Tag Archives: new year

Which Words Will Inspire You in 2011



This is a detail from a work by Rosalie Gascoigne called Lamp Lit (1989)

Which words, attitudes and approaches will you take with you into 2011?  Will they be useful or will they cause difficulties as you go about your mindful moments?  Here are a few that I want to use more often, in no particular order:














Why not add your own to the list?  Think about each one for a few minutes and how you can make it a part of your life.  Make a mindmap, or simply write down connections that apply in your life to each word or idea – people, events, situations in which these words, attitudes and approaches may be most helpful.

You can see where we’re going with this, can’t you?

It’s all about the quality of the light in our lives.

While we’re at it, how about a few pithy quotations to guide and help us.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives – it is the one that is most adaptable to change – Charles Darwin

It always seems impossible until its done – Nelson Mandela

Courage is the price that life extracts for granting peace – Amelia Earhart

The way to heal myself of almost anything is to be alone long enough – Kate Llewellyn, author

Less is more – Jan McKemmish, author, friend and mentor

Enjoy your Mindful Zone, Grasshoppers.

Resolution? Isn’t that something to with your Computer Screen?



Resolutions are like snowstorms in the northern hemisphere and floods in the southern at the moment – they’re everywhere.  And like snowstorms and floods, they’re treacherous, dangerous and indiscriminate about who they harm and how they do it.

Resolutions are, to a resolve, to be viewed with caution while holding a sturdy club of some kind behind your back.

Which brings us to:

Tip Number 1:

Always be ready to defend yourself against a resolutionary guerilla attack, especially at this time of year.

A Case in Point, Part 1: I had the best of intentions yesterday regarding my resolutions.  And the day before yesterday as it happens.  Two very significant days for those of us who take such things seriously: the last day of the old year and the first of the new.

I definitely had resolutions on the boil.  I was caught up in the hustle of the moment but I wasn’t in the moment.  As a result, I fell out of the Mindful Zone, a victim of the resolution guerillas, who point us towards …

Tip Number 2:

Do not project yourself into the future, but rather remain here in the present moment.  Take a deep breath, hold for a count of three – one, two, three – exhale, and then, boil the kettle and make a beverage of your choice.  Sit quietly with the beverage, breathe, and sip in the Mindful Zone.

A Case in Point, Part 2:

Mindmaps, vision boards, brainstorming, inspiration  from people with clearly superior resolve, exhortations from every media source ever invented – I had them all and then … then, my beloved PC, Nostromo, began a menacing beep on startup, and I suspected then that he might not make it to the new year.

There had been warnings, of course, there often are in the leadup to potential disaster: frozen screens, shivering and occasionally frozen mice, blank screens, and blank looks (these mostly from my cat, Dotty), unaccountable shutdowns (rather like those fly-by-cyber-night online fraudsters), a pervasive sulkiness, and a resentful reluctance to load pages.

For a happy few delusional hours, I thought Nostromo would make it with me into the new year and beyond, but … we arrived instead at:

Tip Number 3: No amount of planning can protect you from the unpredictable, so when change arrives, scare the pants off it by embracing, rather than avoiding it.

A Case in Point, Part 3: Before Nostromo sailed into the heart of digital darkness forever, I returned to the Mindful Zone and applied the mindmaps, vision boards, brainstorming, inspiration and exhortations to finding a new PC at a reasonable price from a reputable seller.

His name is Julius (the PC, not the seller – that’s Nick), and, after a small altercation with a pesky DirectX control (okay – so I didn’t read the fine print on the Sony PMB installation disc), he sits upon my desktop behaving like a – well, a perfect desktop PC. 

Nostromo booted up one more time on New Year’s day to allow transfers of precious files and bookmarks – thank you, Nostromo, for years of mostly loyal and occasionally narky service.

Between them, Nostromo and Julius nobbled the resolutionary guerillas and stopped them in their temporal tracks.  They brought me back to the moment.  Which is why The Memoir Detective’s next post will be all about how to remain resolute in 2011: Our Year in the Magical Mindful Zone.  I hope you’ll join me.

Happy New Year, Grasshoppers

PS  Julius, my new PC, is named after Professor Julius Sumner Miller, a scientist who presented a program on Australian TV when I was a kid.  The show was called “Why is it So?”  Professor Miller stood in front of a blackboard and demonstrated the glorious wonders of physics and maths and other amazing scientific-y subjects.  I had little aptitude for science but many of us watched because Professor Miller was so entertaining and full of passion for his subject.  He’s a hero of my childhood.  Nostromo was named after the spaceship in the movie, “Alien,” which in turn was named after the actual marine vessel Nostromo in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”.  Considering Nostromo’s recent demise, enough said.


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How to Keep Faith with your New Year’s Resolutions with One Powerful Technique



Here at the tail-end of the Western calendar year, countless numbers of people with good intentions make New Year’s Resolutions, and countless numbers of us fail to keep them, usually after day 1, New Year’s Day.

So today, several days before THE DAY, I want to share with you one very powerful technique that will keep you on the road to RH (Resolution Heaven).

But first, a little history that most of us probably share.

Day 1, New Year’s Day.  Sometimes, RF (Resolution Failure) happens on the day itself, by about 3 in the afternoon, when your energy is down and your ability to focus is lower than my cat, Dotty’s interest in having her own gym membership.

Just one teensy little puff at the – you guessed it – tail-end of a phenomenally draining day laden with so much portent, intent, and latent anxiety.

Week 1.  Sometimes, it happens within a few days or a week – you begin with all kinds of jittery, energetic motivation for your resolutions, but you can’t keep it up because these new activities, these new approaches to old problems bear little, or worse, no resemblance to anything you’ve experienced before.

You don’t even have habit to fall back on.  How could you when you haven’t been doing this new thing for even as long as Dory’s short-term memory.

So you fall back, all right, on old habits, old, bad, comforting habits … aaahhh … just the one slice of vintage Cracker Barrel, darling; a single, weeny cube of caramello (attached to the rest of the Family Block); it’s about to rain – we’ll walk tomorrow, Scarlett.

Perhaps you join the gym and attend several sessions in succession (try saying that when you’re full of muesli and soy milk), and by Thursday you’re buggered and you’ve gained weight (it’s the pesky muscles that weigh more than fat, apparently – I didn’t stick around long enough for the trainer to explain 20 years ago).

You get the picture, don’t you, grasshopper.  After a while, maybe a week or two, or even a month for the holdouts, the energy and focus dissipate and drain away.  The hour is lost, or rather, that day, THE DAY on which we were going to change forever, is lost – again, for another year at least and, miserably, we return to our usual form, with regret and a truckload of disappointment.

We’ve managed to snatch cheesy, chocolaty, sedentary RF defeat from the well-toned, perfectly-aligned jaws of RH victory.

However.  (There’s always a however).

The solution to all this clutter and chaos of perceived failure, is The Mindful Zone.

How?  In The Mindful Zone, New Year’s Day, THE DAY, doesn’t matter, because every day is THE DAY, every moment is THE MOMENT.

Too often, we place incredible pressure on ourselves to begin anew at a special time, and too often this is an imposition from without rather than from within.  It may work for some of us, but for most of us, its meaning is superficial, and therefore, short-lived.

You can change at any moment by deliberately changing your thoughts and actions, your habits and routines, by being mindful of the moments that make up your life, and by making a commitment to those moments.  It’s simple, but it isn’t easy.

And it’s flexible as well – every moment is a new moment, ready and willing to help us here and now.  Forget about New Year’s Day, begin now, get ahead of everyone and you’ll be developing a new habit by the time THE DAY dawns.

Try this if you want to make walking (or running) a more frequent part of your healthy life: when you wake up in the morning (shiftworkers adjust accordingly), enjoy those moments of returning to this level of consciousness by taking a deep breath and stretching your entire body and, as you do so, slowly rise to a sitting position – you’re up.

Commit yourself to do this every day for just one week, because once you’re up, you’re up for anything, including walking, running, meditating, writing, reading, cooking, anything as you breathe in and breathe out in The Mindful Zone.

After just one week, take a moment to commit to another week, and find yourself in the orbit of Resolution Heaven.

Remember, Grasshopper – any day can be THE DAY: the day of the week on which

  • you were born
  • you discovered the brilliance of Anne Tyler’s novels
  • you took a perfect photo of a rain droplet (this morning, actually)
  • you knew you could do without red meat until the 12th of forever
  • the sun rises and sets
  • you declutter your life, discover your truth, and create your legacy as The Memoir Detective

The Mindful Zone is the only place to Be

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