Skip to main content

Yhprum’s Law and a New Moon Wish

Yhprum’s Law is the opposite of Murphy’s Law. As opposed to the idea that “everything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” Yhprum’s Law states that “everything, that can work, will work.” (Yhprum is Murphy backwards).

Tonight is a new moon, the best time to light a candle and make a wish. My wish tonight is to take all the Murphy in my life and replace it with Yhprum.

Not that things have been that bad. Not everything that could go wrong, has. Or at least the way in which everything that could go wrong went wrong, could have gone more wrong than they did.

I could have broken down going up the Wollongong hills, but instead Kombi Xee conked out just when I made it to my street. My iMac problems could involve losing files but instead the blue screen freeze takes 5-10 minutes to disappear. When I walked into a pole sticking out of a truck (a blonde sending a text) I could have ended up doing more damage than the blue bump on my forehead.

Things could be worse.

But I am up against little annoying things that require my time to get fixed, and that’s too much Murphy’s Law at work in my life for my liking.

I like it when things work. I like it when my everything runs smooth. I like it when I approach a traffic light and it immediately turns green.

Life is at its greatest when everything that can work, does.

This is a shift I want to see happening, not only in my life, but in the world around me.

I want to see quality goods and quality services. I want to experience and be around people with a higher level of awareness – of self and world – and a stronger sense of interconnectedness and synchronicity that makes everything run as if on its optimal trajectory, actions and actors living as if produced and directed by a divine director.

So if you read this tonight I think let’s all light a candle and make a new moon wish: may Yhprum’s Law play a greater role in our lives.

Murphy’s Law Day and a Couple of Lifesavers

Have you ever had “one of those days”, where everything that can go wrong, does? There’s a name for it. Murphy’s Law. Today was one of those days… but thanks to a couple of lifesavers, a Jacuzzi and a taxi driver, it ended on a high note. Let me tell you the story of five lows, six highs and how everything turned out ok.


It started out a typical Saturday morning: sleep in till 830am, espresso and Brazil nuts, walk, breaky, yoga. I was ready to scoot to Bondi for a quick dip and read a book in the sun when suddenly the wind changed..

LOW #1

I had arranged to check out a Kombi at midday, my latest little dream. The seller was having a Murphy’s Law day like mine would turn out to be. For the first hour I sipped a poorly made coffee with a British dude who also wanted the kombi. We agreed it was a good price, sounded like it was in good mechanical condition, and underneath the niceties we both knew only one of us would get it. The seller messaged again: “Just another 20 minutes…”


I decided to scrap my swim, scooted home, and got ready for the evening ahead, leaving Jo to look at the kombi first. A dangerous move I know. I then scooted back to finally check out the bright orange 1974 kombi. I took Xee for a drive, and fell in love. I’ve never driven a big car, especially one with a long pole for a clutch and ridiculously huge steering wheel. Geez it was fun! Jo had made an offer, inside my head the pressure was on. Not one for thinking first, I acted: “consider her sold,” I told him. I called my sister to tell her the good news that my Festiva would now be hers, and agreed to meet her and my mum at circular key for a celebratory drink.

LOW #2

Just one problem: my scoot keys were nowhere to be seen. I emptied my pockets, my bag, and the kombi’s interior. “It has to be here!” I exclaimed helplessly. A vision of an expensive locksmith coming out was making me desperate (No, I don’t have a spare). I called my sister and cancelled, then I said a little prayer.


In desperation I checked the street, under leaves on the road and footpath. What do you know, there it was: my key, on the street, where I’d first met Xee. I hugged the kombi seller. By now it was 4pm, the time I was supposed to be at a friend’s birthday drinks on the other side of Sydney.

LOW #3

My mum called with sensible words about checking the price of the kombi, having my uncle check the mechanics, all that blah blah blah (that I do appreciate and know is important, but can’t be bothered to do..) Anyway when she called for a second time I had just arrived home, and after two coffees and not enough food my hands were so jittery that as I answered the phone, I dropped it in the sink. It wasn’t full, thank goodness, but a saucepan full of water fell on top of it.

Now if I had one of those sturdy old Nokias, all would be fine. But these temperamental iPhones are not so forgiving.

“Cough cough, splutter splutter.” It said. “I do not recognize whatever you are doing to me”. Or some weird error message along those lines appeared.

“Please come back to me!” I cried, followed by another little prayer.

I opened it up (as much as an iphone can be opened, i.e. took off it’s cover) and tried to revive it with a hairdryer. At first the speakers refused to breathe.


In time, with a lot of love, my recovered back to it’s good ol’ self. I called mum to apologise for being short.

LOW #4

I made it to my friend’s b’day drinks in Manly, only one and a half hour late. First problem was finding a park. Then there was a sound. A strange sound. “Is that my car?” I thought, turning my music of. Then, at a traffic light, “You have a flat”, a dude across the road pointed. SHIT.


“A beer will fix everything,” I said to myself. I found a park, downed a couple of icy cold ones, and contemplated my tyre. Basically a new tyre too, two days after my car had been serviced. How depressing.

I sweet-talked a couple of the boys at the party, and went to double-park the car somewhere closer. On second thought not to tear boys away from their beer, I decided to go to the petrol station.

“I’m going to figure out how to do it myself,” I said optimistically, asking the guy behind the counter for a little direction. He showed me how the jack worked, and with a set of pliers I started to lift the car.

Enter my lifesavers: two elderly men walking by.

“Do you need a hand?” they asked, “do you have a jack handle?”

My face must have said it all. Before I’d said a word they had some long handle thing joined to the jack, my car was lifted, hubcap off, bolts undone, spare tyre on. Done and dusted.

“You guys are lifesavers!” I exclaimed a few minutes later.

“Actually we are,” they laughed, pointing to the Manly Surf Lifesaver logo on their shirts.

LOW #5

Hoping in my car, the next heart pounding moment was the breath tester.

“Have you had anything to drink?” The copper asked.

“Yes.” I gulped. I was pretty sure I wasn’t over the limit, but you can never be too sure.

“Count to ten,” he ordered.


“One, two, three, four…” BEEP. “Your ok, good to go.”

I thanked God for the sixth time that day.

“A bad day makes for a good night,” a friend said at the pub. And it did. Back in the city my friend picked me and, dressed in a Brazilian flag, we went to a United Nations themed party.

So you wanna know what the funniest part to this whole long winded story is? Well, in my opinion it’s actually not the fact that I ended up swimming in an indoor pool and sitting in a hot bubbling Jacuzzi at 1am, but the taxi driver who at 2am delivered me safely to my door.

He (the taxi driver) was Pakistani, had done more degrees than me – from computer science to commerce and another couple I can’t remember – and was telling me about his dreams to go back and do engineering. “The problem is jobs.” He said.

After my last entry about the gap between education and real-life, that point really hit home. I can criticize the education system all I like but it’s not going to change the nature of the jobs that are available, which is ultimately the priority of education: survival.

In tribal society education must teach children to hunt and build huts. In our society education must teach us to survive within the system: to fit into a boxed up job that gives us money to buy our pre-killed meat and pay for our pre-made houses.

If we are lucky enough to find a job we can survive from and enjoy, then kudos to us. And if there’s a way of surviving, enjoying, and helping improve our survival system so it’s less destructive to our mental states, to the 4 billion people condemned to poverty from it, and to the planetary ecosystem that future generations need to survive on, then even better.

Murphy’s Law may say that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, but Juliet’s Law (as this day’s high notes and low notes exemplified) says that “whatever can go wrong can be fixed”. Now all the world needs is a couple of lifesavers.


Xee, the kombi I’m about to buy!!! (XEE is her number plate, if I remember correctly).

Brisbane’s Narrative Wreckage: Cataclysmic Interruptions and Redemptive Solutions

Content in living out your life: work, money, weekends, holidays, home, kids… and then something happens: a cataclysmic event changes everything.

Be it a sudden illness or a natural disaster like the flooding Brisbane is now facing, everything you know – everything you care about, everything you have dedicated your life to, everything you imagined for your future – can disappear in an instant.

As I write, Brisbane faces 12 people dead, 43 missing, 20,000 homes, and 3000 businesses under water. No words can convey my sorrow and empathy for all those whose lives have been upturned.

The events reminded me of an analogy I came across in my narratology studies. The analogy of a “Narrative Wreckage”.

Events like are described as an “ontological assault” that throws even the most ‘basic, underlying existential assumptions that people hold about themselves’ into disarray. [1]

I imagine many people living in Brisbane are presently feeling such pain, among the many physical ones.

Occurrences like this cause worlds to be “unmade” – one’s identity and thoughts about the future are thrown into sudden disarray.

One’s basic sense of time is destroyed. Storytelling takes a massive turn. One’s life-narrative must be reconstructed.

At points like this that the Buddhist philosophies of non-attachment show their value: the less attached you are to the things lost, the easier the loss is to deal with.

Even if attached to the things lost (which most of us are), the incoherence in your life narrative can still be repaired.

The repair, depending on the damage, will likely see the creation of a new narrative: one of renewal and redemption, one of hard work and incredible reward. I don’t know if in these situations it helps to consider “the hard road to the good life.”

In an article in the Journal of Happiness Studies, a collaborative group of narratologists write about ‘narrative variations on the good (American) life’ that describe:

‘a gifted (chosen) hero whose manifest destiny is to journey forth into a dangerous world in order to make it better (to redeem it), and who, sustained by deep (intrinsic) convictions, confronts many setbacks along the way, but learns from each of them, and continues to grow.’

The stories ‘celebrate personal growth and redemption stories’ while also affirming ‘the sense that one is special and destined for greatness, that the world is dangerous and in need of the protagonist’s reforming efforts, that the righteous protagonist should never conform but always trust his or her inner convictions, and that good things will come out of suffering, no matter what.’ [2]

This narrative is so familiar – in our literature, movies, religions and even in our daily stories – yet that doesn’t take away from it’s deep psychological value, nor the difficulty of the experience as it is being experienced. Hindsight is great.

Each of us may be an Average Joe yet through narrative we turn into heroic protagonists, setting out on our own quests and adventures, most likely with something narratlogists call a “generative” aim – leaving some kind of personal legacy, creating positive value for future generations, demonstrating the meaning of one’s life (be it lives created eg via making babies, or through lives touched eg through relationships). [3]

No doubt cataclysmic events like this change lives. It changes the future. You may even look back one day and be thankful for the path the cataclysm led you to.

As an observer of the cataclysmic trajectory humanity’s narrative seems to be heading, I hope it isn’t insensitive to think about what the Brisbane floods can teach us all?

Human induced global warming or not, our radical global population growth and unsustainable lifestyles indicate our collective narrative is near wreckage.

People may argue that our population will slow as people come out of poverty and women are educated, but where is the sign that either of these things will happen in the near future? The economic pyramid depends on the large base and a huge gap simply in order for the middle and top to move up and live better. The lifestyles of the rich rob the poor of their choices, and rob future generations of their resources. I am, in every aspect of my lifestyle, a cog in this system. While this system poses threat to the narratives of many individually, and collectively, the institutions and society we are born into is not easy to escape, and even harder to challenge.

At difficult times like the Brisbane floods we see the media, the government, the nation, and much of the world, unite in effort to help those in need. Our common humanity triumphs over the economic, cultural, religious, and ideological differences that so often tear as apart.

As we join together to restore the order, to help those in need get back on their feet, I am reminded that humans care. When we see others suffering, we know that it could be us in their place, so we treat those people how we hope they would treat us. Our more superficial aspirations may distract us at times but at the end of the day I think we each feel connected to everyone and everything that surrounds us and that we are a part of.

This gives me hope.

I hope we can find ways to repair the cataclysms that face us in this moment, and to avoid the cataclysms that (on our current trajectory) appear to lie ahead.


[1] Crossley, Michelle, (2002) Introducing Narrative Psychology, Narrative, Memory and Life Transitions. pp. 11-12.

Michelle refers to Narrative Wreckage analogy from Frank, A (1995), The wounded storyteller: Body, illness and ethics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

[2] Bauer, J. J., D. P. McAdams, et al. (2008). Narrative Identity and Eudaimonic Well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, p. 98.

[3] Baddeley, J. and J. A. Singer (2007). Charting the Life Story’s Path: Narrative Identity Across the Life Span. in Handbook of narrative inquiry : mapping a methodology. ed. D. J. Clandinin. Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sage Publications: xix, 693 p. 191.


I snapped this in Budapest 2006

Feel the fear, and do it anyway

The first time I sat on my scoot I trembled with fear. I drove it around the block, parked it, and waited half an hour for the adrenilin to calm and my heart rate to slow.

The second time I did some drills with a friend. My thumb hurt too much the next day to even look at it.

Third time lucky, well sort of. I tried to ride to Bondi, but too scared to change lanes ended up in Double Bay.

The fourth time, still feeling the fear, I rode first to the petrol station (even filling up some strange hole under the seat felt scary) and I continued on, through multiple lane changes, all the way to university.

The fifth time the fear faded. My senses hightened to face the life-threating forces from in front, both sides, behind and below.

I rode, and I enjoyed.

There is real thrill in facing a fear, so when I read “feel the fear, and do it anyway”, a Susan Jeffers quote in a Community Mediation manual I was editing at work, I just had to blog about it.

You know, every day we find ourselves surround by things we fear – physical fears, psycholgical fears, relationship fears, financial fears, fear of failure, fear of what other’s think, fear of uncertainty, fear fear fear.

Often we let fear guide our decisions. It is easy to let fear rule over our lives.

I almost didn’t get a scooter simply because of my fear of getting hurt. My fear of ripping apart my skin, breaking my neck, or dying, the latter which would be my preference of the three…

So I held off for months.

Every scooter that passed me tormented me.

I wanted to be on a bike, and that was that.

So I asked myself, “If I was to walk onto the road and get hit by a bus tomorrow, would I regret not having a scooter today?” YES.

“How about if you get your scooter and have an accident and become a paraplegic, won’t you regret that even more?” Well… maybe.

So which might I regret more?

A fear of getting hurt still remains. I will probably feel it every time I hop on the bike. But the fun that I am having on the bike, makes it worth it.

Life is short – I want to live it to the full. I would rather live a shorter life, living each and every day to it’s max, then live a long life dominated by fear.

The thing to remember is that what we fear most are usually the things we least need to worry about.

“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”

Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).

You never know what tomorrow holds – stockmarkets and currencies and even civilizations eventually fall. I could die driving in my car or walking on the street or even laying in my sleep. If we live in fear, we are not truly living.


All of us will one day be old, and will one day die.

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”

Life’s too short to let fear play a dominant role in it: feel that fear, and do it anyway, and (unlike me in this pic) don’t look back.


Since I’m still at work filling in time waiting to go to dinner friends I grabbed this pic from my facebook. Sometimes it’s annoying that this is a photo blog. Anyway it’s from an old editorial for the German magazine Shape that I shot in Sydney a few years ago. Don’t worry, I won’t be scooting around town in heels 🙂

Variety … the spice of life

“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavour,” said the William Cowper, an English poet of the 18th century.

Food tastes okay without spices, but can anyone deny the enhancement of flavours when little salt and spice is added to the palate?

When it comes to life, I see nothing wrong with a life that plots along – working, watching television, catching up with friends, etc. etc… but like spice to food, variety gives life a whole new flavour.

This year I have experimented with some new spices – a new home, a new job, a new degree, a new sport … but in the process I seem to have let some of my old favourites expire.

Last week I pulled some out of my pantry, and made the most incredible dish (so to say): I taught my first Pilates class and did my first photoshoot for 2010. Somehow in my bookish ways I had forgotten the joy I get from these things.

While it’s great to embrace the new, and to get focussed on something in particular, life seems to get better the more varied the activities it involves.

Of course there are limits. Like a tummy after over-spiced foods, we don’t want to overdo it.

In the pursuit of balance this week has reminded me that in the process of discovering new spices, try not forget the old. Looking ahead to 2010 I see no reason not to mix the two together… and I wonder what creative flavours they may concoct?

I will keep this post short and sweet, and leave you with a little question: how tasty is your life?


Taken by Tenda in Tokyo (sorry Tenda, I forget your last name) back in 2006.

Farewell Superstitions

I like experimenting, trying things I’ve never tried, testing one thing against the other – whether it be conducting little social experiments, buying the strange looking packet of dry fish from the Asian section of the supermarket, or giving the superstitious options on society’s menu a really good shot. But in my mind, three strikes and you are out, and I’ve now done three pretty long experiments with fortune tellers and “make a wish” superstitions. In each of these experiments I gave the superstition the benefit of the doubt and gave it a full go, yet not even the placebo effect brought an ounce of truth from these experiments.

One was an old fortune teller on the streets of Amsterdam, “Baba”, who in 2006 sat me on a park bench and he told me I was having dilemmas about two men and gave me dates for marriage and children. At the time I thought I was having dilemmas only about one guy, but my imagination stretched it to include another guy I was traveling with. I can’t remember all the details but I’m pretty sure those dates included marriage at 28, and kids at 29, and… (thankfully) NOTHING! Even if I only recently turned 28 I think I’m safe to say Baba was wrong.

The second was an “intuitive life guidance” chick in Sydney who among many career and life projections about marriage to a human rights lawyer when I’m 33, and kids at 34, said I’d have a summer romance in Bondi that would start in September with someone just a couple of years older than me. It’s now November and… nope – NOTHING! Well, nothing of the nature she described.

The third strike happened yesterday. I have been wearing one of the “Fita do Senhor do Bonfim” ribbons (in photo above) since a friend wrapped it around my wrist in Brazil in February 2009. “Three ties and three wishes – when the ribbon comes of you wishes come true…”

The ribbon after almost two years:

For almost two years the ribbon on my wrist got thinner and thinner, uglier and uglier. I covered it up for photoshoots and weddings, playing out this superstition (of course for the fun of it more than anything else). Granted I made some pretty big wishes (that I still think will come true) but the ribbon fell of yesterday, and… NOTHING!

That’s three strikes.

So while I still have my own slightly superstitious beliefs about how personal intuition can sometimes be connected to some universally connected source of intuition (through “the power of intention” or “law of attraction” or “prayer”), I will definitely think twice before bothering with another experiment that something kinda annoying like a ribbon, or paying someone else for their “intuitive” time…

Goodbye superstition, hello personal agency.

While there are some societal structural limits on what I’ll do with my life, these little experiments have reminded me that most human-created superstitions are bull****.

No one can know your future better then you do.

How my day got better.

After facing rejection and depression that followed some emails and the lecture on Palestine and Israel, I went to the library and found myself inside my own little metaphoric story:

I was looking for a book but I couldn’t find it. The number system can be confusing in Fisher library (which is MASSIVE) but I thought I had it mastered. I checked the shelves where books that had just been returned go, then I checked the front desk, then I rechecked the computer, then I decided to go up the six flights of stairs for one final look.

I still couldn’t find it.

Then, just before giving up, I had a look one more time at the stacking shelves. I realised that the books on these shelves were not in order – searching through title by title I finally found the book I was looking for. It had taken almost an hour, and had sent me around and around in like circles, but eventually I succeeded.

If you fail then try and try again I advised myself, applying it to my previous nihilism, even if you feel you are going around in circles, you will soon realise it’s a spiral, and you are closer to your objective.

Leaving the library I met a friend to try a new yoga studio. Meeting my friend my mind was still a bad place, complaining about all that had happened. Then, in a room heated to around 30 degrees but doing a lighter yoga than bikram, I found my peace. It was intermittent – moments in the relaxation and meditation time and when the entire room of around 50 people were humming ‘Om’ coordinated only by our different breathing lengths. Here I felt my mind and body unified as one. Even if it only lasted a few minutes, this sense of peace reminded me of two things: peace might not last forever, but it is possible, and peace starts within.

This feeling of peace inside me may not last forever, but some remanence of this feeling is still with me now, some two and a half hours later. And I’m sure I’ll continue to reap the benefits of the feeling of balance as I go to sleep and maybe even tomorrow. Yoga helped me deal with my day. Hopefully the destructive part of my mind will allow this constructive practice to spiral me upward – inspiring me to go to more yoga classes and furthering this feeling of united mind and body. It really feels great!

If this scenario plays out I might look forward to reaping the corresponding mental and bodily health benefits and the compounding life benefits that come with that. Fingers crossed this is my new story – but you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Taking the long way home

2am Saturday morning

Isn’t it funny how when things change, it’s usually overnight. One day I have a social life – like every day and every night filled with some kind of pre-organised plan. And the next – NOTHING. Not one little thing. Oh yeah, a sailing outing for my Dad’s birthday, but that doesn’t count. Family may be the most important thing in the world but they do not constitute a “social life.”

So here I am, getting what I wish for, again. This time it’s time. Time I had been missing due to social life, that I wanted to be spending in front of my books and computer. Then, I get time, and what happens? I’m bored. They do say to be careful what you wish for… that grass is always greener.

What do you do when most of your friends are hitched or pregnant and you don’t even have so much as a little crush? While the logical answer is “turn back to your books”, the more fun answer tonight was (borrowing a lyric from The Beautiful Girls) take the long way home…

“You want a lift to Central?”

Porque no!” I answered, why not – my awesome new shoes had given me a blister so cutting my walk home into two wasn’t a bad idea.

Jefferson, a fellow CPACS student, was going to a weekly event called Politics in the Pub at the Gaelic Club – something I’d always meant to check out but never quite made it. After 10-hours at uni (half work half study) a beer and opinionated people sounded far more exciting then going home to more books.

So I joined a room full of people, most over 60, to watch a doco on Tibet and listen to a young Tibetan tell his story (an issue I’ll talk more about another day). Two beers later I found myself txting my Saturday morning running partner – about not going running. “What u up to 2nite?”

“Heading to Bavarian Bar on York Street to meet for beers with work mates. You’re welcome to join.”

When the political upheavals had settled down I replied… “Porque no!!!”

And before long I found myself walking down George Street, following Google Maps to York when (I kind of feel like I’m reading a child’s storybook when I say this) on the way….

I realised (again) that walking down George Street I was a minority among mainly Japanese (confirmed when I overheard “Oskalasamadesu!”) and Chinese and Korean and Indian and a few other nationalities mixed in there.

“I’m a tourist in my own city,” I thought, recognising the (albeit slight) similarity to the evening’s Tibetan speaker who spoke of needing an interpreter to travel in a taxi in his own country. His native Tibetan language was no good anymore – not even in Tibet 🙁 Don’t get distracted Juliet – one story at a time.

So I thought I’d play a game and pretend I was a tourist in Sydney.

I stopped to take pictures with my iPhone – “that might be useful for something,” I thought. Two beers on an empty stomach will do that.

By the time I reached York St I felt like I’d travelled back to Japan

-have you ever tried Pepper Lunch?

And Europe (a lot of Germans out in Sydney last night)

And Argentina….

The Argentineans were my favourite. I even went to the convenie to get some change to add to their stash. What a story!

These two adventurers had been through (see map above) South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and now Oz. Soon to go home? NO! They had just started. Next New Zealand then Japan then China and Russia  and more of Africa and North America and the east coast of South America… Ahhhhhh!!!!! What a trip!


Ok, back to last night…

Eventually I made it to the Bavarian Bier Cafe. Following a shared “taster” round of German beers, reminiscing Munich and Berlin, with my running friend and his buddies, it was time to move on. Home? Not yet.

“Grasshopper. Grasshopper. I’m sure I know that place…” I said, trying to figure out why. “You must have told me about it,” I accused my friend, who has a habit of telling a lot of stories about Sydney nightclubs. It wasn’t until I’d walked down the alleyway and my friend was knocked back entry (too many beers) that I realised why. “Oh my gosh!” I almost screamed (maybe I’d had too much too). “I took photos here!” Suddenly I realised why I knew Grasshopper – this was where the Inspire Ball was held – the “dress as something that inspires you” charity event. “Sydney’s first laneway ball” – where I was the volunteer event photographer (if you follow this blog – the devil/angel yin/yang costume). Sorry that’s totally useless information unless you happened to catch that entry of this blog. Anyway it was exciting for me, briefly, and then we moved on.

As time goes on and so do the night. In my retro black and fluoro pink sneakers, black mesh jacket, denim shorts and leggings (working at a university has it’s advantages) I tagged along the bar up the Hilton (sorry Sydney, I totally forget it’s name), and then to The Cross. Kit & Kaboodle (no idea how it’s spelled) and the somewhere else, and now home.

Home sweet home.

“The best thing about a night out is the shower at the end of it,” I remember a girl in a bathroom in some random club saying to me.

Given the choice I must say I do prefer a book or movie over and above a night among too many weird and wonderful people that go out to these places. Courtesy of my samba class dancing last night was A LOT OF FUN but I tend agree with the chick in the bathroom: the best thing about the night was the shower at the end of it.

One more comment, in case you are actually interested in someone else’s own strange habits… it’s now 2:30am and I’m finished my little rant on about whatever the heck I’ve filled almost three pages worth of words with. I am a little cold (sitting on the floor on my favourite cushion with a towel wrapped around me and my windows open) and VERY glad I have returned to my old habit of switching to water when I know I’ve had enough. Now I am ready for one final glass of water, a dash of moisturiser, and a good night’s sleep.

What will tomorrow bring? I have a feeling it probably won’t include that run.


More about Julian, Lorena and Little “Trico”s long trip home at:


Practicing what I preach

“It’s easier said than done.” I think we all have discovered this at some point or another. A couple of weeks ago I was struggling with a few big decisions and I punched the following rant into my phone on my way to work. In short, I consider the relationship between money, stories, optimal-trajectories, and the dynamics involved in putting these into practice. It’s not always easy to practice what you preach…

When you are happy, it’s easy to say that if you’re not happy you should change something. Figuring out what to change and actually changing it is another thing altogether.

When you have enough money to do the things you want to do, it’s easy to say you don’t care about money. It’s easy to say that you let creative passions & intuitions guide your life, and never money be a driver in your decisions.

When doors are opening as you approach, it’s easy to say it’s because you are “following the signs”, “listening to your intuition”, and “traveling along your optimal trajectory”.That’s easy when you feel like you’re in sync with the universe. During times where everything is falling into place without so much as a hiccup or a sneeze, it’s easy to preach about optimal trajectories. As long as the traffic lights are green, you can keep going. But what happens when you start to get caught at reds? Is this a sign that you’re going the wrong way?

Sometimes  “the signs” are blurry. It can seem as though a sign is pointing in many directions, and there is no way to know which road you should take.

I have faced some roadblocks in this last couple of months.

First, I found out I not only missed out on the scholarship, but my grades were 1.5% too low, making me ineligible to even apply for it. Second, my iMac broke. Third, the editor I hired to give me feedback and correct the grammar on my book had been taking forever.

What was “the universe” trying to tell me?

“Maybe that door’s closing,” suggested my Dad. “Maybe it’s time for a career change.” Subtext: go and get a “real job” in the business world, enjoy the money and security it brings.

It did seem like my plans to do a PhD over the full-time for the next three years with a scholarship – was a door firmly closing on me. And how can I survive without income? A part-time PhD will take forever. If not a PhD, what was I supposed to do?

Like always, I gave the business option some thought… Is my dad right? I am 28 now… Does this mean it’s time for me to “settle down”, get married, get a proper job, a mortgage, and start having babies???

Suddenly I wanted to puke.

I hate that word: “settle”…

It implies compromise.

It implies giving up on dreams.

It implies letting fear lead you to live a life you don’t really want to live.

Life’s too short for that.

From these thoughts and feelings I concluded that the “settle down story” is not the optimal trajectory for me.

Is it a sign that I should pack up my apartment, downsize to a backpack, and travel the world some more? Maybe. But then what about the research I so much want to do? What’s more important for me to do at this stage of my life?

My research thus far into narratology led to some interesting self-reflections on these thoughts. I was clearly looking for a new story. I wanted a story that explained these mishaps and which would set me up on a new trajectory, preferably the one that is optimal for my life.

What was I doing even considering the settle down option? After all I write about on this blog: about not letting money guide my decisions; about how I’m happy to live without security or a fixed plan; and about how important it is to follow one’s dreams… and yet another part of me was saying, “it’s too hard, the door is closed, it’s not meant to be.” I guess yin and yang of life means that no matter how much you believe in freedom, the voice of fear will always creep up inside you.

Am I going to let fear guide my future? No-sir-ee I am not.

I observed as my mind processed the variables, and contemplated possible scenarios. I watched as my mind sought more signs, did more research and tried to connect with “that” feeling one gets inside – that feeling of intuitive satisfaction one feels when they imagine living out a particular future.

I observed as my mind selected one story:

I was “meant” to continue my research without a scholarship. I could start with the smaller research degree – a Master of Philosophy – and then, should I feel so inclined, I could use this degree to get a scholarship and do a PhD after that. Yes it means more work, but maybe is part of the journey I am supposed to take. Yes. I would continue. I love what I’m studying, so why should I let a money-related issue stop me from doing it?

After I had decided on this story I suddenly felt great.

I felt relaxed, and full of an energy I hadn’t remembered experiencing in a long while. The kind of energy that seems to appear when you are connected to the universe. It’s almost drug like – this energy that seems to enter you from no-where – similar to when you do lot of exercise, eat a lot of chocolate, or fall in love. It wouldn’t surprise me if when one feels they are on their optimal trajectory, the same happy buttons in our brains light up.

Observing this mental process, and the emotions and feelings that connected with different stories, got me wondering about self-determinism and predestination.

Is your optimal trajectory something that you choose, or something that chooses you?

This entry has gone long enough. So I’ll finish there and revisit this question tomorrow…

Photo credits

Photographer – Gilbert Rossi