Share Your World – 25

31 05 2012

Click here for more on Share Your World – by Cee

Cee is a good friend of mine and she has set up this weekly challenge to “Share Your World” by asking us all to answer some questions about life, the universe and everything.

Here are this week’s questions and my answers! And don’t forget to visit Cee’s blog if you’d like to find out how you can be involved.

1. What is your favourite holiday and why?

My favourite holiday is any day spent with my beloved.  I don’t have to go anywhere in particular, it is time spent together that I love.  That sounds sappy but we have such a great time together whether we’re actively doing something, or just spending the day in companionable silence.  It’s the time I am most relaxed and content.  I don’t have to go to any particular destination to capture that holiday feeling.  As for the time we do spend together, I prefer to have a balance of some plans and some time for the spontaneous to take hold, wherever we happen to be.

2. Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

I don’t mind one pot meals that are mixed together and I don’t mind separate foods either.  Having recently turned into a vegetarian I’m not so finicky – but previously I would never mix meats together on my plate.  One type only at a time, so hold the bacon in that burger thanks.

3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?

Wherever possible, I try NOT to speak on the phone.  I just don’t like it.  I rarely answer the phone unless I am expecting a call from a friend.  I have no problem letting the phone ring off the hook.  I’m not sure why I don’t like it, maybe it is because I’m quite visual and like to see the person I’m speaking with.

4. When you are with your friends, do your interactions include much touching – for example, kissing, hugging, rough housing, rubbing backs.  Would you like to have more of this?

Haha – this is a funny question for me.  Most people know that my personal space is VAST.  I keep my distance and appreciate you keeping your distance too, thank you very much – get back please!  I could not imagine being crammed into a train in Tokyo!!  I joke with people that my personal space extends all the way to Indonesia and I need my own border patrol.  In fact, it’s NOT true for those who are in my innermost circle.  My small circle of closest friends know me as a tactile person and I’m very demonstrative with them, but then again, I can feel their love.  I don’t like being in close proximity to the general population because I can sometimes get a vibe from a person, I can almost feel an aura/vibe/cloud around them and sometimes it can be quite unsettling.  If I have my eyes closed or my back to people I can ‘feel’ where certain people are located in the room.  My friends laugh at the story I tell about the time I went to a hypnotherapist.  She moved her chair closer to mine and then leaned in towards to me and her vibe was very cold – it met my ‘space’ and I told her to get back and “stop wafting my bubble”.  LOL.  Sounds strange huh?  Because it probably is.

Okay, that’s all from me for this week – thanks Cee!!

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The Art of Australian Football

30 05 2012

On a trip to Melbourne last year, we toured the magnificent Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which is also home to the Australian Football League (AFL).  Even though we’re well into the winter AFL season, I’m not crazy about the game and in recent years the off-field dramas have seemed to overshadow the game itself.

The MCG is a fantastic stadium and deserves its title as the Home of Sport in Australia.  It was the main stadium for the Olympic Games in 1956 and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  With major upgrades and the inclusion of the National Sports Museum, it is now a tourist attraction in itself, even when no sport is being played.

The picture below shows the differences between the shapes and sizes of three game balls.

Compare: Rugby / Australian Football / American Football

One of the foyer exhibits really caught my eye.  It is a stroke of genius and displays the art of football.  The Australian Football is made up of a leather skin, an internal bladder filled with air and leather laces to join the opening.  These three components make up the wonderful wall sculpture in the foyer of the MCG.

Sculpture: Football Pieces: (from centre out) Skin, Bladder, Laces

I’d love to go back and see a game some day.  The ground holds 100,000 and I can imagine that the goose-bumps would rise as the crowd cheers the teams onto the field.  I think I’ll put that on the Bucket List…

MCG: Foyer Sculpture – Footballs deconstructed





Contemplative Photography 11

28 05 2012

Here is another post in my Miksang and Contemplative Photography series.

This post outlines the process that I follow when approaching Miksang.  I don’t have any official training but I outline here what I’ve learned as I go out and shoot with ‘a good eye, an open heart and an open mind’.

Try it for yourself.  It’s interesting (but not easy) to leave your inner critic behind and photograph whatever captures you, even when you’re not sure why.  That is easier said that done and I spend a lot of time ignoring the nagging, but still aware that it is there.

I carry my camera with me each day and I usually take a walk at lunchtime, mostly just to get me out of the office for a while. I don’t go out deciding to do a photo shoot, if it comes, it comes. I just walk, feel centred, wander and look. I enjoy walking meditation rather than being still. I clear out judgement and expectation and just see freshly and clearly. Think about your trip to work each morning. Whether it is a drive, a train trip or a walk to your home office, there are things you pass every day without even noticing them.

The practice of Miksang helps you notice all around you and see things, without judgement.  Most times, something will catch my eye, capture me, fascinate, surprise, delight or jar me. It demands a reaction, it stirs an emotion. I stop and often say “Whoa! Look at THAT”.  It attracts or repels me.  I get the feeling but I hold all judgement about whether it is a ‘good’ subject or a ‘bad’ subject, whether the light or angle or distance is ‘right’. For some reason, it has captured and connected with me, if not, I move along. Later I try to look deeply to see what it was that caught me.

Was it the shape? colour? texture? shadow? light? contrast? the grouping? the arrangement? the odd number? the symmetry or asymmetry? the negative or empty space? the angle? incongruity? context?

I don’t try to find a ‘better’ angle, I don’t zoom, I don’t crop, edit, straighten or do any post production. I shoot what I see. What you see is what I saw and what captured me. Hopefully the shot shows you things that capture my eye, my heart, my mind (when it is free from clutter and judgement).  So, that’s where I am on my journey into Miksang. I hope you give it a go as well.

If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:

Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography
Miksang Society for Contemplative Photography





Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

26 05 2012

I always look forward to summer in Australia not for the sunshine, the weekend barbecues or trips to the beach.  Summer to me means the arrival of Cricket Season and I enjoy nothing more than a relaxing day out watching a leisurely game.  I love it.

A day/night game at the WACA Ground: Western Australian Cricket Association

The picture above was taken during a one day game at the WACA which is the International Cricket venue in Perth, Western Australia.  I’ve walked on the hallowed turf in bare feet.  It is softer and more luxurious than the finest carpet.  It was a balmy summer evening and we had good company, a great view and cold drinks.  The one below is a suburban game of cricket by a country team visiting Perth for their annual Country Week Tournament.  Deep shade, a comfy chair, good company and a good book.  The perfect way to spend a day off.

Senior Country Week Cricket: January 2012

I think that’s one of the main attractions for me – the pace of the game is slow and can verge on boring.  Some people  liken it to watching paint dry.  I don’t mind that at all.  Watching cricket lets me give myself permission to sit in a chair for a few hours in the sun and fresh air and not think.  After a busy year summer comes in December and cricket slows me down so I relax, take a drink, enjoy the sunshine, wait for play, watch a bit of the game, read the paper, have a walk around the boundary, take another drink, watch a bit of the game, lay on a blanket for a while, cheer for a wicket, read the paper some more, have a doze, watch the seagulls, eat a snack and relax.  Ahhhhhh.

You can join in the Weekly Photo Challenge too – visit the Daily Post for more details.





The ritual of the martial arts belt

25 05 2012

I’m still working on my basic skills as a white belt in my martial arts class. I have my uniform now and consequently I’ve had to learn to tie my belt properly which is an art in itself. Last night, one of the black belts in the class took me aside to explain the ritual behind the correct knot.

White belt

One of the things I’m learning and really enjoying is the fact that no movement or action is wasted. I remember a time not too long ago that I wondered how much mobility I’d have and I would plan even short trips from my bed to the kitchen, taking used cups and books to drop off along the way and returning with supplies for the afternoon, to save another energy sapping trip.

I’m learning that every action in martial arts has meaning and fluidity. It might be a functional movement, one that allows you to defend. It might be a stretch that opens and lengthens part of your body. It might be a breathing technique or even a stance that helps maintain balance. Nothing is wasted, nothing is superfluous.

Dressing for class is a ritual in itself and reminds me to stop, reflect and focus. Here is the meaning and ritual of the belt tying and why it is so important to martial artists.

The belts are LONG. They wrap around your body twice.  To start, you fold it in half lengthwise to find the centre. It must be even and symbolises the importance of balance, reminding us that there are two sides to training – the study and the application.

You then seem to put the belt on backwards by first placing the centre of the belt over your navel (your centre) and taking both ends around your back. The placement on the navel reminds us that we have received life and we are also givers of life. It reminds us to respect all those we come into contact with as co-creators.

When we cross the belt behind our backs, it reminds us to be prepared for things that are unseen, things that can go on behind our backs.  As the ends return to the front, we remember that ‘what goes around comes around’ eventually. The belt is now encircling us and we’re holding an end in each hand towards the front.

We cross the two ends over which reminds us that we can be double crossed behind our backs but also right in front of us too. We must be prepared for whatever difficulties come our way because they can come from various directions.

We bring one end of the belt up and under the waist which starts the knot. One end is now held up and the other down. This reminds us that there are two directions for us to travel – we can get up and we can fall down. It is important to keep getting up and striving to improve ourselves.

The Belt knot

The last part of the knot tightens the fastening. It reminds us that we need to be steadfast in whatever we do. It does not slip. The knot forms an arrow shape and reminds us that we can find our direction in life. After the knot is complete, we again check that each end of the belt is perfectly even.  We are balanced and ready to go.





Giving yourself a break today

23 05 2012

This is from Karl Duffy at Mindfulbalance, a blog I visit regularly for some wisdom and balance. This entry really captured me this week as I’m feeling the growing pace at work. Projects are starting to take shape, priorities shift, deadlines close in and I have to juggle too much information in my head. I need to slow down, consciously. I need to remember that I’m more important, my health is more important and my wellbeing is more important than my work. It’s okay to be kind to myself and take some time to stop, breathe and rest my mind. Phew.

Mindfulbalance

If you’re like me, so much of what we twirl around with in the mind is, frankly, a waste of time. It doesn’t solve a problem, prevent a bad thing from happening, or bring us to peace with others. And it’s deeply unnatural. As we evolved, our ancestors probably experienced more physical but less mental fatigue than most people today in the developed nations. Consequently, our bodies are adapted to weariness – but our minds are not. For a brief time – finals week, an intense month at work, a demanding year with a new baby – OK, sometimes we just have to crank the mind up into overdrive and tough it out. But as a way of life, it’s nuts.

We have to take a stand against the crazy mental busyness that has become the new normal. We’re bombarded with things to think about all day long, flooded with…

View original post 83 more words





Contemplative Photography 10

21 05 2012

My approach to contemplative photography (or Miksang) has been quite intuitive. I’ve read everything I can find and am developing my ‘eye’ but it’s hard to describe miksang without it sounding like a riddle.

Miksang, or contemplative photography is more of an ‘approach’ or a ‘way’ rather than a set of rules. To me (and remember I’m only learning), it is about going out with an open heart, open eye and open mind. I clear out judgement and expectation and just see freshly and clearly. Think about your trip to work each morning. Whether it is a drive, train trip or walk to your office, there are things you pass every day without even noticing. Miksang helps you notice all around you and see them, without judgement.

I usually take a walk at lunchtime, mostly just to get me out of the office for a while. I don’t go out deciding to do a photo shoot, if it comes, it comes. I just walk, feel centred, wander and look. I enjoy walking meditation rather than being still.

Most times, something will catch my eye, capture me, fascinate, surprise, delight or jar me. It demands a reaction, it stirs an emotion. I stop and often say “Whoa! Look at THAT”. I hold all judgement about whether it is a ‘good’ subject or a ‘bad’ subject, whether the light or angle or distance is ‘right’. For some reason, it has captured me, if not, I move along. I’m look deeply to see what it was that caught me.
Was it the shape? colour? texture? shadow? light? texture? symmetry? asymmetry? space? angle? incongruity? context?

I don’t try to find a ‘better angle, I don’t zoom, I don’t crop, edit, straighten or do any post editing. I shoot what I see. What you see is what I saw and what captured me. Hopefully the shot shows you things that capture my eye, my heart, my mind.
So, that’s where I am on my journey into Miksang. I hope you give it a go as well.

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If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:

Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography
Miksang Society for Contemplative Photography








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