If You Make A Mistake…

…I hope you are big enough to admit it.
There’s nothing our Ego dislikes more than to be told it is wrong, or to be challenged. It will do all it can to convince us that it is right and the other person, or even the World, is wrong, and it will defend itself at all costs, even when deep down inside, you know that is the wrong course of action. For this very reason we have to try to put aside our Egos, in order to move forward. Otherwise, the cycle repeats simply itself and you’re stuck like the proverbial hamster in the wheel.

If this sad world of ours is to have a chance at saving itself, a good place to start would be for each of us to have the sense to admit our faults, learn and move on.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m rather embarrassed at how materialistic I used to be in my “old” life. I put too much emphasis on material things, and not enough on the things that truly mattered, that of trying to make the world a better place by doing my part. I thought if I could get enough savings in the bank, then I could afford to take up worthy causes and help my fellow men and women. It never occurred to me back then, that that kind of mentality was exactly like the attitude that declared that “We’ll have children when we can afford it”. Well, guess what, if you waited for that day to arrive, you’ll never have children. Ditto helping the world. You will never have enough in the bank to start saving the world; it’s got to start NOW.

These days, I look around me and I cringe at all the people going round with trolleys laden with stuff that’s not really necessary. I know some people who spend all year buying Christmas presents for their relatives. I pass by a jewellery shop with a woman announcing extra special deals on gold, silver and diamonds – why?? You won’t die without those! TV ads are even worse – who needs an indoor abdominal exerciser for 5 instalments of $49.99, when you have the floor and ab crunches you can do for Free? Or a free mobile phone every year, when your phone can last you another 5 years perfectly well? Who really needs to change their car every single year? Seriously??!

My own vice was magazine subscriptions. I especially love Elle Decoration and Vogue Interiors, and last year I was engrossed with the idea of becoming a textile or surface pattern designer. So I subscribed to these magazines…which weren’t cheap, as they came from the UK. I also invested in Adobe Creative Cloud and a dozen books on textile designing. I admit I did enjoy the whole learning process, but ultimately the whole exercise, with a little more thought, could have been done for free through online courses or videos, instead of the thousands of dollars I spent on buying stuff. So yeah, silly me (face palm roll eyes).

What makes me sad is that many people don’t even pause in their daily stride to consider these things. They think it’s normal, because it’s what everyone else is doing. Sheep following sheep. Sheepwalking, I call it. Or, worse still, they think that to even contemplate doing something different from the norm is Wrong. That You’re wrong for wanting to rock the boat or change the status quo. And why? As I’ve already outlined above, because they are coming from the place of their Ego, which prevents them from admitting that there’s anything wrong with the picture.

Here are my favourite quotes about making mistakes, taken from my favourite source, Google Images. Each individual image remains the copyright of their creators, naturally.

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So, dear friends, take a good look around you. Can you see where the human race has gone wrong? Are you able to see your own involvement in it? Are you helping perpetuate the Lie? Are you willing to admit your own mistakes in life and move forward?

Or, do you believe the world is perfectly fine as it is, and that nothing needs changing? That the people who tell you about these things are the crazy ones?

YOU decide.

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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

It is human nature to not welcome Change. We all want to continue living in our cosy little bubble, doing the things we are accustomed to doing and getting the same results…and yet in every one of us there is a niggling seed of doubt which asks this question:

THERE MUST BE MORE TO THIS LIFE. THERE MUST BE SOMETHING BIGGER AND BETTER, WHAT AM I MISSING? WHY HAVE I NOT FOUND IT?

Well, if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Only a Fool believes in repeating the same action over and over again, expecting a different result. So, don’t be that Fool. Step outside your Comfort Zone and make that evolutionary leap forward. Yes, it feels uncomfortable, strange even, you’re out of your depth, treading water infested by unknown dangers beneath it, but swim you must, for if you simply stay where you are, you will surely drown.

On a personal level, 2014 has been a tumultous year for me. For a while I struggled to find my feet, for a while I was disheartened as time after time I got knocked back in the job stakes. I was even made to feel that because I had no income I was worth less. Then I had a sudden epiphany one day, and realised that what was happening was simply the end of a Dream that I’d been in for many years. I’d actually started my spiritual awakening years ago, without even realising that’s what it was. Then the toll of daily life, work, responsibility and family commitments took over. Now I realise that That was the Dream, not the Reality. The Reality is Now, and I feel my real work has only just begun. It’s been a hard Dream to shake, it felt so comfortable and reassuring while I was in it. Everyone I knew was living in the same Dream.

But now Reality is exciting, unknown, mysterious and full of possibilities and potential. It is also exhilaratingly terrifying. You know the saying “Leap, and the Net will appear?” Well, I’d like to add to it: “And if the Net doesn’t appear, then you damn well better learn to fly, fast!”

I’ve collated some quotes from Google Images to show you what I mean:

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Today’s words to ponder are : Comfort Zone, Change, Step Out Of Your Box, Grow.

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What will You do…

What a wicked world we live in! Apathy, greed, avarice, selfishness, egoism, laziness, materialism, the list goes on and on. We as a human race appear to have lost our way, in the Pursuit of  Happiness. Know though, that Happiness cannot be bought by Money. There is no such thing as the Pursuit of Happiness, just the Pursuit of Money. Money can buy you Things, that is true, but Things don’t make you happy. Only You can make you happy, so choose to be happy no matter what, and you will have Happiness. Just look at the swamis and sidhus in India, or any of the gnostics and ascetics around the world – they live very simply, but they are happy.

I have no lessons to teach. I have no manifesto. I’m about as intuitive as a lamp post. No, that’s not right…the lamp post is more intuitive than me. I feel awkward and inadequate when in a crowd of people and everyone seems so clever. I’m just a simple person who has been blessed recently with a clarity of vision. I have had my eyes opened to where our world is heading, and sadly it is heading towards destruction and not salvation. We need to wake up now and take up just causes, there are so many good causes to choose. Pick one or two and devote your attention and time towards it. We are caretakers of the Earth, not its owners, so we need to take care of it, instead of plundering its resources for our own selfish gains. Now is the time to work together, not against each other.

Just the other day, I posted up these 2 photos on my Facebook Wall. And boy did that incite a great debate or what! I won’t go into too much detail, just have a look at these 2 photos and think about it.

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In one photo, people are queuing up for the bare neccessities of life. In the other, they are queuing up for something they don’t NEED but WANT. One shows people sacrificing their time for the benefit of others. The other shows selfish people. One is of a breadline. The other is the queue to buy the new iPhone 6.

The backlash from this simple comparison caused a “friend” to unfriend me on Facebook. She felt I was being anti-Apple, that I was offending her by “shaming people into becoming better”. Not at all, what I was objecting to was the attitude of people today, I was simply pointing out where their priorities were skewed, and that people need to wake up and do something to turn the tide. If that had been a photo of people queuing up for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the latest PlayStation, XBox, etc, I would have still written about it the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things too, I’m only human. But I wouldn’t sacrifice a month’s food for my family, just to feed my own Ego.

Ask yourself this question: Does our constant lust for consumables advance our society towards the greater good? If yes, how? If not, what will You do about it?

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A Sore-y Tail

My Pitbull-Mastiff cross puppy, Shelagh (okay, she’s 2 years old now but still as exuberant as a puppy) is normally a big bundle of energy first thing in the morning. Her tail is the first thing you notice. Slapping you around the legs, that is, as she dances around with her entire body wagging with happiness.

Shelagh was introduced to our swimming pool at a young age, and very quickly learnt to jump in to retrieve her favourite ball. It used to be a soccer ball. After getting the “Shelagh treatment” it is nothing more than a deflated sac with an orange rubber lining that sometimes peeks out of a large hole in its outer skin, rather vulgarly. But despite its imperfections, it is still Shelagh’s favourite pool toy.

After 4 1/2 months of cold weather, we finally declared our swimming pool open again. The water is still quite cold, but once you’ve mustered the courage to jump right in and swim around a bit, it’s just dandy.

After such a long time without being in the pool, I was impressed that Shelagh remembered what swimming was all about. She ran straight to where “Ball” was kept, grabbed it and did her “Victory Lap” around the perimeter of the pool. She jumped in to get “Ball”, and even remembered to let us hold onto her back as she swam. After an hour of vigorous exercise, I towelled her dry and let her run around the garden before letting her back into the house.

That was when I noticed that Shelagh seemed strangely unable to settle down on the chaise, like she usually does. She would turn round and round, flop down for a minute, then she would change her position and whine. She jumped off the chaise, lay down on the rug, jumped up again after a couple of minutes, whined, wandered over to the kitchen where she lay on the wooden floor. A minute after that she came back to the chaise, tried to settle down again, got up again etc.

I noticed her carrying her normally waggy tail low, almost tucked under. I wondered if she’d broken her tail, if she’d thwacked it too enthusiastically against something hard. When I touched her tail where it was drooping, Shelagh yelped in pain. I tried to make her wag her tail like she normally does, but she couldn’t lift it over her back. Oh no!

It was night and the vet was closed for the day. So I hopped on my computer onto Google and the keywords “dog broken tail?”. A few entries down, I came across a site that described exactly Shelagh’s symptoms. There are many terms for this condition – caudal myopathy, sprained tail, limber tail, dead tail, cold water tail.

Cold water tail. I’m almost certain that’s what poor Shelagh has. You could think of it as RSI (repetitive strain injury) of the tail, caused by over-exertion after a prolonged period of inactivity. My poor baby’s tail was inflamed, hence the swelling at the point where the droop began.

Limber tail can occur in any dog with an undocked tail, but certain breeds, especially pointing and retrieving dogs, seem particularly susceptible to it. Among these breeds are Labrador, Golden, and Flat-Coated Retrievers; English Pointers and Setters; Beagles; and Foxhounds. Both sexes and all ages can be affected. Other common names for the condition are “cold tail” (especially among Retrievers, who often exhibit symptoms after swimming in frigid water), “limp tail,” “rudder tail,” “broken tail,” or even “dead tail.”

The exact cause is unknown, but there are a few different factors that seem to be linked to limber tail. Overexertion seems to be a common precursor, especially if an animal is thrown into excessive exercise when he or she is not in good condition.

Limber tail has an acute onset. It is not a condition where the tail gets progressively weaker. Instead, it is an acute inflammation. Typically, the tail is suddenly limp and the dog may seem to have pain near the base of the tail. Over the next three to four days, the dog slowly recovers to the point where by four to seven days he’s usually back to normal.

The condition resolves over the course of a few days or a week and usually leaves no aftereffects.

(Source: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/8_1/features/15685-1.html)

So no more swimming til you get better, my dearest Shelagh. And even then we will make sure you don’t over exert that beautiful tail of yours. I like it best when it’s carried proudly over your back and wagging with pure joy!

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They Have Eyes But Do Not See

…or rather, they choose to see only what is in front of them. I’m talking about Materialism in this sorry old World of ours.

Nevermind the Apple vs Samsung or iOS vs Android debate. Today I went into the city to buy some of my favourite coffee. (Cubania by Nespresso, limited edition while stocks last only). Yes, I do like my coffee, but it’s my only worldly vice, apart from wanting to buy every oracle/tarot/lenormand card deck there is ahem!!

So up to Perth CBD on the train I go. I’m walking along Hay Street towards Elizabeth’s Secondhand Bookshop (where they have a nice little New Age/Spiritual section), and I notice some men in high-visibility vests conducting crowd-control. For yeah, there was indeed a crowd on the street. Ahhh yes, the penny dropped. Today was the day Australians got to see and/or buy the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Hurray for them!

imageThe front of the queue on the road. These are people who are buying the new iPhone.

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imageInside the Apple Store. A multitude of people gawking at the new iPhone models. But, if you decided you just Have to get one today, haha Mister, join the queue, literally!

imageThis is the iPhone 6 actually, not 6 Plus. Only a man could call something 5.5 inches a “6 Plus”!

imageSuckers Customers buying the iPhone 6.

imageThe iPhone 6 Plus. Well done, Apple for finally catching up with the competition!

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imageSome people had actually camped outside overnight. So sad. I was also embarrassed to see that 95% of the desperados queuing up were Orientals. It looked like the entire Asian population of Western Australia had descended on the Apple Store today.

Materialism gone mad. On the one hand, we have all these people wanting the latest gadget in their hands. They don’t know why, it’s not something necessary to their lives, they certainly don’t Need it. But they Want it. Because they believe that it will bring them happiness. Hello? Things can Never bring you happiness. $1000 for a badic iPhone 6? That can feed a family of 4 for an entire month!

On the other hand, and in the next street, actually, I befriended Shane, a homeless man, and bought him a chicken and mushroom flaky pastry, orange juice and a bottle of water. I had a pastry and a cappuccino. We sat on the bench and talked. We talked about Life, what was important and what wasn’t. We spoke about Shane’s personal circumstances. I encouraged him to get himself together once the City Council had found him a home (he’s 4th on the waiting list). I showed him photos of the queue outside the Apple Store, and we laughed ourselves silly at the thought of psychologists labelling Shane crazy, when out there in the very next street were possibly over 2000 lunatics queuing up for an expensive toy!

Shane was pretty clued up about things, for example, he’d read and heard that cannabis oil cured cancer. So we talked about the efforts of some groups to decriminalise cannabis. I showed him Rick Simpson’s video on how to make cannabis oil.

I also showed Shane a couple of Tarot/Oracle card Apps on my Samsung Galaxy S4. His cards came out really positive – 2 of Cups, 7 of Pentacles and 10 of Cups. I told him those were the cards he’d chosen, and he now needed to put himself in the path to make it happen. I said he shouldn’t think of himself as down and out, because Up was the only way he could go from here. I gave him a big hug before I left.

I know who I’d rather have as a friend in this world. Not any one of those people in the queue, that’s for sure! They have eyes but they do not see.

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Workflow : ONENESS

Today I’ll be sharing my workflow or process of how I created one of my Oracle Cards, “Oneness”. This is an ongoing Project.

I used the Live Wallpaper App “Elements of Design” to randomly generate a dynamic wallpaper, which I took several screenshots of, as the app did its job. And then I chose at random one of the screenshots and loaded it into PicsArt.

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In PicsArt, I then cropped the top and bottom of the screenshot. I also flipped and rotated the image.

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I layered another image over this in PicsArt, that of a colourfield background. Then I played around with various blending modes and opacities until I found a result that I liked. I really like the smoky, smudged effect here.
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Now the image needs some motif or object. I searched through the vast catalogue of clipart that PicsArt has, trying out one thing after another (it’s obvious that I don’t have a Master Plan!) Until I found one that just clicked. This was a red bird from the Geometric clipart range in PicsArt.

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Three birds later…here I’ve altered the angles, direction and sizes of the bird clipart so they wouldn’t all look identical. I love how they seem to pick up the vibrant reds and orange colours of the background, and yet somehow retain their own presence.

I wanted the overall image to be more cohesive. I added some sprigs to the beaks of the birds. I wanted the viewer to be able to look at the image and intuitively guess what the meanings could be. Here’s a possible explanation:


This Card signifies the idea of Working together harmoniously towards a common goal and for the greater good. The Three Birds belong to the same Family and are united in their mission. In their beak each Bird carries a sprig of Holly Leaves with Holly Berries. These are sacred symbols and the Birds are bringing them to some far off destination to be used as building blocks for the future. The Birds are in commune with their surroundings, their colours blend in with Mother Nature’s glorious sunset. The number 3 signifies the Holy Trinity, a concept prevalent in humanity’s many religions. The Birds symbolise Oneness, they work together as One. Note there is only one set of concentric rings in the picture, at the bottom right corner. This reinforces the idea of Oneness.

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Next, I brought the image into the App Repix. And added a sprinkling of stars. I also tweaked the colours of the background, to create a little more depth to the overall image. I decided to tone down the vibrance a little, to make the image look more painterly and old, like a vintage Christmas card, perhaps.

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Then it was back to PicsArt to put in the text for “Oneness”.
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And finally, for my own reference, I added my digital signature. Very subtly, of course ;). And so here I present “ONENESS” by AlyZen Moonshadow:

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Elements of Design

Have you got 5 minutes free time and don’t know what to do? Why not be creative and make yourself a pictorial quote? I’m not sure what the real term is for these things, but you know the ones I mean…those cute and quirky quotes that go along with equally cute and quirky backgrounds. Memes?? It’s very popular on Facebook at the moment. Instead of commenting in boring old plain text, why not find some quotable quotes online and share them instead? Okay I may have started that trend, shame on me LOL.

Anyway, today I’d like to share a quick and fun tutorial with you. See, with just 2 simple Apps you can create your own pictorial quotes and amaze your friends. Don’t worry if you, like me, can’t draw, it’s all done for you.

Yes, just 2 Apps:
InstaQuote for iOS
InstaQuote for Android

Elements of Design for Android

Note: Elements of Design is a Live Wallpaper. When you load it, it doesn’t show up as an App on your smartphone, but rather in a folder called “Live Wallpaper”. The beauty of this App is that you can set numerous parameters and tweak various elements and then to save, simply take screenshots of the action. (Sorry, iOS Apple users, I don’t think the Live Wallpaper option is available on your device, neither will you find Elements of Design on iTunes. But I’m sure you can find tonnes of other similar Apps on the iTunes store for this purpose).

Here’s the blurb on Elements of Design, taken from the Google Playstore:

Turn your background into a beautiful abstract work of art with this fully customizable, animated live wallpaper! Combine some of the most popular elements of contemporary graphic design into animated eye candy with the touch of a finger! Overwhelmed by the number of options? Choose from one of 16 preset themes!

Watch flowering vines weave across the screen, add an animated honeycomb background, or make elements appear with a single touch. This full version has plenty of beautiful options to keep your phone fresh and your eyes entertained!

Right, so today I came up with a funny quote that I wanted to share with my friends. And, being lazy, I wanted to create something original but which I could do in less than 5 minutes.

To do this, I opened up InstaQuote on my trusty Samsung Galaxy S4. I left the background blank (or defaulting to whatever) while I worked my quote into the text field.

Then, I simply set up Elements of Design, played with the parameters, then took some screen snapshots. I then loaded the screenshot I liked that I thought would work best, and placed it into the background. I didn’t even have to crop my background image, InstaQuote did that for me.

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Et voila! An Instant Quote (well, more or less).

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😄😇😆

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford

Paddy Bedford (1922-2007), like Eastern Anmatjerre artist Emily Kngwarryee, produced paintings for no more than a decade at the end of his life. However unlike Kngwarreye, who produced in excess of 4000 paintings before her death in 1996, Bedford painted only sparingly for most of his late-blooming, artistic career. At their best, his minimal abstracted ochre works have an equal power and strength to those of Rover Thomas, the founder of the East Kimberley style. However Bedford was physically capable of producing major paintings for only a limited period of his life. (Source: http://www.aboriginalartresource.com/aboriginal-artists/paddy-nyunkuny-bedford/)

Paddy Bedford was known by his nickname Goowoomji and also by his Gija name Nyunkuny. As a senior law man Paddy Bedford was involved in painting as a part of ceremony throughout his life. However, he only began painting on canvas for exhibition after the establishment of Jirrawun Aboriginal Art in 1997. In a remarkable career as a painter, that spanned less than ten years, Bedford achieved great critical acclaim in Australia and internationally.

Bedford’s paintings reveal a deep love of his country: the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Many of his works depict features of this distinctive landscape such as the rivers, stock-yards and roads that were integral to Paddy’s traditional life and that as a well regarded stockman. Much of the subject matter of his paintings are inspired by important events in his life, such as the Bedford Downs Massacre as well as his family dreamings of emu, turkey and cockatoo. Towards the end of his career Paddy declared that he had painted all of his father’s country and his mother’s country and that he was just painting.

A major retrospective of Bedford’s work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2006.
(Source: http://www.moragalleries.com.au/pbedford-estate.html)

I love the wonderfully abstract nature of Paddy’s paintings. They have the ability to look traditional and modern at the same time. They look deceptively simple, yet speak volumes to me. By keeping his colour palette simple and restricting it to black, white and the rich reds, ochres, browns and yellows of the Australian outback, Paddy manages to evoke a sense of history, to paint a frozen snapshot of his beloved land.

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Selfish People

Our local McDonald’s sometimes has free newspapers for customers to read while they’re having their meal. I sometimes go there just for a hash brown and a coffee and a good read. The newspaper belongs to the establishment and does not leave the premises with the customer, unless McDonald’s is offering a free paper to take away with their breakfasts, which sometimes happens. After you’ve read the newspaper, the unspoken agreement is that you either pass it onto someone else who may want to read it, or you place it back on the countertop for anyone else coming in later.

I was at McDonald’s on Saturday with my son, for breakfast before going to the cinema to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. As we sat down, I noticed a woman in her 60s at a nearby table with the weekend papers. Now, the Weekend West, as our newspaper is called, is a veritable tome, comprising a main news section, and various other pull-out supplementaries such as Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel, Sports, Entertainment, Gardening and Children’s.

The woman was reading one of the pull-out supplementaries, so I approached her and asked if she was done with the main news section of the paper. She looked up at me and immediately placed a proprietal hand over the newspaper, while shaking her head and saying no, she was still reading it.

Fair enough. I could wait a while til she finished. My son and I ate our meal and I kept my eye on the woman, so I could ask her again for the newspaper once she’d finished.

She finished the supplement she was reading. Then she dug into her handbag and brought out a piece of tissue paper. She delved into her bag again…and brought out a bottle of, wait for it…nail polish remover! She then placed her elbows right on top of the pile of newspapers on her table and proceeded to meticulously clean her fingernails. One by one. Slowly and patiently. While the unread papers lay there.

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I couldn’t believe my eyes.

What this woman did next was even more selfish than I’d already observed. A little boy, presumably her grandson, ran in from the playground outside and climbed onto the chair next to her. She immediately put away her nail polish remover and started to play with him. Did she put aside the newspapers so someone else could read them? Of course not. She let the little monster rifle his grubby hands through the papers instead, and laughed delightedly when pamphlets, brochures and mini magazine supplements went scattering onto the floor. Did she pick them up? Of course not.

The little boy was joined by his father, mother and 3 siblings of a similar age. The kids ran off back to the playground soon after, but their parents sat talking to the woman. All that time the newspapers lay on the table between them, unread.

We were at McDonald’s 30 minutes. And in that time, that selfish woman cleaned her nails, played with her grandson and had a conversation with her son and daughter-in-law. Time spent actually reading that newspaper?

Zero.

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Okay, rant over. But I don’t get it. How can some people be so selfish, self-centred and inconsiderate? Maybe she was just ignorant? Because I sure wouldn’t like the other plausible explanation…which is that she had deliberately made up her mind NOT to let anyone have the papers, as a show of power, because it made her feel good about herself.

One thing’s for sure. Selfish people like that woman are part of the reason why this world of ours is so riddled by malaise, apathy and ignorance. Kindness is free and costs nothing, we should spread that around at every opportunity. Practice random acts of kindness wherever you are, and whenever you can. The seeds of happiness lie within acts of mindful kindness.

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INCANDESCENCE

She had a way about her
That lit up the room
When she entered it
She did not even have to try

Incandescent
That’s the word for it
She had an Incandescence
About her Being

Pure and simple
Effortless joy
A presence that filled
The heart with pleasure

Not an earthly pleasure
But a higher one
That of lighting the mind
Like a light bulb glowing

She was a being evolved
Like no other human
Therefore, when the time came
She simply shook off her physical form

And so she is Now
Truly Incandescent
And Nascent Everywhere
Now her real work begins

She is the First Light of Dawn
The Last Rays at Sunset
And All that’s in between
Incandescent

image (Google Image : Scarlett Johansson from the film “Lucy”, 2014)

By:
AlyZen Moonshadow

Note:
I was inspired to write this poem after watching the superb movie “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. In the film, the main character, Lucy’s body gets infused with a synthetic drug called CH4, and her brain starts developing at an exponential rate, from a normal human’s 10% to ultimately, 100%. At that point Lucy has no further need for corporeal form, and transcends humanity into the very fabric of her environment…i.e she becomes Incandescent. She is Everywhere. If humans could ever utilise 100% of our brains, we would all be Gods.

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