Heaven is a place….

 

I love coffee shops…the background humming of interaction and communication….the smell of great coffee and the interwoven sound of soothing music.

A little gem is The Daily Coffee Café in Vredenburg.  An oasis  of unique flavours, smells, tastes and smiles sitting in the middle of the local mall.

Try one of their coffees, or tea if so inclined, they are delicious.  For me, the favourite part of the eclectic menu is the “Egg Benedict”.  An absolute delight and only surpassed by the Egg Benedict prepared by a friend.

The perfect spot to fill your soul and senses.  Notebook on the side, writing little snippets that spring to mind, sipping your coffee, returning a warm smile, savouring the taste of your food, letting the murmur of words and conversation flow like water over the pebbles of your mind, soothing and relaxing.  Leaving will all your senses invigorated.

Enjoy!

The Daily

 

 

To be a bully…

We are bombarded with articles on bullying: from “How to spot a bully” to “How to treat a Bully”.  The subject is age old and the bullying as damaging today as it was 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago.  Many of us bear the scars of bullying in our homes, school and workplace.  The power that bullying generates will always produces the next line of bullies.  That is life…or is it?

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What is a bully or more correctly, who is a bully?  Is it the angry boy or girl at school that takes their powerlessness out on smaller, younger and more vulnerable kids?  Is it the overly ambitious or desperate to please co-worker that puts you on the spot or in a bad light each and every time management is around?  Is it the drunkard father that finds himself unable to cope, not only with life, but especially the daily responsibilities of raising a family, of being aware every day of his failings as the anchor, the protector and the provider for those that he is supposed to love and protect?

I’ll tell you what a bully really looks like.  A bully is a father that molested his child in his care and shrugs it off.  A bully is that same father that ignores his child because his wife had the guts to leave him and get away.  A bully is that same father that breaks into his child’s house where she sits unprotected with a crying 8 year old, busy breastfeeding a 5 day old baby.  A bully is that same father that serves an eviction notice on his child and her children because she dared expose him for the bully he is.  A bully is that same father that sues her for sullying his good name because she grew tired of being bullied.

A bully is that same father that was given a second chance to be a father and who is busy creating a bully to get away from the bullying at home.  A bully is that same father who bullies his grandchildren because he can.

This is a bully.  No reason for being a bully, no sad childhood to fall back on and blame for being a bully.  Just a mean man who was supposed to love and protect and decided bullying is much more fun. No rewiring to be done, no therapy needed, his choice, his way of life, he is the bully because that is his power.

 

Photography…where did the reality go?

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Been wondering for a while about the reality of photography.  To me a photograph is a moment frozen in time to treasure and remind.  Our world is beautiful and cruel and alive with wondrous moments for photographs of all kinds.

I’ve always found two legs in the photography brotherhood (no disrespect ladies):

  1. The reality photographers whose eye and soul see a moment, place, object, animal, person, scene that speak to them and the moment is frozen using whatever equipment is available. Lenses, filters, the eye of the photographer and the skill are  the only added accessories needed.  The only manipulation would be adjustment of light or shadow etc.  The image was a real shot of a reality seen and frozen.  The skill of the photographer is what is important and admired.
  2. The artist photographers whose eyes and soul creates art from frozen moments using their technical skill and programs available to adjust, touch, colour, enhance etc photos.  Here the skill of the technical abilities to create a moment is admired.

The last few years the line between these two legs started blurring.  The need to push photos have brought a dishonesty level into reality photography.  Great photographs are enhanced, coloured, touched up and adjusted to look absolutely amazing but with no reflection to the real colours captured. Hues and shades of sunrises and sunsets, water and flowers have come about that is just unbelievable.  This is all good and well and the photograph is stunning but where is the reality in this photograph?

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What does the every day person expect when he looks at a photograph like this?  Many people plan outings based on places advertised with awesome photographs but the true real beauty of the spot is missed in the disappointment of expecting that WOW spot as per the enhanced unreal photograph seen.  It is almost as if real nature is losing its magnificence and has been replaced by enhanced, touched up unreal scenes of nature.

Equipment does not play that big a role in whether a photograph is great or not.  I’ve seen some photographs taken with very expensive cameras that does not compare to some photographs I’ve seen taken with a very basic line good cameras.  The eye, the soul and the skill of the photographer is what makes a photograph.  Being there to see and capture that WOW moment, that is the talent and skill.  Not being able to go home and re-do the moment to get a WOW moment.  That is a different set of skills.

Family

Unfortunately many online photography competitions are pushing the enhanced unreal photographs leaving the real beauty of nature and people in the dimmed light of reality.  It is almost impossible to compete with so much technical assistance used on photographs when you are an honest reality photographer.

All photographs used are my own and they are real.

 

 

 

Obsessions…

To be consumed by…to be taken over by…to be totally transfixed with…you choose. The word OBSESSION leaves different tastes in different mouths. To many people the word connects to not having a strong enough will to overcome the OBSESSION with or being driven to irrational acts and thoughts because of an OBSESSION. With the year drawing to a close the media bombards us with “the best of 2016” or “the worst of 2016” and especially “what will be trending in 2017”. The best of 2016 covers reality stars who spend millions on three golden toilets (really necessary), young pop stars whose contempt for “society” is taken out on the supporters while spending 3 million on a bottle of bubbly (how much contempt do you have for society?). The amount of money involved in the unreality of our entertainment reality is mind blowing but does not seem to bother a lot of people.  Money has become our religion and with money our OBSESSION with what to wear, how to style, how to cut our hair, what nail color to wear, movies to watch, books to read and keeping on top of the do’s and don’ts and moves of our OBSESSIONS to be sure we are in.  In the what? In the money? In the right circle? In the right neighborhood? In the right clothes? In the right school? In the right car?  Some obscure person or persons somewhere decided what is fashionable, what is acceptable and what is right and we are all follow along like sheep to only end up looking and behaving like a flock of sheep.Our OBSESSION with following the trends is only slightly overshadowed by our obsession with ourselves…selfies of our boobs, selfies of our new phone, selfies of our tan, selfies of us going to bed, selfies of us having a drink, selfies of us strutting on the beach….the list of scenarios are as legion as the people taking selfies. Read an interesting article on our obsession with selfies and it makes a lot of sense.  If you end up as one of the sheep in the flock the need to be observed, seen, acknowledged, seen as the individual that you are hiding under all the acceptable right stuff, the only way to do this is to promote yourself, hence selfies which in turn feeds the need to be the acceptable thin, the acceptable golden tanned, the acceptable blond wearing the acceptable clothes and colors as decided by……by whom exactly?I get the feeling that all the “telling us how to live” has left us so empty and afraid that we willingly sway to what is given as acceptable. We have no will of our own anymore and I’m reminded of rock stars like Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Doors etc warning us of the mind numbing control of the media. We are 40 years down the line and we can see the effect of the control, especially in countries like America where the media plays both the “honest” and the “control” parts leaving you with a feeling of having made a choice. Simple truth is that the choices were limited down and given, narrowing your world but leaving a feel good sensation of “I made this choice based on solid information”.Fortunately the number of individuals is growing, although slowly and shyly as if it is a sin to not be in the right or acceptable space, place or clothes. The anti-establishment gangs have always been around but what we have now is a growing number of true individuals who think their own thoughts, question every bit of information given, discussing non-acceptable stuff with gusto and emotion….a growing sense of a wave picking up wind and force, gathering strength and height, riding the tides deep in the ocean, waiting for the pull of the truth to bring the wave crashing in on the shore.We are all created as individuals, to feel our own thoughts, live our own lessons and be our own person. My wish for 2017 is that we will turn down the sound of the voice telling us who to be and what to be and turn up the volume on our soul station….growing into our true selves, respecting not only who we are, but where we are. The loss of connection with our selves has also meant the loss of our connection to nature and the Universe. Maybe with the realization of our individuality that connection will click back into place so that we can still save what we are killing while OBSESSING with what is out there that we should be.Rock on 2017….http://spiritegg.com/selfies-to-narcissism-addiction-mental-illness/

Source: Obsessions…

Au revoir 2016

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It is that in between time of the year again…2016 still hanging on with a tenacity that scares and delights at the same time….2017 peeking cheekily from a not so distant future time…

Enjoy the last few days and hours of what turned out to be a year of change, rollercoaster emotional rides, a year that tested the strong and left the weak gasping…

May 2017 bring stability…a steadier rhythm of the pendulum of  balances, age old prophecies, and awakenings….

To hype or not to hype….

I’ve been following the Niume Facebook threads and must admit that I was tickled by some of the comments, concerns and main gripes of some bloggers lately. Yes, I know we blog, write, photograph, observe, digest, think and all those other tantalizing soul food things to feed the fire in our souls but we still need to eat as well and that translates into being compensated for sharing our souls with the world out there.I love Niume, I love the quality of most of the posts, the originality, the no-fear and no-holding back sharing of words and feelings. I just feel that getting paid or not should not be the main motivation, the purpose of sharing with the community should be that fire that burn in your soul to share with other like-minded individuals that which keeps you awake at night and smiling through the sunshine. Niume started out, as far as I can recall, as a blogging platform, and we were all super impressed, blogging and commenting and enjoying great new friends. Somewhere along the line a dashboard appeared and the next minute the main comments and questions were not about content anymore but hypes, likes, shares and off course money, money, money.Don’t get me wrong, I am truly happy for everybody that is earning and getting paid on Niume, it is just that the whole concept has changed the feeling of the site for me. It is very confusing as well when I look at the posts that generate a lot of hype or likes, differences in totals on dashboards compared to hypes and likes on posts and the comments and concerns that goes with all the technicalities that keeps a site running.Apparently a number of posts that received very high hypes and likes and shares appear to have been plagiarism, not the nice share of information with reference to the original artists, but posting of blogs as own material that were just copies of other blogs. The problem should not be that admin must has the responsibility to run around and make sure everything is original or correct; the ethics of users should be such that there would be no need to have watch dogs, asking bloggers to keep a watch out and report etc, leaving admin to do what admin does and bloggers doing what bloggers do. The comeback of one such “blogger” was that “we” have no idea how hard it is to survive and that his posts, and the payments that came with it, kept his children alive. I do not appreciate being emotionally manipulated with the use of children to try and justify dishonesty. If you had the time to look for posts to copy, then you had the time to write something original, maybe something hard hitting about the situation you are in, trying to survive, the challenges of raising kids when it is economically almost impossible?I might be old fashioned and sometimes a technological dinosaur but I’ve encountered some truly amazing poetry, photography, art, stories, and interesting little tidbits about people and places on Niume. There is such amazing talent but sadly most of these very talented bloggers are not the ones with lots of hypes and likes and shares. Blows my mind but there it is. The question would be then, what does make a popular post on Niume? What kind of post will generate a lot of hype, shares and potential income? The posts of bloggers with lots of online friends maybe?

Source: To hype or not to hype….

Black Friday Madness…

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The aptly named and utter madness of another Black Friday is once again with us.  The whole idea and especially peoples’ reactions leave me speechless and in a bit of despair about the state of mankind to be honest.  The pull of consumerism at its worst and the short lived euphoria of being able to “afford” something normally considered to expensive is only there until the next credit card bill arrives.

What gets me is that normally peaceful and intelligent people turn into wild creatures, fighting over items,  pushing other shoppers out of the way, storming doors and forgetting about every single decent behaviour normally prevalent in society and all this to buy something.  There is something very wrong with this.  Are we so desperate to buy that we lose our basic human decency to get what we think we need at all costs?

The sad part about the whole Black Friday situation is that we have been so duped into accepting “normal” prices as value for money and fair that when something comes along promising items normally priced out of our range, we go mad because we have to have it because we can “afford” it all of a sudden.  The fact that business are not losing on the items sold on Black Friday and other sales is lost in the fight to have and have and have.

The reality of business is that items marked down as much as 75% are still sold at a profit, albeit a smaller profit that normally, but still at a profit.  This would mean that the “normal” selling price is not fair but with the media and advertisements we come to believe that these “normal” prices are value for money and fair.  The only person smiling here is the businessman, you know the guy with the we-do-everything-to-keep-our-prices-low-for-our-customers smile, the same guy who owns multiple houses, cars, a boat or two and he can afford all of this after buying in new stock, paying his workers, taking care of taxes and all the other expenses.  This to me just confirms that what we consider normal, everyday prices of goods are actually exorbitant prices and the prices we see on Black Friday and Sale Day is closer to the real value of goods.

Happy shopping and hope everybody survives another Black Friday.

 

 

Depression…

 

Having been diagnosed as suffering from depression most of my adult life, and I assume my young life as well, squeezed through the roller coaster of head-spinners, medication, “it is all in the mind”, hospitalisation and cotton wool treatment from family and colleagues, I’ve come to some conclusions about depression:

  • “Depression” is a made-up label by a society who loves labelling anything contrary to mainstream supposed and envisioned behaviour;
  • Labelling a person as a depressed individual takes away value from what that person think, feel and question.  This is probably the easiest way to handle uncomfortable questions for truth in a bland and bling-bling society;
  • Feeding “depression” with mind altering medication results in feelings, passions and energy being lulled into “all is ok” mode.  This is worse than death to a lot of people, especially older souls, while younger souls prefer this lulled state of not feeling to the anguish of pain, feelings and frustration and the effects of rejection of your individual value in sleep induced society;
  • Old souls are particularly prone to the “symptoms” of depression as they struggle to find ways to connect, validate and make sense of a very soulless environment.  Labels like eccentric, weird, different, crazy are thrown around which make living in an awakened feeling state even more challenging.
  • The feeling of being so tired all the time because of the constant draining of your energy from a world filled with people who have no idea how to generate their own energy.  It is only through feeling, being true and the energy of passion and pain that energy is created..

Why is it that a lot of artists, thinkers, writers, photographers, travellers and free spirits are bundled into the depression symptom corner?  What is the worst that can happen with questions asked, stories told, photographs shown, events told, the layers of bullshit peeled back, the exposure of truths and thinking outside the lines of fed mainstream accepted normal and acceptable?

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Situations differ and there are different ways of coping. There are situations that actually require healing and medication because of traumatic life experienced.  The label of depression added onto the event or events that created the pain devalues the person effected even more.  The idea of not being normal, not being able to cope, not being strong enough to get through this, causes even more damage to an already hurting soul than the actual event self.  It is Ok to cry, it is ok to hide under your blanket for days, it is ok to be angry, to be upset, to shout out how you feel.  You are human and being human means you are suppose to feel and deal with that in any way and however long it takes your soul to heal.

This is my personal experience and what worked for me was throwing out the medication, cutting loose from the label and embracing the passions for truth, joy, beauty, sadness and pain.  Dealing with bullshit by actually getting upset and reacting.  Gone are the days of “everything is ok” because everything is not ok but I AM OK.  I am handling my life, feeling my feelings and experiencing the joys and pain that is NORMAL and natural! I welcome my blanket days when I do not feel like I have the energy to cope with the outside world, I welcome the days when I have my warrior suit on and tackle a thousand little issues that is unfair and I welcome the days that I can sit and have coffee and chat to my friends and just be.  Allowing myself to value my thoughts, questions and feelings, validating my reason for being me and embracing the challenges of being alive in world where individuality and honesty is not valued.

Welcome back my soul.

 

 

Layers…

Life, people, situations, books, music….layers upon layers of exploring.  Sometimes I wonder how some people are just happy with the layer they see…makes life simpler I guess…but so boring and you would be missing out on so much.

The Universe has really been pushing layers right in my face the last few weeks, books I’m reviewing, people crossing my path, situations….everywhere I look….layers.  I’ve always believed that there is much more to life than surface and this invitation to delve in layers and layers of knowingness and beauty is amazing…

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The Games People Play

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Still remember this song as if only heard yesterday. This is and was one of my all-time favourite songs and for a multitude of reasons that touched my soul then and still do today. Watching my son feeling and stumbling his way into being a teenager brought back a whole host of memories of being a teenager and the games people play.

I could never understand, or get, the rules of the games, this is once I realized that I communicated and thought and acted on a different plane to most of other people my age. I was often left with my mouth open, wondering what the heck just happened and having to explain that what I said is what I actually meant, no hidden subtle meaning, no playing of words and no trying to “play” whatever you’ve interpreted my communication or action as. I still to this day feel as if I’ve missed something somewhere along the way that a lot of people picked up on and I was left out. Thank fully left out. I can’t imagine that I would have been any good at playing these games, either too naïve or too straight forward and a face like an open book. Did make a good poker player though, who knows, maybe I could have played along? LOL!

Communication is such an important part of being human, be that communication on a subconscious or conscious level, using words, facial expressions, body language or language. The playing of these games confuses our basic understanding of communication as more often than not, what we picked up or heard, or interpreted as a message proves to be all wrong as that is not what the communicator intended in the first place. I say yes when I actually mean no, to prove a point. I act and say words that hurt because I think that you’ve hurt me. I confer with my friends on the proper way to act on date 2 and date 3. What can be said or may be said and how I should say it. What happens to the real you and the real interaction in the process? We begin to question our own subconscious reaction to situations because of fear of being left out, seen as too forward, not following the rules (who made these rules) or fear of being seen as different. I was very often told by guys in my younger days that I’m scary because if I like you I will say it, if I don’t I will also say it, all this without going through the appropriate game stages.

The century of faceless communication just mumbles things up even further. We have a whole generation with no exposure to situations where they can experience and learn the subtler communication skills that is innately part of being human. Our facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, reaction to words and smiles. In faceless communication a smiley face is just that, no indication whether the smile reached the eyes of the person smiling or whether it is just a polite smile. This all makes getting pulled into the drama of the games people play so much easier. You get so caught up in your interpretation of what you read (or think you’re reading with all the special characters and abbreviations) that before you realize it, you are reacting and saying things in response to perceived insults, invitations or lies.

I struggled through the game playing lessons with my two daughters, the drama, the tears, the situations they ended up in because of the games other people played. Having to go through this again, and at a time when everything communication related is so much further removed from real communication, I can only shake my head, take a deep breath and hope that the tissues, shoulder and just being there and always being the one not playing games will get my son through these lessons mostly unscratched as well.

I’m hovering between wanting to wrap him up and tucking him away from people and their games and biting down hard and letting him do what he came to do in this life…learn his own lessons.