“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” ― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
On the journey from Sydney to Paris I watched Cloud Atlas. Actually I watched it twice. And I still don't get it.
The film is six stories from six times that weave in and out of one another, with actors and actresses playing characters within the different times.
It is terribly confusing, but a clear picture emerges. A distinct pattern that Read more [...]
I've been a bit slack with my blogging the last few years, which is a shame given the great work that I'm involved in with the Sydney Peace Foundation, and the research I'm doing at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. Unfortunately there's only so much time in the day.
Unless you've worked in hospitality you don't know the work that goes into waitressing, cooking and the respect deserved for it. Everyone should work in hospitality, at least once life.
Same goes for organising events. Read more [...]
The feeling of flow is that feeling you get when you are at your ultimate and you feel your body almost disappear in a spontaneous yet automatic type fashion. For example, a sportsperson running or high jumping or swimming at their peak; an artist's moment of inspiration and clarity; a writer when it almost feels like a stream of consciousness directly channeling the right words in the right order from some otherworldly place.
One can feel flow when they play music, or when they make love, or Read more [...]
"There is only one meaning of life: the act of living it," wrote German psychologist and social theorist Erich Fromm in 1941.
Some find meaning in their work, in travel, in writing, in loving, in obeying a religion, in creating babies—all of which are different acts of living. The meaning of life (a noun) is in the process of living (a verb).
This points to a fundamental shift from that of a static goal, to a dynamic experience.
In this view one does not put off the rewards of life, Read more [...]
Richard Dawkins "The Ancestor's Tale" audio book traces our ancestry back through the ages, recapping the tales of various animals as they join our "pilgrimage" all the way back to the dawn of evolution.
At one particular rendezvous we meet the Artiodactyls - the even-toed mammals i.e. mammals with hoofs like pigs and hippos. Here Dawkins tells the tale of whales.
What? Whales don't have hoofs!!! No, but their closest ancestor does. Hippos are in fact closer to whales then they are pigs!
Apparently Read more [...]
"You gonna swim back to the waves, or keep swimming forward?" an instructor asked. Yesterday I found myself sitting directly behind a group of fit, tanned bods in "North Bondi" speedos. An accident, I promise.
Lying on the beach these words (and images) struck a chord with a recent conversation, and a friend's philosophy I've adopted and written about before - "always do rather than not do." Yet this time the philosophy had a little twist: if one faces a number of options, which should one Read more [...]
"This NYE I know the very least I have ever known about the year head, well at least it feels that way. Work, travel, love, - all is up for grabs. I’m 28, my Saturn Returns, and I often feel perplexed by life, by the innumerous options and possibilities, and of the paradoxes that seem to lie both within me and surrounding me. I don’t always know what I want. But I do know it when I get it. Right now everything is unknown yet I’m happy, content in who I am and my maturing flexibility and perseverance. Read more [...]
It's lovely to be in Sydney for a Christmas with family and friends, BBQs, beaches, drinks by the pool, secret Santas, Sydney-to-Hobart boat watching, and (blow up) snowmen.
This year is the polar opposite (literally and metaphorically) from my Christmas in Vancouver last year, which I spent rugged up outdoor ice skating, eating, dancing and playing limbo with my bestie and a few of her French and Canadian friends.
It's interesting to think about the role of ritual in our lives. Those Read more [...]
Does anyone else feel kind-of strange making plans for 2013? I find it hard to believe that December 2012 has arrived. It was strange enough when 2012 began and now I feel even stranger putting appointments in next year's calendar.
I am not one of the one-in-ten Australians who believe the world will end in December 2012 (recent trivia statistic), but the date has been on my radar for the last four years, and, well, 2013 hasn't.
There was so much I wanted to do before December 2012. I wanted Read more [...]
There's always more to learn and a good place to start is to listen to the words of those older than ourselves: people who have lived through more years, had more experiences, made more mistakes - people who have reflected on life's meaning and on how to best deal with life's challenges and adversities.
Last week was a significant birthday for my Dad...
This photo captures some of the celebrations shared by three generations of Bennetts :)
Events like this inspire reflection on life (as if I Read more [...]
“For my 70th birthday I would like to invite you to join me for a nude beach party,” my friend announced, dressed in a hijab and in her early 30s.
“Sure!” I laughed, imagining my group of friends from university, of every colour, shape, gender and culture, imagining us in our 60s and 70s, running bare and free at a nude beach.
“I might have lost my sight by then,” one of the boys sighed.
“You need to give me more notice,” another one joked.
It got me thinking, what would Read more [...]
One of the best things about working with Stuart Rees is the little one-liners I am introduced to. At 5pm, or if the sun is shining, he will knock on my office door and say: "The factory hooter has gone!"
The first few times he said it my response was "Huh? The what?"
"The factory hooter," he smiled, going on to explain that the "factory hooter" was the noise that sounded in Industrialising England when it was time for all the factory workers to go home.
I may Fridays working from home Read more [...]
When someone goes straight to the point and says "I want...", it can appear a little confronting, but there certainly is power in it. You know what you want and you have the confidence to ask for it. Respect.
Conversing on this topic my friend observed that people often ask for things (especially in Australia) starting with "Sorry, but can I..."
Are you sorry? If you were actually sorry, would you still be asking the question? In such a scenario, is "sorry" a useless and inauthentic forerunner Read more [...]
"There is nothing new under the sun," I said to Jonny, my housemate and a source of much inspiration these days.
"What about this table?" he asked.
"And this plant? and you? and me? There is no other table like this, or plant, and no other person who are us..." he continued.
"But tables are nothing new," I answered. "Your table is awesome, and unique and special, but it builds on things from the past: the idea of a 'table' for one, the idea of 'electricity' for another, the idea of circles, Read more [...]
Imagine millions of people on one street - dancing, singing, wearing bright clothes, drinking, kissing... that is Brazil's Carnaval. No exaggeration, it must be the greatest party on this planet. This year I've decided to throw my own little version of it in Oz: Carnaval in July.
Ok, so I may as well admit it, it's for my 30th birthday. I'll blog about my (second) "quarter life crisis" some other time. Today I thought I'd use my blog to provide guests and anyone else who may be interested a Read more [...]
"Keep the best, forget the worst and add some more," said Jon Elms, the lead singer of WHITECITYLIGHT, with a story to match his voice (both which I've hardly touched the surface of). I may have mentioned this before, or shown it by sharing their words, but let me say explicitly this time: I live with three incredibly inspiring people...
It was a response to discussions we were having with Jonny Gloss, the eyes and hands that designed, painted, sculpted and created this hidden-away converted-warehouse Read more [...]
My friend has a philosophy: Always Do, rather than Not-Do. "You remember the things you do," he explains, "but it's not like you look back and reminisce all those nights sitting on a couch."
Wednesday night was cold and rainy, but we made it to a free gig at Folk Club at Oxford Arts Factory. We did rather than didn't-do. And I'm so glad... it was a memorable night. The music was magic.
Jack Carty was the first of the line up and in my opinion, while the other two artists - Wes Carr and The Read more [...]
"99% of those individuals who achieve their goals do so not because they are especially talented, intelligent, good-looking or even lucky, but rather because they find the courage and guts to act in pursuit of their dreams and persist against setbacks." 
I don't know where Randel got this statistic from or whether it's reliable, but it certainly is useful. Looks, talent, intelligence all have a big role to play in success, but the point Randel makes is that even if you have all Read more [...]
"Atheists have no reason not to kill other people," said the man in a maroon sweater who had been quacking too loud for the dude on the podium at the "Speakers' Corner" at Sydney's Hyde Park to be heard.
"Excuse me!" I butted in, having excused myself from our mother's day picnic to see what all the commotion was about. Suddenly all eyes were on me. "What does belief or disbelief in God have to do with killing other people???" I asked, noticing my tone rising to the bellowing nature of his.
"Well Read more [...]
In a world where everything is a trade-off is there any wonder why so many are discontent? Feeling rather discontent myself I thought I'd spare a moment to consider the contents of discontentment... both in culture, and in me.
Should I do this job or that? Live here or there? Be social or study? Spend money or save? Exercise or be lazy? Eat fruit or chocolate? Date this guy or hope for that one?
A month ago I felt completely content. I remember writing a diary entry in my head: about how much Read more [...]
Stepping off an airplane we throw ourselves into completely different worlds. Like when we are born, except that when travelling we have a choice. It can be a shock to the system, forcing us to constantly adapt — to different temperatures, people, and ways of life.
Throwing myself from the small-town world of Hickory, North Carolina, via the buzz of New York, into the fast-paced mountain-view winter world of Vancouver for three weeks; directly into the hot humid horse-cart raw world of Nicaragua Read more [...]
My sister, Nicole Bennett, was the first person to introduce me to "Fair trade". She travelled to Burma, India and other countries getting the bad end of the globalisation stick, long before I did, and became passionate about making a difference. She inspired me to want to make a difference too. I'm (hopefully) doing it through my research and writing. Nicole's doing it through her (soon to be certified) fair trade eco-friendly fashion label "Enough".
"Enough" is all about knowing when to say Read more [...]
Do you ever tell yourself to “just relax” and then continue to do the very opposite? Or tell yourself to “forget it”. Or “frick’n focus!” And then find it impossible? Well that what happened to me today. Then it reversed itself in a way I didn't expect.
It started with a 75-minute hot yoga class at Y Yoga, my health retreat since arriving in Vancouver. Today was different: a hundred and one thoughts frolicked through my mind — which means today I was not doing yoga. I was stretching, Read more [...]
At the close of last year I had a mini freak out. "Where did 2010 go?" This year is another story. "Is 2011 every going to end?" It feels like three years since last Christmas.
How does that work? What is the connection between external time (or cosmological time) - earth's rotations - and internal time (or psychological time) - in our minds?
Let me consider my own case:
I stayed still in 2010, for the most part, living in Sydney in the one apartment. Half of the year I spent writing Read more [...]