Month: February 2015

I Had a Black Dog, His Name was Depression | WHO Video Message of Hope

In collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the “black dog of depression”. More information on the book can be found here: Matthew Johnstone 

WHO Mental Health Topics

Sea Gulls Surfing and Fishing and Other Birds on Fish Hoek Beach

Fish Hoek beach with sea gulls surfing since yesterday, fishing away. Other birds like pigeons benefiting as well. Thursday morning beach walk. Low tide 8a.m. Studies in silver, blue, brown and grey. The sheer joy of a black dog running in the water.

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Photographs by Carol Knox.

If Spanish be the Food of Love Speak On!

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Today I happened to be speaking with a native Spanish speaker and he was saying how Spanish is a very direct language, whereas English is a language more suitable for poetry. So Spanish speakers are as the crow flies and English speakers meander descriptively, with words having many possible meanings. Interestingly, I then happened on two articles which spoke about the finding that people in Spain talk more about love and use more positive language than other countries studied. The Spanish used more words like “love” and “laughter” than other places. So maybe we all need more of this kind of positivity. In a play on Shakespeare: If Spanish be the Food of Love Speak On:

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

See the MailOnline: Spain’s the Place to Live (I so agree if this is the case)

BigThink: Spanish is the Language of Love

Image: Los Gigantes, Tenerife, Spain from Wikimedia Commons

The UnValentines of Single People | How Does it Feel? | My Unness

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The unvalentine of year after year of single life. How does it feel to be uncoupled, unlinked, unrelated? Are you undone? For me I am definitely in a state of unness. Singleness by choice, a kind of pristine space albeit from time to time an alone one. This is the time, including the Christmas and New Year period, when this unlinkedness comes to the fore. It is not so much the lack of a link to a partner that causes from time to time a sharp ache, a sense of separateness so acute to be an actual heartache. The yearning is for a community, a relatedness, rather than a relationshipness. The bygone days of sharing, preparing meals, talking in the kitchen. Nowadays I no longer cook for myself. Some studies have shown that eating alone is not good for you. I find it depressing, so I would rather eat in a distracted way, while doing other things, almost in passing.

These simple, heartwarming moments can yawn like a chasm, like any Grand Canyon in their missingness. I do the stuff of meaning making, focusing on projects, meditating, increasing spiritual practice, but it is true that this unness does not sit as comfortably as at other times. I am especially aware at these times to try to focus on positive things, to steer away from undoings, to avoid certain spaces where couples and families congregate. How do you cope with the life phase of the fifties, when children are grown and you are alone? What do you do to get closer to fine?

Even a short walk on the beach helps me. I love to watch the people and the deep presentness of the dogs enjoying the sand, sea, air and of course the kelp. I sit and smile, pushing my hands and feet into the sand, a simple and great joy, looking out to sea and at the ghost mountains in the distance.

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And yesterday this sign made me smile too:

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Photos taken by Carol Knox

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Wild Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay and a Disappointment after 38 Years

My hair is literally standing upright in the wind. Wild, windy, beautiful! My eyes are streaming. A brief visit. K is excitedly snapping pictures and an old friend I have not seen in 38 years, is standing back and looking on. I had felt such anticipation in seeing him, he had always been very kind and sweet. Interesting how he had changed little and seemed simultaneously distant, if not quite unfriendly. In the three short days, K and I were blown off for a lunch, with a decided reluctance on his part to help carry some heavy luggage in the beginning and at the end, I kind of felt disillusioned with him. Curious how he walked ahead and offered no hand ups or assistance over rocky patches. I had more help on a hike here in Cape Town, from a complete stranger. Many things had changed indeed in all this time.

With the wind whipping in my face, K’s joy in the place was so endearing and wonderful to see. Her “upliftment”, uplifted me, her smile was so bright and unconstrained, so open. I felt exhilarated by the place if not by the company of the person I had not seen in so long. We were able to see the seals in the distance and listen to their squeals and honking. I am delighted that I had the opportunity to experience this exquisite beauty, trudge along paths and clamber over rocks, with expanses of dune and white beach. Plettenberg Bay I would give a miss on the whole, I found the town pretentious.

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Robberg Nature Reserve

Photos taken by K October, 2014.


This photo of Robberg Nature Reserve is courtesy of TripAdvisor

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Reacting to Objects: Mindfulness, Tech and Emotion

Museum in a Bottle

There’s been a lot of discussion about mindful looking and unplugging in museums of late. By pure coincidence, I’ve been thinking about looking at objects while traveling over the last 2 months, developing an understanding of how mindfulness and technology work together for me to connect emotionally with museum objects.

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