Friday, 3 January 2020

One Little Word - 2020

Since 2009 I have been choosing a single word to focus on over the course of the next 12 months.

Ali Edwards initiated this movement called "One Little Word".

It's a powerful way to set an intention for the year ahead.

This year my word will be "HEART".

Saturday, 16 November 2019

See Our Way Forward

At certain times in our lives it is difficult to see our way forward.

Finding the way of controlling the stories we tell ourselves and which ones we choose to believe can be daunting.

The place of our power, the process of our power is watching the thoughts that we think, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, understanding that even though we didn't put those stories there, we have the power to change them.

Telling new stories is the key to recovery - we can disrupt negative thoughts.  We never have to go back to that negative space once we have a framework for understanding where to go with our suffering, how to transform it into something useful.

When we face our fears or at least define our fears, we can come up with an action plan to combat them.

There is a wisdom that comes from the experience of working through our fears.

Wisdom is always the by-product of facing our fears.

“In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.”
Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays

This sculpture by Kiochi Ishino and is called "In The Grey of Daybreak" - taken at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia in November 2019. 
The statement says "This sculpture depicts the dawning era of a new beginning in Japanese culture, the Reiwa era. 

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Writing Can Be Pervasive

I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word.  It’s a form of “putting it out there” to the Universe.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” least so says English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839But this is the twenty-first century – not the nineteenth, and times have radically changed. Today most people’s writing involves emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and the like; lots of touching base but little true writing.
So in these days we might ask afresh, Is the pen still mightier than the sword?  Should the written word still be considered a powerful weapon in the modern culture in which we live?
The effort of putting pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) is considerable.  Every article we write may not have a powerful result, but it could!
It can be pervasive.

It can permeates lives, penetrating where spoken words would be shut out.
One of the reasons for this is that there is an implied acceptance when we choose to pick up something to read.  In essence, we have given it the right to speak into our lives.

Because of this, an article can often penetrate a resistant heart, for just the action of choosing to read it opens the door to the truth it contains.
The pervasive power of writing also comes from the fact that, since written words easily endure, they often make it to places we would never dream.
So let the writing begin!

“A drop of ink may make a million think.”
~~George Gordon Byron  
New Zealand chairs in the wilderness at Seal Cove on the South Island.
What a beautiful spot to read a book or do some writing!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Pen and Paper

To sit at a computer-free desk with a pen,

to pull out a sheet of your hand-printed headed notepaper,

to write those first two words "Dear Friend",

and then to pause a while before letting the ink flow onto the page with tales of your doings and your worries,

to fold up the paper,

slip it into an envelope,

write the address out,

stick on the stamp,

drop it into the letter-box,

and then imagine the pleasure that your letter will bring,

the physical pleasure of opening it and reading it at the other end.

- ah, is this not happiness?

"To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart."
~~ Phyllis Theroux

An old Sculpture by the Sea photo from 2007 taken at Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Life Is Better When Unrushed

The world most of us live in is hectic, fast-paced, fractured, hurried.
What’s more, most of us are conditioned to think this is the way life should be.

Life should be lived at break-neck speed, we believe. We risk our lives in cars and we break the speed limit, rushing from one place to another. We do one thing after another, multi-tasking and switching between tasks as fast as we can blink.

All in the name of productivity, of having more, of appearing busy, to ourselves and to others.

But life doesn't have to be this way. In fact, I’d argue that it’s counterproductive.

If our goal is to create, to produce amazing things, to go for quality over quantity, then rushing is not the most effective way to work. Slowing down and focusing is always more effective.

Rushing produces errors. It’s distracting to flit from one thing to the next, with our attention never on one thing long enough to give it any thought or create anything of worth.

Hurrying produces too much noise to be able to find the quiet the mind needs for true creativity and profound thinking.

So yes, moving quickly will get more done. But it won’t get the right things done.

The most important step is a realization that life is better when you move at a slower, more relaxed pace, instead of hurrying and rushing and trying to cram too much into every day. Instead, get the most out of every moment.

Is a book better if you speed read it, or if you take your time and get lost in it?

Is a song better if you skim through it, or if you take the time to really listen?

Is food better if you cram it down your throat, or if you savour every bite and really appreciate the flavour?

“Nature never rushes, yet everything gets done.”
~~ Donald L. Hicks

Just outside Christchurch, New Zealand in February 2019 we encountered this large flock of sheep.  We patiently waited at the side of the road for them to pass.