27 October 2009

A Blog About Peace

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As I write the 50th post in this blog about enjoying peace in both the inner and outer worlds, I am feeling at peace. The neighbourhood around me has been very quiet for the last hour or so. The sun is shining. The air is still. The temperature is slightly cool, which is good as I will be having an active day today.

25 October 2009

Sublime Musical Moments

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Sometimes our sense of peace can be enhanced by particular sounds, especially sublime musical sounds.

A little while ago on my Continual Journeys blog, I mentioned two songs by Gustav Mahler that I particularly like. Today, I thought I'd make three links to them on You Tube so that you can experience them for yourself (especially if you have not heard them before). You may then feel in the mood to buy several performances of the songs on cd.

21 October 2009

Sustainable and Affluent Living

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The Australian Federal Government has given my local council some money, which it has been spending cutting up concrete outside my house at 7 o'clock in the morning. The reason is to prevent my house from being deluged in future downpours.

08 October 2009

The Benefits of Ear Plugs

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Having recently returned from a two-month research trip to some noisy but interesting places, I have become quite competent in the use of ear plugs. I prefer the foam ones that need to be rolled thinly before use as they have helped me to sleep on numerous occasions.

27 August 2009

In the Pink

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There is nothing more delightful than to be in the pink. Even when a person might be in the pink, he or she might be unaware of such good fortune.

01 August 2009

Findings, Forests and Feeling Focussed

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The temperate rainforests of southern Australia can be very peaceful places. The vegetation dampens the noises from further afield so that time can be spent listening to the birds, the waterfalls and the breeze in the higher branches.

19 July 2009

A Comfortable Search for Peace


Hello to everyone who has been exploring my blogs over the past few months. In your explorations here, you will probably have gathered that I like variety from time to time, avoiding being stuck in a rut or caught up in the rat race. And I like new challenges as long as they also give me time to enjoy quietness.

18 July 2009

In Search of a Quiet Garden


Here is a scene from Monet's garden in Giverny, France. I took the picture during my May visit in the year 2000. When looking at a Monet painting, it is easy to think of the scene as being tranquil, but the reality for the modern tourist is that Monet's garden is often a very noisy and crowded place, especially as there is a busy road going between the two sections.

06 July 2009

Staying Centred

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Have you ever tried yogic breathing? It is one of the ways in which I attempt to stay centred. What does staying centred mean to you? Is it the same as feeling grounded?

05 July 2009

Freedom Without Force


The Statue of Liberty looked so small from where I took this photograph, on a calm, peaceful, beautiful Sunday evening in New York in 1994.

A bombing in the basement of the building next door to where I was standing had happened eighteen months earlier, but that had not deterred me from taking in the view.

03 July 2009

Foresee with Four Cs

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Foresight is a wonderful gift. Do you possess it?

01 July 2009

The Full Cart is Usually Quieter

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In Australia last night, there was a lottery draw for a $90 million top prize. I did not have a ticket. Why would anyone want $90 million for their personal use? Is it just being greedy?

24 June 2009

The Joy of Eureka Moments


In any creative endeavour, whether scientific, artistic or social, eureka moments can often be blissful treats.

I especially say aha! when I have been enjoying some quiet time, beautiful scenery, or just getting on with the everyday chores that often pile up if I have focussed too much on just one task.

16 June 2009

A Clear Conscience

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Lightness and clarity can be very enjoyable experiences. In my own mind, they are associated with relaxation rather than excitement. A clear conscience means having done my best, by the end of each day, to help create a better world and not dwelling on the what is beyond my control.

12 June 2009

Darkness and Light

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In the most simple of terms, the way people think, at any particular time, can be categorised in one of four ways.

Our minds can be filled with either:

(a) darkness and confusion

(b) darkness and clarity

(c) lightness and confusion

(d) lightness and clarity

I prefer to cultivate (d) in my own mind. What about you?

11 June 2009

Innocence

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I was not sure whether to put this in my Continual Journeys blog or to place it here, but after seeing a deeply moving YouTube video with Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehöret by Heinrich Schütz, it seems more appropriate to the topic of peace than to journeys.

09 June 2009

Peace and Privacy


Why would anyone want to be famous? Is it a desire for cultural immortality? Is it about overcoming the fear of being thought of as insignificant?

Perhaps the famous Scottish opera singer Mary Garden summed it up best, in a radio interview in her later years, in the 1940s.

06 June 2009

The Truth of Beautiful Simplicity

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In the complexity and challenges of living and thinking in today's world, sometimes beauty, truth and simplicity can be elusive.

Do you seek out beautiful simplicity? Does it help you to find truth? Do you share the experience with others?

05 June 2009

Reflection, Serenity and Illumination

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I probably need to spend some time reflecting on the content of my own blogs and perhaps trying to improve them (I think I have already mentioned that I am not particularly good at editing, spelling and proof reading).

I will also go through each of my links, to check that they are all working correctly. That may take a while! If you find a link that is not working here, please let me know.

23 May 2009

Quietly Reading

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One of the great pleasures in my life is sitting quietly with book of my own choosing, without any interruptions, and without feeling that I should be doing something else.

In a busy life, reading can sometime give rise to feelings of guilt. When I worked in the media, part of my job was to read through the newspapers for particular snippets of information. If someone came into the office while I was doing so, did they think I was being lazy or that I did not have enough to do?

22 May 2009

News Media for Peace

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Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and into our own, the news media has often been a propaganda tool for vested interests. I have worked in the news media myself, so I am aware of the social and educational backgrounds of mainstream editors, their social networks, and their links with politicians and political ideologies.

It comes as no surprise to me that the media, in general, ignores the predictions of pundits they do not already know. Journalists like to have a file of "useful" contacts. Unknown people are only useful, usually, in "human interest" stories involving something unusual, terrible or amusing.

18 May 2009

Via's Budget Reply

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Mr Swan, the Australian Government's treasurer, has recently told us how much treasure is available to serve the needs of the Australian public and their needy neighbours for at least the next twelve months. The amount of treasure, Mr Swan says, has dwindled over the last year mainly because people in other countries are not buying as many bits of Australia that have been dug out of the ground here.

15 May 2009

The Basics and Brilliant Chips

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A familiar tune by George Gershwin with new lyrics by Via:

Summertime... and on credit it's easy.
Wish for something,
And your debt goes sky high.

(With apologies to everyone who loves Porgy and Bess)

08 May 2009

Living Quietly, Deeply, Simply

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The art of being a social entrepreneur is to achieve as much as possible, for people and the planet, for as little cost to yourself, others and the environment. There is no need for expensive advertising campaigns, complicated bureaucratic structures or manipulative marketing strategies. All that is required these days is the ability to lead by example, communicate courteously through the Internet, and have something important to say.

07 May 2009

Peacefully unco-operative

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I often wonder why people use the word "fight" when referring to crime, disease and injustice. Would it not be better to think in terms of being peacefully unco-operative?

29 April 2009

The People's Budget 1909

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One Hundred Years Ago today, on 29 April 1909, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, introduced what became know as "The People's Budget". What can the world learn from this historical event?

26 April 2009

Healing Humanity

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For several years now, I have been spreading the message that war, like all forms of violence, is a sign of social and political failure. Whether a person is violent as a consequence of ignorance, indoctrination or insensitivity does not excuse its expression.

25 April 2009

How to solve the world's financial problems

It might help humanity if we all offer some suggestions on what to do to alleviate suffering and want.

18 April 2009

Hermits for Humanity

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Do you care about humanity but like avoiding crowds? How might some time away from other people be of benefit to you and to them?

17 April 2009

A Symphony of Silence

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If you have good hearing, you may have found that just stopping to listen can raise the volume of even the quietest environment. I love listening to quiet places. My home, though, is not far from a busy main road. Every chance for peaceful, restful silence is something I never take for granted.

09 April 2009

Fleeting ideas and forgotten memories

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Who am I? A social scientist, researcher and administrator by training? A philosopher, historian and cook by temperament? Do I limit myself by using labels and definitions? How about you? Do you sometimes forget who you really are? Who are you?

08 April 2009

A Peace of Chocolate

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For consumers, chocolate can be one of the most blissful tastes. Like any other chocolate lover, I find it wonderful, but what about the people who grow and harvest the raw products that make up our treats?

03 April 2009

Smells and Emotions

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Do you relax and feel more at peace when in an environment with a pleasant fragrance? How are your experiences altered by the smells around you? What is your favourite smell?

02 April 2009

Language and Peace

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It is so easy to use a blog to vent our frustrations and express our anger at various injustices. How, though, does this help visitors to our blogs who might be looking for edifying experiences after they have spent a day of frustration and anger?

28 March 2009

So moved... about democracy

I was planning to avoid blogging until next month, but could not go past this opportunity to provide a link to a wonderful item in the New York Times.

24 March 2009

The myth of the corporate institutional investor

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I am supposed to be having a break from blogging but there have been some comments in the mainstream media recently that have motivated me to respond. Why is it that many journalists have not yet understood that there is no such thing as a corporate institutional investor?

All companies are only entities in as much as they are owned by shareholders. By following the ownership trail, it usually leads back to people like you and me, however rich or poor we may be.

17 March 2009

Optimumism


I am going to write a big blog post today so hold on to your mouse and be prepared - but not scared! I'll be having a break from blogging after this post, but please keep your comments coming in.

16 March 2009

Mundi Mundi Plains for a Monday

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Looking over the Mundi Mundi Plains in outback New South Wales is like looking over the sea. It is a vast expanse with no sign of habitation. I love looking from a remote high spot to a far horizon, with no traffic noise, no chatter, no strangers, no buildings, just being in the universe.

12 March 2009

Journaling - Keeping a Private Journal

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There are many people who are so busy talking that they often forget to listen to themselves, or others. How might such people learn to listen? Could a private journal help?

05 March 2009

Leading Quietly


A lively mind


People often assume that because I have a lively mind and the ability to communicate in a lively, informed manner, that I seek out social activities purely for the sake of socializing. However, there is nothing so irritating for me than spending time in the company of people who have no understanding or appreciation of my need for time alone, in peace and quiet.

03 March 2009

Gentle rain and a day at home

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If you live in verdant countryside, gentle rain may be a boring phenomenon but for those of us in the town of Dorothea it is a wonderful and unusual experience. Being at home when it is gently raining is delightful. The surrounding neighbourhood sounds are dampened and a temporary cosy bliss prevails.

25 February 2009

Inner Peace

Have you noticed that each of my blogs links with the theme of inner peace?

17 February 2009

A Medley of Reflections

My last post in this blog was on 7 February, a day when roaring fires swept across the eucalypt forests of southern Australia. As you may know, eucalyptus leaves contain a volatile oil. I use it as a cleaning product in my house.

07 February 2009

Vacuuming the Roof

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A couple of days ago, someone in our street was vacuuming the roof of their house. Perhaps it is the seemingly endless heatwave causing such crazy behaviour here in suburbia.

While our fruit ripens, we hear that apples are stewing in their skins in orchards, that vineyards have cooked, sheep are dying of heat exhaustion in their paddocks, a significant portion of the sugar crop is under water, and market gardens are shrivelling in the sun.

05 February 2009

Silent Night in Suburbia

And now the air is cool, the sky is clear, the wind has dropped, and the rainbow lorikeets are asleep.

The grapes on our vines are almost ripe. I have been eating fresh peaches from the garden, poised over the kitchen sink to stop the juice from reaching the floor.

03 February 2009

Chainsaw at One in the Morning

Someone down the road from here was using a chainsaw at one o'clock this morning. It was not windy here yesterday and no emergency rescue was happening in the dead of night.

Is such insensitivity to the needs of others a sign of individualism gone mad? The person with the chainsaw has started again now, at a much more reasonable hour.

02 February 2009

Cultural Awareness of Sound

In 2006, Daniel Barenboim gave the BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures on the topic of sound. The lectures were broadcast on Radio National in Australia and I made a point of listening.

In my own view, making a point of listening is important in daily life. We are bombarded with sounds from all directions, but how many of us truly listen to what we are hearing? Do we usually attempt to shut out all of the sounds around us?

Have we become insensitive to the sounds of the natural world? Are we insensitive to the negative psychological associations others might have for particular sounds, even the ones we may personally consider to be musical?

When is making a sound appropriate and when is it disrespectful of the needs of others? Have you ever considered the needs of people whose employment requires them to sleep when you are awake?

Have you been kept awake by sounds, whether at home or when travelling? How did you feel? What might be the health implications of noise?

Perhaps you have had the experience of a beautiful piece of music being played or broadcast in an inappropriate context. How did it make you feel about the music, then and afterwards?


Click here to visit the BBC's main web page about the 2006 Reith Lectures.


31 January 2009

On Being Quietly Successful

Does personality have something to do with the need for quietness?

Throughout my upbringing, as a shy, highly strung, sensitive child, I was constantly admonished by my elders for having such a temperament. It especially appeared, from my experiences at school and home, and from watching television, that having the interests and temperament of an introvert was not conducive to success in the world.

Yet I am happy being quiet. Is happiness not success?

29 January 2009

The Town of Dorothea

Whenever the weather is very hot or fairly wet here in the town of Dorothea, my neighbourhood is often quieter. People stay indoors and do not mow their lawns as often. They do not drive about so much, and even the squawking lorikeets take shelter.


Out in the world, shops and restaurants continuously assault the ears, the mind and the cardiovascular system with blaring radios that seem to be there to appease juvenile employees. The acoustic needs of customers are rarely acknowledged and frequently remain unstated.

Perhaps the ingrained boredom of menial service work requires the wakefulness that is induced by amplified rhythms. Factories also blare out mechanical noises and wailing sounds, some of which are emitted from radios.

Why do most mainstream commercial audio recordings have a similar soundscape to heavy industry? Perhaps people are more likely to spend money when they are stressed, especially on unnecessary items, hence the reason for stressful sounds in many shops.

Perhaps this is a public health issue that needs to be addressed.  Have you any thoughts to share?

Often I find that the best place to find peace is at home, but this all depends on how people in, and travelling through, my neighbourhood choose behave.

Do you have noisy neighbours?

25 January 2009

Freedom from Noise

Do you yearn for that elusive place where the need for quiet is respected?

Does noise often interrupt your enjoyment of life?

Are your thoughts frequently intruded upon by invasive sounds?