Thursday, 31 December 2009

Final Reflection On Our Words - December


This post is our final reflection on our words for 2009. I chose the word BALANCE because I hoped it would empower me to leave my unbalanced life behind in 2008. Overall it actually helped in the most simple of ways. That is, when I was feeling quite stressed out throughout the year, I would, now and then, remember, "oh yeah – balance" and take a few deep breaths.

Today's reflection is about spirituality:

The philosophy of balance can be found in many of the world’s religions, particularly the eastern religions. In both Hinduism and Taoism, the idea of balancing your mind, body and spirit is very important.

In Hinduism it is believed that the body is made up of seven basic "chakras" or energy centers, each of which correlates to different bodily functions, levels of consciousness, emotional states and so on. In order to stay healthy, we need to ensure that these chakras remain balanced.

Similarly in Taoism, there is the concept of "chi", which is the vital energy that flows through the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that illness is caused by imbalances of yin and yang in the body, which blocks the free movement of "chi". Thus, to stay healthy you need to maintain the balance between yin and yang in your body.

In western culture, a commonly heard phrase is "healthy mind, healthy body", which encourages balance between mental and physical health. Having a healthy mind and body, however, is only a part of the story. As suggested by the following Taoist quote, we also need to bring our spiritual selves into balance:

"Unless the mind, body and spirit are equally developed and fully integrated, no [wisdom] can be sustained".






Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE








Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV) Hebrews 12:1-3

This is the last edition of my monthly reflections on the word Discipline. My friends and I started on our respective journeys twelve months ago after reading Caroline’s post having no idea where the road would take us. It has been wonderful trip.

I chose the word discipline to inspire, motivate and direct me through the year. It was a good thing to aspire to but one that I will probably never fully achieve. When I finally came to that realization, I finally felt more relaxed. The point was to reach for that goal with PERSEVERANCE. I fixed my eyes on Jesus who helped me to remain steadfast because knowing I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

So as I endured difficult times, those words carried me through. My goal was not to be the perfect parent or the perfect teacher, but be more planned and organized in both of these areas.

I haven’t exactly decided what my focus is for next year, but I am certain it will involve creativity of some sort. So don’t "lose heart," I will be back with another series of posts.






Wendy's - word is ABUNDANCE







January 1, 2009 I made a commitment with my blog friends ….post each month about one WORD for the year. I chose ABUNDANCE.

In the beginning, I had been blogging regularly, receiving inspiration from other blogs, and sharing my blogging with close friends. I had already quoted scriptures that speak of Abundance. I understood that God wants abundance for us and wants us to recognize the abundance we already have no matter our situation. In January, for the first post I said this; “How will a WORD impact the way I am living? How will this one WORD teach me, challenge me, make me want to be a better person?”

Well, my commitment to this WORD saved me from myself. When I was depleted of spirit, I was reminded. When I was depleted of funds, I was reminded. When I was depleted of love of others, of love of self, of discipline, of faith, of balance and of excellence, I was reminded. I was reminded of my abundance every month by the words of this blog group. I was encouraged by their words and I was inspired to give more.

I learned that if you hold fast…keep moving…keep living…and keep giving, you will have enough. You will have abundance in your life. God promised it and even without faith we will have it. Faith just makes it better.

Mitch Album says “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” I could say the way you get Abundance is the same….

I cannot say it any more clearly than the acrostic that I posted in January: Abundance is a verb. It is an act of life that requires one to move…to do, in order to become.

Atone for your hurtfulness.
Bid farewell to judgment.
Utilize your mind.
Notice your surroundings.
Draw on support from friends.
Acknowledge the gifts of others.
Nullify negativity.
Create moments of meaning.
Embrace the little things

I am looking forward to 2010. My word for 2010 is Gratefulness. Again I say, “How will the WORD impact the way I am living? How will this one WORD teach me, challenge me, make me want to be a better person?” Come along with me those who will and commit to another WORD for your year.







Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH







365 days... 52 weeks... 12 months...

That's how long it's been since Peggy, Annemarie, Wendy, Julie, and I first posted about the words we chose to focus on during 2009. During these months, we forged friendships together as we shared our individual journeys with one another.

Although I chose to focus on FAITH and JOY this year, I must say that I learned as much from my friends' words as I did my own. Balance, discipline, abundance, and excellence made their way into my own life as I read their monthly posts or looked at the photographs and other images that helped them tell their stories. I often found myself contemplating their words alongside my own.

When I chose faith and joy, I could already see a connection between the two... that by having more faith in God and in His plan for my life, I will be able to experience more joy in the daily moments that make up my life. I shared my words with my students and made it a point to think about the words as the days and weeks rolled past.

How did I do? I think in the beginning, I was more attuned to the words and what I wanted them to mean in my life. As the months passed, however, I found myself slipping into old habits of worry. Yet, in the middle of the day or during the evening at home, I would stop and really look at the world around me. And I would smile. Joy, I realized, is all around me if I open my eyes wide enough to see.

God wants each of us to be happy... to experience joy in our life each and every day. Why else would He send beautiful rays of pink and orange to greet us each morning? Why would the sounds of nature, from birds' songs to the crashing of ocean waves, soothe our souls? Why would He bless the earth with children whose carefree laughter is a clear invitation for us to experience joy?

He gives us these bursts of color and song as a gift so that we will know joy.









Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE







What an interesting discipline, this practice of choosing and focusing on a guiding word for the year. It has been a blessing and touchstone throughout '09 to meditate on the facets of excellence as my blog buddies and I have traveled this rotation.

In choosing excellence as my word for 2009, I was expressing a heart's cry to 'come up' in various areas of my life. Because I'm in the business of raising many children, I am also in the business of managing people's expectations. Some folks have very minimal expectations of me, assuming that I am too busy, too distracted to contribute in other areas. Some expect that I must be some kind of 'super mom' and figure I'm the one to call on for any kid-related project.

And the reality is different.

It is focusing on excellence that helps me see what I need to be doing in my day to day life and what needs to be taken to the curb. I can't do it all excellently and there are areas where it is acceptable to me to do simple 'maintenance'. But in those areas I feel the Lord is calling me to serve, a plumb line for me to determine if I am walking where He is leading is to discern the caliber of contribution I am making. And when something comes along that is a good thing but is something that shouldn't be on my plate, holding it up to the light and seeing if it is something that could be accomplished with excellence makes it easier to put down when I see it is something that cannot be done to that level in my present season. Excellence can be defining.

I am so thankful to be on my journey with like-minded people, believers who have let go of legalism and are embracing the miracle of grace. And somehow in the doing, they are also continuing to walk with excellence, not out of a sense of fear or obligation, but out of a grateful heart, wanting to bring their best for the King. Where I set my standards for myself, the level of character I expect from myself, are all outpourings of my desire to please Him, an expression of His in-dwelling.

Has this beacon of excellence been a tool this year? Absolutely. Have I 'achieved' excellence in all the areas I would have liked to? Absolutely not. And that is the purpose of these defining words, to create a philosophy, a guide for our varying paths. Clarity has come this year through this term of excellence, clarity in areas that need more work, clarity in what needs to laid down, clarity in what areas have been refined and may have something to offer.

Excellence.

And the journey continues.

**********************************************************************


Well that's it folks, thanks for coming along for the ride.
I will always be grateful that I took this journey with these wonderful blogging buddies. 2009 will forever be the Year of the Word for me!!

Finally, I wish everyone a fantastic New Year filled with loads of enlightenment! And it goes without saying I will always be sending you tons of love and light!

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed". ~~~ Albert Einstein



PS I love the lines from this Enya song "My! My! Time flies!"

"A new day is on its way, so let's let yesterday go
Could be we step out again
Could be tomorrow but then,
Could be 2010!!! "

PSS Oh I almost forgot this journey would not have been taken if we hadn't "met" our blooming good friend Caroline over at Constantly Evolving. Bless you Caroline!

The photo was taken in Nov 2008 at Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi, Sydney. The artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir from Iceland named it "Presence - Look and See"

Sunday, 20 December 2009

A Few Memories

Here are a few reflections of my life through photos. I have been sharing these photos on Facebook so some of you may already have seen them.

St Mark's Square, Venice, Italy 2004.....being loved by pigeons!




Havana, Cuba, Feb 2003 - It was fun being driven around in these yellow Coco taxis.



Somewhere in Cuba, Feb 2003 - Plowing a field...only pretending!




Trying out the Cuban Cigars at home in Sydney, April 2003




One of my favourite photos of the time I spent in Rwanda with these kids, Nov 2006.




"Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us".
~~ Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Fleeting Moments

It is only now we have entered the final month that it has dawned on me that we are at the end of a "9" year and therefore a decade (whatever certain purists may say). Ten years gone in the blink of an eye. A billion fleeting moments merging together.

The ninnily named "noughties" are over and on January 1 we will be heading into what is already being called the even more ghastly "tennies"...a most unfortunate tag!

I'm amazed this event has snuck up on me, as the last decade was a momentous occasion in my life, which I seemed to spend most of the previous year anticipating and analysing.

Obviously, 10 years ago was the BIG one - the great Y2K crisis. Oh, how hilarious was that??

I am so glad I have kept a book entitled "Surviving the Y2K Crisis in Australia". It's such a brilliant reminder of the temporary insanity that gripped us. One passage that particularly sticks in my mind was the advice to keep sacks of lentils in your attic. I wonder if anyone is still eating them. For those people, this would have been the Dhal Decade.

But putting that detail aside, it was undeniably a big and thrilling thing to live through the turning of a millennium. It'll be 1000 years before anyone gets to do it again. Heck, I even learned to spell it - and of course it was all the more thrilling to celebrate it in Sydney, knowing that in a matter of months there would be more fireworks for the opening of the Olympics.

As to what the "tennies" will bring, I can't sniff much on the wind. A lot more technology presumably. The next social networking phenomenon. Or maybe a reaction against all that.

I just hope that someone comes up with a better name for it.

What I do know is I will be travelling far and wide, connecting, hugging, laughing, dancing with many of my blogging buddies!!

"The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.”

Circular Quay, Sydney, September 2008, where many of us celebrated the turning of the millennium back in 2000.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Forever

Forever is overrated. Sesame Street, turning 40 this month, has been hailed as being forever young. "Water Forever" is the new pipeline plan for Perth. Good old Collingwood, goes the song are forever. Whatever.

Last time I checked the dictionary, eternity is not a month of Sundays but the absence of Sundays, of clocks in general. If Chris Brown is going to dance forever (ever ever), then he's going to need titanium knees.

How many days do you give a romance built on quick-fire txts saying I LV U 4EVA? I'm guessing 2WKS MAX ;).

Ignore James Bond. For the marathon smoothie to imply diamonds are forever is to neglect we burr the same stones into dust and clusters. Better to plump for Cockroaches Are Forever!

Permanent is forever-lite. Ask any salon - a good perm lasts two months.

While I have no beef with eternity the concept, I am intrigued by humans always abusing such sacred terms. Even for those of a Christian bent, wafting the word "forever" like incense smoke...I'd be inclined to add a rider to the Lord's Prayer: Forever and ever, we hope.

No matter the synonym, our tongue corrupts it. In a world of email, the postie's lucky to ring once, let alone always twice.

Just for an experiment, I walked to the corner store, shelling out $1.50 on a box of Nestle's Everlasting Gobstoppers. A single chewy ball lasted 6 1/2 minutes, and that was sucking it like the last morsel left on earth.

Can't say which is worse, pretending, like Frank Sinatra that his lover's cherry smile will always be there or camouflaging a calendar year as the going duration of permanence.

The question is set to gnaw me. Interminably.

"Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever."


I am eternally grateful that Charlie & Joseph are apart of my life. - Cromer January 2009




Postscript:

Nina P.....a brilliant blogger whom I love dearly, wrote this comment....it just blew me away!!!!

"What a thought provoking post......
Forever is a town in _____.
It's a song, a book, a word, endless, always, never ending...
Forever is a thought, a moment, a breath, a feeling...
Forever is waiting for a loved one to return,
The time it takes for an off key Karaoke singer to finish,
The time it takes for that favorite desert to finish baking,
Forever is not long enough for an optimist, too long for a nightmare, and just long enough for a day dream.
Forever is etc., etc., etc....
Forever is always, never and now.
Forever is the thoughts that were generated by your "Forever" post.
Forever is under rated, over rated, rated just right.
Forever is the Love (your Love) I see in your photo's of Charlie & Joseph.
They must bring forever smiles to that great big heart and soul of yours.
May you and yours be Blessed, forever.
Love and Light, Nina P"

Monday, 30 November 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - November

2009 is rapidly coming to a close....And what a year it has been! This year has been an extra special year for me, one I won't forget for a long, long time.

As many of you know four delightful ladies and myself decided to focus on a word for the year instead of making a New Year resolution. Our words have been our touchstones. They have reminded and encouraged us to live our lives more fully. It has been a purposeful journey written out loud!

For November we decided to reflect how animals/creatures give meaning to our words.

Coach's - word is ABUNDANCE and she chose an ELEPHANT



I have chosen the ELEPHANT as an animal depicting ABUNDANCE. Of course, it does have abundant size but it also lives abundantly. Here is what I found out:

Elephants cry. They express grief at the loss of another elephant. They exhibit behaviors that depict sadness, bowing their heads, lowering their ears, and pausing at the place where another elephant has died.

Elephants play. They express joy at seeing other elephants. They dance around, spin and twirl, and trumpet joyful sounds.

Elephants are helpful. They take care of each other and especially the babies in the group.

Elephants give back. Without intention of doing so, their feet make large depressions in the ground where water can collect and be a provision for other animals.

Elephants are social. They live in large family groups and communicate over long distances with each other.

In my quest for an Abundant life, I think these characteristics are certainly a start. Have empathy for others, find joy in play, care for others, give back to the greater community, and create a positive family environment.

Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH and she chose a DOG



I'm sure my choice of dogs to express the meaning of joy doesn't surprise those who know me. Both Scout and Maggie have a way of warming my soul, making me laugh, and filling me with heartfelt joy.

They are ALWAYS happy to see me. They do the silliest things that make me laugh out loud, yet they are attuned to the personalities and emotions that flavor our home....

Studies have shown that owning a pet can add years to your life. In fact, just petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure. And residents of nursing homes have shown a boost in mood and social interaction when a dog has been brought in for a visit.

My two dogs definitely bring joy to my home, to my life, to my family.

Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE and she chose a SWAN



My word for '09 has been excellence and after a bit of zoological searching, I finally settled on the swan as the emblem for my word. Swans typically mate for life and have strong family bonds. The male and female swans nurture and raise their cygnets together, developing their own 'tribe', if you will. The image of a swan has graced many a coat of arms, conjuring connotations of nobility and are seen as symbols of love and fidelity because of their tendency to form life-long bonds. Many fairy tales and myths surround the species, the moral of the tales often being the adherence to beauty and grace, even in the midst of difficulty and ridicule.

Plus, swans are just pretty to look at. They just are.

Which is perhaps not the most excellent reason to choose a swan as my symbol of excellence. But I also got to take a great picture of one down of the lake during the summer.

And that sealed the deal for me...

Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE and she chose an ANT

The ant has received a bad rap throughout history as a pest, a nuisance, an annoyance. While in Puerto Rico, I would often be surprised to find ants in my sugar, but no one else would be surprised. In Texas we are known for a more ferocious type, the fire ant - certainly not a little creature to be reckoned with.

While thinking about this critter, I began to realize the one thing no one has ever called an ant is lazy. When you see ants, what are they doing? Moving, carrying, building, preparing for whatever may come. If you destroy their home, the very next day they have set up shop just on the other side of the sidewalk. Which brings me to my story...

In a field one summer's day, Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing gleefully. Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

Grasshopper tried to dissuade Ant from his work by inviting him along in his day of reverie, but Ant could not be swayed. He was preparing for the long winter. Ant tried to convince Grasshopper of the foolishness of his ways telling him he too should lay up stores.

Grasshopper was not worried about winter as he had plenty of food for now and continued to while away the hours and days leading up to the first snow at which time he found himself dying of hunger. Meanwhile, Ant and his family could be seen surviving from what was stored away during the good weather.

At that point Grasshopper knew IT IS BEST TO PREPARE FOR THE DAYS OF NECESSITY.

There are times when I would rather play than have the DISCIPLINE to stay at home and clean house or go to the grocery store and shop for the family. Sometimes I give in and later have to pay the consequences. Other times I pull myself together to get done what needs to be.

Over the course of this year, my focus on DISCIPLINE has led me to see the error of many of my ways - most of which I have tried hard to change. Of course being human and having the luxury of being able to go out if need be, I have not perfected this way of life. It is still something I strive to improve.


My word is BALANCE and I chose a DOLPHIN




One day a long time ago, I was watching a documentary about dolphins and something inside me clicked. I was well into my late 20’s and was watching the television as if I was glued to it. It felt as if I was in a mind-meld with the dolphins and it was too a point that I started to cry because on some spiritual level, I understood what these dolphins were saying. I just knew that the dolphin was my Spiritual Animal Totem, I just knew it!

The beautiful, graceful, sleek dolphin carries many messages for the two legged! A key to understanding because the dolphin meaning is connected with themes of duality. It has to do with the dolphin being both fish and mammal. It is both of the water, and an air breather. Ergo, dolphin symbolism talks to us about "being in two worlds at once." Indeed, the dolphin is a great conveyor of the concept of yin and yang.

It is playful, and is a reminder that time to play is a crucial element in walking in BALANCE. It moves through the water quickly and with great grace, ever moving with the flow. Dolphins tell us to move with the ebb and flow of life, and not to search for brick walls to smash into. To spend our energy fighting the current gets us nowhere. Being constantly at war with others, with our surroundings and with circumstances we cannot change, destroys the spirit, eats away at hope, and consumes the joy of life.

The power of the Dolphin is community in BALANCE.

"The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth".
~ Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928



I'd love to hear what animal/creature YOU my friends in cyberspace would associate with your word.

Monday, 16 November 2009

New Portal To Understanding

Millions of words have been written and broadcast about the rise of religion around the world, but rarely included in the discourse is the most powerful new spiritual force of them all.

For hundreds of millions of people there is a new portal of understanding, a gateway to the world, a tree of knowledge, a believers' bible. The legion of believers grows with every hour.

They believe in Google!

The word suggests infinite power. It is derived from a mathematical term, googol, which means 1 to the power of 100. The two visionaries who founded the company called Google chose the name to signify their dream of harnessing the immensity of information flowing through cyberspace. They have succeeded. This year Google will process more than 180 billion requests of information. It has become the world's most powerful information company. It has a market capitalisation of $173 billion. And it sprang to life just 11 years ago in September 1998.

Google inspires awe. It has been able to harness the wisdom of crowds, the collective effort of many people acting independently of each other, on a scale never seen before.

Because of Google, our species' capacity and need for co-operation is evolving into a new and higher phrase of social organisation. We appear to be becoming more like a giant ant colony, a multitude of individuals with a collective brain, and a single wellspring, a super-entity which evokes power, action and belief.

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night."
~ Charles M. Schulz American cartoonist, 1922-2000


I wonder how far technology will advance by the time Joseph reaches manhood - Dee Why Beach Oct 2009

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

11th hour, 11th day, 11th month




It's no wonder Australian soldiers were dancing in the streets of London.
The 11th November 1918 marked the end of the bloodiest war the world had seen, 'the war to end all wars'. Of the Australian population of 5 million, 300,000 young men went to the Great War. More than two thirds of soldiers were casualties of the war: 60,000 Australian soldiers died and 156,000 were wounded or taken prisoner.

What have we learnt from this 'war to end all wars'?

Not enough to bring peace among nations.

Wars and conflicts continue to create new graves with the same echoes of unrealized hope.

There is a Chris de Burgh song called "The Getaway" and these words which are part of the lyrics are so pertinent to my beliefs.

"We're sick and tired of hearing,
That the world is gonna blow,
So there's something we'll
do to the leaders
Before we go;

Let's stick'em in a room
together - Yeah!! -
And make them fight it out,
Until they see nothing from nothing
Will leave nothing at all"


I feel we will not end conflict until we have learned to cultivate peace in our own minds.

"I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?"
~ Eve Merriam



This is a photo from NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 11th November 2009



"Today, in celebration of Galileo's telescopic achievements and as part of the International Year of Astronomy, NASA has used its entire fleet of Great Observatories, and the Internet, to bring the center of our Galaxy to you. Pictured above, in greater detail and in more colors than ever seen before, are the combined images of the Hubble Space Telescope in optical light, the Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in X-ray light. A menagerie of vast stars fields are visible, along with dense star clusters, long filaments of gas and dust, expanding supernova remnants, and the energetic surroundings of what likely is our Galaxy's central black hole".

What an absolutely AWESOME picture!!!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Corey Vidal - Friends

My lovely Texan friend Annemarie posted this youtube on my Facebook page today.....thank you muchly friend.

I LOVE IT!!!

The guys name is Corey Vidal and what a talented guy this Toronto man is!

So now I dedicate this video to all my gorgeous blogging friends.
Have a very happy, safe weekend.....and keep smiling...keep shining!





Pom pom-pom, pom pom-pom (ping) (repeat)
(A Capella)

Friends sing together
La La La La
Friends do things together
La La La La
Friends laugh together
Ha Ha Ha Ha
Friends make graphs together
La La La La

Friends help you when you're in danger
Friends are people who are not strangers
Friends help you shift into a new place
Tell you if you've got food on you're face

Friends are the ones, on who you can depend
He's my friend, He's not my friend
Friends are the ones who are there at the end
He's my friend, They're not my friends

If you trip over I'll catch you're fall
If you break my dick, I won't break you're balls
If you get drunk and vomit on me
I'll make sure you get home safely

If you cross the road and a drunk struck you
And scrape you up and reconstruct you
I'll cheer you up if you're depressed
If you get murdered I'll avenge you're death

Friends walk together
La La La La
Pop and lock together
(Zzi zzu Zzi Zzu)

Me and him together
La La La La
Me and Jim forever

Friends go jogging at the track
Friends borrow money never pay It back
Friends do not let friends do crack
Friends go out and grab a snack
Friends drink beer in the sun
Unlike girlfriends they don't mind if you have more than one
Friends tell you when you're flys undone

My Uncle John had a special friend
They dressed a like, his name was Ben
I've never seen two friends like them
They we're very very friendly men

La La La La
Friends, Friends, Friends
La La La La
Friends, Friends, Friends, Friends
La La La La
Friends, Friends, Friends, Friends
La La La La
Friends
La La La La


"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh”
~ A. A. Milne English Humorist, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, 1882-1956)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Signs

Des over at Des in Real Life posted this short film about communication by Australian director Patrick Hughes

I love the concept and with it's great execution and excellent music, I think it is outstanding and well worth watching for 12 minutes.

Grab a cup/glass of your favourite drink and enjoy the ride.





“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”
Joseph Priestley English Chemist and Clergyman, 1733-1804)

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - October

Here we go again reflecting on our words for the year that we chose in January. Ten months later Julie, Roban, Coach, Annemarie and I are still enjoying walking along this path together. Each month we "Stop and Smell the Roses"......what a lovely expression!

This month we are associating a flower with our word.

Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE and her flower is an Orchid



The orchid is considered to be one of four noble plants. Because it grew deep in the mountains, it was compared to scholars who had transcended the greed and fame-seeking of the secular world.

Orchid growth is affected by everything from elevation and light to humidity, air movement and nutrition. When I looked up how to care for this "delicate" flower, I realized that this is a flower I would probably kill in just a few days.

In my search for a more disciplined life, I came to an understanding about myself. I like my laid back life. I love that I am not always worried about menus and shopping lists. My children are healthy and happy. Yes, my house is less than tidy, and my flower pots outside are less than tended, but I am happy.

So as this year of searching for discipline is nearing an end, I will begin thinking about what it is that I would like to work on next year....I have two more months to think about it.


Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE and she chose Chrysanthemums



I at first thought of flowers that have great beauty or hardy qualities or are rare. But what kept coming back to me is the flower that we see a lot of during this season, the blossom that someone decided is the 'birth flower' for November. And that would be the chrysanthemum. (The chrysanthemum illustration above is from the New International Encyclopedia from 1902, with the image url being hosted at Wikipedia.)

The chrysanthemum is actually native to Asia and wasn't introduced into Europe until the 17th century. It is often seen as a symbol in Chinese and Japanese artwork. In the U.S., it is a floral symbol of the season, a happy spot of color for the autumn.

Chrysanthemums are also used in a number of beneficial ways. The petals can be used to make a sweet tea. The blossoms make a natural insecticide that is not harmful or toxic to animals and humans. The plant is also used as an antibiotic and an antiviral agent. A potted indoor chrysanthemum has also been shown to be effective in reducing indoor pollutants in the air.

And now for the tie-in to my 2009 word, excellence.

True excellence brings with it the benefits similar to the chrysanthemum. When I operate in excellence, I can make life sweeter, more palatable for those around me. When I operate in excellence, I can help reduce the pests of procrastination and apathy. When I operate in excellence, I can help fight off the infecting agents of mediocrity. And when excellence is present in the room, the environment is all the cleaner for it.


Coach's - word is ABUNDANCE and she chose Poppies



I have spent the past ten months with an action plan to have the most abundant life possible. I have cultivated new friendships and renewed old ones. I have committed time to family and used social media to create more connections with people. I made efforts to use my leadership skills in my work and have encouraged countless families in their journey toward spoken language. I have meditated and prayed. I have listened to music that stirs my soul. I have set new goals for fitness and nutrition. Abundance has been all around me each step of the way. My chosen flower can only be the flower that is a personal favorite. I have chosen the poppy. I smile when I see an abundance of poppies scattered across a field as in a Van Gogh painting. The dichotomy is that poppies have a bad rap. They are associated with a shady industry that is the demise of many people, unhealthy, commemorate the death of soldiers in some countries and symbolize remembrance.

They were used in the Wizard of Oz to hinder Dorothy's journey down the yellow brick road. Even so, looking over a field of these beautiful flowers gives me a feeling of abundance and of gratitude. Abundance spread in the open for all to see and enjoy.


Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH and she chose an Icelandic Iris



This year as I've journeyed through life contemplating faith and joy, I've been more aware of the beauty around me each day. Yet even though my focus has been on these two words, I've still had days when I saw the world through a darker lens. A busy schedule and seemingly constant demands have clouded my world at times. When my friends and I decided to choose a flower that reflected our words, my first thought was on finding a photo that captured the essence of joy. I thought of sunny buttercups and my mother's favorite flower, tulips. I also thought of flowers that connected to my word, faith.

When it comes to photography, there's no one better than Caroline Manrique of Nowords Photography to capture the beauty of everyday life, so I asked if she would be willing to share one of her photographs with me. And she sent this....

The beauty of the flower against the muted tones of the background seemed to perfectly capture my feelings this month. Even when peering through the world in an imperfect fashion, there we find it. Beauty. It stands out against the backdrop of life leaving us with a more peaceful and joyful feeling.


My word is BALANCE and I chose a Hippeastrum Cinderella



The amazing flower I chose to represent my word is called "Hippeastrum Cinderella".
I took this photo in my hairdresser's garden last week. The complete beauty and balance of this flower called to me as I was leaving his house.

Flowers have always been a source of pleasure and happiness symbolizing love and friendship and since the dawn of time we have instinctively known that flowers can lift our spirits and make us feel well again. They play an important role in restoring or evoking a sense of harmony in mind, body and spirit of healing in its quintessential form.



"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair..." ~Susan Polis Shutz

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom".
Anais Nin


As always I wish to thank Caroline over at Whimsical Whispers for her part in inspiring us to take this journey. Also do yourself a favour and visit her blog, you will be blown away by her photography!

Namaste
Peggy

PS - I plan on visiting San Francisco in July/August 2010 and wear some flowers in my hair....anyone care to join me??

Monday, 19 October 2009

Card Drops

I have been inspired by reading a blog called Kind Over Matter to make some cards in Scrapblog using my photos and adding interesting phrases and quotes.

My plan is to print several copies of each card (and future cards) and scatter them about in places I feel appropriate while I am out walking.

Along with the cards I will leave a book. Being on the Lifeline Bookfair committee we had many, many books left over from the Bookfair we held in July.

I feel these cards could create a ripple effect as this quote states:
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” ~ Scott Adams

My first "port of call" will be the park opposite my house. I hope to be able to snap some photos of people picking them up, reading them and taking them home.


Random dog in car - Central Coast, NSW, Australia - August 2009



I took this photo in June 2007 in Broome, Western Australia




Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi, Sydney, November 2007




This photo was taken in Rwanda in November 2006




Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi, Sydney, November 2007




Please join me in this fun project......if you have the time and inclination.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Risks and Adventure

Several years ago someone said to me on New Year's Eve, "What out-of-the-ordinary things have you done during the year"? I really needed to scratch around to find something unusual for me, something I had never done before or had felt the stretch to achieve.

Since that year, I have made it my goal to do many extraordinary (for me) things in my life so that, by year's end, I can answer that question easily.

The question has begun to fashion my life. Now, when I hesitate before a problem, I urge myself to take the risk, do the difficult, put in the extra time and to attempt the unusual, because that's what gives me satisfaction and a sense of having at least attempted something different.

I do not want a mediocre life!! NEVER!! I choose dreams and goals which are not middle of the road. Big dreams are the stuff of the extraordinary. Risking and daring are the way of the adventurer. Only risk takers are really free!

Personally, I don't take exceptional physical, emotional or business risks. That is not my style. The quote focuses on "out of the ordinary" for me tasks. It means, perhaps, learning a new computer system, staying with my decision to walk for an hour most days, taking up a new hobby, giving creative thought to my blog posts, meditating and learning to trust my intuition.

So on the morning of New Year's Eve, after cleaning the house really well to complete the year on a pure note and welcome in my new twelve months positively, I can sit quietly and contemplate the extraordinary things I have done in the past twelve months.

This can take quite some time, because twelve busy months take a lot of remembering.

I will congratulate myself on the leaps of faith I have made, the extra examples of love in my life, and even on the times I seemed merely to survive, rather than conquer a situation.

The positive extraordinaries come through loud and clear and give me a different perspective on my life and certainly keep the magic alive.

"Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is."
Jimmy Carter (American 39th US President (1977-81).


Jessen & Aimee, Nov 2006, Rwanda - At the exhibition where the children proudly displayed their photography.



Eugene and I, Nov 2006, Rwanda - saying our goodbyes!



Postscript:

My New Zealand/English buddy Stoneweaver associated the song below with this post....spot on mate!

Alanis Morissette
"You Learn"

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - September

Words can empower and uplift our spirits and transform our lives.
Words like Abundance, Balance, Discipline, Excellence, Faith, Joy......

With my beautiful blogging buddies Annemarie, Coach, Julie, and Roban we embarked on a journey back in January where we committed to simultaneously post at the end of each month a reflection on a WORD each of us had chosen for 2009.

What a blessing these women and their words have made to my life. I love the consistency and depth of our experience we share with each other. These posts helps us stay focused and highlights our journey these words are taking us on.

To reflect on our WORDS this month we decided to make a video or choose a youtube that relates to our word.


My word is BALANCE and I chose "The Moody Blues - Balance"




Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE and she made this poignant video.




Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE

"This is Kari Jobe, a really sweet girl who is dear friends with some of my dear friends. She has a gorgeous song out called I'm Singing and she had viewers add their experiences and included them in the video--and the result is just 'excellent'--really amazing people continuing to walk with joy, even in the midst of some tough times--"




Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH

"When I thought of a video to express some of my thoughts on faith and joy, I immediately thought of the artist Akiane Kramarik. Her art comes from her faith, and her paintings fill me with joy and awe".




Coach's - word is ABUNDANCE

Akeelah and the Bee - Deepest Fear

video


Special thanks to Caroline at The Zen in You for inspiring us to take this journey.


"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou American Poet, b.1928)


Namaste
Peggy

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Music, Poetry, Nature = Beauty



I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that ours is a dizzyingly visual society, or that many of our readily available criteria for beauty are less than skin deep.

Yet, for all that, the need to be in the presence of beauty and to soak it up emotionally is strong in most people. So is the need to be active in the creation of beauty, even if this is achieved in small ways.

To sit in an ugly or neglected room, to look out onto a parched, bleached landscape or to look at ourselves or other people through eyes that are so critical that all intrinsic beauty is lost is to risk feeling significantly emotionally bereft.

Conversely, to take the time needed to do something "beautifully", or to absorb and appreciate someone else's efforts, is invariably uplifting. In fact, when someone is clinically depressed, often one of the first things they lose is the pleasure and sense of participation that comes with appreciating or creating beauty.

But acknowledging how crucial beauty is to our souls and emotions doesn't in itself solve the question of what beauty is or the extent to which our "eyes" and, therefore, judgements are socially conditioned.

Music, poetry and nature in all its many moods are unfailing sources of beauty in my life. I love domestic gestures of beauty also: the trouble a friend takes to arrange spring vegetables on a platter; home-picked flowers; a favourite painting in a new spot. I feel we need such moments on a daily basis.

Beauty of "character" is also priceless.

"I pull you from your tower, take away your pain. Show you all the beauty you possess, if you only let yourself believe.”
Sarah McLachlan Canadian Singer and Songwriter


I visited the Muogamarra Nature Reserve last Sunday and filled my camera with these wonderful images.....nature in all its glory. This is one of the trees I hugged!!!



View from the Reserve overlooking the Hawkesbury River, Cowan, Sydney

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Perception and Reality

Most of us go through life with the belief system that our happiness or unhappiness is largely determined by the events in our environment and reactions of other people to us.

Frequently we feel that our happiness is dependent on good or bad luck for which we bear little responsibility.

We forget to instruct our minds to change our perceptions of the world and everything in it. We forget that peace of mind is an internal matter.

The temptation to react with anger, depression or excitement exists because of interpretations we make of the external stimuli in our environment. Such interpretations are necessarily based on incomplete perception.

When we dwell on past events or anticipate future happenings, we are living in the realm of fantasy. Whatever is real in our lives can only be experienced NOW.

We block the possibility of fresh and novel experience in our lives when we attempt to relive in the present our memories of episodes from the past, whether painful or pleasurable.

We are, therefore, in a continual state of conflict about the actual happenings of the present and are unable to directly experience the opportunities for happiness which are all about us.

From time to time I see a fragmented world where nothing seems to make much sense.

The bits and pieces of my daily life reflect the chaos I see within.

In my mind are thoughts that can hurt me or help me. I am constantly choosing the contents of my mind, since no one else can make this choice for me.

TODAY, I welcome a new perception of myself and the world.


When I am with Joseph each week, I have the privilege of viewing the world through his 3 year old eyes.....





Postscript:

Nina, a very wise and thought provoking blogger who spreads so much sunshine and happiness around the blogosphere wrote this very insightful comment I want to share.

"To look at life through the eyes of a 3 year old follows your post well. Everything is new and exciting. Colors, shapes, sounds, the world is a playground filled with the Joyful Happiness of new and exciting "things".

To choose to look at life through the proverbial rose colored glasses is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, focusing on what's good and pleasing around us brings internal joy and happiness. We fully Love life with its rollercoaster ride if we view it as a wonderful ride of learning.

The sun rises. The reality is the earth chases around the sun playing hide and seek every day. The perception is a new beginning, a new start, a new opportunity each and every day... Kind of brings meaning to "sunshine and happiness"... (say isn't that in a song?) I hadn't read your post until today but kindred spirits we are my friend. Love and Light, Nina P".

Monday, 14 September 2009

What Is Real?

Most of us are confused about what is real. Even though we sense there is something more, we attempt to settle for a reality based exclusively on feedback from our physical senses.

To reinforce this "reality", we look to what our culture defines as normal, healthy and therefore REAL.

Yet where does Love fit into this scheme of thing? Wouldn't our lives be more meaningful if we looked to what has no beginning and no ending as our reality?

Only Love fits this definition of the eternal. Everything else is transitory and therefore meaningless.

Fear always distorts our perception and confuses us as to what is going on. Love is the total absence of fear. Love asks no questions. Its natural state is one of extension and expansion, not comparison and measurement.

Love, then, is really everything that is of value, and fear can offer us nothing because it is NOTHING.

Although Love is always what we really want, we are often afraid of Love without consciously knowing it, and so we may act both blind and deaf to Love's presence.

Yet, as we help ourselves and each other let go of fear, we begin to experience a personal transformation.

We start to see beyond our old reality as defined by the physical senses, and we enter a state of clarity in which we discover that all minds are joined, that we share a common Self, and that inner peace and Love are in fact all that are REAL.

With Love as our only reality, health and wholeness can be viewed as inner peace, and healing can be seen as letting go of fear.

Love, then, is letting go of fear.


Beautiful sculpture at "Sculpture by the Sea" in Bondi, Sydney, November 2007

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Guilt Industry

Christians say we're born with original sin but in my experience sin is quite difficult to achieve. Sin take some organising. Sin requires a separate credit card and a post office box. Sin requires the ability to lie under pressure.

It's more likely we're born with original guilt. Guilt is easy.

Your average person spends most of the day bathed in non-specific guilt. That's why we all flinch when we see a police officer. We can't precisely recall being part of a major bank robbery, sometime in the previous 20 minutes, but in the back of our minds there's a suspicion we probably were.

The world conspires to make us feel guilty. For every person who is peddling sin, there are 10 who are peddling guilt.

Just the other day, researchers in London accused fat people of causing global warming. Those of us with a few extra kilos are now to blame for the death of the planet. Up to now, we'd merely been blamed for adding an unattractive element to the streetscape. Suddenly we're to blame for the disappearance of the street itself!
It was like being called up before a magistrate and finding your crime had been suddenly upgraded.

"But I thought I was charged with littering..."

"No, sorry lady, it's now the destruction of all humanity. Now, how would you like to plead?"

The Guilt Industry also offers bucket-loads of official advice, all of it designed to make us all feel like failures. One example is the new recommendation on wine: drink more than one glass of wine in a 24 hour period and you'll die young. It's an unlikely piece of advice which, if followed, would bankrupt the Federal Government, so I'm guessing they don't expect people will actually do as they are told.

It's not only the wine. The Guilt Industry believes you need to spend at least an hour each day exercising, 8 1/2 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, 1 hour meditating, 10 minutes teeth cleaning, 3 minutes teeth flossing, 1 hour reading to your children, 1 hour eating dinner together in the European mode, 3 hours enduring public transport, all finished off with 20 minutes of vigorous daily sex.

By my calculation, you need 48 hours in every day just to lead what the various experts consider an acceptable life.

Just one question: if I manage to get through all 48 hours of tasks, could I at least have a second drink?

Jesus, they say, died for our sins. Shame he couldn't have also snuffed out some of the unproductive guilt!


We were not feeling at all guilty when we were barging in France in July 2008!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Doubt verses Enlightenment

Great doubt - great enlightenment
Small doubt - small enlightenment
No doubt - no enlightenment

Zen belief


It's the simplest thoughts that carry the biggest punch.

The quote came to me in a newsletter article with the heading "And when we seem to fail?". It brought home that sometimes it is all right to feel no progress in any and every aspect of our lives. It isn't failure. It's looking deeper.

Here is real power in enjoying the fullness of nothing!

Feeling pleased with yourself about a breakthrough? Think about this quote.

Feeling at the end of your tether about a relationship? Look once more at this quote.

There are days when I am too smug and too comfortable about the search for meaning. "This trusting and having faith and being confident and positive is easy", a smart voice inside says. Then a whirlwind of new experience and testing shatters the comfort zone and I find myself blown from my safe mooring into a sea of doubt.

That's when I particularly appreciate the first line" "Great doubt - great enlightenment". Whatsmore, it is true! On those days when I feel annoyed with myself I feel I have moved one step forward and two steps back. Keeping this line in mind allows me to look deeper. It actually provides a light at the end of a tunnel. I ask myself "So what are the lessons from this?"

This explanation by the Zen masters is a comfort and at the same time, it is provocative. It is an attack on ego.

Only by being tested do we examine our focus on life, its meaning, our purpose and our happiness. Only by reassessing, do we grow.

When we fall into ego driven patterns, we need to bring reality into our lives by again contemplating this Zen wisdom.


I was over at Joseph's place on Wednesday and this Cockatoo came for a chat and posed for many photos. I managed to get a few photos of Joseph as well, although he is getting more reluctant these days to have his photo taken.



Saturday, 5 September 2009

Two Wolves




An old Cherokee chief is teaching his grandson about life:

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

"Which wolf will win?"

The old chief simply replied,
"THE ONE YOU FEED."



I know many of you have read this before but it has a powerful message. It was read out in our philosophy class on Thursday as an example of how different choices effect our life.

So the question we face is not whether or not we will be making choices in our life, today, tomorrow, next month or next year - but which choices are we going to make.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Reflecting On Our WORDS - August

I feel empowered today because four of my blog friends and myself are joining together AGAIN and reflecting on our WORDS for the year. It is really a gift for me that we chose to do this project together as I feel these posts help keep my WORD in the forefront of my mind.

We began our journey with our WORDS back in January. Caroline over at The Zen in You gave us the inspiration.

The ideas lady, Coach, suggested "this month we make one statement......one sentence about how we are feeling about our Word and where we are in the month of August. An honest assessment of how it is going. Pitfalls or Pleasures".

Now as I am such a music freak the song I associate with this post is:

ON MY WAY HERE by CLAY AIKEN:

"On My Way Here
Where I am now
I've learned to fly
I have to want to leave the ground
I've fallen hard
But I've been loved
And in the end it all works out
My faith has conquered fear
On my way here".

Here are our reflections for August:

Coach - ABUNDANCE


In August, I recognized the ABUNDANCE of seeing old friends, listening to great music, feeling the cool mountain air, and having a real time phone conversation with a good mate!







Annemarie - DISCIPLINE


DISCIPLINE is setting your eyes on the prize, recognizing what you need to do to get there and removing all obstacles that will prevent you from finishing the race.







Roban - JOY and FAITH





I have found that JOY is all around me.... It just takes opening my eyes and heart to really see it and feel it!







Julie - EXCELLENCE





EXCELLENCE: A process and a discipline, not a destination.











Moi - BALANCE






Striving for BALANCE between complexity and simplicity, constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the trade-offs I have to make to get there.








This quote I dedicate to my lovely friends:
"By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself".
Menander


Please join us in reflecting on your word by commenting or posting on your blog and linking to this post. The blogosphere is a wonderful community, a place to share, dream and smile!

Namaste
Peggy

Friday, 28 August 2009

Enlightenment - Are We There Yet!!

There is a fabulous Van Morrison song called "Enlightenment" that I have been playing over and over lately. Unfortunately I can't find any video or music on the web to play it here, so I have copied the words, the fabulous words!

"Enlightenment"

Chop that wood
Carry water
What’s the sound of one hand clapping
Enlightenment, don’t know what it is

Every second, every minute
It keeps changing to something different
Enlightenment, don’t know what it is

It says it’s non attachment
Non attachment. Non attachment

I’m in the here and now, and I’m meditating
And still I’m suffering but that’s my problem
Enlightenment, don’t know what it is

WAKE UP

Enlightenment says the world is nothing
Nothing but a dream, everything’s an illusion
And nothing is real

Good or bad baby
You can change it anyway you want
You can rearrange it
Enlightenment, don’t know what it is

All around baby, you can see
You’re making your own reality, everyday because
Enlightenment, don’t know what it is

Enlightenment, don’t know what it is
It’s always up to you
Enlightenment, don’t know what it is
It’s up to you, the way you think.


************************************************

Then Suzanne Vega found her way into my car CD and talked about being tired of sleeping and wondering when I'll be waking.

"Tired Of Sleeping"

Oh Mom, the dreams are not so bad
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

Oh Mom, the old man is telling me something
His eyes are wide and his mouth is thin
And I just can't hear what he's saying

Oh Mom, I wonder when I'll be waking
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

Oh Mom, the kids are playing in pennies
They're up to their knees in money
And the dirt of the churchyard steps

Oh Mom, that man he ripped out his lining
He tore out a piece of his body
To show us his "clean quilted heart"

Oh Mom, I wonder when I'll be waking
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

Oh Mom, the bird on the string is hanging
Her bones are twisting and dancing
She's fighting for her small life

Oh Mom, I wonder when I'll be waking
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping


*******************************************

Both these songs carry important messages for me as I meander along my spiritual path full of questions about the purpose of life and the nature of the universe around me.

My spiritual journey is about discovering my relationship with myself and with the world. I find music is food for my soul and affects my decision making and thus my way of living.



Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia, June 2007. An extremely spiritual place.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Sign of the Times



The urge to put up signs everywhere is now totally out of control: the warning sign, the laying-down-the-law sign, the no-responsibility sign, the do-not-leave-your valuables sign.

Walk around town and we are constantly accused of planning an act of either outrage or stupidity: No Speeding, No Stealing, No Mashing Your Face Against this Hotplate. And don't even think of smoking.

Let your eyes wander for a moment and someone will very soon be barking orders at you - right down to the instruction that you should wash your hands after using the toilet.

Sydney's councils are like a garrulous uncle who can't leave anything left unsaid. There is no activity so unlikely that the local council does not feel the need to expressly prohibit it. One signpost near me goes to the trouble of banning horse riding, as if the municipality of Willoughby is routinely disturbed by the cries of mounted riders in full pursuit of a fox through the middle of the Westfield food court.

Next they'll erect signs banning falconry, witch-dunking and turd-throwing. Well, you never know when a craze might break out.

Nearly all signs state the bleeding obvious. "No Smoking" notices are a good example. I'm not a smoker but I'm sure the smokers have by now got the message: they are not allowed to smoke anywhere. It would be more economical to put up signs at the two or three locations where smoking is still allowed. I'm imagining a windy hillock located just outside Crookwell, with a lone sign saying "Yes Smoking".

Talking about lone signs, legend has it there's a sign somewhere in the middle of a field in Ireland that says "Please don't throw rocks at this sign". I'm hardly surprised. It may be surrealistic - wonderfully Irish in it's droll wit - but how different is it to the signs on Sydney buses which give elderly people advise on how to ride a bus?

Senior Citizens, via the "Senior Citizens Travel Tips" display, are now given advice on how to catch a bus. According to the sign, they should wait at a bus stop and when the right bus comes along they should - now pay attention here - signal to the driver that they wish him to stop.

You may think that in their 60 or 70 years on the planet they may have heard rumours of this "signal the driver" technique. But no, they need to be told. The only problem is you only get to read the sign once you are on the bus, so it's a mystery how the daffy old fools ever managed to get the bastard to stop. Maybe they just copied younger folk.

Further "Senior Citizen Travel Tips" are available on board to guide future trips. Tips such as "Stand back from the curb as the bus pulls in" And "Wait for the bus to stop before boarding". Thank God they mentioned that. I can't tell you how sick I am of the sight of senior citizens hurling themselves at the side of buses in George Street without waiting for them to even slow down. They land - splat - against the side, much like Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon. If that warning sign can save just one life.....

Well folks today is my one year blog anniversary. One year ago I sat down at my computer and decided to start a blog. If anyone had told me then, that a year later, I would meet so many beautiful souls, I would have scoffed at them. Bless you dear friends who live inside my computer, I hold a very special place in my heart for all of you.


BTW my first post was very enlightening....LOL!!!

PS - I was just reading through some of my other posts and quite enjoyed what I wrote in this one called "Answers, Questions and maybe Wisdom"