I tire quickly of hackneyed phrases or words, one such word is surreal. Always on news reports the person indicates the experience was “surreal”, when their description suggests anything but surreal. So it is with trepidation that I address today’s daily prompt – whoa.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/daily-prompt-surreal/

So to my “surreal” experience. I have never been a great partaker in alcohol or illicit drugs, though in the past I did have one or two experiences with marijuana. One such experience is my “surreal” moment.

Before I left Australia for Brunei I lived in a South Yarra apartment. My neighbours were a young New Zealand couple, the guy worked as a security guard at a prestigious Toorak hotel. One of his favourite activities outside of work was “spotting”. Not sure if this is peculiar to New Zealand or not, but it is the process of taking two kitchen knives and heating them on the gas burner. Then putting the hot knives on to marijuana buds and sucking up the smoke through a bottomless wine bottle. Sounds wacky I know, but I was up for trying most things once.

The problem was this was a Sunday lunch time and I was supposed to be going out that afternoon to help with the race car. So one hour later I was picked up to go and work on the car. The drive takes about half an hour. In my state it really seemed like it took 2 hours. The first I realised was that everything seemed to be really slowed down, even slower than a slow motion replay. We talked all the way to the place where we worked on the car, but I answered really slowly. Even when we got there I was talking to Mike and Kaye and I was sure that I was talking in extreme slow motion.

I really don’t know if they noticed, I am sure they must have, but that was the most “surreal” experience of my life. I haven’t touched an illicit drugs since then and have no intention of ever revisiting them, it was too weird.

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Xing nian kuay le for all my family and friends who celebrate Chinese new year.

A Western Buddhist's Travels

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In Canada it is traditionally written as Gung Hay Fat Choy, which means “Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.”

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Sunday February 10, 2013 is the New Year according to the Chinese calendar, so tonight is New Year’s Eve.

 If your not Chinese, why not go out, or order delivery from your favorite Chinese Restaurant, and celebrate with over 1.3 billion people.

All pictures were shot by myself in Chinatown area of Vancouver, Canada, during the 2012 Chinese New Year Celebration. I am going out for dinner with friends tonight to celebrate.

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Todays daily prompt – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/daily-prompt-childhood/

My life is pretty wonderful now and that makes it hard to say what would you change about your childhood. The reason being that having life wonderful now, if I changed any part of my childhood would I be where I am now?

Growing up I went to 5 different primary schools and 1 high school. I didn’t have a lot of friends because of the moving around. We also lived away from the rest of our family, so growing up we didn’t have grand parents around like other kids did. These things had an impact, but I learned to cope with them. The two most significant things about my life that I would change or would have done differently are being bullied and spending habits.

I was the youngest of two by 11 months, and suffered a domineering brother up until my late teens. There was a time, at fifteen, when I fought back and dad had to separate us. After that dad said, “that had been coming for fifteen years!” Which looking back at now is astounding, like why didn’t you do something about it if you saw it for so long? But parents do what they do because they are learning too as we grow and trying to cope with their own lives.

My brother wasn’t the only person to make me a target, throughout my five years of high school I was verbally or physically bullied. Mainly by one or two people in particular. The problem started when I went to school in a uniform, one of only a handful who did, and I also had a Yorkshire accent, which made me a target being different. Also looking back I am different in many ways to others, I see things differently, I rarely conform to the general ways others do. I have never been a victim of peer group pressure. Maybe my brother’s domination was the only peer group pressure, forcing me to be his test pilot for his wacky ideas. Anyway I lived through it all and the character flaws I have now, or have corrected along the way, are from other things and not as a result of bullying, though one councillor did suggest that my being different and being how I am is part of the reason bullies bully me, they feel threatened by me. So I think these experiences made me a stronger person, so if I changed them or changed how I was to be less of a target, I am not sure that I would have the inner strength I have.

The other thing I would have changed is spending or saving habits. Again if I went back and changed them, I probably would have taken completely different paths in life. When I was 13 I worked as a paperboy, I made quite a bit of money because I had a lot of good customers who tipped well. I did this for three years, the first year I had to give half to my brother (he was supposed to do the household chores, but our parents found out he forced me to do them so that stopped). The rest of the money I just frittered away on magazines, books and music. Three years of earning quite a bit of money, that I didn’t need to spend. Then for the last two years of high school I worked with the night fillers in a supermarket and as a milk runner. All of which gave me lots of money, but I spent it before I got the next pay. Crazy attitude to money that has haunted me and affected my ability to look after what I earn all my life! So if I could go back and change that, maybe I would, but then I am sure my path would have been completely different had I not done it that way.

With my own kids, I would have preferred if they could spend half of the year living with us in Brunei rather than the entire time with their mother. Given I was not legally permitted to get their passports I had no option about that. I am glad their formative years had a positive impact and they are all pretty good people doing well for themselves, not sure how much of my influence helped that though.

 

Do we have a soul and does this continue beyond this life? The buddhist’s believe we are on a wheel of life, starting the next life at a higher lower position than the last, depending on how you lived in the current life. Christian’s believed that after 3 days Christ was reincarnated. Many people believe they were someone else in a past life. So there are a lot of theories and beliefs out there in relation to the concept of reincarnation, none of which I subscribe to.

The reason I don’t believe in reincarnation is I believe the concept of the soul is a myth made up to explain why we think and feel the way we do and in a way to control people. For example your soul will be damned to hell if you don’t believe in god, is a way of forcing people to believe in god out of fear. For me the soul is a concept that explains why we have feelings and emotions and to explain why we feel deep love for someone or deep hurt when we lose someone close to us. Then we believe people’s souls continue beyond death, when it is merely the memories and fondness we had for that person that continues.

I am sure many will disagree with my thoughts or beliefs in this area, but that is fine, we all see the world and how it is in different ways. I won’t dislike or  get upset if people disagree with me, but I do not like it when people think other people are stupid or crazy for having a belief they have. I believe what I believe based on my life and the experiences I have had, you believe what you believe from the same basis.

I do have deep and total love for one special person in my life, and all my thoughts and feelings are around her, but I don’t believe that has anything to do with soul.

It is funny though, I have seen young children, my two year old grand daughter for instance, who are so advanced early that you swear they have lived before, even knowing that is not possible ;).

They say home is where the heart is. For me this is true, my darling and I have lived in a number of places and our home is with each other, no matter where we live…

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There is no rhyme or reason not to.

A truly unique individual.

A truly unique individual.

The unique sport of Australian rules.

The unique sport of Australian rules.

This is in Dublin Ireland, careful you might drive off into the sea.

This is in Dublin Ireland, careful you might drive off into the sea.

Another unique Australian marsupial, the eternally sleeping but cute Koala.

Another unique Australian marsupial, the eternally sleeping but cute Koala.

The unique centre of the film industry

The unique centre of the film industry

A Truly unique marsupial found only on an island off of Western Australia, Rottnest.

A Truly unique marsupial found only on an island off of Western Australia, Rottnest.

This week we have to present photo’s that represent uniqueness. I think this collection represents uniqueness to me. Enjoy.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/photo-challenge-unique/