Friday, 30 January 2015

... Sit there

   We're up to chapter 18. Only another 92 to go. You know those times when you're sitting or lying there thinking I must get up and do this or that. Well this is the chapter for you. SC says stay there. Absolutely alone just you and silence. No TV, no radio. You and your thoughts. He points out that seldom are we truly alone and we need that time. To be alone with our dreams and thoughts, our plans and solutions. I have moments, quite a few of them where I do nothing or something to avoid what I should be doing or procrastinating about the whole thing. Never have I used it in the way SC talks about. His way is a positive use of nothing.
   You may wonder why I'm listing these chapters. Well firstly it's a great book put together with a lot of care and thought. Secondly it's a great way to remind myself over a period of time of all the clever ways to give myself a lift.
   In other news..... I'm off on holiday next week. Mad girl and I booked it last August. February is a bit of a quite time work wise for me and Mad girl knew she wouldn't use all her holiday entitlement. So we planned ahead. You can find somewhere with a little sun, not too crowded and reasonably priced around this time of year, I'm beginning to sound old and sensible, aren't I.  Well we're off to Gran Canaria. I went there a couple of years ago, to the south of the island. The south is a series of small purpose built resorts. Which is fine but with the unpredictability of the weather at this time of year. You can get flattened in the stampede, as everybody heads for the buses to find something to do when the sun doesn't shine. So this time we're staying in Las Palmas which is as north as you can get in Gran Canaria. It's a beautiful city. So lots to do and see if the Sun decides not to play ball, if on the other hand it does, our hotel is just two blocks from the beach.

 As is my way I left renewing my passport to the last minute. So made an appointment and took myself off to London for the one day service. Between the form checking and the issuing of my new passport I had four hours to kill. So went to the Tate and saw the "Late Turner" exhibition. Two things struck me. Firstly how cleverly the rooms had been set. The first was painted a very dark blue. The pictures were all lit and most had huge gold frames so you just got sucked in as you wandered around. Each room a different colour, plum. deep green and yellow. You went from darkness to light. A clever
way to add to the beauty of the pictures. Secondly, and truly impressive were Turners sketch books. Looking at the books makes you feel a little closer to the artist. Turner painted mostly in oils and these had to be ground and mixed as he needed them. So not portable. Instead he would go out and make sketches in tiny books. Sometimes adding a little water colour. Then back to his studio to create the full size pictures. The sketches were stunning, very small and detailed, some with a dash of blue for a sky and sepia for a building or collection of buildings, quick, simple and beautiful. Filled with the romance of it all, I brought a couple of small sketch pads and a kids water colour set.  I haven't drawn for a few years but with a holiday just about to start and full of inspiration it beats a cheap airport novel as company.
Ok I've taken up enough of your time. Thank you for reading. I do get a bit of a boost knowing you stopped by.

Onwards and upwards. In the pursuit of fulfillment :-))) 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Learn to play a role.

   I'm not going to summarize chapter 15 Learn to play a role. Just type down the first paragraph.
"Your future is not determined
by your personality. In fact, your personality is not even determined by your personality. There is no genetic code in you that determines who you will be. You are the thinker who determines who you will be. How you act is who you become." What more inspiration do you need?
   In other news... I've had a few, not so good days. Hiding away and doing next to nothing. Haven't had these or been there in awhile. There has been a slight differences this time. Normally I'd be thinking "OK I need to do this," or "I need to do that," or "I'll get up in a minute." It doesn't happen. This time I made a conscious effort not to plan or feel guilty about it. Just go with it until it passes. I don't keep an accurate diary of these occasional moments but I tend not to eat well and drink a little too much this time I ate properly and didn't drink. I slept a lot so that hasn't changed. It seemed to pass quicker than previously. Normally as I'd come away from this I'd resolve never to let it happen again. This time I'm thinking that there may be a better answer elsewhere.
   There are some things I do well. Why? that's what I'm trying to figure out. I/we do things well because we approach them in the right way. On the whole we find the things we do well, easy. So we don't put much thought into the processes and efforts we put in. There are things I do badly, like hiding and just like the things I do well, there is an approach and processes I go through to get there. The wrong processes. I'm warming to the idea that a better understanding of my right processes is the way forward and anytime spent going through the wrong ones is a waste. Understanding why things go wrong maybe the way forward for a lot of people. Indeed it could offer answers. It has for me but not solutions, so it's not the route to take.
   I wrote a long time ago about stoicism. I do believe I have that and that stoicism will carry me forward. Once I start to figure out the processes leading to good things, well the forward will be quicker. Lifes good at the moment.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfillment :-)))          

Monday, 5 January 2015

Chapter 16. "Choose the happy few"

   This is a tough one. We are where we are because of a number of factors. One being the people we choose to surround ourselves with. You want to change but that will unsettle those around you who don't. You charging ahead will only remind those around you of their unfulfilled desires. All is not lost though SC believes there are good people around us all and we should determine to spend more time with them and less with the cynics.
   In other news...... I listen to the radio a fair bit at work. Mainly talk stations. I like music but not the chatter that goes on in-between, sometimes there's more inane chatter than music. So I stick to talk radio, plays, interviews with interesting people or book readings. Work can be pretty mundane at times so something in the background that is interesting, challenging and/or educational makes the day scoot along. The BBC planned to play the whole of "War and Peace," ten hours long, split over ten episodes over Christmas. They also did a little biog on Tolstoy the author, to get you interested. He was born into the Russian nobility and during his early years lead a pretty decadent and racy life style. As he turned 30 he began to change. He began to empathise with people. People vastly different from himself and by all accounts he was pretty good at it. Now empathy is a word often used today and I thought it was something I do and do relatively well. However something totally unrelated made me think otherwise.
   I downloaded an app that streams podcasts and listened to one of those TedTalks. Verna Myers, talked about overcoming our biases. She said she was on a plane and when the pilot came on the tannoy. It was a woman's voice and Verna thought "Yah, you go girl." Then later into the flight, when the weather turned bad. She started to wonder if, maybe it might be better if a man was flying the thing. Verna, a woman whose job it was to go out and challenge people on their biases found out she still possessed the odd bias herself. I smiled and realised I too had plenty of bias left in me. So how could I truly empathise with someone else? Or for that matter how could I show self-empathy while I possess a healthy list of bias towards myself and others? something for me to ponder on.
   Now I don't want to get too bogged down on the self analysis matter and it's not the only item I've been thinking or reading about recently. A lot of my friends have been talking about their New Years resolutions and the eventual failure of most of these resolutions. There's also been lots of articles about why we fail and what we can do to lessen the chances of failure but that all takes time, planning and thought. So here's a list of late resolutions you can take up knowing you'll probably be 100% successful. It's a bit of a pick and mix bag so choose what you want.
1. Grow your hair, a beard, your nails. This doesn't have to be any particular style indeed early results will make you look wild and unkempt but tell people that's exactly what you were after.
2. Look your partner/friend/stranger in the eyes and do/say/think nothing until they say "your not listening to me are you?" then say the first thing that comes into you head like "yes I was."
3. Lie awake at night and think "I can't sleep" "why can't I sleep" "I don't feel tired now."
4. When you are watching a film or listening to a piece of music and you realise you've forgotten who the star or the singer is try and remember then mention it to others and while they try and remember really really try and remember cos you don't want them to remember the thing you couldn't remember in the first place. This can be a little difficult at first so here's a little tip. Don't mention what it is you're trying to remember until you remember it. Then pretend you can't remember and sit back while they strain with the remembering and just as they think they know tell them.
5. Things you're already good at. Add them to your list of resolutions. Having something you're already good at takes the pressure off slightly and brings with it huge feelings of smug well being. Particularly when telling anyone and everyone how many resolutions you've achieved.
   Final I went to Ikea this weekend, with "mad girl" a holiday isn't a holiday unless you drive for miles to the nearest Ikea then sit in a long queue to park your car and join another queue to get a trolley to put all the things you didn't expect to buy into. At the end of your visit and happy with all the unexpected goodies you have no room for, unless you throw out your previous Ikea purchases from the last holiday. You join a real snake of a queue to get to the checkouts which you cannot even see because of the multitude of people and trolleys in front of you. As you get close to said checkouts you start to notice a number of discarded items. A light, a clock, a plant, rug, or a cardboard box with a name like Narnos or Hurdal on the end. You start to wonder what is this, then realise it's the smart Ikea shopper, saving themselves the expense of buying it only to get rid of it later by getting rid of it now.
   Don't think I'm not a fan, I am. I love Ikea. I follow that zigzag path around the store with glee until I am completely lost and brain washed. I am at the point where I would give away everything I own including my children to breath fresh air and see my family and friends again. All the while I'm looking at things those clever blond Swedes have made for me, which I didn't know I needed and near the very end of this Scandinavian version of heroin they coming up with a brightly coloured storage container to put it all in. I tried to hold it together while "mad girl" filled the trolley like err a mad girl but succumbed and brought some storage jars for my none existent kitchen and the snazzy slippers pictured. I'm so pleased with my big slippers that I'm tempted to go back soon and see if there's a magic carpet to go with them.
OK enough for now.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfillment :-)))

Friday, 2 January 2015

Chapter 15 "Light your lazy dynamite."

   "A good way to ease yourself into that motivation is to act as if you were the laziest person on the planet (It wasn't such an act for me!)" So writes Steve Chandler. I think I could beat you to the Oscar for that roll SC, so writes me but back to Steve, "by accepting that you're going to do your task in a slow and lazy way, there is no anxiety or dread about getting it started......... The dynamite is living inside you. You don't have to be frenzied about setting it off. It lights just as well with a slow struck match." Just the right way to start your and my year, I think. No inner turmoil. Just slowly moving fowards.
   In other news ..... as I mentioned in my last post there were other things I wanted to mention with regard to my walk(s) along the beach. The halfway point on my usual walk is the Turner Contemporary Gallery and the stone pier protecting the bay. If I turn around and head back via the road and not the coast path I pass this building. It's the old "Fort Road Hotel." One of the few buildings in Margate that JMW Turner, artist and one time occasional resident of this parish, would recognize if he happened to wander ghosterly (yeah, I know that's not a word but it should be, shouldn't it) around his old stomping ground.
   Anyway a few years ago (four) it was decided by the local council in partnership with a boutique hotel chain and their architects to restore it back to a small hotel. It has wonderful views over the sands and some lucky guests would see the same ships at anchor in the morning, that I can see. Although they'll have room service and fluffy white towels and I'll have ummmmm just towels, fluffy, if I occasionally remember to shove them in the tumble dryer. There's nothing better than fluffy towels maybe central heating. I'll have to think about this and anyway I'm leading you astray. Great idea me thinks, save a building, create jobs. Create somewhere nice for visitors to stay while they visit our awarding winning art gallery. A soon to be reopened "Dreamland historic fun fair." the Winter Gardens concert hall, where the Beatles once played and other numerous  attractions too boring to mention here We have a lot of really naff hotels. Only one, "The Sands" that you could call luxury and "The Walpole Bay Hotel" which is unbelievably eccentric with a very big E. Recently however the Council has let it be known, that maybe they'll allow it to be knocked down and social housing built there instead. As mentioned in my last post we're a bit short on jobs here and those we have are poorly paid. So social housing is a must but not on such an historical site and not at the cost of a few important jobs and such an important building. A new hotel, however small, means jobs and there are plenty of sites in the town where social housing would be better sited, near schools and parks for instance. Is it madness on the Councils part or have they read my "and the next chapter is" post and are trying to nobble my up coming cunning plan to defeat their planning department.
   I hope they see sense and we get another hotel and some social housing. Both where they would truly benefit the town.
   OK I'm history ........

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfillment :-)))