Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

Abbey GroundsLiving in the present… is, for me, a major feat!

All major World Religions, most self-help programs and logic would suggest that living in the present is the best way to enjoy life and is one of the sources of inner peace. Unfortunately, the author of this blog about serenity is about the furthest from achieving this feat as anyone I know.

I, like most people, find it very easy to sit in a meeting and stress about what work I could and should be doing if it were not for this compulsory meeting. I find it easy to eat breakfast in such a way as to not really remember having eaten it at all… if I even bother to do so in the first place! I know I am not alone in this and it gives me some comfort knowing this is one of the struggles of modern life, and that most of those of us who are aware of the struggle wish it wasn’t the case.

The part of ‘not being present’ that I hate the most is when I talk to others and am not really aware of them as people beyond the role that they can fulfil for me or for my work. Unfortunately, when I am particularly busy this is not only the colleagues I work with, but the many friends and family I meet and often explain away my lack of interest in them as me being “in a really busy patch right now.” At what point did my life get so busy that I worry that talking to my mum on the phone might take up too much of my precious time?

I know there are no simple answers. I am however, reading and attempting to put into practice some practical strategies from a book called ‘The Power of Less‘ by Leo Babauta (2009, New York, Hyperion). Simplicity for me is something I have always attempted to do in terms of my lifestyle and in what I own and buy, but I am discovering just how much of my life is more complex than needed. If you too have a interest in simplicity as a concept or even in just streamlining a bit of complexity in your life, I can highly recommend ‘The Power of Less’ as a book with practical strategies that might help.

Is it helping me, you might ask? Well, I had Kellogg’s Advantage for breakfast this morning if that helps!

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Yes, I do plan to write a novel/anthology one day… and actually finish it!

Joanna Maxwell ran this course on Sunday at the NSW Writers Centre and I really enjoyed it. Like the ‘Blogging For Beginners’ course, it was inspiring and useful.

I am one of those people she mentioned who say “I would love to write one day,” but who hadn’t actually had much vision for my writing project. The course helped me work out what my vision actually is and make it more specific and achievable.

As a High School teacher I have had my fair share of training in mindmapping, scaffolding, listing and storyboarding. On Sunday though, I found it interesting to learn about these strategies in the context of my life and my project, independent of the context of teaching, and to see them in a new way.

While in themselves these strategies aren’t particularly serenity-inducing, I’ve been told that if applied properly they can bring about a better quality of life where priorities (the “big rocks”) are both identified and explored… I live in hope!!!

I really enjoyed the mindmapping strategy in particular. As a follow-up to the course, today I decided to combine the things I learnt about Steven Covey’s work, the work of Leo Babauta in ‘The Power of Less’ and mindmapping to creatively explore the “big rocks” in my life and strategies I might use to simplify my work and life, in turn, creating a greater sense of balance and serenity.

I really recommend anyone with the inclination and the Long Service Leave accrued, to take the opportunity to spend some time away from work, clarifying purpose, direction and priorities… it’s well worth the effort!

IDENTIFYING AND MANAGING PRIORITIES: Steven Covey’s “Big Rocks”… very American, but well worth a look!

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A 6km walk, a sunset and time to appreciate both. I am a happy woman!

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I can’t help myself! I keep revisiting my blog to see if it’s changed… I suspect checking every ten minutes is a BIT unrealistic 🙂

I’m still buzzing since starting ‘Blogging for Beginners’ on Saturday. I will admit that secretly, I thought spending three hours at an inspirational place such as the NSW Writer’s Centre and doing a course about blogging would miraculously turn me into a writing/technological guru (the venue and course sounds a little trendy in the circles I move in).

Well it’s been two days and I am loving the concept of finally writing, if not on my novel, at least on my blog. I was really inspired to see that blogs and putting an opinion ‘out there’ can have the power to change things (hopefully) for the better (Thanks William!). Still wondering if it will work with our politicians!

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Jamberoo Abbey 09 (33), originally uploaded by Court Jester2.

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If you haven’t read ‘Tuesday’s With Morrie,’ then I suggest it makes your “50 things I must do before I die” list!

Mitch Albom has a gift for taking the taboo subjects of our lives and 21st century Americanized Western culture, and confronting his readers with questions like ‘What’s our purpose in life?’, ‘What’s the place and importance of our relationships?’, ‘What’s the meaning and purpose of our death?’

‘Have a Little Faith’ deals with an even more sensitive topic, that of religion, the sometimes violent, sometimes awkward and sometimes beautiful relationships between the world’s major Religious traditions and  asks ‘What do I believe?’, ‘Do I have faith?’ and ‘In what do I place my faith?’

While the novel will be popular and will sell, it’s not trendy, while it addresses a controversial topic, it does so without the sensationalism of modern self-help programs, and while it calls people to reconsider the place of formal religion, it does so without being overly moralistic.

In truth, it didn’t leave me with the same warm fuzzies, “I-want-to-hug-everyone-I-love” feeling that ‘Tuesday’s With Morrie’ did, but it still made for a thought-provoking and interesting look at the lesser known people in our religious communities who work tirelessly in the counter-cultural, often unrewarding and always self-sacrificing service of others.

Well worth a read!

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Happy Easter!

I spent most of Easter this year walking…

I walked the same road at least eight times a day for three days. Not a massive walk at about 370 metres in length, but not ordinary either! The road outside the small country town of Jamberoo… a tarred strip high on the Illawarra escarpment, set among a line of Maple trees, bordered by a small patch of grazing land and a mountain, and leading all who walk the road closer to their centre.

I found this Easter, that simply walking, watching and listening have transformed the known and old into something unknown, new and alive…  to be explored in the coming weeks and months… maybe on another walk!

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What a lovely book. I finished reading this yesterday morning. It was a Christmas gift and is very much in the tradition of Paolo Coelho’s work.

A beautiful and meaningful book about the important life lessons that people should learn.

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Wow! What a beautiful film, a visual treat.

From the moment the film opened I made up my mind to immerse myself in the 19th century world of John Keats and Fanny Brawne. I loved the tranquil music, the long pauses and the beautiful scenery. While the romance took a while to ignite I didn’t think the plot was too slow.

My favourite part was the analogy made between reading a poem and diving in a lake…

one doesn’t dive in a lake simply to immediately swim to the shore, the experience of the water and swimming in it is the reason we dive in. So too with poetry. Poetry is read to be enjoyed and savoured first and analysed later. John Keats

Not a direct quote from the film, this is what I remember of it and the meaning I took from it.

The other startling part of this film for me was the scene where Fanny is told of John’s death and is read the description of his last moments. She broke down from deep grief and this was portrayed so accurately and vividly that I could almost feel the difficulty she was having breathing.

Definitely glad I saw this one and I loved my first visit to Cinema Paris at Fox Studios.

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