The other day Erin and I went on an adventure to Joshua Tree which is a small town in the Mojave desert about 3 hours drive east of Los Angeles. One of our primary intentions for the weekend was to visit an unusual building called the Integratron for a sound bath.
The structure of the Integratron is based on a combination of biblical design, the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from extra-terrestrials. It is said to be built at an intersection of geomagnetic ley lines (which are invisible energy lines crossing the globe and often link historic and other important structures).
It is claimed that the combination of design, location and energy make this a very powerful building claimed to be capable of rejuvenation of cells.
Upon entering the building, I was surprised to see there were two floors. The ground floor we entered on was a staging post with books, posters, musical instruments, relaxation area and an area where we could remove our shoes. From here we climbed a steep set of stairs to the main floor. A beautiful wooden dome shaped room, there was enough space for forty of us to lie on the floor (on comfortable blankets) with the beautiful sun streaming through the perfectly spaced windows. There were also a set of large crystal bowls measuring up to nearly half a metre across. These are used in a similar way to Tibetan singing bowls.
The idea of the sound bath is that when these bowls are played, the power of their vibrations coupled with the design of the building and the geomagnetic power of the location ‘soak’ every cell in our body with natural healing energy. The intensity and duration of the sound ensures every atom is bathed in vibrational energy.
After a short intro, the playing began. Continue Reading »
A visit to Aberlour Distillery gave us the opportunity to kick off our ‘The Good Life’ series. We explored the grounds, compared their tipples and also bottled our own 15 yr old malt whisky. A dram of our adventures of 2014.
Black poured in as I opened my eyes; my ears were deafened with silence. All I could gather was that I had been sleeping. I was literally at a loss for where, when and almost who I was in this sense vacuum yet this wasn’t a dream. Additionally there was a pressing problem, I needed the toilet.
I am not alien to waking up in unusual places due to my work and lifestyle. Last year I regularly slept in up to ten diverse locations within a thirty day period. These ranged from friend’s beds and couches, mining camps, airplanes and buses, campervans and multiple hotel rooms both in Australia and overseas. Despite the multiplicity of cradles, seldom does it take me more than a second to realise where I am, but not always…
I once awoke on the back of a car trailer under a tree somewhere in the Northern Territories of Australia with no knowledge of how I got there. Another time I was in a duvet cloud of a beautiful fresh white bed draped with pristine mosquito nets floating in warm light. These are two episodes I remember now yet for a moment at the time I felt like a newborn in an unknown land. Continue Reading »
This is true.
I read this today when reviewing Dante’s perspective on desire and thought it a lovely illustration of the importance and worthiness of living true to our values. Our actions diligently describe our values far beyond what our heads ever tell us, although our minds sometimes disagree.
There are activities we pursue which cost us time, money and effort however we love to do them so accept both the energy used and the reward. Personally I adore festivals. My annual Mecca is the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The premise is that tens of thousands of us spend a week in an oasis city we build (then dismantle) from an ancient dry, dusty lake bed. There is an ethos of ‘Leave no trace.’
To go to this event requires months of planning, creating costumes, procuring provisions, building structures and a host of other effortful tasks. The payoff; one week living in a desert on our wits, seeing sights not available elsewhere on the planet, meeting NASA engineers, mad scientists and spiritual teachers and dancing in dust storms under the stars.
I love going to this event and I embrace the pains and pleasures associated with it. As a result, I generate my own energy (health, money, time) towards achieving the end goal; like a magnet, I am the one who creates the fuel for myself.
During this period, I am literally living with purpose. The purpose of Burning Man. And this is an important point I’d like to leave you with:
You have many purposes. Your purposes change. A purpose may be temporary or it may evolve.
Generate your own energy by pursuing the activities which you are drawn to. Analyse where you spend your money, time and where you’re organised as they are key indicators as to what’s truly important to you.
One word of warning though; when we don’t feel on purpose, we tend to seek immediate gratification through food, smoking, TV, tidying, having breaks and the like. If this happens, use your intuition to determine what you’re doing. Appreciate the feedback and decide if that’s what you want right now. If so, do it with gusto and plan what to do afterwards. Enjoy the immediate gratification for what it is, then get back on track.
Satisfy, not sacrifice.
The other day I was out and about and I realised that in addition to the phone in my pocket, I was sporting a range of wearable technology. My appreciation of new devices has lead me to pick up a few devices and I thought I’d review why I like or dislike them and how they affect my life.
Jawbone Up Band
Cost: Around $100
Battery: 10 days
Any smart phone
This is an asymmetrical bracelet which captures my movement and sleep patterns. When I plug it in to my phone, the data is synchronised to show me how many steps I’ve taken per day as well as my hours of sleep and any patterns I follow during the night.
I really like this little piece of technology as the data encourages me to keep active for my 10,000 steps per day, even when I’m just in and around the garden at home. In addition, being aware of how much sleep I need to feel refreshed and the consequences of regular late nights and early mornings. The knock on effect is that I believe it helps me stay healthy in my active and resting life.
I give this an overall rating of 8/10 as a health device and it helps reinforce the belief I have that anything we measure improves. In addition, the batteries last for 10 days so I don’t have to keep running to my laptop or a USB cable to keep using it and often forget it’s even there.
Samsung Gear Watch
Cost: Around $300
Battery: 1-2 days
Samsung phone and software required
The Samsung Gear watch has a range of functions James Bond would be proud of; at the touch of a button you can change the face to blend in with your outfit (digital and analogue or design-your-own). It has an inbuilt speedometer and with a double press of the single off-screen button I can talk to it to phone someone, Google a restaurant or send a text message. It also measures my movement and wirelessly synchronises with my phone. The built-in camera takes pretty good photos and short videos and this can be done at times when either it is difficult to get your phone or if you are being chased by baddies. For those who know Evernote, rest assured it all links up so a photo of an advert or recipe can be instantly sent to my to-do list fo
r follow up. Also, being hands free you can easily chat to someone whilst driving.
The downsides are that the watch battery life if only used as a watch is about 2 days and if I’m taking much video or photos, that life drops significantly. The camera angle for taking photos isn’t ideal either. However when we consider it probably has more processing power than many countries in 1950 it is surprisingly small given the technology contained within.
Overall I’d only give this about 5/10 and for the most part, a phone is quite ample to do what this watch does. Fun but frivolous.
Cost: Around $150
Battery: 6-8 hrs playing time
Any Bluetooth device
This is my latest addition and I’m seriously happy with them given my lifestyle. This great device streams music via Bluetooth directly to my headset (from phone, laptop etc) so I can be walking from room to room without my phone and still listening to music. In addition, I only need have one earpiece in to listen to my favourite radio programmes, TED talks, Youtube videos, spoken word files or even be watching a movie whilst I walk between the kitchen and the bbq as I have been doing recently.
At the touch of a button I can change the volume, skip tracks and even answer calls. I really don’t understand how the microphone is so effective as it is fully sealed however I’ve heard from people I’ve spoken to that it’s quite easy to hear the conversation. Oh, and they’re pretty comfy.
The battery life is supposed to be 8 hours but I think 7 is probably closer to reality however you do get audible warnings when you’re down to about an hour left so you can plan and recharge it which only takes 2 hours for a full charge.
BTW in addition to all of the above, I can swim with these on so am very excited to put on a good programme and swim for hours to see what it’s like when I’m entertained whilst swimming.
9/10 for these headphones. Slightly longer battery would be fantastic, and that would give these a 10/10.
If you want to know more about any of them, simply YouTube them – there are heaps of videos.
That was a short review for you if you are considering any of these wearables and to keep you updated with what’s happening.
Do you have any wearables and what are your thoughts about them?
Here are two tracks I created recently with a free app on my Windows 8 laptop called Music Maker Jam. You get to choose samples and mix them together and create. One I call Oriental Tango and the other is Flowing Funk Stream
Let me know what you think of them.
I’ve recently been listening to the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve watched her TED talk about Your Genius a number of times and hearing her questioning inflection in the way she speaks, I can only think of her on stage telling her stories.
I’m at the ‘Love’ part of the book, the third section set in Ubud. Ironically I was there in Bali at the start of this week so it’s rather fortuitous that I’m reading about it now. Whilst she’s there she explains about a lovely gesture she was fortunate to be able to offer for her 35th birthday.
I was inspired by her story.
Well, it’s my 40th birthday at the end of the month and today I spent some time thinking about gifts for myself. I thought of asking for a silver coin for each year of my life and a key country I was in, then I stopped myself and thought about what I’d really like.
Have you got Room to Read?
I’ve always been impressed by the organisation Room to Read and have helped at an event of theirs in Brisbane. It was started by a guy from Microsoft who visited a sorely information-undernourished school in Nepal which had only 3 books in its library – he then left the company to change the world. John Wood has since gone on to build schools, libraries, computer rooms, publish books and give grants to girls needing education in many developing countries. Today over 8.8 million children have benefited in their education and today I want us to do our part to increase that number. BTW think about that – 1 person has impacted nearly 9 million!
Let’s build a library together
With your help I’d like to build a library. It is only US$5,000 to provide a library in a developing country which will have an ongoing effect at improving the lives of children and future children and families on the planet.
So, I’m asking if you will help me reach the goal of $5,000. I’m going to make it easier straight away by pledging $400 so between us we only need $4,600 … 115 x $40/years I’ve been on the planet!
All I ask is that if you would considering giving me a gift for my birthday, that you give a contribution towards our library as it would mean so much to me to know that we helped provide for a library in the world where children are learning every day – long after our contributions are forgotten.
Really simple next step – just do something
Click here to go to my contributions page and you can make a donation using Paypal, Credit Card and other ways.
I’m so excited about this and really hope you can add your contribution, no matter the size, to our library – which I believe is a worthy cause and a legacy we can leave together on the planet.
Let’s make this happen!
Thank you for being a part of my 40 years and leaving something special for the future.
Click here to go to my contributions page
In mining terms, your swing is the number of days you work compared to those you don’t. A standard week for most is 5/2: Monday to Friday with weekends off where people generally work for about 8 hours per day equating a 40 hour week. For those who work in mining, we are often stationed out on mines which could be a long distance from a town, our friends and hobbies so time off when on a mine is not as useful as time at home. As a result, our working hours differ from the norm. I’m currently on an 8/6 roster working 12 hours per day which means I work two full weeks in just 8 days. As a result I get to have my two weekends together plus an additional two days to balance the hours on site.
So what to do with these 6 days when my beloved is in Los Angeles? Well with being stationed near Perth, Australia, it is actually about 2 hours closer to fly to Indonesia than to return to Brisbane so for this swing I’m staying at a lovely place called the Michi Retreat near Ubud, Bali. It is about a 90 minute drive from the airport in Denpasar and cost $25 in a taxi. Once here, I was delighted to find I had been upgraded to a homely bamboo room and after settling in I was asked if I would honour the Balinese maid by meeting the professor. I had heard about him as he was the owner of this artists retreat, however I was unaware I would get the fortune of meeting him. And what a delightful professor he is.
From north east China and Mongolia, he has a strong Japanese influence; I spent a few hours with him last night discussing Hong Kong in the 50s to 70s, Japanese history, the invention of the pot noodle, wisdom, cheating ourselves, life and some of my ideas about delivering my learnings to those who want to listen. He invited me to run some of my workshops here which I’d love to do, and although she doesn’t know yet, I’ll be putting it out to Georgi Mack whether she’d like to run a joint mind and body experience by me delivering some mental content whist she does the yoga as there is a yoga studio as well as artists area.
Today I delighted in Nasi Goreng for breakfast, then jumped in the pool for half an hour of exercise and stretching before a delicious massage listening to the waterfall from the rice paddy across the tiny valley from me. Amazing to think that for the cost of a good massage in Australia I could be massaged here for 8 hours as it is only $12/hour! After lunch I had a siesta (and dreamed of drinking the snake juice they have in an Absinthe tapped glass container in the restaurant area and watching the waitress suck in tentacles and small frogs as she consumed it telling me it was fine) and am now sitting by the pool writing this. Time to sign off as it’s dinner time then back to see the professor .
PS Happy Birthday Granny – today would have been your birthday xx
PPS The professor last night said he’d get me a glass of the snake juice to try which is alcohol based with Korean Ginseng, ‘special herbs’ and snake for strength! WTF!
I have yet to put finger to keyboard for my story about Burning Man this year other than the article the ABC picked up of the adventure I had with a luxury 5 course meal in a desert, however right now Burning Seed is fresh in my mind so I’m going to write about that.
Burning Seed is the Australian equivalent of Burning Man but a seed event. In other words it helps people understand the principles of the event without having to travel all the way to the US. First thing I’d say is that nothing I know is as good as Burning Man, although the Woodford Folk Festival has attributes which are similar.
Burning Seed took place in Matong National Park in Australia about 5 hours west of Sydney and was a fantastic experience. I only managed to get down there for the last 3 days, however that was ample to get in to the vibe.
There was certainly a Burning Man feel, but with only 1,500 people compared to 68,000 I’m sure you can understand that they’re not in the same ballpark.
I went to bed after work on the Thursday and at 1.30am the next day I started my trip. Driving via Bathurst, I took an extra 4 hours to get there with my driving time being around 8 hours.
When I arrived, I was welcomed warmheartedly and joined the Dirty Birds camp. I can’t stress how much the welcoming of Lost (aka Jack) helped me connect and after setting up my mini camp in the 4×4 I was using, I made my way into the thick of it.
It was at the Trash Mansion I started to kick things off and after a few cold drinks and cocktails, compliments of the people running the camp, I was dancing away to funky tunes and meeting amazing people. It was here I made a friend and we ended up wandering around and visiting the tea cave and other venues chatting to interesting people on our journey. It was freezing cold and the blanket I brought provided warmth to 4 of us as we huddled with our cups of steaming tea.
In Burning Man style, during the early hours I set up a coffee spot and provided coffee and creamed rice to anyone who was still awake before having breakfast wraps back at Dirty Birds and grabbing a couple of hours shut eye. I awoke at 1.30pm and prepared myself in a funky little outfit and grabbed my bottle of whiskey to join the Whiskey and Poker session at the Saloon.
This was my favourite camp at the event and was set up like a full saloon with a bar, pianola (self playing piano) and barber’s chair for anyone who fancied a haircut. We got in to the poker before attention was drawn to the young lady who was having surgery on her finger as we played.
She’d cut her finger in a blender earlier and fortunately her boyfriend was a doctor and capable of performing the operation she required. It was amazing to see and quite an incredible experience for us all. We did of course provide her with shots of whiskey to help dull the pain as he operated!
I was fortunate to meet an amazing pair or sisters who I ended up spending the rest of the evening with.
We prepared a massive platter of delights which wandered around and offered this to people as the sun set with glasses of our home made sangria. Dancing and massive frivolity ensued till the next day when they drove home as they lived locally and I continued my adventures back at Dirty Birds where I prepared 7 small glass bottles with ashes from the Burning Man with personalised calligraphy labels.
I met with friends in the afternoon and played golf and boules at the Country Club whilst I watched beautiful people dancing and hula hooping as well as playing with other movement toys.
I had a chance encounter with a very generous friend who gave me some drinks to help prepare for the evening ahead. I watched the burning of the temple and connected with myself and others as the flames licked the wooden structure – it really was an amazing experience and quite spiritual for me.
That evening I was fortunate to connect with a lovely couple. She was an actress and he a magician. We chatted ad infinitum and found ourselves back at the saloon where I made the mistake of having a shot whilst leaning backwards over the bar – something I’ll be sure to be extremely aware of in future as I ended up inhaling the home made whiskey which is something I don’t intend to repeat!
I finally ended up going to bed that morning around 5 am after two days of amazing adventures and surprisingly I wasn’t feeling too fatigued despite the wine and other drinks I’d had.
Monday morning I ended up chatting to new friends, laughing a lot and generally enjoying the morning with all those who remained. I gave away a range of food, clothes and other items I’d brought for the event and then was treated to great conversation and an early dinner at Jess’s in a nearby town (she was one of the sister’s I met a few days previous) before the long drive home.
I thoroughly enjoyed the long drive home which included a couple of stops where I simply pulled the duvet over me from the back when I was parked up in Dubbo and grabbed some shut eye as I knew I was sleepy and not fit for driving. Some sleep, lots of water and the occasional energy drink lead me home safely after an amazing few days away.
Thanks Burning Man for having Burning Seeds … I’ll be back!
68,000 people surviving in a hot dusty desert, Black Rock Desert in Nevada was the last place on earth I expected an invitation to a five course meal from a stranger, yet that’s what happened.
Every year there is an experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and self-reliance.
People contribute to each other through art, action and involvement. No money changes hands and it is purely a gift economy; no bartering, just gifts.I flew to Los Angeles to begin my preparation for Burning Man.
I was participating in the French Quarter Art Project working in the Café de la fin du Monde whose purpose it was to gift 4,000 cups of coffee over a week.
I packed the van with coffee machines, grinders and kilos of coffee and beans; a turtle with a new shell this vehicle was to double as my home in the desert when I arrived.
Enveloped by the aroma of coffee, caffeine literally entering my system through osmosis, I took off north for the lengthy pilgrimage to visit the Man.
I followed the Sierra Nevadas north and witnessed vast peaks literally tapping the heavens for water.
It seemed such a contrast as I was in fact travelling to an ancient lake bed used for land-speed records where a single rock out of place could spell disaster for any budding daredevils.
After 12 hours, hot, hungry, excited and still wired from all the coffee I’d been inhaling, I finally set foot in the desert to begin setup.
Together with 33 international strangers we assembled the café. Erin was part of our team and we’d had a brief chat the day she arrived.
I found out she had donated a range of traditional handmade soaps she’d prepared to the French Quarter Bath House and as a thank you for her effort had been gifted a golden ticket allowing her and a guest to visit a special dinner event. This stranger invited me.
On our date night, clad in formal evening attire, we wandered a dusty lane arm-in-arm to the dinner venue where we mingled with guests whose occupations astounded me … from business owners to circus performers, Google and NASA employees.
We wet and whet our palates with a champagne cocktail before greeting our dust draped desert dining dome.
This Pacifica-themed oasis was shaded in old parachutes and peppered with literal flotsam and jetsam, wooden crates, netting and the odd skull.
Beautiful and attentive waiting staff delivered a divine array of culinary delights during the six hour candlelit extravaganza.
This included spiced pork kebabs, taro cakes and bell pepper cups stuffed with coconut curry.
The company, the venue, the juxtaposition of luxury, liquid refreshment and bone-dry desert confounded my senses and made this an eternally memorable experience.
Thank you Erin for choosing me.
The photos from Davinator 142’s adventure can be found here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/102789759@N08/sets/72157635748699683/
PS This was recently published on ABC’s website here … http://goo.gl/X0TdWh