An Easter Story

Easter! Two thousand and fifteen. That makes it twelve years since the Easter when mid-semester study break began, and the world dissolved. How time flies!

Twelve years ago, I was at university in Melbourne, and doing well, when I started suffering from irrational fears that I was going to fail my course. I knew they were irrational – logically, there was no good reason for them. I was getting near-perfect grades, I had always done well in my studies before, my health was good, I had good friends and an active social life. I knew, rationally, that the work was all well within my capabilities.

But I also knew that sometimes I was prone to over-stressing, and I assumed that these odd fears were a symptom of that. And I knew that exercise, a healthy diet, and a good balance of study and leisure – the usual list of things doctors and psychologists and school counsellors recommend – were good for stress. I was already eating perfectly healthily, and I thought I had a pretty reasonable study/leisure balance, so I made sure to get more exercise. Running, in my case.

I got up early and ran in the mornings before breakfast, but still the odd, irrational fears persisted.

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Stigma and Speaking for Others

As always, Drama Llama has an insightful take on Elizabeth Day’s article on mental health stigma (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/24/robin-williams-stigma-mental-illness), which antagonized a lot of people. Since at the moment, I have no time to scratch myself, let alone write blog posts :(, I’ll settle for re-blogging what Llama has said.

Also check out Charlotte Walker’s excellent post about the article, “A more accepting age? Why stigma is nowhere near a thing of the past”:
http://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/a-more-accepting-age-why-stigma-is-nowhere-near-a-thing-of-the-past/

Bruce Dawe – Definition of Loving

Definition of Loving

Thank you for love, no matter what its outcome,
that leads us to the window in the dark,
that adds another otherness to others,
that holds out stars as if they were first diamonds
found in a mine that had been long closed down,
that hands out suns and makes us ask each morning:
What else do we need, picnickers in time? Continue reading

Judith Wright – Remittance Man

Remittance Man

The spendthrift, disinherited and graceless,
accepted his pittance with an easy air,
only surprised he could escape so simply
from the pheasant-shooting and the aunts in the close;
took to the life, dropped easily out of knowledge,
and tramping the backtracks in the summer haze
let everything but life slip through his fingers.

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Paul Kelly – Meet me in the middle of the Air

A favourite song of mine, too – the choir I sing in is practising a version of it at the moment…

the fifteenth to twenty-first lines in a sonnet

This is one of my favourite songs of all time. It’s a song about Jesus, written by Paul Kelly, probably australia’s greatest songwriter of all time.

As far as i am aware, Paul Kelly is not a christian, but that doesn’t make this song any less insightful into the christian faith.

1Thess 5: 16-17 says “The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the middle of the air”

The song is mostly a mixture of that and psalm 23; which combines into a beautiful picture of the assurance we have in the love and provision of God.

I’m not sure if…

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On a Darkling Plain – “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold

A favourite poem of mine – “Dover Beach”, by Matthew Arnold – courtesy of Margaret Langstaff.

Margaret Langstaff

I stumbled on this wonderful old poem today and was wracked  once more by its beauty – in structure, meter, image, theme, everything in the poetics toolkit-so masterfully melded, pulled together, so plaintively and  profoundly phrased,no wonder that it’s a poem emeritus in the canon of English verse.

Perhaps you will appreciate it too.

Dover Beach

By Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With…

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Beautiful and knowing it – on being too sexy for your [shirt, hat, cat]

E.M. Forster was [ostensibly; tho perhaps not] thinking of female beauty, specifically, but mutatis mutandis, it still seems to be true:

“…beauty ought to look a little surprised: it is the emotion that best suits her face, as Botticelli knew when he painted her risen from the waves, between the winds and the flowers. The beauty who does not look surprised, who accepts her position as her due—she reminds us too much of a prima donna.”

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