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Together we can make LOVE, KINDNESS and GRATITUDE a choice

I am a certified nutcase with an addiction, living in a country where statistics state that one in four people will experience some kind of mental health disorder.

I live in the City of London, one of the most beautiful places to live in the world. This city can also be very busy with the hustle and bustle of life – impatient people pushing ‘slowcoaches’, aka normal people, out of the way to get to the office or to get on the fast train back to their country houses. It’s so easy to forget that we are not all superhuman and we all need one another to create community. Recently, I decided that I want to be part of a community that loves its neighbour, is not afraid to be kind and constantly lives in gratitude.

So I decided in a small way that I’d start from me. The simplest thing for me to do was to keep a gratitude journal. This meant I had to find three things I was grateful for today, and every day for the rest of my life. I made a commitment to myself to write them down. On this journey, I started to make other commitments to myself; for example I wake up each morning choosing to be kind without expectation to people I come into contact with. Whether it’s a simple compliment with a smile, helping an elderly person cross the road or just a word of appreciation for the hard work of the street cleaners, there is always an opportunity to be kind to someone if you pay attention.

Many people feel that they don’t have anything to contribute when they hear that they are needed for a call to action. The truth is, everyone has a role to play in making the world a better place for those around them. Therefore we must be intentional about love, kindness, forgiveness and gratitude. We cannot all be leaders, because every leader needs operators, administrators, cleaners, security officers etc to function effectively as a leader. Without all these people in place there couldn’t be a leader as there would be no-one for her or him to lead. But we can all gather people and equip them with the tools to mobilise our resources and hence change people’s lives.

By mobilising our resources, I mean making the best use of all the resources available to the community to help those in need. It’s not just about using your money to make an impact; it’s about using your time, influence, skills, love, passion, voice, strategic thinking and encouragement to make things better at home, in the street, in schools and work places and in the country as a whole. We can reach out to people who are affected by social isolation through simple acts of kindness. Starting today, make a decision to be kind; you can help someone identify his or her sense of purpose and self-worth, thereby helping him or her out of isolation and depression.

Kindness is a choice we can all make. Gratitude takes the focus off what we don’t have and places it on what we do have, enabling us to live in the present and enjoy the lives we live. We have a responsibility to create community for one another. If I am going to be an addictive nutcase, I’d rather be nuts for kindness and addicted to loving humanity.


A story to share

Sopheta and I were travelling in London.  While we were laughing and joking in the rain, we noticed two women. One of these, an elderly woman in her 70s with a walking frame, was pointing at me.  The other, who was much younger, was running towards us asking if we knew Rosy’s Café.  Unfortunately, since we were not from that part of town, we didn’t know where it was.

In that moment we made a decision to help.  The younger woman left the older woman with us and we started to talk to her. We soon realised that she was lost and didn’t remember the way back to the home where she had lived for the last 20 years. We also learnt that she had two children in the US, was a retired caterer, was a Christian who attended a local church – and that she had recently lost her husband.

Via a combination of GPS technology and asking questions, we figured out where her house was. We took her home, treating her in the way that we would want someone to treat our mothers. We spent the day with her, cleaning her kitchen and cooking her a meal.  We also made calls to her carers and waited with her while she ate the meal and started to relax, now that she was feeling less confused.

The moral of this story is there are always opportunities to be kind to someone by showing love, if you pay attention. We can be as passionate about the one as we are about the many. Together we can make a difference.

If you have a passion to help but don’t know where to start, just send us a message!

Focus on Kindness – Finding John

Give your intentions attention

Every day creates an opportunity to be kind to someone if we choose to pay attention. Just the other evening I felt a strong urge to leave my condominium in London to go window-shopping – something I haven’t done for several months.  Prior to leaving, I decided to pay attention to my intention. My intention for the day was to be kind, loving and present, and I chose to express that in my facial expressions and actions. My first point of call was John Lewis, a big departmental store.  As I was passing, I noticed a family of four going into this store.  The older child smiled at his parents and at me – just a nice modern day family, I thought.

In hindsight, perhaps my inner voice was telling me to paint a mental picture of what was to come.  I visited some other stores, enjoying their frivolous visual displays of trends which were different to what people on the streets were actually wearing. About an hour later I grew tired of that frivolity, and so I listened to my inner voice and headed back home.  As I walked past John Lewis I saw a familiar face.  It was the younger child of the family I had seen a while back.  Only this time he was alone and crying by the side entrance of the store.

I decided it was time to be brave by rejecting the uncaring urban dictum of “don’t get involved” by trying to find out if he was hurt and where his mum was. When he told me that his mum had left him, it was clear to me that he thought she had gone home and left him there. I spoke to him calmly and told him I would not leave until his mum came back to collect him. I told him stories of when I got lost as a child, which seemed to make things better for him.  By this time some people had come round, curious about what was going on. I explained to the boy that everybody wanted to help him and that’s why they were all coming round, because nobody wanted to see such a handsome lad so upset.

I had decided that it was best to stay where we were, so I asked him for his mother’s name and asked one of the bystanders to go into the store and ask the Customer Services desk to put a call out for his mother in case she had returned to the store. One of the ladies with us decided to call the police too, as we had no idea where the mother could be. As the police arrived, the boy’s mother ran towards us. She was filled with joy and gratitude, but also fearful of criticism as a parent. I assured her that I didn’t think she was a bad parent and shared some benefits of being present in the gift of now. I am so glad they were reunited and that I was able to help.  I want to be a part of a nation that steps out to do what is right. A young boy doesn’t need to hear his mum being judged: he needed to know that someone cared, and that his mum loved him enough to find him.


17 Maye Street own no rights to the image used in this article, the image is used for illustrative purposes only.

During London Fashion Week, Flash.ON Nails was one of the most exciting new manicure trends at the catwalk shows and on the streets. Flash.ON Nails was developed in East London, host of the 2012 London Olympics and home to world-famous street style fashionistas.

We visited the Flash.ON Nails concession at TopShop Oxford Circus in London and were pleasantly surprised. The nail machines are easy to use, and allow you to print any design, image or photo onto false nails. Whether you want to upload your own photo, eg of a favourite celebrity, to create a totally unique set of nails, or choose from a large selection of nail designs, you can be assured of the same quality result – totally amazing nails. So if you’re tired of the same boring nail designs that are widely available and want to have nails that reflect your own style, then try Flash.ON today.

Courtesy of Flash.ON Nails, we will be giving away a few pre-packed nail design sets. All you have to do to enter is to reblog this or tweet with hag tags #Flash.ONnails and #17MayeStreet.

Focus on Attitudes: Respect

Growing up with two cultural identities I learnt early on in life that everyone older than me would be called Mr, Ms, Mrs, Dr, Chief, Auntie, Uncle, Sister, Brother, Senior etc as a prefix to their name. That was always normal to me and I view it as a sign of good home training, courtesy and respect.

Then I got older and began to mix with children and teenagers from other cultures.  I got the shock of my life when I visited a school in the USA where my auntie was a teacher.  Children young enough to be her grandchildren called out to her by her name without the prefix of even a measly “Miss”. This experience got me thinking about my own views and why it bothered me so much.

The truth is I have always felt that adding a prefix as a sign of courtesy towards an elder shows respect towards them, and makes the junior person a little less likely to be rude. It also creates an appropriate boundary between people with different life experiences and levels of insight.

When children are young it is good to inculcate in them the idea that one should be courteous to everybody, especially one’s seniors. However, it is also important to show them that respect needs to be earned and does not come automatically with seniority.

I also feel that people who were raised in a culture that teaches this must understand that the prefix alone is not what creates the respect. However, it is a great way to show courtesy to seniors especially those who have earned respect.

When children from such cultures rebel against showing such courtesy, that may be because they perceive respect differently to what it really is. They associate courtesy with respect and respect with fear, and fear with the need to control their own lives. 

That simply reflects the fact that all of us, young or old, need to behave with respect.

Focus on Self-love

Be unique, give your intentions attention.

Have you ever had an amazing idea but decided to wait until it’s been perfected before offering it to the world, only to discover that someone else had the same idea? Did you find yourself filled with envy and resentment, wishing you had just got started with what you had? Maybe your goal was to write a book, start a fashion label, facilitate a network of women to mobilise resources, or start an interpreting agency. Then suddenly you put on the television, speak to a friend or colleague and you have that dreaded realisation: they beat me to it!

Beat you to it? Are you in some kind of idea or innovation race with humanity? No you are not, success has room for everybody. It’s one thing to have an idea, but it’s a whole new ball game when it comes to setting yourself apart from the rest. Clever branding can set your idea apart from every other similar idea. It is arguable that successful branding is a combination of self-awareness and selflessness:

Self-Awareness creates a comfortable space for your idea, innovation or business to flourish. It allows you to reflect, learn and develop yourself constantly. It gives you the perfect balance of humility and confidence inspiring your idea to flourish without unhealthy conceit.

Selflessness creates room for you to think of yourself less, whilst focusing on the needs of others. Focusing on the needs of others allows your dreams and ambitions to correlate with the needs of others, thereby creating a business model that is in line with your purpose. It is arguable that businesses that are focused more on meeting the needs of others work better than those that are simply driven by the profit motive.

Many believe that as long as a business or product is functional and the instant gratification is evident in form of high profits there isn’t a need to flourish. That may simply be because they don’t understand the word “flourish”. When a tree is planted by a stream it is bound to flourish because the soil near a stream is good and there is always water there. In the same way when a business flourishes it understands not just its function but also its purpose and contribution to society as a whole. We believe that flourishing is the essence of knowing your purpose – without a sense of purpose businesses can quickly become unsustainable.

You are unique and no one can steal your ideas because your ideas are clothed in your passion, experiences and influences. Take the focus off self, never compare yourself others, and never be envious or covetous. When you feel like someone else got to an idea ahead of you, please remember that you are not in competition with him or her – instead, you are on a personal race to make the lives better for others. Success is neither a competition nor a destination, it’s a lifestyle that allows you to be present enjoying every moment as it occurs. Allow yourself to celebrate others, be your best self and appreciate your unique gifts.