Thursday, October 27, 2011

Obsessions: Are you Obsessed? defines an obsession as: fixation; consumption with belief, desire.

Today, people are becoming more and more obsessed with all kinds of things, be it their looks, their weight or even their success in life.  Society seems to focus on everything being perfect.  If we don’t have the perfect features or perfect weight then we begin to feel miserable and self-loathing sets in.

For psychologists today, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to build people up after they have become fixated with things like their looks or weight.  Let’s face it, no one likes to be overweight and no one likes to feel the burden of feeling ugly, but sadly the more society obsesses with looks and weight, the less we will be able to shirk off the feelings of inadequacy we have.

Let me ask you something; do you contribute to the problems society has with these issues or are you part of a minority group who seriously try to help others in their endeavors of getting over their psychological issues?

Seriously, if you’ve overcome something, stop obsessing about it!  The more you harp on about the topic the more you are obsessing.  Don’t you get it?  How can one on the one hand say that one has no issues with their weight or looks but on the other hand continue to rattle on about the fact that now they are able to eat ice cream every day or splurge on a decadent dessert?

Do they seriously think that by continuously talking about this that there is no obsession?  Obsessions, whether they are seen as good or bad (incidentally there are no good obsessions, because obsessions in itself are not good, it is balance we are after) are called obsessions for the simple fact that they cause people to be fixated on something.  When we become fixated we begin to draw on background noises, which are the negatives of the fixation and soon our minds are poisoned by bad thoughts and obsessions.

If you’re serious about overcoming something like a weight issue then stop obsessing about it and start doing something positive.  Take small steps towards your goal, if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world.

Be authentic with yourself and others about how you are doing but stop obsessing.  Stop talking about how you’re going to lose weight or how you are now able to eat hamburgers or desserts and move on.  If you harp on about this you will never move on and never heal your mind.

~  Vanessa

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sofala, NSW Australia

Main Road in Sofala

Two days prior to St Valentine’s Day in 1851, a Charlie Brown by the name of Edward Hargraves discovered gold in Summerhill Creek!  One can just imagine the excitement Eddie must have felt.

Personally, I would have kept my mouth shut about this discovery until I had a fair stash of the gold, but it seems that Eddie was one prone to boasting and pretty soon there was a gold rush and the village of Sofala was born.

Sofala is located along the Turon River and is approximately 260 Kms west of Sydney and 46 kms from Bathurst.   It is one of the oldest surviving gold rush towns and is well worth a visit.  Driving up from Sydney one can hardly imagine what it must have entailed to get started up in this very remote place in the 1800’s.

I imagine in those days the prospectors would have been on camel back or horseback.  Once the word was out about there being a gold find, I’m sure there would have been quite the camel jam (as opposed to traffic jam!)

Royal Hotel
Soon Sofala grew to a town of about 10 000 residents and the township extended along the banks of the Turon River, some 16 kilometers long.  This is not evident when one visits the area today, however; there are only a few remaining houses, a school and a church left.  Today the town has two remaining main streets, which are lined with grand old wooden buildings, a general store, the Royal Hotel, the old Sofala Gaol and the Turon Technology Museum.

Of course every newly established town started off with a Royal Hotel, Sofala is no different.  Aside from the Royal Hotel, which was built in 1851, there were quite a few others but the Royal Hotel is the only hotel that is still standing today.

In 1854 only a few hundred prospectors remained and by 1948 gold mining finally ceased.

Today the town still stands and is a beautiful reminder of bygone days.  When walking up and down the two main streets, one is mentally transported back in time to what it must have been like then.  If the streets could talk one would probably be mesmerized by the goings on.

In 2006, census results revealed that there were 208 remaining residents in the quaint little town.

Sofala is also well known for the movie:  “The Cars that Ate Paris”, a Peter Weir film shot in 1974 and in 1994, the movie “Sirens” by John Duigan had a few village scenes shot here.

Sofala’s attractions include, prospecting, hiking and camping along the Turon River and cycling.  It is also a popular spot for motorcyclists to stop off for a drink and a great place for an historic tour and walk.

If you wish to be transported into bygone days, wish to spend a day out simply relaxing in nature and some very beautiful surrounds, then you can't go past Sofala in NSW.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

~  Vanessa

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Communication: Encoding and Decoding What Others Say

If we as a nation didn't have a problem with communication then there certainly wouldn't be so many books on the subject, there wouldn't be university courses on it and we wouldn't need any mediators or communications specialists to come to our rescue so often.

Why is it that we are all prone to suffering with miscommunication at some point in our lives, or for some, at every stage in their lives! Men and women seem particularly susceptible to miscommunication, but then again, teenagers seem at some point to go through this with their parents. The point is, if we intend to get along with everyone we either need a degree in communications or a degree in yesmanship.

I'm not going to go into being amenable, the type of communication I am referring to is quite simply decoding what someone has recently encoded for you. This is in fact the basics of communication. When I have a conversation with someone, I am encoding what I am saying. Likewise, when someone has spoken to me, I end up decoding what they have said to me.

The way I decode has a lot to do with the mood I am in, my environment, prior experience, and my impulses. There could be one more ... This one is age related and the fact that as we age, we tend to forget some of our everyday words, we call certain items by different names and we become frustrated by our diminishing memories.

Another important factor to consider is tone of voice and where we place the emphasis in our words. We've all played the game "Chinese Whispers" at some point in our lives, where a group of people sit in a circle or straight line. The person at the beginning of the line whispers something to the person next to them, that person in turn repeats word for word what was told to them by whispering it to the person next to them, and so it goes. When the last person has listened to the words, s/he will repeat what they heard out loud.

Usually at this point the conversation no longer even makes sense, and the reason is that the encoding and decoding process has broken down because someone in the group either heard wrong or understood the message to mean something different. In the same way, we fall short in our communication with others.

I recently moved house. When my furniture arrived, I explained to the removalists that I wanted all the boxes in one room only. I lead the way to this room with the head of the group so that he could see where I wanted everything to go. A short while later one of the delivery guys asked me if he was to take all the boxes up to the third level in my house. I said "No, they are to go to the second level". His reply was, "You mean you want them to go to the floor just below the third level?"

Wasn't that what I had just said? Who's wrong?

The reality is neither of us were wrong, but our interpretation of each others answers were completely different.

Next time you're having a conversation with someone, think about the message you are trying to get across and think about the way you are going to say it. Then, think about what impact it will have on the other person. Only then should you encode your words for the other person to decode.

If all else fails, you can always go back to arguing about what you really meant to say.

Happy communicating!

~ Vanessa

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've always been one of those people who needs my internal equipoise to be in perfect equilibrium before I can respond to whatever the universe sends my way.

I hate cleaning, yet when I'm not perfectly happy that's exactly what I have to do to tame the lioness inside me. Consequently, you can eat off my floors - as long as you don't take the left overs that are in the fridge, because those have probably been there for a while... I don't like to waste, yet once I've put something in the refrigerator it will probably stay there indefinitely until someone else removes the product that my guilty eye will never look upon again.

Like me, the world is so full of contradictions. The developed world has an abundance of food, resources and wealth (now slowly beginning to diminish, thanks to the GFC), yet the undeveloped world seems to be in a constant struggle to fulfill even basic human needs.

In the developed world we seem to be fixated on the very things that the undeveloped world have no concept of. Technology, social media, fast cars, huge televisions and the latest "bundle" satellite offers... Imagine wondering where your next meal will come from? Or whether your children will be warm enough when the cold night arrives?

Imagine a vast open land with red dirt, no vegetation and no water in sight? Where would you begin when your child is dying of starvation and hyenas lie in waiting?

We all deserve a better deal in life, however some need far more than others. While the developed world kill each other over bad drug deals, hatred, lies and greed, the undeveloped world fight to survive for one more day.

I feel sick to my stomach when I listen to people complain about trivial things. We all have issues but certainly none as bad as those who have been affected by famine and drought, or those in war torn countries.

Let's try to put things into perspective. Next time your world feels like it's crashing down, spare a thought for those who would give anything at all to be in your world.

Feel free to leave a comment.

~ Vanessa