Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday Search - Colour

There have been heaps of studies done about colours - the best ones to make dentists, doctors and hospitals calming. To ensure you move fast in travelways. That you eat well in restaurants. There've been studies done in wildlife too about why colours attract/detract. It's always been something I've read about. Not something I've brought to my life.

I do muted pallettes. Yellow seems to be a recurring theme in these photos I've just grabbed that I've used on here before. But I do navy, black, yellow, grey, pastels. The colours that allow you to hide in plain sight.

There are a thousand reasons why, and I won;t go into those here or you might be reading for ages! But I'm not comfortable standing out - although yellow is sort of a stand out colour, isn't it?

When I was a kid I wore bright yellow, bright green, red. I wore apricot/orange. I wasn't quite so muted. I don't know when I began to fade to the background, but in high school sewing, the clothes I wore were muted - beige and pale green or olive were a couple of things I remember making. So it was sometime between being 8 or 10 and 15. Puberty.Which is probably when my skin erupted, so that makes sense.

Anyway, I began to notice this recently. I have 'home' clothes that are quite bright - but I don't go out in them. I get changed before I go out.

Then I noticed when I was in my favourite shop (it's sort of a mixed hippie/weird shop), that they had these awesome cotton pants in bright green and purple, but I didn't buy them, I went with the black and grey ones. When I got home, it nagged at me. Why did I change my mind? What was wrong with purple and green?

A friend rang and in our rambling, wild conversation, I told her of my pants dilemma. We laughed about it. We laughed about me fitting in and not standing out. About how I now lived on the coast where wild things happened and I could indulge my inner hippie because surely no one cares on the coast. But...they do...don't they?

So, I thought about it some more. I caught a train up to Sydney and when I was daydreaming out the window, I noticed that when I was a kid, there was a "dress code" of what you could wear to work, to the shops, to church, etc. And I'd had that drummed into me and although I didn't like it, it was what you did, or mostly did!

I was a rebel in that I wore trousers to my grandfather's funeral, when skirts were the done thing. I wore trousers to lots of things I was supposed to wear skirts or dresses to.

I'd been to a friend's wedding (I was maybe 18 or so) and I had what I thought was a smart black suit and a green shirt/jumper. I remember sitting at this table with her friends who were discussing everyone's clothing and who was 'appropriate' and who wasn't. I learned that you never wear white to a wedding as you upstage the bride. You never wear black because that's for funerals, and never a suit because that's even worse and certainly for funerals, and never green because that's a sign of jealousy. Holy cow! I broke so many dress rules I was a disaster.

But rules have relaxed now. People wear anything they want. And so, when my friend came to visit, we went to my favourite shop and there were no purple and green pants, but there was a pair of rainbow pants with dragonflies on them. She dared me. I can't back down from a dare! So I own these. At home, I team them with whatever colour I want. The few times I've been brave and worn them out, I've gone with a white top. The first time, a mate told me I 'looked like a yes vote' and I didn't want to clarify what he meant by that. The next time, an older lady told me that I made her happy - not just because I chatted to her, but because of my smile and my happy pants!

She's right, they do make me happy. When I'm having a blah day, I drag on the rainbows and every time I take a step, I have to smile at all that colour.

They remind me that Mum used to wear purple a lot when she was sick, because it made her look healthy and people would say how good she looked. And I think that's important.

We need to wear whatever colour makes us happy, makes us feel good, makes us look good, makes our day.

So I'm going to try being brave and wearing bright colours out. Bright colours make me smile. They make me happy. And the world needs to be a happier place!

What's your colour? Do you wear your favourite colours out?

(Author buddy, Lily Malone is in one of the photos here in her pink beanie - I love that she has that and that she wears it with pride and a beaming smile!)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday Search - Meditation

I can sit quietly, in awe of nature, any time you want me to. When we got a Wii game thing, the only one I was good at was the Zen mediation where I got expert level first go. I'm good at sitting still, lost in my own thoughts.

I thought that meant I was good at meditation...and maybe it does. I'm not quite sure where meditation and mindfulness overlap. Or if meditation has been commercialised to the point where you're not expected to find your own path.

Doubting I knew anything about mediation, I started to read more about meditation, also mindfulness. I began listening to meditations conducted by people. I downloaded some apps. I kind of lost my way a bit. Some meditations were just too fast for me. Some voices made me laugh at their exaggerated sounds - as if they were trying too hard to be deeply soulful or something. Some of the apps just had too much in it, or too many add-ons I didn't need, or cost too much. I resent commercialisation of things we intrinsically know.

Lately, I've gone back to my thing. Sitting silently in nature. But in the past, when thoughts of the day-to-day things filled my mind, I didn't find meditation all that restful or deep or whatever the books told me it should be. So now I've begun to use some of the techniques that I've read about - the ones that worked for me, or resonated within me.

I welcome whatever random thought flits through my mind, give it some love and send it on its way. After enough of these have past, I feel my mind give a big sigh, and it gets into deeper stuff. Sometimes I solve problems in my story (whatever one I'm writing, or some I've written in the past that are in the files but not finished. The one called Past Lives, which led me down this rabbit hole has been given a lot of thought and is bubbling waiting to be rewritten...soon!). Sometimes I can order my thoughts about the world, or whatever issue is bugging me. Sometimes I feel like a domino falls in my brain and I have this chain of thoughts that I follow like Alice down that rabbit hole. I've no clue where those thoughts are taking me, but I'm more than comfortable in my mind, so I'm happy to roam anywhere, discover anything.

Meditation, for me anyway, is about finding my calm place. The place where I can think, dream, problem solve, create. The place where the noise of life quietens and I can be me, be with me. I like it. I like taking myself on this journey into my mind.

Do you meditate? What is meditation for you?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday - Eel-tailed catfish

There's a local rockpool I like to swim in, and sometimes snorkel, especially when I have kids with me as there's no chance of losing them in a rip to sea when I get distracted!

There's an outlet to sea at one end and in December, I saw movement there - a huge thing that darted back inside. It was a glimpse out the side of my eye and I was sure I was seeing things. But I waited, and this guy popped his head out. Lordy, he wasn't attractive! I reckon anyone in that pool woudl have been out had they known he was there.

I came home to find out what he was. Half eel, half catfish was what my mind said.

And I found an eel-tailed catfish! What do you know? My guess wasn't too far off at all.

I haven't seen him again - too many tourists - but now they've gone home, I might have to go for another snorkel, even without kids!

Have you ever seen such a critter?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sunday Story - Fairy tales and Fantasies

I've had a couple of conversations lately about romance and fairy tales and fantasies, so I thought I'd try to order my thoughts here.

Just in case you're new to my blog, my mind doesn't seem to work like most people's so my musings here may be totally weird. I'm okay with weird, that's how I've always been! :)

Having said that, you've probably worked out that I'm not all that keen on the popular fairy tales and probably have some odd reasonings, so here goes.

Cinderella seems to be one of the most loved fairy tales. It gets transferred to romance stories, and linked to female fantasies. I'm not a big fan of Cinderella. No one could explain how everything but her shoe returned to normal at midnight. And how did no one at all recognise her? Then it just annoys me that a fairy godmother gave her a night out, rather than a fair go. Why couldn't she have given Cinderella a decent life of her own, rather than dress up and play pretend (yes, I know, no story if she does that!). And how could her foot be so rare no one else fit that slipper?

Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are both a bit odd because the girl's asleep and the prince sees her, falls madly in love, kisses her/takes her home, and breaks the curse/spell. The girls are inactive, and the guys fall for beauty, not even knowing the girl's character. Sounds pretty risky to me! And, is it only me who thinks necrophilia?

And talking of fetishes, there are some great bestiality stories - The Frog Prince, Beauty and the Beast. Fall in love and kiss a critter, anyone? Is the Pied Piper paedophilia when he leads all the children out of town? Hansel and Gretel's another fetish one, just not sure where it falls - paedophilia, cannibalism, sadism could all work.

I'm a fan of Babes in the Woods, where there's kidnapping and abandonment, but then rescue by animals and a kindly grandma who loves the kids and rewards the animals' kindness. 

When you look at it, we tell children some beastly stories, that possibly get them ready for the harsh reality of life... but are they also helping to create future sexual fantasies? 

One of the most popular female fantasies seems to be where she does nothing and her perfect man falls in love with her and saves her - does it sound like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella? Can it be the very popular Pretty Woman and/or 50 Shades of Grey?

There's a universality to stories, especially fables and fairy tales. There's also a universality to romance, and also fantasies. Even with sometimes huge cultural differences, similar themes exist. How does that happen? It's an odd thing, universality.

I've no answers today, just random musings. But what interests me in my musings is that I prefer the story that's not about romance. The romances make me ask questions, and doubt the characters, or their intentions and/or motivations. This is quite possibly why I can't seem to write very romantic stories, no matter how I try. Maybe my universal theme is kindness and familial love, not romantic love. Not so great for a romance writer, hey?! :)

Do you have a favourite fairy tale? Does it link to your life/writing/fantasies/fetishes?

Saturday Search - Energy

Energy. I learned about it in science. It's forever linked to E = mc2 and Einstein, for me. I played sport, so energy is also equal to exercise and doing things. And I also associate energy with people - she's a high energy person, he's a low energy guy, she takes my energy - yet I haven't really understood what that meant.

Some years back, I wrote a short story about an energy/emotion draining vampire. It came out of my thoughts about people. When I was with some people, I left feeling completely hollow. Other people left me bouyed. Others I felt the same as when I'd met them. What did that mean?

As I started looking into things to improve my health, I came across stuff about 'toxic people' and how some people needed to be avoided because they took and didn't give back. I started to recognise that these were often the people who left me drained. As I had less and less energy, I couldn't be near these people, and I jettisoned so many. Some had been friends, some I thought were close friends, but they all seemed to roam away as soon as I couldn't be a shoulder for them (or a source for their constant need for energy).

I didn't understand it, even as I did it.

Last year, I had less and less energy every day and it worried me terribly. I had a virus, I had to rest and drink fluids. But this treatment wasn't replenishing my energy. I had no clue how to get more. I began to read.

I read about Mindfulness and Meditation with a Jon Kabat-Zinn. It was eye opening. I'm hopeless at meditation, or so I thought, but he gave me hope.

Then I went on a reading journey where one book followed another, each building on what I'd learned. Mindfulness for Beginners by Zon Kabat-Zinn, then Medical Medium by Anthony William, then Cure by Jo Marchant, then Becoming Supernatural by Dr Joe Dispenza.

In Joe Dispenza's Becoming Supernatural, he gave a heap of scientific reckoning to support his arguments. He took Einstein and made it relative to his arguments. He claims that emotions are energy. Negative emotions (anger, fear, stress, grief) have less (or heavier) energy than joyful emotions (gratitude, happiness, joy, love). At least, I think that's what he said - that's what I took from it anyway! The happier, lighter emotions oscillate at a higher frequency, they make you feel better, lighter. He says that meditation and focussing on the energy within you, can increase these joyful emotions and you can heal yourself by changing the expression of genes by changing hormonal responses.

Just before I bought this book, I had my first acupuncture session (after having a treatment many years before, but not continuing it). During the acupuncture treatment, I was left in a quiet, dark room with soft music playing. I had needles in my feet, hands, face, and lower legs. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do but lie there and relax. I felt like I was dying when I walked into that place. I'd driven the 20 mins to get there and it had exhausted me. I hadn't driven for most of the year because I hadn't had access to a car, so I was putting it down to stress, plus virus. As I laid there, wondering if this might help and hoping I'd be right to drive home, things started happening inside me. Tingling, fluttering things. It started in my toes and moved through my body. Slowly. Like ants crawling over me (except not as creepy or bitey!). My body began to twitch and move. Voluntarily. There was a white light in my mind and my stomach that was spreading (and I know this is weird, I had my eyes closed, but it's warmth and heat is why I call it 'light' but it may not have been light as such). About halfway through the session, I felt  like this was working. I had hope.

I left there with energy.

I wish I could explain how that worked. In my science head, I'm thinking that the pinpricks into the skin begin some kind of immune system response, which fires up the immune system and that's what I was feeling. But shit, I'd had a freaking virus for 12 months and that immune system had konked out trying to fight it. So how did this work?

I have no bloody idea.

But since then, I've improved every day. I have energy. I'm starting to feel those good emotions again - joy, love, gratitude, compassion. I'm doing my day job, plus writing, plus doing house and garden work, plus volunteering at the local nursery. I've been able to have visitors and go visiting. I've had energy to climb towers, run about with kids, swim, walk, travel. Things I could not for the life of my do the past 13 months when I could hardly do my day job and cook tea.

I don't understand it, but as one of those books said, sometimes you just have to thank your left brain for trying to rationalise what's happening, and let your right brain smile and be glad it's occurring.

So, I'm celebrating. Celebrating the return/release of my energy.

In Becoming Supernatural, Dispenza says that energy is everywhere and it switches and changes and flows. He says sometimes we give energy to the outside flow, sometimes we draw it in from the outside, sometimes we circulate the energy within us.

Einstein said that Energy could neither be created nor destroyed. It sure felt like I'd destroyed mine, but I'm ever so glad I have it flowing again. I don't intend to lose it anytime soon!

How's your energy?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Saturday Search - Trees

I know, after religion and feminism, trees seems a big change in direction! But it's nature, like my Wildlife Wednesday posts, so a big part of my life.

When I was 5 years old, we moved house. I don't remember the first house much, and I've no memory of any trees in the backyard of the first house except for a mandarin tree which Mum called a thorny mandarin tree and I had to stay away from the thorns. I've no idea if there were thorns or if I was just being kept from climbing the tree!

Anyway, our new house had a few trees but two were my favourites and became 'my' places. One was technically the neighbour's tree, but it was a Weeping Willow with half the fronds weeping on our side of the fence. I spent quite a bit of time in my castle under the willow, often with my dog. Right next to these fronds was a pencil pine, in our yard, and although it was there, it held no great place in my heart. Certainly nothing like the beautiful willow.

The other tree that had a place in my heart was right against the front verandah. The verandah had cutouts in the brickwork that made paneless windows, and there was like a concrete slab over it, so you could sit on it (I'll see if there's a photo because that's a terrible description!). Then there was this spot you could climb to above the stairs, and it was my favourite reading spot. I was screened from the street by the tree, but Mum could see me from the house. When I was young, I could climb into the tree and nestle in the branches but as I grew, this wasn't possible.

These trees were very important places for me. Sadly, both were cut down during my teenage years and I have to say that it hurt. Not so much the loss of hiding spaces, because I'd outgrown the spaces, but the loss of friends. 

Yep, I considered the trees as living beings, not unlike my pets, or my school friends. I didn't know this was weird. I mean The Faraway Tree was one of my favourite stories, and that tree was a living being, wasn't it? 

It was somewhat of a rude awakening to realise that people saw trees as easily dispensable, if not a complete pest!

I have 'collected' favourite trees everywhere I've lived. Trees that have some connection to me, which I can't explain at all. I like being near them, touching them, admiring them, and I may chat to them too. I like trees, but there are always special ones.

Some years ago, one of my friends was talking to me, and she's into all psychic things but sort of for fun, not entirely seriously. She had a deck of cards to tell you what you were in a previous life. She'd done herself and her kids and we'd been laughing about their cards. She drew one for me, and began laughing. Through her laughter, she managed to say I was a tree person. I froze. I'd never told anyone about my thing for trees. When she realised I wasn't joining in the laughter, she says, 'What aren't you telling me?' I told her about my trees, in a quiet little voice, expecting censure or more laughter. But she was gobsmacked. 

We sometimes recall that moment, as we explore this psychic, mystical, alternate world. Our scoffing disbelief has changed to curiosity and a sense of maybe...

I've no clue if I was a tree person in a previous life. I don't even really know what a tree person is/was. I think they were pre-Druids. And I'm not sure it's important. I like trees. I have an affinity for some trees more than others. I like animals. I like nature. That's just me.

So trees are a part of my searching. I know it's probably incredibly odd but it's me. And as the weeks go on, I think you might find that trees aren't so odd at all ;)

Do you have a favourite tree?