Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content

Travelling Life

Pages: 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 78 79
Fashion a Tapestry of Beautiful Poems (read all 10 entries…)
Roads Go Ever On


J R R Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
Still ‘round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

Pursue a Minimalistic & Simple Life (read all 21 entries…)
Simplify, Simplify

The chief maxim of Henry David Thoreau’s life was ‘simplify, simplify’… a short sequence of words that formed a recurring theme through much of his writing. When I first gave voice to this goal ‘pursue a minimalistic and simple life’, I didn’t know to what dimensions of thought or action this ideal would take me. Was it simply a cliché sentence that aspired to some notable measure of humility or wisdom? Was it an aspiration to live beyond the asphyxiation of materialism? Was it an attempt to rid myself of the mental deluge of complexity that governed my life? Did I really grasp the significance of those words?

In contemplative honesty I must admit that although my ideals were pure and noble, I didn’t really grasp the transition of thought and lifestyle that needed to take place in order for this goal to be fulfilled. I was neatly trimming the edges of my life without attacking the overgrown jungle of weeds within. Minimalistic and simple at this juncture of time means letting go of everything that has ever held me secure and captive… materialism, comforts, wealth, career, friends, family, normality, security and predictability. It is not that any one of these things is altogether bad but in order for my life to be extended beyond the walls of premeditated insulation, I know I must let them go for a season. I have estranged myself from the penchant attachments of this life by selling my furniture, writing last letters, saying final goodbyes and packing away a few belongings into cardboard boxes to be revisited someday a year or two from now. Aspiring to simplicity…

Henry David Thoreau also wrote ‘How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.’ We have so much both good and bad imposing upon our lives that few of us ever have the strength, time or space to spread our wings and live. Through philosophical thought we seek to make sense of life until the day of awakening dawns when we realise that such thoughts are merely words unproven, untried and unpracticed until the day we walk out of our insulated walls into the wilderness of the unknown. We cannot understand life until we have engaged it in battle, fought with valor and stood alone victorious or defeated in the great arena of life.

Take a moment each day to notice that I love my life (read all 23 entries…)
The Open Hands of Community

One of the most beautiful aspects of travel is the community one encounters. Our western lives sometimes become sterilised by independence and seem to lack the inter-dependence of relationships between people of different ethnicities. However a short encounter had this afternoon reminded me that one does not have to travel to another continent to experience such community. As I’m preparing to pack up my house and sell my belongings in light of my travel plans, I had an Indian lady and her mother come to look at a couch I was planning to sell. Within only a few moments I was captivated by her vivacious descriptions of how she’d laid out her house, what furniture she had and the creative artistry that had gone into fashioning a home that gave expression to who she was. After seeing my renovated garage, she rang her husband and I gave them the grand tour of my house. For one hour we talked, we laughed, we discussed interior design, spherical balls, photography, India, Hinduism, Angkor Wat, the inspiration behind some of the paintings I’d done and an endless tapestry of interwoven conversations. They left me with the offer to help pack boxes even though they had known me for less than an hour. As well as endowing me with a longing to return to India, I closed the door behind them feeling that surely there is nothing more beautiful on this earth than the extended arms of humanity.

Develop a Vision Statement & Goal Plan for my Life (read all 5 entries…)
She Leaves it all behind

Transition is both retrospective and embryonic, we reflect back upon the journey life has taken us on with appreciation and reverence, and yet at the same time cast our thoughts onwards to the misted horizons that lie beyond the open seas of the future. As I pack my life into cardboard boxes I am entrusted with a deep seeded gratuity for this life I have led, it has been a culmination of inspiring moments, great accomplishments, exceptional and influential people and experiences that shall forever instil my heart with fond and inspiring memories. Will I come back? That is always a definitive question that knows no definitive answer. Will I be the same person when I come back? The answer to such is indisputable… the woman who returns to this corner of the world in twelve months time will not be the same woman I know today. Life moves on and so must we.

For two years I have led a shell of a life, unsure about the dreams that lie latent in my soul and unable with any sense of certainty to yield myself to commitment or change. I lost myself, I lost my direction, I lost sense of purpose and destiny, I was living a hollowed out existence. Looking through boxes of letters, awards, certificates, prophecies, photos… I realise how much I deviated from destiny but for why and what purpose perhaps I shall never know – it was part of the journey. Perhaps without the slight detour I would never be able to give expressive perspective to the future… perhaps it was not a detour after all but simply part of a bigger picture larger than myself.

What I see around me is just a mirage of the life I thought I might like to have or happened per chance to find myself in… but essentially it’s not me. Simplicity, Beauty, Minimalistic Living, Spontaneity, Creative Freedom, Wilderness, Mountains, Unknown, Impulse, Simple Enjoyment, Exploration, Adventure, Daring feats, New Experiences, Challenge, Life on the Edge – it is the core of who I am, it is what inspires my deepest passions and arouses the greatest inspiration and delight. Life is not without its complications but it should not find its orbit solely around complexity, if it does… perhaps we need to change our orbit.

Take a moment each day to notice that I love my life (read all 23 entries…)
As the Sunflowers do

I walked through a field of sunflowers, who would have thought such a simple meander through nature’s splendour could afford such a beautiful moment in time. There’s something so compelling about sunflowers, they never look forlorn for even when their season is ending – their broad faces are forever inclined towards the sun. The parched cracked earth beneath my feet looked arid and plain until one’s gaze shifted upward to the long extended green stalks upon which grew these munificent and glorious flowers. As I walked through these fields I reflected on a quote I had read long ago from Helen Keller, she wrote “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” What a beautiful emblem by which we should direct our lives.

Fashion a Tapestry of Beautiful Poems (read all 10 entries…)
The Hound of Heaven


Francis Thompson

I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasme d hears
From those strong feet that followed, followed after
But with unhurrying chase and unperturbe d pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat, and a Voice beat,
More instant than the feet:
All things betray thee who betrayest me.

I pleaded, outlaw—wise by many a hearted casement,
curtained red, trellised with inter-twining charities,
For though I knew His love who followe d,
Yet was I sore adread, lest having Him,
I should have nought beside.
But if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of his approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clange d bars,
Fretted to dulcet jars and silvern chatter
The pale ports of the moon.

I said to Dawn —be sudden, to Eve -- be soon,
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover.
Float thy vague veil about me lest He see.
I tempted all His servitors but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him, their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue,
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind,
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue,
Or whether, thunder-driven,
They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their feet,
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat:
Nought shelters thee who wilt not shelter Me.

I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of Man or Maid.
But still within the little childrens’ eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me.
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair,
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature’s
Share with me, said I, your delicate fellowship.
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
Wantoning with our Lady Mother’s vagrant tresses,
Banqueting with her in her wind walled palace,
Underneath her azured dai:s,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice, lucent weeping out of the dayspring.

So it was done.
I in their delicate fellowship was one.
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies,
I knew all the swift importings on the wilful face of skies,
I knew how the clouds arise,
Spume d of the wild sea-snortings.
All that’s born or dies,
Rose and drooped with,
Made them shapers of mine own moods, or wailful, or Divine.
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the Even,
when she lit her glimmering tapers round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
and its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine.
Against the red throb of its sunset heart,
I laid my own to beat
And share commingling heat.

But not by that, by that was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know what each other says,
these things and I; In sound I speak,
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor step-dame, cannot slake my drouth.
Let her, if she would owe me
Drop yon blue-bosomed veil of sky
And show me the breasts o’ her tenderness.
Never did any milk of hers once bless my thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase, with unperturbe d pace
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
And past those noise d feet, a Voice comes yet more fleet:
Lo, nought contentst thee who content’st nought Me.

Naked, I wait thy Love’s uplifted stroke. My harness, piece by piece,
thou’st hewn from me
And smitten me to my knee,
I am defenceless, utterly.
I slept methinks, and awoke.
And slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours,
and pulled my life upon me.
Grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst like sunstarts on a stream.
Yeah, faileth now even dream the dreamer
and the lute, the lutanist.
Even the linked fantasies in whose blossomy twist,
I swung the Earth, a trinket at my wrist,
Have yielded, cords of all too weak account,
For Earth, with heavy grief so overplussed.
Ah! is thy Love indeed a weed,
albeit an Amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must, Designer Infinite,
Ah! must thou char the wood ‘ere thou canst limn with it ?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust.
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver upon the sighful branches of my

Such is. What is to be ?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind ?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds,
Yet ever and anon, a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity.
Those shaken mists a space unsettle,
Then round the half-glimpse d turrets, slowly wash again.
But not ‘ere Him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal; Cypress crowned.
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether Man’s Heart or Life it be that yield thee harvest,
Must thy harvest fields be dunged with rotten death ?

Now of that long pursuit,
Comes at hand the bruit.
That Voice is round me like a bursting Sea:
And is thy Earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me.
Strange, piteous, futile thing;
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of Naught (He said).
And human love needs human meriting -
How hast thou merited,
Of all Man’s clotted clay, the dingiest clot.
Alack! Thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art.
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save me, save only me?
All which I took from thee, I did’st but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in my arms.
All which thy childs mistake fancies as lost,
I have stored for thee at Home.
Rise, clasp my hand, and come.
Halts by me that Footfall.
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
Ah, Fondest, Blindest, Weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest.
Thou dravest Love from thee who dravest Me.

Read the 100 most influential books ever written on Seymour-Smith’s compendium (read all 5 entries…)
# 4


Thomas Paine

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” begins Thomas Paine’s first Crisis paper, the impassioned pamphlet that helped ignite the American Revolution. Published in Philadelphia in January of 1776, Common Sense sold 150,000 copies almost immediately. A powerful piece of propaganda, it attacked the idea of a hereditary monarchy, dismissed the chance for reconciliation with England, and outlined the economic benefits of independence while espousing equality of rights among citizens. Paine fanned a flame that was already burning, but many historians argue that his work unified dissenting voices and persuaded patriots that the American Revolution was not only necessary, but an epochal step in world history.

Thomas Paine alienated his British countrymen by championing the American and French Revolutions. In fact, he ended up alienating the Americans and French, too – but not before publishing passionate and influential writings that still stir hearts and minds. His pamphlet COMMON SENSE (1776) provided a concise, plain-language rationale for America’s break with the mother country.

Paine favours a representative democracy wherein there is frequent turn-over, and where the common interests of the people are consulted and catered to. Finally, he argues for the rule and sovereignty of law against the arbitrary and absurd rule of kings and men. He contrasts this with the British model, in which government seems only to serve the interests of the King and the aristocracy. Taxation, as a primary example, allows hereditary rulers, who are inherently removed from the interests of the industrious people they govern, to live off their subjects without contributing anything of substance to the society or the polis. Paine insists that the province of government is not to regulate the lives of the citizens; instead, it must create and protect an arena where free competition in the marketplace will allow people to pursue their own best interests. With a minimum of government, civil society, Paine believes, can administer itself. In one of his most clever lines, Paine says that if an American government can only see to the protection of its own economy and exports, it will flourish “and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe”.

The impetus for “Common Sense” is the current of thought that suggested reconciliation with Britain is preferable to independence. In an American public sphere anxious about its relationship to Britain, Paine provides encouragement to debate and discussion with all the subtlety of a street-corner millenarian. Citing the inevitability of a split between the colonies and Britain, and emphasizing that the legacy of America is at stake in the choices of the present moment, Paine calls the drive to independence “the cause of all mankind”. In persuasive and urgent, nearly prophetic language, Paine makes a case for the political, economic, and historical implications of American independence.

Take a moment each day to notice that I love my life (read all 23 entries…)
Windmills, Letterboxes and Mountains

...these are a few of my favourite things… The open road always unveils beautiful pockets of nature hidden away from the tourist route and is embellished by some of the more unique characteristics of a landscape such as country letterboxes that give life and colour to endless terrain. I took a drive on the weekend through southern New South Wales and encountered some of the most beautiful country of Australia that I have seen thus far. As diverse as it was beautiful, the topography of the landscape encompassed undulating green hills, vast open flood plains, the rugged beauty of Kosciusko and its surrounding mountains, the stilled magic of Lake Jindabyne, small east-coast seaside villages with long wooden jetties straddled over crystal blue water, the lush fertility of Kangaroo Valley, rusted tin milking sheds, majestic old windmills and small country towns lined with tall poplars whose green leaves were turning shades of copper and gold.

Whenever I travel, I always seem to find myself drawn into the presence of mountains. I spent a night at Mt Thredbo on the southern border of NSW and watched the crimson and amethyst light of evening descend between the mountain ranges… it was truly beautiful. I went for a walk by moonlight along the silently flowing alpine river whose waters cast reflection of the starlit sky. I had dinner at an Italian restaurant whose snowy-alp charm was outdone only by its exquisite food. I breathed in the fresh mountain air and found myself at once rejuvenated by life.

I think most of us spend far too much time in the cities, we live in suburbia, we drive not walk, we work in city skyscrapers and industrial estates, we shop at large conglomerate food chains, and we find our relaxation in the improvised pamperings of the modern life – massages, facials and the like… we spend far too little time outdoors in the serene beauty of nature. In the deep heart of the country the stars appear in their most glorious vista, the air is fragranced with the fresh scent of Eucalypt, old abandoned tractors remind one of the ‘good old days’ and cause us to appreciate the times from whence we’ve come, sunlight streams through gum trees rendering a glorious awakening of life, silence prevails upon the earth and fosters a deep richness of thought that is oft lost in our fast and moving pace, live is simpler here…

A few days of breathing in the country air offered a porthole in time to pause and reflect on just how much I do love this life.

Determine a diagnosis for my prolonged illness (read all 17 entries…)
Relishing the Moment

Some things in life just cannot be sustained no matter how much we would wish them… circumstances become inevitably altered by the natural rhythm of the world at large and to intercept them could cause irreparable rifts in the balance of life, sometimes we must simply learn to adapt. On Friday afternoon I sat at a wicker table on the fringe of one of my favourite vineyards in the Hunter Valley overlooking the vines. I had a glass of chardonnay and a cheese platter and for a few hours of solace in the benevolent warm glow of the mid-morning sun, I basked in the beauty and serenity of life.

That moment encapsulated perfection… beautiful view, hypnotizing ambience, a quality drop of wine and a palette balanced platter of some of the Hunter’s most prized cheeses. It was in some ways a toast to life at its best, discharging my thoughts from the grave degeneration of my health to savor one last quality moment of wining and dining before I harness once again the strict eating regime which will put me on the path of being well. It is a moment that embodies one of those intriguing paradoxes of life… we can never truly appreciate something until the day it becomes an impossibility.

Determine a diagnosis for my prolonged illness (read all 17 entries…)
Stones to be turned

The path of tests, diagnosis and elimination continues after consulting with a medical specialist in Sydney last weekend. After a few days of complete health deterioration in which my bodily and emotional state was sent into turmoil, I realised how much I had taken for granted the last few months of “normal life.” It’s unpredictable; some days I wake up in full health ready to take on the world, other days or even in a matter of hours my body can systematically lose all sense of energy, brainpower and strength. As I drove home from the airport last night completely fatigued and exhausted, I determined in myself that I am going to fight this – there has to be answers. Sleeping ten or twelve hours a night and waking up tired and without energy is not an option, especially at a time when my life is transitioning so rapidly.

In addition to various natural treatments prescribed by the specialist, I am booked in to have a series of blood tests taken to investigate liver and thyroid function as well as general insulin levels… hopefully these will shed some light on my seemingly undiagnosable symptoms. The specialist was extremely thorough in her investigations and her diagnosis rests upon the theorem that one root cause is dictating and causing a ripple-effect of malfunction in my body organs. Although there’s no ‘miracle pill’ that can be given which will fix everything instantly as we would so like, I would say after a brief hour with the specialist that she is already further in finding an answer than every other doctor, quack, naturalist and specialist consulted thus far combined.

Determine a diagnosis for my prolonged illness (read all 17 entries…)
To never stop seeking answers

‘That which does not kill us only makes us stronger’, such a nice eloquent thought but one that is not so easily applied in the area of health, for whether by rapid progression or slow subtle deterioration… our health, if left unchecked does have the capacity to kill us. One year later, I recommence this goal to try and find answers to my consistent health instability whose far-reaching symptoms are proving to be an impediment that cannot be overcome by positive thought alone.

The elimination of all grains, complex foods, alcohol and chemicals is a non-negotiable at the moment; my body cannot digest and break them down and it seems my liver is unable to produce the enzymes which will naturally absorb these foods. After two months of traveling with a largely unrestricted diet, it seems the build up of toxins and indigestible foods is so substantial that, being unable to produce the enzymes to break it down, it is beginning a slow poisoning process in my body. Its disparaging in many ways to walk down this road again which in the past has proved so inconclusive, however after many months of self-diagnosis and research, I feel positive that I am closer to the answer now than I have ever been before. I have an appointment to see a renowned health specialist in Sydney next week whose extensive research in the areas of PCOS, Liver Malfunction, Allergies and Thyroid under activity seem very coherent with my previous diagnosis’s and self-assessed symptoms… After reading two of her books, I harbour the hope that some light can be shed in my session with her.

Pursue a Minimalistic & Simple Life (read all 21 entries…)
Taking Chances

I returned from overseas two weeks ago and as I reclined into the familiarity of my life in Brisbane, I knew that despite appearances, life here would ever be the same again. As I picked my car up and started driving home at 2:00am on Sunday morning, the song that came on the radio epitomized the buoyancy of my life at that moment ‘Celine Dion, Taking Chances’. With poignant clarity, the lyrics discerned the small fiery spirit within me that was fiercely advocating for change. ‘But what do you say to taking chances, What do you say to jumping off the edge? Never knowing if there’s solid ground below Or hand to hold, or hell to pay, what do you say?’

Within hours I had booked a flight to Melbourne, handed in my resignation and thus finalised a 7 year chapter of my life whose continuum was inevitably drawing to an end. I had fought this decision for many months, not knowing how it was to come about, whether or not it was the right direction and the ever-present lure of security had kept me bound in indecision for many an agonizing night. However, I reflected on the words which had almost posed as a self-prophetic voice when I started this traveling journey, a quote from the movie ‘Beyond Borders’ which read “Perhaps we are all refugee’s from something. But I see now there is nothing to fear, that the world we hold onto, the lives we cherish, are a part of something greater, something more. It took me a lifetime to realise; we only have one heart, and we must be true to it.”

At the end of the day, we must have some fulfillment in our lives, some measure of satisfaction and happiness. We can do a job well if we have the right attitude; we can apply skill, energy, commitment and tenacity and show every sign of being suited to the task at hand, but if it is only absorbing one tenth of our giftedness and we have not the gratification of expending the full velocity of our capacity… we will never find true fulfillment. During the process of liberation, I confided in a friend about my agonizing deliberations over resigning and the onward plans for my future. I had decided at this point to pursue my life-long dream of traveling Europe for a year and told him of my plans to ‘go away’ for 12 months. He said to me only this ‘doesn’t the last 12 months constitute as ‘being away’’. Perhaps he is right… a stable job, a comfortable living and the refinements of western society always portray the image of “the right place” but often we’re just reclining on those comforts because we have not the guts to venture out into the shadowed areas of vulnerability. ‘What do you say to Taking Chances’... I think I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I did not leave the shore behind and jump off the edge.

Fashion a Tapestry of Beautiful Poems (read all 10 entries…)
No man is an Island


John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

Take a moment each day to notice that I love my life (read all 23 entries…)
The enchantment of a moment

Often it is the simplistically subtle moments of life that bring true content. It is not the grand outworking of our creative genius nor the manufactured moments boasting impressive forethought and imagination that bring contentment to our hearts – it is the small moments. This past week has been infused with chaos, mayhem, busyness and last-minute preparation and plans as we stand on the threshold of Christmas. Yet interwoven in the plans that went wrong, the work that was done late or is still pending, the chaos that prevails when deadlines ensue and the task list that never ceased to grow… a few beautiful moments were captured in time like light in a prism bringing colour, warmth and perspective to life.

The magic of a pink sunset splayed over a silhouetted bridge, driving at midnight through a grand corridor of Christmas lights with the night basked in silent splendor, an enchanting conversation with an elderly lady at the supermarket over the price of tonic water and the state of teenagers today, a Venti green tea latte at Starbucks delightfully observing Christmas shoppers take gifts out of bags and tissue paper to show their friends, a drive into one of my favourite old suburbs in Melbourne listening to Andrea Bocelli sing with powerful force ‘Vivere’ – ‘Dare to Live’, a flight over the beautiful countryside of New South Wales with its rolling hills and expansive green paddocks, a moment of humor provoked by an e-mail from a friend, the discovery of a long forgotten piece of writing that brought newfound clarity to the present, a walk through the tall shadowed trees of the Dandenong Ranges with rabbits alighting upon my moonlit path, the light-heartedness of a completely inconsequential conversation with my hairdresser – its discourse interwoven with laughter and its telling framed with the most charming aspects of human nature, the suspended illuminated glory of a full moon in a starless sky…

Brief moments in chaos that cause us to stop and appreciate if only for a moment, the delightful happenstance of life.

Pursue a Minimalistic & Simple Life (read all 21 entries…)
To see the world in a grain of sand

‘To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.’ That is one of the most beautifully and equally profound quotes which has ever graced my heart and it never ceases to bring revelation and insight to the ever-winding pathways of life.

I took my Labrador for a walk yesterday afternoon as the transition of afternoon to night transcended upon the earth a golden radiance that aroused life and colour from everything it touched. The beauty of the sun is beheld in its dominance, however in its pacifying absence, the beauty of nature shines forth. The colours of the earth, of trees, grasses and pastel flowers, once bleached in the illuminated light of the sun, are renewed with vivid colour and vitality… it is almost as though when the curtain closes on the sun’s last act, the players of the earth begin to perform to their utmost potential.

As a silent hypnotic breeze distilled the air, I held infinity in the palm of my hand… I had a fresh revelation of just how beautiful my life was whilst also realizing that this moment itself, not unlike the sun, was one of transition. I will always remember the gum trees, the colour of their snowy bark, the smell of their leaves and the kookaburra’s who sat silently on their limbs watching the sun cast its final colourful spell upon the earth. I will remember the large boulder which I so often climbed up upon and which bore testament to some of my deepest thoughts. I will remember the sunflowers, their large disc-shaped heads bent in homage to the days’ passing. I will remember the hill I climbed on countless summer evenings and the rock on which I stood in reverent silence as descending darkness inspired newfound clarity and power of observation. In this season of my life, these snapshots of beauty are the grains of sand in which my world is formed… however, standing once again on this familiar rock, I am beheld by the conscious realisation that there are many more grains of sand yet to sift through my open hands.

To see eternity in an hour is to recognise that we are bound by no common thing that stifles our dreams or imagination. The great hedonist teacher Epicurus once said ‘The wise man can lose nothing. He has everything invested in himself.’ Times will change, seasons will bring forth abundance and lack in equal portions, the only question to be asked with all sincerity of judgment is ‘what are we prepared to lose?’ I do not know the answer to that question but I do know that whatever change the winds bring… I will always remember and treasure the beauty of these moments

Take myself out to Dinner once a week (read all 6 entries…)
A posture of observation

A Thai beef salad, a glass of rose wine and the hedonistic relaxation that a summer evening affords, reminded me once again how necessary the indulgence of a single night to oneself is in the multi-faceted fast pace of life. With the impending deadline of a photography project and my growing aversion to sitting at home in front of a computer screen, I took my laptop on Friday evening to a quaint Mediterranean restaurant in New Farm and spent several hours editing and sorting photos. Without company, conversation with the waiters or waitresses seemed less imposing and inhibiting and so it was that our frequent conversations canvassed all manner of subjects and provided much needed light relief to the impending demands and deadlines.

Observations of people are always of captive interest when I sit at a table by myself for it gives us a glimpse of life in transition. In observation, we perceive the tentative dialogue of men and women who are treading new and unfamiliar grounds of relational attachment… their mannerisms appear almost rehearsed, so perfected is the way in which they compose themselves. Wine is poured steadily as a social lubricant, glances are exchanged in subtle hesitancy and perusal of the menus provides a momentary distraction to formulate one’s thoughts for the conversation that is to follow. Then there are the couples whose reclined ease and natural poise indicates a more founded familiarity with the other. Wine is drunk not to ease the tension, but rather as a means to savor and enjoy the moment shared together, menus are glanced at with little consideration and their dialogue flows in more natural progression having already spent many years building a foundation of understanding in their relationship.

Humanity… we are an interesting species.

In its hours, the evening inspired more than simply the achievement of a few photos edited, it inspired a little indulgence in life that has been amiss these past few weeks. May I never lose sight of the importance of this goal…

live strong
Oh the Places you'll go

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any that you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen, Don’t worry. Don’t stop.
Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The places you’ll go!

You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to great heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t. Because sometime, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly, they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place

The Waiting Place…...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a yes or a no or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake, or a pot to boil, or a better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants, or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places Where Boom Bands are playing.

With banners flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone! Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul.
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know, with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft,
and never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) Kid, you’ll move mountains!

So… be your name Buxbaum or Bixy or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.So…get on your way!

Dr Seuss

Champion the cause of Free to be Kids (read all 5 entries…)
The Cause...

I still see their faces, small hands pressed upon the window of the moving bus, heads inclined towards me, voices that spoke not a syllable in audible sound but enunciated volumes in the deep recesses of my spirit. Traveling across the border from Vietnam into Cambodia was no different to any other part of our journey… the children followed. They walked with me on the streets, they told me about their lives, they knelt beside me in restaurants, their enquiring faces looking at me with eyes of hope, they asked me to take their photograph, they showed me places hidden in the ruins of Angkor, they pressed their hands upon the windows of buses, they took my hand in theirs, they said nothing at all.

At first the pivoted attraction seemed merely amusing to those with whom I traveled, however after a day, after two days, three days, four… they all shook their heads in bewilderment and asked ‘what is it about you?’ I left Asia forever changed by the memory of these children, my heart was softened and I found within me a compassion that I never knew existed. It was almost as though they had seen within me something which I myself had not yet understood.

In some ways I still don’t understand it… I gaze at their photographs on my wall and find tears rolling down my face, they have got to me in a way that few can. The stories of tragedy and hope interwoven through the lives of those so young and innocent inspires bravery in the weakest of persons and ignites compassion in the hardest of hearts. On 25th December I will again be encountering stories that will both inspire and break me as I travel through Philippines, India, Africa and Cambodia. I can only hope that the raw strength and tenacity of my compassion can drive me beyond mere empathy and kindness into the realm of determined change.

buy a new camera (read all 6 entries…)
Through the Viewfinder

I traveled through Africa two years ago with a photographer from London and a conversation that was had during our journey is one that will stay with me forever. As the sky transformed into a palette of royal purple and deep midnight blue and the golden orb of the sun’s final breath exploded in radiance over the wide outstretched plains of Kenya, we talked of beginnings…

By no merit of our own design, we were graced with a realisation that our journey in Africa had a beginning. My photographic journey started with a brownie box camera that I inherited from my father when I was six years old. I remember the first photos I took… it was a field trip to see the Abel Tasman, the great ocean liner that routinely crossed Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria. 19 years on, I can still recall the delight that ignited within my spirit when I looked through the viewfinder and saw a new world of perspective. Years later, I stood on the shore of the Mersey River in Devonport with my father and recalled this earlier moment of my life. Appearing in the night like a phantom ghost, the same cruise liner which had since been re-commissioned ‘The Spirit of Tasmania’ set the night ablaze with incandescent lights that cast a spell of colour upon the deep dark waters of the river mouth. The brownie box camera was long gone but my penchant for photography had lived on. In effortless action, the fast shutter speed of my Canon 20D captured the cruise-ship in all its illuminated glory and in that moment of poignant deja’vu, I realised that history had been made.

As Jas related his own photographic journey, I found myself bemused by his recollections of first holding in his hands a 1ds Mark II camera. Still impassioned by his memory of the moment, he sought to convey to me the euphoria he felt when first looked through the viewfinder – it gave him new eyes to see the world and opened up new angles of life that had never before been seen. The amusement however, was entwined in Jas’ recollection of taking the camera to bed with him, thus starting a love affair with photography that has never weakened in passion.

‘You have a distorted view of romance’, a friend said of me a few weeks ago as he considered the paradox of my romanticized admiration for a piece of technology with my openly impartial indifference to relationships. Perhaps Jas was right… there is nothing that can quite compare with holding in your hands for the very first time the birth of a dream. It tethers your heart in ways you could never have conceived nor imagined and delights your mind with an impatient and exhilarating force field of possibility. At 4:30 on 30th November, I looked through the viewfinder of my new 1ds Mark III, and thus the love affair began…

buy a new camera (read all 6 entries…)
The eleventh hour

How is it that we persist and persevere with dreams and ambitions for weeks, months even years without so much as a glimmer of doubt and then we get to the eleventh hour and we seem to stall. The eleventh hour looms as both a boundary and a frontier but in the darkness that surrounds, sometimes we lose faith in that shred of light that lies beyond the boundary of the impossible. The journey of acquiring a camera has for me imposed many boundaries, initiated many unsuccessful attempts, thwarted countless plans and erected walls of stone that appeared impenetrable to break. As the deadline of my trip looms near and the exigency of a solution becomes far more tangibly felt, this morning of all mornings I finally gave in to acceptance that the camera I had set my sights on so many months ago was impossible to acquire.

My co-collaborator who has been canvassing the world-wide market tirelessly on my behalf for many months spoke to Canon this morning and was told without reservation that considering the quantity of backorders for this camera throughout Australia and the indeterminate dates and quantities of shipping – it would be near impossible to get a model before February. The eleventh hour had come, I found myself resorting to plan B, the substitute plan and in my mind discarding any hope of redemptive possibility. I think this resignation of hope made its resurrection so much more powerful, for when I received a call at 6:45 this evening to inform me that the first 1ds Mark III in Queensland had been set aside for me – I was nothing short of speechless!

I am picking up the camera tomorrow in perfect timing for a wedding I am photographing on Saturday… after months of waiting the timing could not have been more impeccable, it literally is the eve of the twelfth hour.

Pages: 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 78 79


43 Things Login