Postcard from Sanur

Just got off a red-eye flight from Bali.

Unpacking frangipani-scented laundry, slowly… coming to grips with the emptiness of Oz.

Empty land. Empty aisles. Empty streets. Empty leaders. Empty hearts.

This red dirt reached 25 million locals in August; Indonesia has more than 10 times’ as many citizens.

Yet we fight about who can join us, shoot our messengers, blame Others, spill political blood, build higher walls.

Cities on the east of this lucky land pulse with raging roads, their angry weaponised horns blaring and snarling.

Their message, blunt: “I am entitled. I was here first. Don’t touch me. Don’t look at me. I will strike.”

Roads in Bali, Lembongan, Lombok are crazy noisy. Scary, at first, before becoming comforting, familiar, rhythmic.

Humming to a constant, chaotic beat of almost chirpy, friendly ‘toots’ to say ‘hello my friend, how are you? My wheels are behind you, you need to know, stay safe, good day, good life’, a cacophony of human wheeled life and animals – bicycles, motorbikes, small cars, work utes – two, three, four bodies to two or four wheels, proportions balanced, ratio of motors to pulses harmonised.

Horns are friends.

The earth shakes again, again and again. Earth Mother awakens. Buildings crumple.

Life is fragile, simple. People are humble.

Noodle for lunch. Noodle for dinner. Noodle for lunch. Noodle for dinner.

Hearts are full.


Are clocks working against us?

How much does time rule our lives?

Just think about it. Please.

Just give it a minute of your time.

If you woke up tomorrow, and every timepiece in your orbit had mysteriously disappeared overnight, what would happen?

Seriously. What. Would. Happen.

Would the absence of smartphones next to beds and digital reminders of meetings, appointments and others’ demands, alter how you (and I) approach this day, or any day?

Would it set off a devastating chain of events, ultimately ending in world annihilation?

Would families catastrophically break down, friendship groups fracture or general social chaos unfold?

It could. Certainly. In a digital world, there would be systemic meltdown.

But, then again, it may not.

The sun would still rise; the moon set. The cows in the field would still get hungry. Milking would be needed. Babies would let us know when basic needs are unmet.

Life, in the literal sense, would unquestionably go on.

I ask these questions about our species’ dependence on time reflecting devices because it leads to a bunch of valuable questions about our values – individual and societal – our priorities, and our thinking about the temporal experience of life.

My dog doesn’t own a watch and doesn’t ‘keep the time’. Yet he knows when his body’s physical and emotional needs are not being met and then actively does things to sate these needs (stomping about near the food cupboard does the trick, or sidling up near the sofa for a cuddle).

The counter worldview to the status quo is worth a moment of hard thinking, methinks:

Conscious revision of humans’ dependence on time-measurement could result in general feelings of having enough time to live our lives at the optimum pace…

Is it time to spring-clean our time?





Face off

Twenty years ago, give or take, I was watching a man’s bruised face while riding the Tube to Richmond from Covent Gardens and it struck me how much we interpret people’s motives, temperaments, life histories, intelligence levels and artistry by their faces.

How jarring and, potentially, lonely it could be if born inside a face you never felt was authentically yours?

So here is my challenge – to myself and to the world.

Try to spend a day inside the face of the next person we gaze upon.

It may just change the way we jump to conclusions about perfect strangers.


Want to live? Dare yourself to fall

I brushed death on my birthday, fell from a plane.

Everyone needs an upside-down view of this planet to tweak the way you see.
Upside-down view of this planet sure to broaden how you see.

But I didn’t want it to end.

Not life, not my birthday, and not the freedom of looking out on this beautiful chunk of rock and water we call Earth from the viewpoint of eagles.

You could never want that to end.

Humans are not designed to be here – in the space of birds and flying metal. Continue reading “Want to live? Dare yourself to fall”

Copycats are still uncool

It is one of the first things you learn in the schoolyard.

  • You don’t rubberneck during exams.
  • Don’t sneak notes into your written driving test.
  • And never knock off your best mate’s school formal dress design etc etc.

It isn’t very cool.

Fast forward to adulthood and it seems some folks do think it is OK to mimic other’s personal choices.

Repeat after me, copycats are never cool.
Continue reading “Copycats are still uncool”

Why aging is sexy

Our relationship with aging, in Western society, is increasingly upside down and inside out. No wonder people are dying on the inside before they look old on the outside.

We spend billions of dollars each year – a figure growing annually – on potions, pills, strict dietary regimes, gravity-defying fashions, time on surgeons tables in a vain attempt to defy the law of nature.

What on Earth are people trying to achieve?

We are all growing older, every single day. And that’s cool. It is a life experience that should be viewed as a privilege countless billions of fellow humans will never know. Continue reading “Why aging is sexy”