2019 Reading

I love books!  You know I really love books!  My hallway at home is a ‘library’ of books and dust – books and magazines and dust (should I mention the National Geographic’s Collection?).   Sometimes I think it is likened to a wine cellar.   Similar to someone who collects fine wine over many years for their cellar / store … they purchase, sort, label and store the goods and then leave them there to collect dust so it looks prestigious and valuable.

For years, we simply kept our wines in racks on the floor, away from direct light and heat. We drank them long before they could be harmed, and we really liked them there because we enjoyed looking at them. We didn’t think of wine as something to be bought and put away. It was a part of our everyday life and our household, an omnipresent adventure beckoning in plain sight.  (Gaiter & Brecher, Wall Street Journal)

You get the picture … books are part of my everyday life and I enjoy them in moderation and like to share them with my friends!

some of my annual planners from the book shelf

some of my annual planners from the book shelf

Yes, I collect National Geographic magazines!

Yes, I collect National Geographic magazines!

But seriously, books are a passion of mine and so I was a little bit excited to stumble upon a couple of blogs of 2015 related to  books from around the world reading.    So, I plan to have a go at this reading challenge.

The aim is to read and review books from different areas of the world, including at least one book / author from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Plus, I have a new reading group / book club for 2019 with my mate Claire.

So let’s get ready!

ref:  http://guides.wsj.com/wine/buying-and-storing-wine/tips-on-storing-wine/

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A day ‘at’ the office!

A day at the office or should I say ‘at work’ can offer up some delightful experiences

Some work days are diamonds like this one .. full of glitter and sparkling moments!!


The fresh sea water and air …


… and pretty little field flowers!

These photos were taken during the work day as I was travelling between work environments.   Days like this are special and I do appreciate them greatly!

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Maintaining My Focus

I am feeling a little emotional!

To give you a little background – I have been reading a few blogs lately on a variety of topics (or so I thought) then I noticed a recurring theme – I am drawn to the idea of focus.  Focus in our task, focus in photography, focus on the spiritual breath while meditating and focus while engaged in ti chi or yoga to improve our balance and stretch.

So, I have come to the realisation that my life has lost a little of its focus in recent months and I have started to feel a little unsure in my steps and emotionally ‘wobbly’.   I know this happens to us all at times and we might just need to take a little rest …  to sit under a shady tree in the warm air with a good book.   I have been saying and doing but to be honest not really with a true focus.    It has been a bit half-heart-ed and not really what I originally signed up for at the beginning of the year.

To be fair there have been a number of big things happen in the last year:  births, deaths, sickness, job shifts and changes, new friendships and the list goes on …  So I understand a little of why I feel emotionally wobbly and unsure.

BUT, enough is enough!   There are other times when we really need a good jolt to reset and refocus so that we can surge forward and make good with our day and life    –    to keep our focus on the goals and purpose in our hearts and minds.    This is what I have experienced – a lack of focus with some negative outcomes and a lack of faith in myself.    Not good!

Life is full of opportunities and good things ..   I know this  ..  and to make good use of this knowledge I choose to allocate the time and space to reflect on what happened and why I fell back into old habits of inaction and lack of focus.   I am choosing now, not to get drawn into the drama of others and not to take on blame, shame or limiting beliefs about what I ‘should have’ or any unhelpful thought at all really.    I am choosing to stay focused on my passions and goals so that I can continue to create my GOOD life.

I have just signed up to be the most ardent member of my own fan club.     What fun!!!

Go Go Girl!!!


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Sex is good!

It is OK people, I understand now.  Sex is good!  Sex can be really good for most people!

As I grew up I believed that sex (my childlike understand of) was bad, that sexual desire and that need for physical closeness was something that only bad people experienced and that I should be ashamed of ‘this’ without knowing what ‘this’ was.  In addition a ‘good girl’ was expected to put significant physical space between herself and boys.  In essence ..  to reject natural attraction, or at the very least to be embarrassed and ashamed of that attraction.

I am not really sure of when or where I learnt that sex was bad or why I continued to believe it into my teenage years.   Maybe it was a generational thing and most common with people of my parents age and culture.  Maybe it was a family thing, brought about by fear of others doing harm to ‘children’.   Maybe, my older siblings had got a bit too close and sexual with their peers and the parental rules and concerns were strengthen accordingly for the younger siblings.  Or maybe one of my parents had a difficult moment with a stranger when they were quite young and this increased their fears around risk and safety.

However, now that I am older – much older, I know that where that belief came from is not important.   What I do need to know and what is most important to understand is whether the childhood belief I had is still something I hold true – subconsciously.   I need to explore what my belief about sex (read .. relationships and intimacy) is now that I am no longer the 12  year old that I used to be.

I am probably sharing more than you care to know about me – however I think the time has arrived to come clean with my wisdom – being a woman of experience and knowledge that I now am.

One of the things I have learnt is that we place a lot of responsibility on young girls for the right / wrong and good / bad experiences of intimate and sexual relationships – which is quite unfair and not helpful in guiding young men and women on how to treat people they are sexually and emotionally attracted to as well as those people (regardless of gender) they are in an intimate and close relationship with.  We could instead teach our children and young people to be equally honorable to others, listen well, speak up for themselves and be respectful of other people’s personal space and intimate boundaries.

When we take time to stop and reflect on our beliefs and values, we have the opportunity to truly clarify what is important in our lives.   Most people in their adolescent years, start to move away from family and begin to identify and form relationships with people outside of their immediate family and this is a normal and natural part of development and adult life.  This development of ‘other’ relationships is also important for a healthy community and social life.

So what are your beliefs about intimate relationships, friendships and community relationships?   What did you learn in your youth (from the adults and community around you) about relationships?  What do you understand and could learn ..  from those bravely honest and open conversations that you could have with your loved ones, your children and close friends about how you relate to others and their observations of you?

Have you ever taken a step back and watched yourself and your behaviour and really considered the attitudes and beliefs you hold dear?

Life is interesting and when we slow ourselves down and take an honest and clear look at our world it can open our eyes to improving our relationships.  It can have an enormously profound impact, in a positive way on our emotional well-being and courage to be true to ourselves.


Recently I have been watching how people communicate with others, how they drive their cars and negotiate traffic and how they walk and move about during their regular day.    Let’s look at car driving as a place to reflect on behaviours and beliefs – I don’t always travel well and at times suffer from travel sickness so have become increasing aware of occasions when I feel ill and have compared with other times when travelling that I do not suffer from nausea or dizziness. I wonder and reflect on the difference – my beliefs and expectations about the day, the driving, the driver – and my emotional state of health on the occasion.   I have been travelling more with others in recent years and wonder if it is the driving or my emotional state that causes the problem?  Some people drive as if they are in a hurry, racing up to the traffic lights, stopping abruptly and then driving hurriedly through the traffic passing, it seems, as many cars as they possible can.   While others drive hesitantly with one foot on the brake at all times so the car moves along in jerky movements.  Or they look intently and respectfully at the passengers to engage in intense conversations with scant regard for their ‘real’ responsibilities – that is, the safe driving required by them, the driver.

Another thing I have observed is the people who tent to have a personal space that is bigger than others – that is they prefer not to sit, stand or walk too close to others – tent to also use their cars in the same way.  They park their cars away from other cars when they can, or in the larger bays and at the traffic light they often wait further back from the white line than most other car drivers.

Is this because they are reserved characters and don’t feel safe being in close proximity to others?   Maybe it is more because they have an expensive and valuable car and have learnt by bitter experience that not all people appreciate boundaries and care of other people possessions and their care has been damaged or scratched by others in the past?

However, the people that appear to like closeness and share more of their personal space as well as personal stories with others, also appear to drive in a way that seems to fit their personality type.   Are they the people who drive up close (or over) the white line at the traffic lights and park their car right in the middle of all the activity in the parking lot?   Are they the people who tend (from my observations) to lean towards their passengers when driving with a focus on the people they are travelling with them more than the road and direction they are travelling in.   BTW, this does not mean they are necessarily unsafe in their driving.   What it means for me is they have a the confidence and assertiveness that puts them at front and centre of every experience, with an expectation that they belong there.   Is this relevant in other areas of their lives .. I wonder and I am curious about this.

The other observation I have made is how we may behave in meetings and social settings.   There has been some research in how people behaviour in meetings and that we tend to take on a role and part of this relates to our personality style at work – aggressor, trouble maker, devils advocate, joker, peace maker, problem solver etc.   Research also shows that we tend to be strongly influenced by group thinking as opposed to our individual beliefs and values in meetings and groups.

You are probably thinking what that all has to do with sex.    Well, it does bring me to wonder if there is a link between our personality style and driving … might there also be a link between our personality, sexual behaviour in intimate situations and our listening skills in relationships including sexual encounters.   S0 …

How does a person invite someone into their personal space when they are used to pushing people away?

And when a ‘friend’ sits close to another on the couch is this interpreted correctly or incorrectly as the behaviour of a potential lover (or rejection of affection), as opposed to the ‘friend’ sitting across the room …   are they not interested in pursuing a more intimate and meaningful relationship?

And when listening to a lover does one listen to the spoken word or the body language and the behaviour more so?  How does one know what to listen to and what to watch for in those sometimes awkward moments?

When presenting the question of sexual attraction and desire should we race up to the traffic lights, revving the engine and prepared to step over the boundary as soon as there is an opportunity or should we wait for the lights to eventually change to green and proceed with caution?

Do we truly listen or do we think we already know, therefore don’t really listen?

And more so, how does our healthy /unhealthy intimate relationship influence our thoughts and beliefs about our community and the relationship of others around us?   When we make judgements about other people’s behaviour and personality, where is that judgement coming from?   Is that from previous experience / wounding or from honest consideration and consultation about this very individual event.

And … what are we telling our children through our behaviour and responses when we were unaware they were watching, listening, and learning from everything we do and everything we say .. as well as what we don’t do or say?

Just wondering … and still learning!!

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My Muse

Looking back on original moments …..

Coffee in France

My muse used to be coffee … if that is possible to comprehend!   It was my source of inspiration and motivation to be creative and to make things happen.

But, my digestive system has decided this is no longer so and I am not quite sure yet how I feel about this.

It is a bit like losing something unexpectedly (leaving a good book on the train) and not really understanding how so …. ?    Why did this happen?   Please explain it to me again?


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Sydney in September

Sometimes, it can be more enjoyable to wander the streets and admire the window displays when the shops are closed and the daytime crowd have gone home for the day …

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A New Way of Living

There is a new thinking and way of living and working that has been gathering a following for some time now and I have joined in.   Maybe ‘joined’ is not the right word, perhaps I should say …  I am running along beside others, soaking up the ideas and preparing to get motivated by new thinking.   In an effort to further understand this new thinking on work-life I am reading books on the topic and checking out information and blogs on-line about this wonderful, beautiful new way of living.

I have always found that learning from others is a great motivator and an encouraging process.  One of my motivating sources is The Biggest Loser TV Show, it can motivate people to lose weight, get moving and get healthy.   But, you don’t have to join a reality show to get the benefits of the personal trainers who are part of the program.   I have been learning from Shannan Ponton and Michelle Bridges for a number of years.   They give us tips on what is healthy food and good nutrition as well as the easy ways to get active – walking, swimming and (apparently) picking up heavy things and moving them from place to place as well as playing ball games with friends in the park.

But I am getting off topic.  Or maybe there is a link there somewhere …

What I started talking about was an identified new way of living and working.     So, instead of working for someone else in a job you don’t really enjoy and where you do not utilise – in the best possible way  – your talents and skills.   When, and if you feel like you are just surviving and going through the motions of turning up for work and doing the tasks just so you can collect a pay check at the end of the work week … there is another option available!   Another option where you earn a good living doing things you enjoy and delight in as well as working at the times you are most productive with plenty of time for living and loving a beautiful life.

This new way of living and working involves giving up your day job and doing what you want and love.   Sounds simple enough.   So how does this new way of living work?

From my research and reading I have discovered that it takes significant planning and preparation and a BIG change in thinking.   I have listened to Alisa and read a book by Janice and started drafting some of my plans and dreams – more about that later.   One example I want to share with you today is of a colleague of mine from many years ago, who decided she wanted to do what she loved more than the paid-work she was currently engaged in and she set to making a plan and working towards her goal.   She told me that she enjoyed her work but felt that she could put her heart into making her dream a reality.  Her goal was to make flower essences and have a gift shop where she could sell the essences along with other beautiful crystals, books and jewellery.   She felt this is what gave her joy.    However, these types of dreams rarely happen over night and she set to preparing a plan and taking time to put that plan into action.  She began by saving money for her plan and building up her skills and knowledge in flower essences.   Then came the transition period from the ‘day job’ to the dream job.   She reduced her work hours and started to build her business.   That way she had an small yet regular income while she was building up her new business and creating a new way of living and working.  Eighteen months later she quit her day job and settled into her new way of living and working, doing what she loved and living her dream.  That business is still a successful venture and she is enjoying celebrating what she created.   She is now in her 70’s and employing other people!   This is surely a success story!

This wonderful and inspirational woman continues to provide a service to her customers and clients today doing what she loves and utilising her skills in a most beautiful way.   She is well past the usual retiring age yet because she is doing work she loves that continues to bring out her best it gives her passion for living and working in a delightful manner – inspiring self and others.

It seems to me that people like Michelle and Shannon, Janice and Alisa and my artist friends all started  in this way … making a plan and working through a transition period to arrive at a place they wanted to be where they liked who they are and what they spend their day doing and making.

Walnut.  This remedy is for adjustment to change.  It is helpful during any transitional period which may include moving house, settling into a new job or new area, or through the major milestone changes of life such as teething, puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

HOWARD, Judy. Bach Flower Remedies for Women.  Suffolk:  St Edmundsbury Press Ltd. 1992.

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Photo challenge – Close up

 orchidRecognise what is before your eyes, and what is hidden will be revealed to you.  

 Moore, Thomas.  Care of the Soul.  London:  Piatkus Books. 1992

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Photo Challenge – doors of green

A green  door with a view into the courtyard

A green door with a view into the courtyard 

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Door.”

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Photo Challenge – broken (an earthly experience)

if you look closely at this picture, passed the unearthed tree roots you will see the graves of people who have gone before.

if you look closely at this picture, in the background, past the unearthed tree roots you will see the graves of people who have gone before.

This photo seems to fit the theme of ‘broken’ for me.   The trees roots have broken from the soil and are exposed to the elements, without the warm and moisture of the earth to sustain the tree is broken and dying.

In addition, on a deeper level this photo was taken at the local cemetery one day when I was visiting the graves of family members who have left this earth year before.    In the background on the hill you will see the plaques of some graves in the lawn cemetery.   Looking at my photos when I came home that day I was reminded of  the ties that are broken through death – and the wounded hearts that struggle to cope with the loss they experience.   There is so much sadness, yet for me the cemetery is a place of quiet reflection and peace.

Someone once said to me, when talking about a great tragedy they had experienced that broke their heart, that their heart had been broken wide open – not just wounded.  They felt more pain and more joy.  They were able to feel more, to understand more and to have greater compassion for self and other.   They said that even though, they experienced a great tragedy and extreme loss they believed that is was a significant learning for them – in some strange way a good thing – that their heart needed to break wide open to see and feel the beauty and immeasurable goodness within the heart and somehow within the pain.

A visit to the Cemetery on a quiet and cloudy day

A visit to the Cemetery on a quiet, cold and cloudy day

May the light of day warm the hearts of those who are grieving and sad today!!

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Broken.”

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