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

- Jake Kotze

May 30, 2016

The Desire for More

I mentioned that I was still reading the book, 'What Makes Us Tick' in my last post -
Who Are You 2?
and today I came across a typo that made me laugh, in a sub-chapter titled, 'The Desire for More', where there is one more "more" than is necessary.
It's a bit like the old, "Paris in the the spring" sign. 
I think I need a few more drinks after reading that chapter;-)
Great book ... and in a few more ticks I should be finished reading it, as well.
After a trip to the fridge, that is:-)

UPDATE: 31st May, 2016

Ticking time bomb tattoo 

by Sophie C’est la Vie

When I was looking for images of a ticking bomb on Google to use in my post above, I saw the tattoo by Sophie CΓ©st la Vie called 
'Ticking Time Bomb' surrounded by blue birds of happiness, which I nearly choose for my picture to use because it appealed to me on some subconscious level, but I went with my other picture of a ticking bomb further above.
I put this post up on my blog thinking it was finished and then went to bed and continued read Hugh Mackay's book, 'What Makes Us Tick'.
And a couple of pages later I came across this passage in the book about, "the big picture" and the current tattoo craze -
"Rather than engaging with such huge problems as the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers, or the health and welfare of indigenous populations, or trade imbalances and tariffs - to say nothing of terrorism or climate change - we turn the focus inwards. 
We distract ourselves from the world's bad news by concentrating on the size and shape of our bodies, the whiteness and straightness of our teeth, the removal of wrinkles that previous generations regarded as "war wounds" to be worn with pride.
We embrace Botox, cosmetic surgery, tattoos and body-piercing in a big way, as if to say, 
"The big picture is beyond me, but I can create my own little picture right here on my own body". 
We throw ourselves into home renovations, cooking and gardening - on TV as well as in reality.
"Here is a way to take control of my own little world..."
Don't get me wrong here, I have tattoos as well, as you would have seen from reading posts like -
The JUNGle Book?
where I show my panther tattoo that I've had for 30 years, or more, but I don't understand the current craze of having so many tattoos all over the body that people are flat out making out what they all mean.
Anyway, Hugh goes on to write in another sub-chapter in the same chapter I quote above titled,'Dialing Up Our Desire for Control: The Mad Pursuit of Perfection', that "In response to a growing sense of chaos and uncertainty, many of us are drawn to the idea that it doesn't have to be like this; that there is a "better way" and that if only we could lift our game - in our relationships, our parenting, our work, our level of fitness, our "lifestyle"- we could be floating on a cloud of excellence, high above the hoi polloi, sharing the rarefied upper air with the fabled bluebird of happiness.
What we're forgetting is that if we let the inherently imperfect state of the world induce stress in us, then the pursuit of perfection will only increase it."
Getting back to the "The big picture is beyond me, but I can create my own little picture right here on my own body" pop cultural craze at the moment everywhere in western society. 
I saw the latest Micro-figure footy player collectables gracing the shelves of my local supermarket when I went to get some milk and bread and decided to buy one to see what they were all about. 
It's completely potluck as to who you get out of the 23 players available and the only player I was really after was from the team I support, Jack Bird of the Sharks
So, the odds were 23 to 1 of me getting the player I most wanted and the same for getting the Brisbane Bronco player that I least wanted ... and I would have to have binned;-)
Dane Gagai
... and his tattoo
But I got Newcastle player Dane Gagai, tattoo and all.
I thought it was weird how even the tattoos these players have on their arms (and I guess legs?) are on show to the kids who collect these figures, as going back to when I was growing up that would have been frowned upon. 
But another weird thing about getting this player of all 23 that I could have gotten was that my team the Sharks had played Newcastle the week before beating them 62-0, with Dane Gagai scoring a try at the last minute for Newcastle, but having it disallowed because he didn't ground the ball properly. 
What puzzled me at the time though was that Dane broke down in tears after the try was disallowed, and it wouldn't be until a few days later that I found out he was crying because his grandmother had passed away that same morning of the game.
NRL video: Dane Gagai breaks down following Newcastle Knights’ 62-point loss to Cronulla Sharks
Kind of puts things in perspective when it comes to the "game of life".  
My ex-cousin-in-law after a Bronco/Newcastle match
I keep this micro-figure on my computer table now as a reminder that the "big picture" is more important than the "little picture", when it comes to life ... and death. 

Well, how many Paul Gallen figures can I have around my house anyway?-)
My TV stand and Paul Gallen figures
I kept thinking of my ex-cousin-in-law, who is a mad keen Newcastle fan, and felt sorry for him and the supporters of Newcastle on the day, because they are a struggling club like the Sharks and it's hard to see loyal fans like that watch their team cop a battering like that at their home ground.

But us Shark fans know how you feel after years of frustration on the sidelines watching our own team cop hidings like this.
It's what makes supporters like us all "true supporters" and loyalty is what it is all about when times are tough.
That's what makes us tick for the better in the end.

May 29, 2016

Who Are You 2?

WHO ... are you?
Pete Townshend's 'Tommy' starring
Roger Daltrey as Tommy
I just finished reading Pete Townshend's autobiography 'Who I Am' at the same time I finished reading Robert Hoge's autobiography 'Ugly'.
I'm also ... still ... in the middle of reading Hugh Mackay's excellent book, 'What Makes Us Tick?'.
I've never been a real big WHO fan, but I am a big fan of the movie 'Tommy', based on The Who's best selling album.
I wrote a post about nearly seeing Roger Daltrey perform the whole Tommy album at Bluesfest in 2012, but alas, that wasn't to be -
Who Are You?
And recently I wrote about seeing the 40th anniversary screening at the cinema in this post -
Happy Birthday Pete Townshend ... Did Some Reader Out There Just Ask WHO?-)
But the thing about reading those three books I mention above, at the same time, is that as souls (or thinking beings, if you prefer a less mystical metaphor) being trapped in a meat suit, we are constantly wondering who we are and why we are here.
If not, then you should be.
I picked up that owl and Pete's book on my last road-trip through serendipitous events along the way and it wasn't lost on me that an owl always seems to be asking you the question, "Who?".  
WHO would want to be a rock star?
What is it with Pop Culture and Aliens?
WHO ... are you?
I bought the owl at a shop on the day that I was unsuccessful at spotting any Powerful owls in Port Macquire as I wrote in this post -

Are the Powerful Owls What They Seem?
The strange thing about reading Pete's book 'Who I Am' and Robert's book 'Ugly' is that both authors are trying to piece together shattered childhoods from the perspectives of adults looking back along the journey that has got them to where they both are while writing their books. 
In fact, they both write letters to their childhood selves in their books as a way of offering themselves some healing perspective on their traumatic childhoods.
Childhood letter of Pete's to
 himself in
'Who I Am'
Robert's letter to his childhood
in his book, 'Ugly'
And they both write about their perceptions of themselves as being not as pretty as their peers and their perceptions of their own looks of physical attractiveness to others and both use the word, "beautiful" on the last pages of their books, oddly enough, although not really writing about their own looks on these pages. 
The word "beautifulon the last page of Pete's book
The word "beautiful" on the last page  of Robert's book ... twice.
From Robert's book 'Ugly'A club we all think we belong in, to a degree?
Pet Rock?
WHO ... are you?
The other thing I like about the owl I bought is that it looks like it is standing in front of a headstone of a grave and of course owls are seen in many cultures as messengers of death, or the afterlife. 

My mother has told me often how an owl perched on her backyard clothesline the morning after my grandmother died and yet I have never seen an owl in the wild in my life in Brisbane, even though I know they exist in Brisbane.
Oddly enough, the first bit of sightseeing I did on my road-trip was to stop and have a look at an historic cemetery (Chinderah Cemetery) on the other side of the roadhouse just over the Queensland/New South Wales border after I stopped to get petrol and a coffee.
The Chinderah Cemetery is on the top ten list of haunted sites in Australia
It was like a movie-set out of some B-grade horror movie, but I was fascinated reading each tombstone and the little story it told of people long past. 

UPDATE: 30th May, 2016
I decided to look up the name of this cemetery after I had written this post, so I could link the name and location to this post in case anyone wanted to know where to find it. 
I came across this news article from the Tweed Daily News titled -
Blackbirding a grave concern
"The little churchyard is really quaint, really old and really perfect for the setting of a ghost movie.
More importantly it tells a sad tale; a story of slavery, cruelty and hardship borne on the shoulders of a beautiful race of people, some as young as 12 years old. 
"It's a truly sad story," said former Tweed Shire councillor Jennifer Pearson who was instrumental in passing a motion to construct a memorial at Chinderah to the workers. 
The story of the Kanakas is a sad chapter in Australian history dating back to 1847. 
"Blackbirded" from their homes in the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides or brought to the country by deception, they were exploited as cheap labour in the sugar cane industry and on the cotton fields of Queensland and Northern New South Wales. 
It was Australians who eventually rebelled against the employment of Kanakas, not out of human sympathy but fearing that the South Sea Islanders posed a threat to their standard of living. 
Those "slaves" were starting to make it good and maybe a threat to their jobs. 
Under the government's Indenture Scheme, the Kanakas had been brought to Australia against their wishes, then by an act passed in 1901 they were largely forcefully repatriated. 
Some were permitted to stay on after 1906, the year fixed for their departure. 
Many of these moved southward to the northern part of NSW, settling as free men and women on the Tweed River at Chinderah. 
Hard workers and good farmers, they began growing their own sugar cane. 
Some of them are buried in this smallest of cemeteries, their original burial place being part of an estate owned by the undertaker. 
On his death his heirs sold the property, including the cemetery, to clear the land. 
The headstones were hauled out of the ground with chains, many of the monuments being broken in the process. 
The stones were then transferred to the small patch where they now stand. 
The actual graves were left unidentified."
I don't remember reading anything about that in the cemetery.
And the weird thing was that on my road-trip blackbirds were always accompanying me on my journey and it is only in hindsight reading this now that my post on Corvids, which I have considered my spirit animals for a long while, makes even more eerie reading, as far as messages from beyond go - 
On the Road with Corvids
I find walking through cemeteries and reading headstones very meditative and mysterious, as I contemplate my own living existence. 
The "land of the shadows"?
When I was walking through this cemetery though it seemed like I was walking in another dimension from the day I had left behind when I walked through the gate.
This was because I realized of all the trees blocking out the sun making the graves appear to be in the land of shadows. 
And oddly enough when I read Robert's chapter named 'Mary' about his mother, he mentions reading his mother's eulogy and the last line was,"Good-bye Mum. We'll see you again in the land where no shadows fall"
I read that part of Robert's book well after taking those photos above and the thought of the grave with the word "Mum" written on it and every other word on that grave hard to read I kind of saw it as a grave representing all mother's who have crossed over to the place where no shadows fall.
Not only that, but I now recall my walk through the rain-forest in Port Macquarie looking for the Powerful Owls, who I was told would be found in shadowy places in the rain-forest, if I really looked hard. 
I didn't spot any physical owls on my road-trip, but every day on the road was a constant reminder of death, with heaps on road-kill on the sides of the highway, crosses marking where people had lost their lives in road accidents, my trip to the National War Museum in Canberra, the church of St. Thomas in Port Macquarie that was built over a grave of a dead British soldier, climbing to see the Port Macquarie Obelisk on a spot that marks the drowning of two friends, hearing about the death of Prince the day after I climbed Australia's highest peak and then watching the ANZAC day parade in Ballina, before returning home.
I even took a wrong turn in the town of Armidale going straight through a roundabout and into a one-way road into the town's cemetery, which I never intended to visit.
I didn't have the time to get out for a wander, but I found it strange how the Catholics were in one part of the cemetery and Presbyterians in another and so forth with other religious groups.
I wondered if heaven was going to be like this, as well;-)  
The one-way street through
Armidale cemetery
Looking out my car window
in the Armidale cemetery
The grave St. Thomas is built over in Port Macquarie
ANZAC day parade in Ballina
So, every day on the road gave me an opportunity to reflect on the fleeting moments we call life.

Which is why I like reading biographies and watching movies about the lives of other people like Pete Townshend and Robert Hoge.
It gives me a sense of connection to the world I grew up in and a chance to see it through another's eyes. 
Like Hugh Mackay writes in his book,'What Makes Us Tick?'.
My favourite chapter in Hugh Mackay's
'What Makes Us Tick?'
But it is the end of Hugh's chapter that resonates with me about connecting to know who we really are.
No but(t)s about it.
Eat But(t)s?!
Pete's dedication to all who read it, at the back of 'Who I Am'.
Robert Hoge running with the Olympic flame
I think people like Pete Townshend and Robert Hoge pass a little more light on to us all who dwell in the land of the shadows, by telling us their stories and also remind us to ask ourselves just who we are, too.
WHO ... are you?