Tag Archives: Living

What’s it all about? We are in Control of our lives!

I had my leg over the edge. 22nd floor. St Kilda Rd.

Up and Over

I was going to do it this time. Jump off the building. After the bankruptcy, the retrenchment and the Government taking almost all my payout, there was nothing left. It was hopeless. I had even lost the $1M insurance policy I had been contributing to for the last 48 years to leave my children a nest egg. I started this 13 years before they were even born. My very existence was a washout. 64 years of living - down the tubes. Or down to St Kilda Rd, at least. My life sucked. Big time. And it was not my fault!

The beginning of the Comeback

Not sure why. But I climbed down from that railing.

I went to the Doctor, and the Doctor said – "Take these drugs, See a Healer of the Head.” (You can sing this one to yourself if you like! And dance a bit too. It works!)

And I did.

AND Then: someone showed me a video of this man. (No Arms No Legs - No Worries

Nicholas Vujicic (Voya chic) An Australian Preacher and Motivational speaker born without any limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Who would have guessed?

But he eventually came to terms with his disability.

Did You Get That? “He eventually came to terms with his disability.” How inspiring is that?

What was thinking. My issues were NOTHING in comparison to that. Yeah, of course it's real allright. To me. But Gee wizz. Where do you go from here?

If he could do that – handle that, who could deal with the relatively insignificant issues that I was facing?

ANYBODY!

Inspiration To Go On

Since then. I have walked on hot coals. Twice.  Really.

And as if I needed further inspiration, these 9 people kept cropping up in my reading.

Nine People

Albert Ellis, Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Dr Phil, Dr Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn, Shakespeare, Susan Jeffers and Zig Ziglar.

What do they all have in common I hear you ask? Let me explain.

They all believed in one simple truth. One that I had failed to understand Up until THEN!!

Let's read their own words so we can understand what this truth might be shall we?

Albert Ellis: In 1955 he developed REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy) the main principle of which was – A person is rarely affected emotionally by outside things, but rather by 'perceptions, attitudes or internalised sentences' about outside things and events.

Anthony Robbins: Whom the NY times calls 'The High Priest of Human Potential' says – There are two worlds. The EXTERNAL world which we can INFLUENCE, (We cannot control the external world) and the INTERNAL world which we do control. Therefore our ultimate significance in life comes not from something external but something internal.

Dale Carnegie: Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

Dr Phil: Unlike the external factors that we have no control over, our internal factors are made up of our own reactions to the events in our lives.

Dr. Wayne Dyer: (Oh this one is really good!!!) Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

Are you getting where this is going? I certainly was.

Jim Rohn: You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind. But you can change the set of your sail. The same wind blows on us all, whether we win or lose depends on the set of our sail.

Shakespeare: (Hamlet, Act II, Scene II) … there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Susan Jeffers: (in her best-selling book  'Feel the Fear, and Do it Anyway') says  - Don't be deceived into thinking that by changing the external, the internal will be changed. It works the other way around.

And Finally

Zig Ziglar: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

What's it all about? What does it all Mean?

Seems to me that they are all saying exactly the same thing. And it is all about the simple truth I alluded to earlier. And that truth is:

We Are The Boss of Us”.

YEP

We Are The Boss of Us”.

Nick and Blame.

Nick Vujicic could have blamed his extrinsic situation. He had more reason than most. But he didn't. He dreamed of a bigger and better future for him and his family. Yes. That's right. He has a wife and children.

Serenity Prayer:

I am reminded here of the Serenity Prayer. I guess you have all heard of it? (Not from Alcoholics Anonymous - I hope).

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The Courage to change the things I can, and The Wisdom to know the difference.”

The Victim and the Blame (Victim) Game - Work, Weather, Relationships etc:

Speaking of that, How many times have you heard people play the victim game?

Complaining that they can't be happy because of their

  1. Terrible job,

  2. horrible boss,

  3. bills,

  4. childhood experiences,

  5. Their Parents

  6. the bad weather,

  7. Unhappy marriage or a strained relationship?

There's always someone or something else in charge of their lives. Someone else who is to blame. "It's not my fault." is their constant refrain.

"What is it with this stupid phone? Or that driver is an idiot? "

I think you know what I mean.

How many times have you said this kind of thing yourself? I know I used to. A lot. Still do - far too much.

But - I am getting better.  I am aware of it now - and that is the first step.

FINALLY:

Here I am. It's Approximately 2 years later and I am still here. Getting better every day.

1. I'm taking back control.

2. I'm not sitting around lamenting how bad my life is.

3. I'm not accepting the idea that things just happen to me.

That's being a victim.

I remember Susan Jeffers - “Don't be deceived  .... she said. 

Don't be deceived into thinking that by changing the external, the internal will be changed. It works the other way around.

This is clever stuff!!

I bought an AWESOME plaque while I was in Bali recently.

Live Like you will Die Tomorrow.

Dream like you will live forever!!

I plan to live my life from now on based on these simple thoughts, and I am going to think of Nick Vujicic, and just get on with it.

CAUSE - Being in Control

I will be the cause of what happens to me, not the victim of the circumstances in which I find myself.

I will be the CAUSE of what happens to me, not the VICTIM of the circumstances in which I find myself.

I am doing it!!!!!  And IF I CAN DO IT!!!  Who else do you think can do it?

ANYBODY!!!!!!!!!

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May The Energy Force Be With You

What is this energy force of which we speak?

As a follow-up from the helping others post of the other day, I thought I'd have a look at this whole scenario from a helicopter viewpoint.

Energy Forces

OK. Let's start with Star Wars. I don't want it to be said that I have dissed the movies; considered them to be not real; so not considered them at all. In fact movies are as real as anything else in our world.

Map Is Not The Territory

In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) we say: “The Map is Not The Territory”. By this we mean literally that if you were to draw a map – you should understand that it is only a representation of the reality of the terrain. A picture. A rendition, a translation in two dimensions of the real hills and valleys that exist in nature. It is a best effort to show what this particular piece of nature actually looks like according to the maker of the map. A second map-maker may not see it all (especially where exact measurements are not available) in the same way as the first . And as nature changes the map stays the same. So neither map would be real. They are all just impressions. So is the so-called REALITY of our lives. It is filtered through our senses first; and our brain second. If we are sad - reality may seem less colourful. If we are happy, well .

Movies Are Reality

Hell, where did all that come from? What I was trying to say before I was rudely interrupted, is:  movies are reality. As much as anything else. Our lives are just a movie created by our minds. Wow!

Shakespeare said something similar in Hamlet Act II Scene II For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Therefore what is this force of which they speak. Remember? Star Wars? Stay with the program here.

According to Wookiepedia The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. It is a metaphysical, spiritual, binding, and ubiquitous power.

Hmmmmm.

Japanese

I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so. (Apologies to The Vapours for their 'one hit wonder') And when I do I come across the concept of ki. The word means air; atmosphere; flavor; heart; mind; spirit; feelings; humor; an intention; mind; will. The concept – which actually originates in the Chinese culture - is all about the human “emotional state”, about “energy”. ki is variously translated as energy, mind-power, spirit and cosmic breath, and is now most commonly associated with martial arts.

Chinese

I like Chinese. (The literary references abound. This one from Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album.) So let's look at that.

In traditional Chinese culture, or ch'i forms part of any living thing. Qi literally translates as "breath", "air", or "gas", and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow”. Wikipedia

And even more.

Energy In Other Belief Systems

Prana in the Hindu religion, pneuma in ancient Greece, mana in Hawaiian culture, lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, ruah in Hebrew culture, and vital energy in Western philosophy all say the same thing. Some elements of qi can be understood in the term “energy” when used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine. Wikipedia

All these apparently mean energy. All seem to have a basis in the concept of a flow of energy, of a kind of force, of something about you, or any human being, that you can feel.

Sounds like ZEN to me. Funny you should say that. ki was originally taught as a concept by Zen monks.

Zen

As noted in the book by Boyé Lafayette De Mente, “Japan’s Cultural Code Words”, Asians, particularly practitioners of Zen in China and Japan, have long held that there is a force that infuses the cosmos and all things in it, including human beings, and that this force can be developed and directed toward specific tasks and targets. An energy field around us all?

OK. Excellent. But what about auras and kirlian photography? Are these fish of a different kettle? More later. #CareerChangeStrategies

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Jillian 32 – Time & Motion

A busy Life

For the start of these episodes go to  http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

I asked Jillian, once, how she managed time so she could fit so much into her busy life. She always seemed to be occupied with one task or another and they all appeared to just work; and I wondered how it all was managed in the background.

The Exposition

“Cheaper By The Dozen”, she replied somewhat enigmatically.

“Ya what?” I quizzed.

“It's a book,” she said,“ written in 1948, I think. By Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth.”

“It was a biographical novel based on their life.”

“Of course.” I said. Thus earning the first evil eye of the day. I mean a novel based on a person's life would indeed be a biographical novel, wouldn't it?

She continued, “They were two of twelve children and their parents were industrial engineers who specialised in motion study. Father, Frank was particularly obsessed with finding the most efficient ways to complete tasks in life and often used his children as case studies. Mother, Lillian was a psychologist who factored human emotions into the science of the mechanics of motion study.

“I still remember the book – I read it as a child and even today I find myself checking that I am doing stuff in the most time efficient manner. I guess that's how it all fits together

Process Improvement

Today, they'd probably call it Process Improvement and use various models for example: 6 Sigma, SPC, TQM and LEAN to name a few, to explain it.

“While I employ”, she continued, “the normal time management theories of Steven Covey, Steve Pavlina and even your favourite man Tony Robbins's Rapid Planning Method (RPM); I find that doing stuff more efficiently saves huge amounts of time as well. The essence of time management is twofold:

  • Decide what to do
  • Do it.”

(My God she is so sounding like my university lecturers. Of course I just thought this and did not actually SAY anything. I am much more clever than that.)

“I add to this,” she continued the dissertation.

  • “Do it efficiently and effectively.

“Hence the reference to the book 'Cheaper By The Dozen'”

“OK.” I interrupted. “Good. Thanks for this, but my original question was about fitting all the stuff you do into your life. I still don't see how you do it?”

Diary

“Well, that's simple,” she said, “I just put all the stuff I need to do in my diary and figure out what is most important at the time they pop up and do it or postpone it or dump it altogether. A simple process of elimination really. All based on values and my life plan, of course.”

Before getting even more confused, I decided to draw a line in the sand and leave it at that. Except for the book. That time and motion study stuff intrigued me.

Back to the Book

“Tell me more about that book,” I said.

“OK.” she looked up at me, “It might sound a bit silly but here goes. In the book Frank did things like applying shaving cream with two brushes – one on each side of his face - to speed up the process. Now while I, obviously, (and she glared up just daring me to say something. Silence. Discretion being the better part of valour on this occasion) don't do that, I did follow some of his other suggestions re timing of a number of sub-tasks needed to accomplish a larger undertaking. For example - this morning at breakfast I stopped myself to have a little think about whether I should put the toast in before I started the coffee machine. What operation would take the longest and could be done parallel with another, rather than them all being done in series with waiting time in between. Stringing tasks all together in one long critical path seemed more efficient. When it was all over I had about 2 or 3 mins more to relax with coffee before beginning on the next main event. If I do that all the time, for everything I do, I get a lot of free time to myself during and at the end of each day. It's what keeps me sane. And I feel really great when I achieve an efficiency in a task and make my life and time more effective. It is really fantastic.

As I felt a smile gathering itself around my eyes and lips I turned away faking a cough.

“See,” she laughed, “I knew you'd think it was weird.”

Oh Jillian. This time I wished I'd never asked.  #ourjillian

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Jillian 31 – Cottage in The Snow

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Jillian had a friend, we'll call her Mandy. Sadly she has passed away now, but at the time Jillian knew her she owned a delightful little cottage in a country town a few hours away from a major city in Australia. It was in an area noted for snow - being a few hours from a popular ski resort.

Cottage

The cottage was a two bedroom single story 'in-line' dwelling. By 'in-line' I mean bedroom 1 was at one end and bedroom 2 at the other with the lounge, kitchen, laundry and bathroom in the centre. There was a carport at one end. The whole place was capped with a green painted iron roof and a bull-nose verandah with a timber floored decking which was only about 15 cm above the ground.

Situated up from the road about 500 metres, with the longish driveway meandering through a lovely garden of native plants, shrubs, flowers and large trees; it was idyllic.

Backyard

The back yard – such as it was – where the wood-lean-too lived and the small, low shed for a few garden tools and other implements required for an almost country retreat - pretty much backed directly onto the hill behind. There was a tiny strip of lawn extending from behind the carport to the bedroom at the other end of the home, and a flower bed or two as Mandy loved her little plot of ground in the bush.

This is where Mandy lived and Jillian had been a guest a number of times.

Style

It was an English style retreat with hundreds of knick-knacks which lived on many and various pieces of vintage (elegant) but mismatched furniture pieces. There were crocheted rugs, crocheted anti-macassars and crocheted blankets everywhere. It was not subdued, but all the colours (and it was a multi-coloured place) were more pastel then vibrant.

Relax

It was a stylistic mess, but an absolutely wonderful place to drop out of the world and sit by a huge fireplace with crackling, and sparking logs giving heat and almost all the light in the room. Wine was a requirement and Mandy always had some lovely varieties to share..

She was a great cook and baker and the smell of the latest dish or batch almost always required an immediate taste test whenever anyone visited. Visitors were many and varied. And often. Mandy loved entertaining. And these tastings were successful every time and in every way.

Serenity

Mandy loved it. She adored the serenity and the fact that it was small and cosy, warm when necessary and cool on hot summer days.

Rain on the tin roof was a wondrous thing she had wished for ever since she was a little girl living in a small house in the suburbs. It had taken years, but here it was. Everything she had ever wanted. Mandy was happy, content and completely satisfied. She had her haven, her oasis, her safe harbour.

SNOW

One day it snowed.

And it continued to snow for nearly a week. By the time those in the town realised that this was going to be one mother of all snow storms it was a bit late.

Electricity and phones were failing at an alarming rate. Roads were blocked. Snow was pushed up into huge drifts 1 - 2 metres high on the windward side of any structure and was sloughing off hills and banks to pile up equally high on the sheltered sides of buildings.

To put it mildly it was – well you can't put it mildly. It was turning into a catastrophe. One the townsfolk had not experienced before.

Trapped

After Mandy found she couldn't open her front door, nor see out of the windows on the front of her home she became a little frightened.

Her battery operated transistor radio tuned to the local station was only playing static. So frantically she used her trusty emergency torch to tune to a station some towns away. The announcers were very excitedly explaining that this was going to be a case of staying home and waiting it out. But already Mandy was unable to open the front door or the windows.

In a huge panic she rushed to the back door and thankfully it opened.

But this was not a good sight. The snow had slid off the hill behind and down to the lawn. It was 2 metres high. She could get out of the door but could not get to the wood, the shed or the carport - or anywhere for that matter.

She was trapped.

No power, no phone, no more wood for the fire, a few baked goods and one casserole. The water pipes, she found when thirst drove her to the kitchen, must have burst or frozen as no water could be coaxed out of the tap for love nor money. This was not looking good for Mandy.

Disaster

It was starting to get much darker outside. She began to feel that she couldn't breathe. Mandy's haven, oasis, safe harbour was now nothing but. It was a prison, It was a horror house. It was a shelter no more.

She could not sit, she could not sleep, get warm, nor eat, nor drink. Reading and relaxing was obviously completely out of the question. Panicked pacing was the order of the day.

For some hours she just wore out a trail from one end of the house to the other.

The excitement she had felt at having her own beautiful place disappeared in a trice and was replaced by fear and loathing. She began to worry if she would get out alive. The walls seemed to be closing in. The roof was getting lower. Everything was dark and dire. Sounds were muffled by the huge buffer of snow between her and the rest of the world. Not that the rest of the world was doing much of anything that would make noise anyway. All was quiet. All was still. It was unreal.

Eventually Mandy fell asleep on the rug in front of the very dead and very cold fire.

Discovery

She was discovered, some day and a half after this, curled up in the foetal position, still in-front of the fireplace; very tired, very cold, hungry, dehydrated and more scared than anyone should ever be at home alone.

Luckily the local emergency volunteers had managed to get themselves mobile and had begun a house to house to find anyone who might have been trapped. Fortunate for Mandy

Mandy sold the cottage that summer and moved back into the city. Never to be a country girl thereafter. Of course Jillian didn't get to stay there again. #ourjillian

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Crewing – Tony Robbins Sydney 2015

Unleash The Power Within

Well. Can't say too much or I'll have to kill you. Or they'll kill me. Or all of the above.

Secrecy

I signed a secrecy provision so what follows will be of necessity general and not secret.

One of the main themes we crew are asked to embrace was flexibility. Seems mine started on the early side. My 7.35 am flight on Wednesday was cancelled as were all Jet-Star flights early that morning as far as I could tell.

Flexibility

Mine and the airline. I was efficiently re-booked on an 11.50 am flight the same day. That was very serendipitous. Required a change of plans at the other end,but we aced that.

Instead of popping in to my fabulous AirBnB accommodation to drop off bags and things like that, I had to head directly to the Qantas Credit Union Arena. Do not pass go. Do not do anything. Grab a VERY QUICK bite to eat at Paddy's Market and Bob's your uncle. I had 2 pork Gyoza for $4.50. Nice, but not much. And as I found out later – I needed much.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Travel Club

Managed to sign up for a travel club in Sydney airport while waiting for my luggage and chatted to a chap who liked to travel while I was waiting for the light rail at Central Station to take me to the venue. All very cool. By he way I was not responsible for the fire at Hungry Jacks at that very station on Saturday evening.

The Event

Back to the event. The days were long and brutal, We worked hard. All of us; venue staff, event staff, volunteers and all. Averaged about 5-6 hours sleep per night. But it was worth it.

I stayed at a lovely little 2-up 3-down terrace house in Surrey Hills. It was gorgeous. A brothel (Jack told me, but I had noticed the big red light) on one side and a coffee/lunch shop next door but one on the other side, and then a corner pub. It was 10 mins walk to the venue and about 5 mins walk to the aforementioned Central Station. Yep. Very central. As expected Sydney was wet for a few of the days.

People

Only problem was Jack and Stephanie would have loved to have shared a leisurely glass of wine at least once during the 5 nights I was staying with them, but it was not to be. Maybe next time. There will very likely be a next time. I hope so anyway.

I met so many wonderful people; saw again some from last year (Sandy) and ran into a couple of coaching mates (Pina and Julia). Just to name a few. It was a bit like old-home-week. I loved it. New friends galore.

Sessions

We even managed to see a few moments of the sessions as well, when we had a break from serving the participants. Tony Robbins was awesome as expected.

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Jillian 30 – Pilot Licence Mega FAIL!

Pilot Licence

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Every now and then Jillian tells me a snippet of something or other and then we move on and the information becomes lost in the mists of - well not time, necessarily - but forgetfulness and insignificance shall we say?

Some time ago, while trawling through my notes, I came across an item about one of her friends failing his private pilot's licence in interesting circumstances.

I asked about this again.

Seems this chap had been doing quite well – handling your basic up and down stuff; emergency landings (where you have your experienced pilot teacher reach around you and shut down the engines when you least expect it - and then say to you, “You have about 45 seconds to find a place to land.”

Oh and you ought to find some smoke to tell you the way the wind is blowing because you MUST land with the plane facing into the wind; and you need at least x number of metres to land and it must be clear of obstacles like phone or power poles and wires, holes, small hills, hedges, trees, fences, houses, bicycles and I suppose roads and people but he apparently didn't mention some of these things. They were to be expected, Jillian seemed to imply. Then there were stalls (you know where the training pilot makes the aeroplane almost fall out of the sky – the “Oh dear What are we going to do now?” moments; scary almost vertical spiralling dives and all things in between.

Some of these included heaps of memorizing particular aircraft bits and pieces, radio jargon (you know the Alpha, Beta, Delta … Romeo, Juliet things) and having at your fingertips reams of important weather information, weight calculations and navigational ephemera.

I mean, “There is so much to know,” I said to Jillian after listening to this for some time, “Why would you ever WANT to have a pilot's licence?” “A pilot needs to be a walking encyclopedia.”

But he, apparently, knew it all so it was time to take the figurative bit between the teeth and make a bid for the licence. At least the first of, I think she said 2 or 3 parts of the full licence.

Towards the end of the hour of the actual licence exam which had gone quickly and seemingly satisfactorily, the tester asked the pilot to return to the airfield.

Now this requires a square pattern to be executed, Jillian explained to me. You need initially to head for a point, a known and previously agreed upon landmark on the ground, and then turn towards the runway which will be to your front and right (probably) some 5 or so kilometers away. Hopefully you can see this aforementioned runway, but if not just head in the general direction.

Landing requires you to pass the runway at right angles, turn downwind and run alongside this landing strip, turn across wind with the runway at right angles to you and then turn facing forwards down the length of this narrow strip of grass with the wind now blowing toward you, and execute the landing. Did I mention you needed to know which way the wind is blowing (if there is any wind) before starting any of this manoeuvring?

Well, our friend reached this landmark, executed the turn towards the airport and runway which he could see in the distance and was heading in to do the square pattern landing, secure in the knowledge that his licence was in the bag.

Imagine his surprise when the examiner asked him what he was doing. Of course he explained he was doing as he was told. Heading in to land the aeroplane after reaching the previously defined ground landmark.

“OK.” said the examiner, “Why are you STILL doing this?”

At this point Jillian's friend smelled a rat and said,”Am I missing something, Jim?”

“You might say.” said Jim. “There is an emergency. All traffic in the area has been asked by radio to avoid the airport for the next 10 minutes or so. You, specifically, have been asked to turn away to port (left for those not used to this language) and to not attempt to land, in order to make way for this temporary emergency state. You have ignored these instructions - given 3 or 4 times with increasing urgency; and air-traffic controllers have had to re-route several other aircraft out of your way, even the helicopter with the emergency situation.”

“I am afraid, if you cannot follow simple radio instructions, I am not going to be able to approve you for your licence. You are a menace to other aircraft and the flying public.”

I think that constitutes a mega-fail. Don't you? #ourjillian

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Rules and Public Venues. Stupid

Stupid

This is me. Colin. Not Jillian and not Career Change Strategies. And it is possibly a wee bit of a rant.

Are we ready for a rant?

Al-right.

Rules-Rant

I was at a musical event the other night and there were tables covering the bottom level facing the stage for those that could afford them and the great unwashed (me) had to sit upstairs in moveable old theatre style chair sets.

It was not uncomfortable. I'm not complaining about that. But we were a fair way from the action.

I didn’t enjoy the show itself much. I thought the sound was muddy (at least the voices were) guitar was crisp and clean. I think it was the sound man's need to fill the spectrum with echo and reverb and other techie stuff. They really should get over themselves and make it all about the music. Is that too much to ask? And the artist pointedly noted that she would NOT be doing any songs written by a writer that a good portion of the audience wanted to hear. She does them amazingly. A tad arrogant I thought. But I digress.

Problem #1

We had our wine glasses on a small ledge in front of us. We were told by a security woman to remove them. She was smiling and trying to be polite and pleasant, but I was not really convinced.

The reason given for said removal was; in-case they fell or were spilled onto the higher paying customers below. This in spite of the fact that the cast-iron rail and balustrading would have ensured that any falling or spilling would have been onto our feet. Hmmmmm.

  • Was this a real rule? Really?

  • Was it an on the spot made-up rule by the security woman to justify her existence?

  • or perhaps, more likely, the mad ravings of a power hungry venue owner/manager who could not operate without a page or two of rules that MUST be followed in order to cover his backside from all or any eventuality; no matter how disruptive the rule is nor how unlikely the eventuality actually was. Stupid.

Problem #2

This one would be funny if it wasn't weird. Well no. The word again is stupid.

There was a balcony kind of affair half-way up the stairway to our little special place. I guess you'd call it a landing. It was fenced off very securely, from the main floor below. The configuration was stairs, landing, then more stairs Stair parts were normal stair width. The landing was actually twice as wide as the stair part. Are you getting this? And therefore there was a lovely bit of carpeted standing room halfway up to the to the upstairs seating where more of the general admission people could view the artist. Great.

Not-so great.

You see our lovely security guard moved these people on as well. A reason was called for. Several were given

  1. Fire or emergency access. (Such as medical or other) These people were off the line of the stairs and would have not impeded anyone attempting to use these facilities in an emergency.

  2. Dangerous. People might fall over or through the railing onto the floor below. We noted that the railing was pretty much the same as that in front of us on the top floor. Not very likely anyone would fall over it or break it. Not unless it was a wine glass of course.

  3. Likely to collapse. Well there was a whole room under this structure. And the area was obviously an extension of the stair landing, open for access (no velvet ropes here) and carpeted. So perhaps this was just a made-up reason on the spur of the moment as well.

  4. OK for me though. Yep. You guessed it. The security guard spent most of the show actually leaning on this unsafe railing in the landing/balcony space. Great view. Fantastic sound I'd reckon.

I just hate rules that are stupid, have no basis in scientific or any other discipline and are completely unfairly applied. Oh. Did I say STUPID? What about You?

Reminded me of another time at a gig at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda Melbourne. People were stopped from enjoying themselves. Something they had all paid to do. This was the whole point of the show. Or so I thought.

  • They were retrained (again by your arrogant and generally large security guards) from standing in their seats (not on – that would be wrong) and energetically moving to the music.

  • They were not allowed to dance in the aisles.

Reasons:

  1. Standing impedes (no that was my word – not the guard. Sorry) the view of others. Surely not any more than sitting, if everyone was doing it. And everyone was. Stupid.

  2. Aisle dancing is dangerous as it impedes (my word again) escape if there is a fire. Not sure if I am right here, but my logic tells me that if there was a fire - people would be getting themselves to the aisles to exit the building as fast as possible. Oh. That's where these dancers already were. And on their feet. Might actually save time? Hmmmmm. Stupid.

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Life After The Death of A Much Loved Partner

When someone Dies

I, unfortunately, attended a funeral the other day of a chap I have known for about 30 years or so.

It was a sad affair as these always are, but for me the hardest part was watching the widow shrivel into herself; beginning the process that so often follows these events. and is in my opinion, a huge waste; and even more importantly - avoidable.

Waste

“What is he talking about”, I hear you say.

The answer is simple. Not easy. I didn't say that. But simple just the same.

We often hear of partners dying after the loss of a loved one. Why is this so?

Here is a question we often hear.

What can I do to overcome the sadness that has overtaken me since the death of my husband? How do I step forward into the next phase of my life? He battled a number of challenging health problems during the last few years of his life. As a result, my entire identity became wrapped up in caring for him and meeting his needs. Now that the struggle is over, I feel empty and lost as well as sad. I don't know where to turn or what to do next. Can you help me?

Tasks

In the first instance, according to “The Complete Guide to Caring for Aging Loved Ones, A Focus on the Family.” Tyndale House Publishing. 2002. we need to be sure to address the following 4 tasks.

  1. Accept the reality of the loss. (Talk with others about the deceased person or the circumstances surrounding the death.)
  2. Experience grief freely (and painfully if necessary) - A grief recovery program run by your local church or community is a grand idea.
  3. Adjust to the NEW environment. (Assume some of the responsibilities and social roles formally fulfilled by your partner)
  4. Take the emotional energy you would have spent on the one who is no longer there and reinvest it. Refocus. (Don't forget - but give yourself permission to carry on with your own life.)

Spousal Death

A study has found that when a husband or wife dies, the remaining spouse's risk of dying is 66% higher than might normally be expected in the three months immediately after their partner's death. Younger people often fare worse than older ones in this case.

But it is preventable. Particularly if the above tasks are taken seriously and some help is sought to find a way to realise the potential just waiting to be unleashed. The Power is within. Freedom is within.

Support

Initial support from family, friends, the community (both spiritual and secular), colleagues and others with whom we are in contact is extremely important, and can't be over-emphasised, but it is not a panacea by and of itself. The bereaved person MUST take control of his / her own life and learn how to make it all worthwhile again. It is worthwhile, of course.

Every human being has a unique set of skills, knowledge and experiences that can and should be made available to the wider population.

A Lonely Match

A match which lights a fire dies, but the flame it spawns grows and becomes a new life. A whole new beingness if you will. It can be bigger and better than its humble beginnings.

A bereaved partner has the opportunity to reignite the fires that existed in his / her spouse. Fires that may have been almost extinguished by sickness, infirmity or any other reason. Now that the person has gone don't let their life be spluttering into the abyss. Don't dive in after them. Pick it all up and let it fly. Be the you that you can and should be.

Why?

If you add to the past life all the natural and huge resources we alluded to earlier, that the still living person possesses; we have what might amount to a Juggernaut waiting for release upon the world. Why should this magnificent force for good be allowed to shrivel? #careerchangestrategies

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Jillian 29 – A Little Night Music

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Jillian loves live music. We mentioned this a while ago when speaking of some time one night in New York.

She reminded me, the other day, of another musical interlude in her life.

This time it was an evening with a female jazz stylist.

Jazz

“What does 'Jazz Stylist' mean,” I asked, “before we go any further?”

She replied with a HUGE eye-roll. (Sometimes you just should stay ignorant with Jillian. It is a lot easier.) “Have you heard of Billie Holiday? Well she was a Jazz Stylist. It is someone who has their own typical way of singing or playing music. Really. Your lack of knowledge of everyday things astounds me.”

My turn for the eye-roll.

“The lady of which I am speaking,” she grammaticised, “is a wonderful sultry, warm-voiced vocalist offering a repertoire of popular jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, including selections from swing and groove to bossa nova and blues.”

“Oh!” I say. Suitably chastened. Jillian sounded a bit like 'Dr Google' and perhaps some of these observations are actual quotes from websites she has visited. I don't know, but this singer woman sounded interesting.

I didn't find out who our musical paragon was, nor where Jillian lived when she listened to this magnificent music. I remained stuck in the details.

Music?

Then Jillian veered away from the audio to the visual. We went from the point of it all 'The Music' to what it looked like. Yeah. Beats me too.

I'll stay with Jillian in real time and not try to figure anything out. Sound fair?

Venue

The venue was upstairs in a loft-like structure. There was a bar at the back and a stage at the front. One of those pretend stages that is all of 6 inches higher than the actual floor.

The room was small. Probably only seated about 50 guests at small round tables. The walls were distressed exposed brick, and the vaulted ceilings (black timber beams and white plaster) were covered in framed black and white photos of musical and movie greats. Mostly from before her time she noted drily. Oh, she did say the sound quality was absolutely fabulous so that was something.

It was a cute, intimate, friendly space – her words. She sat at a table with a youngish couple who even after only 10 years of marriage were starting to look a bit alike. I mean their glasses were almost identical just to start. Catty, I thought.

A Lady Gone Bad

You've heard the line from the Billy Joel song ' … makin' love to his tonic and gin'? Think microphone and you have an idea. A lady gone bad if ever there was one. In the best possible way, of course.

Blond hair piled up, floor-length black gown, diamante studded belt, and matching sparkly 3 inch high heeled open toed Manolo Blahnik sandles finished the look. And it was a 'look' just like from the Roxette song of 1989.

Pianist

“The pianist who seemed to be an extension of the piano stool flowing over onto the keyboard, was wearing what looked to me,” she said, “like a Chairman Mao outfit. Head to toe In shades of basalt grey.

It turned out he had spent the last few years in Shanghai so not surprising really.

His playing was technically brilliant, emotionally ebullient, and mesmerising.

Guitarist

The guitarist played like a man demented. Never missing a note that Jillian reckons anyway,and not even a sign of a fuzz but it was not just finger-pickin good it was phenomenal. And fast. Oh boy.

His playing was only overshadowed by his blue, stone-washed stove-pipe jeans and snake skin boots. An apparition to be sure.

Double Bass

The double bass player had his bows in a quiver like scabbard on his bodaciously sized instrument and wore a camo shirt. Very interesting.

Drummer

The drummer, she figured, was not of this world. He had a smallish kit, but his sound was bigger than Texas. She looked at me for a reaction when she said this. I am GLAD to say I disappointed her. My mind was on a much higher plain

“How anyone can still breathe after what he did,” Jillian said, “I just don't know.”

“What was he wearing?” I asked.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell. He was in a bit of a dark patch”, she said.

I was going to comment, but, wisely I thought, kept my mouth shut.

Boggie Woogie

Towards the end of the evening, she remembered, they were joined by a saxophonist and a different pianist who played boogie woogie and swing.

“It was awesome.” she cooed.

Gads. I've NEVER heard Jillian coo before. It is a very different thing.

The evening finished with an extremely nice version of Dave Brubeck's 'Just take 5'.

Apparently some whiskey was consumed as well.

“A good night?” I asked unnecessarily. #ourjillian

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Jillian 28 – Appro & Other Things.

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

It's coming up to Melbourne Cup time, and it got me thinking. I asked Jillian if she had heard of 'buying on appro'?

She said she remembered her parents talking about it. Wasn't sure if they ever did it - but yeah the concept was known to her.

Appro

Seems that what used to happen was, in the olden days, you could buy something for a small deposit – probably about 10% of the price and take it home. Things like washing machines were popular in my youth, since many people back then did their washing in a copper. Now that's a story for another time.

When you had the unit at your place you could use it for a bit (time usually depending on the item and the price paid) and if you didn't like it you could return it. You then received all your deposit back. The system could be used for almost any non-consumable product.

Item had to be in resalable condition when returned, of course.

Why do we remember appro at this time? Well it has been known that a number of the Melbourne ladies have purchased hats and fascinators, even complete outfits that they will never wear again so that they can make a huge splash at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Not cool or nice but I'm told it happens. Hence the link in my fevered brain.

Jillian at The Cup

Jillian remembered going to the Melbourne Cup - the main race day - once many years ago with a couple of friends.

They dressed up in all sorts of finery, top hats and frock coats for the gentlemen and many layered long chiffon dresses for the ladies. Hair in ringlets and things like that.

“It wasn't an attempt to follow a fashion style or time in history – just a way to dress up with what we had or could get hold of easily”, she said. “The clothes and shoes etc didn't have to match or anything. We were just out for a good time and this seemed like the way to do it. You couldn't really wear high heels either as we had to stay within the car park area or the public lawns near the tote boards and the ground was often soft there at that time of year.”

Champagne

We had Champagne (we were still allowed to call it that back then) which we poured from a china teapot into Royal Albert Tea Cups and drank with pinky fingers afloat.

“Don't ask, she hurried on, when it became obvious I was going to. “I have no idea why we did that. One of the guys made that decision.”

“We ate little patti-pan cakes that we had baked the day before. Now they are all the rage, of course and called cup cakes. Who'd have known? Quite appropriate don't you think? We were trail blazers back then.”

Oh and we hired a friend's horse and cart to take us there. We were really going over the top.”

Home

“I do remember”, she said, “waiting for about 4 hours in a queue of very drunk patrons to get a taxi home. It was horrendous. In many cases the women were the worst. Brings out the beast in people I reckon. Freezing cold, loads of stuff to carry and very tired. Never did it again. Haven't been to The Melbourne Cup since. Can't imagine ever feeling the urge.” #ourjillian

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