what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 18

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week18
I think that most of us are born with a lean towards being a positive or a negative person. This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to be one way… we are humans and we are capable of growth and change. I do think though that it’s important to be aware of your slant and adjust according… if it bothers you.

There are great advantages to being a supremely positive person… perhaps the most important being that it makes life more enjoyable (regardless of your circumstances). Think about it, would prefer to spend time with, hire or help… a cranky long faced moody git or a pleasant person who is a joy to be around.

Some people are so cranky all the time and their attitude makes any situation worse – for themselves and for everyone around them. Why be that person!

No one signed a contract at your birth saying that life was going to be easy… there are plenty of hard times behind and ahead of us all. It’s up to us how we get through tough times and the tone of our mood and our point of view will determine how we ultimately experience these setbacks.

Even if the only thing being a positive person gets you is an adjustment of perspective, then it’s worth it. Make a conscience effort to see the bright side the next time you’re in the shit… it might just take the edge off.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 17

#WhatILearntThisWeek

I recently relearnt this old but wise lesson… and anyone who is friends with me on social media knows how much I enjoyed my last holiday.

While I was holidays, I saw a cartoon that highlighted the depression one feels upon returning home after an amazing holiday. This was not the case for me. After having an amazing holiday I am energised, refreshed, delighted to have experienced all that I did and ready to work my arse off so that I can do it all again.

I don’t holiday very often and I hadn’t gone on a big overseas trip in a few years (I’m not counting New Zealand as that feels like I’m going interstate) and it was long overdue. I had the great pleasure of going with two of the most fun and amazing women I know… my wonderful mum and my most excellent sister :)

We had the BEST time. Hawaii was wonderful beyond words and we crammed a lot in… making every day an epic adventure.

It’s so wonderful to learn about different cultures, traditions, geography, wildlife and food. In addition, the constant warm temperature was so good for my body… I could walk further, drive longer and was in a lot less pain than usual (maybe my happiness helped mask some of the pain as well). It was delightful.

Now that the holiday is well and truly over I am not sad or depressed. Instead I am extremely grateful for the effort put into planning the holiday, getting to experience living in paradise (even if it was only temporary) and the great times we had together. It has filled up my library of memories with so many beautiful images and fantastic experiences that my heart is full enough to get me through this wretched winter 😛

BOOK YOSELF A HOLIDAY NOW!

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 16

#WhatILearntThisWeek

Oh boy this is a big one… and some of you will immediately know exactly what I mean by this.
I have been living with a lot of chronic pain for several years now… I’m good at it. In fact, I think I should get some kind of award, but sadly this mad skill is not recognised.

The source of anyone’s pain is irrelevant when it comes to having to live with it. There are many types of pain – nerve, muscle, back, a sprained ankle, emotional pain and they all come in acute or chronic formats – all are hard to live with.

Something happens to you when you have to deal with a large amount of pain… like ALL THE BLOODY TIME. It wears you down, it makes you tired, it makes you cranky, it sucks the life out of you, it makes you not want to go out and play and it can eventually become completely oppressive.

It is not until you are taught tried and tested coping skills so that you can better deal with your pain that you can emerge triumphant from under the oppressive nature of pain. I am lucky that I did an immersive course at the Royal North Shore pain clinic which was very helpful but at the end of the day, you still have to deal with a bunch of never ending pain.

Even with guidance and daily practice of pain management techniques, pain can still pile up and become oppressive again. It’s a daily struggle and often you can’t win the battle no matter how hard you try.

The struggle is real.

Over 11% of people have chronic pain of some kind so if you know someone who is suffering try to do something nice for them… chances are they’re exhausted and a bit fed up.

Now that winter is here and the cold has swept in I am a prisoner of my pain. Cold weather is my kryptonite and right now I am doing my best to dodge the cold. You may not see me out and about much in winter but I will be doing my best to fight this great oppressor by continuing to work, create and be the best me I can be (from within my prison).

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 15

#WhatILearntThisWeek

As adults, we hold on to memories and archive many trinkets and keepsakes to make sure we don’t forget anything. We cling to the past as if it’s trying to leave us.

Children have not lived long enough to understand the passage of time and history; therefore, they have no need to cling to the past.

This lesson in living for right now is a great one.

As an artist, I keep all my drawings and sketches even if I don’t like them… what is that about?!? I worry about the archival nature of my art supplies so that any work I make that I do like has a chance of surviving. Why do we hold on to things so tightly?

A child does not cling on to things in the same way. A kid will make a painting and then happily rip it up. They don’t want you to throw it out but they don’t really think about saving, preserving and archiving it.

The same sense of impermanence is true of street artists who paint their masterpieces on public walls knowing that it will be tagged or painted over at any time. What drives people to work so hard for something that is not permanent? But then what is really permanent… is anything really permanent?

Maybe we’re focusing too much on holding onto the past and we should be focussing more on living right now.

Learn a lesson from the kids in our lives and try to let go of things in the past… don’t worry too much about saving every moment and choose to live in the impermanent now!

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 14

#WhatILearntThisWeek

This is an odd one for me to write as I am often found in the shade wearing a shirt.
I am kind of allergic to the sun. At least that’s the easy way to explain it. I have nerve damage that makes the sensation of the sun on my skin feel painful instead of enjoyable. At least that’s the case in Australia for most of the year except for early mornings or in the middle of winter.

I recently went on holidays to Hawaii and the sun did not hurt me as much there. Of course, in the middle of the day I wore my shirt to reduce sore skin but there were much larger chunks of the day that my bare skin could be touched by the sun’s rays and it was delightful.

Maybe it’s because I can’t usually get a lot of sun that this brief reprisal was such a delight. I do think however that most people are hiding from the sun… in their offices and locked away in their homes behind high fences and closed windows.

Although we do have to limit our sun exposure for health’s sake there are benefits from limited sun exposure. At the top of the list is that basking in a reasonable amount of sun is that it feels so bloody good. There is something our lizard brain revels in when we do it. If you feel like crap it makes you feel better… but like all good things it’s advisable to practice restraint. Small doses.

Now that I am home and the harsh Aussie sun once again hurts my skin for most of the day I am going to make a point of finding a few minutes a day to toast my fragile skin in the early morning or afternoon sun… I’m sure if it feels that good, it must be good for you :)

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 13

#WhatILearntThisWeek

One of humanities greatest strengths, and at the same time greatest weakness, is the belief deep down that we are never really going to die. This allows us to let go and enjoy life without freaking out every 5 minutes that it’s all coming to an end… but on the flip side, it also allows us to be lazy, complacent and able to watch life slip through our fingers without a sense of urgency.

We often think it would be a wonderful thing to be immortal, however if we did live forever we would have no need to get things done, achieve anything great, push out limits or even get out of bed in the morning.

The same way a deadline at school or college allows us to achieve great work, so does a deadline on our lives. Some of us are better at managing that than others.

I think I need a bit more urgency and drive to be able to do the things I want to do in this life… while others need a little bit more down time to appreciate what they’ve already got.

It is not an easy balance to strike however, if you know that you can adjust your levels of urgency and relaxation then maybe you can find a better level.

We don’t live forever so love, play and work hard… your expiry date might be sooner than you think so take this chance to find out what you’re made of instead of rotting away on the couch (FYI I see the irony of me writing this on my couch).

Check out my main man Neil deGrasse Tyson speak about the urgency of accomplishment that knowing we will one day die can bring… it’s not a doom and gloom thing, is a positive :)

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 12

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week12
This is so simple but it is so true.

Some people are selfish with their joy… it’s almost as if they are scared that by sharing their joy it will somehow be diminished.

Joy is one of the only things in this life that is not diminished when shared… it is intact enhanced and grows every time it’s shared.

You never know if someone is having a bad day – despite how they present themselves – so drop some joy and let it spread… it might be just what someone needs to get through that day… and it might just come back to you multiplied.

Spread the JOY!

Not-so-happy Earth Da7 2017

#earthday
Scan 4
I feel like the earth is sad and no matter how much we recycle or eat local it’s not enough. It’s great to start at the grass roots but our pollies are seemingly clueless to the dangers in our future if we ignore the impact we are havimg on the earth.

With the liberals approving a massive coal mine in Queensland and ignoring the now terminally ill Great Barrier Reef it’s difficult to stay hopeful :(

Our earth is sad and I don’t know that anything we will do will be done soon enough to stop certain catastrophe.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 11

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week11

Politicians in Australia are trying to cut costs and it looks like the next target they are trying to hit is education.

Education is one of the most important investments a family, community or a country can make. EDUCATION IS EVERYTHING. Without adequate funding for educators and students our future is very much in jeopardy.

If you look at Freakonomics – a method of applying economic theory to a variety of subjects and seeing how spending or saving in one generation can have knock on effects for years or decades to come – I hate to think what our current lack of spending on education will do to our future.

Dramatically cutting funding for public education will surely have a negative effect on our economy, politics and society in 20-30 year’s time.

Think about it… if you adequately educate your young people they will grow up to be well informed, curious and capable of questioning leadership. If you don’t properly fund education we will end up with a poorly educated population that will be less capable of standing up for their rights and beliefs… oh hold on… maybe that’s what the politicians want. Hmmmmm!

It’s all good and well to say that the best of the best will rise to the top and get access to scholarships but how can people get to that point. It takes a very good school, a passionate teacher, diligent parents and a well-funded and resourced education system or a combination of these. Removing adequate funding from the education system means that there is less chance of people reaching their potential. If you don’t have the opportunity to study then you won’t know if you’re any good at it.

Education should be for ALL not just the elite… let’s face it the rich or ‘elite’ get enough bonuses… those bonuses should not come at the cost of education for all.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 10

#WhatILearntThisWeek

When we are suffering from pain of any kind (physical, emotional or spiritual) we can feel very isolated and alone. At the end of the day can anyone truly understand your unique brand of suffering? No, chances are they cannot. Our suffering is as unique as we are and even if we are exposed to exactly the same stress, we will all respond differently.

This can make it difficult to feel like anyone can relate or help.

In truth, someone does not need to know my exact suffering to be able to support or care for me. It’s important to remember this the next time you’re riding out a rough patch. My friends and family try to understand the physical pain I put up with on a daily basis – I do my best to hide it – but no matter how hard they try, they cannot.

This does not mean that they can’t support me, listen to me and do their best to help me out when needed. It can be very difficult to accept help but we all need support at different times in our lives so it’s best not to fight it.

So, the next time you feel like no one can reach you, help you our support you remember that your loved ones don’t need to have gone through exactly what you are going through to be able to help. Accept that while they cannot understand exactly what you’re going through, that does not exclude them from being there for you. Let them make you a cup of tea… let them give you a hug… let them in and you never know, it might make things just a little bit easier.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 9

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week9_feature
If you treat someone with disrespect, you are teaching them that they are not worth respect. If you teach someone that violence in a powerful currency then you can’t be surprised if they decide to use it. Violence is a cheap and easy power hit and quite often people don’t know any other way as it is all they have been taught.

I won’t harp on about video games + the normalisation of porn + the glorification of violence in film & TV (think Game of Thrones to name one) … that discussion has being going on for decades and I do think they have a HUGE part to play in the increase in violence in our society.

The NSW Police commissioner retired this week and as he left he commented that there has a rise in domestic violence and an increase in the number of women being killed by their partners. What the fuck is going on and how is this getting worse… surely it should be getting better.

Last year, ABC’s 4 Corners did a stunning expose on the abuse children were subjected to while incarcerated. The violence and abuse that the children were exposed to was breath-taking. Family members would say that their kids were never the same after being detained… they had been treated so poorly that they did not feel worthy of being back in society!

There is something really wrong with our justice system, people are often in more danger in jail than out in the community. There is a power imbalance and I don’t know how it can be fixed. Norway seems to have a good way of dealing with criminals. People who are incarcerated are treated with respect + have nice accommodation + a strict routine + the doors to their rooms are not locked + they are free to roam around the compound often taking up educational activities. The recidivism rate in Norway is less than 20% compared to Americas rate of more than 76%. It seems that there is some wisdom in treating people that they are worthy of respect. If you teach someone they’ve got nothing to lose then they’ve got nothing to live for and will not strive for a better future for themselves.

Be mindful of what we are teaching people around us… every action we take is influencing someone around us. It’s up to you to make sure it’s a positive influence.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 8

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week8
Sometimes you need to talk to someone about the issues swirling around your head and all you really want to do is talk… not listen to a bunch of solutions.

Have you ever sat down to talk to a friend or family member about something that is really bugging you and they come back with a simple and flippant solution before you’ve even got it all off your chest? Yup me too.

It’s right up there with mansplaining and almost all men will happily give you a practical solution without knowing the full set of circumstances you have to deal with. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we need to speak to our girlfriends to stay sane.

There are times for discussion and there are times for release. Granted it is hard to tell them apart. I too am guilty of offering simple solutions to complex problems I don’t fully understand, but I’m trying to get better at just listening.

I once read of an ancient cultural practice of finding a rock, telling that rock all of your problems and then throwing the rock away. I really like this idea as shows a good understanding of our need as humans to unburden ourselves. Often it’s the act of talking about our troubles that gives us the most relief. In saying the words out loud we can often see our own way out.

Some people do take advantage of this and complain all the time… I am not referring to those people. They suck and should be avoided at all cost!

So the next time someone close to you is pouring their heart out, take a breath and look at the situation. Ask yourself if they need to get something off their chest or really wanting your opinion. I’m sure with practice we can all get better at identifying when our sage advice needed.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 7

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week7Every day we pretend to be stronger than we think we are. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind, but most people slap a smile on their face and get on with their day. This is one aspect of strength being a performance.

Think of all the times you pretend to be strong… you fall over in the street and get up, pretend to be fine even though you’re dying on the inside and your butt really really hurts… when someone you love betrays you and you act as if your heart is not breaking but it’s really really breaking… you’re in heaps of pain and you must carry on as if everything is right in the world even though you really really want to curl up under a doona and cry.

I often wonder who we are performing for. On the one had we act strong so that others will think that everything is alright, for example if there is an accident some of us will try to keep it together so that everyone else will feel that everything will be ok. But there is another side to strength as a performance… it’s the performance we do for ourselves. I live with a lot of pain and often pretend that everything is fine, even if it isn’t. It’s about pretending that you can do something until you can… fake it till you make it.

However, we can go too far though and many people pretend everything is alright when they are falling apart on the inside… therefore it’s important to take notice of our family and friends asking them every now and then if they are ok.

The hard part is finding the sweet spot where we are pretending just enough to get us through but not so much that we’re covering up our decent into madness.

Strength is a performance and some of us are better actors than others.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 6

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week6
Now let’s get one thing straight… I’m not a think happy thoughts and unicorns and rainbows will suddenly fill your day’s kind of person. That’s a bunch of crap.

While what we think is not going to karmically change the world… it does influence our health and wellbeing. However, being around negative people and things has a negative effect on us.

Much like a rotten apple will spread rot to adjacent apples… supremely negative people in your life will spread their negativity to you.

It can be difficult to eliminate negative people in your life as some might be in your family. Try your best to do all you can to reduce their influence on you. Avoid negative colleges, don’t call back old friends who only bring doom and gloom to the table and do your best to minimise your exposure to relatives who have nothing nice to say.

It has been proven that negativity is bad for your health… now that we know that, it’s time to make moves to reduce our own negativity and our exposure to that of others.

Be positive and repel the influence of the negative Nelly’s who want to bring you down to their shitty dark level. There is a lot of good stuff out there in the world… choose to focus on that :)

My entry to the 2016 Digital Portrait Award

#digitalportraitaward
cectimm_spy_portrait_Digital_Portrait_Awards_2016
This was my entry into the Digital Portrait Award for 2016. I was not chosen as a finalist but I am really happy with the work. It is a spy portrait as in it is how I would be seen if I was being spied on by my computer camera… which I normally keep covered thanks to Mark Zuckerberg raising awareness of his insecurity in computer security.

I am planning on doing more portraits this year – both of myself and other people. If you know of someone amazing who should be painted or if you want to commission a portrait, please get in touch.

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 5

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week5
There is so much talk about our core and how having a strong core is good for us… but is it really? Yes, it bloody well is.

I recently read a fascinating article about Why One Neuroscientist Started Blasting His Core and I’m totally convinced… it’s all about the core.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that a strong core is beneficial for our physical and mental health, but now there is the proof… scientists have shown a direct neural connection between the nerves in our gut and the part of our brain that deals with stress.

If I asked you to impersonate someone who was depressed, you would likely slump over… there is a reason for that. Someone who is depressed feels so terrible about everything that they can’t even sit up straight to greet the world. This may be more than a side effect. Maybe having weak core muscles plays a part in depression or generally feeling bad.

“There’s all this evidence that core strengthening has an impact on stress. And when you see somebody that’s depressed or stressed out, you notice changes in their posture. When you stand up straight, it has an effect on how you project yourself and how you feel.  Well, lo and behold, core muscles have an impact on stress. And I suspect that if you activate core muscles inappropriately with poor posture, that’s going to have an impact on stress.” – Peter Strick a distinguished professor and chair of the department of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute.

A strong core also has other benefits like a stronger back, good posture, improved balance, less injuries, organs are happier with good posture rather than being all squished together and you look a hell of a lot thinner when you stand tall.

So get moving no matter how horrible you feel. Do it just because you have to and maybe eventually you’ll end up enjoying it. Get yourself a strong core and stand up tall to meet the world.

Source article

what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 4

#WhatILearntThisWeek
cectimm_WILTW_2017_Week4
There is a Chilean saying “que rico es quejar” which translates to it’s lovely to complain.

I grew up hearing this saying (being the massive wog that I am) but as it turns out… it is not true. Complaining is BAD (said in the voice of Mr Mackey from South Park who always says ‘Drugs are bad’).

In 2004 I attended a pain clinic to learn how to live with chronic pain. One of the first things they taught us was that pain responds to attention and the more attention you give it the more pain you will have. It is a downward spiral. This is the reason you will rarely hear me complain about how much bloody pain I am in… it just doesn’t do you any good.

I recently read an article in The Huffington Post titled How Complaining Rewrites Your Brain for Negativity and it was fascinating to learn how bad complaining is for your overall health.

Just like smoking, eating sugar and doing other bad stuff… it feels good to complain. Our brains are very efficient and the more we do an action the more likely we are to keep doing it – as neuroscientists like to say “neurons that fire together, wire together.” It’s what makes our brains so efficient. This efficiency applies to both good and bad behaviour and habits.

So if you complain a lot, then you will continue to complain a lot and it will only get worse. Complaining can also shrink your hippocampus (the part of your brain responsible for problem solving and intelligent thought). Think about that for a minute.

Complaining can also lead to increased blood pressure and blood sugar thanks to the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Excessive exposure to cortisol can also impact your immune system, increases the risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack and weight gain leading to obesity.

So instead of feeling like a failure because you didn’t lose the weight you wanted to, take stock of your complaining habits and start to make some changes. It might be just as important as doing exercise or eating well.

In short, complaining is bad for your health, shrinks your brain, makes you fat and most likely makes you difficult to be around… time to reconsider mindless complaining.

You can read the article here.

Get in touch via Twitter, Instagram or by email :)

complaining_is_bad_Mr_Macky_Southpark