The Number 36

The Number 36

Here’s a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special?

In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler’s Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an American track and field athlete. At the Berlin Games, he won 4 gold medals. Hosted in Berlin, Germany chancellor Hitler opened the games, and much of the world would be fooled with propaganda. Many international guests were unaware that the regime had temporarily hidden anti-Jewish signs and the roundup of Roma in Berlin. 800 Roma residing in Berlin were arrested and placed under guard in a special camp in the suburb of Marzahn. Jewish sportspeople were unable to compete. Boycotts rumbled but never took off. Interesting fact; Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas convinced Owens to wear a pair of his sneakers and Jesse became the first sports-sponsored African American. 

Zoologist, activist and superstar academic David Suzuki was born in 1936. The advocate for swift climate change response is a leader around the world and an expert on nature. His foundation states: The right to a healthy environment is the simple yet powerful idea that everyone should be able to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat safe food and to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.

 

“When we forget that we are embedded in the natural world, we also forget that what we do to our surroundings we are doing to ourselves.”

According to Jewish legend in every generation, there are 36 saintly people Lamed Vav Tzadikim who will save the world. Unrecognized by their fellow humans and unknown even to each other, they are said to pursue humble occupations such as artisans or water-carriers.

36 is the perfect number. Perfect number: a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its proper divisors. The smallest perfect number is 6, which is the sum of 1, 2, and 3. 

+36 is the country code for Belgium 

Ethel Scull 36 Times was Andy Warhol’s very first commissioned portrait and the genesis of his business- making portraits at the request of wealthy celebs. 

36 Gods assembled the various parts of the first human before Tāne, the god of forests and birds breathed life into its nostrils, according to Maori legend. 

In Numerology the number 36 represents energies that accomplish creative goals for helping humankind.

A checkers board has 36 tiles.

1836 (MDCCCXXXVI) was a leap year and is the year Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico. 

Pontius Pilate, the guy who gave the order to kill Jesus, died in 36CE. He was also a Roman knight. 

Harvard University was established in 1636. 

Barbara Streisand has 36 Studio Albums.

Marilyn Munroe, Bob Marley and Princess Diana all passed away tragically at age 36.

Last but not least in gematria (a form of Jewish numerology), the number 18 stands for “life”, because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, meaning “living”, add up to 18. Because 36 = 2×18, it represents “two lives”. (Zwerin, Rabbi Raymond A. (September 15, 2002). “The 36 – Who Are They?”)

Now I wonder if you start noticing the number 36? If you do, drop us a line! media@ponderings.com.au 

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Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald

Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an in-depth tale. 

Themes of friendship, bullying and complex relationships in an authentic narrative will leave you pondering. Threads of history, romance and mysticism are explored in a backdrop fuelled with sex romps for good measure. 

“This book is for hope. The whole message is to prevent suicide events and to make people aware of what they say to each other, be careful what you say because you don’t know what the other person is going through,” says Author Dacre Danes. 

The protagonist of the story; Danyon, is severely bullied and suffers from violent trauma from his years of mental anguish. With support from his best friend Blake and newfound friendship with his school bully Dash, Danyon comes to realise his suffrage from being bullied might just be a gift of individuality. 

Author Dacre Danes joined us to share his excitement about his book, five years in the making. 

“I have always been a writer since I was given a typewriter for Christmas when I was ten. I have always read books; books are like trophies for me. [the book] started as therapeutic for me to get a few things out, and then I remembered lots of things that have happened to people and stories. A lot of the inspiration has come from my experiences personally and other people I know. I want this book to get into the hands of people that need it, especially people that are getting bullied. I want them to realise they have a gift, they’re here for a reason, and there is hope.” 

A parallel war story throughout the novel touches on human relationships in the past, and this juxtaposition Dacre says is like the war of bullying. 

“You had to be at war then, but we don’t have to be at war with each other now,” Dacre says. 

The book touches on what Dacre describes as “magic realism” which he uses to explore the character’s blackouts and other symptoms. As a reader, you are left wondering if Danyons spiritual and mystical experiences are clairvoyance or a diagnosed illness. 

There are also underlying themes throughout the novel that explore the LGBTQIA community. Dacre wanted Danyon to be an icon for those who did not feel the need to be labelled but instead fuelled by romance based on connection over gender. Dacre believes novels should be more accepting of this community, as “love is love”. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Dacre Danes is an ambassador for bullying prevention organisation Bully Zero. In partnership, Dacre will release a live podcast called Bull Rush, which is in conversation with Bully Zero CEO Ali Halkic. Dacre is also an ambassador for Equi Energy Youth and the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association. 

 

“I have a hashtag called #iamdanyon, and I’m gathering people who have my book to upload a picture of themselves on Instagram with a hashtag because everyone has a story of mental health or a story of bullying. So when people tell a story, they can say, well I am Danyon as well,” Dacre says.

Danyon is Available at Barnes and Noble & Amazon along with all good book stores. 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/d-a-n-y-o-n-dacre-danes/1137436388

 Amazon;

 https://www.amazon.com/D-n-y-Dacre-Danes/dp/164999396X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1598054280&sr=8-1

 

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The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

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FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

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THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn’t always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler. 

When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge problem. Clothing and shoes bought online are the worst offenders, with 30-40% returned. According to research, 91 percent of those who ordered clothing online are not satisfied with fit. In the US alone, return deliveries will cost $550B in 2020 with this cost expected to soar globally into a $1 trillion issue3. Not to mention the often demoralising fitting room experience most women face thanks to the disparity between how clothes look on a model compared to real bodies of myriad sizes, heights and ethnicities. 

Mys Tyler (@mys.tyler) is revolutionising online shopping by offering women of all body types a new way to find clothing that actually fits their shape, size, and style. The free app matches users with like-bodied women across the globe, already shopping for clothes that will suit them.

Mys Tyler’s FIT algorithm and data from 40,000 real women is set to fix a $1 Trillion problem

Mys Tyler contributor April Watson

By creating an accurate picture of how items will look and fit on your own body, Mys Tyler will take the guesswork out of shopping, and save women from the inefficient (and often demoralising) trial, error and return cycle. A cycle that also has negative economic and environmental impacts. 

“We’re fixing a critical flaw in the world of fashion that has meant women have had to buy clothes off models or influencers who look nothing like them,” says Mys Tyler founder & CEO, Sarah Neill. “Until now women have had to imagine what clothes would look like on themselves, only to try them on with a shockingly low success rate.”

Sarah, a Sydney born and raised serial entrepreneur has returned home after a decade living and working in top tier startups in the US to build Mys Tyler. She explains that the industry has been trying to solve fit with size, with solutions like body scanning and virtual fitting rooms. “These tech solutions aren’t solving the human problem. As women we know fit is more than just size, it’s how clothes flatter our shape, complement our colouring and knowing how to style them. While current solutions have fallen short on solving fit, we believe that real women and a little bit of innovation can.”

Photo above:Mys Tyler founder & CEO, Sarah Neill.

The first-of-its-kind fashion app works in three simple steps:

  • A body quiz and Mys Tyler’s FIT algorithm matches women of similar heights, sizes, and skin tones;
  • Users choose to “follow” women whose style they like to create a personalised feed of fashion content that is both body and style relevant;
  • They can then shop their favourite items directly through the app.

“There are millions of women around the world who look like you, love shopping, and know what clothes best flatter your body. We help you find them”, says Sarah. At this time, Mys Tyler matches women to a database of hundreds of celebrities with a true range of heights, shapes and ethnicities

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

But while celebrities are real people, not all real people are celebrities, and so Mys Tyler is actively recruiting women from across the globe to share their fashion wins and help their #sizesisters, while also earning commission.

User-generated content from Mys Tyler contributors will be available on the app in the next app release. As Mys Tyler continues to grow, the app will make a move to focus purely on contributed content from real, diverse women across the globe. Mys Tyler is already resonating with women who have jumped on board to become contributors. Contributors, like these women below, who join early will receive “founding contributor” status and additional perks.

Above image: Robyn- contributor to Mys Tyler

“I love Mys Tyler for normalizing every body type. In a world where social media is rampant, has filters to ‘perfect’ your physical appearance, sets ridiculous standards for women, this is a much needed app to bring us back to reality. Show us that we are all beautiful no matter what our size is,” says @thebodzilla AKA April Watson.

 

Holly Richards @hollynrichards says: “As a plus-size woman, I was dubious that Mys Tyler would be a place for me. But then when I took the Fit quiz and was matched with a celebrity the same size and shape as me, I was so emotional! Finally, an app that includes all bodies. I immediately signed up as a contributor because I want to help people like me who don’t fit the “norm” find clothes that actually fit, make them feel good and look good!” 

“I absolutely love the concept because it’s important to realize that not everyone has the easiest time finding things that properly fit their body shape. It seems easy to go on Instagram or Pinterest and find styles and outfits you love, but sometimes when you try them on yourself you feel uncomfortable or even upset with the way it looks. Mys Tyler is a great way to find outfits that will look amazing on your body and to help find your personal style!” says Robyn @missrobynelizabeth_.

The revolutionary fashion app is a transparent and honest representation of how fashion looks on different shapes and bodies and it’s empowering the way women shop while combating the fashion industry’s trillion-dollar returns problem.

Mys Tyler is now available on the App Store and Google Play as a free download.

www.mys-tyler.com

@mys.tyler

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The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
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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

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald

These Asiatic black bear cubs’ names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam. 

FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals, creatures who are victims of human battery in varied and horrific ways. The organisation is a noble one, and their work includes projects in emergency rescue and ongoing care for a great range of different animals. 

This year, FOUR PAWS Vietnam rapid response team saved two bear cubs from smugglers from the illegal wildlife trade. The legal and illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is a billion dollar industry. Bile farming is the process of breeding bears in captivity. The terrible conditions are made even more atrocious by the shocking bile extraction process from the bear’s gallbladder while alive; only to be sold in markets, restaurants, online and used in pseudo-traditional medicines. 

There are two types of rescue missions FOUR PAWS do to save these bears. One where bears are voluntarily handed in by owners willing to give up bile bear farming. Two: bears are confiscated from illegal traders. FOUR PAWS act quickly in a short time frame to rescue bears just like Nikko and Nara.

On the 21st of July, FOUR PAWS were notified of two Asiatic black bear cubs that had been confiscated by the environmental police from wildlife smugglers who were trying to sell the cubs online via social media.

On the 22nd of July, the small FOUR PAWS team made an 11-hour journey to Lai Chau Province at the Vietnam border where they rescued the cubs and brought them to their new home, Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh. 

“Both cubs were very stressed and huffed at anyone trying to approach them. The male is quite protective of the very timid female, hiding in a corner and nestling under him. They will now receive all the care they need to calm down and recover from a turbulent start of their lives. Both cubs are in stable condition, but slightly underweight. Our vets are examining them thoroughly, and once we are sure they are disease-free we will socialise them with another bear cub we rescued earlier this year from similar circumstances,” says Emily Lloyd, Animal Manager at Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

The Vietnamese Government announced on the 24th of July the banning of imports and trade of wild animals.

While this is promising after years of effort from FOUR PAWS and fellow animal welfare NGOs, the organisation hopes the Government’s efforts to enforce the ban will be effective. Still today, there are over 400 farmed bile bears in Vietnam. 

“Although the sale and possession of bear bile are illegal in Vietnam, it still exists as due to weak enforcement of the laws. We hope that this new directive and subsequent revised enforcement efforts will also affect bear farming and eradicate the illegal sale and possession of bile products,” says Kieran Harkin, responsible for Wild Animals in Trade at FOUR PAWS.

The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh where Nikko and Nara now live is a wildlife conservation education centre and a beautiful, safe home for these furry friends while they heal and grow. Nikko and Nara have made a fellow friend, bear cub Mochi. 

The sanctuary, which began construction in 2016, now has six outdoor enclosures, three bear houses, a quarantine station and veterinary unit, a feeding kitchen and an admin building.

It can house up to 50 bears now, but once fully finished with construction will be able to provide a species-appropriate home for up to 100 rescued bears. Currently, all 33 Asiatic bears in Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh were victims of bile farming and illegal trade. 

“Our bears often arrive with a multitude of health issues; some are obese, some emaciated, some are even missing paws or limbs from being trapped in the wild. Dental disease is common along with mobility issues and gallbladder and liver infections from the unsanitary bile extraction process.”

It is admirable the work FOUR PAWS do to give these bears hope for a better life and future. We asked FOUR PAWS spokesperson Elise Burgess, what does a day in the life of the Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh look like?

For FOUR PAWS, they do a variety of tasks, from essential rehabilitation and quarantine processes for bears newly rescued, to feeding, medication, general enclosure maintenance but also what they call “environmental enrichment”. 

“An essential part of animal care is ‘environmental enrichment’, which is necessary for the optimal physical and psychological well-being of our rescued bears. The five main categories of enrichment are sensory, cognitive, social, physical habitat and food.” 

“Our outdoor enclosures provide a complex environment where the bears can forage for food, dig, climb, swim, play, hide and rest, all things they would naturally do. In the wild bears spend the majority of the time they are awake looking for food. By presenting our bears’ food in different ways such as scattering and hiding it throughout their enclosures or using puzzle feeder toys, for example, we are allowing our bears to express this natural behaviour. Bears are thought to have the best sense of smell of all animals on earth, 2100 times better than humans! Therefore olfactory (scent) enrichment is particularly stimulating for bears, so on certain days our bear caretakers put out different scents such as cinnamon, or peppermint, for the bears to investigate.” 

Now, Ponderers, we hope envisioning bear cubs safe in a beautiful haven sniffing for cinnamon and peppermint brings you all the heart smiles for your day. 

You can donate to FOUR PAWS at their website, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates on the incredible work they do with not only bears but other projects around the world. 

If you would like to know more information about the Bear Sanctuary  Ninh Binh, follow them on Facebook, and when international travel is allowed again, go visit Ninh Binh! You can see the bears in their tranquil haven, purchase locally made souvenirs and enjoy some traditional vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese dishes at the onsite restaurant. 

 

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The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
Follow Us

Join

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

I Was Four When I First Saw Him

I Was Four When I First Saw Him

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

I was 4 years old when I remember my first interaction with God.  I was very scared at the time and feeling very powerless.

Remembering what my Nan had told me I gripped my hands together, and I prayed. I asked Jesus to help, to help me be brave and to help it stop. In my mind,  I could see beautiful fields of green, flowers and animals with a man sitting there. He did not look like the anglo version I had been shown in pictures. But that didn’t matter, I knew who it was. He asked me to come and sit. So under the covers of my blanket, hugging my rabbit tightly and squeezing my eyes shut just as tightly,  I walked to him and sat. I knew somehow that God was here. He told me all about the animals and how loved they were. He told me it was okay I could sleep now, to lay down my head. So I did. I fell into the deepest slumber of calm and wonder.

There began the discovery that would last a lifetime; a cryptic riddle. Did “He” stop what was frightening me outside my room at the time? I don’t think so. But, there’s a big but here; when I asked for help, it always came. Every time. Without fail. Did it stop perceived terrible things from happening every time? No. Would answers, guidance and calm come every time? Yes. Were the actions of others stopped? Not always. This started a lifelong search on the discourse of free will, divine design and science. I never told Nan that his son didn’t have blue eyes and blonde hair. But maybe we all have our own version. The other day my mother found poems I wrote as a child about my relationship with God. This friendship has been a constant in my life.

(Sidenote: I am using the word He because whilst I fight the suffocating patriarchal rule of hundreds of years, my experience of God is He. My understanding of mother is Her. I also have moments when I speak with God and right out of the pages of the book ‘The Shack’ Papa G is a woman cooking pancakes. We are so porous.) 

As I grew up, I sometimes forgot to ask for help, until I was well and truly tangled and in the darkest of messes.

My Nan once told me; if you feel distant from God, you’re the one who moved. When I did call out, I was sometimes so tired from the fight, a pile of torn pieces, it was then I  handed it over to God. In the surrender, the calm and answers would come. Forehead slap. Wouldn’t you think when you have a calming trick up your sleeve known since toddlerdom, you would whip it out every time? Faith is no party trick or soothing blanket.  It occurred to me in the last few years that intervention is a bit like a teacher telling a child the answers to a test. How do they learn if you do everything for them?

 

I have discovered through this journey with faith that life is indeed a quest. 

 

It occurs to me we indeed may be the sum of our collective choices as a species. Choices of our ancestors may have impacted our genetics, our sociological makeup and our DNA progression or regression. We may have very well created manipulated bacteria, atoms and technology for one purpose and ended with another unintended outcome. Our species most certainly has interrupted the lifespan of endangered humans and animals, along with botanical wonders of this planet. 

The myriad of choices we fashioned under this umbrella of free will is all-encompassing and has self-imposed consequences.

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Choices are very, very important. As a child, we don’t get many.

Grown-ups need to teach their children well, and as a parent, I know this isn’t an easy role. We bring these fresh little souls into the world. The gravity of the responsibility can be overwhelming, we are raising future adults, and our job is to teach them how to survive and how to be fair and how to be happy, how to forge ahead in times of difficulty and we need to give them the resources for life. I am so grateful my grandmother taught me the resource of faith. 

I was going to need it. 

When you sit in an office, and a surgeon tells you are more than likely not going to live long, life is never the same again. You question the very essence of your being, what does life really mean? You want to teach your children, hold them close and never break their hearts. But the fear is as giant as a building about to fall down and crush you. You see buildings are not frightening until you think one might fall. 

An aneurysm is a sneaky taker of lives, and I know from experience that bleeding in one’s brain isn’t a pleasant experience. There are moments during this time that are etched into my soul like deep cracks in concrete. One was the surgeon conversation, the other was the realisation that I would be blind. No one told me I would be blind. No one insinuated I would be. But a solid inkling arose that I would be blind for a time. I threw a huge tantrum that day, my one and only. My Mum was there. She asked me not to think negatively, be positive. I told her to fuck off. My poor Mama. That had never happened before, and she held that space like a champion. 

She stood there with me, I threw porcelain at the back wall. It wasn’t my finest hour. I knew I would be blind. Think what you will, but I knew it to be true. As we sat down on the grass and picked up all the shards of cups and saucers ( we usually throw eggs when we are upset -family tradition), I prayed. Again, a calm came. 

I remember the night vividly before my first operation.

With a house full of beautiful family and friends. Watching them interact made my heart ache so much because the stark reality was that this might be the last time I see them, a bit like a soldier about to go to war. It is a very unnatural psychological event. When everyone went to bed, I paced the grass, talking to God. I cried and told him how scared I was and how I wanted to be his miracle. I knew it was a big ask, but I would dedicate my life to writing about hope, I was doing deals. (It is a survival thing and very human thing to do- seems we cannot help ourselves.) In the nakedness of that moment, I felt the calm rise and warm me. It feels cliche to use these words, but for me, warmth, love and calm are the only words to describe grace and they are nowhere near adequate. I was guided to go to bed, sleep and all would be well in the end.  

I kissed my children’s heads and hugged them without frightening them, I had to get in a car and drive away with the thought of goodbye and see you soon rolled into one. I wrote letters to them. My fears went from where am I going if I do die? What if I actually do just become worm snacks and memories at special occasions- to -what is death? Will Travis give the kids the right guidance when their hearts are first broken? Would I be scarred for life? Would I wake up with my personality intact? No small fears. I kissed my husband goodbye and waved to him as I was rolled into a room and a needle put in my arm. How did I stay on the bed? Prayer. When fear knocked at the door, and faith answered; no one was there. 

When I woke up from brain surgery, I knew they saved my life, but everything that could have gone wrong did; and I had no sight- completely blind, could not walk, was hooked up to everything possible in the ICU, and I was calm. The operation went south, and the surgeon had to cut into a deep part of the brain, in the process the nerve operating eyeballs was injured. 

When I woke up and couldn’t see, I did not panic. I was prepared. It was all going to be okay. I would walk again, and my sense of humour was better than ever. Can I explain to you how I knew? Not in a million years. But thanks to this calm, I could focus on recovery and not get stuck in the trauma. My thoughts were; I’ve never been blind before, so what can this teach me? I also knew my sight would be restored regardless of what the doctors said, there’s that. I had a psychologist demand in rehab that I share my secret, where was all this positivity coming from? He was intrigued. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

 

The second surgery 3 years later for an aneurysm much nastier and much more dangerous bought a different experience.

This time there was a lack of reassurance coming about my ongoing existence here with my peeps. I did not know if I was going to be okay. In fact, every time I prayed, I got very clear its all in the air. Try that one on. Ouch. I had not dedicated my life to writing about hope. I had focussed on recovery and getting well, on life and living it to the max. I felt cheated. I did not want to go through all this again. Some people very close to me thought this was negative thinking, but seriously, regardless of my faith I knew in my heart my life was up in the air and then came the process of being okay with this process. 

Deeper contemplation and conversations with God went on for hours in those weeks leading up to surgery. The question arose- what is death? A word we give to the animation of our cells here and now. But what of consciousness? Was heaven, not some Zeus like an imaginary place in the clouds we humans conjure up to save ourselves the terrible notion of no longer existing? What if we romantically returned to the Cosmos as magnificent dust, part of the circle of life? Grown-up thoughts. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

 

Volunteering for total surrender in true faith is not easy, even for someone who has spent a life knowing faith consistently. There was no guidance saying you are going to be blind, you are going to live, you are going… it was just peace.

A deeper, more profound understanding began to unfold. It was a mighty and vast and calm joy without needing to scratch the human itch of satisfying conclusions. We, humans, get irritated when we don’t understand when the door and its mechanisms evade us. Closure and acknowledgement oscillate around us always. 

 

I did not wake up blind, but I woke up knowing. You cannot touch the ether without bringing the sand back on your feet, and the leaf you see on the surface is only the tip of a deeply rooted tree. There is much more but now is not the time. It will come. We are so visual, and limited. 

 

I can’t rely anymore on the wisdom of the world, because I have felt beyond it, behind it. An egg cannot go back into the embryo once cracked. Untangled from the clatter. An existential crisis creates a whole lot of magnificent possibility. This is not a test. This is not a punishment. This is a university with icebergs, trees and bad breath. We are magnificent, and we are loved. But we make choices, and they are a gift. So we have to spend them wisely. Death is not final. 

 

When you hold a personal truth so large in a world of cynicism and pain, hurt and disdain, you do not want to share it. Because when everyone touches it, holds it, questions it, it loses its lustre. The shine wears off, and it feels like a beautiful creature you let everyone pet until it tires out and dies in the corner. My choice has now been superseded by something much greater, the whisper in my ear to speak boldly about my faith. As Rudyard Kipling said, Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.

 

As a kid, I was bought up in a house that firmly stuck to the idea that you if you told other people about your beliefs you were shoving it down their throat or assuming your faith or beliefs were better than someone else. You had no right. Whilst this is based on mutual respect, I have discovered that for me, it leaves no room for the joy of communication or seeing each other without the small talk. 

 

The most incredible conversations I have had have been with Anglican ministers who have spent a lifetime studying God, Atheists who have spent a lifetime denying God, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Shaman and Wise women. When we speak our truth with respect, we are not condemning anyone else. I spent years studying religions of the world and different scriptures as part of an Anthropology degree (unfinished – turns out epilepsy, narcolepsy and short term memory loss are not conducive to the PHD dream)

 

One thing became evident through all that study; many of these religions- so completely unrelated and often at odds with each other shared a common truth; God is the name we give a creator, an architect so complex; defying human understanding and with a simple covenant; love and faith conquer.  It seems from texts cross-sectioned across faiths that many messengers have been sent to tell us how to survive. Many interactions have even happened with divine beings sharing the same names but in different times and different languages. Interesting right? According to many scriptures, codexes and scripts; we are pretty unique critters designed for continuing creation along with boo-boos. 

 

The words of these records have been translated, repaired,  interpreted, rewritten, repurposed and used in ways inspiring but also in some cases in ways most foul and corruptible; because the lure of power amongst the patriarchy is very strong. But when you start believing the power of people and not the message that sits in all of our hearts, we get in trouble. People start wars. Religion is the structure through which we experience and explore belief. It is a man-made construct, and in many cases, it serves as an excellent scaffolding for this purpose. Power, on the other hand, is anything but.  

 

“He wrapped himself in quotations- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.” R. Kipling

 

We wear the social narratives we are given like coats; the stories we are told form our own threads and layers. But sometimes we have worn them so long the fibres have etched into our skin, and we forget the simple truth; so long as you seek the light and open your heart to hope you will find it. 

Ponderers and counting...

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The Haunted History of the Hollywood Sign

The Haunted History of the Hollywood Sign

Written by Cassidy Krygger

Hollywood can be a pretty scary place at the best of times.

However, that is nothing compared to the real haunting going on at the Hollywood sign. There have been numerous reports for over 80 years of sightings of the supernatural. But the most common sighting is of a woman, dressed in 1930s clothing that appears and disappears in front of peoples very eyes.. So who is this mysterious woman? And why would she be haunting one of the most famous landmarks in the world?

The Hollywood sign is now an American icon. But in 1923 when the original HOLLYWOODLAND sign went up, it was just a real estate gimmick for the new housing estate in the Hollywood Hills that was originally only meant to be there for a year and a half. But after the rise of American cinema that developed in Los Angeles, the sign became an internationally recognised symbol of the industry. But on September 16th, 1932, the legend of the Hollywood sign took a sinister turn when the 24-year-old actress Peg Entwistle climbed up to the top of the H of the Hollywoodland sign and jumped to her death. 

Peg Entwistle was a successful Broadway actor in New York 

Who in early 1932, decided to make her way to Hollywood and try to make it in the relatively new world of the movies.

She quickly landed a small role in the movie Thirteen Women and was signed by movie studio RKO. But after watching her performance in the movie, RKO decided not to renew her contract. This devastated Entwistle and she disappeared from the house where she had been staying. The next day, a hiker found her body right under the H of the Hollywoodland sign. It was soon after that, that the paranormal sightings began. 

Hollywood was rife with rumours in the 1930s that Peg Entwistle was haunting their famous sign. But it wasn’t until 1940 that the first truly spooky moment happened when the H of the Hollywoodland, the same that Peg climbed over eight years earlier, mysteriously fell. And from that point on, there have been dozens of reports varying from witnessing a chilling white mist going up towards the sign and then disappearing, to sightings of a distressed female apparition dressed in 1930s clothing.  In 2014, Megan Santos was jogging near the sign and told Vanity Fair that she saw what she thought was a woman who was ‘walking on air’. Could this have been the ghost of Peg Entwistle? 

Today, the Hollywood sign is fenced off to stop people from climbing it, however, there are plenty of ghost tours that cash in on Peg Entwistle’s name and take groups of brave and willing people on hikes around the hills of Hollywood. I do understand the curiosity and fascination in searching for the famous ghost that haunts the Hollywood sign. Who doesn’t love a good ghost story?  But I think it is important to remember that Peg Entwistle was a real person who had aspirations and dreams like the rest of us. 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing depression, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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