Friday, September 29, 2006

Is being online really virtual anymore?

"As human beings become increasingly intertwined with the technology and with each other via the technology, old distinctions about what is specifically human and specifically technological become more complex. Are we living life on the screen or in the screen? Our new technologically enmeshed relationships oblige us to ask to what extent we ourselves have become cyborgs, transgressive mixtures of biology, technology, and code. The traditional distance between people and machines has become harder to maintain....The computer is an evocative object that causes old boundaries to be renegotiated."
Sherry Turkle

I have never met my best friend but I know him pretty well all the same. He lives overseas.

I have never met my other best friend but I know her really well too. She lives on the other side of the country.

I catch up with these two people more than I do my best friend who lives a few kilometres from my home!

What's going on here?

Two are my online friends and one is my RL (Real Life) friend.

I talk to my online friends more often than I do my RL friend. This has to be a significant shift in the way I manage my relationships with people isn't it?

Yes! According to Sherry Turkle, Abbey Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She suggests that we are now "tethered" to technology in such a way that we are shaping new connections and relationships via that very technology. These relationships are as real as any other relationship we might have despite there never being any actual physical presence.

She does express some concerns about this new trend. The relationships we engender through the use of communication devices is highly structured and more instantaneous now. Professor Turkle says that this trend is potentially making us less able to fully explore and experience our own emotional selves with the ability to think through our feelings, thoughts and actions. She says we may be losing the ability for self-reflection because of our interface with these technologies.

Self-reflection depends on having an emotion, experiencing it, taking ones time to think it through and understand it, but only sometimes electing to share it.
Sherry Turkle in "I'll have to ask my friends" New Scientist 16 September 2006 Page 49

Our world is often described as becoming more complex. I am not sure I believe this anymore.

I think we are actually almost over-simplifying our lives through the use of amazing technologies that bring the world to our laps. We use emoticons and SMS to convey "states" of being to others now whereas in years past we may have taken more time - and possibly much more discretion - in how we said what we wanted to say to those close to us. These days we use more text to talk to people which forces us to be concise and perhaps, more forthright in the way we say things to people.

The actual relationship we have to our machines is probably in direct proportion to the relationships they provide us in terms of people. We have simplified the process of meeting, greeting and getting to know new people and staying in touch with loved ones. The more we rely on and need the people we are tethered to through our devices, the more likely it is that our devices will become real extentions of ourselves.

I know for myself, I have become fanatically attached to this computer and the internet connection it provides for this reason. Without this computer or that connection, I am bereft of those I call online friends. These are real people though, whom I talk with here and without whom, life would be a whole lot less interesting and wonderful! Without this computer and the software which makes it possible for me to communicate with them, it would feel like I could not be close to them anymore.

I AM part technologically enmeshed as well as biological in my makeup! Does this make me a "cyborg" or a "robot"? I think perhaps it might! I can no longer imagine life without the people I have met online as much I cannot imagine life without my RL friends!

And it is these little windows of computer, mobile phone, Skype, and VoIP that make me the cyborg I now am :)

It's not that I don't have time or want to be with my RL friends, it's just that I seem to be closer to my computer terminal more often these days and by virtue of proximity, it makes it easier to communicate with friends over VoIP and chat than getting together for "coffee" up the street. Organising "get-togethers" with RL friends involves more complexity than just seeing someone sign into a chat window and instantly communicating there and then; that is sheer simplicity really - instant and wonderful access to dear friends whenever that window is open and available!

Therein lies the difference in my friendships now. The constancy of communication is because its so much more accessible and immediate than it is in my 3D world. It's also much more flexible. A chat window can stay open for hours and the communication can linger over time while we do our "own thing" at each end without having to stop. It's high end multi-tasking really, working, living, cleaning house while still "talking" with a good friend!

I'm not so sure it's as bad as Professor Turkle suggests just yet, but I don't find these relationships any LESS wonderful or satisfactory because of this difference in communication style.

Thing is, these friendships online are as real to me as any other relationship. There is a sympatico empathy here that is as strong and as resilient as the relationship I share with my best friend down the road. I don't consider my online friends "virtual" friends at all! They are Friends! Pure and Simple! This IS my community as much as this place where I live.

If that makes me a partial "robot" tethered to my technologies then so be it. I would rather be a biological robot with a number of "Best" friends - online and RL - than a mere biological mess of muscle without either :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I have a riddle to solve.

How does one not ask the questions one doesn't actually want answers to?


How does one actually listen for and accept those answers?

I am not always very good at asking tough questions of myself about what I really want.

I live inside my fantasies and I love doing that. My fantasies are my preferred "truth". They are not real, achievable or honest but they soothe and lull me into a false sense of security.

When I believe what my fantasies tell me about reality and don't test them accurately, I live inside a bubble of determined falsity; a constructed dream of polished plot and fairytale. Everything has a happy ending in my fantasies. It's a lovely chimera of the mind and the heart.

My fantasies are generally what I believe and want in my future. I don't actually always like what I have right now so I don't ask myself the tough questions about what I want right now - too much potential for confronting and disappointing answers. I'm never disappointed in my fantasies. I can believe anything is possible.

So reality is hard for me to deal with sometimes. Asking about what I want NOW in this time and place is asking my heart to answer so acutely honestly, it is like preparing to endure a bad run of paper cuts.

So I don't ask the questions I need answers to but don't want to hear.

I so need to change this in me.

I need to become less dishonest with myself. I also need courage to accept what my heart tells me is true for me right now to those questions I really don't want to ask.

First I need to ask those questions!

So scary!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Mental postcards

I had a strange dream the other day and the resulting effects of it have left me a little confused but very intrigued.

I dreamt of a huge cumulus cloud growing over my head. It was the only cloud in the sky - which was a deep azure blue.

The cloud rose quickly like a thunder head but didn't have the classic anvil top on it like those big clouds usually do. This was more like a column that rose straight up into the sky.

That was it! It lasted for about 10 seconds max and I woke up properly (I actually "knew" I was dreaming when I saw that cloud, a somewhat bizarre experience really but quite interesting).

During my shower that morning I was thinking about the cloud dream thing, wondering as I usually do what it all "meant".

I could still "see" it in my mind. Like a picture postcard you stick on your fridge.

So I "looked" at the cloud and sort of walked toward it in my head (its a kind of daydreaming thing now) ... well it grew arms as if to embrace me and then suddenly... and I mean suddenly.... it was a tiny little beige-grey mouse sitting in the palm of my hand eating crushed peanuts.

This is VERY strange and completely unexpected of course. So NOW I have this "postcard" of this MOUSE stuck inside my head and it keeps morphing and growing like a pictorial story.

I can "see" the mouse nibbling on the nuts with its little teeth and its whiskers twitch as it gobbles up its food. It is looking straight at me with beady, twinkly curious black eyes without judgement or endearment.

I hate mice as a rule. I refuse to have anything to do with mice or mouse-traps! My husband said when we got married he would NOT be touching the iron and I said I would NOT be touching the mouse-traps! We have lived content with this contract for nearly 17 years :)

The irony is though that my FAVOURITE thing as a child was a soft toy mouse made by my mother in her teens. "Mousey" was my best friend and I literally carried him everywhere in the palm of my hand for quite a number of years. He is all of about four inches tall and looks nothing like a real mouse but is still a "mouse" of sorts. I still have him in my bedside drawer! *grin* He will be approaching 50+ years old soon I think.

And then a new thought suddenly appeared in my mind today out of the blue. I was chatting to a friend when the line "Many Mighty Mice are Making Magical Music in the Moonlight" popped into my head. It's a line from a story I read often as a kid - I can't even remember which book it's from but that line has stayed with me all these years.

So there you go. Mitch is officially stark raving mad huh?

Clouds become mice in this twisted inner world I live in.

I think there is more to come to this story perhaps. The mouse hasn't finished telling his tale (pun intended) yet :) What comes next will probably have me certified anyway!

Dreams have a funny way of doing things to us in our real life. The inner world and the world of reality collide in strange and unique ways when we take the time to revisit those dreams we remember from our slumbers and study them as you would those postcards on the fridge, all while lucid and awake.

It's about inspiration and feeling not knowledge so much. A kind of Dreamtime of ones own really. A way of reconnecting the inner world within and coherently combining it with the self we present in our every day awake world.

I know! It all sounds a little whacko really! But it IS fun to explore ones imagination like this and see where the journey takes you.

Remember that cult activity of a few years ago when garden gnomes were stolen/borrowed from gardens and the owner of said gnome would get postcards from it in the mail as it travelled the "world"?

Well, that's a little bit like what I'm trying to describe here. You borrow the image you remember from your dreams and you let your imagination take it on a 'trip' inside your head and allow yourself to SEE the journey unfold. Free Associating but with mental pictures instead of words I guess.

It's totally irrational and probably DOES mean I'm completely mad but its fun and interesting and creative at the same time.

I guess it also helps if you are highly visual in your thinking processes too. Aurally dominant thinkers would probably find this a hard thing to do perhaps: so maybe they would have to do this kind of thing with sounds and language rather than imagery. I am a very dominant visual thinker (something I've only noticed recently actually), I sense and mentally process thought through imagery more often than most other ways. I guess that's why I find this stuff so interesting and fun to do.

Of course the ONE thing I find terribly frustrating is that my natural wont is to try to make MEANING from these images! To make them make sense in some sort of logical and cohesive way. I can't make a cloud becoming a mouse make any sense at all! Total and irrevocably nonsensical that huh? But I DO have a feeling deep inside that that cloud and that mouse have something to do with me as a person and I am currently exploring that inspiration with new-found curiosity. :)

Soooo... unless I'm incarcerated in the nearest institution by my family for cerebral imbalance... I just might keep you aprised!


Monday, September 18, 2006

new carpet

We "moved" my elderly Mother-in-law out of her unit over the weekend to make way for all new floor coverings.

It was hard work but the final result has been worth the effort. Moving her back in feels like a kind of re-energising.

She still has far too much "stuff"! I guess its a by-product of growing up during the years of rationing that makes this particular generation so loathe to part with their accumulated paraphenalia. Literally everything is considered "useful" whether it is or it really isn't!

I intend to not be so inclined to hoard stuff as I grow older. I want to grow old free of such incumberances as odd crockery and un-usuable lead crystal wine glasses! I want to be able to leave this planet knowing that what I did leave behind was well loved and used often. :) It remains to be seen if I can hold to this promise though - we do tend to get attached to some strange things - us humans! ;)

So I guess I need to go through my belongings here again in my own home. We need new carpet soon too and it will be our turn to move out of this room for a day to re-energise it.

It also means that I had better seriously think about whether I do need to keep that Beau Geste Trilogy on the book shelf and which I read 15 years ago and haven't been able to part with since! *blush* hahaha!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Will the river die?

This is a pic I took the other day on my usual walking route along our river.

The Wimmera River is slowly drying up. We are in the grip of a decade long drought with this current year being the worst so far.

Towns around these parts are now on the severest water restrictions imaginable, many having to resort to trucking water in for domestic use.

That sand bar you see in the middle of the river is normally under a few metres of water. It will now take rainfall far exceeding our yearly average to "disappear" again.

Thankfully, the pelicans are still present so I guess we'll know that the river has truly "died" when they move on to better feeding grounds.

The losses to our local economy in terms of tourism, farming, business and social interactions are too big to enumerate here really. There are some hurting people in our community and all because it just won't RAIN... properly and in season!

My local church is having a "Prayer for Rain" ecumenical service this coming Wednesday. A lead in will include a community free BBQ to which all people are invited whether they attend the service later or not.

It's a "nice" gesture though a little whimsical perhaps. Whilst there will be opportunity for our church to market itself as "caring" for our community (as we must) through this small gesture... it won't really change the fact that we cannot make it rain by ourselves - prayer or no prayer!

The world is getting hotter they say! If so, then we are responsible for this weather and it will not likely be reversible. We will have to learn to adapt to a new way of living in a increasingly desertified region of Australia. It was ALWAYS dry here but not as dry as it has been these past 10 years. The many hundreds of lakes, the rivers, the huge channel system established early last century always contained water in them in the driest of years until these last few. Now they are merely dry basins of constantly moving dust and salt.

There have been some better years than others in this decade for rainfall but on the whole, this region where I live, is slowly becoming a wasteland whereas once it was one of the most fertile and diversely functioning food bowls in this large country of ours.

Who knows if this is a permanent thing really! I have some scepticism regarding the climate change mantra - the earth is a closed system of such complexity and marvellous intricacy, its hard to imagine it could not "right" these anomalies if given the chance to do so. It may be that in a few short years we will be complaining its too wet! It seems a mere wish to say that right now though. Now it seems that The Wimmera will be forever parched and forsaken and all of us will need to make a quantum shift in the way we use and think about all our resources here.

Thing is... with people now so numerous upon the earth and demanding to be fed... can we make the agricultural & business methods of the past that once fed the few, work in the future to feed the plenty? And all while the earth seems to be crying out for respite from these same practises? Aussie farmers are renowned for their innovation and efficiency. But - have these strengths become our "weakness" in that these same talents have wounded our corner of the world in such a way that we now suffer?

We can't "Save the World"! We can only husband it and we've done that poorly over this past two hundred years or so. In our arrogance we "thought" we were being good stewards but all we were doing was abusing what was not ours to abuse. How can we ever know the difference without time and history?

Can we blame "ignorance"? Yes! and No! We may enter into our activities blindly without foreknowledge but once we get caught up into our way of doing... we often fail to notice whether that very doing is actually causing harm. We are not perfect stewards but we have not been "Good Enough" either!

We're not good at change I guess, especially when we are told we have to. Even less when there is profit to be had!

I hope to see "my" river flowing again someday. That will be a sight to behold. Both my children have only ever really known "dry" - they've never seen it sopping wet around here like I have (I grew up enduring some of the wettest years on record ;)).

Who knows really what will happen. God willing (and it really is HIS solution we need now), this dry will turn around and bring with it the rainbow of promise we are all looking for.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

essential calm

It has been peaceful here this afternoon.

One child has been quitely doing his thing on the computer and the other one is out visiting a friend.

I slept on the couch for over an hour! *blush* I'm half way through account keeping paperwork and I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer! :)

It's a sign of "old" age I guess that I occasionally need to have an afternoon nap although when I think back over the years - even as a late teen, young adult, I often enjoyed a long sleep on a lazy afternoon when there was nothing pressing to attend to. :) I guess I've always been a bit of a napper at heart. :)

The ability to unwind and de-stress is a good skill to develop. To be able to chill out and "forget" everything enough that one just drifts off into a gentle sleep for a little while is both a pleasure and a strength I think. It means that we don't fear not doing it "all" or that the world will stop if we do.

In our ever increasingly busy lives - this simple thing called the afternoon nap is like recharging the battery of the heart and mind so that we can keep on top of all that is important, not just whats urgent. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

That day in September must go.

On this morning 5 years ago - 12 September 2006, I listened to the news on the radio as I woke from my sleep.

I rushed out to turn on the TV and sat stunned and incomprehensible in front of the visions on the screen before me! I'd only just "missed" it all happening live the night before when I'd gone to bed, by a mere 5 minutes. I may not have slept that night if I had seen it happen on the 11th September when it was night here and morning there.

I didn't want to "remember" this anniversary this year. Yesterday I deliberately kept my blog "light" and my thoughts decidedly away from that scene.

I still want to do that in many ways.

This constant recall, this memorialisation thing we humans do over great tragedy I don't think is always healthy! It re-opens raw wounds, incises emotional pain and creates new barriers for healing so it slows down and sometimes halts all over again. We seem to like to wallow in our pain as human beings.

We reinvigorate our hatred, justify our politics, salve our consciousness through our emotional flagellation in re-visiting such horrors.

But our horrors we choose to feel so strongly and passionately about are selective.

We "forget" the massive tragedies inflicted on people in other countries where barbarism, cruelty, and massive terror strike every day on the lives of a multitude of innocents. For some reason we cannot find it in our hearts to memorialise these tragedies! Only "our" tragedy! As if it were the only one that ever happened anywhere in the world thus far!

It isn't! And it won't be the last of the "great" horrors we see in our life-time! There is tragedy and horror aplenty either side of 9/11 that barely rates a tear from many of us in western "civilised" culture!

My feeling is that whilst we "should" remember those who died in that tragedy with honour and respect...

...lets leave the memory of it be now. No more Movies or documentaries; no more "New Information", no more dissertations, decrees, or promises to root out terror; No more immolation on the pyre of Righteous Outrage!

Lets find a way to turn this into a transformation. Lets let the power for humility and understanding for all be our 9/11 song, not this grandstanding rhetoric of might and justice for the few.

Lets make this a day to focus on the people who are making positive changes for love and goodness in the world.

Let's open up dialogue with those that say they "hate" us and find out WHY?

Let us be humble and contrite as we accept our mistakes and forgo our arrogance and become a little more circumspect in how we treat others who don't have all the luxurious trappings of success we hold so dear.

Lets LET GO of 9/11 and leave history be what it is.

Remember but lets not focus anymore.

It just hurts too much.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Finding ones song

Martin has chosen himself a personal Theme Song! :)

It describes him almost perfectly actually :) I say "almost" because he's actually a lot nicer than might be suggested by the words in that song :) Still! He is very much the independant soul and thats why that song works for him.

I've been trying to figure out if there's a song out there that I could also adopt as a Theme song or Personal Anthem too.

Lyrics are pretty important to me. I hadn't realised how much so until recently. I guess its about the poetry and the subtle meanings and interpretations a song can deliver. I find a lot of meaning and depth in lyrics really. Of course they don't really "translate" well without the structure of the music behind them. It's the music that gives the words their depth and clarity in the end.

But to find something that means enough to be almost a song about and FOR me?

It ain't easy I have to admit.

Top contenders so far are

1) Gel by Collective Soul - this one really IS about coherence and "sticking" together *grin*

2) BrainWash by The Cruel Sea - this one just makes me laugh really. I seriously DO need my brain cleaned out sometimes! It gets waaay cluttered with so many things to think about! hahaha

3) Another all time favourite song is Stand by Blues Traveller and this one has a really strong resonance for me. It's a lot about courage and hope. :)

For right now - at this moment in time...I'm settling on No. 3. "Stand". It has a power and a resourcefulness in it that encourages and strengthens me. The courage and the hope I hear in this song is what I want to bring others as well as find for myself.

Seriously! Findiing a song/track to adopt as a personal anthem is fun to do and it does make you get clear about what and who you are and what you want in life. Its not such a frivolous exercise really, if it means you learn something through the process. :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That "noticing" stuff.

In Dicks book "Is your Genius at Work?", he says that one of the strongest hints as to our "Genius" is in the stuff we do when we don't notice what we are doing.

Now this isn't easy to do. To notice what we don't notice is a little weird isn't it?

Yes and No!

Even though I have named my Genius, I've been doing this exercise all the same and I've found it to be a positive reinforcement of the name I've chosen to describe what it is I do.

These little things I do every day are in fact simple habits that I cannot seem to break or imagine NOT doing! I get irate - quickly - when others don't see these little quirky things as "important" too.

They eloquently describe my need to "construct coherence" around me even though they seem on the surface to bear no relationship to Genius or coherence at all! :)

So here are my observations so far:

1) I absolutely HAVE to put the lid back on the toothpaste tube! I hate open tubes of toothpaste gunking up the bathroom!

2) I need to put CD's and DVD's back inside their jewel cases AND I like to have the original cover intact too. I get really irate with people who just leave CD's lying out and about without putting them back into their proper covers or sleeves ASAP.

I've kind of learned to tolerate the kids CD's being left to get ruined by their lack of "coherence" re CD care - they're old enough to take responsibility for their stuff now - but with my music/DVD's - no WAY! rrr!

3) I'm forever shutting things like cupboards or drawers. I can live okay with open doors - that isn't quite such an issue but I get slightly sweaty and agitated when cupboard/closet doors and drawers are left open for any length of time :)

4) I am always assigning "homes" for things. If something doesn't have a proper "home" - it tends to get tossed in the bin or sent to charity. I prefer order and symmetry in my surroundings and tend to be slightly more minimalist in my tastes than cluttered (the "Country Cottage" look drives me insane! :) hahaha!)

Achieving this order is a never ending battle between my natural laziness and my need for coherent, uncluttered calm :)

These things are just simple - maybe silly - quirks of my temperament but I've ALWAYS done them (yes.. I had to put LP's away in their covers too before the advent of CD's etc ;). They describe to me "Constructing Coherence" in a simple but profound way.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fame and passion makes death seem more final somehow.

Australia has lost two "Icons" this week.

Last Monday, the international community mourned the passing of "The Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin to a sting-ray barb through the heart at Batt Reef Queensland.

As irritating as I found the guy in the media, he was passionate and determined when it came to the welfare of Australia's precious flora and fauna. His enthusiasm for his work and his family were admirable despite his over the top "Crikey's!" and Energiser Bunny ways.

Today, we lost a legend in the sport of motor racing, Peter Brock.

This man has been around for most of my life (I actually thought he was younger than his 61 years though) and being somewhat of a motor racing fan (in a not-too-fussed kind of way), I have watched him race around the track at Bathhurt in New South Wales on TV many a year, with immense admiration for his ability behind the wheel.

Also a passionate man in his work for Driver Education and for living life rather than just working in it... it is almost poetic in a sense that he died in a Targa Car Rally in Western Australia today.

Both men died doing what they loved. Both men epitomised passion and integrity in their respective crafts. Both men were energetic and highly respected for their skills and their humanity. Both men were ALIVE with spirit and joi de vivre, their enthusiasm and purpose were contagious and they were idolised by many for their generosity.

Who knows why God chooses to take the famous in "crops" like this! It reminds me of the time when Princess Diana's death was very closely followed by the death of Mother Theresa. Two global icons "walking" together into the realm beyond life, as we know it here in this temporal sphere.

We all of us die. As the song by Ugly Kid Joe says "10 out of 10 die"

Nothing is surer than our death. What we do between our birth and our death is either stuff to write about in newspapers or its not. But that doesn't mean that each and every death is not without poignancy or pain. The death of an unknown child in Africa is as equally sad as the death of any Aussie Icon.

Its just that Icons and the Famous remind us of just how fragile and extraordinary that space is between our birth and our death. Bless the families of these two men that they may know peace and hope in spite of their loss.

Being brief

is hard.

I'm trying to write stories that are "genuine" Flash Fiction which equates to around 500 words only.

I'm a wordy type of writer and I love playing around with descriptive language.

This can make my style convoluted and confusing (so much for coherence huh? ;)) and as a result, I find the editing process to be quite painful having to ditch what I think are lovely turns of colourful phrasing in order to be more concise.

So I consider this enforced brevity to be like medicine for my overly-florid writing style. One of these days I will be able to write something beautiful that isn't so full of 'unnecessary' words.

Wish me luck :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A pocket full of diamonds

Imagine this:

You are wearing clothes that have deep pockets.

In those pockets are handfuls of rare and precious stones, such as rubies, emeralds, amethysts, sapphires, topaz and of course diamonds in all hues.

Each stone has clarity, depth and the purest colour imaginable.

What worth would you place on these stones?

Of what value would you hold them seeing as they just "live" in your pockets on a daily basis? Do you give them away easily? Do you take them for granted? Do you find them annoying (they do take up quite some space and can be noisy when you move about afterall :))? Are they of ANY use to you?

These might seem like rhetorical questions for who ever has the chance to carry such gems in ones pockets in "real" life?

But you do! :)

If your home, your workplace, your church, your neighbourhood, your street, your park, your town, your country and even cyberspace, are your pockets... metaphorically speaking....then everyone that lives, breathes and moves within is equivalent to one of those gems!

So...of what value do you hold them?


Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I am so over the moon with this I can't begin to describe the feeling!

One of my stories has made it to the front page of 365 Tomorrows.

It's an incredible motivator to keep writing!

Thankyou to the team at 365t for taking it on board!



Monday, September 04, 2006

Mood Journals

Many years ago, around the age of about 16 or 17, I began writing into notebooks on a regular basis.

These were not ordinary "diaries" etc where a rigourous daily update of events were recorded for posterity. I decided that was not my style very early on. Instead I went more for the spontaneous writing of thought whenever the "mood" striked. My "mood" journals subsequently have large gaps of time where there is nothing recorded. However, I have a slightly different record of my life from that of a tradional diary. It was like an early version of blogging I guess, writing about the things I thought about rather than always about the stuff that just happened in a day. All on paper and with that, still useful, device called The Pen! :)

I have kept those journals and I was looking back through some of them just a few minutes ago. Occasionally I do have dated events recorded, like the date I was found to have Glaucoma (11 August 1987 in St Paul Minnesota USA), but mostly, my old journals are filled with ramblings, ideas for stories, poetry, notes and observations about the things happening in my life at the time, plots and ideas for drama and meeting notes from conventions and youth gatherings.

The writing is hard to read! I have a rather large and loopy, florid kind of handwriting style and I was never one to be very "neat" when it came to getting things down on paper!

Its also interesting to see how my attitudes and beliefs about some things have changed over these past 20 + years. I was however, "right" about the whole Iraq thing back at the time of the first Gulf War! I'd written "I feel very pessimistic about all this!" on the 16 January 1991. I still feel that way even after all these years! It has been an extraordinary nightmare this 'America & some of the rest of the world' vs Iraq hasn't it?

The most notable thing about my mood journals is the strong devotion I had (still have :)) to my Faith! I have many "prayers" written in my journals and they seem quaint and child-like now but also poignant and kind of honest too in many ways. I think perhaps I am my most honest when I pray because I instinctively know that I can't hide anything from God anyway. :)

I used to wonder if my writings would ever become of value to anyone else in the future. I know it sounds very pretentious to have thought or wanted that, but I believed in my skill as a writer even back then and deeply desired that what I had to say was going to make an impact for the betterment of mankind in some way - and be remembered for it!

I'm not so sure I want this now. Some of the material in these journals is now so odd and contrived it would not make much sense to anyone in the future at all really!

Being "famous" isn't something to which I now aspire anyway ;) I would much rather make an impact on just one persons life than on many lives and now that I have kids... I think I've pretty much covered that aspiration! :) So I am not really that concerned what happens with my old journals now, after I am gone! If my kids decide to destroy them then thats fine. They served their purpose in giving me an outlet for my voice in my youth and for that I'm grateful.

The interesting development is that these hand-written journals may forever remain a silent witness to my life and mind, when I originally wanted to tell the world what was in them, whilst this blog perhaps will live on much, much longer with potentially many people reading the thoughts of my head in here!

Does this "worry" me? I have no idea! It depends... on whether I live the next 20 + years to be able to look back and be intrigued or embarrassed that people have read these odd and contrived things from my life and mind at this time! :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

What was my purpose again?

Dick Richards over at Come Gather Round has an interesting series of posts about Purpose.

For some strange reason, my life of the past three years or so have been heavily focused in many ways around the themes of Meaning and Purpose.

Not of my own doing though. This focus has been from external sources.

It "began" in 2004 when our local church decided to participate in a study series entitled "The Purpose Driven Life" by Pastor Rick Warren of California USA.

I didn't like this book! Which probably makes me a heretic as far as evangelical christianity goes! It IS very popular and it did have some useful stuff in it, but there was something about it I couldn't quite define that irked me immensely. I have since put it down to my extremely fundamental core credo as a "Lutheran" that this book was too heavily oriented toward "us" doing the work of our salvation and God not doing much at all really! Don't know! Maybe I missed the point! I did get a strong sense of that whole "Our purpose is for God's pleasure" thing as being somewhat distasteful as if He was some weirdo who wanted to merely entertain Himself by making us do stuff for Him!

I have a tough time with the christian ethos of "obedience" anyway. I'm selfish and wilful that way! We all try too hard sometimes, us christians, and we forget constantly that no amount of extra effort on our part will ever get us on any train to any heaven anywhere! Obedience doesn't come from ourselves - it comes from God Himself abiding by the Spirit within us! We are obedient only when we are in tune and in alignment with The Spirit!

So guess what? I'm a heretic huh? I don't buy into the "rules" of engagement when it comes to being a christian! I just BELIEVE and that is all that is necessary in my credo.

But I digress! :) I WAS talking about Purpose wasn't I? :)

The second year, 2005, our church followed the second book in the series by Rick Warren. It was called "The Purpose Driven Church". This one resonated better as it was about collective purpose as a congregation. It made sense to me that we got together and discussed issues such as social justice, worship life, prayer, etc. We do precious little of that (especially social justice) and it was a refreshing change to see members of my congregation actually connecting for a change on this stuff!

Around the same time, I "discovered" by accident on my travels around the internet, Getting Things Done by David Allen. This led me to finding a new "purpose" in getting even more organised and purposeful about where I wanted to go in life.

Some months back I also did an experiment suggested by Steve Pavlina called "How to discover your life purpose in 20 minutes" and I enthusiastically blogged about my results on that, feeling very emotional that I had indeed discovered my true reason for existing here in this world! :)

That little thing I wrote out still makes me go weak at the knees but is it REALLY my true Purpose? It maybe that it is just one of many, many purposes and "reasons" for my being here!

This in turn led me via a slightly convoluted route to Dick Richards and his "Is Your Genius at Work" book and website.

And here I find myself yet again confronted with this "thing" called Purpose!

The fact that I even exist means I have a Purpose! We all have one whether we can identify it or not! It comes from OUTSIDE of us and is gifted to us and can take us completely by surprise just as Dick mentions in a comment he made on Part Two of this subject.

It's slightly "wierd" this thematic construct of my years post 40, as if God Himself is shouting at me to wake up and identify that which I need to be fulfilling in the world!

I'm not sure how to listen to what that is though!

Writing is my greatest love but is it really my Purpose in life? Maybe I have essentially fulfilled my given Purpose and I don't yet know it? Maybe it is still yet to be realised?

But I KNOW I have one! And you do too. The thing is to not get too caught up in the "me" part about this and just LISTEN for that still small voice that leads in the direction I need to travel.