Monday, June 30, 2008

Why do we lie to our children?


Story telling and its original purpose

Mum said ‘When did your parents tell you that? Were you at a young age, were you putting things into your ears?’

Albert had just retold a story about a relative finding a bead inside of his ear, after suffering weeks of pain.

My mother’s obvious conclusion was that Albert’s parents were trying to teach Albert a lesson about not putting things into his ears. In other words, she thought that his parents told Albert an untrue story that would help him to live a life free of ear pain induced by putting random objects into his ear.

Today, we don’t really tell our children these kind of stories. We are more likely to tell them ‘facts’, like eating too many sweets will produce plaque and thus more visits to the dentist and subsequently more pain.

It doesn’t seem to be having much impact on their sweet intake, but it makes us feel like we are not lying to our children, that we are being informative and educational, not like our superstitious parents forcing us not to walk under ladders and something about throwing salt over the left shoulder.

But what was the original meaning behind the stories we once told?

I was recently traveling around outback Australia, and I came across informative centers where I read many stories where animals spoke and lessons were learnt about how to take care of the land, and how to share water and the consequences of not heeding the lesson of the stories.

Some Australian Indigenous groups are amongst the oldest surviving nomadic peoples in the world. They had a relatively untouched (by outside influences) culture until only 200 years ago, perhaps leading us to a broader understanding of how societies emerged and evolved over time.

I saw on the TV an indigenous program where an older male was repeating stories to a child (of about 2 years old) about someone needing help, and the elder repeated ‘give away your things’, while simultaneously wiping the child’s palm away from the body.

I don’t have a lot of research about this topic, but even if we look back to our own childhoods, some of the stories had a moral purpose, like ‘The boy who cried wolf’ and 'King Midas'. They were not true stories, they are what we term fables or fairytales, and they were told with the preposition that what we tell children should help equip them for an adult life where one’s behavior will have consequences – don’t tell lies or people won’t believe you anymore. If you only chase after gold, in the end you’ll end up only with material goods and nothing else.

Today we don’t have a lot of time for stories. Today we tell facts. We tell facts about tooth decay and eating to much will make you fat and if you don’t study you won’t get a good job and we dress our children in designer wear so that they’ll fit in to a social group and we indulge there need for brand sneakers (because we understand) and we leave them in front of the television for the stories we used to tell.

Imagine. Sitting around a fireside, listening to the deep voice of your grandfather while you are gently held by your older sister, or your mother. You hear a story about helping each other in times of need. The story has drama and passion and everyone’s face is lit up with the light of the flames from the centre of your family and friends.

Imagine. Sitting around a television, listening to canned laughter and the nasal intonation of a smart mouthed teenager girl dressed in the best designer jeans you’ve seen. You’re alone because everyone else is watching their own TV in their own room. You hear a story about a boyfriend sleeping with a best friend and how a gun man terrorized a school in a state in North America you didn’t know existed and still can’t remember what state it was. The story has drama and a certain irony because you knew that the boy wasn’t to be trusted and the gunman was probably being ignored at a girl at his school and there is no one beside you on the lounge.

The television is telling the moral stories our children are listening to.

How many times have you though ‘I wonder where he/she gets that from?’

You know where. The TV is teaching our children the values of our society.

Its teaching the glory of the United States of America. The glory of the mighty dollar. That status is in brand names. That self value is dictated by how pretty, thin, and rich you are. Its teaching the value of short term pleasure over long term happiness.

We used to lie to our children to encourage them to be safe, to help them in social interaction, to enhance their wellbeing.

We lie to our children now that we don’t have time for them. But we have 30 minutes to browse on the internet. We have 30 minutes to indulge in our favorite magazine. We have 30 minutes for our selves. Then we let the TV do the rest of the talking.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Exercise for the mind

Its time to get some balance into the ‘healthy’ equation.

What ‘s the point of having a strong and health body if your mind is a slob?

Readers of this blog believe in holistic health, and yet, we focus on the health of the body, and submit our selves to a life of spending money we don’t have to buy goods we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.*

Does this sound like you? Just think about the last three items you bought. Were they to gain admiration from people you don’t respect anyway? Could you really afford the last luxury item you purchased, or did it chain you further to your bank and to your job?

We are blinding ourselves with the power of our credit cards. It’s a band aid effect to help us cope in a world where we see hypocrisy, lies, uneven wealth distribution, shocking overseas news, fallen family values, deceitful friends and unfaithful lovers.

Just put the brakes on.

Just say stop.

I’ve seen people thrashing it out on the treadmill. I’ve seen people at body pump classes struggling with something more than wanting a tighter back side. And I’ve seen yoga students dealing with a lot more than joint flexibility.

We’re talking a reassessment of our values. We’re talking about prioritizing our time. We’re talking about living our yoga off the mat. We’re talking authenticity for our ‘ideals’. The very things we, in our heart, believe in.

Healthy body
- exercise in moderation (or a little more, not less)
- fresh, healthy food
- fresh air and out door activity
- sunlight in moderation

Healthy mind
- be aware of what you spend your time doing. Is it contributing to the health of your mind, or is it making you more paranoid?
- Be careful not to read beauty magazines – they sell you products that are overpriced and values that in your heart, you can not believe.
- Is the TV repeating fearful stories? Is it telling you to hope for when you win the lottery? Is it telling you that you need to buy more? Turn it off.
- The internet is a wonderful world. What do you spend your time doing? Looking at celebrities? Looking at Hollywood movie reviews selling more superficial values and idealism of romance?
- What do you talk to your friends about? Are you criticizing other friends? Are you being supportive? Dou you dislike your friend because they seem prettier than you?
- What does the voice say inside your head? Is it positive, or complaining?
- Are you always tired and don’t know why?

Then stop the lies. You know what I’m talking about. Stop lying. Stop living a lie. Stop telling yourself lies. Stop telling your children lies.

Don’t take the easy way out. Leave it to someone else to do. They can’t make you a healthy mind. Just like nobody can come and take your yoga class for you. You’ve got to do it yourself.
Balance. Healthy body. Healthy mind.

* Rewritten quote from Affluenza by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss (2005)


My secret

I have a plan.

A plan to shock and shift the values in our society.

I am researching the commons in our unity. The fabrications, the illusions, the positives, the negatives.

When I have a handful of strings from the diversity of thought from systems like politics, economics, psychologists, scientists, I will draw them together and weave a strong rope.

These strings will represent the strong undercurrent of sweeping social change I can feel emerging with every beat of my heart.

We will focus our energies on the things we have in common.

- Our belief in making decisions based on our long term happiness over short term pleasure

- Our commitment to understanding our responsibility in our position of affluence

- Our belief in living our ‘ideals’ – authenticity

- Our commitment to humanities future through caring for and forging stronger, supportive relationships to our children

- Our understanding of the environmental crisis we are facing with countries such as India and China desiring to consume as much as we do, and understanding our entire system needs overhauling if we are to survive

Take a look at for more ideas.


Because we are ugly. We are superficial. We are disillusioned. We are depressed. We are alcoholics. We are drug addicts. We don’t care. We try retail therapy. We try binge drinking. We try buying more. We numb our brain with TV, computers, sex, romance, music and more shopping. We try screaming. We try not giving a damn. We try to blind ourselves with the flag. We try to drink more. We are angry. We are sad. We can’t believe it . We hate life. We are hurt. We can’t go on. We go missing. We want to escape. We are chained. We are hypnotized by the TV telling us that we must be young, pretty/handsome, rich. People disappoint us. Politicians disappoint us. We laugh so as not to cry. That we must buy this car, this mobile, this hairstyle, this magazine. We try divorce, we try to be single, we try to suicide. We hate our friends and our families. We think the world sucks.

And it does. It really does.

The only way to stop it, is for you to stop it. The only way.

Stop the lies, the deceit, the hurt in your own soul. Turn off the TV. Use your internet time with thought instead of feeling ‘trapped’ by it. Its all up to you.

And I believe in the power of you. I believe it, because the alternative is too terrible for me contemplate. I am blind. Blinded by my faith in humanity. In its ability to grow and develop and learn from its mistakes.

And all it takes, is for you to believe too. And then, I am a we. And we, together, can make a difference.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why are you talking?

I’m listening to conversations around me. Nobody seems to be listening. Everyone is just talking. What the point?

Do you talk to communicate your ideas, or just to hear your self speak?

If you talk to hear yourself speak, then you can stop reading here, cause I’m talking to the other group.

We talk to communicate an idea. And if we are open minded, we talk, so that someone can hear our ideas, and maybe give us feedback on what we’ve said. That, in other words, is a conversation of sorts.

Lets take a point I’ve just over heard.

Bob – I don’t like the penalties in Soccer.

Artie – Well, they have to decide somehow after the game, how to settle who the winner is.

Bob – Yeah, but I don’t like ‘em.

Artie – Yeah, well, I guess they are not [blah blah blah]

This is a trivial example, but it illustrates how we talk, and how we don’t listen.

Bob merely wants to state his opinion. He doesn’t want to hear about the whys or why nots. He just wants to say what he thinks. For Bob to open his mind to further information, he will first need his statement heard. So, Artie needs to say something like ‘Yes (affirmation that I have heard your opinion) many people don’t like the penalties in soccer. (slight pause)’ And now is the opportunity Artie has to say what he wants to say.
But if Artie wants Bob to hear, then he must first hear what Bob has said. Bob will feel validated, even if Artie doesn’t agree with him, and he will then be more willing to hear what Artie has to say.
Point is – figure out why you are taking. If its just to talk, then keep going – no one will stop you. But if you want to be heard, you will have to take into account the stuffing between the ears of the one you want to talk to.

Seth Godwin talks about knowing the brain you are talking to in ‘All marketers are liars’, if you want a bit more information. Its not the low down on communication skills, but its an informative book designed to get people thinking about what they are saying and who they are saying to.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are Australians destined to be the world's next great thinkers?

The last few books I’ve picked up have been written by Australians. Although I might not agree with everything they say, I am impressed with the confidence/audacity of the way they present their ideas.

Then I read a book by Seth Godwin, and I thought, yes, but North Americans could also fit the profile I had begun to make of these independent thinkers.

Peter Singer, Morris West, Jeremy Griffeth and Seth Godin……

Just to name a few of these ‘thinkers’ who have impressed me lately.

They are what I have heard termed ‘ballsy’ and can be confrontational. They introduce topics that are thought provoking and marketable.

Why does their nationality have anything to do with their ideas?

Just speaking from an Australian point of view – and I will leave the North American’s out of my final thought – though you can feel free to add to my ideas in the comments – we are not tied up with traditions in the same way other cultures are.

We have a sense of new beginning and new ways of approaching problems. We are not hung up on traditions because many of us feel we don’t have a link to any history that means something to us. We are non-conformist and delight in shocking. I’m not saying this produces good ideas in itself, but it does provide a different breeding ground for ideas, doesn’t it?

We see things differently. We’re down under, so our vision is often skew if. We live life a bit rougher, a bit more outdoorsy and more down to earth than many other cultures. We don’t like to be tricked and we will stand up and fight about it. Now again, this doesn’t make a great thinker, but again, it does set up a new breeding ground for ideas.

In a previous post, I wrote about utilizing and training ‘broken’ teens to the positive for our society. I used the argument that they see things differently than others, so with some help and training, they can help us see things from a different point of view.

Its what we need. A new point of view. A new vision so we can make a real plan for the future of our planet. We’ve been following the ideas of progression and machinery and the mighty dollar and we don’t seem to be doing a great job.

Perhaps its time to start to look else where for our answers?

Just a thought.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yoga is for new age hippies

Yoga outside of the first circle of the gyre.

This article is related to another post that you can read here.

Yoga is for new age hippies who are self deluded.

Yoga is a cop out for the disillusioned.

I have read these two descriptions of yoga in the past week and I believe it.

After the initial surprise of what I thought of as an attack upon me personally, I weighed the words and began to agree with what is in effect, a description of myself.

I am self deluded and I am disillusioned.

Yoga, for me, has been a way to protect myself from the society I was born into. A society where I was faced with lies, false values, selfishness, contradictions, deceit and told it was ‘just the way things work’.

Somebody the other day, after I asked their advice about how to deal with life as it is, told me to learn the weaknesses of my fellow man (woman and child) and ride it to the top of what ever I wanted for myself.

In otherworlds, manipulate your weaknesses for my benefit.

I have heard this advice more than once. I am usually disappointed and unhappy and go and practice some yoga to feel better.

This time I thought about it.

I came to the conclusion (for the present). I do use yoga as a bandaid for the hurts I feel in life. But, I thought of something else too.

If we just expand the idea of yoga a little further, then we have the ability, all of us, to turn the disillusion into illusion. Not only for ourelves, but for the world.

We are no longer ‘copping out’, but living the values we believe in.


Yoga is about unity.

When we sit in our class, we are talking about unity of breath and movement. We are talking about the unity of mind and body. We can, if advanced, talk about unity with The Big Consciousness Out There Somewhere.

I am not saying this is wrong.

All I’m saying is that we need to expand our idea of unity to incorporate it into our daily life as well.

To live our yoga.

So we are not just using yoga as a way to heal our minds after being faced with consumerism and materialism and self focused values, but as a philosophy of life.

The united nations – The unity of nations. Not about making them all the same, but about finding the ‘common’ among them and discussing issues for all nations.

(let’s not discuss the failings as yet – lets just notice how many groups of people say the believe in yoga (unity), and how they do it, and gain insight and information about how this idea can continue.)

Community – Unity – That’s what we are suppose to belong to. A unity of our commons. Our society is based on the idea of yoga.

If we put our mind to unity – if we find a way to merge our commons, we grow strong.

We are no longer a ‘cop out’ – a disillusioned and deluded individual seeking solace from some eastern philosophy.

We are, instead, a strong voice (and $) behind our values of unity.

And practically, what does that mean?

Intelligent question. It means, in practical sense, put your money where your mouth is.

If you are going to be more than a fad yoga practitioner, then you need to do a little research.

I’ve added some links below for your perusal .

If we want to work together, then you need to talk. You need to leave comments, you need to involve yourself.

And that doesn’t mean you can miss your hatha yoga practice in the morning. The self just has to be involved in putting its philosophy into action in its wider gyre.

Friends of the Earth

Footprints Network

Oxfam International

World Vision - coffee article

The Gyre

The ever widening circle of your life

I have always made myself lists. I’m a list maker and list ticker offerer, and a list throw awayer. Sometimes they work, and some time they don’t, depending, funnily enough, on if I honestly believe in the list.

I think I’ve found a way to increase my belief in my list making. And here it is – the gyre.

I also think it will be helpful in introducing social awareness and our interconnectedness to our world at large.

A gyre is a circle, a vortex, expanding or contracting and descriptive model for its current purposes.

I don’t have the soft ware to present it to you as I would like, but here is the gist of the thing.

In the centre, as we all know, is ME.

For the purpose of the display, and not to be egotistical in any way shape or form, I will use my own name as the first example.

From now on, it will be known as ‘Tiffany’s Gyre’.

Tiffany’s Gyre

As stated, the centre of the vortex is me.

Around the immediate centre, is the things I believe to make up me. These include my physical self, my mental self and my spiritual self.

Now, each one of these selves can be looked at more deeply. For example, Tiffany’s physical self and her relationship/responsibility to it. So, I write down that I like to practice yoga daily and qigong when I have the time.

I may like to include, on further reflection, that I like to have massage, indulge in toe cleaning at regular intervals, and tooth brushing. So on and so forth. You can see how each list can expand with refection. Some of these things we do without giving thought or time to (toothbrushing) and others, we need to find time during our day for (yoga).

So we make a choice with the limited time that we have.

By writing down and becoming aware of each need and demand of the body, we can start to make effective choices about what we spend our time on. We get to know ourselves a little better with every stroke of the pen.

It may seem rather obvious at this level, but as we move further outwards into our gyre, you will see the benefits of awareness and subsequent increased choice.

The second circle, I have titled Immediate Circle of Responsibility. You may call yours what seems more appropriate for your lifestlye. For me, this includes the house I am living in and the people I am living with. The duties/responsibilities to each entity needs to be looked at and clearly understood, if we are not to be a victim of letting time pass us by and not saying and doing the things we ought to have done.

Increased consciousness of our selves and our relationships enhance our life quality. This is a fact.

The third circle is called the Second circle of responsibility. This circle includes, for me, friends. Of course, each subgroup can be further explored and taken into consideration. I will do an example of how to further explore a group at the end of the post.

The fourth circle is Society’s Circle, and includes my area Helensvale, the library and community centre.

The fifth group is the wider community circle – and includes the gold coast city council, my state, my country, my geographical position in the world and then, finally, my responsibility and relationship to the world.

Exploring a link.

Let’s take an easy example.

In my second circle Immediate Circle of Responsibility, I have my mother. I have to put the situation into context. I’m spending one year living very close to my mother, but usually we have half the world between us. To make the best use of the time, I need to be fully aware that at this time next year, I will not be seeing her. I have no plans to come back and see her in the foreseeable future.

So, when I think of my relationship towards my mother, I try to understand the things that I like and the things that I see as my duty, or my responsibility towards her.

Perhaps, even if I don’t have the time of the will, I will sit with her and discuss her boredom with life, or her lack of employment skills for her age, or her worries about her other children and grandchildren. At the same time, I encourage an opening of her mind to subjects I think she should consider, like fair trade coffee, and volunteering on the Gold Coast.

Perhaps I’ll offer to make dinner. Or help her in the garden. Small things that if I didn’t sit and write about and consider in a rational way, I would overlook.

Some other examples are easier to follow through.

My relationship to the world.

What is it? How do I feel about the world at large? Do I care about the entity of the world? Well, there are a lot of people who do, and I can, with the aid of the internet, become aware of their concerns and see if I also think similarly. Perhaps I’ll even be open minded enough to take on a new concern, if I am aware of issues at a world scale.

But, I wouldn’t know anything if I didn’t have my self in the centre, and an ever increasing circle of awareness developing around me.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Micro - macro theory in practice

I was in a conflict of self interest.

I didn’t even really want to travel around Australia. I was afraid of what I was going to learn.

I was happy in my bubble of ignorance. I was happy BEFORE the blasted trip.

That old adage ‘ignorance is bliss’ is absolutely true.

A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance. ~Anatole France

And yet… and yet…

I also knew that I couldn’t keep my head in the sand forever. There had to come a time when even my love of ignorance had to give way to my conscience.

(What is a conscience anyway? And why do we have it? If you know why, use the comments.)

And now, the flood gates have opened. (Have a look here for an On The Road story, while it was happening)

In short, I have become unhappy and realized, as a matter of course, that my knowledge is painfully limited and I have absolutely no chance of understanding anything and I may as well go back to studying my navel. At least then I was relatively fit and my skin looked good, whereas now I have a ‘lounge chair produce paunch’ and I look pasty.

What good is the use of study exactly???

So, after that little complain (and this blog allows me to rant and rave VERY freely), I will get to the point.

The summary of what happened on the trip –

1 - I became aware of the insurmountable mountain of injustice perpetrated against the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

2 - I became aware that although I didn’t consider myself responsible for what had happened, I was indirectly responsible for the continued racism I have heard because I remained silent.

I am indirectly responsible for the continued racism I have witnessed in real life experience and on the media because I have either ignored it, or considered it ‘some one else’s problem’.

3 - I became aware that if I was going to put my money where my mouth is, then I would have to live, in action, the yoga that I preached. (Yoga meaning unity – if we think about that a little bit, coming together, being ‘one’, then I need to admit that ‘them’ needs the same consideration as ‘me’. In which case, er, I’d better pull my socks up and learn a little bit about ‘them’.

4 - I became aware that Albert (my partner) also believes in these things, just from the opposite end of the spectrum. I was focusing on my breathe, and he was looking at the United Nations. (The idea of unity and oneness – which means, of course, quite a lot of policy writing….)

Albert and I talked A LOT about what we wanted to achieve, and we came up with a project that I’ve been working on pretty much non-stop since.

Now, the reason I’m writing here now, is because I’m coming up against quite a few problems.

The Idealist
One of the problems is that I have to admit that I am an idealist. That I have an idea that I project onto the ‘reality’ – and as long as I do that, I can not move forward.

So I have to, and I’m finding it a mixture of freedom and horror of the vulnerability I am exposing, let go of ideas I have had.

I have to open up my mind to a different world. And even though my brain is expanding, I can feel my emotional self feeling a little horrified to what I have let in.

Idealism is a protective barrier to the ‘fear and greed’ (Thank you Pedro for clarity when I needed it - from Historum) sea-saw that seems to drive us.

To admit to the selfishness, the lies, the deceit, the ego, the atrocities committed in the name of some ‘Ideal’ – to see the same REALITIES in our own hearts, to realize that actually, and sorry to state it, but WE are the very thing we are fighting, is, for me, heart shattering.

I’m stunned at what I’m looking at.

This is just a continuation of the above problem. Do you have any idea how many humanitarian, environmental and social organizations there are out there?

Do you have any idea how the egos of these little and big corporations get in the way of helping the very people they are all sworn to help.?

Its just amazing. So, I’ve come full circle.

The way to help the world enter into the future (assuming we all want to live), is by becoming aware of the very faults in the society we point at, and realize that we are ALL capable of it. That its our own greed that we are looking at. And the only way to fix it is by pointing the finger at ourselves.

When we live the kind of life that we WISH the politicians would,

when we settle disputes without violence and bully tactics, as we wish the politicians to do,

when we make the informed choices on consumer products that we wish the governments would,

when we give of our time and money to those who need it more than ourselves as we hope the government will,

then, quite naturally, and almost magically, the world will be able to face the challenges we have today.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Humorous Moments on the Road

March 08 (On the way to Noosa) or otherwise entitles 'How to generate hate mail/male'

Tiffany - All cars should have a little digital sign on them, saying what they are doing.

Albert - Most of them would say 'I'm going to the shops, my husband earns the money.'

(editor's note - Albert says that I should put the above quote in a time context. IE - it was a weekday, and mid-morning. Tiffany says - 'what ever, you still sound like a neaderthal')

March 08 (while planning part of our maybe more of Asia trip in a year)

Albert - If you could name your own airlines, what would you call it?

Tiffany - Far Kov Kwik Flights

What's yours?

Albert's Growing list of jobs he wants to do when he gets big. (Albert is our 29 year old)

- Truck driver
- Air plane pilot
- Racing car driver
- Garbage man
- Post man
(Editor's note -Albert just emphatically denied that he ever said he wants to be a postman when he grows up. He wants to change it for taxi driver.)
- Taxi driver
- Buyer for Indian shops around the world

Brisbane Airport - ‘Mum, please don’t cackle. Its unnerving.’

Brisbane Airport (about our plane and slight delay) – ‘Your plane has an engineering problem’ (ha! Good one!!! Yeah, right! Are they actually allowed to say that??? As a legitimate excuse for lateness? Why can’t they white lie a little bit. ‘Sorry, but Captain Smith’s manicure is still in progress, your flight will be 30 minutes delayed’. I’d be prefer that.

On the road from Litchfield to Darwin, bumper sticker ‘I live with FEAR, sometimes she lets me go fishing.’

(all of these comments have been previously published here - )

Time to Tighten Up

We’ve been traveling for two months around the top part of Eastern Australia. I’ve come back and found, not very surprisingly, that my stomach is soft and squishy and not at all like it was when we left.

Of course, I’ll start tomorrow.

Increasing awareness into the stomach area. Even as I sit here I can feel it sagging out.

Begin with gentle Pilates inspired exercises. I don’t like hard work or pain… so I’ll start slowly and build up my strength over the next few weeks.

On Monday (four days away), I will begin to limit the food I am enjoying rather lustily now. We’ve been eating what’s available rather than what I wanted, so now I will allow myself a little period of indulgence.

I will start to ride my bike again, starting from Monday.

Remember to always put off to another day allll exercise, unless you really mean what you say about ‘getting rid of it’.

Nobody will listen to a word I say if I don’t get rid of it.

wish me luck!!

For those of you that know me, this is to PROVE that it happens to everyone!!

I honestly feel like I did after I gave birth to Jett…..

Happily, I don’t mind as much as I thought I would about having a rounded tum.