Deep dive book club

Here are the deep dive books I’m going to interrogate this coming year. I’m going to be too restrictive on this study pile as I’ve learned don’t box yourself into life too tightly! If another book speaks to me, it will get added.

Deep dive book club

From the left:

Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck

Wherever You Go, There You Are, John Kabat-Zinn

Spiritual Liberation, Michael Bernard Beckwith

A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle. I’ll be revisiting the handy chapter breakdown, 10-part series Oprah did too.

Australia Day, Stan Grant

Becoming, Michelle Obama

Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo

Sane New World, Ruby Wax – not pictured because the book itself is in transit. I’ve listened to the audio-book twice though.

I’ll let you know how I go, and if through this self-imposed study I find the answers to life, the universe and everything.

2-366

I took myself off to the beach today. I’m now sunburnt behind my knees. I also have a red patch on a thigh. Got to love intermittent sunscreen application.

I had a great time, I just laid on the beach – watched the world go by and listened to Ruby Wax’s Sane New World. Which will be one of my few deep-dive books, along with Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. I’m also going to revisit the Oprah’s 10 part course where you drill down into each chapter. I also remembered I brought Jon Kabat-Zinn Wherever You Go, There You Are and added that to the list.

That’s three. I’ll have a look when I get back home as to what else tickles my fancy.

We’ve got another couple of days here at the beach, then back home and enough hilarity, back to reality.

We’ve put on Order of the Phoenix for Archie, the first time he’s watched it. Not too many questions so far, that Delores Umbridge is truly awful…

R U OK?

Trigger warning

Started by Gavin Larkin after the suicide of his father, Barry, R U OK? is a simple but profound question to ask.

Am I ok? Thanks for asking. Most days are now better than others, much better. I had a wobble a few weeks ago, but writing about 10 simple things that bring me joy helped me to remember that I am not my thoughts. But when your thoughts are all persuasive and life is hard, sometimes it’s difficult to separate the two.

Eckhart Tolle had his spiritual awakening when in the pit of despair he said; “I cannot live with myself.” He realised that the ‘I’ and ‘Myself’ in that one sentence were different, distinct entities. I remember reading A New Earth on the train to and fro London. My book is heavily underlined, flagged, bashed round the edges from being stuffed in and out of my tote bags; to some it’s a book damaged beyond repair; to me, it’s priceless. It was the first of many books I’ve read that helped heal me from the wreckage of my first marriage, where I used to drive along the A303 gripping my steering wheel tightly, because some nights it would have been all too easy to turn it too far.

If you’re diabetic and take insulin, no biggie. If you’re in the middle of an infection, you take antibiotics, no biggie. If you break something, you get a cast put on, no biggie. But if your brain, our most complex organ that is recognised we don’t know very much about is damaged, or overwhelmed, people run in fear. Yet it’s estimated one in four people will struggle with mental illness during their lifetime. One in four.

We live such different lives from even our parents’ generation. We’ve got access to more information from our phones than Da Vinci could get access to in a lifetime. The Enlightenment is one of my favourite periods of history; the scientific, cultural, technological and sociological leaps that came out of it were incredible, but pale into insignificance to the information we’re bombarded with daily.

If someone you know is struggling with life; information overload, or they’ve two or three huge things going on at once (moving house, illness, bereavement, divorce, job / work issues), reach out to them. Not just today, but whenever you think they might need to be checked in on.

But don’t to forget to look after you too, because you can’t give what you don’t have. Put yourself at the top of your list, R U OK?

But I have to!

We had bounced our weekend away to this past Sunday night as we had Monday off; 26 January is Australia Day, the day the first fleet arrived. I’m not using this post to discuss the ins and outs and pros and cons of the public holiday.

My weekend started on Friday with my trip to Thornbury to see Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman her husband was there too and also read from her book. The evening had got off to a great start as she retweeted my tweet saying ‘I’m dosing up on codeine and wearing a heat pad, not going to miss this!’ She (and he) sung a couple of songs and then settled in for a long signing session. I’d inadvertently got fairly near the front of the queue, still didn’t stop people shoving and pushing around us all. I was behind one girl, rammed up against her by people behind me, she ended up about 10 people in front of me. Never mind, when it was my turn I handed Amanda my book, she noted all the turned down pages and flicked through the scribbles I’d made. I explained that the book had got me through the past week, I explained about Peanut and his seizure and thanked her. She asked how old he was, how he was, I said that he was fine, we were waiting for tests and then said ‘I’m a bit late the Amanda F****** Palmer phenomenon, I’ve only just found you. But I wish I’d found you earlier’ She held my hand and said ‘Sometimes we just take what we can get, when we can get it.’

I got home after midnight, closer to 1am, I drove home in silence, processing the week. Still thinking various thank you’s to various people. Still thinking I’m here, I’m not anywhere else. Still inside. I cannot remember ever feeling like this before. It’s like all the books I’ve read have suddenly lined up and gone ‘See I told you’. As Eckhart Tolle says:

In awakened doing, there is complete internal alignment with the present moment and whatever you are doing right now.

After having that huge shift in me a combination of Peanut, Amanda Palmer and general disquiet, on the Saturday night I then took myself to the last IMAX showing of Interstellar. Hubs was adamant that I had to see it on the IMAX screen before it gets closes for the refit (he’s the Project Manager for the refit, talk about a dream job). I’ve never been to a film showing where it was completely silent at the end of the film before. The credits rolled and we filed out in silence.

I’m hanging out to get the DVD and wishing I’d had a chance to see it earlier so I could have seen it again on the IMAX, dammit. As a spectacle, you couldn’t really beat it. The story line may be a bit clunky at times with the dialogue not always great, but experiencing the film on a huge screen with a great sound system was an experience in itself.

Again, I drove home in silence thinking about things. Life. Stillness. The universe. My thoughts swirling around in my head, not forming any pattern or cohesive stream, but I just let them wander in and wander out again.

Sunday morning we headed off to our first swimming lesson of the year, I spoke to Peanut’s teacher and the lesson coordinator about the seizure. We sat and watched him bounce about in the water, putting his head under and kicking like mad, just in joyful glee of swimming. Toddlers teach us so much about being here and now, his latest thing is to say ‘But I have to!’ with the emphasis on ‘have’. Where he’s picked it up from we don’t know, but it’s hilarious when it’s wailed in relation to chocolate milkshakes as it was yesterday (which was Thursday as I’ve not had a chance to finish this post until now).

We had lunch with my cousin and her husband, Peanut’s Manny who was looking after him for us, then we headed to the Yarra Valley to the Balgownie Estate for our night away. We did some wine tasting, brought a bottle of cuvee and split it in our spa bath overlooking the valley. We had a nanna nap. Got showered and dressed for dinner, then split a bottle of red over the meal. The most alcohol we’d drunk in ages. We talked, planned, ate, walked, talked some more and generally unwound. The 24 hours we had out our normal life was not long, but enough.

But I have to: stop, breathe, walk, run, talk with my husband, be with my son, relax and unwind, read. The past two weeks have taught me a lot. Tomorrow I’m taking my niece to see the soon-to-close Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the National Gallery. I wanted to go again as soon as I’d walked out of it and she’s very theatrical and dramatic, so for her to see clothes like that up close and personal will be an experience I hope she won’t forget. It’ll be our first Auntie Niece outing, our first of many.