Start with a paragraph per day

Currently I am quite disabled with a badly bulging disc in my back and a displaced biceps tendon. I can’t walk far Continue reading

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Need to stop thinking about…

I’m wishing tonight, after having a pleasant dinner out, that I could stop thinking about things that touch me too deeply. Tears are welling in my eyes and threatening to fall down my cheeks as I can’t do anything to help. I’ll try to concentrate on something I COULD do last weekend.

I managed to help my young friend Olu “Climate” Idowu from Nigeria raise the last couple of hundred dollars that enabled him to attend an important meeting in Ethiopia. He has been running a program to teach youth to sustainably work the land so they can become employed and feed themselves and their families. By flocking to urban areas, rural people in developing countries have lost the skills they thought would be useless in the city. As Olu and I were chatting on Facebook I also got a message from Thalini who is training to be a surgeon in NSW, Australia, wondering how to do something that I know all about, and I thought !! Bingo!!

Maybe Thalini would have some of the cash Olu needed for his conference and I could in turn help Thalini with her problem! It worked and didn’t cost me a cent of the money I haven’t got!

So this week I became an international online entrepreneur! That must be an achievement I can be happy with.

What techniques can I use in the future to stop myself becoming too sad and emotional about problems that other people are in a much better position to fix? Genuine help needed!

Positive post script:

The rescue cat pictured below was adopted and neutered. She was previously on death row at Manhattan Animal Rescue in New York City because she was found roaming the streets. She was approximately 5 years old, and as you can see, not the most attractive-looking animal you might expect to take home.

Kitty's got the blues

Kitty’s got the blues

I contacted a heap of people who lived in or near NYC to try to get her a kind, warm home. Someone responded and I am so very relieved.

Praise was a no-no

Child development: The right kind of early praise predicts positive attitudes toward effort.

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When I taught developmental psychology to young teacher- and childcare-trainees, I fought a losing battle most of the time trying to show them how to use praise in the best way to enhance the lives of the little ones in their charge. All the other teachers on the programs thought that you must “treasure the precious little children” by [wrongly] “boosting their self-esteem” in saying “wow, that was good” or “don’t you look gorgeous”, no matter the merit of child in any way.

This article points out where I was doing OK and they were NOT encouraging the children to try hard and put their best efforts into whatever they did. I believe the “wow, you’re wonderful” style of upbringing has resulted in generations of youngsters who won’t put in an effort, try to get by on appearance [at which many succeed & others derive much misery from], feel entitled to a good job no matter how lackadaisical their performance and are intolerant of less than perfect traits in a partner. Who knows?

As I mentioned on Google+ in response to this article, my life has been heavily influenced by getting no praise or the wrong kind when I was a little kid. I was virtually “squashed down” because apparently the “tall poppy” syndrome reigned in the 1950s. I can only remember a few instances where I was praised for any achievement, and this was by school teachers or other kids’ parents. As an adult [in years, maybe not in mind!], I have not usually tried very hard at most things, because I achieved most things as a kid by just turning up and doing. No one will believe me, but I got into med school that way- however, lack of effort after being ill for a long time probably made me drop out, where I might have been able to cope with some coaching and support for a while.

Kids I went to school with apparently often tried to topple me from the top of the class, but, not having put any effort in myself, I didn’t notice their frustrated efforts! Therefore, I didn’t congratulate them or praise them either because I hadn’t experienced it myself. These days I sometimes chat on Facebook to some of these old friends and discover how “victorious” some of them felt when they topped me at something and how some of them were jealous of my performance/”marks”, disliking me as consequence. It all seems so trivial now, but THEY have mostly succeeded in life with good jobs and happy families, whereas I am long term unemployed with a still “itchy” mind!

So, from many years of experience and contemplation I would say to parents “Be alert to your children’s achievements in every sphere and give them plenty of praise about the way they achieve.” My idea would be to teach kids as many things as you can quite deliberately so they don’t have to make so many mistakes along the road to becoming adults themselves. Teach them about praise too, once they are old enough to get the idea, and they will become sought after companions in life for their peers. Show children how to do things and don’t keep saying “No not that way” and correcting them – let them work through and discover for themselves the best methods once you have shown them, except when it’s dangerous, eg. diving off the high board!

Surely I might be happier and healthier now, maybe even suitably employed if I had been able to build on a solid basis of feeling competent and autonomous when I was learning to become human. I’m working on it.

What’s affected me this week?

I was chatting to a friend at aquarobics this morning and he said that I tend to promote a lot of causes and “sad cases” on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. He thought this was all very noble but he felt that I should try to communicate about happier themes, since I am becoming like the national news! Maybe I would be able to dig myself out of my frequent depression by latching onto cheerful topics.

Bird & lotus

Bird & lotus

Now, I hadn’t noticed that I was negative in this way before and it hurts a little to think that the things I am most passionate about – affordable health care for all, looking after our ecology and food supply, reducing the use of manufactured chemicals in our food and environment which could enter our bodies, using discussion not weapons to solve national, tribal and territorial disputes and being at least civil (if not kind) to each other and to animals – seem negative. All these things tend to occupy my mind during the day, when I am mostly alone, since I don’t go to work like my partner. How am I going to change these themes around? Perhaps I could seek out positive stories or I could blog about other topics altogether. Would anyone like to weigh in?

Bronwyn Clee was saying, in her blog announcing #52b52w that:

Ideally all posts will be authentic and informative and have a clear message.

I’m not so sure about sticking to all three guidelines all of the time. However, I’m being authentic in asking for some ideas on how I can be more positive. I’m just not into positive affirmations like “I write uplifting blog posts” for motivating myself, although I’ve adopted the

Almost 22

Almost 22

practice of putting Smiley stickers on lots of things. Some friends have been mildly shocked by finding the Smileys on my laptop, phone and handbag! For a long time I had an excellent Smiley on the kettle so that I could smile at it every morning. It even had a name, Edwin, and I would say good morning to Edwin & grin cheesily as soon as I got up. One positive step I can take is to put a replacement Edwin sticker on the kettle right now!

Ending on a positive note! How did I do?

Finding hope

I’ve joined the 52 blog posts in 52 weeks blogathon started by Bronwyn Clee, so I thought I would announce my theme. My personal goal is to find hope for the longer term future for myself.

If you’ve ever visited this blog before you might have noticed I get visited by the Black Dog quite a lot, although less during the past 12 months [yayy!]. Hearing about my miseries may have put you off coming back, so I’m resolving to pursue a happier path if I can, blogging about daily events and topics that take my fancy, tying it all back to the “HOPE” theme.Cawfee

Just a bit about the “setting conditions” so you know where I’m starting from this year:

I’m now over 60, feel as though I’m about 30; I live with my partner Steve, aka “Spotrick”, and currently, three cats: Moustiers [nearly 22 years old], Mogadon [six] and Bendix [four]. No kids or grandkids courtesy of mistaken genetic instructions. I’ve had several “careers” and I had been hoping for a new one, but it hasn’t happened. Firstly I was a junior sort of university lecturer (in developmental psychology), then I was a researcher in mental health (mainly on a psychiatry ward of a general hospital with eating disorder patients), then a general public health and computer network dogsbody all over the place. I’ve been doing a Masters in Public Health over the last several years and have finished except for the details that I and my supervisor need to decide about my dissertation/journal article. Hopefully I can sneak into the April Graduation Ceremony.

I V

I V

This year has a loose plan of generating some longer term hope for me and I don’t plan on applying for any more jobs because that could mean pressure and negative mood triggers. My application to volunteer at the South Australian Museum for one day per week is being considered right now and I hope to get that so I can introduce some outside structure into my week. If successful, I will be part of one 4-person team among several, which will digitise the non-written Aboriginal artefacts the museum holds in storage. Only 2% of the collection is ever on display, so we have the other 98% to record in detailed photographs and notes before they need to change the display again! It sounds like quite an intriguing project. We will be cataloguing everything from tiny pieces of bark cloth to whole canoes hewn from trees.

When I get this structure to my week, there are other things I would like to fit around it such as doing more online courses to keep my brain alive, rallying people in the field of public health around Australia to use online social media to keep up to date and have short meetings, my various crafty hobbies, continue my Street Name Alphabet photography project started last year, keep socialising with friends every second day on my shrink’s prescription[!] and make our small garden beautiful again by looking after what’s there and adding to it. That’s plenty to do, I reckon, without having any pressure or time limits and should keep me moving forward while I search for long term hope.

Knowing that most of the other bloggers in the  #52b52w crowd have jobs/careers/family commitments to occupy their time, it might seem a bit weird to have my sort of goals, but that’s the way it is and I’m sticking to it.

Hopefully I can gain some ideas that will lead me towards my goal by seeing how the rest of you are travelling towards your goals and futures in your blogs. Happy blogging  #52b52w crowd.

 

From the WordPress Dungeons: 2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,200 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 48 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 216 posts. There were 9 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 13th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was Another dream, another toad….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were plurk.com, flickr.com, au.loadedweb.com, photofriday.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for henna patterns, smoking child, child smoking, beautiful roads, and persephone.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Another dream, another toad… December 2009
4 comments

2

Child abuse and neglect May 2008

3

Ten beautiful roads in India::Harish Bhatia in Delhi : Photography blog at Rediff iLand March 2008

4

Cakes with Henna Patterns February 2009
1 comment

5

About November 2008
4 comments