Monthly Archives: February, 2012

Mama & The City, Part 1

The weather here in Sydney is atrocious but it is of little concern! I’m staying in a nice little hotel on Cremorne Point and after an easy journey via train and ferry from the airport I took myself out for an excellent massaman curry (best I’ve had outside of Thailand) and then went to a beautician on the spur of the moment and had my eyebrows waxed and shaped. Unheard of in recent years! I feel fab! Despite getting absolutely drenched on my walk up to the shops and back, it was lovely to see all the old (by Aussie standards) brick and tile houses, which brought to mind the old British colonial homes I saw in northern Burma.

Was just about to post this when a family with young children arrived in the room next door. Oh. My. God. Nightmare!! Fortunately I was able to change rooms which was a pain in the ass at that point in the evening but there’s no way I’m spending my child free time listening to someone else’s kids squawking!! Then spent first five minutes in the new room listening to the woman next door screaming blue bloody murder down the phone. Thankfully, all is now quiet and long may it continue!

Tomorrow’s conference topics are:

  • HAPPINESS – IN YOUR HANDS
  • HAPPINESS & A MEANINGFUL LIFE
  • THE UPSIDE OF DOWN
  • HAPPINESS, MEANING & WORK

Really looking forward! I shall be up very early as registration is at 8am and I have to catch the ferry back across the water and then make my way up to the Town Hall via Starbucks, which has not yet made it into Regional NSW, so I need to go every day while I am here. Obviously 🙂

Grim skies in Sydney!

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

My bags are (almost) packed and I’m (almost) ready to go! Slight panic caused by weather report last night sharing the wonderful news that Sydney is about to experience its worst weather in 30 years, with heavy rain, thunderstorms and flash flooding in metropolitan areas, starting today and lasting for the whole 3 days I am there. Whatever happens, I will be all alone, which is the whole fabulous point (well, that and attending the conference!) so the rotten weather in itself isn’t the end of the world. However, having lived in a subtropical small town uniform of shorts, t-shirts and thongs flipflops (nope, I tried but I am still too British) for so long I was thrown into a quandary about what to pack for these adverse conditions. Thus I have spent an hour this morning trying to squeeze into clothes more suitable for a chilly (20C!) climate and wet city streets i.e. things I haven’t worn in eons and which appear to have (ahem) shrunk in the wash.

So, I have now cobbled together a couple of outfits which I hope are worthy of a two day conference  that costs $1,100 (and that’s just the basic tickets, not the upgraded ones and not including the workshops). Yup, you read that correctly. I am not paying for the tickets, I won them, or I most certainly would not be able to go. So, lucky me! I have been wondering what kind of person has that amount of money to spend on learning to be happy though, and I guess I am about to find out. Indeed, the cost of the conference has attracted some criticism in the media. Just found an ABC article  in which some very valid points are raised, and I’m looking forward to reading through all the comments.

But now, I have to finish packing, cuddle cuddle cuddle my girly, and then Mama is off to the airport. I’ll see you in Sydney!

Following the Dalai Lama…

…on twitter! Today I retweeted from the official twitter page of the Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Wisdom comes from many sources in the 21st Century!

“The ultimate source of comfort and peace is within ourselves”

Staying in the Now

Toward the end of last year someone pointed out to me that perhaps I was procrastinating all the time because I didn’t have enough to do, and that’s why I was getting nothing done and living in physical and emotional chaos. I think they were right. In recent weeks I’ve been so much busier than I was, but I’m also a lot happier. I think it’s partly because I am more focussed on scheduling proper family time, instead of just drifting about the house on family days doing bits and pieces of jobs, with everyone getting grumpy and dissatisfied – I have to be more organised now because otherwise I can’t keep up with the party planning and eBaying as well as running the house and caring for the family plus my voluntary stuff. So we are having more fun together as a family, and naturally that makes me happy!

I know it’s also because I’m kind of working again a little. It’s good for me. I’m happier on myself, and my husband is clearly happy that I’m happy, and he has had no issues taking on a few extra household and childcare tasks so that everything still gets done now that my attention is away from the home for a few more hours a week. If I’m honest I think it’s also probably easier to be cooperative and pleasant around a wife who is no longer giving off a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) vibe of discontent and resentment at all times. I’ve been working really hard on being mindful, and grateful for the little things, and while I have had the odd blip (e.g. irrational meltdowns caused by missing keys etc – well I am still me, after all!), I think things are starting to improve around here. Certainly, I am not currently feeling as resentful as I was. And things in general actually seem to be under control – for now, anyway! So, I’m just staying in the now this evening, and enjoying it 🙂

Friday Travel Photo – Malaysia

Friday Travel Photo

Penang, Malaysia

Action for Happiness

A good friend of mine shared a link an organisation called Action for Happiness this morning. Very cool! I too pledge to try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me!

When I was little and I had to make a wish, I always, always wished to be happy. I don’t know if that was because I was very unhappy as a child, which saddens me. Regardless, as an adult I have no doubt that happiness really is what matters in life, and that it doesn’t come from money, status or amassing large quantities of material things. When I had my really low point in my twenties I read a book by the Dalai Lama called The Art of Happiness and I remember it really helped me. As the Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”.

Happiness as a theme seems to be crossing my path all over the place recently! This cute poster (quote by Yogi Bhajan, source of illustration alas unknown) was shared by another friend just yesterday on their Facebook wall. Yet another friend shared a link to a great little article called 7 Must-Read Books on the Art and Science of Happiness with me, just last week – I’m not surprised to see The Art of Happiness is in there! Just as well I’m not the paranoid type or I’d think everyone was trying to tell me something! I think I just have happy friends with great life values 🙂

And in just 7 sleeps this trying-to-be-mindful mum is off to Sydney for the 2012 Happiness & Its Causes 2 day conference!! I was lucky enough to win the tickets from Lifeline and I am SO excited, both for the content but also because I am going to be in the Big Smoke for 3 days all by myself. It’s the first time I’ve ever been away from my daughter, and my first night apart from my husband in years. Am I a bad wife and mother to admit in all honesty that I can’t wait to be ALONE? I think not! I know I’m going to miss them but I know they’re going to be just fine, and I also know that my little independent trip to the city is going to do me a world of good. And as we all know, happy mama = happy family, and vice versa!

The Electronic Babysitter

Have decided that Miss M (almost 18 months) is watching too much TV. Read a book some months ago about the great evils of telly for Little People, but it was way too extreme in my opinion. I don’t think a small amount of monitored, carefully chosen TV is dangerous. However, if I’m honest her amount of ABC2 viewing time has been creeping up since she started watching childrens programmes about 5 months ago. And then I was reading this morning that any more than 15 minutes at a time for the under-2s can just melt their little brains, which makes sense – I’ve seen how zombified Miss M is after 15 minutes of In The Night Garden. Cute, kinda. But then again…I also know that I’m guilty of using the Goggle Box as an electronic babysitter on occasion, something I swore (like everyone who’s never had any children) that I would never do. So, today we just had about 15 minutes all in. Miss M only demanded it once and after being denied, she quickly forgot about it, whereas I found it a little harder to do without that bit of downtime when she is completely focussed on Jimmy Giggle and I can get some other stuff done. Which is a lesson in itself.  We also spent more quality time together reading and playing that we would usually – oh my god why am I denying us both that just so we can have a cleaner house?? On reflection, very silly. No more!!

The Joshua Bell Social Experiment

This short story came up on my Facebook newsfeed this morning, shared by a friend. Love it. Perfect morning reading for a trying-to-be-more mindful mum. It’s all over the internet at the moment, but unfortunately I was unable to find the original source of this text. I did, however, find the background story in The Washington Post if you’d like to know more about Joshua Bell and the experiment he took part in.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Friday Travel Photo – Thailand

Friday Travel Photo - Thailand

Temples of Ayutthaya, Thailand

Minding my own business(es)

Apparently not sufficiently occupied with setting up one business (party planning), last night I restarted my eBay seller account & also set up a Facebook page for selling new & second hand books! Not really intentional, but I’ve been pondering these things for a while and it just kind of all came together yesterday evening. I don’t think it’s too much to handle because all of these little ventures can be run in a very flexible manner, and indeed can be put on temporary hold if / when I get pregnant  (fingers crossed!). I plan to keep the eBay selling only to what I have at the moment and see how I go timewise – family first, always! – but I’ll probably be buying a few books here and there to post up and see if I can make a few bucks. Before we moved to Australia I always made more money than my husband, and who earned more was never an issue in the slightest for either of us, but since I became a stay at home mum I’ve found it quite hard to adjust to losing my financial independence. By becoming a part-time work at home mum, I get to have a bit of fun and (hopefully) create some disposable income for myself at the same time!

My first goal after breaking even on the party planning is to reward myself with an iPad2. I don’t really know why I want one but I really, really do! Sucker for the marketing I guess and certainly it is not Buddhist in the slightest to lust after material objects. So, it would appear that I am not very enlightened when it comes to the iPad2. But, I can live with that 😉

%d bloggers like this: