Sunday Saying – Democracy

My daughter voted for the first time ever yesterday. It was a proud and important milestone for both of us. Time for her to exercise her democratic right as an Australian female citizen.

Beginner embroidery
Completed Embroidery in hoop

For centuries, women were disregarded as not being able to understand the complexities of the parliamentary system and relegated to the parlour where embroidering was a more suited pursuit.

Rather shocking to think of that now…

If my daughter had been born over 100 years ago, she would not have qualified to vote. Thank goodness times have changed.

New Zealand
Yay for New Zealand!

It is unsurprising to see which countries offered universal suffrage first:

“New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote -1893 – [ well done, sister kiwis], while the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia granted women the right to vote in 2011. “

  • 1893 New Zealand
  • 1902 Australia
  • 1906 Finland
  • 1913 Norway
  • 1915 Denmark
  • 1917 Canada
  • 1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
  • 1919 Netherlands
  • 1920 United States
  • 1921 Sweden
  • 1928 Britain, Ireland

Compulsory voting for national elections was introduced in Australia in 1924, following a pronounced fall in turnout at the 1922 federal election. “

Furthermore, I have grown up knowing voting was once a privilege of the landed gentry, or a domain of men, and thus, take my democratic right very seriously. I am Australian and we expect to vote. It is compulsory here. Yet for many people, voting is a painful process, they avoid it, cast an informal protest vote, or don’t vote at all.

When you think of how many generations did not have a say in how their government was run, it is sobering to think that some would take this right to determine our parliamentary makeup frivolously.

American Thomas Jefferson noted,

” We do not have government by the majority.

We have Government by the majority who participate.”

Whilst many other countries don’t make it compulsory to vote, be it bad or good, our compulsory system, means we do get a more comprehensive view of the public’s wishes in our federal elections. Notwithstanding the preferential voting systems, of course.

“Bad Officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.”

~ George Jean Nathan

Do you agree with Preferential system of voting? Or, ‘first past the post’? [ie. those with the most votes in first place].

Should voting be compulsory?

As Ab Lincoln said, “the ballot is better than the bullet.”

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Something to Ponder About

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Raising Children and Productivity

Lindy is a young Mum to two energetic boys. Lindy’s house is orderly and tidy, and Lindy works part time in a local law firm. The boys go to Daycare when she is at work, and she reports they love the activities there. Even so, she ensures she makes up for the time away from them, by rewarding them with an extra special outing or activity, on the weekends.

Every day she keeps their young minds busy by taking them out to parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities or plays. They are rarely at home.  Twice a week, they are enrolled in Early Music tuition and next year they will join a junior football team. She is also considering Maths tutoring so that will have a head start on their peers, at school. Lindy wants them to grow up to be motivated and ambitious individuals, living life and experiencing the opportunities she missed during her childhood.

But is she doing the right thing for her boys?

Are the boys benefiting from all these scheduled activities?

Or are they being raised with the expectation that entertainment will be provided, each and every day?  Will they thrive on this daily dose of stimulation, or come to expect it as a birthright? Could they even become victims of information overload?

Some experts now think it’s essential for our mental well-being to make time to relax, unwind and do nothing. But, isn’t that a tad boring? Won’t the kids get into mischief? Do young children really need down time at all? And what about us? Do we really NEED some down time away from the “bling” of notification tones? What is the value of downtime, anyway?

Confucius has some words of wisdom: –

“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous” – Confucius

As well as Confucius, Forbes offers some insights –

“Introspection and reflection have become lost arts” as we are unable to resist the temptation to ‘just finish this’ or ‘find out that.’

With vast amounts of information at our fingertips, who needs to memorize facts at all?

“Working harder is not necessarily working smarter. In fact  slacking off and setting aside regular periods of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best thing we can do to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination and improve our mental health. “

https://www.forbes.com/sites/insead/2014/07/01/the-importance-of-doing-nothing/#354e533e75e4

Does free-time sound appealing to you? Works for me. Schedule time for Feet up, drink in hand, and letting one’s mind free-wheel. Muting notifications of course.

I hope Lindy and her two boys are listening.

Something to Ponder About

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Sunday Sayings

xanthostemon chrysanthus

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers in Australia for today. I also wish a Happy Mothers Day to those who wanted to be Mothers and couldn’t and all those who have strained Mother – child relationships.

Often it is Mothers or Motherly figures, who have plenty of experience in maintaining perspective as well as minimizing negative emotions. The Dalai Lama does as well.

  • Perspective
sweden border

“Disregard small issues.

The most important skill in staying calm is not to lose sleep over small issues. The second most important skill is to be able to view all issues as small issues.”

The Dalai Lama

  • Negative Emotions

“Anger, jealousy, impatience and hatred are the real troublemakers and with them, problems cannot be solved. Though one may have temporary success, ultimately one’s hatred or anger will create further difficulties.”

“Negativity is never the solution.”

The Dalai Lama

Is it Mother’s Day in your part of the World?

Several years ago, I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within those succinct few words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
Mostly anonymous, they are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures, and the experiences of many lessons learned and the wisdom from thousands of lives already lived.
They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Booted Out of Bikram

vigeland

A while back I attended two classes in Bikram Yoga. This is yoga performed in a hot room.

You see, I love a good sauna, and I like yoga…. perfect combination? Right?

WRONG!

Classically trained on and off for the past 30 or so years in Iyengar/ Hatha yoga as a recreational pursuit for fun, flexibility and fitness, I decided to give Bikram a go. Despite several warnings from my work colleagues, about the challenging nature of the class, I was ready, or so I thought.

What I wasn’t ready for, however, was the No pain, No gain, six-pack built teacher, complete with “Madonna-style” mic, on raised pedestal, who quickly began barking orders and clicking fingers at the class, like we were some kind of performing seals! 

I was instantly on my guard. This, for me, contradicted all that is appealing about Yoga. Yoga is usually all about relaxing, finding peace and zen, tranquility, and being at one with mind and body. I suddenly felt apprehensive. Let me tell you, the rest of the class didn’t go well.

meditation
Meditation and mantras

Am I a little strange, I thought, at one point? Looking around, I noticed the 17 other people seemed okay with being spoken at like caged circus animals, and relished enduring poses where the objective, according to the instructor, was “pain.” Clearly, this is hard core yoga and the participants enjoyed communing with other overly sweaty bodies in a smelly room, heated to 105 degrees celsius.

When booking in for the class, I was advised to drink at least 3 litres of water, beforehand and here is a tip: do not even think to touch your water bottle, during class, unless instructed to do so by the six pack girl.

emotion

One student was reprimanded for attempting to drink. I say attempting, because he didn’t get to the point of taking a sip. Poor guy had rivers of sweat pouring off his head and body, no exaggeration. This has to mean he was dehydrated and I hate to think of the headache he must have had afterwards.

Then – it is apparently a BIG problem if a student tries to vary a pose, due, let’s say, to a muscle cramp, in a way that is deemed contrary to the Bikram technique. I was told I had to complete the pose, as instructed, and when I explained that I was unable to do so, I was told that unless I did it as instructed I should leave the class.

vigeland

For the record, I stayed and told the instructor I would sit out, if there was pose I couldn’t do the ‘correct’ way the teacher instructed. Unfortunately, the teacher did not provide any alternative poses for those who are hmm, a little more advanced in years, something I was quite used to. It is certainly not an older person’s yoga.

No wonder they ask you to sign a disclaimer that includes the phrase,” that you have in the last 6 months seen a medical practitioner that states that you are safe and fit to do Bikram Yoga and that you are aware …..that there may be….injury, even  paralysis and death.

Are you surprised that I deleted this condition before signing?

When I attended the second class – Yes I did go back, but I was careful to select a class with a different teacher than the one who had asked me to leave midway through. This lady was, I have to say, a little more in tune with Yogic philosophy of, “Listen to your body” etc. I could make it through her class without being reprimanded for being disobedient.

However, this was a morning class, very early, and there was no way I had time to prepare by drinking the 3 litres of water. Thus, when the class was over, I suffered the classic symptoms of heat stroke, and only recovered 6 hours later. I’d suggest it might be dangerous to drive a car in this condition? Do you think so?

So that was was it for me. I forfeited the rest of my class fees and went back to gentle poses with a Hatha Yoga teacher. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, I think Bikram as it is practised by the first teacher, is an abomination of the concepts of Yoga as I know it.

Feeling ticked off that it is even called Yoga, I began to research this style, and it seems that there are some issues that question the very integrity of Bikram, and these are evident in a basic internet search. Wiki tells us competition is a fundamental tenet of Bikram, something that is anathema to Yoga.

{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikram_Yoga] Another controversial component of Bikram yoga pertains to the prevalence of Yoga Asana Championships, regionally and nationally. While practitioners of other forms of yoga maintain that competition contradicts the idea of peace and unity, Bikram contends, “Competition is the foundation for all democratic societies. For without ‘Competition’, there is no democracy.”[

Legal issues

In the United States, {Bikram} Choudhury has claimed and been aggressive in enforcing broad copyrights in most aspects of the practice, teaching, and business of the system. While these claims are not definitively resolved (i.e., by any judicial ruling on the merits), Choudhury has extracted legal settlements from a number of yoga teachers and studios. However, in a recently issued, official statement, US Copyright Office concluded, that the copyright for Bikram’s sequence of 26 postures had been issued in error. Note: {These postures have been done for thousands of years and are not his to copyright at all}

In Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class (First Edition), Choudhury claims he conducted “medical” studies at the Tokyo University Medical School validating the medical benefits of his 26 postures. During one of the lawsuits, defendants demanded copies of the “medical” studies and Choudhury claimed he could not find them. In Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edition), Choudhury removed all references to “medical” studies.[

Competition is necessary in democracy?  Copyright and legal issues? Fraudulent science?

Our six pack advised us that the techniques are “scientifically proven.”

No thanks, I thought. Gentle Yoga and Meditation is the only Yoga I will be doing. Bugger the Bikram.

This is me inwardly cringing

Have you tried Bikram Yoga? What was your experience like?

Something to ponder about in a more relaxing moment.

Nutty Rice

magnesium rich foods

I was recently asked for a way to get folks and children to eat brown rice. “Disguise it with yummy additions,” I said. Or use the recipe below:

So far it hasn’t met with rejection.

[Just don’t tell anyone this is actually Brown Rice for then staunch haters of brown rice will gobble this up!!]

Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, manganese and B group vitamins as well as fibre s it is quite disappointing to see folks/children reject it based on its taste. This recipe complements its nutty flavour.

Nutty Brown Rice

saute onion and celery
saute onion and celery

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Season to taste
  1. Heat oil in heavy saucepan and saute onion and celery fro about 3 minutes till onion becomes transparent.
  2. Add pine nuts and cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
  3. Add the rice, stirring well until the grains are well coated with oil.
  4. Add the Stock, Thyme and Bay leaf and bring to the boil .
  5. Cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender and all the vegetable stock is absorbed. This will take about 45 minutes.
  6. Season if desired.

Variations: –

  • Add 1.4 tsp cumin or Turmeric towards end of cooking.
  • Leave to cool, then add beansprouts and serve as a cold rice salad.
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