Saturday, January 30, 2010

600 Minutes of Gratitude.

This summer among others I have been reading "Creative journal writing" by Stephanie Dowrick 
 I've been having a go at some of the exercises and one that I'm persisting with is 600 minutes of gratitude. That means that for 60 days you have to write for ten minutes about things you are grateful or thankful for. Easy peasy right? No, wrong. Day one was pretty easy- could think of lots of things, day two found me being grateful I did not live in London at the time of the bubonic plague, day three I was grateful that I now only have one elderly cat to care for. As you can see quite a challenge in the early stages,  but to my surprise I find myself at now around day 20 being somewhat less superficial. Actually I am using the concept in a far more sensible way.  Friday was a particularly challenging day because I had a very painful and honest conversation with a friend which left me feeling very bruised. later in the day as I was thinking about the epsiode I was thankful that I could see the part I played in it and how my actions had given rise to the misunderstanding. I felt that in writing it I could learn from it and I was thankful for that. Also it has pretty much helped let the whole thing go and so I've enjoyed every minute of this lovely weekend. 

One of the really fun things I did was  a 15km walk called the peninsula challenge. It's a fundraiser for the Otago peninsula trust which seeks to protect the wildlife there. Because the track takes you over 10 private properties you get to see scenery that is otherwise inaccessible. Take a look at these. 

the start line is way down the bottom by the trees at the start of the walkway to Allans beach.

 It doesn't look that steep but you can kind of tell that these people are finding it hard. 

we made our way carefully down this hill and were ferried across the estuary in motorboats to get to Victory beach 

There you can see Victory beach in the distance - home to very large sea lions!!

Here's me at the finish line. One of my friends had arranged a bottle of bubbly at the end along with plastic champagne glasses.  Hip hip hooray ,3 cheers to us! What a fun day.

Here's to a fun week. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Walks that leave you weary but happy.

Part of me wants to apologise for yet again showing you photos of my garden but the other part just wants you to enjoy the growth that has occurred despite the very indifferent summer we have had and sporadic bursts of input from me.

I love how things grow with or without me and I am amazed at what a constant source of pleasure it is to me as I look out on it as I sit at my dining table. When I look at the garden, I often see my neighbours white cat sitting on top of the fence gazing down  and  I am reminded of Rapunzels mother who looked longingly at the lettuces in the witches garden and sent her poor husband to steal some.

At work I am known for overestimating my capacity to achieve and underestimating the enormity of the task I have set myself. (by contrast I think a definition of anxiety is overestimating the task and underestimating one's ability to achieve the task). At times the same applies to my non work life. Last year I was determined to walk my way entirely through this great book which charts pretty much all of Dunedin's walk ways. Im not sure how many weekends I thought there were in a year but is clear that I miscounted. I think I need about 250 weekends to do all of these. Anyway last week as a preparation for the peninsula challenge this coming weekend I walked one of the very lovely tracks in this book. It was the walk from Henley through to Taeiri Beach. About 10 km in total.  There's quite a lot of going up and down which gives the track a cassification of moderate to hard but it's such an enjoyable walk that it's well worth doing whatever the weather.  I was weary but happy at  the end.
Here's a couple of photos along the way to inspire you.
Have a great inspirational week everyone.

cheers Marg


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Holidays, Volcanoes and Back to Work.

2010 has started well for me so far. Chiefly because for the first time in what feels like years I've had 3 weeks off all in a row.  I could get used to it so it's just as well I'm back to work tomorrow.

Last week I made sure there was enough food in the house and petrol in the car so Rosie and Tom would not notice my absence and went to spend a week with George and his kids  in Masterton.

Having a holiday with a sibling is fun because after so many years of independent living it's like getting to know a new person without all the hard work because there are still so many familiarities. On the day I arrived we went to the latest exhibition at Te Papa.    . " A day in the life of Pompeii".  It was amazing. I would go to Wellington just to see that on it's own. Did you know that before Vesuvius, the Romans had no word for Volcano? They had never experienced one before. So when the mountain was erupting they had no way of knowing what was going to happen next and of course no evacuation plan or disaster relief package. Things don't change much over the years. Look at what has happened this last week in Haiti.

Anyway moving on - the Pompeii exhibition seemed to develop a focus for our holiday because we decided that we would spend a few days checking out some of our own volcanoes. We mapped out a journey that would take us up past Ruapehu, and then include having a go at the Tongariro crossing.   
And finally if time allowed we would look at Mount Egmont. 

For me the highlight of the trip definitely  had to be the day we spent walking up in the mountains although the little boys would disagree. They did well . Reuben is only 7 and that day he walked over 15 kms.

Words often seem to me to be such an inadequate way to communicate the depth of an experience. If only we were more highly evolved creatures we could look into the eyes of another and they would immediately understand how we felt.   Perhaps some photos might do the trick.


Lastly here's a photo of something we saw at the Turangi national trout centre whcih made me think about how we understand our day to day reality.

We went to the viewing chamber where you can see the trout under the water. It immediately made me think of the Truman Show. Do you think those trout know there is a world that exists above the water? A huge, vast world that is inaccessible to them? What say there is a world just outside our line of sight? What would we think if only we knew how to see it?

Well enough from me I think. Yes it's time I went to work and started thinking sensible thoughts.
Have a great sensible week everyone. Cheers Marg