Category Archives: Musings

Furry Friends Daily Five #1

You only have to Google “Animal Friends” to see the plethora of inter-species animal friendships from all around the world. I’m not making this up, neither am I boosting or bolstering the fact that ANIMALS GET ON BETTER WITH EACH OTHER THAN HUMAN BEINGS.

Sure, as a “superior” race, human beings have language and technology and are able to communicate with each other easily. The sad thing is, despite this advantage we have over animals, we’re no good at communicating with our fellow human beings. Terrible, in fact. I guess when we give our Ego free rein, no amount of language or technology will ever bring us Peace.

Animals have no concept of Ego. What you see is what you get. Animals don’t fret about getting to work on time, pleasing the boss, buying stuff, performance reviews, promotions, deadlines, paying the bills, buying more stuff, holidays, exams, celebrations, what to eat tomorrow, buying even more stuff etc etc etc. Animals don’t believe in capitalism, consumerism, communism, terrorism or indeed any “ism” at all. They only have one language, and that is Love.

Animals just exist. And they do that very well indeed, until humans come along and make a royal mess of things, like the cruel bullies we are. The Bible teaches that Man is the guardian over all living creatures, and his job is to look after them and take care of their needs. Well, if that is so, God must be smiting His forehead and rolling His eyes right now, because we sure as hell have screwed up big time!

Take a look at today’s 5 animal friends, (curated from Google Images). And ponder just for a minute, marvel at the miraculousness of these unlikely friendships, wonder at how these animals ever met and fell in love with each other…and ask yourself, WHY CAN’T HUMANS ACCEPT AND LOVE EACH OTHER THE SAME WAY AS ANIMALS. We are, after all, the same species, with common DNA running through our veins. So why are we always at war with each other? Why the violence and hate? Why the killing, raping, pillaging, shooting, blowing up, destroying etc?? Why is the human species so violent?

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Don’t Be You

Buy this!
Wear that!
This is the latest shade!
You’ll feel ever so sexy in these.
Mr Celebrity uses this.
Mrs Celebrity eats that.
Do it! Do it!
Don’t be You.
Don’t be You.

Read this!
Watch that!
Listen to this channel!
Watch the Daily News
For more Mis-information
Red Flags are currently trending
Do it! Do it!
Don’t be You.
Don’t you dare be You.

She’s famous!
He’s famous!
Let’s all try and be like them!
What, no cash? Here’s a credit card!
Live like there’s no tomorrow
For tomorrow will never come
Buy! Buy! Indulge yourself!
Don’t be You.
Don’t you ever try to be You.

Watch this film!
No, not That one
It needs you to think about things
And we can’t have that, can we?
Frankly, I don’t even know why
Those movies are even allowed here
Just take this popcorn and drink
Now go sit in the dark and enjoy
Not being You.

Don’t think!
Thinking uses up brain cells
Here, have this beer
Have this cigarette
Have these $4000 shoes
Buy that dress
And don’t forget the handbag too
Whatever you do, just
Don’t be You.

Here, buy this car!
Buy this house! That one too!
In fact, just buy the whole lot!
You’ll make lots of money
And Money buys Happiness
Yes, it does!
Yes, it does!
Don’t be You
Never just be You.

Being You sucks
You stick out like a sore thumb
Everyone laughs at You
Because You’re different
You don’t march to the same piper
As the other sheep
You don’t belong in the flock
Isn’t it easier to just follow along and
Don’t be You?

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(Image source: Google Images)

First World Problems

Boy, do we have it bad here. So many problems, so many disappointments.

Or, do we, really?

Perhaps what we tend to see as problems aren’t that at all, but rather our psyches making them out to be problems, in the absence of any REAL problems. There’s no real threat to your life, but because you’re so used to a soft life of comfort and luxury, a broken nail can mean total ruination in your mind. The Ego loves being pampered.

There’s an old saying “Those without shoes should think about those without feet”. Don’t complain about your perceived or comparative lack of something, because there are always people in far, far worse situations than you.

We all like our creature comforts, that is true. And when we have them or can afford them, it’s happy smiles all round. Or is it? Maybe it’s more like smug mugs and a sense of entitlement. So, when those  privileges are suddenly removed, we throw temper tantrums. Toys out of the cot.

Those who have never had these privileges or luxuries can only look on and wonder what all the fuss is about. They don’t suffer from “First World Problems” like some people do.

We’ve been spoilt for far too long. Time to disconnect from our technology and reconnect with our fellow human beings. Learn to appreciate what you already have, instead of always wanting what you don’t have. That’s true Happiness.

And here are some First World Problems I found on Google Images. You’ll see just how ridiculous they are, really, in the grand scheme of things.

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National Dog Day

August 26th 2015 is National Dog Day. Invented by Colleen Paige in 2004, it aims to celebrate everything about our faithful canine companions, and to promote adoption of dogs and puppies from shelters rather than buying from backyard breeders or worse, puppy farms.

Here’s the official website for National Dog Day. And here’s the blurb about the significance of the Day, taken from the website:

National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and was founded in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige (also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day and National Cat Day …to name a few).

National Dog Day serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.

National Dog Day is against any kind of “breed ban”. Dogs should not have to lose their lives because of the atrocities they have been forced to endure at the hands of man. And while we feel that Americans have the constitutional right to purchase a pure breed dog, we strongly discourage buying dogs from pet stores supplied by puppy mills, backyard breeders, the internet and newspaper ads. Rather, we encourage those seeking new canine companions, to consider choosing adoption first and if you’d like a pure breed dog, look into a pure breed rescue to see if they might have just the dog you’re looking for.

When considering buying from a breeder, verify that you’re buying from a reputable breeder by checking out their licensing, internet reviews and ask for local references such as a vet. It’s vital to educate yourself about the breed you’re considering parenting.

“Millions of dogs are killed each year because they’re simply unwanted, says Colleen Paige, founder of National Dog Day. They’re unwanted because no one realized how to properly care for the demands of the breed. They’re unwanted because they were bought as a Christmas gift for a child that didn’t keep their promises about caring for the dog…unwanted because they shed too much…unwanted because they bark too much. UNWANTED…simply because someone changed their mind. All a dog wants to do is love and protect you. That’s all. Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect. Please consider bringing what was once considered “unwanted love”, into your heart and home on National Dog Day!”

National Dog Day can be marked as many a dog’s birthday for those rescued on the day and for all of them it will be akin to a “K9- 4th of July!” Even citizens who are not dog owners will be encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.

It may be an American invention, but it’s slowly catching on in countries across the world. In my opinion, EVERY DAY should be a Dog Day, where we acknowledge the place dogs have in our hearts, their contributions to society by way of working tirelessly as police dogs, guard dogs, drug sniffing dogs, companion dogs for the disabled, therapy dogs, or even just as house pets and guardians of the home. They deserve our respect and care, and should not be abused, mistreated or bred for the wrong purposes.

I have the privilege and honour of being a volunteer Canine Carer at a dog shelter in Perth City, Western Australia. My job is to keep the dogs company, maybe teach them a few tricks so their chances of getting adopted improve. But I’ve also found out that I’m a great spokesperson for the dogs when visitors come round. By showing off to visitors what each dog can do, and engaging their attention, I can then sell the dog’s character and attractiveness as a companion animal to the visitor. Interested adopters have to fill out a detailed questionnaire and be interviewed by a trained member of staff, who will try to pair them with the right dog. I feel that sometimes prospective adopters don’t really know what they’re looking for, or might miss seeing a dog because it’s the wrong size, breed or colour, until someone like me brings the dog to their attention. (I like to break the ice by introducing myself from within the dog’s enclosure by cheerily greeting visitors with a “Hello! I’m available for adoption too!” It always throws them when they realise it’s Not the dog speaking.

I’m really loving this job. And I intend to undertake a Certificate IV in Vererinary Nursing (the industry prerequisite for working at a vet practice) in the new year.

Meanwhile, here are photos of a few of my charges at the shelter. Happy National Dog Day!

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Damaged Goods (An Allegory)

Excuse me, said the man
I’d like to return this item

Oh, why is that? Asked the storekeeper

It’s damaged, said the man
I’ve used it a few times
It’s in perfect working order
But now I have a problem with it

Oh, how is that? Asked the storekeeper

Well, let me list it, said the man

One. The colour is not quite right
I bought it thinking it was purple
But my friends tell me it’s lavender
Or mauve, or lilac
I wanted purple purple

Two. It’s an older model
I thought it was this year’s
But it’s actually last year’s
So its lifespan won’t be as good
I need a brand spanking newer model

Three. It’s not the right shape
To fit in with my home decor
I need it to be exactly right
To blend in and not stick out
This one’s too round, not masculine

Four. The size is not right either
I can’t find the right place for it
It’s either too big or too small
For where I want to put it
My friends will laugh at me

Oh, I see. Anything else?
Asked the storekeeper

Not really, said the man
Can I have an exchange or a refund?
If you don’t have the correct
Colour
Age
Shape
Size
I’ll settle for a refund

Well, let me see
Said the storekeeper
You came here last year
With your friends
And you spent hours trying out
All my merchandise
You even took selfies
You discussed how it would look
In your home
You went over every
Colour
Age
Shape
Size
That you could find
You tested out every single function
And then, with your friends
You chose this very item
That you’re now trying to return to me
Well, I’m sorry
The Store’s policy is that
We only accept returns for
Damaged goods
Goods which are not working
Due to a fault
Or goods that need repairing

We do not accept returns
Simply because you
Got bored with it
Or you’ve seen something newer
It’s not this year’s trending colour
It doesn’t fit your home decor
Or your friends are laughing at you
So deal with it, buddy
Take your First World problems elsewhere

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Now apply this to your everyday life. What are you not happy about? Is it the fault of the object or person, or is it merely a reflection of your own thoughts? Did you make a mistake in choosing something? If so, be big enough to admit it and take steps to rectify the situation. Take responsibility for your actions, instead of trying to pin the blame on everything and everyone else. The world does not revolve around you, it truly doesn’t, so don’t just stand there expecting it to.

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Giving Up, Letting Go & Knowing When You’ve Had Enough

Very recently, I’ve had occasion to look in depth at the differences between Giving Up, Letting Go and Knowing When You’ve Had Enough.

At first glance, they all appear similar, interchangeable even.

But they could not be more different.

Giving up is a failing on your part to start, try or continue doing something, where you know there is even the slimmest chance of success. If someone is pulled unconscious from the sea, you know there is a chance they could be revived, so you perform CPR immediately. You do your darndest to bring that person back from the brink. You don’t Give Up and sit there crying, you keep giving CPR until either the person revives, or the paramedics arrive and take over, or it becomes obvious that the person has died.

Letting Go, then, is when you’ve done your best, tried your hardest, and still the Universe said “Sorry, but No”. You made the effort, nevertheless. The outcome just wasn’t what you expected. It was not your failing, or from lack of trying. Sometimes, the people and situations that present themselves in our lives, are just not meant for us. You can try and try, but if it’s not meant to be, you need to step aside so they can go on towards wherever they were meant to go in the first place. Sometimes, what we think are Destinations are merely Pit Stops. (I’ve personally misinterpreted HELL as a welcome sign saying HELLO. True story, that). Sometimes, we fall for the person in front of us, when in reality they were merely in the way of The One. So, in learning to Let Go, we step out of our own way so the Universe can work Her magic.

Knowing When You’ve Had Enough is when you’ve been a willing sacrificial lamb or punching bag to someone else, or in a certain situation or circumstance. You’ve put up with the other person’s behaviour and actions, no matter how detrimental they are towards yourself, because you love or care about them. Or simply because it was the path of least resistance, the passive way, the peaceful non-confrontational way. Knowing When You’ve Had Enough kicks in when you’ve been stretched way past breaking point, and you need to get your Personal Power back, to assert yourself, to say “Enough! No more!” And then you need to move on from there, and put it all behind you.

The trickiest part is deciding which of the three best describe your situation right now. Sometimes, we decide to stay in a particular situation due to fear of change, intimidation, or abuse. Other times, it’s to keep the peace, or because it’s the best option for that moment. It could also be from a misplaced sense of duty, obligation, social standing, cultural tradition, reputation.

Whatever the case may be, when the call comes, we must be willing to take the necessary action to move forward. This calls for courage and inner strength. You are about to do something outside your comfort zone. You are about to change your life’s path. You are about to make a real difference in your life.

Be brave. Always.

(Images curated from Google Images. All copyrights remain with the originators).
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A Dystopian’s Utopia: DISMALAND

Dystopians, rejoice! Your Utopia has arrived, in the form of a major Art installation of gargantuan proportions, bigger and badder than ever construed in your minds, more painful, raw, mind-searing and thought-provoking than anything you’ve been preparing for all your lives!

After an extremely secret hush-hush rush spanning several weeks, in the UK’s not-so-secret tourist seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare (where yours truly has fond memories of spending 3 days every month for 2 years doing her Diploma in Consumer Affairs at a majestically run-down, labyrinthine hotel right on the seashore), artist-activist Banksy‘s “Dismaland” has opened to the public.

Contrary to local folklore, gleefully seeded and carefully nurtured by the organisers to add to the urban legend, the old derelict open-air Lido was NOT the site for filming an up-and-coming film codenamed “Grey Fox”. Instead, Dismaland is a pop-up Art installation with the strapline promising to be “The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”, spearheaded by Banksy, being a collaboration of more than 50 other artists of international renown.

Staff at Dismaland wear those famous black ears, and bright pink high-visibility vests with the word DISMAL emblazoned on their backs. Only the most morose, bored, dispirited and de-motivated-looking applicants got the job. (Previous Disneyland Mouseketeers and its lawyers need not apply).

Dismaland is an apocalyptic dig at consumerism and capitalism, a dystopian’s wet dream of what will happen to us all frighteningly, if Society today carries on with its relentless, mindless, let’s-all-bleat-to-the-same-sheeple-tune march towards self-annihilation.

Whether or not the general hoi-polloi will get that message, is not clear as yet. Certainly, I envision that many will throng to the attraction for sheer entertainment value, whilst leaving their brains safely cotton-wooled at home. They will come across the many strangely distorted sculptures, bizarre juxtapositions and positionings of Disney princesses, a weird machete-wielding butcher/scientist on a carousel, epilepsy-inducing strobe light effects, depressing messages stencilled in giant letters too big to miss, sooty stencils of humans that look like they were blasted into oblivion against walls etc…and whether or not they understand the underlying message behind the allegorical scenes, or simply accept them at face value i.e “entertainment”, is anyone’s guess.

If they are disappointed by what they find, then Dismaland has lived up to its promise. If they do understand the message, then Dismaland has served its purpose to awaken a few more souls each day.

(If I sound like a drunken poet today, it’s because I’m currently reading Russell Brand‘s latest book “Revolution“, and I may subconsciouly be channelling Russell’s unique way of speaking and writing. What can I say, the man does not speak so much as spout poetry in motion. If Russell Brand ever starts an anti-consumerism, anti-capitalist, alternative lifestyle cult, I’ll be one of the first to follow him. Hell, I’ll make sure I become his First Lieutenant!)

Dismaland will remain open to the public for 5 weeks. So, if you still have the stomach for it, and especially if you “Get it”, then make sure your flight ticket to England is already in your hand.

I’ll leave you with some links for further information on Dismaland, as well as some of the first images of Dismaland starting to flood the internet.

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/08/dismaland/

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/aug/20/banksy-dismaland-amusements-anarchism-weston-super-mare

http://mashable.com/2015/08/20/banksy-dismaland/

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Connecting more dots…

Isn’t it funny how things happen seemingly at random, yet turn out to be exactly what’s needed to complete the picture? Just yesterday, I blogged about Connecting the Dots.

Today, a strange series of events led to yet another incident of seemingly random dots connecting. The Universe is truly conspiring to make things happen for me!

I’d been trying to decide between doing 2 courses – a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, or a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services. The former will get me employment as a nurse in a veterinary practice, or as an Animal Welfare Officer or Zoo Keeper. The latter will prepare me to run my own pet shop or dog grooming parlour, or be an animal behaviourist and trainer. Both are equally good for my purposes. I really want to work with animals, as I find it really rewarding and soul satisfying.

So this afternoon, I searched the internet for providers of these courses who offered help with paying fees. I was specifically searching for what’s known as VET FEE-HELP, also known as “Study Now, Pay Later”. One of the few providers of the Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing in Western Australia is Polytechnic West.

There was information about doing the course part-time, on their website. But, strangely, no information about the full-time course. I needed to know what the differences were in terms of attendance hours, work placement, fees etc. So, I sent Polytechnic West an email requesting a callback, and thought perhaps they’ll ring me tomorrow or next week.

Here’s where it gets weird. Later the same night, just as I was about ready for bed, out of the blue my ex-husband sent me a mobile text alerting me to a Skills & Training Expo in Perth this very weekend. http://www.skillswestexpo.com.au/

I looked up the details of the Expo, and specifically the list of exhibitors. And there it was: Polytechnic West. The very people I wanted to speak to about the course I wanted to do!

Is it a sign? You bet I’m taking it as a YES!

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Connecting The Dots

The inimitable Steve Jobs once said:

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And this is true, regardless of whether it relates to Business or Life.

When events are flashing by our daily lives, sometimes so quickly that we hardly even notice them, it is hard to make connections between one event and another. Everything appears to happen at random, with no discernible pattern.

But, if you were to concentrate on specific cues and clues, or on specific words or images, i.e if you were to somehow tease out little details from the vast stream of daily events that make up your life, you can certainly find patterns or even cycles. Criminal Profilers are adept at doing this, to delve into the minds of criminals. Buddhism teaches that Life is a continual cycle, and what you do in this life will be repeated in your next, if you have not learnt the lesson. The concept of Karma is an example of a cycle or pattern that repeats.

If finding the connections is hard enough, knowing when something is a “Dot” to connect to another, is even harder. You don’t know whether it is a “Dot” or not, until you try connecting it to another possible “Dot”. And with everything potentially being a “Dot”, trying to make sense out of every one and trying to connect them, is virtually impossible.

So, what do you do? Trust your gut instinct, look for similarities, tune in to synchronicity and coincidences, listen out for cues, watch for events/things/actions that are out of the ordinary. And throw in a healthy measure of creative thinking.

And then suddenly, A will link to B, B to C, C to D and so on. Then the dots will connect, and suddenly you understand what is meant by “Seeing The Bigger Picture”.

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(Image source: Google Images. All copyright remain with the originators).

The Trip

Today I just want to share with you details of last night’s trip. No, I didn’t go anywhere fun physically, as I’ve the Flu at the moment. Rather, this is a Trip of the internal kind. A Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind. Or maybe it’s the Fifth Kind? I don’t know. Either way, the experience was, well, truly trippy.

Yeah, I’m talking drugs. But not hard drugs, I would never do anything like that, as I value and respect my mind and body too much. It’s taken me this long to get to self-realization, and I’m not throwing it away anytime soon.

I’m talking about the fact that yesterday afternoon my Flu symptoms, which I thought had been improving, suddenly got far worse, taking on the symptoms of a Cold as well. The Kid labelled me a “leaky faucet”, my nose and eyes were streaming, and I kept sneezing for no apparent reason.

I was so bunged up, even a nasal decongestant taken at 5pm didn’t seem to be helping. Neither did the 2 Ibuprofen caplets I swallowed. By dinnertime I had no sense of smell, and chewed my dinner without tasting any of it (I hate not being able to taste my food!). I decided to turn in early, at around 9:30pm.

Just before bed, I took 2 tablets of a Cold&Flu medication. And I drank a glass of ACV (apple cider vinegar), with some honey. I also sprayed more nasal decongestant into each nostril, with the hopes that I would be able to at least breathe through my nose while sleeping. Nothing worse than having to breathe through your mouth while sleeping, and waking up with a parched throat.

Maybe it was the combination of Ibuprofen and the active ingredients of the Cold&Flu tablets, maybe it’s just my imagination…but last night I had the trippiest experience ever.

I don’t exactly recall many details. Suffice to say I fell asleep and had the most comfortable sensation of wellbeing. I remember there being lots of images and words floating up towards me out of a sea of darkness. I remember thinking to myself, “Stop thinking, let your mind go blank”, then realizing that I wasn’t thinking up those things, but rather I was seeing and experiencing them.

I felt like I was here, there, everywhere, all at the same time. It was like I was omniscient. I didn’t have any experience of flying, I was just Here and There all at once. I had no body. I was nobody, and I was everybody. Everything that I saw on this Trip, as I’ll call it, for want of a better word, I already knew, it was like I was being shown a movie of everything I knew so far, to reaffirm my knowledge. A refresher course??

Maybe I had a fever, and this was just a feverish hallucination? Lucid dreaming? I remember registering at some point that my legs were sweaty. Whenever I turned my head on my pillow, it was as if some new “memory” shifted inside my mind’s eye, and a new slideshow would begin.

Sometime during this Trip, I recalled telling The Kid before bedtime that if I died during the night, it would be because of my taking a combination of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol (from the Cold&Flu tablets) at the same time. So, perhaps this Trip was my subconscious playing out a What If scenario…What If I DID die during the night? And all the videos and slideshows were what a dying person sees when their lives “flash before their eyes”?

Anyway, suffice to say I DID NOT die last night. Here I am today, telling you about my experience. I have no explanation for it. All I know is that I felt loved, warm, very comfortable, not in the least worried about anything, and I was Everywhere at once. It felt so good.

Has anyone had such an experience before? Do share! :-)

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(Image sourced from Google).