Category Archives: Books

Christmas Art Abandonment 2015 – Rockingham

Jack and I took the dogs to Rockingham foreshore this morning for a walk. Yesterday I’d decided it was high time we did another Art Abandonment exercise, it being the Christmas season and all that jazz. That, and the fact a nice lady named Rachel actually recognised and remembered me from months ago when I abandoned some Gelli®-printed handmade bookmarks at the same foreshore. I was chuffed that someone should actually be touched by my Art Abandonment, that my humble little gift had made an impact on someone’s life.

So this morning, we abandoned 4 of my handmade “Juicy Journals”, books that I’d created by hand using pieces of art paper that I’d printed on using Gelli® Arts‘ “Gelli® Plate”.

I had my hands full holding onto Shelagh with 2 leads (one attached to her collar to control her head, the other to her harness), so Jack was tasked with not only leaving the “Juicy Journals” on benches and tables in the public park, but also with taking photos of the deed afterwards.

I hope whoever finds and keeps the Abandoned Art appreciates it, and that it makes their day.

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Good Books On Canine Psychology

Just a list of some excellent books on canine psychology and training, that I’ve either read, am reading, or will be reading next. I mean training as in behaviour modification rather than teaching dogs to do neat tricks. And psychology as in how dogs think, why they act the way they do.

To anyone interested in learning more about canine psychology, I highly recommend you check out the courses offered by the ISCP. It’s a UK organisation but the courses can be done online from wherever you are in the world. You can also join in discussions and webinars, as well as their Facebook page, where you will get to know a large network of dog behaviourists and trainers.

Here are those books, in no particular order (as most of my readers are in America, I’m using the US Amazon site for the links):

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know https://www.amazon.com/dp/1416583432/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_qNQxwb1W6ZYRM

Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs https://www.amazon.com/dp/1617810509/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_bPQxwb6SREME9

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals https://www.amazon.com/dp/1929242360/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_RQQxwb9BXMSWJ

Charlie: The dog who came in from the wild https://www.amazon.com/dp/1845847849/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_9YQxwbXGC9E2Y

The Dog’s Mind: Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior (Howell reference books) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0876055137/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_aSQxwbC6A3RZC

Train Your Dog Positively: Understand Your Dog and Solve Common Behavior Problems Including Separation Anxiety, Excessive Barking, Aggression, Housetraining, Leash Pulling, and More! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1607744147/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_M6Qxwb31BZ9ER

Dog Training – The Essential Guide https://www.amazon.com/dp/1861442904/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_X5QxwbRH3AJZ1

Dog Language: An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior https://www.amazon.com/dp/0966048407/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_1SQxwb98XZXM5

How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain https://www.amazon.com/dp/0544114515/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_wVQxwbV2YE2K7

Clever Dog: Understand What Your Dog is Telling You https://www.amazon.com/dp/0007488548/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_3WQxwb6TT9ANW

The Power of Positive Dog Training https://www.amazon.com/dp/0470241845/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_U1QxwbASCC48E

The Heartbeat at Your Feet: A Practical, Compassionate New Way to Train Your Dog https://www.amazon.com/dp/1442218177/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_8ZQxwbK38FF8V

It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet https://www.amazon.com/dp/1401308554/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_q7QxwbYZVHS3A

In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding by Bradshaw, John (2012) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C6PN6FS/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_u8QxwbX390H62

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs https://www.amazon.com/dp/034544678X/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_6aRxwb38H4256

This list is by no means comprehensive. There are lots of other books on the subject, however I’ve only listed the newer ones. Some of the ideas and concepts in the older books have been debunked, or have fallen out of favour with the public, so they’re not on my list here.

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Dystopian Dreams

Next week, the final instalment of The Hunger Games comes out at the cinemas. For those who are unaware of this hugely successful franchise, it’s dystopian fiction, set in a world where one oppressing power (The Capital) controls the rest of the country (divided into 13 Districts, based on their natural resources). And where there once was a War, with catastrophic loss of lives, after which the Capital decided that, as a reminder to the people of Panem, each year 2 young men and women from each District would be selected to participate in The Hunger Games. They would be pitted against each other and against the other Tributes from other Districts, in a fight to the death in artificially created arenas, and this spectacle would be watched by the rest of the country as reality TV.

As gory and brutal as it may appear to be, The Hunger Games is Not about glorifying war. Rather, it is about how one young woman, Katniss Everdeen, is suddenly thrust into an environment where she must fight first for her own survival, and later for the survival of the people who follow her. Katniss, the reluctant leader of the Rebellion, often has not a clue as to what she’s meant to do to lead her people. She has a team of propagandists directing her, but clearly she’s not comfortable with being yet again someone’s puppet on a string, and just wants an end to the tradition of The Hunger Games, and for Peace to take its place. But, puppet she must be, and so Katniss gets tossed about from pillar to post, in a power struggle between President Snow of The Capital and President Alma Coin of District Thirteen, where the rebellion is brewing.

The moral of the story is not so much that War is a bloody futile exercise; that fact is clearly evident from the books by Suzanne Collins. Ironically, it is about how one must fight, quite literally, to balance the scales and restore Peace to the land again. How a people divided and oppressed by one power, can be brought back together as a united front to fight this injustice, by the very same vehicle used to divide and oppress them – the televised gladiator spectacle that is The Hunger Games.

The reason I’ve chosen to write about The Hunger Games, so close after the fresh tragedy of the Paris attacks by Islamic State, is not to promote the movie, or to justify starting a war, but quite the opposite. Like much of the rest of the world, I’m struggling to understand just what happened on November 13th 2015 in Paris. And why it happened.

In The Hunger Games, the Rebellion fought for freedom from oppression, and to put a stop to the barbaric tradition of sending human sacrifices to The Capital each year. It fought to regain Peace for everyone. It tried passive, non-violent means, it tried negotiation, but The Capital responded with violence instead. Remember this, before you get too engrossed in the film and forget what all the fighting is about: the Rebellion was never proactive in its actions against The Capital, it was reactive.

Those terrorists claiming to be acting for IS have only one objective – to kill as many innocent lives as they can, and then either blow themselves up or get killed, so they can go to Heaven and each be rewarded by the loving ministrations of 7 virgins. (Frankly, this must be Hell, not Heaven, as I can’t imagine 1 virgin in her right mind, let alone 7, wanting to service such imbeciles). They’re not liberating anyone from oppressive regimes. They’re not fighting to free their country from any barbaric customs – if anything, they’re perpetuating those barbaric customs by their very actions. They’ve been brainwashed into thinking of the Western World as The Enemy That Must Be Destroyed. They’ve been taught by some twisted souls that anyone who is not for them is against them and must be annihilated. Throw Islam into the mix, give it a good stir, add a hefty dose of paranoia, a generous dollop of stupidity, a barrelful of empty promises of Heaven and all the sex you can get (why is it always about sex?), and feed the toxic concoction to these terrorists, and they think they’re doing it in the name of Allah. Boy, have they been well and truly fooled.

Not content to stay in their own country, they’ve decided to take their war to the countries they feel have insulted them. And not content to fight army against army, they’ve decided to go for the Coward’s Punch – gunning down innocent civilians in public places. A stadium, a bar, a restaurant, a concert hall, the streets of Paris…hardly places for serious discussions about War and for mobilising troops.

Let’s not forget Lebanon and Syria either…and who knows what other country these terrorists have their sights set on next? The world waits with bated breath to see how the affected governments react.

An eye for an eye…that might be their argument. But an eye for an eye soon leads to the land of the blind.

The solution is simple. The solution is Peace. Lay down ALL weapons, that’s right, folks, step away from those evil, nasty things. Throw them in the bin. Learn to love your neighbour, instead. What Man doesn’t understand, he fears. And what Man fears, he tries to destroy. So, for goodness’ sake, get to know the people around you, make friends with them, embrace their different cultures/race/religion/sexual orientation/dietary preferences/etc. And then you will find there’s actually nothing to be afraid of.

If we all held hands instead of guns, there would be no need for weapons of any kind, mass destruction of otherwise. Well, there would only be 2 weapons – LOVE and PEACE. I believe we can all live very happily with that, don’t you?

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(Artwork showing various dystopian cities by Belgian artist Jonas De Ro, seen on DeviantArt).

The Forever War

I was about 15 when I first read Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War“. My elder brother had brought it home from his boarding school, and when he’d finished reading it, he simply tossed it in my direction. I was at that impressionable age, and the story and characters fueled my imagination and turned me into a lifelong science fiction afficionado. I spent the next few years voraciously devouring any sci-fi books I could get my hands on. I mean come on, who doesn’t like the idea of people flying through black holes or “collapsar jumps”, where time really is relative and one could wait on a planet for hundreds of Earth years, for their loved one to join them?

I’ve just discovered that Joe Haldeman wrote 3 books in the “Forever” Series. Guess what my Christmas reading will be? I just ordered the Omnibus edition, called “Peace And War” as my original, much loved and tattered copy of The Forever War is alas, long lost in the dust of so many years and house moves.

I also read somewhere recently that The Forever War is finally going to be made into a film. I can’t wait! It had better be as good as the book.

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All Creatures Great And Small…

When I was growing up, I loved reading James Herriot‘s semi-autobiographical vet stories. I devoured all his books, I would get so engrossed in the stories that the time would just fly by.

I never entertained the thought of becoming a veterinarian, though, mainly because my father saw it fit to encourage me towards becoming a medical doctor instead. That’s where the money was, he said. Vets just didn’t carry the same social status as doctors.

He succeeded with my older brother. However, in my misspent youth, I careered off the carefully laid out tracks my father had envisioned for me. And I ended up doing a degree in Music instead, far, far away from the field of Medicine.

But now, at long last, I’ve heard the call and am answering it. Though not in the strict sense that I’m going to become a veterinarian. Hey, I’m nothing if not practical. I’m no spring chicken, and studying to become a vet (5-7 years) will take far too long. So, instead, I’m studying to become the next best thing – a Vet Nurse, which I can do in 18-24 months.

So far, so good. I’ve been getting High Distinctions on my online assessments thus far. And I’m waiting impatiently for several textbooks on veterinary nursing to arrive in the post. Why are they taking so long??!

And recently I decided to rekindle my romance with my old flame, James Herriot. Granted, his books were written many decades ago, and the man himself has long departed from this earth. But his heartwarming stories are eternal and the subject of his writing even more so. Surgical techniques may have changed, medicines may have evolved, diseases eradicated and new ones discovered, but the stories of one man’s love and compassion for all creatures great and small will continue to resonate in all of us.

Mind you, it is getting rather hard to source James Herriot’s books these days. His Omnibus and box sets are rather expensive on the secondary market. Amazon has some really cheap, affordable copies, but after factoring in international postage to Australia, the costs soon add up to Too Much. But still, you never know when one or two of James Herriot’s books might end up at your local thrift store.

A short while back, I wrote about animal relationships, and mentioned several books on the subject. One of these books was “Unlikely Loves” by Jennifer S. Holland. And guess what, a couple of days ago I felt compelled to visit Elizabeth’s Secondhand Bookshop in Perth, and I found a copy of that same book there, for a paltry AU$8.80. Happy days!

And so, being as the Universe appears to be answering a great many of my prayers these days, and helping me manifest my desires, I again felt compelled to visit my local thrift store in Rockingham today…and I was just about to leave when a large hardcover book under several other books somehow caught my eye.

Could it be? Was it possible? Yes!! It wasn’t an Omnibus or Box Set like the ones I’d seen online. This was something else altogether, something unique and special. The Best of James Herriot. AU$2.00.

And here it is, my Great Find Of The Day. It’s a sign, surely.
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As you can see from the photos above, this edition contains not only James Herriot’s own selection of stories, but also photos and descriptions of the towns mentioned in his books, a bit like a travelogue. It also has many rather quaint illustrations, and some useful and informative sidenotes on instruments, animals, farming equipment, etc.

I feel so lucky and privileged to have come into posession of this wonderful book. Thank you, Universe!! :)

Coincidences come in twos

On Saturday morning, despite a terrible pounding headache on one side of my head, a precursor to the dreaded ‘flu that The Kid and I currently have, I decided to drag us both out to our local thrift shops, McDonald’s and the supermarket.

At the thrift store, I found and bought 3 books of interest, cheap at $2 each:

Psychic Intelligence by Terry & Linda Jamison

The Psychic Protection Handbook by Caitlín Matthews

Don’t Kiss Them Good-bye by Allison Dubois

We’re at McDonald’s having lunch, and I’ve taken out the book Psychic Intelligence to read. The authors, Terry and Linda Jamison, are twins. They style themselves “The Psychic Twins“. They are the most documented psychics in the world.

I hear some really loud talking at a table near us, and I look around to see what the fuss is about. From the slowness and slurring of their speech, I know the two young men at the table have some sort of speech impediment, or developmental problems. However, it wasn’t that they were enjoying themselves so much with their food, and expressing their uninhibited joy vocally, that made me do a double take.

And I mean a double take literally, as the reason for me looking at them again was because they were TWINS.

Now, what are the chances of that happening? That I should be reading a book on honing my intuitive powers, written by twins, and that at that same moment, sitting not 10 feet away from me, are a pair of twins? Coincidence? There’s no such thing.

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From Wayne W Dyer’s “Your Sacred Self”: Erroneous Belief #9

Erroneous Belief #9 states that:

YOU MUST ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

How many times have we all heard that, from our parents, grandparents and teachers? And how many times have we been disappointed when we “did our best” but didn’t win the race, didn’t get good grades, failed at something?

Isn’t it better to just turn up and enjoy the experience, no matter what the context is? Or the outcome, for that matter? If we keep placing impossibly high goals in front of ourselves, we’re only going to experience disappointment when we don’t reach those goals. Don’t let yourself be controlled by externally imposed achievement levels.

The Kid isn’t sports-mad, unlike most of his schoolmates. He’d rather play Minecraft on his computer. So, when he tells me he hates Physical Education (P.E), I tell him not to look at it as a competitive event, where he feels he has to “give his best” to win the race or beat the other team, but instead to just participate in whatever activities there are, and enjoy his time doing them. He doesn’t have to be the best ball player, or the fastest runner, the best catcher or thrower, he just has to show up and take part.

Last term The Kid’s school had a cross-country run, which was conducted over several days, with one day designated to every Year. The Kid is currently in Year 7, the first year of High School. He knew he didn’t stand a chance of winning the race, so instead he made a pact with his friend Eddie, to tie for the position of last place. Now, that may seem defeatist, and no doubt the teachers might have told them both off for not doing their best, but I didn’t berate The Kid when he told me what he’d done. Instead, I said he and Eddie had practised creativity and turned what must have been a boring sports event that neither had any interest in, into something fun that they could do. They both still got badges for participating and finishing the race, anyway.

Adopting a “You must always do your best” attitude to everything you do is really tiring. It isn’t what humans are meant to be doing, anyway. Rather, it’s something that Society tries to make us believe that we must do. Maybe it’s well-meaning, but ill-phrased, maybe that’s what’s essentially wrong with that saying. Perhaps, instead of saying “You must always do your best”, we could try saying “Turn up and enjoy the experience”, and then if you win the race or contest, that’s just the icing on the cake. If you didn’t win, well, you still had cake, didn’t you?

We shouldn’t live thinking that everything we do or say is being assessed or tested by Society, our elders, our employers, our social circles. There is nothing more inauthentic than a life lived according to the rules of others, of having to do what traditions or religion dictate, even when your Soul feels differently. If you are different, in any way, that difference should be celebrated as your uniqueness, not shoehorned into some readymade box where everyone else is. “You must always do your best” does not create uniqueness, instead it creates the sense that everyone must aspire to exactly the same thing, reach the same heights of achievement, and therefore everyone must accept disappointment as a way of life. “You must always do your best” stifles creativity and misdirects our personal goals, it makes the result or outcome take precedence over the actual act of doing something.

In other words, it takes the fun out of everything we do.

The Kid told me about “High Expectation Asian Father” memes on the Internet, so I had a look for myself today. As an Asian, I can totally relate to the memes, which, while terribly funny, are also very true of a typical Asian father’s expectations of his offspring. I know, I’ve been at the receiving end many times!

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From Wayne W Dyer’s “Your Sacred Self”: Erroneous Belief #7

Today I’m writing about Erroneous Belief #7, from the book “Your Sacred Self” by Dr Wayne W Dyer. I’ve taken 10 of the Beliefs Wayne has written about, and applied it to my own life.

Erroneous Belief #7 is:

PETTY TYRANTS SHOULD BE IGNORED

Some people in this world have so much pain in their souls that they feel the need to take it out on innocent bystanders. It’s the only way they can make themselves feel better, or to preserve their own well-being, or justify their existence. Bully is one word to describe these people. They could also be dictators, tyrants, or just downright nasty so-and-sos.

The question is: what should I do if I’m being bullied at work/home/in my social circle? Do I ignore them and try to deflect their attention elsewhere? Do I face up to them and show my mettle? Do I run away and hide from them? Do I tell on them and get them into trouble so they’ll leave me alone?

There are many schools of thought on how to cope with these petty tyrants. Any or all of the above could or should work, but sadly, sometimes, even with the best intentions, nothing works.

I was being bullied at work by my direct line manager. It wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong, or that I was a poor worker. It was just that she had targets to meet in her own job, and one of them was that she had to be seen to be correcting a team member. However, it became a personal vendetta for this manager, and she took it upon herself to persecute me at every turn, as I was easy game. I was aware, from observing my fellow team members, that none of us was perfect, but some of us could get away with murder while others just had to say a wrong word and that would be it. Sure we were all equal, but apparently some were more equal than others. And so I “copped it in the neck” more often than anyone else.

I did everything according to the book, but this manager really had it in for me, and even after I pointed out to her that her favourites were getting away with errors and negligence, she ignored that and instead placed my work under even deeper scrutiny. I lodged a formal complaint against her, but her direct manager just happened to be a crony of hers, who went on holidays to Bali together with her…so you can guess what the outcome of That was. In the end, I decided that my workplace was simply too toxic to work in, I was getting stressed just thinking about going in to work in the mornings. So, I handed in my resignation after an excruciating year putting up with my petty tyrant’s behaviour.

Best decision I ever made.

Once the excitement had worn off, I sat down to think about what lessons I’d learnt from this experience. One thing I learnt was that you cannot hope to change a person’s thoughts, opinions or heart. They have to do that by themselves. Another was that I needed to learn not to take things personally… which is a difficult lesson to learn, when one’s job and livelihood are at risk. Another lesson was that, no matter what you do, if your face doesn’t fit, you’ll never satisfy some people, as simple as that.

But, you know what, that’s not my problem, it’s theirs.

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I believe our Life experiences shape our character. What doesn’t kill you, really does make you stronger. My own father was and still is, to some extent, a petty tyrant. I learnt at a young age what conditional love meant, when he more or less mentally disowned me when my school grades did not meet his expectations. I learnt to shut off my emotions when around my own father, to never cry a tear in his presence, to keep my innermost thoughts and  ideas to myself. Another valuable lesson he taught me was that you should never surround yourself with toxic people, those who zap your spirit with their negativity and patronising behaviour. After all, who wants to be reminded that they are a “constant disappointment”? So, even though we have a rocky history between us, I’ve learnt to thank my father for giving me the steel backbone of my persona, and I’ve also learnt how to accept and interact with people like him… in small doses.

The Kid keeps getting bullied at school. First, in primary school, and now, in high school. My guess is that he’s too soft and gentle, and bullies like to take advantage of that. We’ve discussed various ways of getting the bullies off his back, and he’s tried them, to varying degrees of success. However, there is still one bully, who we believe has behavioural problems that needs addressing not by his parents or by the school, but by a child psychologist. This particular kid keeps getting into trouble with the teachers and has absolutely no respect for authority whatsoever.

The Kid will have to figure out, by trial and error, how to deal with his own life’s petty tyrants. My job is to make sure that his sense of self-esteem isn’t eroded by bullies, and to help him take the moral higher ground. Karma’s a bitch, and those bullies will get what they deserve, sooner or later. Already, we’ve seen how The Kid being bullied has turned into a positive experience, not just once, but twice. He was elected by his peers to be Head Boy of his primary school, and now he’s a Student Councillor at his new high school. So, in reality, much good has come of the experience.

If we keep ignoring the lessons that our petty tyrants are trying to teach us, they won’t go away, they’ll just keep reappearing in different guises, until we’ve learnt the lesson. I’m a prime example of a Failure, in that sense…my greatest downfall and disappointments have always been men. My first husband had affairs behind my back, my second and current husband had an online affair. Neither men appreciated me, instead, they simply neglected me once they’d gotten me over the threshold. I should have sensed what was coming – I never had a honeymoon with my first marriage; didn’t have one either with my second. The Kid’s father was an abusive alcoholic and chain smoker; I traded him in years later for another alcoholic. I’ve had a few gentlemen admirers in my time…who turned out to be not quite as gentlemanly as I believed, when they made their true intentions known. What is it with men and sex??!

So, my Life’s lesson now, I guess is that I need to learn to love myself, first and foremost. And everything else is just a bonus. And you know what? Since I turned on that switch in my head, Life is pretty awesome. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need, and that is pretty darn near perfect.

From Wayne W Dyer’s “Your Sacred Self”: Erroneous Belief #4

Here is Erroneous Belief #4 from Wayne W Dyer‘s book “Your Sacred Self“:

THERE IS ONLY ONE EXISTENCE AND IT IS PHYSICAL

This  belief is common amongst many people, who think the only reason they’re here on Earth is to consume, fit in, work and then die. The ones who never question Why they are here, and what their Purpose is in life. Their existence rarely goes beyond what they can see around them, what their 5 senses can show them.

Then, there are the people who believe in Spirit, the religious persons who by their faith, are able to see beyond just the physical and can hint at a higher level of being. No, you do not have to be necessarily religious in the traditional sense of the word, to enjoy the realm of the unseen. You don’t even have to be Spiritual, or a Witch, or a Psychic or Intuitive. You can be like me, a student of Life, curious about everything and open to alternative ideas of reality. If your eyes have been opened, you’ll realise that even what we perceive as physical solids, is actually composed of nothing more than millions of atoms in a certain configuration, vibrating at fluctuating frequencies. Even children learn the difference between solids, liquids and gases early on in their educational life. I’m no scientist, and I cannot explain this beyond the simplest language. But don’t you think it’s strange that, even after scientists have discovered all sorts of breakthroughs in the field of physics, chemistry and  biology, we still have no concrete evidence that the material world really exists and isn’t just in our imagination?

I read that when we are in our mother’s womb, our world is all encompassing, we have everything we need and require to thrive. We as embryos may be physical beings, but our internal world was anything but. We did not even breathe air! We did not see the world the same way as our mothers do, but all the same we felt her love, we heard her beating heart, we heard her soothing words, we experienced all her emotions just as she experienced them, by way of chemical differences in the liquids surrounding our growing body. If we had a twin or triplet growing inside with us, they were our friends and shared our experiences and thoughts, not by the clunky way of adult language, but by all our senses. So, in that sense, enclosed as we were in the womb, it was not a physical realm, it was something else – a magical sensory world. And then, suddenly there was a bright light at the end of the tunnel, and we were propelled forwards toward it. And suddenly, we were pushed out of our mother’s vagina into the “real” world. If anyone was left behind in our embryonic world to witness that, they would no doubt have said that we’d died and gone to heaven. But instead, we emerged into a different reality, one bound by physical constraints and the law of gravity. We had to learn to breathe air, to crawl, then walk and learn to communicate verbally.

So, if we’re capable of experiencing two very different worlds like that, what’s to say that when we die in this physical world, we just disappear? What if we don’t really die, what if the Earth and its solar system, galaxies and beyond, are all just another vagina, and when we “die” and go towards the light, we are actually being born again into a third world? A good metaphor would be to call our current reality “The Waiting Room”.

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Just because you can’t see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, smell it, doesn’t mean something does not exist. There is a famous traditional saying which goes like this: “I’ll believe it when I see it”. You need to turn it round and say instead, “I’ll see it when I believe it”.

You are NOT your body. You are NOT your mind, either. As the great spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says, in his book “A New Earth“, ” The atoms that make up your body were once forged inside stars, and the causes of even the smallest event are virtually infinite and connected with the whole in incomprehensible ways”. We are all just beings of vibrational energy co-existing in the same plane with each other. Every single action you take causes a ripple effect that affects every single thing close to you. Imagine a vast ocean, with ripples of current causing more and more ripples, each bouncing off the other, some creating bigger ripples, others overcoming smaller ones, some moving towards the shore, others so far out on the horizon that they can’t even be seen. That is what our world is like, and that is why we all need to work together as a harmonious whole, instead of constantly trying to outdo each other, kill each other, being better than the other, having more than others, etc. We are all in this together.

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…which brings me to Erroneous Belief #5, in my next post.

The Giving Heart

…or, a tale of serendipity and synchronicity.

I received an email from my local library that one of the items I had reserved was now ready for collection. And so, although it was a rather rainy day, I made the trek by bicycle to the library today.

The library has some shelves in the foyer where they sell discarded library books. Old books, not so popular books, books superceded by new imprints – you could get them cheap for 50 cents or a dollar each.

After picking up my books, I decided to have a look at the books for sale. Sometimes the pickings are slim, other times there’d be a golden nugget or two. Today one book in particular seemed to jump out at me.

It was “The Giving Heart” by M.J Ryan. The strapline read “Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life”.

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The strange thing was, all the other books bore “discarded” stamps inside their covers. And all had the standard library stickers and catalogue numbers on their spines.

Except this one. There was absolutely nothing on or in this book to indicate that it had ever been a library book. Could it perhaps have been left there on purpose for someone like me to find? Abandoned with good intention by someone who had learned from its contents and now wished to share it with others?

I took the book to the librarian at the counter. She couldn’t explain how it had ended up on the book sale shelves either. She didn’t hesitate to charge me a dollar for it, though.

I believe there are No accidents in life, and that I was meant to find and take this book home with me. It might explain why I like giving things away, like my Art, the oranges from my tree, my hens’ eggs, bread and cakes that I’ve baked, clothes I don’t wear anymore. Another clue or insight into what or who I am, and why.

The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life https://www.amazon.com/dp/1573245216/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_Hg9LvbZ9Q9WPN

So, it seems the Universe has decreed today that I start reading this book first, instead of the one I went to the library to collect. OK, Universe!