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Posts Tagged ‘Inspire’

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 while since I have posted, but let me tell you it was worth the wait. I present to you a short story by my gorgeous sister. Next week I will review the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl.

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Layers of time eroded by my hands to reveal a piece of the past. Harsh sunlight exposing two skeletons imprisoned in an embrace. Feeling as though I am intruding on their privacy, I photograph the find. The exact date undiscernible as yet, an estimation of 4,000 years old. Awe lights up my face. To look upon these bones, unscathed by time, fills me with infinite thoughts, feelings, and emotions I cannot identify.

The surface of this land is lifeless. Beneath a blanket of red earth, a treasure trove awaits. It is difficult to comprehend the age of the earth, the millions of years for which life has existed, the millions of years that humans have existed. To grasp the insignificance of the individual gives me freedom. I am a microscopic part of the big picture, one person among the billions who have existed.

I realise sadly they will never be remembered. Their story, their love. Who are they? Imagination does not satisfy. I stare hungrily at the remains, thinking in some strange way that staring at them long enough would tell me what I need to know. The boundaries of time provide barriers almost too large to overcome.

I don’t notice him until he’s right beside me, a presence barely tangible against the attention held in my mind by the skeletons. I remember how to smile. Not a word is spoken, he hands me an object and leaves. I get back to work. Slow, steady work. As the minutes ooze by, I remove more and more dirt from the find, revealing the white bones. The skulls are now completely exposed. I take pleasure in quiet work, the vast openness of the site muffles any sounds.

Looking closely at the bones, searching for answers, I realise there are minuscule threads of fabric wedged into their necks. Leaning closely to investigate, I hear a rustle behind me, and turn around to find my answer. A scroll lies between the feet of the skeletons. I have always been fast at reading, deciphering the hieroglyphics is no problem. Realisation dawns, and I look around frantically to see where he is. But the site is empty, the disturbed dust gently falling back to the earth. He is gone.

I look around once again and see, for the first time, the flowers he gave me before. A cluster of striking red roses, bright against the dull red colour of the earth. Memories re-surface; the endless stares he gave me, his seemingly innocent interest in my work, in carrying my equipment for me… But it is too late. He is gone.

Looking at the scroll lying between the skeletons, I whisper in my mind I will remember you. Looking at these spoils I do what I’ve always done. I continue my treasure hunt.

                                  *                   *                    *

He looked over across the metres of land that separated them. Silence as she works. Two years they have worked together. She has found something, her expression betrays her awe. Hazel eyes devouring up the sight.

Re-focusing on his hands, he realises he has uncovered an object. Hoping to receive that identical look of awe from her, he dusts off the red dirt and a scroll is revealed. His heart sinks; it is nothing of value. Something is recorded on the scroll in a style of hieroglyphs he has studied previously. Knowledge from the past, rusty and unused, strained to comprehend the muddle of pictures and contours filling the scroll. ‘Record of death’ Curiosity awoken, he reads further on… ‘Female and Male. Condemned to death on the 2nd day of the 9th full moon. Found dead in cell. Cause of death: Strangulation’. He discards the scroll from his thoughts, mind turning to the inevitable passing of time. His eyes turning to the gift he bought for her.

The flowers will soon dry up, so will his courage. The walk over is quick, as if the two long years of anticipation meant nothing. On the way, in the split seconds before he arrives by her side, he becomes aware of his surroundings. The sun, high above on its throne of blue, looking down on him with warmth and encouragement. The dusty, silent site divided into taped-off sections, each holding a piece of history. The tranquillity of this world, which can be shattered in one moment.

Unnoticed, he pauses to appreciate this instant which will soon become a memory. But will he treasure that memory? He turns to her, a question in his eyes.

A smile! But her eyes are vacant. He knows, at that point, that she lives in the past. Acceptance stifles the brief moment of anguish and doubt. She stares at the skeletons with a fierce longing he cannot comprehend. Unnerved, he hands her the flowers anyway. She turns away immediately, back to her work. It doesn’t matter. This is the end.

Back turned to her, he begins to walk away when a flash of creamy-white among the red, dusty earth catches his eye. The scroll. Of course. He walks over to her one last time and places the scroll at the skeleton’s feet. By the time she looks around for him he is a speck in the distance, watching, waiting. She returns to her work. She has what she wants.

The sun beat down on the barren land, shrivelling the flowers, forgotten by her side. He shivers. No comfort from the sun. No warmth from the sun.

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*I took this picture of the harbour bridge in one of Sydney’s usual, beautiful sunsets. Enjoy 🙂

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Surprise Surprise!

Alex Perry Show 2009 Rosemount Fashion Festival

I’m not in the habit of doing giveaways but I thought it would be a nice gift to show appreciation for the support you’ve provided and perhaps to get a few more people commenting and interested in dear ol’ SkippingStones 🙂

What’s the prize?

2 x Tickets to a Show and Glass of Wine on Saturday 28th August, 4pm at Sydney Town Hall, NSW. This is part of the 2010 Rosemount Fashion Festival. I went to one of the shows last year and found it very exciting!

Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival Myer Miss Shop Show:

“Join Ruby Rose at this exciting event as Myer celebrates Miss Shop’s 25th Birthday! Check out the latest looks and new brands in the Miss Shop department including Milk & Honey designed by Ruby Rose, Miss Shop, Blue Juice, Tokito, All about Eve, Minty Meets Munt, Motel, Quirky Circus by Mink Pink and more!
Ruby Rose will be personally styling her Milk & Honey collection before making a guest appearance on the catwalk.”

Alright I’m in! Now please tell me, how can I win?

Send a meaningful picture + quote combination you have created and/OR finish this sentence in 25 words or less: “The language of fashion is…”

Send to skippingstones@live.com.au or post as a comment.

One last thing. You can follow me on twitter if you so wish. Or at least check it out 🙂

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City2Surf 2010: UPDATE

It’s the annual event, the City2Surf, where masses of people run, walk, skip and strut approximately 14 kilometers from Sydney CBD to the famous Bondi Beach.

Right now I am at the ‘back of the pack’, briskly walking with some friends and praying that ‘Heartbreak Hill’ isn’t as devastating as it sounds. This is my first time entering the race, which raises funds for chosen charities every year.

I will update you about the day in the next few days, including the moment I crossed the finish line, any celebrities I managed to glimpse, the general atmosphere and any obstacles along the way.

Click on this link to see what all the excitement is about. It’s the largest race in the world!

UPDATE:

Well I did it! Along with two other friends, this first time-participant has achieved the same glory as approximately 80 000 other people in saying they completed the 2010 City2Surf. To be honest with you, it went by fairly quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it (well, minus the long queue to catch a bus from Bondi to Bondi Junction train station).

The weather was sunny, cool, bright and perfect for the race. Organisers recommend bringing warm clothing for the start of the race, especially for those in the Back of the Pack (we have to wait until the ‘real’ runners finish the race). Perhaps I overcompensated by wearing an old red turtleneck (skivvy) with a singlet, City2Surf top and jacket; but as the race progressed we had the opportunity to throw out our clothes onto the ground to be later picked up the the girl guides and donated to The Smith Family.

By the time we crossed the START line we had already walked a few hundred metres and as everyone passed the starting mats, a wave of excitment filled the air. For those that participate non-competitavely, the crowd is part of the entertainment as groups parade their costumes, or raise awareness about a campaign, with some businesses using the City2Surf as an advertising platform. I was amazed by the number of parents who took their children in strollers and ran through the crowd at the same time.

The best features of the race were the beautiful views which coloured the course, the rush of crossing the finish line, and the time spent with my friends as we encouraged each other and appreciated the beauty and buzz which surrounded us.

The most difficult part was not Heartbreak Hill, but the last kilometre of the race. By this time we just wanted to finish already, the crowd was getting thicker and it was getting harder to weave in and out of the groups. So we decided to run down the last few hundred metres and happily pick up a participation medal along the way!

While waiting for the bus to Bondi Junction we spotted former Australian Champion surfer Layne Beachley.

Altogether it was an amazing experience and one I hope to repeat next year and in the years to come.

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My first guest post is from Victoria Robson, who kindly gave me permission to post this beautiful list which I first encountered over at her blog: Sweetwatermelonhearts.

She writes:

katrina (deerspectacles) and i set out to each create a list of a hundred words that we personaly think sound wonderful. some of these words you may agree with, some you may not, but to me they sound beautiful.

I have to admit, there are a few words getting written down on post-its because I don’t know what they mean. I enjoyed reading this list because it’s cute, inspiring, allows me to reflect on a few things and adds to my vocabulary.

Thank you Victoria (and Katrina) – you can see some of her talented polyvore designs here.

Make your own list of five words that sound as pretty as song or pick your top five from the one above.

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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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Pull my strings.

 

There is something so magical and breathtaking about this image. Puppets and chess pieces…a familiar metaphor for life but used originally in this image.

* This is not my picture

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