{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

November 23, 2009

A random post on ... shoes

I was wondering today about the proliferation of shoes in women's cupboards. I myself have a number of pairs lying in a pile at the bottom of the cupboard...alas, I probably only use three or four pairs.

My shoes are, however, strikingly normal compared to those that you see when browsing the stores. Gulp-inducing high-heels, catch-your-breath stilettos and "aren't they painful" wedges are only some of the shoes that women can pick from.

Even more important is that, when choosing a pair of shoes, you have an outfit that you a) either have in mind to match the shoe, or b)are going to buy for the purpose of matching the shoe that you just purchased.

Shoes meet so many more needs than simply matching an outfit: they can instil confidence in the wearer, making them feel sleek and powerful; they can add height to those who are vertically challenged; they can add to the enjoyment of an evening out by being more comfortable than you expected; they keep our feet cool and clean when walking outside; they keep our feet warm and unexposed in moments of cold...

And so the list goes on. You won't find a single girl in the world who will admit to not liking a new pair of shoes.

I'm not really one to advise on the use of shoes, since the majority of my shoes are geared towards comfort - most of them are flat, and those with heels fall within the large proportion of shoes that I don't wear. Ever.

Give me my most worn, most comfortable, most ugly shoes, and I'll be as happy as a clam! :)

November 13, 2009

Causing our own cataclysm?

The film 2012 is coming out in South Africa soon - it has already been released in America - on the 13th of November no less. This is apparently a very harmonic number, but this blog is not about the harmony of the number. It's about the prophecy that the film apparently fulfils.

The 2012 film seems to be a fictional account of the cataclysm that might occur on that day, almost exactly two years from now, as prophesied by the Mayan calendar. The Mayan calendar dates back to at least the 6th century BC, and there is a popular New Age belief that the calendar ends its run on 21 December 2012, thus predicting the end of the world.

To digress slightly, there have been reports about Internet "bots" that spend the entire day searching for words, terms and items that are used the most, talked about the most, and obviously uppermost in the concerns of people writing and using the Internet. These bots were originally created for another purpose, but while doing this they also found patterns of language indicating concern. The basic idea is: "just like a rock thrown in pond makes ripples in all directions, events in time cause ripples both forward and backwards". There are people who can perceive these backwards ripples, but they are few and far between. However, now that we have the Internet is accessible to almost all of humankind, it is much easier to pick up these ripples - backwards or forwards, it seems.

The database from which these "bots" work is massive, and consists of thousands of interactions of interactions. By going through all the layers, they can spot concepts that appear or disappear, and can begin to predict changes in the real world. This all leaks back to the fact that all humans are psychic, whether we'd like to admit it or not - this is because we are all connected to each other on a giant web of life - like spiders, we can pick up each others' thoughts, and possibly we are sometimes simply hearing what someone else has thought.

I have the perfect example of this: on the way home from work one day, travelling on the highway, I drove past an offramp. The thought popped into my head that "I should have taken that offramp". Lo and behold, as I turned the corner, brake lights extended into the distance, and I spent about half an hour in the traffic, whereas had I taken the other offramp, I might have missed it.

How many other people thought the exact same thing as they came upon the back-up? Did I really think that just as I passed the offramp, or did I simply hear all their combined thoughts? This theory can also be extended to the work of David Wilcock - famed for being Edgar Cayce's reincarnation. He speaks of a global consciousness of humanity, of which we are all a part. It is this global consciousness that can affect the real world.

As I return to the bots and the film 2012, everything will become clearer as I ramble on ... :) The film is obviously going to create a bit of a sensation - predicting the end of the world is no small matter, especially as it uses an age-old prophecy that has been sitting in the backs of people's mind for ages.

Would this film not cause some kind of subconscious mass hysteria among us, which in turn may actually create the reality, since we are all so absolutely powerful? The bots might even be able to predict whether the global consciousness is being affected by the film, and so might predict an end of the world that we ourselves create through our mass negativity and concern.

Something to think about? This despite the theory that the Mayan calendar actually does not end in 2012?

August 26, 2009

Our children

I've been wondering why people have children.

I know several people who have kids, but they don't have time for them. They get a maid, or two, to help them out, and this lady invariably raises their children for them.

The problem is that very seldom do these ladies feel they have a right to discipline the children, so simple things like manners and courtesy are left out of their lives. The parents are also lax: they spend their spare time with the children, instead of making their children their lives.

Then, even when they don't have time for even one child, they go on and have another, and some people have another! Clearly, having children is no longer something that you long for as you grow older, but another means of showing off your status - of having a reason to buy that 4x4 that will never touch the bush; something extra to brag about and get approval from society for - it is no longer a humble part of being human. Nevermind everything that these children are lacking.

Sure, our children are getting smarter with every generation, but I think that is because of the food we give them. Also, we stop noticing how smart our children are when they get to the age where they sit in front of the television all day, or become embroiled in television games. I have an idea that this is because these activities are designed to stunt individual thought, intelligence and mental development.

We're not meant to become a smarter species, for then we will see what exactly our leaders are really doing to us.

August 22, 2009

You're dying soon

What do you do when you are faced with death?

I can't imagine what it is like to be told you only have perhaps a month to live... "Sorry, we can't tell you exactly how long, but we do know there is nothing else we can do for you, so you're most certainly going to die"?

I'm certain that it's different simply dying, to knowing that you are going to die. You'll lie there all day in horrible pain, contemplating your life, your regrets, knowing that now there is no way that you can make up for the terrible things that you've done or ever getting around to doing the things you haven't done yet, being terrified of the end because you don't know whether you're really going to an afterlife, or if that's just the end of you.

You lie there thinking about all your plans for the future, about missing your child's wedding, losing out on being a grandfather...everything ends...there is nothing now but the waiting and the hurting.

We all live from day to day making plans, procrastinating, forgetting people or things, making excuses...what if you didn't have the future?

The reason I am contemplating all this is because my future father-in-law has been given this diagnosis. He is scared...you can see it in his face twisted with pain, or in his face as he struggles to sit up, or in his face as he stares at the ground...you can see it because it is in his eyes. And it makes me scared to wonder what it is that keeps travelling through his mind.

I know he is sad because he is missing our wedding - we've had a symbolic ceremony for him, just so he could see us get "married", but now he knows that there is nothing else for him - he will miss everything: grandchildren, seeing his son happy, growing old with someone he loves, watching the world as it grows, seeing the sun, feeling the rain...

What else can all this contemplation do but make you sad?

June 3, 2009

Poor Big Girl

(CAUTION: this post is accompanied by a very disturbing image - don't scroll further if you don't want to see it - I've placed it right at the bottom!)

There is apparently a lot of debate surrounding the issue of euthanasia and the "No Kill" view of life.

This is in particular reference to mankind's companions, pets, who are sometimes the first to be neglected once a recession hits.

Euthanasia is often used to put down animals when they are otherwise perfectly healthy, but cannot find anyone to care for them. This is in direct opposition to some animal rights activists' belief in "No Kill", and they do get quite upset when it comes to organisations putting animals down.

However, very often, it is in the best interest of the animals themselves to be put down. I recently read a tragic article about Big Girl.
Big Girl was so still, cold to the touch and thin that those who found her thought that she was already dead. The six-month old pitbull was still alive, and the only evidence of this was the groan she released when the field workers picked her up.

She had been through agony as no normal person could imagine: she weighed less than the chain to which she was attached, had starved almost to death, had raw, exposed skin with no body fat at all...
She never had the love that all dogs deserve, because that is all they have to offer, and all they ask of us.

When her stomach was examined, she had nothing in it but dirt, leaves and other items that would never have provided her with any nourishment. She had started to decompose - this is how long she was lying there - four different generations of maggots were already feeding off her.

Poor Big Girl could not see or hear her rescuers, who could do nothing but euthanise her and send her on her way with as much love as she had probably ever felt.

Although it is no consolation, for the damage has already been done, Big Girl's owner was charged and convicted for her, and another dog's condition, and he will never be allowed to own an animal again.

Clearly euthanasia was the only option in this case, but I wonder if the debate should lie elsewhere. Why are some communities so uncaring, and what are they learning about respect for life when they are growing up? Why do things have to get so bad before people stand up and take notice?


June 2, 2009

Barbie

I'm certain that every little girl has had a Barbie doll, or a replica, at one stage in their lives. This year, Barbie is 50 years old!

Barbie Milicent Roberts was created by Ruth Handler in 1959, and back then, apparently sold for about R20! (if only it were still like that parents wouldn't be spending hundreds to keep their children satisfied!)

As a celebration of her fiftieth birthday, top international designers have taken inspiration from the style icon and created stylish outfits for Barbie, as part of the Barbie Runway Show.

For Barbie-lovers, and those who'd just like to reminisce about their (perhaps) favourite doll, here are some interesting titbits, if you didn't already know them:

- Totally Hair Barbie, released in 1992, was the best-selling Barbie, with over 10 million sold around the world.

- She is 29.2cm tall, with a 11.6cm bust, 8.9cm waist and 12.7cm hipline.

- She has been dressed by 70 famous fashion designers.

- There are about 1 000 YouTube channels dedicated to her, and about 300 Facebook pages honouring her.

- She has represented 50 nationalities, owned 50 different pets, and had 1008 different careers.

- If you had to own an original 1959 Barbie doll, in mint condition, she would be worth about $27 450!

There have been plenty of claims that if Barbie were a real women, her strange proportions would result in her head being too heavy for her body to support, and that she would have to crawl around on the floor. Some believe that this is simply a mysoginistic view of the icon.

The famous Brigitte Bardot had a 50.8cm waist!

May 15, 2009

Our thoughts

Have you ever considered that what you are thinking is not always your very own thought? That perhaps your mind is not as private as you think?

May 4, 2009

Take a Step Back...

I'm busy reading Waking Up To What You Do.

I'm not very far into the book, as I'm trying to allow its lessons to sink in as I go along. It deals with a number of precepts that are aimed at assisting us to take a step back from our reactions, and think about every situation to come up with an appropriate response.

To me, this means that instead of simply falling into the same habit or reflex when we're faced with a situation, such as sitting at a table and having a few drinks as a usual precursor having a good gossip about someone (which is in the end a fruitless endeavour), we take a step back, and make a conscious decision to respond as is appropriate to the situation, with intelligence and in a positive manner.

So instead of gossiping, we think to ourselves about our intentions of gossiping, and what we are gaining from the situation selfishly, without adding something positive to the world. A lot of the time, we'll find that when we talk about someone else, there'll be some kind of reaction in our minds and even in our bodies, such as feeling self-righteous, or fear of rejection by our friends and gossip pals.

As a result, I urge you to also take a step back from your actions, and respond instead of react in order to make for a better and more positive world. These actions will make waves in the lives of those around you, and you'll (hopefully) feel more in tune with yourself and the effect that you can have on others.

Let me know what you think about this idea.

April 24, 2009

Kermit


When I was a little girl (not that I'm not still little!), I had one favourite soft toy that stands out in my head more than any of the others.

My dad came home one day, and told me a long sad story about this frog that was left on the side of the road, all alone, who had no one in the whole world, and begged to come home with him. The story goes that he brought him home as a friend for me.

To be honest, there is not much that I remember about that doll - just that I loved it a lot, it was green, was a Kermit the Frog doll, and that he had long dangly legs.

I can picture myself walking into the shopping centre that day, clutching him to my chest, long legs dangling over my forearms, head resting on my shoulder. I probably promised to look after him, as my parents probably warned me that I would lose him, and I probably demanded to take him with, as most little children do sometimes.

I think I keep finding myself standing in front of the chocolate stand because that's where I lost him - I left him there and when I came back he was gone. So I keep returning to the chocolate shelves, looking for my long lost toy, and leaving, clutching instead a chocolate.

If I had not lost him there, would I need chocolate as much as I seem to do!? (".)

April 23, 2009

Circular

I was washing the dishes the other night and listening to the script of Style Her Famous and it occurred to me that everything about these makeover shows and about the entertainment industry in general is so circular!

The point of a makeover show is to give you confidence, so they proclaim. But the only reason that these women, and a lot of women out there, have a lack of confidence in themselves is because of the fashion world.

Everywhere we look we are bombarded by women who are "perfect", but we all know that we can look just as good as them with some Photoshop techniques applied to our "flaws" or some professionally-done make-up. And of course, a stylist who knows just what outfit will flatter us the most.

Just look at how beautiful normal girls look when they are pampered and preened as the celebrities of today are every day. Just imagine if we were not constantly exposed to this false beauty, and had real people to look up to.

How different would all women feel and be?

April 8, 2009

Lessons in Love

Although humankind's courtship rituals might seem a little strange to some (count giving a woman flowers that will die, or chocolate that will make her fat, or something "for her kitchen"), these habits are nearly as strange as some seen in the animal world!

I found an old magazine article covering lessons that we humans might try to use during courtship and mating, and thought I'd find some as well. Do you think they'll work?

- The male Bedbug pierces a hole through his female's back with a spike on the front of his penis. He releases his sperm into the hole, and they have to swim in the female's blood until they reach her ovaries.

- Male beetle mites don't particularly care whether the spermatophores make it to a fertile female or not: they simply deposit large quantities of their sperm on the ground, and if a female happens along, she'll pick up some of these growths, which resemble fungi, and deposit them in her own reproductive organ.

- The male garden centipede is also a ground depositor: the substance is then found by a female, who takes it into her mouth and stores it in a special cheek pouch. When she feels she is ready, she places every egg into her mouth and smears some of the stored sperm on it.

- Male flatworms have a multifunctional penis (?). It is equipped with spikes and poison glands, and besides having a sexual function, it also catches prey (yikes! :) )

- Indian cobras take part in a mock fight before they mate. The female struggles violently, until they are eventually side by side with their heads and necks raised from the ground. The female will indicate her submission by placing her head on the ground, and, once the male has this signal, he brings one of his two penises into contact with her reproductive organ.

- The sex organs of octopus never touch - they look each other right in the face while the male ejaculates onto one of his tentacles, which he then uses to introduce the sperm to the female's reproductive organ.

- The fire salamander uses Rohypnol-like pheromones to intoxicate his quarry.

- The female grey whale must be gently rubbed between two males before she is aroused enough to mate. Only one of these males will be lucky enough to mate with her, while the other holds her in place.

- The female scorpion fly will copulate in direct proportion to the gift received by her mate.

- The fruit fly's sperm is four times its own body length and he offers it to his female of choice with a lilting melody of wing beats, which is unique to every fly.

I think the fruit fly's story sounds the sweetest!

Have you any strange courtship rituals to share? Human or non!?

April 3, 2009

To club or not to club...I don't know if it's really a question...


As long as I can remember, human rights activists have been trying to stop the slaughter of seals. It is expected that as many as 338 200 of these gentle animals will be heartlessly clubbed to death in the snow.

Peta is once again calling for people to take action against this "tradition", particularly as Canada is preparing to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is hoped that this attention on the country will bring greater scrutiny, and hopefully instil a desire to become a positive example for the world.

What is the worst thing about these massacres are that, despite the idea of culling, the seals' skins, once their skulls are crushed or they are shot, are used for "fashion". Apparently, the sealers often hook seals in their sensitive areas to avoid damaging the pelt, and they don't usually check to see whether the seals are unconscious.

I don't really know how effective these pleas for petitions and action really are, considering that so many are made and yet so many animals are still savagely killed for their fur.

I'm not really sure why I keep writing about these stories; perhaps I liked their logo against the clubbing.

If you want to join the cause and try to stop the powers that be, you can do so here.

March 30, 2009

Dead Animals

Undercover investigators went to Chinese fur farms recently and discovered some horrifying facts. Many of the animals being skinned were still alive and struggling with desperation when the workers began to cut the skin and fur from their bodies. Workers go on to stomp on their necks and heads when they struggle too hard to allow a clean cut.

Some of these newly skinned animals, thrown onto piles of those who have gone before them, are still alive, without their skin, in desperate pain, with their hearts still beating five to 10 minutes after they are skinned.

Chinese fur farms in China's Hebeo Province ban outsiders from visiting, and this makes it all too clear why. There are no regulations governing these farms in China, and this means that all the animals housed and slaughtered are at the utter mercy of the workers. They are denied even the simplest acts of kindness.

Because the fur trade continues on such a global scale it is almost impossible to know where fur products come from, as skins move through international acution houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the workd. Over half of the finished fur garments are imported into the United States. It is likely that, even if a garment's label says it was made in Europe, the animals were slaughtered elsewhere. Why is it that we feel we need to look pretty with the fur of animals who have died in pain keeping us warm, now that we have such advancements in the clothing world?

Complete Peta's opinion poll regarding this practice, and you can also make a pledge to be fur-free here.

Easy kill

30 March 2009

As I was driving to work today, I saw a car run into a bird. Its life was ended as suddenly as it had begun, and I don't know why, but seeing this made me very sad. As it is, I become sad when I see an animal dead in the road.

I know that it is sometimes very difficult to stop your car in time to avoid crashing into an animal as they cross the street, but this morning was different, because we were not travelling that fast, and it could have been avoided.

While driving to work, this got me thinking that humankind is being trained to ignore the little lives in favour of ourselves. Look at all the advertising for killing pests like cockroaches and flies. These tiny deaths might not seem so much in the larger scheme of things, but these are still little lives. I don't know if anyone else feels this, but whenever I squash an insect, I have this horrible feeling in my stomach.

It is as if we've been taught that it's okay to kill, and so don't feel as much remorse as we might had we killed a human. Because they're a real life aren't they?

March 27, 2009

Recession?

27 March 2009

I've been wondering about this supposed economic recession that we are all being plunged into.

Aside from newspaper posters blaring that another car company has gone under, or another bank is for sale, there are even films being made regarding the recession.

But when I look around, just simply driving through the city, I see nothing that shows that we are all struggling. There are still people who can afford the price tag of the most expensive cars on the market. Just as an example, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the 65 AMG, is at a happy price of R1 950 000. And I know I've seen quite a couple of them speeding past me and pushing in in front of me because I'm going too slowly.

There are still tons of people shopping on random days at the shopping centres and spending money that supposedly no one has.

I wonder sometimes whether the powers that be are merely trying to make everyone scared.

March 26, 2009

Speak to Me

see the storm is broken - in the middle of the night - nothing left here for me - it's washed away - the rain pushes - the buildings aside - the sky turns black - the sky - wash it far - push it out to sea - there's nothing left here - for me - i watch it lift up to the sky - i watch it crush me - and then i die - speak to me baby - in the middle of the night - pull your mouth - close to mine - i can see the wind coming down - like black night - so speak to me - like the winds outside - it's broken up, pushing us - hear the rain fall - see the wind come to my eyes - see the storm broken - now nothing - speak to me baby - in the middle of the night - speak to me - hold your mouth to mine - 'cause the sky is breaking - it's deeper than love - i know the way you feel - like the rains outside - speak to me (lyrics from Moby - The Sky is Broken)

March 19, 2009

Bored Button

19 March 2009

I'm not particularly bored today, but I was curious about this link that I saved under my Favourites to try later.

Why don't you try it out as well? The link is Bored Button, and it entertains you with quizzes and such. The quiz that I took today, "How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight", is easy enough, and takes only a few minutes. Apparently, I could take on 15 five-year-olds. I had a little giggle!

I just picture myself at the bottom of a dog-pile, to be honest! :)

March 18, 2009

Earth Hour

18 March 2009

Earth Hour, it seems, is taking the world by storm!

The event began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned off their lights for an hour. The event has now seen as many as 100 million people from 35 countries take part. It is hoped that Earth Hour this year will be even more popular, and that the switching-off of global landmarks such as the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square and the Colosseum in Rome would inspire everyone to do the same and take a stand to demand the beginning of crucial conversations about the future of Earth.

The Facebook group alone already has 254 931 members! According to the global site, 1 672 cities, towns and municipalities in 80 countries have committed to switching off: Earth Hour was hoping for 1 000!

South Africa is also determined to be a part of the movement this year, with Earth Hour South Africa encouraging those who sign up to switch off all their lights on Saturday, 28 March at 20:30 for an hour. Those who sign up will also see their name form part of a petition that will be sent to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Even to me this seems to be a sort of fruitless act - will it really harm the massive corporations making their billions from electricity and oil? Will it really cause everyone to change their behaviour?

Um, I don't think so. I for one will be reaching for that light so that I can read my book (*she admits with guilt*). But symbolically, I think, it will go a long way to prompting some kind of conversation about what the world needs - seeing dark skylines and dead landmarks might at least get people to think, and will also demonstrate a co-ordinated action.

After all, humankind really just needs to unite together for a good cause and humble ourselves to realise what and who we are.

March 11, 2009

Pro-ana? I'm pro-food!

11 March 2009

The South African edition of the Marie Claire this month made me aware of an Internet trend that has been increasingly favoured by anorexics and bulimics.

There are sites all over the Internet that claim to pro-ana or pro-mia – ‘ana’ used for anorexia and ‘mia’ used for bulimia, presumably used so the victims of these eating disorders have someone ‘real’ to which they can refer.

It is not easy to become anorexic or bulimic, as these sites announce. Some even go so far as to feel that anorexia and bulimia is something only a few people can do, as though they are chosen to do it. They feel anorexics and bulimics are stronger, because they do not give in to the weakness of hunger and eating food in the name of beauty.

Although these sites are usually introduced with disclaimers, saying that eating disorders are dangerous, and that if you are recovering or considering recovery, you should not enter them, this warning, to these people who are very obviously suffering from some sort of mental problem, can certainly be seen as a dare.

I feel that these disclaimers are contradictory to the content of the sites: many visitors to the sites do ask for advice - advice on how to avoid eating, advice on how to go about your next deprivation diet, advice on how to hide the fact that you’re not eating from your family and friends…they give support to those who are being “victimised” because of their lifestyle choice.

It is a strange, and seemingly illogical, dichotomy of warnings and support.

I was wondering after I read the article how many people who were suffering from these disorders were now aware of the sites, and would go searching the internet for them – not for ways to get better, but for support to continue.

However, an article by Time magazine, from way back in 2001, believes that, beyond the obvious “ick” factor, the sites opened up a path of insight into the world of the anorexic. The very language that these sites employ provides insight into the psyche of those with disorders. Some believe that they are begging for help, but at the same time they defend themselves and their lifestyles vehemently.

The problem is also that those visiting these sites often are not in peak mental condition, and they are bombarded by images of the waifs of stardom. Furthermore, the target market of these sites is incredibly vulnerable: the Time article goes on to say that studies back then indicated that 80% of anorexics experience their first onset of the illness by age 20, and this age range was only getting younger, with an increase in 2001 of cases in the eight- to 11-year-old range.

Eight to 11!? These are children who are still growing, and need all the nutrients possible to grow up healthy and happy, and they’re depriving themselves?

I have to wonder what the world is going to be like when these children grow up and have to become the leaders of the next generation.

The Altantic's column The Daily Dish of No Party or Clique reported that the phenomenon has now taken Facebook by storm, and users’ real-life profiles can be linked to their eating disorders. I did some searching myself, and just under Groups there are pages of pro-ana groups.

Although many think that the exposure of these sites can be dangerous, some think this is not necessarily the case: it is making society more aware of these disorders, and if teenagers are more and more willing to talk about their problem, perhaps they’ll be more comfortable asking for help when they or someone they know is showing signs of having an eating disorder.

For myself, however, I love food too much to even think about starving myself! :) Bring on the tinkies!

March 6, 2009

No time

6 March 2009

I haven't written anything for so long!

I feel genuinely sapped and mentally exhausted. Work has been very hectic, and I have had never-ending responsibilities. I'm not really complaining, though, because I asked for a job that was challenging and constantly giving me new and more things to do. So, despite coming home and feeling like doing nothing but sit in front of the television and eat, I am relatively satisfied.

The reason that I'm writing this today is that I was thinking about how much work saps from your life. It takes five out of seven days of every week, or 40 hours, depending on how hard you work! :)

It takes maybe 20 days of every month, and so maybe 240 days out of your year. This is all time that is taken away from your family, your friends, your hobbies, your relaxation, your self. Unless, of course, you have the perfect job, and love everything about it, and it's more of a hobby than a job. Then I don't think that you would feel this way at all.

Imagine having the job you've always dreamed of. I wonder if it will really be all you dreamed it would be though, or just another way for you to lose time by thinking that you enjoy it!

February 18, 2009

Are YOU Connected?


I have been reading Annie Coetzee's book Are you Connected?

The book is mainly about how everything in your body, and everything and everyone around you is connected by energy. The idea is that if you have a negative thought, or someone has planted a negative thought into your mind, it will sooner or later manifest itself as reality if you take the words to heart.

Because our body's cells and organs are so connected to each other through our inherent energy, believing something with your mind, and not allowing your heart to tell you whether or not to believe the brain, inevitably causes it to be true.

If you think about it, this does happen. How often, on a day when you are feeling relatively pleased and happy, will someone say a single thing, such as "You look tired" or "You're so pale". If you take their words to heart, you will feel run down, and pale, and perhaps even let yourself get sick.

I'm not well myself at the moment, and the book encourages you to think about the emotions you have had recently and how they are affecting your body, because every emotion affects everyone in a different way. Over the last few days I have felt frustrated, and perhaps this has illuminated itself in me as a backache, which has steadily grown worse. Once I had a real sit down last night to think about my feelings, and clarify them to myself, it seems as though my back feels better.

Possible? I don't know, but I do believe that thinking positively will bring positivity into your life. Thus feeling negatively can also bring negativity into your life? Maybe we should be humble and let our negative emotions flit over us without taking hold, and allow all the good ones to take over and make us all happy!

February 12, 2009

Giggles over comments

12 February 2009

I went to a game reserve over the weekend, on our flash vacation down to the coast. It was amusing to find a guest book in the kitchen, and I had a bit of a giggle about one or two of the comments. One was that "it was too quiet, and the reserve should put in televisions".

This was so funny to me because why else would you go to a game reserve but to sit with nature and reconnect with the balance that exists between all living things? I might be wrong, but many go to these places so that they can get away from the city. What is the point if you're going to sit in the noise of your television! You might as well paint your walls with leaves and flowers and not appreciate the beauty around you, because you're living in a box anyway.

The silence in the reserve was so serene, and the sounds of the wildlife restful and reassuring. It's a humbling experience, because you realise that there is so much more to life than your work or your car or anything that you own.

Doesn't being with nature reconnect you with your deepest self? :)

February 6, 2009

A memory

6 February 2009

I continue to return in my mind to my holiday in Zanzibar, which I took over my birthday last year. I think one of the reasons is that it is very close to my birthday, while another is that it was one of the periods in my life where I had the most clarity and inspiration. The trip gave me insight that I could never have achieved in ordinary circumstances, while also giving me the chance to smell the bluegums, so to speak!

I originally wanted to go to China, as I'd been planning for 6 months to do so. However, the special for the Zanzibar trip just landed up on my monitor one day, as though it was meant to be. I had such a good feeling about organising the trip, and going away, and, although I was afraid to be going all by myself, I now believe it was very necessary.

It was so beautiful, and the people were so friendly and helpful. Yes, I'm certain they were that way because I was a tourist - I think tourism is one of the, if not the largest, industries in the country. But it was so relaxing, and exactly what I needed!

My favourite memory from the trip is definitely snorkeling, right on my birthday. We set out at about 7am, walking along the sand strip for about a kilometre with our flippers waving at our sides. We reached the dhow, and found that there was absolutely no breeze to speak of. We were pushed along in the shallows by the sailors with their long rods, and the feeling was so soothing. Add to that the fact that the sea was as still as ice, and the reflections in the water made me feel as though I was stuck between two worlds.

Snorkeling was another story! It was the first time I'd ever worn flippers! Coming back at about midday, the wind had picked up, and the dhow spread its sails wide to give us an exhilarating return trip. Walking back along the sandbank was also interesting - the sun was so hot and the air so still that day that merely walking into a puddle was enough to scald my poor feet!

I was also as red as a lobster that evening in the weirdest spot - I'd forgotten to put sunscreen on the back of my feet, and I started to worry that I was poked by some poisonous creature because I could hardly walk! :)

February 3, 2009

Freedom, Happiness, Peace of mind

3 February 2009

My quote for the day:

"There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life - happiness, freedom and peace of mind - are always attained by giving them to someone else"

Giving someone even one of these three things is one of the simplest and most beautiful ways to make others happy and thereby make yourself happy. For what are we to each other if we cannot make each other happy, cannot give someone else the freedom to be themselves, or cannot simply make their day more serene by taking away their worries?

Today, be humble and just try and make someone happy before yourself, give them the chance to do something they want to that you might not want to do, and do the dishes or the laundry or something that will give them peace of mind!

February 2, 2009

10 Questions


This weekend I hired the film “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama”. Although I did not find the film to be particularly inspiring in itself, it was the story of the 14th Lama and the words that the Lama spoke that gave me some things to think about.

This is the abridged version of my article, which ended up being quite long! :)

The 14th Lama was prophesied to rule in a time of great crisis, and it is certainly a time of great crisis!

I think only intensely religious people can imagine the type of popularity the Dalai Lama has among his people. As said in the documentary, his power over his people can, for Americans, only be likened to having the reincarnation of Jesus Christ ruling from the White House, as though he had never left this earth.

The 14th Lama was found in 1938, and came from humble beginnings, the antithesis of Buddha’s beginnings. Tenzin Gyatso was officially announced when he was four, and started his monastic studies at the age of six. The Dalai Lama is now 74 years old! Through the years of spiritual study, there was no way that he could have known how his people would suffer during his reign.

In October 1950, China sent troops into Tibet, to liberate the Tibetans from so-called elitist Dalai Lama rule. The Lama called on the USA for help, as he knew of their reputation for liberty and democracy. He was largely ignored, as Christians saw no value in the Buddhist religion, and the economic and business powers in the land saw no use for Tibet as a resource.

India was the Lama’s next step, and it is here, in Dharamsala, that the Lama has established a Tibetan government in exile. The Chinese continue to commit atrocity after atrocity. Anything of religious significance has been destroyed. Refugees flowing into India are regularly counselled and comforted by the Lama himself.

The filmmaker, Rick Ray, was granted an interview with the Dalai Lama. Here are some of the Lama's responses:
- He would rather counsel the rich, because they knew that money could not solve their problems. There was too much greed, and these people were never satisfied.
- People in the West are quick to anger, and this is because they lack self-discipline. Self-discipline is necessary for thinking about the consequences of our actions, and we should use our intelligence first before anything else.
- Some religious practices were useful, such as those calling for the preservation of life and family closeness; others were out of date. Religious practices should be respected as long as they contributed meaningfully and positively to their followers' lives.
- Regarding the Middle East, all religions had the potential to create harmony, but sometimes their effect was limited because some people in power made religion more complicated by involving their emotions too much, involving too many of their emotions, and involving too many that were negative.
- Regarding the world population: quality is better than quantity; the sheer number of precious lives in the world were now at risk because of their quantity – there are too many people and too much suffering.
- Non-violence is the only solution: the power of the gun is short-term, but the power of truth is long-lasting. Smiles, warmth and love last forever.
- Non-violence should only become violent if one is protecting oneself, and if the circumstances suggested there was no other way. It was, however, important to remember that your interests and those of your enemy were interdependent, and destruction of your enemy is invariably a destruction of yourself. Therefor war is an outdated concept.

The Lama is adored around the world, but his real wish: to be able to go somewhere remote and devote the rest of his life and all his energy to spiritual practice. He would then move towards his last day without a lot of expectation, as he hopes not to regret anything. Shouldn’t we all aspire to such a simple and humble desire?

What would you ask the Dalai Lama if you had the chance?

Also, take a minute and visit His Holiness' very own website! :) Click here.

January 30, 2009

Stop!

30 January 2009

I was driving in the rain the other day. I normally enjoy driving in the rain, because of the soothing sound of the raindrops on the roof of my car. Sometimes it also seems to me as though others are struck by the same beauty, and all slow down to drive through the rain at a more leisurely pace.

However, on this particular drive home, which I thought started well because the rain started to fall only when I climbed in the car, I climbed the slipway from William Nicol onto Witkoppen. I truly felt accosted by the navy blue BMW that came ploughing towards me in the rain. Particularly when she decided to hoot at me several times because I decided I would preserve my life before driving in front of the stream of cars on the road I was trying to enter. Never mind that it was actually quite wet on the roads and the slightest wrong move on either my part or her’s would cause us to slide into each other.

I was stunned at both her aggression and her simple impatience. But I still could not help but giggle to myself a little when I landed up at the same traffic light as she, for three or four lights. All her rushing did not get her anywhere quicker than myself.

I feel sad for those who are in such a hurry that they cannot slow down to appreciate the world around them, or to be courteous to someone they don’t know. Simply allowing someone to take a turn before oneself at a traffic circle can change their entire day, their whole perspective for their day.

If only we all took the time simply to skip our turns, go slower, and, cliched as it might seem, smell the bluegums before rushing off into the sunset that they don’t even notice.