A book review

Book Cover

I finished reading this book today.

What did I think of this book?
I gave it a 3/5 rating.

From the onset, I immediately liked what I was reading, but as I progressed further and further into the book, I started losing interest. This is not to discount the author and his superior knowledge on this subject, with all due respect, but more about my mindset at the time of reading this book.

Let me explain.

I’m by no means an expert on meditation or on any science around the philosophy of meditation and enlightenment, so my boredom came about because I felt like I’d acquired this knowledge before, either through having read similar, or from having explored meditation in my earlier life (this sounds arrogant of me, but I promise you, it’s not intended to sound like that at all), and because the author tended to sermonise too much, in my opinion, which I found very annoying.

I think that the minute I realised this about the book, is about the time that I simply switched off and lost interest, but regardless, I still read it to the end, because I don’t like leaving books unfinished and at least wanted to give the author the due respect to read his book to the end.

Having said this, there were bits in the book that resonated with me, especially because it seemed ‘common core’ as the author puts it.  The bits where he speaks of questioning an emotion and getting an answer, and suddenly the emotion is gone! I’ve done this many times before in the course of my entire life, and I was thrilled that the author had also had this experience.  An example of this experience would be in which I’d suddenly be in a situation where I’d placed a judgement call (be it subconsciously) of someone new to me, and because of that judgement call, I’d find myself feeling aggravated, only to then realise in an instant that I’m feeling this way and to check-in with myself and ask the magic question, why? Why am I feeling this way about that person? And as soon as I’d get my answer, it’s like an epiphany and the sky opens up and the angels in the universe are all suddenly playing a harp together, and instantly, whatever feelings and thoughts I had of that person,  positive or negative, it’s gone.

Other than that, the other stuff in his book, was ‘common core,’ stuff that you may already know and may have tried before, such as; meditate.  Still the mind.  Feel the emptiness.  Know you are nothing and simultaneously know that you are something, that is in the here and now, forever more. Easy done for some of us, but not so easy for some of us.  For me.  What can I say? I’m here, right now.  My mind is actively active, but can be a blank as I focus on my breath or focus on simply being.

You get the gist.

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2018 – A new year begins again

And so we reign into 2018. Each new year brings with it hope for a better future for our little planet Earth, and for nature, and for all people and all living things, everywhere. It’s hard not to look back at the past either, at what once was, at what once transpired.

It’s hot today in Canberra. We’re currently sitting on 37 degrees. I’m not a fan of the heat or anything past 30 degrees, I find it unbearable. I’ve stayed indoors today, keeping my vertical blinds partially closed, keeping my place shaded from the hot sun. I’ve watched some TV, I’ve had something to eat and drink, and I’ve heard the comings and goings of my neighbours. My phone has not sounded once, and my dog has just about slept all day on every cool floor surface she could find. It’s funny watching her get up between sleeps and move to yet another spot only to fall asleep again. There’s nothing much to do in this heat and venturing outside does not appeal to me one bit. I’ve no intention on getting roasted, and my dog’s black fur coat is sure to attract the sun on her tiny little body. We shall stay put.

Can you believe it’s the 6th day of the year already? I’m not wishing my life away, BUT before we all know it, it’ll be Xmas and NYE again! Is it just me, or are you also noticing time moving faster as each year transpires?

In this past week I’ve come back home from Perth, after having visited my family over there. I’ve picked up my dog from her house sitter and I’ve had dinner out with friends followed by a game of trivia. Now that was fun! I’ve also been called by my employment agency asking me if I’m ready to start working again. When she asked me, I held a long pause, and then said, ‘Not until the end of this month…’ So she’s going to line up some interviews that will land me a job by end of this month. Good-o. This is what I call, ‘life-work-balance.’ Suits me perfectly fine. I work to live, and not live to work. That’s my philosophy for now and into the future, unless the sun stops shining and the earth stops turning, and if that ever happened, we’d all be stuffed, hey?

Here are some pics I took from my Xmas Perth vacation. (c)Gina

A Sunday walk to the Canberra Yacht Club

At the Yacht Club

Photo taken by me… 26 Nov. 2017

Yesterday, after spending a fair bit of time at home, doing, I don’t know, bugger all? I decided to take my cute little dog Pixi for a walk.  It was just after lunch and before I set out for my drive, I first checked the weather app.  The clouds up there in the sky were looking kinda heavy and rain was sure to come, but when? The weather app said that rain and thunderstorms would come around 5pm.  So I thought, that’s good, this gives me plenty of time to head on out to the lake and take Pixi for a walk and not get rained upon anytime soon.

When I got to the lake, I decided to park near the National Library of Australia, and from there, as I prepped Pixi with her walking harness, I thought that instead of doing the usual bridge to bridge walk, I’d walk to the Yacht Club instead for some of their ‘Snapper – on the Lake’ which is offered each Sunday, to members and guests, with some live gigs to go with it too.  They have a selection of fresh fish and chips, lovely lake views, and it’s all very relaxing, plus I was hungry and it was way past lunch time, and I hadn’t had lunch yet! And so off we went and walked to the Yacht club, it’s an approx a 3.5km walk to get there from where I’d parked.

There were lots of people there, all enjoying a Sunday afternoon with family and friends, eating and drinking, and kids and dogs playing chasing.  My first approach was to line up and order the fish n chips I’d been dreaming and salivating over on my walk. I waited outside the kiosk for a few minutes, with hand held buzzer in hand, for my order. As I stood outside with Pixi close by, a few people; also with dogs, would comment about Pixi, about how adorable she is, but of course she is! and before I knew it, my lunch was ready.  Now the tricky bit was finding a spot to sit on and eat my lunch.  I found one.  I sat on a small retainer wall and positioned myself to eat.  All was well and good with the world.  It was a delicious as I had dreamt it.  I was so hungry and I scoffed it down like there was no tomorrow.  It was delicious.  YUM! I gave Pixi a bit of the fish n chips and to my surprise, she wasn’t interested.  ‘What? That’s not like you Pixi!’ I thought. I put some fresh water in her water bowl which I carry with me on our walks, and she had a lick and that was it.  Hmm.  Must be the crowd that’s perplexing her interest. Pixi’s a good observer in large crowds.  Just so that you know. She sees everything, lol.

So I sat there, ate my lunch, and enjoyed the soft music and watching the crowd around me, and then after I was done, I decided I’d best get back to my car before it rains.  Those clouds up there in the sky (I mean, where else are clouds supposed to be, right?) were looking ominous and I started to doubt if I’d make it to my car on time before it would bucket down and rain on us. Well…

I walked for about 500m and stopped to take a photo (see above) anchored to the lake, because I thought it was pretty sight, and why not? And no sooner had I taken that photo, the heavens opened up and it rained on us.  Oh no! I quickly ran to the nearest tree for shelter (I mean, standing under a tree when it rains, and the thunder is roaring is not a safe place to stand… but…) Pixi and I stood under a tree anyway, with it’s massive green leaves providing us with some temporary shelter, and I mean, some… It is on a car parking lot.

There were people already in their cars, getting ready to drive home etc., and they were mostly families with kids and some others were just single drivers, and do you think that anyone of them even stopped to consider to offer me and Pixi a lift somewhere? NO! Not one person flinched to even care enough to stop and ask me if I was OK, and if I needed a lift somewhere.  Shocking! I know me.  Had I been in a car and saw someone randomly standing there in the rain with a dog, looking kinda defeated, I’d stop and ask if they were OK, if they needed a lift etc.  Why wouldn’t I??? I was disappointed that people simply went about their own business and it didn’t occur to any of them to consider other people around them.  Not one! Grr.

I waited for a while, and then as the rain softened somewhat, I made my way to the Hyatt, where I found a solid spot to stand under and then I made my way to the front of the Hyatt where I found a taxi rank and hailed a taxi.  At first, the taxi driver was like, ‘I’m on my way to a booked call, I can’t take you, sorry..’ He said, and I called out again, ‘Please, it’s not far from here, just 2 km if not less… Please!’ He budged. Thank goodness.  I guess he felt sorry for me and Pixi standing there in the rain, half soaked from the rain and looking half destitute.  Bless him.

The drive to my car was interesting.  At first, he wasn’t sure how to get out from their, having missed the exit road, so he had to do a U turn and drive half way back to get onto the exit which led to the road that my car was parked on.  Yeah! What relief.  I paid the taxi driver and from there I drove on home.

Moral of the story?

Don’t tempt the weather when it looks like it will rain sooner than anticipated. An umbrella would’ve been nice, but I’d left it in my car, which was totally useless to me!

It’s 2017!

Amazing isn’t it? Amazing how it is now the 1st day of Jan 2017.

2017!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember thinking as a young teen that 2017-2020 was so far into the future that for sure by then we’d all be flying cars (just like the Jetson’s jetsons) and communicating with aliens, or even sharing our planet with them (like that would work, consider how we can’t even share it well with each other!). I even remember thinking that we’d catch a few rides with them on their fancy spaceships imperium_spaceship_concept_art_02 and get to vist their worlds in awe and in wonder that they exist and that we’d be actually in their ships flying there. Then after some further thought I discounted the thoughts of aliens and space travel and very quickly I thought it’s best if they don’t know where we are. I mean. What if they’re sinister and not friendly? (War of the Worlds comes to mind) etc., I decided I’d settle for the flying cars and sky high residence way up into the stratosphere. Ahh I think that was a safer option. Maybe? Hee hee.

And well, it is now 2017 and none of these things exist, yet. So yeah. The imagination of my teens was way ahead of myself, I think, and it was just some fanciful futuristic thoughts that were neither here nor there, if you know what I mean?

At midnight, I watched the Sydney fireworks on the television and then when it was all done, I promptly took myself to bed.

And of course, I had to start thinking about NYE, didn’t I? I thought about how much hype goes into a calendar day such as NYE, Christmas and Easter, and how much effort is put into it each and every event across the world by event organisers. It amazes me how each year, for a brief moment in time, most of us will gather together somewhere expecting some free entertainment, such as fireworks or balloons, or whatever it is that gets thrown up into the air, so that we can all cheer, smooch, hug, and whistle off the year that went by only seconds before.

And what about the litter that is left behind? All over the world, people leave their litter all over the place with no regard to it, and they seem to behave the same way everywhere. What makes them think it is OK to leave their rubbish on the ground for someone else to clean up after them? Shame! Is this how we thank the organisers for all their efforts? Surely we can all do a lot better than that?

Anyway, I was at home, in front of the television, watching it all unfold before my eyes.

Amazing.

Image credits:

Jetsons:

Spaceship:

The Versailles Exhibition in Canberra

I went to watch Versailles Treasures from the Palace at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra today. My visit here today was part of an agreed meet up with some friends, and as often is the case with me, when I go to an event like this I’m never too sure about what I should expect. And so…

When I arrived at the gallery I was greeted at the parking gate with a ‘Full’ sign. I was not impressed Nelly, I thought! Then again, I wasn’t overly surprised neither. I had people waiting in line behind me, and I had to signal them to reverse back so I could get out. Luckily, reversing back out wasn’t such a drama and everyone was complaint and made room for me to get out, even though I’ve no doubt that they weren’t overly amused about it. I had the option of waiting it out at the gate though, I could’ve waited until a car exited the car park and then I’d be let in. I couldn’t be bothered waiting around for the gate to open, even though it might’ve been best had I stayed and waited a minute or two, but little Ms Impatient that I can be I just wanted to be on time to meet up with my group of friends. After I reversed out I went for a drive around the block and back; like I mentioned earlier, I should’ve been patiently waiting at the gate, and then I went and parked behind the John Gorton Building. Plenty spots there! Damn it. Paid parking. Arrghh. It’s like a sword poking my side, I’m telling you. Having access to free parking is a major thing for me! A thing of the past I know, but seriously, it’s ouch costly.

I walked into the gallery and waited for my friends at the top of the elevators. Hmm. Where are they? I was perfectly on time. I waited and waited (this seemed like forever) and then I spotted one of them, and then another and another, and before I knew it we were all together. Yeah!

Inside the Versailles exhibition I was greeted by (1) paintings, intricate tapestries, gilded furniture items, monumental statues and other objects from the royal gardens, and personal items from Louis XIV to Marie Antoinette.

It was splendid.

What can I say? I’m not a fan of crowds, they annoy me at the best of times and because of this I didn’t allow myself the time to relish in each and every item as I would otherwise, because it was hard reading some of the notes and hard to get too close to see the fine details of some of the items. Crowds of people have a way of blocking my view. It’s very annoying. So I walked through the exhibition admiring as many of the items on display as I could, and then I found myself with one of my friends close by and where were the others, where did they go? They were behind me somewhere.

At one point I took a photo of a painting with my iPhone and the flash went off alarming one of the gallery guards to come running up to me and reprimanding me for having flashed the flash, stating that the ‘flash’ was not allowed.  Ooops.  I apologised.

As it turned out, the photo I took with the flash looks awful and grainy, the flash made it look horrible and green like. So I went into the settings of my iPhone and removed the flash option and chanced another photo shoot without a flash and this time, it came out splendid.


I had a giggle though.  As I was being told off about my flash light going off, a woman close by approached me asking me if I could please help her change her settings and remove her flash from her phone.  I looked at her and at her phone and it wasn’t an iPhone.  What do I know about androids? Nothing.  (Cough, cough.  Not true, of course I can navigate through those things). So I apologised to her about not being able to help her.  I told her a white lie.  Of course I could help her, but chose not to.  I know.  Please don’t crucify me! I just didn’t want to be standing there in a semi dark room trying to figure out how to change her flash setting from her android, which would’ve taken up my time to enjoy the exhibition and taken up my time to get back to my car on time before I would get booked.  I was in a hurry (sorta).  She didn’t look impressed. Err excuse me! Did I have a sign over my head that said, ‘android technician here at your service’? No!

It wasn’t long thereafter that I walked out of there and my friend and I headed up to the cafe, a welcome reprieve let me tell you.  I sent a text message to one of the other friends and let them know I was inside the cafe with our friend.  They soon all made their way to us and we spent a lovely hour chatting until we got up and left for the day. (I know, I know! I said earlier that I was in a hurry when I chose not to help that helpless woman with her android… Priorities!) Now I feel bad.  Damn it.  I should’ve helped her. Grr. I’m so sorry lady! Drops my head down in shame.

Overall what did I think of the Versailles exhibition?

I thought it was spectacular.  It is definitely worth a visit if you can make it. I loved the grandeur of the paintings and the sculptures, the fine detail in the drawings and the intricate tapestries filled with lots of colours and the fine details which for me seemed it would take an eternity to create.  The gilded furniture items such as the Hunting table with a map of Compiègne 1737 is very reminiscent of a time long past and very regal nevertheless, and the monumental statues such as the Bust of Louis XIV 1665–66 depicted the face of a king responsible for the largest palace ever built.

Simply beautiful.