Lessons I’m learning (#3 / 2013)

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Sometimes when people are listening hard, they make weird concentrating faces.

They furrow their brow, or crinkle their nose, or frown.


It doesn’t mean that what you are saying is dumb or wrong, or that they are secretly correcting you inside their head. They’re just listening.

So don’t freak out, ok?

Don’t stumble over your sentence. Just keep talking, and let them keep listening, and the world will keep turning.



(Okay, so maybe he’s judging you. But he’s House.)

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Buddha nature

Tibetan Prayer Flags

buddha forest

buddha temple

rainbow foodI spent last weekend with a friend at Chenrezig, a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre on the Sunshine Coast. It was incredible. Much of the time was spent in lesson or meditation, but we also spent a great deal of time lying around in the Garden of Enlightenment (yes, it’s called that!) on my Peruvian rainbow blanket, eating delicious vegetarian curry from the onsite cafe, feeling the sun on our skin and the breeze in our hair, shooing away the bush turkeys that wanted to share lunch with us. Talking, philosophizing, laughing. Feeling a deep gratefulness for the people and places in my life.

Last weekend, I breathed deep. Really breathed. And I felt a tranquility settle down into me, deep into my body and mind. (It was interrupted only for a moment when my friend said, “This is so serene” and in my mind I heard George’s father from Seinfeld yell, “Serenity now!”  Ha! Crazy, monkey mind.)

I’m looking forward to going back soon.

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Life, lately

Things have been pretty rosy over here recently. I’ve been basking in the warm, sunny days that are our winter days in Brisbane. I’m quite smitten with them, really. Every day, at least once and often more, I remember winter in the US. The snow, the chill, the winter boots. And I smile at how lucky we are, over here. Picnics and beach days in winter? Don’t mind if I do. I’m a girl of the tropics, truly.

south bank sky

South Bank sky

I’ve been working hard every day, from my home office, turning my face to the sun whenever I remember, feeling the breeze drift in through the open window, smelling the smells that only balmy days have. It lends a peacefulness to the day and makes it so much easier to do my work. I have a lot of work right now.

And here is where I must ask something of you, my lovely readers. I must ask for your patience over the next 12 months. This is the last year of my PhD, and I have a lot of writing to do. An awful lot of writing. I spend my days now drawing words together, formulating arguments, citing references, chapter by chapter by chapter. It is time consuming and it is wearying. It means I have less capacity than before to update this blog regularly (not that I’ve ever been exceptionally consistent, I admit). I don’t want to close off this blog completely – I love it, and I think it will prove a good outlet for me on those days when I just can’t face the academic writing. But my posts are likely to slow to a trickle. That’s the truth.

I know what a pain it is to check back into blogs where not much is going on for long stretches of time. I know you have better things to do. So I’ve installed a plug-in in the right sidebar where you can subscribe to my posts my email, if you are so inclined. That way I can say a little “hello!” from time to time, and a big “thank you!” for bearing with me.


Life has not been all work and no play. Also lately:

Gardening collage

Days in the garden with friends, growing our own leafy greens and organic herbs….

long walks

…. Long walks…

back from the vet

… And cuddles with one very sick little kitty, who’s now on the mend, slowly but surely. (You can see in this photo where she had IV drips in her front legs)

Until next time (hopefully sooner rather than later!)…

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Wednesday Wisdom: On the Road

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So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it…

Jack Kerouac, On The Road 


What this quote means to me:

Freedom – This quote makes me feel so small, and the world so large, but in a good way. My world expands with this quote. There is so much space here – so much sky, so much land, so much dreaming. So many people yet to meet, living their lives so different from mine, dreaming their dreams. So many places to see, cities to explore, roads to travel. The world is large and life is larger.

Discovery – This quote reminds me of a time when America was a distant, foreign place to me, vast and strange. When I read about her but did not yet know her. When the idea of ever visiting America seemed radical. (I was young and the idea of leaving my home country at all was mind-boggling). It reminds me that I have been there, now. I have discovered. Desire evolved to reality.

Adventure – Wanna go on a road trip with me? Wherever the wind blows us…


Sources:  1 // 2 // 3 // 4

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Lessons I’m learning (#2 / 2013)

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In my experience, Americans are much more assertive than Australians. They speak their minds and they’re not afraid to declare what they want. In fact, instead of thinking that they might be causing someone else trouble by declaring their wants, they assume the opposite – why isn’t it okay to have what they want?


I’m not saying that Americans are entitled or difficult. But they have a general (I think reasonable) expectation that so long as they’re not hurting anyone they should be able to do whatever they please. You try telling an American that they can’t sit where they want to or make a substitution on a menu or pay a bill with four different credit cards. I dare you.

We Australians, I think, are altogether too willing to bend to the rules, however arbitrary they are.

I’m a relatively timid person, so you’d think I’d find the American way intimidating. But to my surprise, I found it quite the opposite. I found it liberating. I am far more assertive in the US than I am in Australia. And that aint a bad thing.

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