Thursday 20th January 2022

Young. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. Mr W. Happiness Myth. 124/2021.

Young. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. Mr W. Happiness Myth. 124/2021.

Welcoming back my husband for his final contribution in 2021. And, for your info: there are “only” 7 more weeks of Life This Week in 2021!!

 

Content Warning: Mental Health, Self Harm, Suicide, Addiction. Information at the end of this post.

 

THE HAPPINESS MYTH


I’m always amused by the overwhelming focus our society has on happiness as members scramble like hell to acquire material possessions. How many times has the question, “What do you want in life?” been asked with the response, “Oh, I just want to be happy!”

The entrepreneurs have swooped on this pointless wish and produced enough books and programs on how we can be happy to fill the state library a couple of times and then some.

Do this or do that and you’ll be happy as if ‘happiness’ is a constant state that we all ought to be aspiring to. It’s bunkum! It’s a myth and it can be a dangerous trap!

Life today is more treacherous than it was for our tribal ancestors who were cave dwellers. Their sabre-toothed tiger can be likened to our internet that crawls with users, claws out and ready to pounce on some prey. Life today is painful, often disheartening and seemingly without hope. Bureaus of Statistics universally share some scary statistics in relation to its manifestations.

  • About 264 million of the global population are clinically depressed. Generally, people who are depressed also have an anxiety disorder.
  • 20% of us will go through a period of depression.
  • A quarter of us have, has had or will have an addiction.
  • 3 adults in 10 have a recognised psychological disorder (bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, autism, schizophrenia, etc.).
  • Of all the people you know over half will give thought to suicide. 1 in 10 will attempt to take their own life.

Don’t be alarmed by these statistics.

They simply serve to demonstrate that contemporary living is bloody hard and that those happy spikes have a more random occurrence than the sad troughs. This is not helped by our naturally occurring negative bias evolved to help us survive the hungry rage of that sabre-toothed tiger. Unhappily, it has left contemporary us in that state of alert which, when triggered ignites distorted thinking and has us going down the catastrophic slippery slope of fear and uncertainty.

Hence the need to live in the now!

Happiness is a temporary state of emotion in response to a specific stimulus.

On the lower or negative side of the continuum is sadness, also a temporary feeling but a more prolonged state. Above the centre continuum is happiness, its peaks less prolonged than its counterpart’s. Think about the screen of an oscilloscope as it depicts sound waves.

The peaks represent the happy moments and the troughs the sad. What you may notice is that neither remain around for long. What you may also notice is that, over a period of time, they tend to even themselves out.

That happy spike you felt last Sunday when you and your partner engaged in the most joyful of intimate moments will spike with maximum height and intensity. While you might want the feeling at its peak to go on and on, we would simply be unable to psychosomatically sustain it.

Even continued happiness at a lower level is unsustainable. The greater the ‘up’ feeling the more they offset the down times. The resultant flattening out will, with a number of other effects, leave us in a state of CONTENTMENT!  That’s what we need to aspire to!

Contentment – What’s That?

“Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Contentment is the state of peaceful well-being resulting from taking what life is offering ‘now’ and working with it. It is attending to and respecting the reality of the present in order to live a rich, full and meaningful life. In so doing, those happy moments integrate with the sad times leaving us in a pleasant state of contentment.

So, What Are Its Characteristics?

The person who is truly content will demonstrate the following attributes:

 

  • a kindness and compassion to him/herself and to others;
  • a general satisfaction with life that finds joy in what we have;
  • an understanding that all feelings are temporary;
  • a lack of envy for what others have;
  • a satisfaction with our possessions, status and situation;
  • humility that recognises the temporary nature of life and its material things (sic transit gloriae mundae – Latin for ‘thus passes worldly goods’);
  • doesn’t measure success in terms of material acquisitions;
  • doesn’t try to find fulfilment through the acquisition of more material possessions – how much of anything do we really need;
  • self-discipline in managing one’s life and affairs; and,
  • an abhorrence of greed and the thirst for power recognising the destructive capabilities of both;
  • lives a rich, full and meaningful life.

 

Can You Show Me a Picture?

 Sorry, I can’t show you a picture. But I can do the next best and show you a simplified graphic representation.

The following sine wave provides a general idea of what happens with our emotions during the course of a time interval. The blue line represents our happy and sad moments that peak and trough.

Its frequency is much less even and varied than in the representation. However, it’s a very good illustration of how our emotions jump around randomly in response to thoughts, memories, urges, etc.

The most important line is black centre line. It is our line of contentment. The blue feeds the black so the more positive and rewarding our experiences are, the thicker the line of contentment.

 

How Do I Enrich My Line of Contentment?

 Life for the contemporary citizen is based around ‘doing’. This is not unexpected because the updated brain is always in the ‘doing’ mode ready to solve your next problem for you. The big problem with that is that the brain cannot solve a problem of the heart.

So, when the next feeling dilemma arises, the brain tries to think its way to happiness or instructs you to resist that feeling. Both are not solutions.The first because it’s impossible as the brain seeks only rational solutions and the second because the undesirable feeling will persist and even grow hungrier.

Hence the need to have our minds override the brain and allow us to just BE.

We are, after all, human BEINGS!

In the BEING mode,

  • We allow all feelings, even welcoming the more painful ones. They belong to us and are therefore our responsibility. We name them and neutralise them by recognising their temporary state. They will pass.

 

  • We are being MINDFUL of all that’s going on in the ‘now’ – just ask Leo Tolstoy, he’ll tell you that it’s very important to pay attention to the ‘now’. After all, there’s more than enough going on in the ‘now’ to keep us busy without looking for trouble from the past or future. So, it’s important to be aware, open, attentive and curious in the ‘now’ in order to capture all moments.

 

  • Reflect on your values. They have formed the basis for doing what matters to you. If you’ve hit a roadblock or are in a roundabout with no exit, be willing to change what’s not working for you. Maybe you are basing your behaviour on the expectations of others. Check your own rulebook. Our lives become more content when we operate on our values-driven rules. If something is not working for you, do what does by changing the dynamics of the pesky rule!

 

  • Give yourself a grading on self-compassion. Being kind to, and caring of yourself is as important as being compassionate to others. Think of it as a two-way street.

 

  • When in doubt about how to defuse a critical thought – sing! Here’s a little exercise to try. Think of a thought that’s causing you pain, e.g. “I’m not good enough” or “I’m a loser!” Sing that song to a familiar ditty such as ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and observe what happens. You’ll discover that you’re not who you thinks you are.

 

  • Contentment relies on authenticity – being true to who you are. This is defined by your values that also inform what really matters to you. The transgression of your values, by yourself or others, creates pain.

 

  • Contentment loves gratitude. Reflect each day on what you are genuinely grateful for. The question, “what am I grateful for”, triggers a release of chemicals that our body loves and feeds our feelings of inner peace and contentment.

 

  • Both Denyse and I get great joy and feelings of contentment viewing this rose that has been growing in the front garden for years now.

As a final thought I offer you the following based on the AA prayer.

“ Give me the courage to solve those problems that can be solved, the serenity to accept those problems that can’t be solved and,

The wisdom to know the difference.”

“Happiness is self-contentedness.” – Aristotle

Thanks to Bernard for his final post for 2021. We have some great conversations about how I add the posts to the blog. All good!! Photo collage above expresses my gratitude for his love and presence in my life since October 1970. We’ve had our ups, downs and in betweens through a marriage of over 50 years but I know that “I” am feeling more contentment with my life as it is now because of my experiences and some of the teachings Bernard has helped me learn. Denyse. 

For those who may need to reach out to organisations based on this story’s content these are Australian-based sources for help.
Your Family G.P. can be a helpful person to listen and make referrals.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636

Phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for 24 hour assessment, referral, advice, and hospital and community health centre contact details

Qualified Psychologists can be found by visiting https://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/

Australian Counselling Association is on 1300 784 333 to find a counsellor

 

Link Up #264.

Life This Week. Link Up #264.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: Share Your Snaps! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


 

 

 

 

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Spring Signals It’s Here. #SundayStills.117/2021.

Spring Signals It’s Here. #SundayStills.117/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for September 2021 and I took the chance to show some Spring images.

In Australia Spring begins on 1 September…and we are well and truly noticing its arrival. Mostly via the garden but also the skies…and a great reminder of life begun one Spring a while back…and my gratitude to have a Spring  landmark in my head and neck cancer story! I hope whatever the season is where you are, it is good to you!

Spring is very changeable!

We have had almost heatwave conditions which changed to “winter is back”.

But the flowers never let me down.

Wherever I went..not far thanks to Covid…I saw beauty.

Then there is this from Spring:

Meeting our September born granddaughter, just minutes old….

 

My good news from Spring. No face to face head & neck cancer checks..but news is ALL good. Next check in ONE year.

 

This is the house we rent & my husband refreshed the garden in Autumn so it looks great in Spring.

These are Australian native flowers: Flannel Flowers. They are protected and must not be picked. What beauty they have and delicacy in their texture. Normally they are found in bushland and recently as I drove back along a road which bordered a national park, these were at the side of the road. Naturally I stopped…to take photos.

That’s my Spring News.

And for this year my last contribution in 2021 to the lovely friendly space called Sunday Stills.

I am taking time out for self-care….and blogging less.

My Monday Link Up #LifeThisWeek continues each week. You are more than welcome to link up a post, old or new, on or off prompt.

I love connecting via social media, and I sure will be there from time to time.

Thank you to Terri, and Marsha who hosted a while back and to Natalie.

My post, going out on Monday 27 September , shares more.

I hope wherever you are there is wellness and brightness around you…and follow this instruction as I will too:

Denyse.

 

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Going For (Harvest) Gold…Colour Challenge. #SundayStills. 114/2021.

Going For (Harvest) Gold…Colour Challenge. #SundayStills. 114/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for September 2021 and this one was for me a challenge in itself but I went for GOLD….(Harvest Gold) as our Australian sporting commentators would say about Olympic Competitors….and trawled through my images.

I find colour and its detection can be a personal thing and often a subtle one.

For example purple has different hues that can be red based and blue based.

So, I have selected  images from nature and my art and that’s how I’ve “gone for (harvest) gold”

 

 

My drawn and coloured collage. I see lots of ‘gold’ shades here.

 

In the local bush area near our house, as the more brightly coloured wattle begins to fade it darkens and I can see a more gold-tinge.

 

 

The  shades of gold are more apparent in the deepest part of the daisy. I think it’s a daisy. I just know I love these for their mandala shapes!

 

 

And mentioning mandalas , this one I drew and coloured  has some different shades of yellow into gold which could match the criteria for harvest gold.

 

Beauty in this plant, with tightly curled petals and some withering capture the more faded gold effect I see.

 

One of my art designs where I can see a semblance of the harvest gold could be in the blending of some of these…imagination required.

 

A large free flowing floral design over a background of gentle yellow with some added more orange/gold highlights might squeeze into the category too.

 

I look forward to reading others’ interpretation of this colour challenge prompt.

 

Denyse.

 

 

 

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Going Back IS Possible But… #SundayStills. 111/2021.

Going Back IS Possible But… #SundayStills. 111/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for September 2021 and this one is very thought-filled.

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

Going back….to school, to work, to University happens in the southern hemisphere in January and February.

I see that this happens to our friends in the northern hemisphere around now as Summer fades to Autumn.

I am used to “back to school” advertisements on TV for shoes, stationery and more. I am very familiar with the “back to work/school” feelings too. The letting go of leisurely life and back to alarm setting and packing lunches…

However, I am here to add more images and what they mean to me about going back.

Starting and ending  with  images and quotes which I believe:

 

And my photos with my “going back” words.

Through my head and neck cancer years, I would have to go back to my surgeon for frequent  checks and to have more surgery. Here I am back at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse with cakes of appreciation for my team…and going back over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to go back home.

 

There’s a part of me that would go back to this day with then not quite 2 year old granddaughter. Here she is at our then local GP surgery, waiting for my appointment. I had come to Sydney to mind her while her parents had other appointments. She is holding the Teddy we gave her to commemorate her birth. I would LOVE a hug from this girl soon once lockdown is over…and she is now, 8 years old. Still has her bear.

 

This selfie taken by me, is having taken my Dad some meals, and spent the morning with him, I am on my way back home. 2 hours away. I will be going back here as soon as lockdown is over because he is missing my home cooked meals AND he is very much over being unable to socialise with others where he lives in an independent retirement unit complex.

 

 

The three images above are from our trip down memory lane, back  to where we met in 1970. Last year we saw some of the sights we remembered and of course had lots of nostalgic conversations but both agree, we would not go back to living in an area that could not care for our complex health needs…sigh. The things you have to consider at “our age, over 70”.

 

 

In January 2006 I visited the west coast of the U.S.A. and did day trips to various places, including Alcatraz. I loved San Francisco area, reminded me a lot of Sydney. I would love to go back but with covid, ageing and not much spare cash for travel, this is not on. But I always say, as the song does, I left (a part) of my heart in San Francisco.

 

 

I know I will go back here. To this part of the Freshwater to Curl Curl boardwalk. It won’t look exactly like this of course, but it will still be there. And the views. Just need lockdown (again!!) to end.

 

 

This drink, double shot piccolo, at my fave cafe in Wyong, will be where I will be going back…(insert the familiar phrase about lockdown)

 

And this quote sums up some of my thoughts about going back too.

Do you think you can go back?

If I could change one thing it would be about some financial decisions. However, seeing I cannot do that, I can learn from those times!

Denyse.

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Murals, Walls, Silos & Art. #SundayStills. 108/2021.

Murals, Walls, Silos & Art. #SundayStills. 108/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and beyond when Natalie from here hosts for 3 weeks. This week is the final. Thank you Natalie, and welcome back Terri next week.

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

When I saw “colourful murals” as a prompt for this week’s Sunday Stills, I thought I don’t know that I have any images of these nor would I know where to find any where I live.

But wait, it only takes some noticing doesn’t it?

Then I began to remember where I knew there were  some near us, on the New South Wales Central Coast of Australia…..

The side wall of my favourite cafe in Toukley. Sadly closed until lockdown ends.

 

Set in a seaside area, this theme of seas and waves is about “no bad days at BluJs”

 

Next to the library at Toukley is this mural reminding us of the Canton Beach activities in Summer.

 

And, from the wall of the amenties block at Soldiers Beach is this testament to the whales who pass by on their way north each winter, and back south each spring after calving.

 

Information about Whale Migration next to the mural.

 

And again, on an amenities block in Toukley Village close to where I go grocery shopping is this visual portrayal of the area near where we live.

 

Now these may not be traditional  walls but they sure are walls. Of wheat silos. In Australia this has become quite a phenomenon. This photo from our trip in October 2020 to Barraba where I was teaching in my first year. It was from Barraba that I went to a function in Tamworth and met the man who became my husband over 50 years ago.

The farmer here portrayed with a ‘water diviner’ stick, looking for underground water.

 

There is no rule a mural cannot be from nature is there?

I love seeing this wall come to life each Spring. Sadly it’s at our local big shopping centre which for us has been ‘out of bounds’ since late June 2021.

This creeping flower was one my Mum loved.

When I go to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (my cancer hospital) in Sydney, I always stand next to the mural outside…signs more like it…but they mean a great deal to me. I also shot this image of my husband inside the large corridor within COBLH which has extensive images and more to share the cancer care that is patient centred and research driven.

 

And finally, I reckon some of my art might look good as a mural…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have colourful murals in your local area?

Denyse.

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Lots To Share Afloat. #SundayStills. 105/2021.

Lots To Share Afloat. #SundayStills. 105/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and beyond when Natalie from here hosts for 3 weeks. This week is the second. Thank you Natalie.

I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri & Natalie are in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday. This is the prompt: Afloat!

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

Afloat: A Sydney Harbour Ferry.

I love a good ferry ride when I can visit Sydney. This time, however, was one to make memories for me, just before we left to go to live further out of Sydney on N.S.W  Central Coast in 2015. In the background is the Sydney Opera House and a little part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Grandma was happy to take H for a day into the city and part of our excursion, before he started school in 2013 was a ride on a ferry! Being outside you see the best. This part was where the ferry was starting to back away from the wharf at Circular Quay, and then would turn around for our trip to Darling Harbour.

The Sydney Opera House. So splendid from the harbour. Best views from the Ferry. This was finally opened in 1973 and I still marvel at it. I have attended many events there.

Outside, always, for me and another view back towards the Sydney Opera House, with the Botanical Gardens in the background.

I don’t mind a bit of chop on the water and it makes for extra splashes and fun. What a great background showcasing Sydney’s well-known landmarks. The rock building is called Fort Denison and forms part of Australia’s white settlement past.

This a Manly Ferry, photo taken in 2014. Many of these have been ridden by me and my family over the decades when I lived quite close to Manly. These days the much larger ferries are no longer in use & one is moored close to Darling Harbour. This one is a medium-sized one. Often too, they are using speedier ones. Sad in some ways because the 40 minutes slow(er) ride on the Ferry to the City had an air of calm. Unless you were in a hurry!

Afloat? Not always. 

In April 2015, we had already moved to the Central Coast and a weather phenomenon called an East Coast low arrived. For 5 days in rained (and more!) and blew dangerous winds which felled trees. We lived here, close to the water and we could not get to the cars unless we wore gumboots. We had no power and after three days my husband ventured very gingerly out in the white car to bring home a generator and a portable gas stove. The generator was awesome and kept phones charged. Power was restored and then it was a matter of waiting for shops to re-open as their perishable food had to be thrown out as did ours.

Not our boat but moored close to our rental accommodation…I spent a lot of time taking photos and videos as a distraction from how awful the time was.

This was the result for one of those boats. NOT afloat. But “OAR”some photo!

Staying Afloat…

This dear little granddaughter, back in 2016, keeping herself afloat in her ‘lifejacket’ but mostly holding the hand of her Papa and feeling much safer in the shallow water at Norah Head Rockpool.

That’s my take for Afloat for Sunday Stills.

Denyse.

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Found: At The Lake! #SundayStills Colour Challenge: Burlywood. 99/2021.

Found: At The Lake! #SundayStills Colour Challenge: Burlywood. 99/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and beyond when Natalie from here hosts for 3 weeks.

I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri & Natalie are in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday. This is her prompt: “Colour Challenge: Burlywood”

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

Introduction.

This colour is not a favourite, I admit straight up. It formed part of my school uniforms back in the 1950s and 1960s so “beige, brown, light brown” are not colours I wear nor enjoy seeing much (unless the brown is CHOCOLATE) so I did have to look closely for examples of this colour I had never heard of before. Maybe it’s not known by this name here in Australia? Anyway, I did not have to go far it seems. Just to visit the Lake.

On My Walk.

We live about 15 minutes drive from water like this: part of Tuggerah Lakes, a huge saltwater lake system. This beach is called Canton Beach and whilst there is a lot of water, much of it is shallow. Popular with families in the summer time.

For me, a chance to photograph the scenes and those who enjoy its environment.

This is What I Found:

in my eyes, to be Burlywood, on the shore and surrounds.

The sandstone

The weeds harvested from the lake ‘browning’ in the sunshine

The sand

Even the clear water where sand is seen.

 

 

 

 

 

So I think I responded to the colour challenge: Burlywood.

Do I like it any better? Not really but in nature I see it has a place.

Denyse.

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How “Heart” Helped Me. #SundayStills. 96/2021.

How “Heart” Helped Me. #SundayStills. 96/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri is in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday. This is her prompt: Images Inspired by Favourite Song Lyrics. Come and read to see what I did for this post!

As many who follow me know, I was diagnosed with a rare head and neck cancer back in May 2017. The whole set of posts is here on this page.

What I went through and what I needed to go through took, at times, so much courage even being scared. I was, in the first year, always driven to Sydney (2 hours from home)  by my husband for surgeries (yes, 4), post-op checks, and to Westmead for the Prosthodontist to do his amazing work, to eventually give me some teeth.

Then, from March 2018, I was ready to do this for myself. The Westmead visits anyway. They were tiring, in some ways boring, but very much needed for my prosthodontist, in photo with me top right, to do his measuring and more. I also had I.B.S. then too, so would become worried about having an attack whilst there and so I needed to do my best to encourage myself and to keep the worries and fears of the times in check.

MY head and neck cancer team.

I found singing outloud in the car really helped me. It released the ‘feel good’ chemicals to reduce to fear chemicals. I love the words too. I am a musicals type of gal…as they say but have never seen this one. I just happened to hear it on a 50s collection. I played it over and over…and then some. I continued to use this song as I drove from home to the M1, by that time, I had settled emotionally and could change my auditory choices. I only recently played it again. First time in a year or more and it helped

 

My car.

Now you know my reason for this one. HEART! And of course, I make hearts on the sand and see hearts in nature too!

Even listening and watching the You Tube clip now makes me feel warm and fuzzy and proud of myself for getting through very challenging times by myself and with my own strategies. Some of THE words which mattered to me:

[VAN BUREN]

You’ve gotta have heart

All you really need is heart

When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win

That’s when the grin should start

You’ve gotta have hope

Mustn’t sit around and mope

Nothin’s half as bad as it may appear

Wait’ll next year and hope

When your luck is battin’ zero

Get your chin up off the floor

Mister you can be a hero

You can open any door, there’s nothin’ to it but to do it

You’ve gotta have heart

Miles ‘n miles n’ miles of heart

Oh, it’s fine to be a genius of course

But keep that old horse

Before the cart

First you’ve gotta have heart

We’ve got heart

All you really need is heart

When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win

That’s when the grin should start

[ROCKY, SMOKEY, LINVILLE]

We’ve got hope

We don’t sit around and mope

Not a solitary sob do we heave

Mister, ’cause we’ve got hope

source: https://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/d/damnyankeeslyrics/heartlyrics.html

 

I LOVED writing this post, sharing the images and of course: Heart.

Denyse.

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