Month: July 2015

A Brief History of Melancholy | Courtney Stephens

I found this interesting and thought I would share this by Courtney Stephens, from TedEx Lessons Worth Sharing:

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Belongings in the Sand | A Short Story

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A fictional short story. A tale of misadventure, from the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the journeys between. A journey like a Kafka joke, could this be real? Juxtaposition of ordinary and surreal. Would I be able to escape unharmed? What was to become of me?

“Frightened, I stood, surrounded by my few belongings. I couldn’t help but stare at the sand covering the toes of my new shoes, black, pointy toed, with a flash of red at the heel. Like me–just a flash of the possibility of intrigue. The heat feels like 40 degrees. Cars careen by at outrageous speeds, but this is only in the periphery of my consciousness. There is nothing but sand and freeway and two individuals arguing in a language I can’t understand. Two cars parked at an angle at the edge of the bleak desert. My mind can hardly grasp the reality of what has happened. So far from home, I am frozen in the sand. Were I to see myself from above, I might look like a modern day gargoyle. All I can think in that moment of me staring is: ‘…oh, my new shoes are getting ruined. If only I had worn my black takkies.’

Nothing else seemed possible. No running, no fighting would help me now.”

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite.Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes is an adventure short story written by Carol Knox. Dr. Adiba of Journal English was supposed to be picking up the young professional woman from the Dubai airport. She was carefully and suitably dressed and excited about her new opportunity in Abu Dhabi. Things started feeling wrong from the minute she met the young man with the shabby car who was supposedly doing a favor for an employee of the company. She began to panic as he drove recklessly and didn’t seem to be heading towards her destination. When a cop flagged the car down and arranged for a taxi to take her to her hotel, there was some relief, but it was short-lived. The hotel employees acted strangely, and her efforts to call her daughter had been unsuccessful from her first attempt back at the airport. What had she gotten herself into?

Carol Knox’s short story, Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes, is suspenseful and exciting. Her heroine is polished, urbane and successful at her business, but it is when she’s faced with danger that she becomes alive and in the moment. Knox’s plot swiftly propels the reader into her dilemma, and I could vividly envision the woman standing perplexed and tense by the side of the road. Her inability to make a call to her daughter reminded me of a recurrent nightmarish dream where I’ve been unable to make a very important phone call. Knox builds the tension subtly from her protagonist’s first apprehensions through to her strategies for leaving what appears to be a very dangerous situation. Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes is an excellent short story with a satisfying and complex plot. It’s highly recommended.

Kindness Blog’s Journey So Far…

Kindness Blog

kindness blog bannerFriends,

This humble little blog has run for nearly 2½ years now and, as Kindness Blog’s creator, I thought it was time that I shared some of my reflections on our journey so far as a Kindness based website.

When I started Kindness Blog, I had no idea how it would evolve, from just myself posting occasional articles about compassionate news stories, to something that’s a bit different today.

The reason I created the site was simply because I wanted to do something, anything, to help others. Most of the 24-hours in my typical day were spent doing things for me, in one way, shape or form. I didn’t like that. At all. As I was (and still am) working full-time in IT and sales, as well as raising three children with my lovely wife, it seemed to me that I had little time to do as much as I wanted…

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This Precious Human Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama ~ Each Day Recite This

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“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Image from a walk along Trappieskop in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town: Sitting feet on the rock looking down.

If My Life is For Rent in Response to the Words of Rupi Kaur

In the profound words of Rupi Kaur:

“it was when I stopped searching for home within others
and lifted the foundations of home within myself
I found there were no roots more intimate
than those between a mind and body
that have decided to be whole.”

Yes I do agree. But, I have been a gypsy for so many years. How I have yearned too for roots, for a peaceful place to lay my head. In Dido’s words in Life for Rent:

“…But if my life is for rent
And I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cause nothing I have is truly mine.”

Where is my: “Nuwe rus”? (New rest).

Facing and Diving Into Fear, a Process of Befriending

black wolfToday at a talk I was reminded of these words by the gentle Christoph:

“Life is not a void to be filled. It is a plenitude to be discovered.” Christoph Eberhard.

What resonated with me so strongly was the talk of facing one’s fear, the “dark wolf”/dark night of the soul, the talk about going deeply into it, until one reaches that moment of the “crack” or the break, like a twig snapping. Once one has faced it, dived deeply into it, snapped, one can befriend it, one can really become whole, a plenitude, a messiness, a non-polarity, a non-dichotomy, able to hold mutually exclusive things together. Thank you Nathan Raaths.

Image found at: Pinterest: The Call of the Wild

Top 20 Posts ~ January to June 2015

800px-Canada's_fireworks_at_the_2013_Celebration_of_Light_in_Vancouver,_BCI would like to share my top posts for the past six months, it is always useful and important to see what resonates with readers:

“May all beings have happiness… | Buddhist Quote”
13 Self-Reflection Tasks for a Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy Workshop #Longreads
An Ounce of Home Mini Buddhist Altar Travel Kit
Dream of a Tsunami and a Tornado | Interpretation?
The Normal | The Fallacy of Normalcy | No Wish to be Normal
Depression and Hope – The Danny Baker Story
“I Go to Seek a Great Perhaps – Attributed to François Rabelais”
Happy New Year 2015 | Mindfulness Project Free Resources for You
Sloughed Off | How I Grew a New Skin Such a Magical Thing
“A Rockpile Ceases to be a Rockpile the Moment a Single Man Contemplates It… ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery”
Object Lesson – My Buddhist Mala or Prayer Beads
Alan Watts | The Greatest Skill of All
There’s More to Life than Happiness
I Had a Black Dog, His Name was Depression | WHO Video Message of Hope
The Unfurling of my Heart | A Young Woman’s Journey with Ayahuasca in Peru and the Amazon
Belongings in the Sand
Feeling Down? Focus on Something you can Do, a Project or a Task that you can Accomplish
The Existential Vacuum – Are we the Hollow Men?
Sea Gulls Surfing and Fishing and Other Birds on Fish Hoek Beach
Inspiration | HardCore Zen | The Question of Suicide

These three have the same number of readers as the Inspiration post:

Daily Post | New Year’s Eve 2014 | Warmth
If Spanish be the Food of Love Speak On!
Reviving Bricks

Image from Wikipedia

The Endurance of Rock ~ Letting Go and Surrender

RedDisa (1)

Having always held to the idea of Rock as so exquisitely expressed by Kathleen Raine in 1951:

“There is stone in me that knows stone,
Whose sole state is stasis
While the slow circle of the stars whirls a world of rock
Through light-years where in nightmare I fall crying
‘Must I travel fathomless distance for ever and ever?’
All that is in me of the rock, replies
‘For ever, if it must be: be, and be still; endure.’ “

(from “Rock”, 1951)

I have come closer to the state of being of surrender and letting go, which for me has been an act of courage:

The 13th century Sufi poet Rumi uses a wonderful metaphor to bring this to life:

“Very little grows on jagged rock.

Be ground. Be crumbled,

so wildflowers will come up

where you are.

You’ve been stony for too many years.

Try something different.

Surrender.”

Indeed I am ground, I am crumbled.

Image from Wikipedia: The Red Disa which grows on Table Mountain – Disa uniflora blooms along the Aqueduct on the Back Table behind Table Mountain, Western Cape, South Africa

Sick Karmic Jokes and Kafkaesque Realities

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So, having fled a place of constant building and worker noise, endured for three months, interrupting training online and of course prohibitive of creating recordings, for a 30 day program I had hoped to soon publish, to a small historic town for peace and quiet, after three days a truck arrives in the back yard, laden with bricks. Having endured the trauma of a robbery at knife point at the previous house, losing all equipment and therefore ability to work, we took refuge in a small house with kind and concerned people, who offered good vegan food and shelter, until we could restore and find our feet. How is it, that today a truck arrives threatening more building noise? Unloading of brick by brick begins. Twin Peaks. Burlesque, and surrealism intertwine and grin,  I feel as if on trial looking up at the looming Kafkaesque black robed judge above me, as I shrug and say: What the F—?

For the image and to read a post see On Trial with Kafka and K

Move to the Historic Town of Piketberg

I have just moved to the historic town of Piketberg and am living in one of the first homes built in the 1800’s.

cottage cottage garden

“Piketberg is a lovely little town nestling at the bottom of the Piket mountain range which soars 1430 metres above the town. Piketberg was established in 1836 when Sir Benjamin D’Urban gave the ruling farm in the area to the Church council. This allowed the church to govern the town which grew up around it until 1901.

In every country town in SA you are likely to find a Dutch Reformed Church. It’s normally the largest building in the town and always has a church steeple. In Piketberg this tradition is no exception.”

Church

Image and info from: Cape Town and Surrounds