I Know I Am Intelligent Because I Know That I Know Nothing .... Socrates

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's Photographs

Went up to the mountains today with a good friend to get some fresh air and sunshine, decided to take the camera along and took the following shots which I thought I'd share.

My photographs can also be found on FlickR at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51977793@N07/
( Click on picture to see enlarged version )

Who You Looking At Chicken Legs

Oi Over Here With The Sugar

Pair Of Blue Fairy Wrens

Rainbow Lorikeet


Friday, August 27, 2010

Have You Ever Been

Have You Ever Been

Have you ever been that lonely you ache,
That lonely that you’re basic need to hold someone and to be held is screaming louder than your instinctive need to breath.

Have you felt that overwhelming sense of segregation and detachment from the human race that you now questioning your actual existence.

Do you crave a simple touch from a caring soul and to be held in warm arms that close that you can hear their heart beat.

Do you cringe at the thought of curling up in bed with your seven cold pillows once again tonight, like you do every night.

Do you now consider a King sized bed a curse when it was once a blessing.

Does your social circle now rotate around the channels, with your excitement after 9:30pm.

Have you ever been excited when the phone rings right in the middle of dinner or even more excited to hear of the fantastic once in a life time opportunity being offered by your new best friend who hunts and traps lost lonely souls.

Do you invite the Mormons to sit, rest and stay awhile.

Do rooms seem larger to you now and do the days seem longer.

Do you still cook or does the isolation and solitary dinning make takeaway a more social and logical choice.

Have you ever been that lonely that the thought of getting out of bed in the morning seems like a complete waste of time.
Do you have over 300 Facebook friends but no one to talk to.

Have you ever had something happen in your life so exciting and marvellous yet you remain numb and detached, because excitement needs two to be shared and to be real.

Have you ever sung yourself Happy Birthday.

Have you ever been that lonely ……


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Path

The Path

You’ve chosen your path,
No guidance from us can change that.
You’ve decided to leave,
Nothing I do can change that.
You don’t see the world we see,
Nothing we show you can change that.
You twist and distort what you hear,
Nothing I say can change that.

I can’t stand next to fire anymore,
It’s heat pushes me away.
It’s ambers dance and bewitch,
But it burns when we connect.
It used to keep me warm,
It used to show me a way.
But it’s now flared and wild,
And just too dangerous to stay.

Protect I must,
Remember I dare,
Never forget,
When we were there.
Good bye my friend,
Travel well and be free.
And know in my heart,
I will always be with thee.

Andrew Swansson
© 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You've Gotta Have Fun

Redlands Parrakeet's U7's White J.R.L Team

I travelled back 5 years in time last weekend, back to one of the fondest times in my life and certainly one of the most personally rewarding times in my life. I went back to my old Junior Rugby League Club to watch some of my old boys play.

I guess a bit of history might help paint the picture for you all. My son wanted to play Rugby League when he was 5 so his mother and I signed him up at the local J.R.L club, the Redlands Parakeets. That was Grub’s first year in a team sport and he loved it.

Being the youngest team in the club it catered for the little ones that were 5 and 6 years of age. At the end of the season half the team that were already 6 moved up to the under 7’s comp the next year with the balance remaining to once again go around as under 6’s. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it their coach in that first year was the father of one of the boys that moved up to under 7’s and he went with them to continue being their coach.
So I stuck my hand up and very tenderly stepped into my first and only foray into coaching. I had never played Rugby League before but had always followed the sport after being brain washed by my parents growing up, after all how difficult could it be !

I figured the best game plan at this age was to keep it simple and to keep it fun, I know I wanted to install a strong TEAM mentality, and from watching the previous season I could see that fitness played a very large part of the game even at this level.

So there I was on the team allocation night and I met all “ My Boys ” and their parents for the first time, I introduced myself and let everyone know that I was simply a Dad who had stepped up so that the boys would have a team. I pointed out to the parents that it was impossible to do by myself and I would be expecting a lot of help from them, I also made it clear to them all that it was about the kids, not the parents, not about the score line and it was not about their kids not blowing opportunities like they felt they may have done !

I then remember talking to the kids and making sure that they all knew that they were there to have FUN, but at the same time they needed to listen and train hard because they were part of a team. I told them that my game plan was simple and that I only needed them to focus on three things to start with, running in the right direction, not dropping the ball and to not run over the sideline.

It was a great season and from memory we went on to have about a 75% win rate ( not that the winning or losing was ever focused on ).

I stayed with the boys for another two years and coached them in the under 7’s and 8’s as well before handing over the reigns for two reasons, one was work commitments and the second and main reason was because the boys were getting into the age where they needed more skills taught to them then I had at my disposal. My main goal always was to drill the basic fundamentals into them at a fun level before handing them over for the main game.

Well, about 2 weeks ago I was contacted on Facebook to link as a friend by one of the boys in that first team. I accepted and was so excited to hear from Rhys once again. Apparently Rhys told everyone he had found me again and within the next week I was linked as a friend to over half of the old team.

Now that may not seem much to some people but for these boys to want to contact me after 5 years and for them to want to now remain in contact with me tells me that the connection I felt with these boys was not just a one way connection and that they remember the old days fondly, it tells me that they had FUN !

After a few chats Rhys invited Grub and I down to watch them play their next home game which was last Sunday and of course Grub and I couldn’t get there quick enough.

It was a blast to see the boys again and to see how they are all growing into strong young men and still enjoying the game with a passion that they started 8 years ago. I think most of them were just as surprised to see my son Grub standing 6ft as we were to see how they had all grown and the voices dropped.

Callum, Dan, Dylan & Rhys (2010 )

Callum, Dan Myself & Rhys ( 2010 )

One thing I did notice though is how their individual skills and passions had just grown and developed over the years, the speedsters still loved to pin the ears back and run like the wind and the tacklers still cherished the opportunity to burry an opposing player as hard as they could into the ground, their natural talents and skills were there from the start, as coaches all we do is make sure they have fun and fine tune their skills.

In Australia’s National Rugby League comp there is a coach by the name of Wayne Bennett who is known as the premier coach in the game today if not in the history of the game. I have had the pleasure of meeting Wayne on a couple of occasions during business lunches and on each occasion he has emphasised that his roll was not so much to teach them how to play but to ensure that all they had to focus on was their football and to ensure they stayed fit and had FUN !

Myself and Wayne Bennett (2000)

Pretty simple words from one of the games most influential individuals the game has ever know, Have Fun !

I think this is such a fundamental tool to remember in all of our lives, To Have Fun. If you are doing it and you are not having fun then WHY are you doing it ? There are always other options or roads to take.

If you don’t enjoy it you will never commit to it 100% and therefore at the end of the day only wasting your time and effort, and probably everyone else’s as well.

I’d just like to wrap up this Blog by thanking “ My Boys ” for reminding me to have fun !

Dohi, and thank you for reading my Blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The School Reunion ( Part 1 )

This year marks 25 years since I completed High School back in 1985. Besides the reality that so much time has passed it has also been both a sobering assessment of what I have done with my life post High School and it has also given me an opportunity to reflect on a time in my life that until this year had seemed so distant and inert.

At the beginning of this year everyone started to “ Find ” each other again through sites such as Facebook and Friends United, add that to the contacts that had been kept over the last 25 years and we have managed to find approx 75% of the Class of 85 so far.

There is now a Reunion Team and plans are well under way for a “ 80’s Reunion Party ” scheduled for November at a Bar which is close to our old school “ Cleveland District State High School ”.

I was really pumped when all of this started rolling towards the end of last year and I was really keen for the few smaller catch up’s that we have organised and attended this year but as the time gets closer to the main reunion I find myself more and more remembering how I never really fitted in with these people and once again neurotic insecurities that defined me 25 years ago are as sharp and painful as they were when I was in my late teens.

I was never a confident person and tended to stick with a small group of friends that to a large degree marched to their own drums. We weren’t a group of trend setters or even remotely part of the “ In ” crowd. We tended to leave everyone else alone and we just did our thing.

I must admit that I never fully appreciated just how much I had alienated myself from the rest of the school until all these names started to pop up in the reunion list and I realised that did not know and have no memory of nearly everyone except the close 12 or so people I called friends.

It has also been both amazing and embarrassing ( at times ) to hear what these people have done with their lives over the last 25 years and to then compare my effort to their achievements. I went to a very large school and I acknowledge that not everyone achieved great heights but many of the class went on to own and run their own businesses, many have University Degrees and many have travelled the world. We have Principle Dancers for the Australian Ballet who danced for Princess Diana and the Royals, We have movie script writers, we have highly respected national reporters and heads of government Arts initiatives, we have professional business people and service providers all around the world, we have numerous 25 year career Military and Emergency Services people, we have Olympians and we have published authors.

In short, we have many people who have gone on to live their dreams.

It has struck me with forced clarity that while we may shield and screen who we are to the rest of the world, in the end we fundamentally are the same core person from birth to grave !

So many of the Class of 85 are today the same personality that they were 25 years ago and when we all get back together it’s like an old jigsaw that has been gathering dust for 25 years but all the pieces go straight back into the same old position that they fitted into 25 years ago.

The In Crowd are still confident and outspoken, the Tech Heads are still talking a language that the rest of us will never understand, The Jocks are still turning all the heads and the Arts people are still flitting around and making light of all of life.

And I'm still wanting to sit in the corner and watch them all as I don’t fit in with any of them !

I am trying very hard not to pull back and not to turn and run from this reunion as I never attended my graduation formal or party due to my insecurities. I often regret that very much and have often thought over the years how I would love to have gone back and handled everything differently, yet here I am with a partial opportunity to do just that and I am instinctively reverting to all my old defences.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Real Men Hug

If you saw a sad stranger in the street or in a shopping centre would you go up and give them a big unconditional hug just to remind them that they matter and that you see them and care ?

What about if you were over at a friends or relatives place and you were faced with the same scenario, would that make a difference ?

What would it take for you to offer unconditional support to a stranger ?

And I guess more importantly, what is stopping you from caring freely without barriers ?

Quite often you read in these Blogs of “ Hallelujah Moments ”, moments of clarity and understanding at such a fundamental level if is prophetic. I had one of these such moments the other day when I had to go to the local music store to collect a new trumpet case I had on order for my son.

Now before I go any further, I need to paint a picture of me, you need to understand the context of the event to fully understand the event in itself. Now I am a 42 year old male who tops the scales at about 180kg, I have short hair and a moe & goatie, I was in track suit pants and a simple T-shirt with thongs on my feet. I certainly do not look frail and I certainly do not normally look like the type of person who would normally care to much about those around me, I certainly do not look like the type of person that would take kindly to a stranger getting up in my face uninvited.

Yet as I entered the store I was instantly greeted by a small framed man in his 60’s, I was greeted with a heartfelt hand shake and a series of quick fired questions about who I was, How I was and what I was doing in my life at the moment. Now normally I would be the first to jump back in defence to reclaim my personal space as I am not normally a very good people person and very much defend my 6ft personal space and freedom. Normally a person getting up in my face so quickly and aggressively would rattle my cage and either fire up an aggressive defence behaviour or send me running. But for some reason this rather confronting and touchy feely stranger did not set off my alarm bells and flashing lights, I actually found myself rapidly drawn into his aura and genuinely turned my attention and focus to him, for some reason my welcome stranger look familiar to me both in looks and behaviour, all of which convinced me to relax into his company.

Now after having my hand shook for what seemed a life time, my new welcome friend decided to give me a huge heart felt embracing hug with all the trimmings of his head berried into my chest as if we were long lost brothers who had just met for the first time in 50 years. Once again for some strange and inexplicable reason I felt comfortable in his embrace and found myself returning his affection unconditionally.

My new best friend was not a big man like me, in fact he was quite a diminutive figure compared to my huge frame and when we hugged he disappeared compared to me. Yet hugged we did, two complete strangers in the middle of a music store !

Now my welcome stranger talked fast, very fast and he spoke in such a way that he kept repeating himself. It was like he had too much to say in far to shorter time and because he was trying to cram a life time of conversation into a moment in time and he could sense that I was having trouble keeping up with him. My friend kept telling me that we should love unconditionally, that we should never be afraid to show our love as we never know what life will give us.

At one stage our conversation changed direction and my friend asked me what I am doing at the moment, I told him that I was not doing much as I am out of work and just enjoying doing nothing for a while. Suddenly the conversation once again took on a frantic pace as I was advised that life is too precious and short to do nothing, everyone should be doing something, anything.
My friend then stepped back and shook my hand again and then pointed at a promotional poster that I was standing next to and proudly pointed out to me that the man in the picture was in fact him, although many years ago. David Helfgott then stepped straight back into me and continued to give me another genuine soul search hug.

Now some of you may instantly know of David, others may not but David is a world renown Concert Pianist who was immortalised in a 1996 film called “ Shine ” in which Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar for best male actor. David was a child prodigy who suffered a nervous breakdown and was lost for many years before once again finding himself and his life.

David never once hesitated in greeting me warmly and unconditionally in a way that I have never experienced before in my life, he was an open book and an open free soul in a way that I cannot hope to describe in words. It was obvious that he had been born with or perhaps lived a life that had given him a unique insight to life.

Now, as I sit back and write this Blog I can’t help buy reflect and respect how free, genuine and open David lives his life, how much courage that must take and how much I would love to be able to relax enough to be that open with people. I can’t help but think that David has hit the nail right on the head and that we all should be living such and open and warm life.

Thank you David for being you and God Bless.

David’s web page .. http://www.davidhelfgott.com/