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It has taken some time to get around to writing about this pocket-sized book, and that is because reading it once isn’t enough. Seeing as it has sold over 12 million copies, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is bound to be in one of your bookshelves. If it is, I highly recommend fishing it out and having a squiz (that’s Australian slang for ‘taking a look’). Otherwise locate a copy in the nearest (online or physical) bookstore and pop it into your shopping basket.

Viktor Frankl chronicles his experiences of surviving in concentration camps during WWII and writes about finding hope and meaning when humanity seems at its worst. He details his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning and explains three psychological phases of the concentration inmate’s reaction to this painful suffering.

The book is divided in two parts with a postscript added in 1984, ‘Experiences in a Concentration Camp,’ ‘Logotheraphy in a Nutshell’ and ‘The Case for a Tragic Optimism.’ I can’t say it was enjoyable reading about the horrors of camp life, the atrocities of the war and the degradation of fellow human beings. Nevertheless, this is an amazing testimony to the strength of human spirit and the tragic optimist who sees hope when utter despair and pain has broken so many others.

Frankl writes using an unusual combination of a personal and clinical style of writing, fostered by his practise as a psychoanalyst. He discusses his idea of meaning and explains his psychotherapeutic theory of logotheraphy.

In brief, according to logotheraphy meaning can be discovered by:
1. creating a work or doing a deed
2. experiencing something or encountering someone (such goodness, beauty, nature, culture, and loving someone)
3. the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering

The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day-to-day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment… One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

There is so much I can share about this book; the way it made my heart swell sometimes, or choke back tears at other times. The spiritual strength and belief which blossomed despite the repeated attempts to crush it. The reality check and renewed appreciation for my own life. And the feeding of my hunger and longing to search for meaning and becoming a better person.

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It’s been a busy week and I began writing three different posts, without actually finishing any of them. Writing can be a delightful experience for some, while it’s a hair-raising horror for others. I probably lie somewhere in between the continuum, because for me it’s an expressive mechanism and a learning process which still needs a lot of cultivation and hard work.

I came across a website for author Jerry Jenkins,  who expresses some of my feelings about putting pen to paper (well…typing on the laptop):

Do you love writing?

Actually, what I love is having written. I find writing particularly grueling, but I do enjoy the editing and re-writing that makes each project work…

Here is an article about making changes and daily routines by Trudi Drewitt. Hopefully my writing will develop into a habit, but one that doesn’t become stagnant and thoughtless.

Click on each page and zoom in to get a larger image (so you can read the article!).

What are some habits you have/would like to change?

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Hello fellow SkippingStoners (oops, that doesn’t sound too good!),

As you saw by my last post, I’m back! Yes, I know it’s been a while. I know I know, I vanished without a trace, no explanation or anything.

I was kidnapped by evil bandits and held for ransom. It took my friends and family almost 2 months to gather the total amount the bandits had demanded and once they paid them back I was set free. They refuted my pleas for internet access, lest I send out an SOS to you and/or others.

Alright, the story didn’t quite go like that. The evil bandits were called “life” and the ransom money was my sanity. Or something like that.

Thank you so much to those who kept visiting and a special mention goes to Ratz who almost sent federal agents in search of me. I have loved your comments (what blogger doesn’t like comments!?) and I hope to keep giving you a reason to come back here.

You might be wondering, what next? You have seen some of the posts I’ve written in the past, and there will be more to come.

  • Latest and Greatest series (does one post classify as a ‘series’?)
  • Article reviews (because I read a lot of articles)
  • Pretty Pictures + Quotes Post (why keep them all to myself?)
  • Day-to-day observations, musings and imaginings
  • Article-style posts on events I attend and/or media work I *fingers crossed* manage to find
  • Snapshots captured here and there (and over there)
  • Movie reviews etc.
  • Guest posts (this is a call out to friends, other bloggers and writers)
  • Creative creations and thoughts (I will try to restrain myself from posting too many quotes, but I love them!)
  • …and there might be a few surprises along the way 😉

I aim to post once a week, give or take. I realise the internet is a very fast medium, so please be patient with me, for I did say it was the ‘pitter patter’ of my return.

Please leave your comments for feedback (constructive criticism is welcome), your thoughts, ideas, discussions and whatever you may fancy.

And now to leave you with a little thought…

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I’ve been tagged! The fiery miss Jaded Vixen tagged me to re-post my very first blog entry. “To see how things are different now, if you write differently, if you write about the same topic, if you did a “hi this is why I’m blogging” sort of post or if you just got straight into it. Then you tag five people to do the same.”

I am tagging Steph- TheRealSydney, Ratz- What Can I Say!, Laura – Perceive Me, Gig – Gigdiary, and Slaveboi – Waiting for the light to change.

My first blog was at the start of the year, when I kick started my wish to write and blog.

What do you think of my first post? I am pleased to be reminded of that poem by Nancye Sims.

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Skipping Stones

January 3, 2010 by skippingstonesHello Everyone,

Happy New Years to everyone across the globe!

So far, ‘everyone’ consists of people who I have so kindly informed of this fledging little blog, and myself. It has been an increasing desire of mine to begin a blog and so I have decided it would be my way of beginning the year by acting on a dream that has been growing throughout 2009.

What do I hope to achieve out of this blog? So far I don’t have the answer to this question…perhaps it will come with time. For now I would love to share some funny, meaningful, whacky and heartfelt thoughts and stories that no doubt will fill 2010 and the years to come.

To begin my endeavour into the blogosphere I have some inspirational words from writer Nancye Sims, whose poems have reached me through forwarded emails and then my happening upon her website: http://nancyesims.com/

Here are a few lines from her poem ‘Some Definitions of Success’ (1996):

When you live for today, rather than in the past or for the future.

When you stop looking for happiness, and start giving it to others.

When you want less of what you can see and more of what you can’t see.

When you know the value of love and value it above all else.

When you need something to stand on, and your standards speak for themselves.

When you are touched by the beauty around you, and the world is touched by the beauty in you…

 I am looking forward to this new and exciting endeavour and where it will take us. Enjoy!

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This also made me think about Steph’s post today on TRS, “What is your blog about?”

I am starting to get a better direction with my blog, but there are plenty of new things to come!!

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Remember those rosy days when you were carefree, happy and your heart was brimming with love for the world? Ok, so maybe you don’t remember or you’ve never had those days, but my point is – we tend to romanticise the past.

Reminiscing about the good old days… with friends, family and in our wishful thinking. There is a good chance that it WAS much simpler back then. But I have another theory – It is partly due to the fact that we already got through the moment that we see it as ‘easier back then’.

When we were in high school, for instance, studying for the HSC government exams was a massive pressure that took up a lot of our head space, energy and time. But if you moved into the workforce or university (or both) after this period, then the realisation hits you that it was really just a baby step before being flung into the wide world.

Maybe now it seems easier…but at that moment it was big. It was hard. It was something.

It can be lovely to day dream about the good past, and remember little events, transient moments and previous treasures. If we went back, of course it would be easier, because of who we have become. But that doesn’t help us now!

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

So until it’s done (whatever it may be) this quote + picture combo is going to make me smile.

Just watch me 🙂

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Just imagine. You are relaxing on the comfiest cushions in the world. There are no problems in your life and your closest friend walks in. Surprisingly, they too are perfectly problem-free and you sit down to have a nice long chat together. You discuss all that is wonderful and fairy dust sprinkles itself over your magical little world.

What would you be really talking about?

It seems to me, problems, struggles, troubling issues and disagreements make up a significant portion of our daily conversations. Of course it is likely that many conversations do not include any of these things, but what if they were completely eliminated from all our conversations?

Conversations might get a little flat if, for instance, you couldn’t complain about the inconsistent weather reports by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, or the horrid smell in the train carriage that had you ‘getting off at the next stop’ (secretly running to the doors of the next carriage).

Yes, we all complain about different things in our lives – but is it always a bad thing?

When you delve deeper into the issue, into more meaningful heartaches, head sores and anxieties, there is a greater issue at stake. Talking about light and fluffy frivolities and even the great joys of life, can be exciting, healthy and should be encouraged more often. Nevertheless, there is some merit in laying aside the happy for the more problematic issues that life throws our way. Take the blog www.mamamia.com.au for instance – many of the commenters find support through an online community that shares, discusses and argues (albeit vehemently at times) issues they face.

In ‘real life’, I would argue that bonds and connections between friends are especially deepened by the sharing of problems, and working through them or hopefully overcoming struggles. Even if it is the mere expression of a frustration, having that person next to you and nodding along can be reassuring and supportive.

Quite often, when we connect with someone, the sharing of problems (no matter how small or large) plays a role in the relationship.

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