Sunday Sayings – Compassion

Many judge others who are dissimilar to them, far too quickly and without compassion. Judgements are a breeding ground for misconceptions and left to fester uninhibited can develop into prejudice, fear an in its worst incarnation, racism.

WEEKLY QUOTES

Individualism is rampant. Income inequality is growing. Public education is under-resourced. The gender revolution is stalling. We no longer trust our major institutions or our political leaders. We are more socially fragmented, more anxious, more depressed, more overweight, more medicated, deeper in debt and increasingly addicted – whether to our digital devices, drugs, pornography or ‘stuff’.

~Hugh Mackay

theweekendedition.com.au/events/hugh-mackay-australia-reimagined/


The streets are empty of children, neighbours are sometimes strangers. We don’t seem to talk to each other, so much anymore. Now in the wake of the Christchurch tragedy and upcoming elections, immigration and security is on the political agenda.

christchurch
Christchurch monument to Sept 11

There is intense discussion on the social problems of rising prejudice, racism, fear and extremist sentiment. An undercurrent of fear and divisiveness, is deliberately or unwittingly perpetuated by media forces. What can the individual do?

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured

by the compassionate actions of its members

~ Coretta Scott King

http://www.brainyquote.com

Yesterday I wrote a post about Neighbours from Hell, and heard Social Researcher Hugh Mackay’s concept of nurturing our neighbourhoods by developing compassion. Hugh believes it is compassion that will save mankind from divisiveness, radical viewpoints and extreme behaviour.


Weekly Proverb

With a sweet tongue and kindness,

you can drag an elephant by a hair

~ Persian Proverb


Once I turned 20 years of age, I was keen to contribute and be actively involved in the community, be that in the educational setting, workplace or community leisure groups. Involvement in these groups has brought me many lasting friendships and taught me valuable life lessons. I had to find ways to get along with different kinds of people, to make things work. Resentment and dislikes impaired the team effort. Community cohesiveness became impportant to me

Compassion and a sense of acceptance of others for their differences can assist us to understanding our neighbours, and colleagues and, in doing so, we foster a sense of community, of inclusiveness.

In a perfect world, no one group or individual would feel so threatened or socially isolated they would need to resort to violence or aberrant behaviour. We can all do our part in our own small neighbourhood, to drag the metaphorical elephant by the hair.

“We do not have to agree with them, but we Do just have to understand them.”


“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
― J.K. Rowling,

What do you think?

Could compassion and community be the antidote to social extremism?

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment.



I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader.

Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

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Survival Tips for Neighbours from Hell

New Zealand Oriental Bay

Decades ago, the local neighbourhood was the epicentre of one’s universe. It was a place where kids rode bikes, homemakers chatted over fences and lots of cups of tea were drunk.

Society today is so heavily focused on the individual’s needs and wants, good neighbours do seem hard to find.

What sort of neighbours do you have?

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#1 The Repressed Policeman/Woman –

These neighbours are apt to bang on your door late at night, telling you to turn the music down, especially when your teenagers throw a one-off party, in your usually quiet home. They like everyone to stick to the ‘rules’, at all times and will publicly shame you for any minor wrongdoing. Most neighbours give them a wide berth in the supermarket and walk on eggshells around them.

Survival Tip: Exercise caution.

#2 The Gardening Expert –

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Bordering on extinction, these types are often busybodies, who good-naturedly offer you gardening advice and give out various botanic “cuttings,” suggesting you plant them in particular spots of their choice, in your back garden. They are experts in extracting information about you, but can also be obsessive about how promptly you fix loose fence palings, cut back overhanging tree branches, or how many leaves blow over into their yard.

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Confront #2 types and they might become revengeful, landing you with a complaint letter from local council over perceived dog barking or pet birds squawking, because it has disturbed their daytime nap. They are notorious for mowing their lawns/operating whipper-snippers at annoying hours, mostly when others are sleeping, earning the ire of all other residents in the street.

Survival Tip: Take the good with the bad and compost the undesired plant cuttings.

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#3 The Sports Fan –

This ultra friendly, highly socialized, neighbour invites everyone known to man over to his/her place, generally on football nights, and often parties hard until 4am, at least four nights a week. Woo hoo! Not! Their house guests can easily be tracked by the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ detritus trail of empty beer bottles and fast food containers they leave in their wake.

Survival Tip: Earplugs – buy a decent set. You will need them.

#4 The Forgetful Neighbour –

These folks ‘borrow your garden/electric/tools’ and forget to ever return them. They mean well. This type is bound to cross swords with neighbour #1.

Survival Tip: Lock your shed and throw away the key.

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#5 The Loner –

Often perceived as ‘weird,’ this neighbour never acknowledges or socializes with others in the street. Easily identified by the house with windows and doors shut tight, even on sweltering days, this occupant is largely unknown. This neighbour arouses lots of suspicion from neighbour #2 .

Survival tip: Show some compassion. The Loner might think you are pretty weird too.

If you have a neighbour who is a closed book, respect their privacy, but look for ways to improve communication with them. It might be a small gift left at their doorstep, or as simple as a card, in their letterbox saying hello and wishing them a lovely day.

Kindness costs nothing.


#6 The Neighbour Everyone Wants –

This particular neighbour appears to be extremely rare in modern society, but I ask the question:

Are they hard to find or do we need to be open-minded and communicate better?

Survival Tip: Change your attitude towards #1 – #5.

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Although the previous examples are almost completely tongue -in -cheek and bear no resemblance to any person, living or dead, they do illustrate how blanket judgements and misconceptions can hinder open discourse and foster prejudice, or even hatred. If open communication is lacking or non-existent, divisive opinions will continue to spread.

Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck

In a neighbourhood, we have a challenge, even an obligation that comes with living there. To get along with those from all walks of life, for the ultimate benefit of the entire community. Shall we see it as an opportunity or a pain in the backside?

Queenslander home



Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic.

It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.

~ Alex Haley

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/alex_haley

In the wake of the Christchurch tragedy, keeping an open mind will foster better communication with our neighbour, no matter who or where they come from. We don’t necessarily have to agree or like their cultures, habits, food, or ways, we only need to understand and know them and acceptance will follow.

Our neighbours are a precious resource in maintaining community and increasing our integrated sense of belonging, and that is our best weapon against terrorist acts and radical thoughts.

If we fail as a neighbourhood group to understand them, we also fail to create any sense of “community,” for ourselves.

Something sobering to Ponder About

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We are Building a House

I have never done it before.

Build a house, that is.

My husband has built a house before, with his father, so for him, this is not so special.

For me, this is my first and last time to decide how a new house might look from the ground up. I will never do it again. This is it.

new house
An example of the style of house we will build

There are so many things to decide. We have to chose absolutely everything – colours, tiles, mortar, grout, locks, window frames, cornice, shelves. For every part of the house and every single thing in it, there is a choice. A good thing, right? But it makes my head spin, just a little bit.

Sandgate foreshore

A Block of Land

First things first.

We recently purchased a block of land in a new development that was close by the water’s edge. We wanted to be near the water. Two people, done with raising a family, growing old in a house by the sea. Sunset walks along the water’s edge. Cool breezes in the sub-tropical summer. Sounds idyllic? We think and hope so.

You can almost see the Glass house Mountains from here

Selecting a block of land wasn’t as easy as we thought. I was very fussy about micro-climate and orientation. After living for many, many years in a house that was like a furnace in summer and a freezer in winter, I knew I was going to be particular about aspect. And I was lucky. I found one that ticked almost all the boxes.

schnauzer at beach
Rebel is looking forward to a #Seachange

The block in question was already registered with the governing body, as opposed to buying a pile of dirt way behind a barbed wire fence and shown only on a paper plan to prospective buyers. Whilst I was particular on the right environmental aspect, my husband was definitely not going to buy anything he couldn’t step on and feel, with his own hands. So we were lucky. We found it. First step done!

designing A house

Next we had to find a design we liked. Will the design we picked fit on the block of land, we wondered? My idea of this, might be a little different to local councils and also the idea of the land developers which is different to that of the builder. Negotiations await a pen pusher’s whim. We wait for that.

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Our land has two frontages, that is: it faces a street on one side and a smaller lane way on another. This is great because it gives us uninterrupted sea breezes and views.

However, there are certain rules about how close the house can be situated to the street and neighbouring houses, called setbacks. They don’t want you to build your house right next to the road, as they did in years gone by.

Knaegemoelle, Denmark – in this beautiful house you could reach out the window and touch the cars going by

What colour and materials will the exterior of our house be? How many windows? What type of fence will the garden have? How many plants will we get? The developer has a say in that too. It is called the covenant.

Banksia
Banksias love the coastal conditions

The developer in its wisdom, wants to keep selling their land for a good price and thus, they want to maintain certain standards for the houses getting built in their community. But when is a house really your own to design?

Soil Testing

The land was previously low lying land that was filled and raised by creating an artificial lake that opened to the sea. This is coastal land – a tidal area now filled in with soil and a lake.

Our block

This means the soil test showed the soil is saline and highly reactive. That translates to more expensive foundations for the house and raised garden beds. But who wants their house walls to crack when it rains, or doesn’t rain? It has to be done that way.

Inspired by Anne- Christine

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Something to Ponder About


Sunday Sayings – Courage

Christchurch has had more than its fair share of tragedy in recent years.

gandhi

I could this week have written about hate crimes. I could this week have written about prejudice or racism, or vile acts of terror,such as we have seen close to home. There has been much of this already in the media, and to write more is to give voice to those who espouse these inhuman views.

Instead, this week, I chose to write about an opposing emotion of courage. It is those that show courage in the face of abhorrent adversity that we should acknowledge louder.

Christchurch has had its fair share of tragedy in recent times. Now the residents must show courage in the face of abhorrent adversity.
Pic credit: kassiisaac

We must generate courage equal to the size of the difficulties we face.

Dalai Lama



Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

– Mary Anne Radmacher


Our morbid interest in these dark events is biological in basis. We are programmed to pay attention to that which we perceive is the greatest threat to us.

This quote is worth remembering:

Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in never having been broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.

~Unknown


I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader.

Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment.

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?

A Little Polish Never Goes Astray

My new years resolution is to learn a little of the Polish language. Why? Because the culture, food and language of Poland, has pretty much intrigued me as soon as I stepped off the plane in Krakow. But this post is not about Krakow, but rather, it is about somewhere a little further south – in the Tatra Mountains and a delightful walk I took through a town called Zakopane.

Rural Poland and the Tatra Mountain Ranges

It has been well over a year since I walked through Zakopane, in Poland. Yet the memory of that day still haunts me in the very best way. [And I am still learning Polish.]

Krupowki Street, Zakopane

Zakopane is a town in Southern Poland, about a two hour drive from Krakow, lying close to the Slovakian border, in the Tatra Mountain range. Communication between Zakopane and other towns was difficult for many years due to the mountainous terrain, and so the locals developed their own dialects, songs, architecture and traditions.

If you are a fan of gabled timber architecture, you’ll have come to the right place. Come and walk with me down the main street of Zakopane.

If you are too tired to walk, there is always a horse and wagon option that will take you to the Funicular station.

These beautiful horses wait for the chance to take you for a carriage ride

Cafes in Zakopane feature seating carved with traditional designs from Lower Silesia.

I found plenty of things to tempt me to open my purse in Zakopane and prices a pleasant surprise.

If you didn’t want trinkets, you can always try some of the delicious local foods from the many street vendors along the way. A specialty in this region is Sheep’s cheese.

If you have ever tasted Haloumi cheese, the Sheep’s cheese has a similar texture, but also a delicate smoky flavour. So very delicious. I could eat it every day if I could. Yum!

Norm’s Thursday Doors fans would appreciate the work in this door along Zakopane’s main street.

Walk through the door to gawk at the ornately decorated church, clearly loved by the community.

The interior of the church

Poised above the town of Zakopane is the summit of Gubałówka. This is my next stop.


That Yellow are in the photo below is the summit and we are going to get there in a mountain cable car. You can find the entrance to the funicular at the end of the main street.

Especially lovely in Summer, the summit lookout is frequented by skiers in winter as Zakopane is a hugely popular ski resort. Here I am enjoying the breathtaking view over the Zakopane Valley.



Time to explore more at the top of the mountain.

Can anyone read Polish? Is it 5 zloty to feed or pat the sheep?
Some traditional huts for smoking sheep’s cheese perhaps?
These bundles are so cute, they look like Cousin It from the Addams family.


The return cable car journey gave me a different perspective on the Zakopane valley.

Ready, Set, Here we go.

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Linking to Jo’s Wonderful Monday Walks