Made Beautiful by NATURE... an interview with Tree expert Professor David George Haskell, (Tennessee U.S.A)
I remember as a child feeling connected to creatures that I could sit alongside and watch. I used to spend a lot of time by the family pond poking around with sticks and discovering small thriving communities. I enjoyed growing fresh vegetables in the garden and watching birds in the backyard. Those early experiences of connection to other species seemed very natural for me and as I look back; I see that I did not hvae a sense of humans being distinct and separate and divided away from nature. It seemed that we were simply one community.
Mo Gawdat is CBO of Google X and author of the transformative book "Solve for Happy"
Interviewed by Veronica Farmer for @madebeautifulbyscars
What is happiness? Is there a way to find happiness and remain there? These questions consumed my life when I was searching for a solution to cure my own desperate unhappiness. Finding the answer to these questions has transformed my life and if my moonshot goes to plan, I hope to see more than 10 million others transform and find their happiness too!
Looking back at my life and the time when I was suffering from desperate unhappiness, there were no obvious reasons for me to be this way. It wasn’t financial, I had all the trappings of a highly successful man, working as a Director during the day and making serious money as a day trader on the stock market at night. It wasn’t my family, as I had a beautiful wife and loving children. I was healthy and strong, but happiness eluded me.
With my engineering background, I was well versed at searching for solutions when a problem arose. I was good at it. I knew that as a younger man I had experienced moments of great happiness, and here I was, somewhat older with none of that happiness left. So I figured that if I could just calculate out what part of the internal machinery had gone wrong, maybe I could make that happiness cog in the system work again.
I read and watched everything I could find on happiness. Being Middle Eastern, therapy was not an option for me and neither was disappearing off to an Ashram or another alternative program for an extended period of time. So to dig myself out of my misery, I dove into research. For the first couple of years, none of it made sense but I kept going. After studying this topic for nearly a decade I finally came up with a simple, easy to action solution, an equation that worked.
Interviewed by Veronica Farmer
Images kindly supplied by the University of Newcastle
I grew up in Tamworth, living with my Mum and Step-Dad. We were very poor, and it was not a particularly easy environment in which to thrive. My sister left home at 12 years old, and for a time she was homeless, and that brought a huge amount of concern and anxiety into the family wondering where she was and if she was okay. When she came back, some the people she brought into the house, made it a frightening place. Rage and violence were happening around me. I was living in a community where crime and drug use was fairly common, and I could see the damage it had on their families. I didn’t want a part of it or to get into trouble. This left me with an ingrained sense of being different.
Interviewed by Veronica Farmer
I was 19 years old when we moved to Australia... Here I was, in a new country, ripped away from all I knew. My confidence in my English skills was deflated, trying to understand the heavily accented Australians around me. The Queensland weather was so very hot after the cool mountains of home, the soil was red, the landscape harsh. I felt angry and lost my natural, enthusiastic joyfulness. I missed my home, my friends, and life in Colombia. I resented being here and threw away all my paintings.
Interviewed by Veronica Farmer, images by Ataahua Portraits
There are too many people out there suffering because they do not know how to look within and find out who or what they really are. We are trained to look at external sources for our happiness and they just are not fulfilling. When you know who you are, you remember your knowledge and you want to bring that to the world in whatever way you can.
Interviewed by Veronica Farmer, author of @madebeautifulbyscars
Images by Arnaud Domange
I was born without a right hand. I have a wrist and the finger buds that we all begin life with, as we develop in the womb. For me though, that development did not continue in my hand past that stage, although the rest of my body continued to grow. It was a shock for my parents when I was born. No scans had told them of this news before my arrival but they had a determined focus on refusing to let that hinder me in any way. When I first started reaching out to the world, I did so with my right hand, so being right handed was probably my more natural focus, but I very quickly adapted and learned to do everything with my left hand.
Interviewed by Veronica Farmer for @madebeautifulbyscars.com
"I am a survivor, I am a warrior. I am unstoppable!"
I have no memory of my life before I was 9 years old. I was hit in the head by a soccer ball at school. At the time, no one realized how severe the injury was. I was sent to the school sickbay, to rest. I then returned to class, only to start vomiting. Again, I was sent back to sickbay. Occasionally a few kids my age came in and checked on me only to report that I was asleep - little did they know I was unconscious and bleeding heavily into the brain. It was only when the teacher came in to try and wake me, that they figured something was very wrong. I wasn’t responding.
I went to school in a rural area, and I was very lucky that a major polo match was being played that day next to the school. This meant that there was a helicopter on the field, and a team of paramedics.
I would have been about 12-years old when the pain began. I went back and forth to the doctors every month, so much so that the doctors put me on the pill that year to try and avoid periods completely.
Life went on and I had been on the pill for 15 years when I felt something wasn’t quite right. I was 27 years old and had very little in my life that brought me real happiness. After leaving University I had moved to Sydney and begun living a very lush lifestyle of partying as a way to cover up a deep inner emptiness. I was in the finance industry where everyone played hard and partied hard. This was a new world for me.
Matt Callanan is a true inspiration. He has taken a life scar and made it mean something. Matt was a real pleasure to interview. Take a read and he'll tell you how a random connection with George Clooney and Bill Murray led him on a path of taking his Dad's legacy of kindness and helping the world remember that each of us can do even the smallest acts to change the world @wemakegood happen
Matt was Interviewed by author of the @madebeautifulbyscars project Veronica Farmer
When tough things happen most men go within to deal with it. That can lead to depression or anger when you get lost in that dark man cave trying to work it all out by yourself. I think that is a real problem in our world.
My Dad died too young, he was only 58 years old. There are 5 grandkids he has never met and that’s a real shame. My sister brought her wedding forward when he was sick so he could be there, but Dad missed my wedding and my brothers too, important key moments I wished he had been part of.
Images by @elizabethkinnaird
I was working as a lawyer in Sydney. On paper I should have been happy. I had a great job. I lived in a beautiful part of the world and I had nice things. The driving force to go into law was to help people and make a difference. But my health was suffering, I was feeling unfulfilled and disconnected, and I was starting to ask questions about whether life had a greater purpose, when I was hit by a car.
I was a pedestrian. On a pedestrian crossing. A taxi came around a corner, and cleaned me up. The impact was intense and I travelled on the bonnet screaming for him to stop. It took some time, but when he finally did, I was thrown off, launching at speed towards the tar.