Books · life · movies

Feelings about The Public and life

Things weren’t going right last Wednesday – just little things – like not getting my preferred parking spots on the main drag in my small country town. Cos you know it meant I had walk a few extra metres….

And then this week I was just tired (it has been rather cold). Monday started out good, I had a cancellation = time to get ahead which surely would mean a head-start for Tuesday. Maybe if I’d had some motivation…

I still got through things. It just feels like whenever I’m close to getting on top with potential to get to the extra things i.e. cleaning out the darned spare room, things fall apart.

In all this I have finished a book AND saw an awesome movie today. So of course I can’t really complain.

THE BOOK:

Bridge of Clay – Markus Zusak

It was another big book which took awhile to suck me in. And if I’m being honest despite reading and enjoying all of Zusak’s books his writing style is not really for me. But his characters – oh how I love his characters. Five brothers…”their mother is dead, their father has fled” and a vast array of stories, including a peg.

THE MOVIE:

The Public

This movie had everything I love – books, libraries, humour, social action and love.

Starting with black and white footage of books and librarians and then opening into credits with song/rap lyrics ‘burn the books’ it had me right from word go (or perhaps from lights, camera, action)

The screening I saw was to raise funds for a local organisation that works with homeless, in this Homelessness Week. The movie itself was about an ‘occupation’ of a Cincinnati library due to freezing weather. It was poignant and meaningful. (Not to mention full of some well-known names)

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I’m beginning to learn to appreciate mindfulness and the above quote is helpful. Except….when it comes to things like homelessness….shouldn’t we do something with the feelings? Along with mindfulness I’m trying really hard to practice kindness to myself, I know telling myself off for not doing more won’t help, and after all my children are fed….

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So yes I definitely recommend The Public and Bridge of Clay is Markus Zusak special. I hope my energy lifts (more nutrition shakes?!) but if it doesn’t straight away I also know I will survive. Amongst it all there are moments of gratitude.

Wishing you all a blessed new week ahead

GJ

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Books · life · reviews

Recent Reads and Rising Strong

I’ve started a bit of a Brene Brown reading marathon and plan to share a bit about it below but first I’d like to briefly share a few other recent reads.

It’s been hot hot hot this weekend so I’ve indulged in a novel (thanks Libby!) starting and finishing The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore from Goodreads:

Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison.

I found this a powerful description of the environment these boys both grew up in. Reflecting on reviews people were disappointed that they book was all about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ but I think that could be part of the moral of the story – the why is up to the decisions we each make, the interpretations we make and yes environment hugely shapes that but our potential is always there.

Two other recent great reads were Say Hello by Carly Findlay a disability activist and The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot, a surprising and incredible piece of prose with a theme of grief and a unique Australian flavour. Get reading these two folks.

Last night I also caught a fantastic movie on SBS, The Dark Knight. Edited from Wikipedia:

Based on the real-life story of Genesis Potini, a brilliant New Zealand chess player who suffered from severe bipolar disorder. He is released from hospital into the care of his brother. Upon hearing about a chess club run by his old chess buddy, he asks to join with permission given on the proviso he promises to not “rock the boat.” Genesis lead sthe Eastern Knights Chess club  to the Junior National Championships in Auckland.  The movie also brings in Genesis’s nephew and his father’s gang.  The movie won many awards and I was suitably moved.

But back to Brene, who had been on my radar for awhile before I picked up one of her books from my local library at the end of last year. It took me a little while to get through it but already I’ve found myself referencing it in conversations with friends and clients. Unfortunately I got an email this week to say it was due back and I was unable to extend. Fortunately I AM determined to go through the notes I wrote as I read and I’m doing it RIGHT now!

This book was about vulnerability, shame, failing and a suggested mud map for ‘Rising Strong’.

Brene defines vulnerability as the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome, indeed perhaps with some expectation that you may stumble, fall and get your ass kicked (she doesn’t mince her words). She believes that such vulnerability is part of wholehearted living – waking up in the morning and thinking, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. I am worthy of love and belonging.

She describes that failing is painful. She describes that it fuels the should and wouldas which I feel I know so well. She describes how with these thoughts judgement and shame often lie in wait. It took me the whole book to really resonate with the idea of shame and I look forward to reading some of her earlier books to learn a bit more about this. I don’t think many people would easily identify their feelings as shame…although perhaps it’s just me. She also talked about how if we stop caring what people think we lose our ability to connect but even worse perhaps is when we are defined by what people think. Similarly she explains that comparative suffering is a function of fear and scarcity.

Brene’s path to rising strong was a lot to do with curiosity, particularly curiosity about our emotions and being brave enough to face discomfort straight on. So step 1 is recognising emotion and step 2 is getting curious about it and asking lots of questions, step 3 is pay atttention to it  and then keep practicing. She believes we are born vulnerable but in order to self protect we turn to certainty and false beliefs for example doing not feeling fixes problems. Often case we are taught that feelings arn’t worthy of our attention. Brene states that recognising and feeling our way through emotions is choosing freedom, with the alternative of avoidance taking over our lives.

There were many metaphors about our story – integrating our whole story and human beings being wired for stories. Rising strong is to defy how we choose to end our stories. In our lives we often make up our own stories – our own reasoning of why people are acting a certain way. It’s hard to be vulnerable and open up about these stories we tell ourselves with others.

Briefly:

  • She  spoke about expectations of others being resentments waiting to happen
  • ‘The middle is messy but it’s also where the magic happens’. When you are in the middle of a story, it isn’t a story, only confusion and darkness.
  • You can’t skip day 2
  • Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving we need to give and we need to need.
  • Perfectionism and shame. Shame derives power from being unspeakable, it loves perfectionists.
  • Failure feels like powerlessness, a lost oppurtunity leading to fear and desperation.
  • You can do everything right and still fail
  • Regret is a call to courage and a path toward wisdom
  • Brene believes hope is a cognitive process.

 

Wow – a job done, almost can’t believe it! Have you heard of Brene Brown? Do you enjoy reading non-fiction? What has been your favourite recent read/movie?

Praying we can all Rise Strong as we move into a new week and month.

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I am a researcher (and I suck at apps)

I currently have 23 tabs open in this browser.

I am a gen-yer but I was a late comer to the smart phone game and I really still don’t feel confident with apps/applications

This morning my period started (Yay! :p ) and I’ve been meaning to get a period tracker app for awhile so immediately after putting on a pad* I came to the computer to research the best app for this function.

14 tabs later (and lets be honest I have managed to close a few) I completed my research and finally downloaded one – put in my period start date and put it away to explore another day.

Right now I’m busy explaining to you why such an easy thing became a drawn out process!

Firstly – I googled best period app and from those results opened

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/best-period-tracking-apps (list and review of four apps)

and

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-best-period-tracker-apps-ios-android/ (The 4 Best Period Tracker Apps for iOS & Android)

I picked one that looked good – MonthPal and searched for it on the Play store only to find it….didn’t exist?

So i started up a new google browser to try and find MonthPal and looked on the Play store for my second choice Period Tracker. But for some reason I wanted more – I wanted MonthPal dang it, it wasn’t pink, it looked simply and it showed exactly the info I wanted to know.

So back to my first google search and I changed it to ‘Best period app for android’ and opened

http://orgasmicdiscourses.com/best-period-tracker-app/ The Best Period Tracker App for Connecting With Your Magical Powers [Update]

and

http://appcrawlr.com/android-apps/best-apps-period-tracker – the best website for my research

from these I decided on Period tracker / Calendar only to find again it didn’t exist – my search for the non-existential apps showed that indeed they probably no longer existed, typical for the two I wanted and then a third had the same issue (Day After)!

Eventually eventually I decided on Period Calendar – lets hope it does what I want it to 🙂

*ps The pads I use our Tsuno and you should definitely check them out

pps In the interest of sharing more of my life whilst I sat and wrote this I had was interrupted for lunch, a puzzle and had the background noise of a baby boy (2) going to sleep (or trying very hard not to)