" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

November 28, 2015

Walk On!

Page 48 of Into the Heart of the Himalayas, by Jono Lineen.
The universe seems to be throwing two words at me constantly lately, as if to drum a message deep into my conscious thoughts to truly take note of - WALK ON.

Johnny Walker Red? Walk on?
PLEASE NOTE: I am not endorsing the drinking of alcohol in this post, as I am well aware of the problems people have with alcohol in this society.
The mention of alcohol in this post is to tell my own personal story only.
Regular drinking of spirits especially, is a sure way to a very sorry life.
Like anything, moderation is the key to a happy life.   
It all started around Father's Day (which is in early September in Australia where I live) when I received the above leaflet in my junk mail advertising liquour specials as gifts to give for Father's Day.
Thirsty Camel? Tracks? Brisbane Lions?
I had just finished reading the book and watching the movie Tracks (for the second time) and recalled in the book Robyn drinking a bottle of scotch on her trek through the Outback of Australia.
The Tracks of Synchronicity?
I also found it amusing to stubble across this Camel Balls bubblegum while putting my lotto on one day while I was in the middle of reading the book Tracks, and Robyn had written about castrating her camels, so they wouldn't be aggressive on the trek.
Walk on?! Ouch!
Crossing Paths With the "Camel Lady" at the BBWF
With all these camel synchs and talk of scotch I thought I should treat myself to a bottle of Johnny Walker Red for Father's Day, since this was the first time that I would not be living under the same roof as my boys, even though I normally just drink beer, or wine, I felt there was some message here in my intended purchase.
So, since I don't normally buy alcohol from the Thirsty Camel, I had to find out where the closest store to me was.

Once more into the fray...

Turns out it's the bottle shop that is at the entrance to the Brisbane Lions club right down the road from where I live, in the old IKEA building that I worked in most of my life.

I knew that there was a bottle shop in there, but I didn't know it was part of the Thirsty Camel franchise.
The Family brick that was outside the Gabba for 13 years from 2002, til now.
Little did I know at the time that the Brisbane Lions would write to me later in the year to ask me to pick up my brick that had been outside their playing field for 13 years.

A Meditation on Life and Death
Apparently after all of these years the Brisbane City Council deemed the bricks too dangerous to WALK ON?!

Robyn Davidson and Jono Lineen at the BBWF, 2014.
OK, so here is the post about Jono Lineen's book that I promised to write about in this recent post I wrote about Bindis,

A Walk Through the Bindis
And congratulations to Bindi Irwin for taking out Dancing with the Stars in the US, since I wrote that post. 
I'm sure Dad is a proud father right now...and yes people, I know he is dead, but I happen to believe, and with good reason, that there is life after death.
Now, back to my reading Jono's book  
Into the Heart of the Himalayas and the strange synchs that I had while reading it.
I never ended up meeting Jono at the BBWF in 2014, but I did attend the talk he was involved in on Saturday the 2nd of August 2014, titled Traveler's Tales.
I didn't go to see Jono speak though, I went to see and hear Robyn Davidson, but I was impressed by what Jono had to say during this talk and I decided to by his book the next day.
Jono's book sat in my "To Read" pile until about September this year when I saw that the film Everest was going to start at the local cinema soon and with all of the upheaval in that region in 2015 with earthquakes I wanted to get through Jono's book before the movie came out.
I have to tell you that I loved this movie when I saw it, but I also had a "Six Degree of Separation" reason to see this movie also, as a co-worker of mine named Steven had a brother in Toowoomba who lived next door to a young lady who was attempting to climb to the summit of Everest when the earthquake struck there this year.
Mt Everest avalanche: Queensland teenager Alyssa Azar determined to reach summit despite disaster
I see that Alyssa is going to try to get to the top a third time now.
I think I would have countered my lucky stars and given up on it, but I admire her spirit and will surely be interested in following her progress after watching the movie Everest and thinking how brave, stupid, or both these people are who attempt the climb.
Queensland adventurer Alyssa Azar survives second Nepal tragedy
I certainly wish her luck and acknowledge that she has bigger balls than I do, metaphorically speaking, that is.
Two of us: Glenn and Alyssa Azar
In the movie Everest they talk about the "Death Zone" which is pretty much the area I have circled in Jono's book cover above 
(I hope that is a picture of Everest on Jono's book cover, or I'm going to look pretty stupid...again;-) where your body literally starts to die because of lack of oxygen (unless you have an oxygen tank, you dirty cheat;-).
Remember that the movie Everest is based on a real life story, it is not something that was made up by a Hollywood script writer...for once.
After seeing the movie Everest I now know that there are a lot of dead climbers bodies still frozen up there in that circled "Dead Zone" that I have marked with the red ring on the cover of Jono's book.
I notice that Alyssa has the above motivation poster on her webpage and while I half concede that she is right, after watching the movie Everest and seeing more experienced climbers than her lose their lives, I would say that it's not so much the mountain that you have to worry about, but the weather. 
I thought Everest was a film worth checking out and I hope Alyssa has seen the movie just to know that it is no walk in the park, and I'm sure she has.
Every time that I picked up Into the Heart of the Himalayas after having seen the movie Everest, I couldn't help looking at the picture on the front cover of Jono's book and seeing the "Death Zone" and imagining those frozen corpses that are still up there to this day. 
As far as climbing Everest goes, I'll just stick to virtual reality climbs instead.
Climbing Solfar's photoreal Mt Everest is virtually the real thing
I certainly can see the attraction of climbing, but I'll stick to my own league when it comes to hill climbs.
Climb Every Mountain?
Everest will never be placed on my bucket list, I'm afraid...and I mean I'm afraid in literal terms.
I started reading Jono's book around mid September in an effort to have it finished by the time the movie Everest came out at the cinema and the first words that struck me when I started reading the book were on page 48 where Jono writes that the Buddha's last words to his disciples were, "walk on".
And I'm sure the Buddha wasn't throwing in a product placement for Johnny Walker scotch, either, since most Buddhists don't drink alcohol...and besides scotch hadn't been invented yet.
Walk on?
Jono tells in the opening of the book about his younger brother Gareth's tragic death in a freak rowing accident on what normally was a calm lake.

Jono later realized the walk he did was a personal pilgrimage to try and come to terms with Gareth's death and the book explains many of Jono's thoughts along the way,
I remember thinking how freaky that accident that took Jono's brother's life was and how it wasn't something you would read about in news stories as common a car crash death, for instance.
And then a few days later I read this story in the news -
Two Monash University students die in New Zealand kayaking accident, police say
New Zealand Police said US national Daniel Hollnsteiner, 21 and James Murphy, 20, from London, died after they were thrown into the icy water when a strong wind change whipped up waves.
Local police commander David Gaskin said the two men were part of a group of 11 people from the university who got into trouble on the lake.
Lake Tekapo, in New Zealand, where two students died when they were thrown from their kayaks into icy water.
That news story above was a very eerily similar incident to the way Jono lost his brother in a Canadian lake. 
A lot of recent books and movies that I have read, or watched over the past year, or two have carried the same theme of the pilgrimage from A to B in a quest to find something, or prove something on some unconscious, or spiritual level to that person, or person's being.
 The thing I have found out on most occasions after reading, or viewing these personal stories is that the journey doesn't really end for that person at point B, even though that was the imagined destination point of the treker.
 On an inner sense these authors are still walking that journey and will continue to walk that journey for the rest of their lives.
Life is a journey, not a destination.
Usually the walk never really ends for these people at point B, because point A was just the beginning of a life walk.
Walkers tend to keep walking far past the point B that they thought would signal the end of their journey.
Walking home…again…
The Way To Byron Bay Via Spain
It was probably Ailsa Piper who got me hooked on these walking/journey books when I happened to go to her talk at the 2012 Byron Bay Writer's Festival.
Doppelgänger Bloggers?
Chapter 11 of Into the Heart of the Himalayas, Gratitude.
One theme that I have noticed running through most of these pilgrimage/trek stories is that of gratitude, or grace.
The Goodwill, Grace and Goodwill 
And the elephant in the room in most of these stories seems to be a supernatural feeling of connectedness, or even fate to some degree.
And while talking about elephants in the room, just about everywhere Jono went in Tibet and surrounds the locals kept offering him Chang.
I thought this must be one hell of a popular brand of beer throughout Asia, but it wasn't the Thai beer the locals were offering him, chang must be the word for beer in those parts, so I learned something a little extra while reading Jono's story.
Cheers, Jono. 
And still on the subject of elephants in the room, I still have this box of stuff to sort out from my recent move:-)
On a personal note, I had to have a chuckle when Jono wrote that the 19th November was one of the worst days on his trek because these kids followed him and threw rocks at him.
November 19th is my wedding anniversary and that date came up as a bad day in my last post oddly enough,
Saint Bob
Jono ends the November 19th entry by writing the "walking is my yoga", all I could think about that date was that walking down the isle was my folly;-)
Scene from Peter Jackson's King Kong.
On a side note I decided to rent the Peter Jackson movie King Kong on DVD the night I opened my Father's Day bottle of Johnny Walker Red.
I don't think I have ever sat down and watched the whole movie before, as I could never really be bothered to watch yet another Kong movie, I only decided to rent it after watching Jake Kotze's  
420 Kong vimeo.
Scene from Peter Jackson's King Kong.
And then I see these scenes in King Kong of Jack Black cracking open a lemonade case during the prohibition in the 30s on alcohol, only to find it full of Johnny Walker Red scotch. 
Scene from Peter Jackson's King Kong. Keep walking?
Keep Walking?
And on the subject of walking, Shannon Noll put on a gig right across the road from the Brisbane Lions club where the Thirsty Camel bottle shop is where I bought the Johnny Walker Red, and I could literally walk from where I lived (and did), have a few beers, enjoy the show and walk home again.

Great show (there will be a post on that show soon) and Shannon even sung the song he wrote about his father called,
Now I Run
"I'm just my fathers son
Taught me to walk, now I run
I run"

Seems to be a theme running right through this thread, doesn't there?
 Walk on!

November 26, 2015

Saint Bob

I've finally read the biography of Father Bob, written by  
Sue Williams, that I bought at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival in 2014.
Father Bob (far left) Byron Bay Writer's Festival in 2014

Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Father Bob at the BBWF, even though I was in attendance at the book talk he gave on the day.
He just didn't turn up for the book signing afterwards for some reason, but at least I  got to talk to his sidekick Jon Safran once more, and at least got Jon to sign his book...that I'm still yet to read.
 After reading his life story it was clear that Bob always punched way above his weight in life and while I'm not a Roman Catholic myself, I can see why people think he should be made a saint sometime down the track.
I would even hang a St. Bob medal from my rear view mirror if the Church ever made him a saint, even if he was a bloody Collingwood supporter;-)
Not to mention a Melbourne Storm supporter, as well.
Your sins are forgiven for supporting these clubs Bob...even though I find it really hard to forgive you for being a Collingwood fan.
Gees, what were you thinking when you got involved with that crowd, even Nathan Buckley got cast out of heaven (Brisbane Lions) and wound up there to suffer ;-) 
I noticed that Father Bob was made redundant the same year I was, 2012.
Freedom At Last After 24+ Years
But unlike Bob, I hated my job and I've never regretted having to leave that place I worked in.
November 19th??
Another weird coincidence I noticed when reading the book about Father Bob was the tragic story of Bob's more, or less adopted son, Costas Vasiliou dying suddenly on November 19th, 2011, while Father Bob had a wedding to do on the day and how he found Costas just before he had to do the wedding.
Father Bob went on with the wedding, so as not to let the bride and family down on her wedding day, all the time knowing Costas lay dead on the Church grounds.
November 19th, 20011 was my 23rd wedding anniversary right to the day.
My wedding ring with the date of the wedding day inscribed inside - 19/11/88
Being officially divorced in 2015, I'll always see November 19 as a tragic day from now on, too.

Love on the Rocks...A Fool's Journey?
I thought it was amusing while reading the book that Father Bob said he knew nothing about being married, but he was married to the Church and the Church divorced him when they kicked him out after turning 75.
Believe me Father Bob, the feelings you felt when going through that would be nearly identical to being divorced in a real marriage, having to move out of the house you loved and having to start again, while feeling betrayed by the marriage partner you thought you could trust.
Page 237?!
Being from Brisbane I never really heard about Father Bob and his work until I saw him with Jon Safran on Jon's TV show 

'John Safran vs God' (see the photo of page 237 above).
 The first time I ever met Jon Safran was the night I took my boys  
(who were fans of Safran's shows) to see him and Jon Ronson do a talk at the Brisbane Powerhouse (see picture below)
The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Daughters Who Lift Cars Off Their Dads Sync
I first met Jon Safran in Brisbane 2005. Nice of Jon Ronson to record it for me in his book.
I was so impressed by Father Bob's story that I ordered on DVD the movie that I narrowly missed seeing a while back that I wrote about in this post in the link below- 
My Philomena Spooky Syncy Sunday
I know that in the end of the book you say that you never want to be made a saint Father Bob, but you deserve to be made one, I think.
You're a saint in my book anyway Saint Bob. 
I often toyed with converting to Roman Catholicism in my early 20s, but I could never stand the dogma of the Church, while I really loved the spiritual side of the ritual, so I ended up joining the  
Liberal Catholic Church, so I could receive the Eucharist without all of the dogma that goes with it.
After watching the RC Church go slowly backwards over the years and back towards the dark old days, I think I made the right choice all of those years ago by staying out of it.
If the Church had more priests like Father Bob I wouldn't think twice about converting.
Maybe one day the hierarchy of the Church will come to their senses and realize that they need more priests like Father Bob.

November 25, 2015

People Places Things...and Bricks

I went to see a movie called People Places Things last Saturday, with my two grown up sons (both in their early 20s) which turned out to be quite synchronistic in many ways.
My sons had asked if I wanted to catch up with them for lunch on Saturday, so I started flipping through my  
Brisbane Entertainment Book for ideas on somewhere to eat and I saw that I had a buy one, get one free pass to the Schonell cinema, which I hadn't been to for quite a while, so I looked up their webpage and saw a movie playing at 1:45pm that looked interesting and wasn't on at any other cinema in Brisbane.
In fact, this was the last screening of the movie that I could see by loking at the website, so I asked the boys if they wanted to see it, as it starred the guy out of The Flight of the Concords, who they were fans of, and besides I was paying for us all to go, so it was a freebie as far as they were concerned. 
People Places Things is about a cartoonist,"Will Henry a newly single graphic novelist balancing parenting his young twin daughters and a classroom full of students while exploring and navigating the rich complexities of new love and letting go of the woman who left him."
We all enjoyed this film, as it was funny, but also quite on the mark in many places about the real life dilemmas that divorce throws up at you.

And after writing about the family brick in my recent post,
A Meditation on Life and Death
I couldn't believe all of the brick metaphors and cartoons that appeared in this movie.
The Family brick that was outside the Gabba for 13 years from 2002, until now.
I couldn't get any screen shots from the movie of the brick cartoons on the internet, but trust me, there are heaps of cartoons about bricks and relationships in this movie.

But don't just take my word for it, go see it yourself if you get a chance, as it is a great little movie worthy of bigger audiences.

Butcher bird serenading me from the railing next to my table.
When we came out from the movie I grabbed a pizza from the cafe outside the cinema and sat down at a table only to be joined by a butcher bird serenading me from the railing next to my table.

I haven't seen a butcher bird in the wild for ages, so I thought I had better look up what this might mean as an animal sign in  
Scott Alexander's book Animal Dreaming.
Didn't quite get what Scott was writing about with the butcher bird as a sign, so I tried another site and got this explanation -
Butcher Bird/Shrike Wisdom Includes:
The only truly predatory songbird, Ferocity, Value of surplus, Surveyor of one’s surroundings, Understanding of the nature of masks, Boldness, Fearlessness.

 Hmm, still buggered if I know what that means, either, and since I also saw a currawong for the first time as well, just after this bird flew away, I decided to look up currawong and butcher birds and got this explanation, 
Australian Magpie - Success 
Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Magpie has a fierce, impatient, but also gregarious energy. It can be a very stern guide and energy when it needs to be, but the majority of the time its role as law custodian and protector of the smaller and family-based communities, means that it is a loyal, effective and strong animal guide to have by your side.
It's also quite an extroverted, accessible guide. It is more vocal and clear than some of the other animals, it can be found quite easily in Australia, and often finds people in Australia when it wants their attention. On a side note, this guide is not afraid to spiritually 'swoop' you to get your attention if you become lazy when you're working with it.

Cultural rule and law. Messenger. Success in business. Success. Home protection. Making new friends. Gossip. Attacking people behind their back. Paranoia. The beauty of song. Aggressive territoriality. Attack.
General Description:
The Australian magpie is not actually related to the more well-known magpie of the Northern Hemisphere. The Australian magpie is closely related to currawongs and butcherbirds. There are many subspecies of Australian magpie, though almost all have sexually dimorphic black and white plumage. The magpie is omnivorous, and will take hand outs from humans; they become semi-tame quite easily.
Magpies in Australia are known for their beautiful caroling call. Magpies are social creatures, and form complex familial flocks that have sophisticated interactions, usually consisting of one dominant male. They are smart birds, curious and inquisitive. They are also territorial and known for swooping humans and pets (and inanimate objects). Some parks will have signs erected during breeding seasons to discourage people from entering during swooping seasons, and rogue swooping magpies are caught and humanely euthanased.
Lessons and Challenges:
The Australian magpie is a spiritual custodian of cultural rule and law. For those who wish to understand more about the spiritual laws of the land around them, Australian magpie is a positive and helpful spirit guide to petition. If Australian magpie is significant in your life at this point, your attention is being drawn to the rules and laws of the spirituality that you follow. If you are not spiritual, Australian magpie can also draw your attention to local cultural laws, both of indigenous cultures, and of the governing body in your state or territory.
Australian magpie is a messenger guide, and its presence in your life (either repetitive presence in 'real life,' or alternatively through dreams or meditations) suggest that a higher power, spirit or deity of some kind is trying to get through to you. Sometimes paying attention to the messenger is a good way to open yourself up to the greater message.
Magpie represents success. It is a successful hunter, it is successful at maintaining its territory, and it is a successful maintainer of its family unit and environment. All elements of success are the domain of Australian magpie, which can help to erode negative attitudes or a reluctance to embrace success in those who are frightened of it. In those who wish to invite success into their lives, consider meditating on the triumphant energy of the caroling magpie.
Magpie can facilitate the making of new friends, though there is a warning to also beware of gossip in current social circles. Magpie has a gregarious, welcoming energy in many instances, and can help you to connect with others.
Australian magpie is a very positive guide for those who wish for more success in monetary or business endeavours. It is an active guide that can provide the dynamic energy necessary to kickstart projects, and also has a discipline that it can teach you in order to see those projects through.
There is an element of home protection when Australian magpie is present. It is important to feel secure wherever you live. This may involve investing in an alarm system, living in a safe neighbourhood, or simply making sure that you feel safe emotionally in the place that you call home.
Watch out for attack. Be careful of attacking people behind their back, or alternatively, watch out for those who are doing the same to you. Australian magpie is well known for its territorial swooping behaviours, and as a guide this can translate to the presence of random attack or unexpected aggressive behaviour from others.
With magpie, there is an emphasis on paying attention to the beauty of song. At this time, vocal song may be particularly healing / nourishing for you. Listen to songs that feature vocal work, particularly choral arrangements. Alternatively, try singing yourself in celebration of those things that you hold dear. You may feel silly doing it, but it can be empowering to raise your voice in acknowledgement of everything that you have been gifted with, in your life.
The Shadow Aspects: (Marriage?-)
Those who resent or fear magpie, often have problems with authority and cultural rule and law. They may be people who have been in trouble with the law, or simply dislike those who have positions of authority. In some circumstances this mistrust is appropriate, but the shadow aspect of magpie tells us that our fears are often inappropriate and that our opinions and speed with which we condemn others might be more harmful than healthful. If we continue to hold onto such prejudice, we become as biased and hurtful as the people we profess to condemn.

The shadow aspect of magpie confronts our fear of being attacked. We may have problems sleeping alone at night, because we fear being attacked. We may avoid darkened streets. We may completely avoid parks if we see magpies. We may avoid confrontations between friends, even though a fight may actually clear the air. As with many spiritual lessons, the more we attempt to avoid something because of irrational fear, the more we attract it to us. Confront your fear of being attacked with the aid of magpie, otherwise you may become so focused on it happening, that it actually happens!

OK, now that makes more sense to me.