How Pets Save Humanity

How Pets Save Humanity

COVID-19 has affected our lives massively, and pets have emerged as an integral part of coping with the pandemic. Animals provide us with unconditional love, reduce stress levels, and help fill social isolation gaps society faces during these trying times.

Consequently, the world has seen a significant rise in animal adoptions and purchases. According to PetRescue Australia, over 2.3 million pet lovers jumped on to PetRescue during the first few months of lockdowns in our country, collectively contributing to over 49 MILLION page views. 

In just three months, 20,350 adoptions were successfully made.  

According to experts, these are the unique qualities that make pets so valuable for people worldwide during COVID-19.

Pets Can Pick Up On Your Emotions

Pets can sense your emotions. So whether you are happy, sad, depressed, or tired, your pet always knows it and will try to give you company to put you in a good mood. Moreover, you can share all your feelings with your pet without getting unwelcome advice. Pets are great listeners, and sometimes, simply saying things out loud can help you overcome troubling thoughts triggered by COVID-19.

Pets are a Good Source of Laughter

Pets are incredibly adorable and funny. If you have ever watched your dog chase his tail, or your cat startled by noise, or your parrot copying your sentences, you have probably had a good chuckle.

Remember that pets love human attention. And if they notice something they do gets them your focus, they will keep milking the moment to make you laugh, and laughter is the best medicine to relieve stress.

Pets Can Accompany You on a Walk

Even during the pandemic, it’s impossible to stay at home all the time. Change of environment is essential for the brain to stay healthy, and going out on a walk is a great way to achieve that. Whether on a leash, on your shoulder, or in a stroller, you can always go out with your pet to say hello to your neighbours from afar. 

Pets Are Safe To Hug

While touching humans may not be safe during COVID-19, you can still snuggle with your pets to feel relaxed. Currently, there’s no evidence that pets transmit this disease, and therefore, hugging them is completely fine. According to experts, snuggling your pet will produce a feel-good hormone called oxytocin and lower cortisol levels, a hormone responsible for triggering stress, anxiety, and depression.

Pets Help You Spread Happiness

Nowadays, both TV and social media are filled with depressing updates about the pandemic. However, during these tricky times, a cute photo of your cat, dog, hare, or parrot can add joy to your loved ones. Besides, it’s the simplest way to bring a smile to the faces of people who are close to you. All you need to do is take a picture or make a video of your pet being adorable and share it with your loved ones through text, email, or social media platforms. Indeed, nothing makes people happier in a stressful situation than a funny pet photo or video sent to them by a loved one. 

Interesting fact to ponder:

Pets can help you survive a pandemic.

During the 1918 flu pandemic, pets were used to help detect infected people and alert doctors before they got sick. They were also used as guards in quarantine camps to protect humans from one another during this time of crisis. 

Pets are a wonderful addition to any household, and they provide many benefits for the owner. One of these is an increased sense of well-being when times get chaotic or stressful. So if you got a new pet over the last 12 months (or know someone who did), we would love to see your pics! Use hashtag #ponderingspets- we want to hear about how this furry friend has changed your life or helped during periods of isolation–we’re sure there are lots more stories out there! So grab those camera phones and snap away while giving us some good feels with your pics.

PetRescue is a national animal welfare charity with a vision of a future where every pet is safe, respected and loved. https://www.petrescue.com.au/about 

Kirsten Macdonald

Kirsten Macdonald

Writer

Ponderers and counting...

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Clockwork Chaos- Finding Time When You Have None

Clockwork Chaos- Finding Time When You Have None

Time became my most valuable treasure when there was a threat to my long-standing rental agreement on planet earth. The most important aspect just became time. You are healthy until you aren’t. Two brain surgeries and defying a terminal diagnosis skilled me up some.

I am not too busy; I am a productive person with a full life. There is a time to eat, a time to play, a time to sleep, a time to work and a time to pray. There is a big creamy dollop of self-care in the mix, too.

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Reshaping how you feel about time and having enough of it can be often tinged with overwhelm, anxiety and exhaustion in a busy world. All the things we have to do can subconsciously build-up becoming an oppressive shackle we see too late.

I don’t often feel overwhelmed with the fullness of our life. It’s a skill set I had to learn, and it is with cautious optimism that I write it down so it may be useful to someone else out there.

Many people ask me how I ‘get it all done with a large family, successful businesses,  a homestead to which I am a mother to many adopted farm animals (including three ridiculously sweet alpacas), a writer, epilepsy, narcolepsy and an inoperable aneurysm that requires tender loving care as I try my dandiest to send it on its way. People can deliver the question with a note of intrigue, concern that I may be burning the candle at both ends or admiration. The answer is that time is a commodity, and I spend it wisely, and in the voice of Moira Rose, I spend it on my bailiwick.

 

You are reading the words of someone who literally counts each day as a blessing. So wasting Time is counter-intuitive and equivalent to pouring gold down the toilet.

 

There is stuff to be done, people!

Your long term success for healthy life promotion, smiling more and living a full life depends on it. The bonus is feeling good about purpose, meaning, inner achievement, and science tells us this is great for living longer and healthier. Who can argue with that?

 

This is where the inner conflict around self-discipline can kick us up the butt. We need to break it down into bite-sized pieces to help deflect the overwhelm.

Self Discipline Without Self Punishment

Self-discipline starts with managing realistic targets for ourselves, and this becomes the building block of a routine. Why are routines good for us? According to the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, the consistent presence of structure, routine, and regulation within a day positively shapes us. Keeping it really simple and small to begin with make this achievable rather than setting yourself up for disappointment or unrealistic expectations.

In another study, Ouellette and Wood found that repeated goal congruent behaviour and self-control formed good habits and positive feedback. Tick! The goal-setting theory lies within the domain of purposefully directed action. When we set goals and achieve them, we feel good. Simple. Start small too, steps not leaps are the building blocks; when we use goals like muscles, they build up and get nice and strong and next thing you know- self-discipline has us feeling the warm and fuzzies. No pressure!

Routine

Routine brings rhythm and habit into our day to day life. Rhythm is important, and studies also show the human body responds positively to a natural, synchronized routine system. Our minds depend strongly on patterns and healthy habits to stay healthy. When we create a routine, a rhythm to our life, we are more likely to achieve our goals without too much effort- energy conservation right there, right? When I say goals, I mean- the stuff you want to do or change, aspire to or get at.

An in-depth study titled Routines and Meaning in Life shows a life characterized by routines is associated with a more meaningful life through extraordinary experiences and its daily living.

 

For example, each morning, I get up at 5.30 am, meditate, stretch it out in a yoga class, exercise class, write, sit in prayer time, along with a healthy breakfast, all enjoyed by 7.00 am.

 

I know some people who have a run, shower and massage ritual with essential oils every day. It might be the act of sitting with yourself in the quiet. People in my house are just starting to stretch their arms and yawn to the new day, and I’m good to go. I can hear people telling me to piss off now, but your body will get used to it and love you for it. Our bodies respond well to routine- you will get used to it.

This time allocation is brilliant for creatives too. The space in between is when we touch the ether, and ideas drop into form.

This is in beautiful alignment with the next one- non-negotiables.

Set Aside Time Blocks of Non-Negotiables

What are non-negotiables? Nothing interferes with this one. For example, you may decide to use an hour every Monday morning to make all of your phone calls or appointments; no other outside interruptions are allowed to interfere with this- it’s not up for negotiation.

 

Your non-negotiable might be setting your alarm at 5.30 am and doing the self-care regime. We use NN’s on holidays- there must be a day of fishing or hiking and time each of us gets to spend recharging or having some alone time. Each of my vacation days begins with a routine of Yoga, meditation and prayer, then the rest of the day is up for grabs. It starts with a question- what are the things I want and need to do?

It is your time. I never get time for myself is no longer in your vocabulary.

Sunday nights in our house are family Hygge nights, and it’s non-negotiable.

This practice of blocking time off also gets your brain prioritizing it as necessary, rather than an event or task easily swayed by others. Particularly helpful in families with demands from others, by using non-negotiables you are scaffolding yourself with self-care with this one.

 Boundaries and non-negotiables are incredibly powerful in life in general.

Keep a Rythmn (not a schedule)

Some people, myself included, have time blocks for the whole week- including all the main aspects of my life. Media events are booked often a month or two in advance, along with appointments with doctors and kids stuff.  I often organize catch-ups with friends well in advance too. It isn’t non-flexible- it can bend and shape with life- because that’s the way life is, and flow needs to be an element too. You can even make a block for “nothing” if you want to. If it’s a non-negotiable, it goes in the “NN” category. I like to remove the word schedule and use daily rhythm with time allocations.

 

Time allocating like this sounds anal-retentive, I know. But before you roll your eyes again (sheesh) it was amazing how my body and mind positively responded to this in rehabilitation after brain surgery. I was blind and learning how to walk and do basic tasks for months; I couldn’t read a book, study or watch TV to pass the time. So I partitioned the day into blocks, breakfast, meditation, physio, coffee time, living classes, OT sessions, lunch, afternoon sleep, visitors, afternoon tea, meditation, long shower, audiobooks… you get the idea. This process helped me track time and progress, with something to look forward to each day. My meditation abilities became reasonably impressive and were imperative for pain relief.

 

Today, nine years later, I have time set aside for rest every day.

Every.

Day.

If you are faced with a serious health crisis – you will have to. Why wait?

Get It Out of Your Head!

The reward for writing ideas down and getting shite out of your head are aplenty! A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that tasks we haven’t done distract us, and the simple act of making a plan to get them done can and does free us from this anxiety successfully,

“Simply writing the tasks down will make you more effective.”

You may want to keep a journal, a personal favourite of mine too. Sometimes this can be overwhelming, so a productivity journal is a game-changer. Ponderings have these at our online store- designed around all the things I had to remember on my road to recovery.

Brain Dump On Your Microphone!

Don’t have time to write? Use the microphone on your smartphone notes app to record everything from shopping list items to ideas, worries, things you need to do etc. It turns your voice into words that can then easily be emailed, printed or even sent as a text to someone (convenient for reminding housemates to bring home goodies).

Time Savers

Blinklist- have that book you want to read? Perhaps The 7 Habits of Highly effective people by Stephen R Covey- jump over to Blinkist. You can read or listen to the primary key insights of a non-fiction book in 15 minutes or less. I know, right? Complete book summaries read to you, and you might like it and want to read more.

 

Exercise -we all know it- exercise is good for you. My personal recommendation? Fiton. This affordable app is diverse and has quality, intuitive features. Every workout you can imagine from meditation mind workouts, Yoga, boxing, dance classes and insane hits from 5 minutes to an hour, beginner to advanced. It also features deliciously healthy recipes and advice in one space; this takes the pain out of meal planning for my large family too. The reminders and encouragement on this are levelled up. When you make it part of your daily routine, the feel-good factor is amplified. Bonus points- Halle Berry is on there too.

Time Savers continued…

Podcasts are my go-to for listening to the selection of outside influencers I want to give my attention to; listening to these while on the treadmill or an early morning beach walk is time conservation at its handiest.

Youtube– often a summarised version, the key gold pieces of podcasts, movie recommendations, which makeup to buy- Youtube is my go-to for quick tips, advice, reviews on products easy access on the go information. Don’t know how to apply the new primer? Jump on it. Need to grow your own vegetables and companion plant them to keep away the bugs? Want to quickly learn how to use Adobe  Photoshop? Whoomp- there it is.

The Ponderings App- apologies for the pitch but the whole reason we made it was for this topic alone. Our digital team created this as a passion project and a productivity hack for us all. I wanted one place to read about real people,  quirky stuff of the curious kind, find recipes, go to meditations we curated from around the world, get inspired, how to meditate and all the good shite. It cost a fortune, it was worth every penny and even has a chatzone for subscribers, discounts and coupons from our sponsors. It will continue to grow and evolve. You can access the app on any device simply by going to App.ponderings.com.au on your website browser. No need for downloads.

 

 

Give It Up To Gain

When the calendar felt like a doomsday clock; I had a wish list of things that would make my life easier and give me more time. I realized that if I wanted something badly enough, I would need to give up to gain.

My wish? A cleaner half a day a week. I needed her more than my long-held hair and beauty regime. The money I chose to save on extras like this I used for my dear Kylie. She is a miracle worker and does the heavy stuff that makes the house feel nicer and reduces background stress. (I also couldn’t really see the toilet bowl.)

You might have something you want to give up to gain. Smoking in return for health, news in favour of documentaries on positive living. You might give up the beers and give the money to the Salvos, and it makes you feel amazing- you catch my drift.

Less time worrying, more self-care and the exhilaration of achieving your goals from using your Time with meaning creates a life doing the things you enjoy.

Being conscious of the value of your time and using it sustainably helps you have a more awesome, less harried and far more fulfilling life. Time is precious, and none of us knows how much we have in this story, so go forth and claim yours.

Your soul’s journey in this time and this place must be honoured. There is no compromise on this, it’s not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. So take that clockwork chaos and turn it into a life with purpose and permission.

Do you know someone who might get something out of this? Click here for the E-book version

 

 

References and Resources for further reading

https://www.recovery.org/pro/articles/bringing-balance-back-why-you-need-routine-and-structure/

https://bpspsychub.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjhp.12504

http://users.wfu.edu/masicaej/MasicampoBaumeister2011JPSP.pdf

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29936091/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378489/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146167218795133

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00560/full

 

Brazendale, Keith & Beets, Michael & Weaver, Robert & Pate, Russell & Turner-McGrievy, Gabrielle & Kaczynski, Andrew & Chandler, Jessica & Bohnert, Amy & von Hippel, Paul. (2017). 10.1186/s12966-017-0555-2.

 

Kirsten Macdonald

Kirsten Macdonald

Writer

Ponderers and counting...

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The Moving Tide of Mama Kin

The Moving Tide of Mama Kin

Photo credit Jarrad Seng | Words Kirsten Macdonald

It’s hard not to pull the lever on the floodgate and release a stream of adjectives to label and describe the flow, ebb and tide that is Danielle Caruana- or Mama Kin as she is affectionately and professionally known. 

There doesn’t appear to be a spectral envelope, no single point or sentence to adequately describe her. There’s no denying the lady is a muse, and so I found myself stumped. There was only one remedy; I pressed play on our sound system in the garden, got my hands deep and dirty in the soil and planted seeds, tending to our veggie patch. 

On the last day of Summer listening to her soulful music, I stopped to sip a well-earned gin and tonic and smiled, remembering exactly who Mama Kin reminds me of! Polyhymnia. 

Yup, I’m on the money. No waxing lyrical here, listen to Mama Kin’s song Rescue (loud) and then indulge in her TED talk or refreshing live performances on Youtube; you will nod and maybe shout me the next round. Yes, I know, I resorted to the Goddess trope, but if you are into ancient mythology- you hear me. 

There’s an intimacy and directness to Mama Kin’s music, poetry and storytelling. Her coppery voice, combined with blues + roots music climbs right into your heart like a bloody ladder. 

She’s an impressive person. Nominated for ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album, she’s a WAM Award-winning TED Talking, and Philanthropic Musician.   

We ponder with Mama Kin.

Often, online performances from artists from their home feel very intimate and connective as an audience, but as the musician, is it difficult to get immediate biofeedback?

I’m not sure I’ve adapted yet, to be honest. I dip my toes in here and there, but I mostly find that what calls me most right now is very up close and immediate. I am more interested in who I am in my own community, with my immediate family and friends. My sense of pace has changed considerably. 

I have lost all romantic notions about travelling around endlessly chasing gigs, and I’m looking for something I can do from home. I have always wanted to write a book! So now I am dabbling, with huge encouragement from my kids and partner. 

I still want to connect with audiences and people in general, so that is the question I am asking myself- How can I connect with the wider world in a meaningful and viable way, while staying connected to home?

 

“They are completely different platforms. I don’t expect the same from one as the other. One is quick and has very little attachment to it. I like their differences. They compliment each other.”

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? 

In my fantasy land I wake and then meditate, maybe some pranayama, chanting, stretch and then go for a walk and a swim before coming home, making a juice and feeding the chickens, all before the rest of the house has woken. At this stage, I would then sit myself at the spotless kitchen table and do creative writing for 30 – 60 minutes. 

In reality, it is a bit of a rolling thunder. Most mornings, I wake and scan my body for where it is at and what I might need to do to kick start it into shape to meet the demands of the day. I then shuffle out to the kitchen and check my phone, I wish I didn’t do that first, but to be honest, I generally do. 

I love not having the phone in my bedroom through the night (except if my kids are out), but I still haven’t broken the habit of waking up and checking it first. Recently I have been trying to get straight out of the house for a walk and a swim in the Woodtichup Bilya (The Margaret River). I then come home and make my juice. I am usually mustering my 14-year-old son into whichever activity he needs to be up and happening for that day while simultaneously checking in with my email world. I am homeschooling my son at the moment, so our lives are fairly tethered to each other. It is kind of like being grounded; it is super grounding. 

 

I squeeze in work in between the cracks of what he needs from me, I squeeze in writing and singing, walks with my dogs, catch up with friends and visits with my horse; I squeeze it all in around him. Right now, he is my key focus, and it feels like a rare and fleeting gift, and I am so pleased I have the perspective to see it for the incredible opportunity that it is.

 

If you had one question you could ask a sage ancient mother what would it be?

 

I think I would like to know how to realise my ultimate potential while still holding space for the people I love, being fully present to them, and helping them realise their own potential.

 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

“My mum told me never to stop trying. I understand that she means to keep the drive alive in your mind, body and spirit. Embrace life fully with curiosity and wonder. I see that in her, and she is 87 and spritely as a teenager!”

Your contribution to the Music Industry is astounding! Can you tell our readers in a sentence the vibe of the The Seed Fund?

The Seed is a philanthropic fund set up to support emerging Australian artists and arts workers. In its 15th year now (wow), we have distributed well over 1 million dollars in funding and initiatives. Our cornerstone initiative is the annual Future Makers: Management Workshop, where we bring together 30 self-managed and managed musicians for a four day live in deep-dive intensive.

Your music, events, The Seed, Ted x talk etc., the list seems both inspiring and endless. What is next for you? 

My biggest love is the power of storytelling. I’m fascinated by narratives and the power they have to shape the banks of the rivers that they flow through. I love fiction. I love the power of prose. I’ve enjoyed playing with storytelling through songwriting, and now I think I am ready to dabble in longer form! 

Sometimes I would like to create a multidisciplinary theatre piece. I would really like to create a conversation series around obstacles and narratives, but I feel under-qualified. It is just what I am naturally drawn to. So, in summary, I think I’d next like to write a work of fiction that explores narratives within narratives. Hmmm sounding a bit like I have no idea what I am doing, but I am pondering over scraps of clues.

What is your favourite song to perform? What does it mean to you?

Oh, you’re asking me to pick my favourite child! It depends on my mood. The one that springs to mind right now is a song I co-wrote with an artist from America, Aaron Embry, which I recorded on my We Two Thieves project with Emily Lubitz and Dave Mann. The song is called Only For You, and I LOVE the sentiment and the harmonies in it. There is a section that builds and builds, and I can’t sing it without my heart swelling and a huge smile erupting across my face. 

The song is about being loved and embraced by the natural world around you, and when the harmonies kick in, I feel that universal hug resonate, vibrating love in my whole being.

We love your TedX talk about taming “David”, your inner Tyrant. Sharing your story and inner workings, your “David” was vulnerable, empowering, insightful, and so bloody relevant! (not to mention the perfect balance of raw and funny!) We applaud your “surrender muscles” and honest account. (readers scroll to the bottom for the TedTalk) 

 

How is David now?

 

David is a wonderful passenger and a terrible driver. He is a brilliant navigator and can pack the car within an inch of its life. He sometimes tries to convince me to let him drive, sometimes he even tries to execute radical coups to have me forcibly removed, but I know better, and I remind him that I’ve got this, and I need him to stay right where he is, and could he please pass me a drink.

 

What would you be doing right now if not playing music?

 

Well, I am not playing that much music, so what am I doing? I am homeschooling my son, writing small works of fiction, doing some local creative collaborations, preparing my 18-year-old daughter to leave home, trying to learn more raw plant-based meals. I’m in a creative lull of sorts, and I like it.

 

If COVID19 had a theme song, what would it be?

 

Strange Girl by Laura Marling. The album dropped soon into the first lockdown in WA, and that song became a love song to this time and each other. Once the regional borders opened my daughter, and I went on a month-long road trip and that song, and album, was the soundtrack to that trip. I will forever remember her golden hair flicking in and out of the window as we sang along to I love you my Strange Girl, my Lonely Girl, My Angry Girl, My Strange…”, as we rode the white speckled black ribbon through the red dirt country. Heaven.

 

Treehouse or cubby house?

 

Teepee… so I suppose cubby!

 

Check out more of Mama Kin and her latest release on Spender, called Are You Listening available on all streaming platforms. Additionally, this collection of story vignettes which accompanied the release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuYCFpzEE4M&t=10s diving deeper into the Listening journey.

www.mamakin.com
www.mamakinspender.love
www.theseedfund.org

PS- her song -Rescue- can someone in the Netflix series industry please use this song as a theme? Waiting patiently….

 

Note for the non mythology geeks- (unlike yours truly): Polyhymnia was an ancient goddess, a muse often depicted as pensive, eloquent, wise and meditative-Polyhymnia, the goddess of lyric poetry, sacred music, song, and study the stars, geometry and meditation. 


On behalf of Mama Kin: In acknowledgement of  the Wadandi / Pipelmum traditional custodians of the country upon which I live, love, learn and create. I pay my respect to their elders – past, present and future – and thank them daily for their age-old custodianship of boodjara, and their ongoing generosity and trust in sharing their culture, kinship and language with us all. Always was, always will be.

 

Ponderers and counting...

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The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

Fancy a cosy corner or a warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness? 

If you love an ambient pub or fireplace chats with warm cookies and great company- there’s an excellent reason! It’s a Hygge vibe. 

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland and Denmark take first and second place as the world’s happiest countries. What’s the secret? Quite possibly Hygge! According to the Danes, our northern counterparts; Hygge- pronounced “hue-gah” or “hoo-guh is a Norweigan word that falls under a cultural category, meaning -a hug without the touch. 

For the linguaphile -the word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy”. Hygge stems from hyggja which means “to think” in Old Norse. Hygge is built from the Old Norse word hugr which later became the hug which means the soul, mind, consciousness. 

Meik Wiking is an expert and author of The Little Book of Hygge. According to Meik Wiking, the practice of Hygge is charming, cosy, wholesome but with a sprinkle of sinful snacking like chocolate. 

“Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to the cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight”. 

Ponderers, there is even a Hygge cookbook – ( I ordered it, and the recipes are most certainly sinful) Click here to check it out  Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge.  

How do we achieve that fuzzy feeling of Hygge? 

Well there are so many ways to have a Hygge moment or make time for Hygge, but the fundamentals according to Meik are; 

1) Light! Ambient light. Ever wondered why the Scandi style is so focussed on lighting?

The design aesthetic and colour temperature are essential to creating Hygge. Candles are also HUGE; the Scandi countries are the largest consumers of candles in the world. We have some for you here – the wonderful folks over at Angel Sent Candles have a Hygge range and they’ve shared them with us at www.shop.angelsentcandles.com

2) Presence- get off the phones and be in the moment! 

3) Pleasure-

Think cakes, pastries, hot drinks and lollies! Here’s the link to that book again if you didn’t see it already- Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge  

4) Equality – We over Me

Sharing is caring. Share household chores. Share attention and listening. Share your love for those around you.

5) Gratitude-

 

Take it all in; this might be as good as it gets.

 

6) Harmony,

 

We already like you, no need to mention your achievements or the current political environment. You get the drift.

 

7) Comfort, cosiness, blankets,

 

Take a break and relax. But Hygge is humble and slow, not expensive. Ugly warm socks and homemade cookies are more than acceptable vs champagne and heels. Simplicity and modesty are crucial components.  

 

8) Truce-

 

No drama and a sense of belonging will ensue. No topics of tension and arguments must be put to one side. 

 

9) Togetherness,

 

Build a narrative, play a board game. Do you remember the time we…? Oxytocin is released when we are physically near someone, its called the hug hormone, so Hygge away! Cooperation, trust and love are the buzzwords here. 

 

10) Shelter,

 

This is your tribe and a place of peace and tranquillity. 

 

Sounds wonderful right? 

Every home I have lived in; the first thing I needed was a cozy corner. Always. I love nothing more than snuggling up in my favourite chair, pooch at my side, a candle burning, a cup of herbal tea, soothing music and if it’s winter- that fireplace earns its keep. 

So after reading Meik’s book, I decided to introduce the family to Hygge night- Sunday evenings would be dedicated to pure Hygge-ness. 

We rolled out our new Harry Potter Cluedo game, put the earlier made cookies on a plate, made some dutch cocoa, grabbed some comfy blankets, pillows and dimmed lighting all topped off with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. Phew. It was pretty magical. A cringe-worthy moment of wholesome indulgence. 

I was very tired, so I snuggled in on the couch with the bunch and watched on picking broccoli seeds and enjoying the merriment. It was beautiful. 

Then the dog farted- no one had explained Hygge to him so totally not his fault. Kind of ruined the vibe. When I looked at the aforementioned hound with a raised eyebrow, he stared at me right back; I imagined a Seth McFarlane Brian Griffin-Esque voice “stupid humans.”  

Have you got the Hygge vibe?

Check out our Pinterest curation of all things Hygge and the video below for further awesome ideas. Go to app.ponderings.com.au to get the Hygge links or check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

We partnered with Angel Sent Candles – here’s their new Hygge range of candles. 

PS- 

“The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.” 

https://worldhappiness.report

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Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Mayor, Committee Chair, Advocate, Mother, Businesswoman, Consultant and Author, amongst other delightful discoveries- this reads like an à la carte menu of achievement. However, amongst the glaring lights of success, it is the sunny, fresh-faced honesty and integrity that has you standing in the shine that is Stephanie Asher. 

Many describe you as being very positively driven with an abundant flair for leadership- did you have someone in your life as a child who inspired you or a role model you believe influenced these aspects? 

My parents were career-focused and managed to balance their work ethic by providing my sister and I with a happy and healthy childhood, which I consider the ultimate privilege.

My dad has always been incredibly focused on values and the importance of a society founded on sound moral values. At the same time, my mum is extremely social and managed the connection between work relationships and friendships very well. I learned a lot from them both, and I’m grateful every day for their emphasis on a good education.

 The leadership aspect probably comes about because I see solutions quite easily and over time, I’ve learned to voice them and own them. As Rosanne Barr said, “As a woman, no one is going to give you power, you have to take it.”

Do you believe a growth mindset is a skill someone can learn? 

If that means a focus on abundance rather than a fear of scarcity, absolutely. And once learned, it’s so important to keep remembering – to bite down on that panic that we are not enough and that we may miss out.

There is a huge sense of freedom and confidence in shifting from the marketing-driven ‘need to compete’ to a spirit of generosity and appreciating that there is actually plenty for everyone. 

If you could only use three words to describe your perfect day; what would it be? 

Sunny, active and fun.

Have you had a crisis that transformed into a valuable learning experience? 

Probably more than I’m prepared to put in writing! Travelling alone to Europe on a one-way ticket four days after turning 21 was filled with challenges and mini-crises, but the year away backpacking was life-changing. 

One example was arriving in Nice late at night to no accommodation, and my plan to sleep at the train station was foiled when it closed at midnight. I ended up sleeping (with one eye open) on the beach, which was vaguely terrifying and decidedly uncomfortable as it’s not sandy! Learning to survive through challenges provides inner strength.

What is a habit in people you find irksome? 

I’m fascinated by people, and I find that the most irritating traits can also be funny. But sniffing is annoying and licking a knife is disgusting and more than a bit dangerous.

 What are you reading right now? 

 The Gina Rhinehart biography by Adele Ferguson.

 Favourite movie of all time? 

 

I have the memory of a sieve with movies, but seeing Watership Down as a kid had a major impact on me, not least because the music was so powerful. All-time faves are probably Zoolander, Happy Gilmore and anything Monty Python because I laugh out loud every time I think about particular scenes. 

 

What inspired you to write The Footy Lady, and if you could choose one resonating memory from this experience, what would it be? 

A mutual friend connected Sue Alberti and I, and we clicked at our first meeting over coffee. Sue’s life story is so colourful, so dramatic and such a powerful demonstration of the power of grit and resilience to transform lives. It was impossible not to want to write about it! The unexpected aspect of being Sue’s biographer was the inspiration she provided to me personally about never giving up. It is a message that is so important to women, in particular, as we face many hurdles and a lot of them are invisible. Sue literally keeps showing up despite constant knockbacks, and she is always flawlessly groomed and brings a beaming smile. My resonating memory is of Sue’s beautiful smile and wicked sense of humour. She is a winner.  

Favourite genre of music? 

 

My taste is so eclectic it’s ridiculous. I grew up with dad rocking our Saturday mornings with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Diamond, The Fifth Dimension, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. I then spent my teens and 20s in Melbourne’s live music venues being a ‘friend of the band’, had a housemate for seven years obsessed with 70s metal and now my daughter is valiantly educating me with current artists. Having said all that, I do have a soft spot for 60s soul.

I feel as though you have a solid collaborative and progressive impact on Geelong and district, which is positive at least and in a dignified way that gives a flourish of class and excitement. This kind of cohesion in a council once described in less favourable ways is inspiring. The legacy seems to have changed course significantly- in light of this, what do you believe is intrinsic to happiness and productivity in a complex workplace? 

 

Thank you for your very kind words! Be assured that I don’t work alone; I have a great group of councillors around me who are part of that shift to professionalism and collaborative spirit.

For happy and productive workplaces, I believe acceptance is really important – acceptance of other people, different views and new ways of doing things. I always distinguish between tolerance and acceptance because tolerance has a condescension about it, whereas acceptance is kind and generous.

A sense of fun is also mandatory wherever I spend significant time and effort – if you can’t have a laugh, it’s not worth being there.

Professionally speaking, accountability is critical. I manage large people-centric projects as a consultant, and high-performing workplaces are focused on getting things done and clear accountability. When people know their role and the timelines associated with tasks, they can function more effectively. Opacity and incompetence go hand in hand.

Treehouse or cubbyhouse and why? 

 

Both are hugely appealing, but I’d opt for a treehouse for the view and the perspective. And the birdsong!

 

What message would you like us to ponder?

 

 It made a huge impact on me when I chose to embrace uncertainty in life. At 27, I chose a career as a consultant and set up my own business. As a female, I could see the challenges ahead with trying to have a family in a permanent corporate role. The alternative – uncertainty – has the benefit of flexibility and freedom.

Having moved from Melbourne to the surf coast 20 years ago, I have a non-local perspective, and I suspect it’s my city upbringing that allows me to see how regional areas can struggle with change and lack of certainty. 

Once we accept that change is inevitable and that it can be positive and exciting, there is the chance to then look at what we can influence and what we can’t. Fighting change usually means missing out on the opportunity to control that change. 

My observation is that the people of Greater Geelong are starting to see the benefits of managing change well. So many people say Geelong has great potential and I believe that if we continue to work together to manage our regional growth in a sustainable way then we will realise that potential. 

It is such an amazing region – I call the Bellarine ‘the best holiday place to live’ – and I am confident we are all of a similar mindset that we want to prosper at pace, but in a gentle and sensitive manner.

To find out more about The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Geelong, Ms Stephanie Asher- (her well earned title, eloquent don’t you think?) head over to: 

https://geelongaustralia.com.au/councillors/article/item/8d540963de6a0dd.aspx

https://geelongconsulting.com

Click here to get your copy!

Bought to you by Stephanie Asher- Susan Alberti- The woman from the working-class suburbs has battled boardrooms, cancer, diabetes, open-heart surgery and shed 59 kilos—half her body weight—on the road to recovery. She has stared down adversity and prevailed.

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Love Letters From The Ukulele Dream Girl

Love Letters From The Ukulele Dream Girl

Romance to survive Covid, thanks to a novel Valentine’s Day gift from an Adelaide Fringe artist and Love Letter Enthusiast.

When dating options took a hit during the height of Covid-19 social distancing restrictions, Adelaide Fringe artist, Phi Theodoros, put down her ukulele and turned to her pen to keep the romance alive with her partner through the art of the love letter. 

“Lock down was a real catalyst for people to slow down so it was a nice return to handwritten love letters when my partner had to move back to Brisbane in late March. Through the nostalgic thrill of sending them and the anticipation of a reply, I became aware of how this simple joy had been lost in the pre-Covid times of busy nights out and fast-typed words in Messenger,” says Phi.

“This is why I decided to do something to help others rekindle passion and encourage new ways to express their affection for their significant others or others-to-be.”

“For everybody who buys tickets to my Adelaide Fringe show, Ukulele Dream Girl – Love at a Distance, before Valentine’s Day, I invite them to contact me directly so I can offer a little, personal serenade to them and their beloved during one of my shows,” she says.

Ukulele Dream Girl – Love at a Distance uses song and storytelling to explore different perspectives of distant love. More relatable now than ever while we strive to maintain genuine human connections with loved ones in the world of instagram, facebook and social distancing.

It covers Phi’s long distance love story alongside Tinder Casanovas, high school stalkers, mental health and migration. This poetic journey is more than your typical love story.

To celebrate love during Valentine’s Day, Phi is offering a personal serenade to couples who pre- purchase a ticket before Feb 14th. To find out more, romantics are asked to message Ukulele Dream Girl directly via Facebook or sign up to her mailing list to receive an exclusive discount code.

The Lark at Gluttony – Rymill Park

East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

20, 21 and 26th of February at 5pm

5, 6, 7, 8 of March at 5pm

Tickets – Full Price $25, Concession $20

Show Dates & Venues:

Laneway Garden Stage at Mixed Creative

20, 27th of February at 8pm

28 of February at 7pm

Tickets – Full Price $25, Concession $20

Tickets available via: bit.ly/LaaDFringeTix

Email Phi via storyteller@phitheodoros.com or 0401 517 082 for enquiries relating to

interviews, group bookings, media/reviewer comps or accessibility enquiries

Thanks to the Department of Premier and Cabinet through Arts South Australia and Adelaide Fringe.

 

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Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

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