Monthly Archives: March 2018

Pay It Forward Thursday- March 22, 2018

A generous gift

Go Dog Go Café


Welcome to Pay It Forward Thursday. All Go Dog Go readers, guest writers, and baristas are invited to post one link to one specific post (750 words or less please!) from someone else’s blog in the comments section below.  We encourage you to give a shout-out to someone who has wowed you as a reader, creatively inspired you, and/or to introduce a new writer to a wider audience.  We will be choosing a Weekly Barista Favorite and inviting the author to have their piece published in full on the Go Dog Go Cafe with a link back to their personal blog.

If you post a link below, be sure to read some of the other great writing people have linked to.

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Nature As Talisman

via Daily Prompt: Talisman


When I was in primary school one boy created a bit of discussion one day because he brought along a rabbits foot, and he explained that this was his lucky charm. I was bemused. I never had one, though I had some favourite things that were sentimental and had I lost them I would have felt out of kilter, but no talisman as such.

I have a book that belonged to my great uncle Davey who died near Arnhem, Netherlands, during WW2, it is somehow a connection to the past. It is a large book, written for adults but yet fits the description ‘ripping yarns’ a bit like the ‘Biggles’ stories for those who knew them. I had a fave knitted red t-shirt that I’d had for years, it had holes in it, fibreglass stains and etc. I still had it when I got married. Lyn threw it out while I was at work one day! We now ask before disposing 😂 I still have a bedside lamp that was modelled on the story and cartoon character ‘Noddy’, I might repair it one day, it’s sentimental. But really, if these were taken from me, I’d grieve a bit, but eventually I’d not miss them, after all they are merely material.


The labyrinth is for me a practice of meditation, but it is also a symbol of life, reflection and journey. It comes closest to talisman, as I would miss this if it were taken from me, it is important to my rhythm and balance, it is life giving.

But even more than that, the photo at the top, which shows a segment of Billyacatting Nature Reserve near Nungarin, was a regular haunt when I needed to meditate and take time out from long days of driving vast distances. Why is this a talisman? Well, because for me it is life giving and healing. I find natural spaces enable wholeness and awareness more readily than built environs. I come alive in the bush in ways I don’t or can’t in urban spaces. I’m certain I would go on living if I lived in a major city, one like Beijing or Tokyo, LA, London etc., but I wouldn’t thrive, I’d merely survive in such places. But give me the bush and time to walk it, soak it up, commune, meditate, and engage with it, and I am revived, refreshed, and whole. The bird song, the smell of the earth, the blossoms, eucalyptus and other smells, the visual feast, for me the bush, and all that constitutes it, is my Talisman.

What’s your talisman?



Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, labyrinth, life, meditation, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

My Favorite Place

via Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

Augusta, the place where two oceans meet near a river mouth, and where heaven touches earth.


Above; Early Morning from the deck, looking east across the Blackwood River, and the Southern Ocean beyond.


Above: The Southern Ocean, and part of our routine has been to walk this beach as part of a loop.


Above: The Blackwood River, not far from the river-mouth, and this is part of our regular walking route.

Augusta is my favourite place. Although it would be true to say, I have many fave places, but Augusta would be top of the list. It’s not where I work, and I’m not yet living there full time, but we have renovated an older more compact house to be our next step, and later, into retirement. We fell in love with Augusta 35 years ago when we spent some time here on our honeymoon. And we returned regularly over the years for family holidays, eventually being able to afford to buy a house and renovate it. We work about 1.5 hours away and so we come down for our days off and holidays etc. It is my fave place because it has bush walks, river walks biking and kayaking, ocean and beach, forest. The flora and fauna are magnificent, the views are great – restful and restorative. It is a small community and relatively. For us it is a place of happiness, and where we can be creative too.



Filed under beach, boats, bush walking, community, Country, life, nature

Invisible People

via Daily Prompt: Invisible

Back in 2014 the UNHCR worked with to produce an add campaign to bring awareness to the world of the plight of refugees. This particular add was in South Korea.

When I think of refugees I think of the pain of deprivation, hunger, illness, the loss of family, jobs, homes, savings, experiencing poverty, vulnerability, insecurity and the indiffernce of those around them. The grief must be almost crushing, the devastation of loss and change too difficult to contemplate. They are at the mercy of others.

I don’t think of political positioning – is this a leftist issue, or is it liberalism, or whatever? I find politics merely clouds the issue and becomes a smokescreen for ignorance, fear and prejudice. Politics automatically takes a view, a position, and is usually founded on suspicion, even racism. Politics grounds its power in fear and looks for control. Instead I think of the person. If we don’t consider the person, we only ever view them as objects through the political prism, and they become invisble to us as people, and become sub-human, pawns in a political game.

If we burned every flag, removed every national anthem, removed borders and the notion of sovereignty – would it change anything? (which is my preferred fantasy) Probably not as we are creatures that need to create niches, spaces, corners, and familiar places. We will always seek a corporate identity, a local sense of belonging. But just imagine, if we did achieve that level of complete freedom from fear, control and ownership, it might just change our thoughts about the stranger, the alien in the land. If there’s no sovereignty there’s nothing to protect, no line to defend, no one to exclude. Sadly, as documentaries such as ‘The Wave’, ‘Blue eyes, Brown Eyes’ and the ‘Stanford Experiment’ show, if we have power over someone we tend to become indifferent to their humanity.

However, I’m a little more hopeful than the documentary makers, because in the every day I meet wonderfully liberated people who surrender ego and power and see only people irrespective of race, tribe, religion, politics. There are wonderful people who desire to reach out and enable others to thrive. There are many who have given up on politics as an answer, but inhabit the political space in order to bring positive change, to help us be able to see that we are all part of the issue. There are the compassionate and those who seek the common good for all.

In an imperfect world, we can be the difference rather than the indifferent. The add campaign was a media success, though I have not yet discoverd if it was a success in reaching the people, but at least at one level it worked to address the issue of those who are invisible. The enduring question for me is, who am indifferent to and who can’t I see?



Filed under community, education, life, mindfulness, politics

Identical Triangles

via Daily Prompt: Identical


The Gemstone Buildings – Shenzen. A series of identical triangles become both the strength and design of this building. I have a memory from school days, that identical triangles are a strong foundation for building, and are a basis for architecture.

The Jewish wisdom tradition includes the book of Ecclesiastes, which contains this gem: “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” which became a principle of modern rope-making. Roof trusses, honeycomed cardboard packing, bridge frames, bicycle wheel spokes, a fulcrum, all rely on three. In all the faith traditions of the world three is a significant number. A day broken into thirds of work, rest and play is a healthy process. And who remembers the dictum – meat and three veg for dinner? And, just for good measure, 3 is the first odd prime number. Clearly, there is something about three.

I think this speaks to the makeup, or potential awareness of the person: body, mind, and soul, perhaps the most important three of all. If we keep body, mind and soul in balance, I believe we are stonger, like the unbreakable cord. Three seems to keep a balance that one cannot provide, and two complicates, and where four potentially cancels out into two pairs. Whereas three creates a balance of thirds in all we do. Identical triangles can be one or two dimensional technical drawings. But as an object, identical triangles can be a thing of beauty and strength. But even more, the triangular of life, embodied in practice, friendships, groups, lifestyle patterns, and above all, keeping the balance of body, mind and soul is crucial for life to flourish and grow.



Filed under life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, religion, self-development, Spirituality

The Virtue of Blushing

via Daily Prompt: Blush


I like Diogenes’ quote, though William Congreave would disagree, he said: “I always take blushing either for a sign of guilt or of ill breeding.” Rousseau was of the opinion that blushing was a sign of guilt. Yet shame can bring the same result, even anger, and so too, a compliment. Blushing communicates sensitivity, humility and a connectedness to self and others. And I think Congreave was a cynic.

My own view is that blushing is an inward feeling made visible, that perhaps we feel naked, transparent, awkward, surprised, and to blush is a response. That warm glow on our face and neck. Maybe if we don’t blush we have become accustomed to these things, and they no longer affect us. But if we don’t feel these things then we die a little. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said: “An individual dies when they cease to be surprised …” And Diogenes is trying to say that blushing is a good thing, it shows that we are still connected to our feelings, our senses, our understanding of the world and that we have a deep understanding of self and others.

But perhaps you’re more with Rousseau, that blushing is merely showing guilt, but I would only agree on the grounds that I am indeed guilty of being surprised, or feel transparent, naked, humbled, angry, but not necessarily because I am hiding something other than my inner self. Blushing is a sign, a sign of many things that might be happening within me. I think blushing is a mindful virtue rather than just a moral virtue, it is a sign that we also feel and if we let it, it can inform us, guide us, and teach us.




Filed under history, life, Philosophy/Theology



Emerson was a passionate critic of rationalism (more so after visiting Thomas Carlyle) and materialism. He eschewed the notion of progress, and sought a slower pace. I love this quote, comparatively, nature does have a slower pace. Nature doesn’t subscribe to Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time for its completion.” Something we humans have artfully perfected. Within its own domain or context nature is probably zooming along, but compared to human endeavours, it is slow. Not all, but many species of tree take decades to reach maturity, some smaller plants, the humble asparagus are slow growing. The response of flora and fauna to the force of nature, its rhythms, its normal abnormalities like storms, fires, are at times, positively stoic. In Australia the ubiquitous eucalypts are survivors. In recent bush fires near us that generated a ferocious core heat, the trees were seemingly destroyed, but within a month, the appearance of green shoots told a different story, the trees had survived and were slowly coming back.

I wonder that we need to change tracks, collectively, across societies. There are many, many people who are engaging mindfully, many who have taken a contemplative stance in the world as a counter cultural praxis, but not yet enough to create a tipping point, a force for change. I believe we are getting to that point but we’re not quite there yet. The main step would be for us to disengage with Parkinson’s Law, to take a step back and ask ourselves, what would be the real cost of investing in mindfully approaching life, what would it cost me to self-care more, to rest more, to resist the desire to compete often, to take time for relationships, to be less driven… ?

It wouldn’t cost, well it would as it might mean simplifying our lives, reducing income to achieve changes, but really such costs would be an investment in our wellbeing and creativity. We humans desire approval, acceptance, validation, and more, we compete to get these things. But in the end what we are driven to achieve is not always positive or good for us. We need more being and less doing. And as Emerson wisely suggests, if we adopt the pace of nature, we are adopting a patient ferment.



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