From Existing to Living

Politically and socioeconomically speaking, the world is pretty unstable right now. I doubt many readers would disagree with this.

Although New Insights is proud to have trainee coaches and certified coaches all over the world, our main markets are the UK and South Africa.

And right now both countries, in particular, are currently experiencing a level of political and socioeconomic uncertainty not felt for a long time.

As we citizens struggle to make sense of the upheaval, it is tempting to point a finger of blame at our leaders, whinge and complain amongst ourselves and then sit back and hope that the whole mess sorts itself out soon.

But that would amount to simply existing … when we really should be living!

“The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

– Louis E. Boone

From existing to living


Living as opposed to existing (continued)


A double blow

The importance of this statement struck me in a double blow on Sunday.

For many years while living in London, part of my daily commute involved walking over the landmark London Bridge. For that reason it will always hold a small, yet special place in my heart.

On Sunday I awoke to the news that seven people had been killed and nearly fifty injured in a dreadful terrorist attack. This coming hard on the heels of a barbaric attack on concert goers in Manchester.

Then, later in the day, on opening the South African Sunday newspapers, I found myself reeling again – this time due to what appears to be clear proof of monumental and systemic corruption and deceit at the highest levels of SA government. This, just twenty odd years into what was once hailed as one of the best examples of a new democracy.

“Quite some weekend for bad news,” I thought after being thoroughly bewildered and upset by the US decision, announced on Friday, to withdraw from the hard fought climate agreement in Paris.

An emotional toll

I regard myself as an optimist and have always been cautious of getting swept up in the tide of negativity that greets one in the media. But as the day progressed, my wife and I were drawn into having to deal with a situation, close to home, involving a relative experiencing serious levels of anxiety.

In bed, while trying to fall asleep that night I have to admit to the day having taken an emotional toll on me.

In reflective mood

Yesterday, I felt in a reflective mood, determined to understand what message we should take from a seemingly increasingly unpredictable and unstable world.

The answer came last night in the form of a TV programme featuring couples who had opted to ‘get off the grid’ and go and live in the wild.

From existing to living

Asked by the programme host what life lessons they had been taught by making this courageous (some would say crazy) decision one couple had no hesitation in responding that it had given them the opportunity to go from merely existing to living.

Since seeing the show last night I’ve had this comment ringing in my ears.

When you are surrounded by news of terrorist attacks, corrupt politicians, appalling leadership, faltering economies and moral decay it is easy to withdraw into one’s shell, surrender to anxiety and even depression and basically suspend your life while you hope that someone or something out there will sort things out.

In other words, it’s easy to adopt an approach of existing, rather than living, as the guy on TV put it.

That’s not what life is for. Life is very much for living.

And sometimes you have to get on and live your life regardless of what might be going on in the outside world. Short of having your say and voting, you have to realise that you cannot control your country’s political or socioeconomic affairs but you can certainly control what you do with your own life.

My mother-in-law once lived in a very beautiful but very remote part of South Africa. We would call her up once a week to ask after her and, more often than not, she would regale us with stories about the carefree and very stimulating life she led in her small but very close knit community.

She was blissfully unaware of current affairs and the stream of negative news that spewed forth from the mainstream media … and she enjoyed a great life … far more than a mere existence.

Live life to the full

We’re not all in a position to live in a remote area and not all of us would choose to live like that but the point is that we all have the resources to live life to the full regardless of all the unsavoury things that may be going on in our world.

All it takes is the adoption of the right mindset.

Live life to the full. Accept that which you have no or little control over but do not let it control or define you. Create your life the way you wish it to be and hold yourself up to the rest of the world as an example of what is possible.

Go do it!


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  1. Heather Hannie
    Jul 1, 2017

    So profound Bill thank you for always reminding us of the silver linings. Its a treat reading your Blog

  2. Pieter Engelbrecht
    Jun 9, 2017

    So true. As humans, we look at the outside for satisfaction and see the negative first. Instead to look inside and life your life to the fullest you can and is for you acceptable.

    • Bill Burridge
      Jun 12, 2017


  3. Roger Arendse
    Jun 9, 2017

    Thanks for the important reflections, Bill. The invitation to truly LIVE, amidst the many pressing challenges and conflicts, is an abiding one.
    I was reminded just now of Alan Watt’s short video clip, ‘Why life is not a journey’ with an end or destination, but rather the music and dance of every moment, to be enjoyed, celebrated and grateful for. When I first viewed it, I was inspired to write this short poem, prompted also by the sudden passing of a dear friend at the time.

    LIFE is here!
    In the infinity of Now,
    The pulsating heart,
    The effortless breath,
    The sensual sounds all around,
    Nature’s panorama of splendour,
    The ever flowing canvas of delights!

    LIFE is here!
    In the serenity of solitude,
    The stirrings of love,
    The surety of faith,
    The glowing light of hope,
    Spirit’s majesty and mystery,
    The ever flowing music of grace!

    LIFE is here!
    In the power of Now,
    The invitations of goodness,
    The invocations of beauty,
    The impulses of truth,
    Divinity’s universe of possibility,
    The ever flowing dance of joy!

    LIFE, my life, is here!

    [Roger Arendse – 21 August, 2016]

    • Bill Burridge
      Jun 9, 2017

      What a fabulous poem and thank you for sharing this Roger. You’re a talented man!

      • Roger Arendse
        Jun 21, 2017

        Thanks for your generous feedback, Bill. Most appreciated.

  4. Marlene
    Jun 9, 2017

    Awesome post

    • Bill Burridge
      Jun 9, 2017

      Thank you Marlene.

  5. Chris Fyfe
    Jun 8, 2017

    Just be. Be who you were created to be, if you an do that every day of your life, love the Lord our God, for creating you, acknowledge what is happening around you, you do not have to accept it, change what is in your power to change, and live life to the fullest in your present circumstances.

    • Bill Burridge
      Jun 9, 2017

      Thanks Chris.

  6. Vusi
    Jun 7, 2017

    Wow it’s as if you read my status on facebook i posted something similar to what you posted,seeing people happy is my vision.

    • Bill Burridge
      Jun 9, 2017


  7. Jana Field
    Jun 7, 2017

    Today my doctor told me I had been given a second chance to live life to the full. Your blog resonates deeply with what I have been dealing with and reinforces my desire to make sure I do live my Life to the fullest.Thank you Bill for always putting the wisdom across so well.

    • Bill
      Jun 7, 2017

      Thank you too Jana for bringing this home to all of us. I wish you well 🙂

  8. Michelle Bloem
    Jun 7, 2017

    It is a truly inspiring and thoughtful blog. Thank you very much. I also believe that that we fill our thoughts with, we become. We should always train our minds to think upon all that is beautiful and uplifting and positive.
    This does not mean we live in a dream world, but that we allow our reality to be influenced by that which is enabling us to become highly evolved beings that aspire to make a true difference by living out the highest vibrational values, for instance the fruits of the Spirit as described in the Christian Bible.

    • Bill
      Jun 7, 2017

      Beautiful – thank you Michelle!

  9. Karen
    Jun 7, 2017

    The theme of your latest blog reminds me of the Serenity Prayer, Bill. It is a very worthwhile creed by which to live. Your mother-in-law has found the key to lasting happiness and peace – choosing to be in the world but not of the world.

    • Bill
      Jun 7, 2017

      Thank you 🙂

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