew I needed to tell them. 

I emailed them instantly, explaining to them the bizareness of the situation and how it could be nothing less than fate as to why, now, I could've so randomly discovered them, and the previously ambiguous roots of my soul. I couldn't escape the comforting feel of the warm hand of Lady Fate gently urging me onward, like it was the next logical plot point of the story which seems to be unfolding around me.

Their response made me smile from ear to ear.

They said my story was so inspiring and coincidentally fateful that they wanted to feature it on their website. I couldn't even believe it myself, and I hugged myself with glee at the prospect. They asked me to send in a photo of myself, some details about me and my story. I shall let you all know when it goes live.

But that was not the only fateful thing.

Just as I was about to exit, something caught me eye; The Holstee Fellowship.

"We’re blown away by the amazing projects that people in our community have started. We’re honored by the way our community has gathered together, supported each other and shared their dreams and passions with one another.

Holstee exists to encourage mindful living. We want to encourage even more people in the Holstee community to live their dreams and get going with projects they have been wanting to do for a long time.

That’s why, starting June 1st, we are offering one member of the Holstee community a $1,000 Holstee Fellowship grant each month!

The Holstee Fellowship exists to support ideas and projects that reflect the values of our Manifesto. While everyone is eligible, we hope to support projects that aim for positive impact, either for you personally, in your community, or for society as a whole.

The ideal Holstee Fellowship project is a Holstee spirited “risk” - something you have dreamed of but not done. It's something that excites you as much as it scares you. Yields positive results in your community.
Will inspire others to live their dream. Aligns with the values formulated in our Manifesto. Can be realized within 3 months of winning."

...I think I nearly threw up with excitement.

I looked at the closing date for the application. It was two days away.


3 months on from winning the fellowship would take us to October 2013. My birthday. The final aim of Scarphelia. Scarphelia 21.


Scarphelia 21, the gathering of silvers from across the world to not only come together to celebrate being alive, passionate and driven human beings, but about creating this Society of Silverness, so like-minded humans who want to live, thrive, adventure, and strive to make the best of life can come together and make connections of their own and go forth to create beauty with one another... All perfectly fits the criteria specified for the Manifesto, and with the money I could actually fly everyone in and make it happen. Heck, this whole blog by definition fits the criteria of the Manifesto because it is solely based around it!


"The winning Holstee Fellow will receive a check for $1,000 to be used towards the winning project of your choice. We’d also love to meet you! Every Fellow gets invited to the Holstee office for lunch (if they live in the NYC area) or a Google hangout with the Holstee team.

The winner will share their project and progress with our community with photos, text and, if possible, even video.
We will ask Fellows to publish their progress in at least 3 separate posts on the Holstee Blog: 2 of these posts should present milestones during individual projects and 1 should recap the Fellow’s learnings and experience at the end of the 3 month duration.
We ask them to join two Google Hangout events.
One when the voting begins, so our community can get to know each finalist and ask more questions about each project.
One at completion of each winning project, so you can share any learnings, realizations and final thoughts."
I don't know... I just have a tingling feeling. 

Maybe it's that same feeling as when I woke up, debating if I should go the wrong festival and knew something good would happen if I did, or perhaps like the feeling of sending a cheeky message to a celeb just in case, and going out on two dates with him, or maybe...maybe its just the thrill of feeling like I'm actually on the right track and the knowledge that there are people out there who think the same as I do. To be honest, I don't really care about winning, what I really care about is the fact that something like The Fellowship exists, and people are being inspired and learning what it is to be alive. I think that is what gives me the feeling.

All I know, from a combination of unfaltering optimism, naive hopefulness and some sweet as shit past experiences,  if you don't ask... you don't get.


(P.S The finalists are revealed on the 1st May, fingers crossed!)