The other race that stopped our nation

In Australia, we have an idiom for the big horse race, the Melbourne Cup. It is known as the race that stops the nation. It is run annually on the first Tuesday in November. It is, regardless of whether you live in Melbourne or not, more or less a national holiday. Offices hold sweeps and long lunches breaks, women who wouldn’t normally wear a hat become fascinated with fascinators and even normally fairly serious news presenters and politicians are dressing up and talking or tweeting about their tips. These tips are often based on very random criteria, rather than any sort of history with the form guide. After all the fuss, the people who can and do stop to watch the race do so for the 3 minutes or so it takes to run and then return after a bit of celebration to merry-making or work.

In years past, the US election has been held in the same week as the Melbourne Cup. I recall 8 years ago, watching the horses one day and Obama’s speech the very next.

This year it was the week after, and more so than any other election “over there” that I can recall, ordinary Australians were glued to the news channels on Wednesday as the news came in. I was at an airport way ahead of my flight and everyone was talking about it among themselves and even to complete strangers. It was shock and disbelief. But we were glued to it for a good couple of days later. Friends who I don’t normally talk politics with were expressing shock and degrees of discomfort at the idea of Donald Trump as the leader of the free world and what that says about our global mindset and future. I’m sure there are messages there to be examined even before he takes command in January.

The last time I remember seeing Australians glued to the tv for events overseas like they were a week ago was when the World Trade Centers went down. Seems we tend to be the onlookers to the crashes we can’t tear ourselves away from.

My recovery method has centred around becoming hooked again on the West Wing. I know it is fiction but it has to be based on some degree of reality or it wouldn’t work as a drama right? I want to use my intellect more and use it for good .

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Something to aspire to, or perhaps explain me

I like this explanation of self-sufficiency . It’s interesting too that Taylor talks about the differences between self-esteem and self-sufficiency. Also the different scales, as well as the positive and negative sides to these traits, like all traits.

My highlights though…

‘Self-sufficient’ people are authentic. They tend not to play roles, or to be dishonest or misleading just to please. Their inner stability and wholeness means that it’s not so important for them to gain affirmation or respect from others, so they may be prepared to risk being disliked by speaking truthfully. If you show them a poem or a painting and ask them, ‘What do you think?’ be prepared for them to give an honest assessment. Fundamentally, they’re not so interested in trying to impress other people, and so it’s possible for them to be more authentic.

I don’t think I can personally say that I am one size fits all on this. But I do tend to give my opinion with varying degrees of candour depending on my courage, energy, audience as well as occasion. Some people though I do have disease to please though. I do like the aspiration of authenticity.

And this makes sense….

And in terms of their lifestyles, self-sufficient’ people are happy with their own company. They may be social and sociable to a normal degree, but they also enjoy solitude. Whereas some people find solitude and quietness difficult to endure, and use diversions and distractions (like the Internet or television) to avoid them, self-sufficient people are perfectly happy to be alone with themselves.

This aspect is stronger now than it used to be. Mostly deliberately.

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Music for today

I’ve done a lot of writing for personal projects and as usual by the time I get here I’m not in the mood to write more. But there is a sense of accomplishment, so that’s good

 

So instead for now; this sums up my mood. The lyrics especially.

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Plato on the knowledge of death

Reading some Plato: as ya do:

Not commenting on this, just putting it out there, from the Apology: defence of Socrates

After all, gentlemen, the fear of death amounts simply to thinking one is wise when one is not: it is thinking one knows something  one does not know. No one knows, you see whether death may not in fact prove the greatest of all blessings for mankind; but people fear it as if they know it for certain to be the greatest of all evils

 

 

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Cross post: Menthol, Sunshine and the possibility of human potential

Cross post from my other blog.

So the other part of my birthday gift from a friend of mine was enough iTunes money to buy myself Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I bought it to prepare for one of my exams for uni and then watched it last night.

I missed the class in which the movie was shown and yet on being shown that the biggest question (worth 40%) centres around philosophical reflections on this movie, it jumped to the top of my “to watch” heap, which to be generous is not that long.

I watched the “trailer” on iTunes a few days ago and worked out this was what I would term a gritty movie; and deep content (fine), ensemble cast (fine, though I didn’t recognise the two actors in the trailer) dark lighting to go along with the dark themes.  It was going to be a word film, a concept film. Great. Being a wordy thinker in a philosophy class that works well. Psychological shows you leave thinking about.

I tend not to read much about films before I see them. I like to see if they can absorb me without preconception playing a part. Besides, in this case, I had to watch it for class and I hasten to add I like my lecturer and the way she thinks so would trust her judgement. This was just as well.

Apart from films like The Green Mile, or the early Harry Potter movies , where the science fiction is more conceptual than visual, as a rule I don’t like science fiction. I think I was traumatised early by watching one that was out of my age range or something. I don’t know. I think I also really really get how scary some of that stuff could be for human existance if it came off. Ask anyone that has tried to watch tv with me, any sort of  morphing, even cartoon mophing of any sort, or the butter menthol ad below where even after treatment she still makes that noise have me hiding in the nerest armpit or pulling the face of a 2 year old!

This is where the idea of walls disappearing as you walk around your memory as you’re trying to notify distracted medical professional that you changed your mind about getting your memory wiped really gets icky. But hey that’s the point, right? That stuff should be icky. Yet I can happily watch reruns of the gory bits of medical docureality and not bat an eyelid, even though that stuff does happen to me!

Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe it’s the unknown potentiality that freaks me out. Particularly the unknown potentiality of human beings. In many ways potential is meant to be a positive. But if mere carelessness can cause the heartache and trauma it causes, much less Hilter, ISIS or the like, then what else is the potential is others are not just being  careless in their neglect.

The other reason I’m glad I didn’t pre-read on this movie: Jim Carey. I have not been a fan. At all. For me, his slapstick is hard to watch, even in Bruce Almighty.  Although I would have watched it anyway, I’m so glad I didn’t recognise him in Eternal Sunshine until 25 minutes in. The humour was much drier and to my taste

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Just quietly

So while laid up I've been reading, thinking and researching. Whatever took my fancy really. Plus dealing with a couple of bits of people related drama

In preparation for resuming study next week I've been trying to build-in some routine and allow specific times for reading and writing especially which is good. Hopefully unlike when I first started studying I won't be alarmed by how much extra I suddenly had to do along with the disability and time wasting “very important stuff” that a teenager out of home for the first time has to deal with. Of course very little of that very important stuff was actually very important but that is very much the perspective of youth.

I'm trying to consciously read more. Speak less. Listen more. Solve less. Be quieter. I'm not finding this hard at all. In fact it is as if the peace that passes all understanding has landed. I'm leaning back into it and myself. I'm less exhausted in one sense because I'm not giving away so much. I'm calling stuff as I see it, if not aloud then consciously but silently

I have decided I don't like Sydney. Too busy and way too aggressive.

I'm learning to like myself I guess. Again, or for the first time at this new level I'm not sure which. Another stage of the getting of wisdom perhaps?

 

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on economy of various sorts

I’ve been reading and hibernating mostly. Just being quiet and trying to battle technical dramas of one sort or another.

I’m feeling more naturally able to be quiet and a bit smaller. Not in terms of stature but in terms of the footprint stuff. My own footprint and the extent to which I let other people’s footprints on me and never find out about it.. Not entirely of course. But certainly with strangers I’m better than I was. I’m remembering the need for boundaries, if not always remembering to apply them. As I said to someone yesterday I’m now remembering to include myself on my radar of people to care about the preference of. Even if i then don’t choose not to apply my preferences, as i often don’t, (preferring others needs to my own), I usually resent the sacrifice less because it felt more of a choice. Which I’m less likely to “automatically” repeat if the costs to me are too high or the return on investment is too low.

My quest for personal economy is heightened as well. Saying less is a beautiful thing. Not only wise in terms of social matters, but better resource management for me. I am learning to embrace my inner introvert, instead of fight her or merely tolerate her thanks to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. In summary I understand myself better. I now have a clearer idea about why loud random people and noise not only causes spasm but annoyance and almost a different sort of pain.

I’m still also on the minimalism track from a bit of a different angle this time. Among my reading on my iPad is also Walden. There’s a lot in there, but while I don’t fancy myself ever becoming a subsistence farmer with arguably only one or 2 sets of clothes, I do wonder how much money and more energy I could still save. I also wonder how extreme I would be ready to go.

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Quote from Facebook

I choose to live by choice, not by chance;
to make changes, not excuses;
to be motivated, not manipulated;
to be useful, not used;
to excel, not compete.
I choose self-esteem, not self pity.
I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinion of others.

I’m learning this one in a deeper way at the moment and it’s working.

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Tuesday/Wednesday tiny; Maybe not such a dork these days

Tried to post this yesterday, but only just discovered it didn’t go

Maybe this insecurity is born out of being teased at school I’m not sure but I always get a jolt of pleasure when I notice strangers reading the same books as I’ve read, listening to music that I’m even unlikely to bring out at a dinner party or playing a game on iPad/iPhone that I’m embarrassed to admit that I love (to the extent that I usually reserve it for the bathroom).

While family and friends are generally a different matter; with strangers I’ve tended to hide my taste or lack of it in such things, considering myself somewhere between a renaissance woman, an old soul or just plain dorky.

So when in the last week or so I’ve noticed separate women, roughly matching my demographic reading a book I’m also reading, listening to music that I recognised as in my “might be dorky” collection and playing a game on an iPad ( and she looked like she was further ahead on it than me)I smiled broadly. Maybe I’m not so much of a dork these days

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What will

I was reading a series of blog postsfrom Beth on a 10 week read along she did of the Willpower Experiement. I haven’t read the book ( though it is on my wish list now). It seems like the book was written for me. It’s not that I always fail to follow through but personally driven, personally focused committments over multiple days is hard for me.

For example it was time for me to do my annual GTD tweaking. This time however, having fallen off the wagon almost entirely so think of it more as a decluttering detoxing rebuild of a very ill GTD system.

So this weekend officeworks and I became well acquainted and I have a beautiful office space; complete this time with a working tickler and reference filing thanks to a working filing cabinet which I have resisted to greater or lesser degrees in previous rollouts. One of my main rationalisations being that being computer savvy, I would of course scan every bill and other documument into a perfectly ordered system of virtual filing with full and consistent backup and redundancy!

Ha! And we now return you to your regularly scheduled program: reality. So I’ve started with the filing system and with my somewhat consistent efforts to purge the office here, my “girl den” as I’ve taken to calling it, is looking good, even a tad sparse.

It is now a beautiful space. It is clean and crisp. I even got a spontaneous “oh wow” from a visitor after it was done for the day. I was and am proud. I haven’t done the mind sweep David Allen suggests you start with because I have learnt that while it is neccessary to do that step and thoroughly I can get bogged down in it and not get beyond a project list that looks and feels unwieldy and unforgiving.

So today I tried sorting the bedside shelves which is where I want to store my shoes- in pairs ideally, fancy that and atop which I house my equally disorganised jewellery case. That was today’s project and it was an excavation in itself as we’ll as a high exposure to dust! But yes I got there.

So in one way, yes I did good. I continued decluttering and took on another bite sized activity while maintaining the clean and clear surfaces.

So the other side of my pride and going back to my original musings about willpower I havent really continued on with the project I started on only yesterday. Although what I did do today was great, I’m a little angry that I didn’t have the staying power to even do a two day project. I get excited when I finish a set of post-it notes rather than lose or de-sticky them through carelessness because right now it seems so unlike me to follow through or finish anything!

Leaning back and trying to be self-kind now, there are two things that stand out from the blog posts.

  • Choose one thing at first to develop will power for: decluttering, going to bed early, writing, drinking water and do a little bit each day. I guess this is among other things the idea that neither Rome nor our willpower were built in a day.
  • The second was a tip with I think very broad application; about time. Quoting the author of the blog now:

    “Studies show that most people, like Sonnet and I, “wrongly predict we will have much more free time in the future than we do today” (p. 94). What’s helping me is to find a way to get ever-closer to my goal of a decluttered house, even though I’m busy. For me, this means one clutter spot (sometimes a very small one!) per weekday. Even on extra-busy days, I can usually do that. And if I do miss a day, I just make sure I’m extra-motivated to pick up where I left off the next day.”.

So for me, being as realistic as I can about the time and resource available, I’m going to try and sort my intray for an hour into the right context lists and remember to whiten my teeth tomorrow night.

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