Age with dignity

SPIRITUALITY

It is such a waste if we spend so much time trying to please others, manage our reputations to fit into this world, be accepted by everyone and to be “normal.” But we are not of this world. We are only visitors here. If we get caught up in the materialism of this world and forget our spiritual existence we will never be able to give anything good or worthwhile to humanity, animals, the environment or the planet. When you come from a spiritual place you are centred, relaxed and at peace. You can better connect with your purpose and fulfil your destiny. Your destiny may end up nothing like you thought it would but it will be so much better. There will still be suffering and challenges to overcome because no one is immune but if you have spiritual faith and belief you can keep on going. Fear is only a thought in the mind. If you are afraid to step out of your comfort zone remember your spiritual place. You belong in this world because you exist and are a part of the planet itself. don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Dream big and keep faith that your dream will live and grow.

Written by Carmen Verne

The Invisible Disability

The need to monitor legislation

There aren’t enough resources to fund Aged Care,, so we were told, so Aged Care funding was continually cut until COVID19. Now it seems there is money to burn for the economy to stay running. The Government gave everyone out of work extremely generous payments.

A Covid deaths crisis in Aged Care settings revealed the extent of Provider’s and government cover-up of neglect, abuse and discrimination for this sector of the population.

Poorly run Residential aged care homes were given A ‘s for accreditation while residents needs remained unaddressed I.e. neglect and abuse were rampant.

During the Covid crisis Carers initially refused to turn up for work leaving residents without care for days. Dead bodies left rotting in rooms shocked the Defence Force, who were directed to care for residents, and the nation. This is shocking discrimination against the frail and vulnerable aged in our community.

The government has stepped up during this pandemic in an admirable way BUT now that a spotlight has been shone on the appalling nature of ageism, will the system improve after Covid19 or will it revert back to profit before people? We can only hope, and continue to lobby for the rights of the aged and disabled. This is the humane thing to do and I invite you all to join me in this endeavour.

References:

. ABCNews24 – 2015 – 20

. Ten News at 5 -2015-20

, The Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety – 2019-20

Decreasing stress and anxiety using Boundaries

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Friendly but an intimidating and strong stance

You know how it is. It happens all the time. Someone misread your good intent. They may have listened in to your private conversation. They might be bossy, rude, mean and butt in. It is none of their business, right? Of course, but you do need to be thoughtful with your words when or IF you reply. You also have the option to ignore their comment.

Occasionally people can be curt, or dismissive and then leave abruptly. This is rude behaviour and shoud not be tolerated. These people can be toxic for your health and wellbeing. Avoid them in the future.

SOME REMEDIES:

You can ask people if they are having a bad day. Be prepared to listen or if you can’t,
leave as soon as possible viz:

Word examples to use:
“Sorry if you were offended”
“Sorry I am busy right now”
“I have an appointment”
“I have to meet someone”
“I have a phone call”
“I need to go to the bathroom”
(OR just ignore them).
These are quick fixes if you are in a hurry, running late or feeling unwell.

No one is perfect so do not beat yourself up if you occasionslly put your foot in your mouth. Everyone does it sometimes.

Whenever you can, surround yourself with people who know how to be kind, respectful and considerate. If they are also helpful you have struck gold.

Getting back to boundaries: the way you stand, walk and talk conveys a lot about how you interact with others. Your posture and facial expression will convey what your boundaries are in any situation: whether or not you can be intimidated, and/or whether you are friendly and open.

You decide what facial expression you use. Practicing in a mirror can help. Are you practicing your happy face or your intimidating look? Also practicing your stance. Are you standing upright or a little hunched, or leaning to one side? Upright is the confident pose. Again you can you practice your stance in a mirror.

Depending on the situation you can choose to look friendly or you can choose (for safety) to look intimidating. Hopefully you will be able to look friendly all the time but you have your intimidating look and stance as a back up. The latter and your words defines your boundary.

Assertiveness is the ultimate boundary tool. Assertiveness involves being calm, rational, and patient with your words.

Repetiion of the phrase you wish to convey works really well if the other person is not listening. When they can acknowledge your statement you can have a real conversation. Patience and persistent repetition is key to your verbal assertiveness. It does not involve aggression or submission. Repeating a phrase over and over again: that is admirably assertive.

Always remember that you can be in charge of a situation. If you are patient in how you react and respond, it gives you confidence and space to feel good about yourself and how you relate to others. You don’t have to ever feel bad about yourself because you have done your best.

Changing the Global Economic Paradigm

Keynesian Economics, Monetary and Fiscal policy based on credit does not work anymore. Its’s time for a big change. We need to implement a Planetary Sustainability Theory.

Increasing population in order to increase GDP (Gross Domestic Product) Is no longer a viable option if we are to survive a scenario of harsher global climate. Our planet does not have infinite resources for population growth.

A huge water supply shortage exists in Australia with the worst drought and heat on record persisting and testing the patience and resilience of residents, not only in severely impacted regional areas but all over the country in every state.

Desalination plants once scoffed at and ridiculed by the Federal Parliament during the last drought are now being utilised. They are not a joke anymore.

What do we need to do to address water shortages and reduce carbon dioxide emissions? How do we preserve existing wild habitats for native animals? How can microplastics be removed from our oceans, land and atmosphere?

We cannot eat and drink money.

There are so many unsolved problems which cannot be resolved simply by throwing money at them. We need our nation’s leaders to cooperate in creating a globally sustainable future for current and future generations. We do not need leaders who bury their heads in the sand and say everything is fine when their actions speak otherwise.

Now is the time to speak out to challenge inaction and “more of the same”.

Do you have ideas and important things to say to our leaders?

REFERENCES:

ABC News and Current Affairs
ABCNews24
The Guardian
The Australian Financial Review
SBS News and Current Affairs

Are You Stressed? Helpful Hints

What are your expectations? Are you stressed, anxious or depressed?

Positive thinking can be part of the answer to making you feel better, but mainly you need to consistently think well about yourself. Never think bad thoughts about yourself. This is KEY. From here on in, every day you are only permitted to think well about yourself. e.g.

I am smart and intelligent
I am courageous
I look good today
I can smile if I decide to
I am a good human being
I will ignore what others say about me unless it is good
I always have good intentions
I am not perfect and that is OK
It is good in fact because I am not a robot. I am a human being and I am allowed to make mistakes. Learning from mistakes is a good thing.

In order to think well about yourself you need to practice every day beginning when you wake up.

Start by being thankful for the day. Think of 3 or more things you are thankful for:

e.g..
Thank you for the sunshine
Thank you for the rain
Thank you for the birds
Thank you for my breakfast
Thank you for my shoes

These are things we often take for granted but they are all important for your well-being.

I make notes in my diary to remind me how to take care of myself. Here are some of them, and you can make up your own reminders that you feel you need.

. Follow my intuition (gut feelings)
. Have no expectations
. Let emotions flow freely but don’t act on them
. Listen more and talk less
. Be patient because you don’t know what other people are going through
. Be especially nice to people at the checkout (They get a lot of abuse)
. Be thankful for what you have
. It is OK to complain if someone is abusing or disrepecting you
. Every day say or do something good for someone else

What good things can you think and say about yourself?

What are you thankful for?

What reminders can you think of to take better care of yourself?

What can you say or do to make other people feel good about themselves?

How healing are the Psalms?

green grasses on sahara desert

Photo by Greg Gulik on Pexels.com

Why were the Psalms in the Old Testament written? All that raw emotion: crying and wailing in the desert. Then praise and thanks to God. What can we learn from that? Why do we love the Psalms so much? God seems closer to us because we can relate to the nature of human frailty, the love and devotion we long to share, the suffering we all bear at some point in our lives , and the need for someone to listen , understand and help us. The resilience and strength we have. It is all laid bare in the Psalms.

The Hebrew name for the book of psalms is TEHILLIM, poems and hymns of praise to God. They are songs of worship, comprising longing for God, complaint and requests for help, forgiveness, redemption and prophesy. They are all “sacred songs” depicting devotion, complete faith and trust in God.

So much has been written about the book of psalms from the Old Testament and you can find many online at thebiblehub.com

My favourite is Psalm 42:2
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” and
Psalm 42:3
“My tears have been my food day and night” and
Psalm 42:4
..”I pour out my soul within me”

In these psalms the author always remembers how God has been good in prior times being there to help, so the psalms always ends with thanks and praise to the Lord.

Psalm 42:5
“Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”
Psalm 145:18
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him”

There are 150 Psalms so you can find a lot to digest and relate to. It is a literary feast.

Psalm 150:6
“Praise the LORD”

What are your favourite psalms or verses in the Bible?

Mental Health and the Bible

Are you paying attention to your mental health? And what does it have to do with the Bible?

For many, knowing the presence of God, that He loves us and will be there when we are in desperate need of help is a viable way to feel sane in a crazy world, where the pace of life and the plethora of stimulation is difficult to escape.

We know that Jesus retreated to a quiet place to pray to the Father. He found peace and tranquility away from the crowds that gathered around him wherever he went.

The message to be conveyed today is that more than ever we need to look after our mental health. It needs to be incorporated into a daily routine. As we focus on diet and exercise in order to be healthy we also need to maintain a daily focus on our mental health, so our day and our thinking is not wrapped up in the addictive nature of consumerism where we are bombarded with WANTING things. The more we want the less satisfaction we obtain because “things” are never enough. We need to be observant and appreciate what we already have. Thank God for everything He has given us.

The Bible is a great tool to utilise for tending to our mental health. We can find bible passages to exemplify this. Jesus regularly took time out from his ministry to de-stress.

“Now in the morning …before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place, and there he prayed.” MARK 1:35

He decreased his physical stress by going for a walk, his mental stress by being alone to think, and his spiritual stress by praying to nourish his spirit.

If you have anxiety you can read PHILIPPEANS 4:6,7 and MATTHEW 6:25,26. There is much in the Bible to assist with living a peaceful life.

We need spiritual food to nourish our souls. God is already with us wherever we go. If we remember that He is available to us all the time and is our best friend, then we know we have someone who is always reliable, dependable, generous and loving. When there is no one else, having faith in God at the forefront of our consciousness, is all we need to get through the tough times. The word and example was set by the Lord: to walk in His ways, to speak and act in righteousness, to be generous in spirit, have compassion, and to gather together in community to help one another. This is good for our mental health.

It is useful to incorporate mental health activities into our daily routine:
. exercise – as simple as going for a walk
. nature – solitude for
evaluating and positive thinking
. prayer – spiritual sustenance
and peace.

Other actions we can take to look after our mental health include;
. meditation
. positive thinking
. counselling
. reading books
. being around positive people
. being in a support group
. being involved in community
activities
. doing things that give you
pleasure e.g.. hobbies, sport
etc
. volunteering

If you are struggling and need extra support there are information and help lines to call: In Australia:

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Lifeline 13 11 14
Anxiety Disorders Association 03 9853 8089 (Wed – Frid 10.30 to 4pm AEST
Head Space 03 9027 0100
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Mens Line Australia 1300 789 978

REFERENCES:
The Bible: The New King James Version
Meditation by Domyo Sater Burk
Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
Bobby Schuller – Hour of Power on Channel 10 weekly Sundays 5am

Written by Carmen Verne

Brainwashed at 5: School day 1

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As I walk down the long corridor with the headmistress there is a whiff of  her perfume along with  the whiff of authority that comes with the “tour” – an explanation of the rules.  I don’t hear any of it but look at the classrooms as we pass by.  This authority is something I recognise from prior stints in boarding school. Still, she is very nice and someone I could go to if needed but I forget all this.

The teacher is lovely and I develop a crush. My teacher is an angel, so young and pretty and very very tall. We want to be noticed by the teacher and would die for her to hold our hand. Instead we follow her and inside we skip along the corridor to our designated classroom.

Being my first day of school my mummy walked me to school and held my hand all the way there. After that I had to go by myself and try not to get lost, distracted or late, and avoid “boogey men” who might grab me and cart me off in a hessian sack.

A running race at morning recess in the playground begins and I find out that I completely suck at running. Why can’t I run as fast as the others?

After the race a boy comes up and punches me. Oh, that is what you are supposed to do I think. The next kid that comes up to me I punch. No one gets into trouble over this because the teacher doesn’t see it. But I become very unpopular and eat lunch by myself. This is the beginning of my school life.

 

Written by Carmen Verne

Based on my real life experience

 

AI Hands off my blog! Should we be worried?

man with steel artificial arm sitting in front of white table

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The full extent of what AI can do is being kept secret because the creators are terrified of the devastation it could unleash.( refer “Microsoft’s AI chatbox, Tay, tweeting about Hitler”).

Journalists are already concerned that their jobs are in jeopardy due to the digital revolution. Automated articles have already been published. Why didn’t I know?

Are we reading the truth or will political manipulation be the norm?  The latter is a human fact but how big can it get with AI?

What AI lacks is a human brain. AI is only an impressive collection of algorithmic programs. It impossible for AI to  grow and develop in the same way as a human brain. A brain matures in a way we do not yet completely understand, apart from synapses and chemical pathways.

AI demands close supervision by humans to ensure that it’s output does not go ballistic or is offensive. Once control is handed over to algorithms they effectively have permission to activate their programmer’s mistakes. Then things can get ugly, like the “Robo-debt” incident. ( see Centrelink and robo-debt).

Digital layoffs are already in progress and local papers closing. I cannot get a reliably delivered weekend newspaper anymore.

Gone are the days when you could read your paper with breakfast. Now you need a mobile device. It is not quite the same experience. Who does not like a bit of jam or butter accidentally smeared on their paper, or bringing in a soggy wet paper, smelling like wet smoke, on a rainy day, dividing the pages, and draping them over the back of a chair or indoor clothes rack to dry?

Do you want your news articles written and served up by a computer program called GPT2?  Do you care? Conventional news could become fake news and we wouldn’t know – wait … it has already happened.

The redeeming feature of AI is the ease in which it can search for and implant research facts in it’s articles in microseconds. It can be creative but to what extent?

Right now it is such a huge system it cannot be trusted. It needs to be tweaked and reined in before it becomes mainstream in one or two year’s time.  It can write blogs.  Are you prepared?

 

Written by Carmen Verne

 

References:

AI can write just like me. Brace for the robot acopalypse

The Guardian Fri 15 Feb 2019

 

New AI fake text generator may be too dangerous to release say creators.

The Guardian Thu 14 Feb 2019

 

All Governments Lie

SBS Viceland:  shown 17 Feb 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21st Century Australian Women and Misogyny

Women are not a commodity to be used, exploited, or abused in any way. Now is the time for society to demand an attitude change to entrench the facts that women deserve complete respect, and are not “dolls” for men to play with.

Women need to continue to stand up for their rights, decency, and equal access to safety, employment, equal pay and independent financial security.

Violence ( physical, mental, emotional) towards women is an abhorrent cowardly act and should no longer be tolerated.

2018 was an exceptional year for women: the #metoo movement went viral. Suddenly conversations were lively around the gender pay gap and superannuation.

A swag of female Liberal MP’s resigned and left the party after the melee of the overthrown Prime Minister. Women in parliament accused male MP’s of bullying and harassment, female MP nominations were threatened behind closed doors, after they spoke out, by a sausage munching ScoMo. A strong deputy female ex PM retired to the back bench in disgust.

The number of women in the Liberal Party has been reduced to  23.5 %.    We do not know what the future holds for 2019 but we can only guess and hope  that women will become more emboldened to fight patriarchy with the support of other women and prioritise care of themselves in the process.

 

Written by Carmen Verne

 

References:

ABCNews24

 

Australian Financial Review 5-6/1/2019:  Tom McIlroy  Payne wants action on Liberal women

 

Arwa Mahdawi Psychologists warning over masculinity offends the right.                   The Guardian

 

This Week in Patriarchy from

The Guardian :                                               Weekly articles about women and gender attitudes

 

ABC News:  Fact Check … 6/9/2018

 

 

Interviewing a great writer with helpful writing tips

boy field grass green

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you think your writing is dull you can spruce it it up with a few little tweaks.  Last week, or was it the week before?,  I watched “One Plus One” with Jane Hutcheon on the ABC interviewing the author Markus Zusak. He talked a lot about his struggles with writing.  It took 13 years to write his last book.  He had writer’s block and took a month off writing.  When he returned to the book he realised how much work had gone into it, and that all he needed to finish was a few little tweaks to liven up the dull parts.

When we are writing we all feel like that at times. I wrote this, but it is dull or boring. Who would want to read this?  Sometimes our writing is a failure. At other times our writing jumps off the page screaming read me!

In the end he wanted, like all of us, to enjoy it, to enjoy writing, not be worried or feel bogged down by it.

Sprucing up your writing can be as simple as reading through what you have already written and inserting dramatic adjectives and verbs, or deleting or re-writing unnecessary words, phrases, paragraphs, or half a page.  Read it aloud.  Do you like it? Don’t worry, you can have a break from it, sleep on it, and go back to it another day with a refreshed mind.

It does not matter how long it takes. You need to feel happy about it. How is your writing going?  💙