Let’s Talk Philosophy …

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Last Wednesday I held two classes (morning and afternoon) where we are studying six philosophers and guided by a book called Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton (published by Penguin).

It was Socrates turn.

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We talked about the importance of being aware of what is happening in our lives and the world around us. We could really relate to the idea of getting in a rut and working, eating and sleeping as is so often the case when you are in the workforce and paying a mortgage etc.

When we live like that we sometimes do things we don’t want to do; don’t find time for the things we do enjoy; take on board others’ demands on our time and energy; become distant to what is really important in our lives and find little satisfaction in life.

We saw that Socrates believed so strongly in his philosophy that he was prepared to die for it. It was interesting that some members of our group saw Socrates as a trouble maker in how he kept asking/testing the young men in Athens to show them how little they really knew.

He said he was the only wise person as he KNEW that he knew NOTHING!

We also talked about what wisdom really is and tried to think of someone wise. We struggled with that. We had lots of suggestions for the opposite!

I will write some more about Socrates tomorrow 🙂

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Where to from here?

Lake Ballard WA

Which way now?

I am not sure how long I have been blogging but it goes back a few years. I am at a turning point with it and not sure which way to turn.

I still enjoy being part of the blogging ‘family’ but feel like I would like to tear mine up and start afresh. When I first started my blog I used to wear my heart on my sleeve and share my deepest thoughts. Even though I am doing that just now, I have grown less comfortable with it.

I have stopped taking new photos to add to my archives and find I am using the old ones over and over again when I do post a blog. It gets a bit boring!

Perhaps it reflects the major changes in my life since I started the blog. At the time I was working full-time in a fairly stressful job and had a busy life. I have been retired for eight years now and once again have a busy life but doing things that I love to do.

My involvement with the University of the Third Age has added a new dimension to my life. Tomorrow my ‘Let’s Talk Philosophy’ group starts. I thought there may be half a dozen people interested but I have twenty-five people enrolled and I am nervous but excited about getting started.

Getting back to the blogging ‘rock bottom’ – I am happy to hear ideas as to how to reignite my enthusiasm or change direction. I am sure I am not the first person to reach this point in my  blogging journey. All ideas are welcome!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Smile

Well I have had something to smile about this week. It is the first time in six years I have been able to have my three sons together in the one place at the one time! And yes, I was definitely smiling!

RAJ

Weekly Photo Challenge: Story

For more info about the Photo Challenge click HERE

This story is about some of the different cities, towns and regions in Australia I have lived.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

For more information about the photo challenge click HERE.

I have included some snaps from the wider Busselton and Cape Naturaliste region. To learn more about my town you can visit HERE.

It is a great place to be and I feel very fortunate to live in an area of such natural beauty.

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Deconstructed Pavlova Icecream

I had too much pavlova left over after Australia Day and I didn’t want to throw it out. I came up with an idea that could work.

Step 1 – left over pavlova and 1/2 tub of icecream

Step 2 – deconstruct

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Step 3 – mix it up

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Step 4 – add some chocolate Flake pieces

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Step 5 – best of all: eat up!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

This Week’s Challenge is described HERE

Once again I am drawn to nature with memories of the three places below where I experienced a peaceful silence and a sense of space!

Fanticipation …

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I have decided that “fanticipation” equals fear and anticipation. It is a little like when you are a child waiting for Santa to come. You are hopeful he will bring  you what you desire however you are holding back a little just in case he gets it wrong.

I am not writing about Christmas here! I have been working on a project for over six months (as a volunteer for my local University of the Third Age, otherwise known as U3A).

We have purchased some new software to manage membership and enrolments and I have been on quite a learning curve. The “fanticipation” is occurring because we are due to go live online on Tuesday.

This week I found myself pondering when I can retire only to remember I already have! Voluntary work is great as an interest and also to keep the brain sharp. I have learned so much about project planning and data bases but I don’t think I have found my passion in this area.

However, given that I.T. is such a big issue for many (not all) mature age people, I am hoping I may be able to do a little to help bridge the gap in getting people to feel more confident about using computers online. I can get passionate about that! Once we have done this foundation year I am optimistic that next year will be easier going. I hope so!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

This week’s Photo Challenge is GROWTH

I must admit I am rather partial to trees so it was a sure bet I would use them for this challenge!

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Baobab tree Kimberley

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Jackaranda tree

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Willow on the Murray River Victoria

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regrowth after fire

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London

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Begonia in the brick pavers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cheeky

Weekly Photo Challenge (for more information)

The day of the Magpie! The Australian Magpie, I am told, polled number one bird in Australia. The story was featured in several media outlets. Read HERE

Maggies are very popular in our house and have become regular visitors over the last couple of years. Not having a cat or dog, I have come to value the relationship with our neighbouring birds.

They do get a bit cheeky though. They very quietly sit outside on the BBQ and stare inside until a morsel of food is produced!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

For more information about the Weekly Challenge click HERE

I find much more serenity in an isolated location. I love the feeling of being one of a few people – away from crowds and all that comes with them. These photos are from North Western Australia. I just love the red dirt and the contrasting colours of buildings and vehicles.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation

For more information about the Weekly Photo Challenge click HERE

A couple of days ago I noticed a flower on my new fuchsia plant (a gift from a friend) was about to unfold its petals. I decided to capture that moment. The next day it had transformed into a beautiful flower! Isn’t nature wonderful?

 

On Gratitude

I am doing a short course titled “Poetry Writing for Fun” through my local U3A. This week we were asked to write something using personification and repetition. Here is my attempt:

I am Gratitude

I gave her the ocean –

She wants bigger waves.

I gave her good health –

She says she’s bored.

I gave her friends –

She asks for more.

I gave her love –

She seeks perfection.

I gave her peace and quiet –

She longs for the City lights.

If only she would know me –

She would have it all.

gratitude

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

For more information about the Photo Challenge click HERE

Don’t let the blue sky fool you! It was a really cold and blustery day but well worth the trip. Augusta (Cape Leeuwin) is the Point where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet!

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Lighthouse in Augusta

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Augusta – West Australia

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Augusta – West Australia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window (in time)

Today I was looking for a recipe for some savoury snacks and I pulled out an old folder of recipes handed to me by Mrs Marjorie Cronin. We had just bought her house in Belgrave Heights in 1980. I have kept them over the years but rarely looked at them until today. Most of the magazines were printed before World War 2 – in the 1930’s. I really loved the fashions as shown below! A window into a time long gone!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered

For more information about the Weekly Photo Challenge click HERE

I have loved watching these palm trees grow over the last six or so years. As well as getting taller each year, there are more and more layers of dense foliage.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Click HERE for more information about the Photo Challenge

When we are children it seems to take forever waiting to get from one birthday to the next. However, as a parent, our children grow up and become independent before we know what has happened!

Lunch with Maggie

Every so often we have a picnic lunch at Meelup Beach near Dunsborough. On Thursday we stopped off at the popular Dunsborough Bakery and bought our lunch . This week we were pleased to find there was hardly anyone at the beach. There were some young bush walkers and a few tradies either working or stopping for a lunch break. It was quite idyllic.

This maggie was very friendly and  keen for us to share our lunch with him!

My Garden Project

I like to have a nice garden but it is not something that comes naturally to me. Up until recently all I had in my small, rear yard was the big, above ground garden bed, some palms and two jasmine plants.

The garden bed was really too big for the space and because it was so deep I had stopped planting vegetables and my mint, parsley and oregano started to take over. I was able to quickly sell the garden bed on Facebook but then what was I going to do with all that soil?

It is still a work in progress but I felt happy today that I had made some improvements. I now have some cherry tomato plants, some irises, marigolds, snapdragons and repotted herbs. A friend kindly gave me some lovely succulents earlier this week and I decided to use my multi-level trays just for succulents.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Diversions, distractions, and delightful detours …

Even when I am watching a TV show I always notice the china in the room – often seen in kitchen dressers or shelving. If I go to the shops my eyes are always distracted by beautiful china, I have one rule – I only purchase it if I fall in love with it (and can afford it!). It has to be better than okay – it has to pull at my heartstrings.

Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Lately I keep catching myself thinking about some unpleasant things from the past (I am sure we all have them). The other day I objectively looked at it and realised that my thoughts were 40 years in the past! I keep reminding myself to look forward and not backwards. Even better if I can spend my time in the present moment.

Last Semester I ran a course for U3A called Retired:Now What? As part of that course we looked at unhelpful thinking styles by looking at and thinking about a resource I found online. Click HERE for a link to the site and for more information.

I identified that recently I am personalising anything and everything and thinking it is my fault. I sometimes joke to friends about the extremes I take this to –  e.g. conflict in the Middle East!

The point is that I have identified this recent pattern and can be on the alert when these unhelpful thoughts invade my thinking and choose to think differently!

Daily Post Topic: Disaster

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry!

I prepared dinner in my trusty cooker (3 in 1 – pressure, slow cooker and steamer). There was a big pot of chilli con carne. It has handles on the side so, when ready, I went to lift it to another bench to serve it up.

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Disaster! I only got as far as the kitchen sink and it wouldn’t go any further because I hadn’t unplugged from the powerpoint. As I tried to regain control it tipped on its side and most of the contents went into the kitchen sink!

There was just enough left in the pot for our meal. The cooker is a casualty as it has a big dent in its side where it collided with the sink!

Guess my mind was off with the fairies and I wasn’t focused on what I was doing. Lesson learned … when cooking dinner, just cook dinner!

Approaching a task with trepidation!

Getting started was the hardest bit. Always worried I might mess it up 🙂

With the many changes to how we listen to music today I have been finding that even though there are so many options, I am actually listening to less music. We decided that having easier access to the multitude of CD’s we own would increase the likelihood of listening to music more often.

After searching the internet we found a CD cabinet that seemed promising. It arrived in two flat-packs and I volunteered to put it together. I was feeling confident after doing two bedside tables earlier this year.

In the end I was surprised to see how much space we have left over. The CD’s are now sorted into their different genres. No excuses now for not listening to music!

Here are a few shots  of the progression of the project:

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Bridge

For information about the Weekly Challenge click HERE

Here is my  selection for this Week’s Challenge!

Stop Thief!

We had a few days break in Perth last week. My husband likes to take his own pillow when we travel. We are in the habit of checking and double-checking whenever we are packing up  to leave to make sure we leave nothing behind.

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I felt quite smug when I noticed he had overlooked his favourite pillow and I rescued it. We put our bags and the pillow in the car prior to checking out. One of the hotel staff observed us as we packed the car. I thought to myself  “I hope he doesn’t think I am stealing this pillow.”

It was only when we arrived home and unpacked that I realised we had an extra pillow that in fact belonged to the hotel. What to do now? Well we rang them and explained and they were going to call back but we haven’t heard from them again!

The eyes have it!

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I had laser eye surgery yesterday.

My eyesight had deteriorated quite a lot recently and was making it hard for me to read – especially on my  computer. Initially I was to wait until October to get in to see an eye specialist. Fortunately there was a cancellation and I had an appointment yesterday with a visiting (to the region) specialist.

I was diagnosed with glaucoma and cataracts in my early fifties. I was not impressed. These things only happy to OLD people! The cataracts were removed and my eyesight was near perfect afterwards meaning I didn’t need to wear my glasses after many years of being very short sighted.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I can see much better today and I greatly appreciate the science that produced the technology to correct my vision without having to even touch my eyes!

Humanities’ Search for Meaning

When I was leading a University of the Third Age (U3A) group about retirement (called Retired: Now What?) I was doing some online research on the topics I wanted to cover: how we use our time; meaning; purpose; relationships etc.

The Positive Psychology ‘movement’ (Martin Seligman PhD) has developed a model called PERMA. I was pretty excited about this formula that seemed to cover many aspects of life. PERMA is an acronym for: Positive emotions; Engagement; Relationships; Meaning; and Accomplishment.

I also came across an article of an interview where Viktor Frankl was asked how he felt about the success of his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. His answer was very telling. He said (paraphrased by me) he was alarmed that the topic hit a nerve with so many people and it emphasised how much we DO search for meaning.

This awareness (of the search for meaning) is one of life’s universal experiences even if we are not consciously aware of it. I don’t ever envisage waking up one day and finding the answers but I will continue to enjoy the journey and keep asking the questions.

consciousness

SO, guess what my next U3A course is going to be? It is a shift from looking at psychology to studying and discussing philosophy. I have been interested in philosophy for about fifteen years and read a few books on this very large topic! One in  particular is written by Alain De Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy, and published by Penguin Books. We will be using this book as the basis for the course. Here is an excerpt from the author’s website.

The Consolations of Philosophy

In Ancient Greece or Rome, philosophers were seen as natural authorities on the most pressing questions. However, since then, the idea of finding wisdom from philosophy has come to seem bizarre. Enter a university department today and ask to study wisdom, and you will politely but firmly be shown the door. The Consolations of Philosophy sets out to refute the notion that good philosophy must be irrelevant and gathers together six great philosophers who were convinced of the power of philosophical insight to work a practical effect on our lives.

Course starts on 18 July.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: All Time Favourites

The Final Weekly Photo Challenge I will be really sorry to say goodbye to the Weekly Photo Challenges as it is about the only time I post anything on my blog these days. Maybe it can be an impetus to get me writing again – I hope so!

So here are some of my favourites from over the years …