Month: July 2014

Handmade Tales – Kintsugi and Other Things

Handmade Tales – Kintsugi and Other Things

Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version.

Tea_bowl_fixed_in_the_Kintsugi_method

I do miss handwritten letters; getting a letter in the mail; postcards; home baking; home made stews; fires; sewing; vegetable and herb gardens, (organic); typewriters; LP records; old radios, beautiful paper; old books; second hand things; things that are beautifully hand crafted, beautiful old pieces of furniture; attention to detail; things lovingly crafted; fountain pens; ink wells; old silk fabric; embroidered clothing and other items; teddy bears; hand woven oriental and other rugs; beehives; pure honey; great chocolate, Swiss or Belgian; old and antique watches; kintsugi, (golden repair); old china; tea pots; tea cozy’s; old notched writing tables; hooks and eyes; old homes; beautifully crafted wooden floors; restored things; things that bear the mark of time, the voice of history.

Image Wikimedia According to Japanese Copyright Law the copyright on this work has expired and is as such public domain. See more here

Back to Life – From Dismemberment to Re-Embodiment in Two Easy Steps

Back to Life – From Dismemberment to Re-Embodiment in Two Easy Steps

 

After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

As I put my key into the lock of the front door, my birds tweet in recognition. An instant feeling more human step one.

Well, the two first things I will do are:

1. Make coffee

2. Start up my laptop and play a computer RPG game like Skyrim, Dragon Age or Diablo. This disengages my mind and relaxes my body almost immediately. I am reinvigorated and transported. All worries, grueling journeys or work, fade and rub out. From dismemberment to re-embodiment in two easy steps.

Sudden Downpour – Exotic Things, Eye-Contact, Peace and Protection

Sudden Downpour – Exotic Things, Eye-Contact, Peace and Protection

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

I find myself standing in an antique store inspired by the orient. The light is dim, so I am squinting. Light comes in through the dusty windows in soft smudges, filled with dust motes. There are thankas of all descriptions, exquisitely painted, depicting various scenes. There is dark furniture from Bali, Tibetan and Thai artifacts, parchment scrolls containing almost lost secrets, only there by the grace of care. I detect the scent of wood and polish, Tibetan incense burning and smoking from a small bowl, woody, slightly sweet, blessed in the making. I am transported to Chiang Mai, where I visited a similar shop, filled with exotic objects. I go forward smiling at the proprietor, extending my hand to his, soft as tissue in the shaking. A water droplet rolls off my nose and onto his hand, he looks into my eyes and smiles. Suddenly I feel less ordinary, less solid, less certain somehow. I remember Songkran, water strewn streets and sodden clothes, happy faces everywhere, the hope of a new beginning.

Songkran, Thailand, Thai New Year

I notice a beautiful hill tribe embroidered jacket and ask if I can try it on. It fits, immediately I buy it. The colour and the embroidery is just beautiful, on a black velvet background. I also buy the delicate and vintage Green Tara Thanka, beautifully painted. I know there will be times when I ask for her protection. I thank the proprietor as he hands me a scented paper bag. I wish him well. He looks at me, deep into my eyes in a lingering moment and seems to transmit a sense of peace. Today I think back to this moment and think of the jacket, now packed into a box, sitting in a storage unit. I look forward to it once more hanging on a wall and decorating my back. Here’s to the promise of new beginnings and the beauty of exotic things.

hilltribe jacketSee some jackets here on Eatsy

 

Tara_thangka

Image Green Tara Rubin Museum of Fine Art and at this Wikimedia Link

Songkran image Wikimedia Commons Share Alike

Road Tripping – Durban to Cape Town Across Country 1 578 kms

 

Road Tripping  – Durban to Cape Town Across Country 1 578 kms

Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on? (If you don’t or can’t drive, any land-based journey counts.)

Bonus (optional): show us your itinerary by embedding a Google Map into your post!

I have a short term plan to move to Cape Town from Durban and engage in a three-year study period. None of this is final yet and I am still in the early stages of planning a radical life-shift. I am hoping that I will be able to add to the body of knowledge in South Africa around the lived experience of people who have known trauma and how they can benefit from coaching in mindfulness and making meaning or unfolding meaning. The study would take three years. I have not yet been accepted to the universities I have applied to, so right now there is a wait. I would also need funding and that is also up in the air. So in many real senses I am in a corridor phase of my life. Looking for a way to actualise my own purpose and meaning, by helping others.

In order to get there with money being no object, I would go on the thirteen day Durban to Cape Town trip via Lesotho. The map below shows the direct route so that you can get an idea of the distance. However, the tour would follow a rather different route. This tour would be through African Budget Safaris.  An overview of the journey is included below and you could visit African Safaris at the link above to get an idea of the trip details.

 

Day 1/2 Durban to Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

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Maluti Mountains a Unesco World Heritage Site

Day 3/4 Lesotho – Malealea

Day 5/6 South Africa – Cintsa

Day 7 Addo Elephant National Park

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See image here

Day 8/9 Tsitsikamma National Park – Garden Route

Day 10 Garden Route – Knysna / Plettenberg Bay

Knysna Waterfront

Knysna Waterfront

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Day 11 Oudtshoorn & Cango Caves

Cango Caves

Cango Caves

Image from Wikimedia Share Alike

Day 12 Stellenbosch Wine Route

800px-Stellenbosch_fan_Papagaaiberch_grut

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Day 13 Cape Town – South Africa

Cape Town Montage

Cape Town Montage

Image

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Musical Marker – Sounds of Bon Iver

Musical Marker – Sounds of Bon Iver

514px-Bon_Iver2

We all have songs that remind us of specific periods and events in our lives. Twenty years from now, which song will remind you of the summer of 2014?

The tranquil tones of Bon Iver, just discovered. In fact the whole album, For Emma, Forever Ago (debut album). Thank you Amber for the introduction. Crooning and yearning, sad and beautiful sounds for my passage time…in Winter… in South Africa…

I love Flume

and Lump Sum:

Here is part of a review on Pitchfork – head on over there to read more and some background to the album:

“Vernon gives a soulful performance full of intuitive swells and fades, his phrasing and pronunciation making his voice as much a purely sonic instrument as his guitar. In the discursive coda of “Creature Fear” he whittles the song down to a single repeated syllable– “fa.” Rarely does folk– indie or otherwise– give so much over to ambience: Quivering guitar strings, mic’ed closely, lend opener “Flume” its eerily interiorized sound, which matches his unsettling similes. “Lump Sum” begins with a choir of Vernons echoing cavernously, which, along with that rhythmically rushing guitar, initiates the listener into the song’s strange space…”

Image of Vernon playing in London. Wikimedia Commons Share Alike

This got me wondering, what was I listening to in 1977? I came across a lovely Throwback Machine at Hazzaz. Do you remember Fleetwood Mac and You Can go your Own Way?

How about Roger Hodgson from SuperTramp, with Give a Little Bit?

The Eagles, Hotel California?

Check it out it’s fun.

6 Free Audiobook Sites for Busy People


450px-Printing3_Walk_of_Ideas_Berlin

Audiobooks are a great way to get to know books in a new way. The wonderful thing is, you can listen while doing other tasks, like mundane chores, or if you are very busy. I like to listen before going to sleep. Here are 6 sites recommended by Mashable My favourite is:

1. Open Culture, for example you can listen to John Steinbeck

2. Books Should be Free

3. Librivox

4. Lit2Go

5. ThoughtAudio for example you can get Metamorphosis by Frans Kafka:

0020.METAMORPHOSIS

6. There is also LearnoutLoud They have a section with free stuff.

Image above The Walk of Ideas in Berlin. Creative Commons Share Alike

Book Week Reading Challenge: Connect to Reading

I have just listened to Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass and the Subtle Knife. Great audiobooks!

Love to read, love to learn!

Book Week Reading Challenge: Connect to Reading
Can I just say?I LOVE Term Three! No really I do. Whilst I love teaching research skills and all that jazz?in Term Three we focus on LITERATURE. In

Source: childrensbooksdaily.com

See on Scoop.itBook Week Connect to Reading 2014

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Adult Visions – “I Wish my Grow would Stop!”

Adult Visions – “I Wish my Grow would Stop!”

Dress up and the idyll of childhood.

Dress up and the idyll of childhood.

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?

Imagine I did not.

Adult and child were two different if parallel dimensions. I thought adults were kind of crazy, like when they chased after me, when I picked up a tiny barn mouse. I could not understand what all the fuss was about, the running, the shouting.

But for my eldest daughter, each new phase brought on acute anguish. I remember finding her sitting in the garden, crying that the dinosaurs were all gone. A deep realisation.

I remember too, her saying:

“I wish my grow would stop!”

Her childhood idylls slipping away were not happy moments.

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Middle Seat – Common Niceties and Meaning Moments – Bound to Others

Middle Seat – Common Niceties and Meaning Moments – Bound to Others

It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?

Given that we live in a world fast forwarding to human disengagement, it is important for me to make eye-contact, respond to, engage with and generally interact in a meaningful way. If we view each being as a whole person who matters, then it is contingent on us, to acknowledge this in our interactions with others. If we do not see ourselves as bounded beings, but rather as interconnected beings, then we would more likely approach others in a way that honours their human dignity. If we think of ourselves as beings in dialogue, then we will seek, uncover and encourage dialogue with others. Let’s hone our common niceties.

Each moment has a meaning potential. To discover this potential, we need to really be in the moment.

“This emphasis on being attuned to meaning potential is similar to my emphasis on mindful awareness (e.g., Wong 2012b) and the current popularity of mindfulness in positive psychology (e.g., Kashdan & Ciarrochi, 2013). This hypothesis predicts that the more meaningful moments we have experienced, the greater the level of perceived meaningfulness and life-satisfaction.” ~ Paul Wong

So let’s pay attention to one another, let’s really listen, let’s really engage. Deeper life-satisfaction awaits!

Here is one of my favourite quotes from Cloud Atlas ~ Sonmi 451

sonmi

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present.”

 

Read my earlier post Break the Silence.

 

References:

Kashdan, T. B., & Ciarrochi, J. (2013). Mindfulness, acceptance, and positive psychology: The seven foundations of well-being. Oakland, CA: Context Press.

Wong, P. T. P. (2012b). From logotherapy to meaning-centered counseling and therapy. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 619-647). New York, NY: Routledge.

Image from WeHeartIt

Can’t Watch This – but a Must See for Everyone – Earthlings ~ Shaun Monson

Can’t Watch This – but a Must See for Everyone – Earthlings ~ Shaun Monson

When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?

EARTHLINGS, an award-winning documentary film about the suffering of animals and their use by human beings. It is shot using hidden cameras in places like: animal shelters, pet stores, puppy mills, factory farms, slaughterhouses, leather and fur industries, sporting events, circuses and research labs.

Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. I would say this is one of the most socially urgent issues of our times. It is a multiple award-winning film by Nation Earth.

I recommend that everyone watch all the way through. It is gut wrenching, eye-opening, disturbing and distressing yes, but everyone needs to educate themselves, to open their eyes, to know. So that they can become informed and NOT remain ignorant, so that they can make informed choices. Several times I became physically sick, cried, the pain in my heart a deep physical ache.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian” – Paul McCartney

A MUST WATCH FOR EVERYONE. DON’T LOOK AWAY – BUT VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED. Click below to watch on Vimeo or go to the Earthlings page:

 

This documentary is known as the vegetarian/vegan maker. See my earlier post Dietary Travail, for my own story on how I first became a vegetarian and then a lacto-vegetarian.