Category Archives: Haiku

Twisted

via Photo Challenge: Twisted

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Taken near Denmark W.A. Twisted and bent by the winds, this gnarled tree shows tenacity and determination. I hope to follow its example ūüôā

let's twist again
the wind crafts and molds
like it did last year

©Paul Cannon (with apologies to Chubby Checker)

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

16 Comments

Filed under beach, bush walking, Country, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature

Daily Prompt: Assumption

via Daily Prompt: Assumption

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The assumptions we sometimes (perhaps often) hold become like a dirty film that encrusts our windows to the point we can no longer see out of them! In other words, our assumptions blind us, distort our view of people and life, the world.

How do we form assumptions? Well instead of observing what is going on around us in the world, instead of checking facts, instead of trying to understand another person’s view, we tend to bias our views on what is going on in our inner world. And so we base our views on our emotions, feelings, expectations, beliefs, preceptions, and even our desires and wishes. Our inner world, which can be so helpful and yet in extremis, so unhelpful, becomes, in assuming things, the controlling factor. In assumption there is no second voice, no check, no brake, no alternative canvassed, it is all in our mind. In assumption we are going solo, but we are also going mono. The problem is we begin to believe our own views to the exclusion of other voices and facts, and we become convinced that we are right, and we live into our own reality, our own version of the world.

Simple assumtions don’t really matter, but important ones really do.

One example would be the infamous bystander effect. Following the murder of Kitty Genovese in NY city in 1964, researchers Latane and Darley discovered that there were many witnesses, but all had assumed another would act or do something, hence their coined phrase The Bystander Effect (perceived diffusion of responsibility).

Another example would be the original 1968 Broken Window Theory where Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo was able to prove that when buildings, parked vehicles, and property in general are left unrepaired, some people assume they too can vandalise that property. Thus, one broken window becomes several broken windows on a factory. We assume no one cares.

In terms of people we often make assumptions. We have written off people with disability, we have been suspicious of the foreigner, the refugee, the person who is different by race, colour, belief, creed. Sometimes we cannot even see the person if they hold different political or religious views. we assume they are too different, not from our world, not of our kind. We assume they are dangerous. We just assume.

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We must clean our windows! Alan Alda makes a good point when he said:¬†“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

Assumptions are costly in every way.

One of the greatest antidotes to assumption is dialogue, to simply sit with your neighbour, be that house, train, bus, walkway, beach, college, wherever, just get to know the person and not the assumption. Simple really, yet so little practiced. The other antidote is to check your internal view against what is going on around you, don’t just take self-reference as the expert view, or what I call the Facebook view of the world.

Talk and reflect – what do you see now?

All is now darkened
my mind has painted the glass
my ears will bring light

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

14 Comments

Filed under community, Haiku, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, psychology, quote

Laughter Is The Good Medicine

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean.

In a documentary he did on comedy I remember Atkinson saying that he’d modelled Bean on the great silent comedy actors, Buster Keaton in particular. Atkinson was quite serious about his comedy. Mr. Bean is not everyone’s cup of tea though. Comedy is a matter of taste, some people struggle to laugh at contrived misfortune, others don’t get certain types of jokes. I love all types of humour, and I struggle to be serious for too long. I think life without humour becomes a rut, which “is a grave with both ends kicked out” (attributed to Earl Nightingale). Unfortunately we have entered an age of poltical correctness that won’t allow for certain types of humour – ¬†it would be hard to imagine Benny Hill starting out now.

I thoroughly enjoy the slapstick of Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, the satire of Monty Python or Littel Britain, the black humour of Blackadder, the innocent humour of the Vicar of Dibbley or Keeping Up Appearances, and the pointed humour of Yes Minister. The gentle humour in Friends, or the raucous Seinfeld, political humour with John Stewart. Some of you may remember Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, in Australia the Graham Kennedy Show, the Glass house and so on, too many to list here.

Humour is even acknowledged in religion. Osho taught that laughter was releasing, and held sessions in laughter release, he also taught that laughter brought energy to the fore and was for a few moments a meditative state. Both Jesus and St. Paul used sarcasm. The Christian Pentecostal movement encouraged holy laughter as healing. In the Medieval Church a mass was developed in France where the lowest of society were invited to take high position and celebrate their own version of the mass, a social inversion, pure comedy. It was an attempt to offer an opporunity to release social pressure. ¬†Naturally, the Church hierarchy were horrified, but the Feast Of Fools is still celebrated (and still upsets serious minded purists, which in my view is a good thing). In his book, “My Spiritual Journey” the Dalai Lama, reflecting on the many sadnesses of exile and hardship, says: “… I am a professional laugher …” ¬†There is even laugher yoga.

Laughter is also homespun, families have their own treasure chest of humourous moments. Some yo uhave had to have been there to really get the humour. Mine include dad handing mum the steering wheel when it detached from the column (as we entered the school parking lot). Or when our family were at a Chinese restaurant and the vegetable oil for the sizzle dish spilled onto a napkin and my yongest son said: “I’ll help” and tried to blow it out, turning it into a blow torch that set fire to my beard (fortunately quickly doused). We are still laughing.

Laughter is releasing and it is claimed that it brings several health benefits. It destresses, uplifts, it is contagious, breaks down barriers, is enjoyable … Some of you would be familiar with the maxim of the Readers Digest – “laughter is the best medicine.” I certianly feel much better after a good laugh.

I love a good laugh and I don’t mind being laughed about. I like ot think I’m a professional laugher – I hope you are too.

For those who are more serious minded a video about laughter ūüėä

sitting for dinner
my beard is aflame now
laughter douses it

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

14 Comments

Filed under Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, psychology, quote, religion, self-development, Uncategorized

Astonishing Corellas

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

 

The White Corella. The noise is astonishing, they are one of the flocking birds and they come in large numbers. I took this a couple of weeks ago at a local park, you can’t see the birds very well, just a white speck or two and one near the end in the tree (swinging up-side-down), but the point of this video was to capture the sound.

Sadly the city council have successfully made a case to have their numbers reduced, they have been deemed a nuisance because of their noise, numbers, they dig up lawns, eat fruit and buds, and poop everywhere. I don’t mind them, but you know what people are like, they whine about the stain on the roof, the aerial interference, the untidy lawn, the loss of rose buds, the loss of apricots or other fruit. To the point that the people whining about the birds are more annoying than the birds.

Wherever I go I keep hearing, reduce the shark numbers, reduce the corellas, reduce the Ibis, the Egret, reduce nature. I never hear reduce humans, but that would be too shocking! I think Mr. Smith (The Matrix) was right when he suggested that humans are a virus. Yes, balance is important, but we have biased the balance in our favour. When developers are permitted to build housing estates near estuaries and lakes, then water birds will be in those places – does building your house mean you get permission to moan about the fact that there were pre-existing neighbours in your suburb? I don’t think it does.

If you buy a house near an existing airport, the government doesn’t just jump to and move the airport for you, it is likely to send you away with a reminder that you bought the house knowing the issue was there. Now that is not always true with nature. Sometimes the birds will develop new flight paths, or will seek out districts where food and water are plentiful. In Bunbury the Corellas have been around for a while, sadly they will be culled because some in the community call them a nuisance.

We need to continually bring an awareness to our world that nature is vital and we are a part of it, not separate. We co-exist, we are interdependent, it is a relationship, and we really need to value that relationship because it is critical to our own survival. We need new eyes to see that the problem is not the Corellas, but the fact that some people have a problem with Corellas.

Corellas swinging 
TV reception blurred
time to read a book

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

24 Comments

Filed under community, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature

Taper Tantrum,

via Daily Prompt: Tantrum

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Graphic: clsinvest.com

Back in the 80s I took a minor in economics just for fun. Some people see economics as smoke and mirrors or star gazing at best. But I found it fascinating, it is a different logic, but it is a logic and it is a diverse as a field of practice, I think that’s what fascinated me.

Back in 2013 there was what economists call a taper tantrum. In the US as in some other economies, when there is a slowing of the economy and the risk is a crash (as per the graphic above) the Federal Reserve pumps money into the market to kick it along a bit (known in the trade as Quantitative Easing). In time spending cannot be sustained so the money must be slowed, and this is called Tapering, in short the money injection into the economy is tapered off rather than abruptly cut. The result in 2013 was what was referred to as an investor tantrum, an angry reaction to the tapering, hence, taper tantrum.

A tantrum about economics is akin to a tantrum about any other issue. When a child or adult has a tantrum it is because they have been slowed or thwarted in some way. One of my children once threw a tantrum in a supermarket because he couldn’t have something that was suddenly imperative. But the supply of money, and parental interest was tapered, and there was a predictable reaction.

The lessons we learned over the next couple of years are lessons we learned for life. Whether child or adult, a temper tantrum requires a particular response (other than ignoring it): empathy (acknowledging the emotions), listening, and resisting blaming. Not always, but often, you’ll get to the bottom of the tanrum, and in the least, you’ll maintain an open communication. Overall, you’re building a strong foundation of trust for the relationship. The principle of valuing the other, listening and holding the space for them to feel that they can trust you to hear their plight helps to diffuse the situation and bonds the relationship. One might taper the negative input, but love and compassion should be qualitatively and quantitatively increased.

I like what Thich Nhat Hanh said:¬†“When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity for accepting and having compassion for them is there.”

He was speaking into a different context, but the principle is the same once you trade the word enemy for loved one, friend, colleague … love thy intemperate ¬†neighbour.

the pressure I feel
my heart is drowning fast
ah, look, a warm smile

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

11 Comments

Filed under Economics, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, quote, self-development

Rivulet of Hope

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

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Every year the creeks would dry up, the rains would cease, summer would arrive, the heat would brown the paddocks and turn the soil to hardpan. As summer streched into pseudo summer, the early part of autumn, we’d be craving the rains. The damns would be low, the pools down the creek almost gone, and the land crying in thirst.

But then the rains came, slowly, a shower here and there. And then the heavens would open, and down it would come. Some days after the water had prepared its own path, soaking into the creek beds, the soil would take no more and, at first a rivulet of water would appear, then a trickle, and then a flow, and the granite would shine, wet and glossy, the cascade decked with white froth. The sound of running water, a sound that brings joy, relief nd new life fills our ears. Soon the frogs would be calling.

Nature’s like that, it gives what is needed, it takes what is needed.

The economy is a whole other world. Conservative politicians the world over talk of ‘trickle down’ economics. Give the money to the rich and it will eventually trickle down to the poor. It never has, it never will. The economy, unlike nature, takes and takes and keeps on taking and only gives back to the rich and those in power.

I my view, an economy that is based on sharing, taking only what is needed and also giving back is a balanced one, but one that ensures there are less cracks to fall through, less barriers to surmount for the poor, more opportunity for all. A shared economy has to bid farewell to greed and selfishness, and requires a change of heart towards consumption. The dog-eat-dog cycle we’re in is doomed and the world cries out for releif and justice. But we are the change that needs to happen.

For my part that requires an ever growing awareness of others needs both near and far. It requires an awareness of my responsibility in my love affair with nature. It requires that I give back in generous ways. It requires that I model the economy I beleive in by not consuming the very lives of others. If everyone dropped a pebble in a pond it would cease to be, but if everyone took a breath and backed off from supporting the madness of consumption we’d make a dent. Of course, realistically, the other thing we need to do is exercise our vote with discretion towards those goals. And then the trickle will flow and become a stream, a river, a torrent of justice, a rivulet of hope.

The late Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara, an advocate for the poor, especially the slum dwellers, named it when he said:¬†“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

We still need to ask why!

politicians lie
money will not trickle down
let love flow instead

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

23 Comments

Filed under Economics, Farm, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, nature, politics, quote, Uncategorized

Notable, Remarkable

via Daily Prompt: Notable

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Warren Macdonald, still climbing.

In April 1997 Warren Macdonald was in the midst of a long sojourn in the Whitsundays. Macdonald, an experienced bushwalker and avid climber set out to climb Mt. Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island. He teamed with another climber Geert Van Keulen, a man he didn’t know, had only just met.

They set out on April 9 (1997). Mt. Bowen is 1,121 mtrs, and though short, it is a tough climb with rain, mud, streams, loose stones and boulders, and the humidity. They climbed for some time, eight and a half hours, ¬†and made camp, but they hadn’t reached the summit.

In the dark, ¬†Warren went out to “take a leak” and then things took a turn. He went out to a ledge across a stream and tried to accommodate the rock, as he positioned himself there was a rock slide and he became pinned, a large wedge of granite had fallen across his leg, the crack he had heard was the breaking of his pelvis. He screamed for Geert, and so the long proces of getting help began. Geert could not budge the rock. and so, the next morning he set off to get help. It took him eleven hours to get down. When Geert arrived at the lagoon he was exhausted, and there was no one to contact, so he made camp and decided to set out the next morning.

Warren Macdonald was rescued, and then went through a very lengthy rehab, losing both his legs above the knee.

What is inspiring is his tenacity, courage, and strength in adversity. He never gave up, sure, he doubted, and lost his cool at times, but he stuck with getting on with life. He worked hard with specilaists in prosthetics and as a result was able to have specially designed prosthetics that enabled him to climb again. He would be the first to say he didn’t do it on his own, doctors and specialists yes, but also family and friends, love and support also helped get him through.

Macdonald has climbed Cradle Mountain in Tasmania using a modified wheelchair, later he climbed Federation Peak (also in Tasmania), Mt. Kilimajaro in Tanzania (being the first double above the knee amputee to to achieve the summit), El Capitan in Nevada, and the Weeping Wall in Alberta. He has also become a motivational speaker.

In one of his talks he says “It’s not about climbing mountains” and in one sense he means that his life is not just about conquering mountains, and in another sense he means that mountains represent many things.

We all have mountains to climb, sometimes we have the emotional or physical equivalent of be being pinned by a granite rock miles from help. And here we are, we’re still here to talk about it, we have survived! We will continue climbing life’s tracks. There will be other trials, and there will be trials for those around us, we can be our own coach and we will undoubtedly be called upon to coach others. Together we can make it. That old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is true enough in my experience, but I also think it takes a village to survive. We need each other. Warren Macdonald had Geert, hopefully we have our Geert or Geerts when we are pinned down, but also our own inner strength to call on too. And hopefully we are Geert for others.

Living the daily
pinned by granite mountain
I arise by love

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under bush walking, Country, Haiku, life, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, self-development

Elaborate Masks

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

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An elaborate Renaissance Ball Mask. The masks were elaborate, but so was the ruse, an attempt to create mystery and tension, the possiblility of romance or illicit liasion. The masquerade was a feature of carnival season of 15th century Europe. In time masks became works of art. They were made of diferent materials, and bejeweled, like the one in the photo.

The masks we put on every day are not bejeweled, but they are clever, intricate, and very elaborate. If you want to read an early understanding the human mask, then Shakespeare is the one to read, and in particular, the ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ Psychologically, masks are a form of protection, we tend to mask anger, grief, anxiety, fear, a sense of failure, feeling like a fraud, needing to be the hero, the great intellect, and so on.

I have worked with people who use humour to mask what they perceive in themselves as a lack of sophistication. Others have thrown around biting sarcasm in order to keep others at bay. Some it is fear of success, so they play the incompetent. I have had the experience of never really knowing someone, at a funeral once I heard so much about someone I thought I knew, only to discover they had protected so much of their lives from public scrutiny, a compartmentalising. On another ocassion, when I was going through a difficult time, some said “I thought you had it all together” (like, really!!).

If we’re angry we may resort to condemnation, if we are grieving we might project happiness or amusement, anything but what we’re really feeling. That might be important at certain points in our lives, a boundary. But when it becomes avoidance, deception, fear, then we risk burying our true selves and others may never really know us. Even to the point that well entrenched masks become who we are. The question is, what are we trying to hide and why?

Jung developed the idea of the persona, the person we wanted others to know as ourselves, but not our true self.

I love this unattributed quote:¬†“She threw away all of her masks, and put on her soul.”

That says it all. To dispense with the lie, the deception, which is really self-deception at best, the fear, and embrace our true selves, the raw self, the truly beautiful self. Created, bejeweled physical masks can be creations of great beauty. But the one who lives their true self, nothing could be more beautiful. We often use the phrase “warts and all”, meaning even our less good parts can be seen, our less succesful, less socially acceptable selves can be seen, yet this is healthy. The first step on the road of recovery is to know that we are never going to be perfect. And once we let go the ego, then masks become redundant because there is nothing to protect.

To put on our soul is to let go and find the juice of our lives and let that flow.

When we put on our soul, we are truly beautiful.

Hiding in layers
the weapons of deception
my real is naked

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

21 Comments

Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, love, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, quote