Guest Blog Post: “The Big Question,” in Story Teller’s exact words

Blogger the Story Teller shares his musings of 13th April with us here at da-AL’s blog. It’s autumn there in Cooroy, Queensland, a town in Australia…

Sunset yesterday, from the ’Story Hill.'
Sunset yesterday, from the ’Story Hill.’ I live on an old ‘Aboriginal Story Place’  a ‘place of power’  ‘a place of Stories.’

The big question for me is: ‘where did we come from, and where are we going to,’ or what is the point of ‘life and death?”

The other day, I was sitting in my garden. I was on my favorite garden seat, in the shade of a leafy green tree. Bees buzzed, insects clicked, birds sang… a genteel breeze moved the leaves and branches. Energy flowed like an invisible stream, I felt it on my cheek and the back of my hand. Some people call it the wind.

Blogger/Author The Story Teller
Blogger/Author The Story Teller

I felt profoundly happy and at peace with the world, I breathe in and fill my lungs with energy… I think about the big question. The energy of the universe fills my body, I am everything… everything is me. It’s blindingly simple…

I think and daydream; I’m in a big city someplace, I’m walking across a dusty road, rubbish spins listlessly on an unfelt breeze. Somebody in a dirty white shirt and unkempt trousers staggers towards me, he has no shoes and his feet are filthy. ‘Do you have the answer,’ he croaks as he gets closer.

I smile at the man, I don’t have to talk. I grabbed my shirt at the neck and ripped it open, standing there like King Kong with strips of shirt hanging from my fingers, the unformed universe fermenting in my chest. It was so black, it was before black; electrons shoot out like tiny white rods… they moved in a twisting, linear way.

I tell the man to step inside. I think to myself; “I am nothing… yet to me, I am everything.

Life is a conundrum, the mystery of it makes you smile, the possibilities endless.  Open your mind, dare to dream.

Thoughts on an autumn day down-under.

Read more of the Story Teller’s musing here.

Guest Blog Post: “Make Life Better,” reblog from Chatter Master

Fab, fab, f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s!!! Reblogged so we at da-Al’s can appreciate too …

The Chatter Blog

I hope you enjoy.

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Guest Blog Post: “Is what you WANT what you Need?” in Jeyran Main’s exact words

Want Apple computer, need apple to eat

 

Jeyran is a blogger, consumer reviewer, book editor, book promoter and a freelance book translator. Her website Review Tales demonstrates her thoughts, reflections and book reviews. Here (at da-AL’s) she shares some great tips …

There are times in life where you sit and wonder about the things that you really want in life. I am talking about the important things such as, choosing a partner, picking a university or a college to go to, getting married, picking a career, choosing your friends and who you hang out with.

Apple computer is probably a wantThen you have the urge of feeling that you need certain things, such as needing a phone or a computer, house to live in, food to eat and a car to drive.

Are these two matters the same? Do you feel that whatever you want is in actual fact what you need? I may have your attention now.

We as humans are complex beings. There can be times where what we actually want is mentally stimulating us so much that we believe it is what we need. Your brain sends strong signals to suggest your dependence on the matter causing you to fight for the thing you most certainly do not need but feel you want.

Food to eat is a needHow many things in your life are things you really need? Most commonly, sentimental things are what you really need, and the material ones are what you want. Having a home or a phone or food to eat can then become the gray area, as they can be both. Having said that, many live without phones and homes and still survive. The objection they may arise, in alarming us to then ponder the following: Has our modern life taken control over our needs and wants? The answer is yes. We are so over indulged in our day-to-day lives that we forget at times, what really matters most. We replace the immediate pleasure, with the longer-lasting one and we then struggle with the emotional and mental consequences as our bodies are confused and do not understand the dilemma.

I hope by reading this, you can possibly think over some of your wants with your needs and make wiser decisions in coming to New Year.

Written by Jeyran Main

Guest Blog Post: “‘They’ Don’t Think Like ‘We’ Do,” in Michael Beyer’s exact words

Getting along with people, sincerely liking them, isn’t always easy. To our rescue is a guest blogger who taught North American teens (gasp!) for  24 years (gasp! gasp!).

His following suggestions can be applied as easily to getting along with those whose political views differ from ours, as with anyone who feels like wool against our necks (or at least my, da-AL’s) on a sweltering day…

Cartoon of Dumb Luck by Michael Beyer
art by Michael Beyer

I was recently asked how I can live surrounded by conservatives when I am obviously liberal-minded.  I hardly have to think about it to give an answer.

You have to realize that conservatives are people too.  To begin with, I hope you didn’t look at the picture I started with and think, “He must think all conservatives are stupid and look like that.”  The picture of Doofy Fuddbugg I used here is not about them.  It is about me.  This is the comedy face I wear when I am talking politics.  You live a life filled with economic, physical, and emotional pain like I have, you have a tendency to wear a mask that makes you, at the very least, happy on the outside.  People talk to me all the time, but not because I seek them out.  In social situations, I am not a bee, I’m a flower.  And because of my sense of humor, people feel comfortable seeking me out and telling me about their pain and anger and hurt to the point that they eventually reach the totally mistaken conclusion that I have wisdom to share.

I hear lots of detailed complaints from my conservative friends in both Iowa and Texas.  I know what they fear and what makes them angry.  Here are a few of the key things;

  1. The world is no longer very much like the world I grew up in, and the changes make me afraid.
  2. I have worked hard all my life.  I’m still working hard.  For my father and mother that led to success and fulfillment.  For me it leads to a debt burden that’s hard to manage, and I am having to work hard for the rest of my life because of it.
  3. I’m not getting what I deserve out of life, and someone is to blame for that.  But who?  Minorities and immigrants seem to be getting ahead and getting whatever they want more than they ever used to.  It must be them.
  4. Liberals are all alike.  They want to tax and spend.  They don’t care about the consequences of trying out their high-fallutin’ ideas.  And they want me to pay for it all while they laugh at me and call me stupid and call me a racist.
  5. I am angry now, as angry as I have ever been in my life.  And someone has to hear me and feel my wrath.  Who better than these danged liberals?  And I can do that by voting in Trump.  Sure, I know how miserable he is as a human being, but he will make them suffer and pay.
Cartoon of Black Tim pirate by Michael Beyer
“I do think that corporate bank CEO’s look like this, and I am not sure they count as people.” art by Michael Beyer

I have always understood these feelings because I began hearing them repeatedly since the 1980’s.  They are like a fire-cracker with a very short fuse, these ideas conservatives live with.  And certain words you say to them are like matches.  They will set off, not just one, but all of the fireworks.

So, here is how I talk to conservatives.

  1. Never treat them as stupid people.  Conservatives are sometimes just as smart as I am, if not smarter.  I complement them on what they say that I think is a really good idea.  I point out areas of agreement whenever possible, even if they are rare sometimes.
  2. I defend what I believe in, but I try to understand what they believe and why.
  3. I am open about the doubts and questioning I have about my own positions on things, encouraging them to do the same.
  4. I always try to remember that we really have more in common than we have differences.  I try to point that out frequently too.  This point in particular helps them to think of me as being smarter than I really am.
  5. And if I haven’t convinced them that I am right, which, admittedly is impossible, that doesn’t mean I have lost the argument.  In fact, if I have made them feel good about actually listening calmly to a liberal point of view and then rejecting it as total liberal claptrap, I win, because I have been listened to.

Blogger Michael Beyer, author of Catch a Falling Star (YA novel from I-Universe), is actually many things.  He has been a cartoonist, a cowboy, a novelist, and for 24 years a middle school English teacher, with seven years of high school teaching added for relatively good behavior.

Guest Blog Post: “Thank You,” in Marie Williams’ exact words

mariewhiterosesThank You

Thank you.   Two small words.  How often we use these words each day, so that it has become watered down and is said sometimes without much thought to what it really means.  But these two words are an indication of our knowledge of the place we hold in this vast universe.  What a huge thought!  Let’s think about this: thank you means that we are not alone.  To say “thank you” indicates that there is someone else there and that we are part of a great scheme.  A scheme which we cannot comprehend in all its entirety.  The complexity of life is such that we cannot hope to ever understand all that it is: only parts are revealed to us and each of us experiences these parts in varying degrees dependent upon our life experiences.

So when we say thank you, we are accepting that we are supported, we are cared for, we are needed, there is someone else who we can turn to, because when you say thank you, you are not saying it to yourself are you?  You have acknowledged that someone else is there to say thank you to.  Someone who has done something for you which has improved your day in some way.  And however small this act has been, from stepping out of the way when you pass each other on the escalator, picking up something from the ground that you failed to notice that you had dropped, giving up their place on the bus so that you can sit, moving up a bit so there’s room for you, watering your plants while you’re away on holiday, or however big this act has been, like sitting by your hospital bed, full of dread, but smiling anyway, so that you know there is hope.

“Thank you” more complex than at first viewed when examined thoroughly through the lens of the human experience. So, we are agreed that thank you says that we are not alone, that we are supported, that we are loved and cared for.  Thank you acknowledges that we are not alone.  Two small words, spoken every day between two, or three, four, maybe more, speak volumes.  Those words are a wonderful gift and a gift like that is something we must be thankful for.
~ Marie Williamsmariebutterlfy

Marie’s blog: ComeFlywithme ~ Dispensing Compassion through Poetry

Written by Marie for my, da-AL’s blog.

Guest Blog Post: “Dreampacks: dogs in Germany and the Netherlands,” in Patty Wolter’s exact words

Fellow blogger Patty tells how dogs live in Germany …

Dutch expression:“Zo eerlijk als een hond zijn.”

English translation:“Being as honest as a dog,” meaning that a dog does not lie. Either he likes you or he just doesn’t.

Hello dear neighbors, readers of the beautiful blog of Daal.

Daal asked me to write a post about our customs regarding pets. Since that is a broad subject, I narrowed it down to dogs. Let me first tell you a little bit about me 😉

Dreampacks, dogs, and farming
Patty and her Dreampack. Click for her Dutch website.

I’m a Dutch soul living in Germany due to my husband’s work. I live with my Dreampack, my hubby and two dogs, in our Dreampack, a farmhouse with a garden and a closed yard.

A Dreampack, is for me a way of life.

One in which, in a respectful manner, the natural needs of a living being is fulfilled in the 21th century.

A Dreampack, are for me also the souls who, together with me, form ‘my’ Dreampack.

A Dreampack is for me also the place where I realize ‘my’ Dreampack.

I strongly believe we are all connected through energy, and I like to call my fellow little creatures (human beings) my neighbors. That doesn’t mean I like all my neighbors, but I think we should try, at least, to live alongside each other if differences are to huge to overcome.

Enough about me 😉

Two of my best friends alive on earth are our two dogs. Daal was curious about how we treat dogs in the Netherlands, since in her surroundings, a lot of people treat their dogs as if they were their kids. Well, in the Netherlands there are a lot of people who are doing the same 😉 In Germany ditto by the way.

As a human, I like to think of my dogs as my friends. However, I would never treat them as little people on four legs. As a human, and as an animal therapist, my heart bleeds when I see dogs wearing jackets, dogs eating ice cream and dogs ruling their he households.

A dog is a dog and is best served with a dedicated family (one person together with his or her dog is also a family), healthy food, clean water, and the right care (structure, regularly and enough walks/exercise, and housing).

Two of Patty's best friends alive on earth. Click here to read Patty's English language blog, Kruidje-roer-me-niet: Brain threads of a little creature on this globe.
Two of Patty’s best friends alive on earth. Click here to read Patty’s English language blog, Kruidje-roer-me-niet: Brain threads of a little creature on this globe.

Unfortunately here, like in the U.S., puppy mills and a lot of illegal import and export of dogs takes place. If I understand correctly, the U.S. has stricter legislation regarding dog abuse, and it has strong pro-dog organizations such as the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Here, in that are, our country is behind. While we do have organizations that try to rescue dogs from threatening situations, it’s only for a few years people can get fined for neglecting or abusing animals.

There will be always be differences in opinions regarding how to live with a dog in a Dreampack. There are people who only see as dog as an animal. There are those who only see a dog as a small human on four legs. There are people who fall between those two ways of viewing pets. Even those in that last category, people maintain their dog(s) differently.

Living between farmers, most of my neighbors employ the harsher method. A dog is, accordingly to their way of living, merely an animal who needs to protect their belongings. They are physically well tended to, yet aren’t allowed to live indoors.

Due to our being Dutch, my husband and I differ from our neighbors in some ways anyway. One (for me, big) difference: we let our dogs walk freely in our house and keep them only at night in a kennel, or if we are both away, for their own safety.

I have to bite my tongue (is that a similar expression in your language?) a lot 😉 Respecting their customs and don’t share, how I really feel about their way of tending their dogs.

Note from Daal: Ok, readers, its your turn. What are your views about dogs as pets? Got any favorite dog expressions?

Leave it to the Swedish! by da-AL

Producer’s description: A documentary about Kristina Paltén, a lone Swedish woman, who wanted to challange her own and other’s prejudices against islam by running across Iran.

When I visited Iran in 2006, I was more nervous about what craziness our former President Bush might get up to than I was by the unstintingly genial Iranians I met. Outside of America, citizens tend to be savvier than we are about separating people from their governments.

As you view this, note that in Iran, Ms. Paltén’s ‘thumbs up’ is equivalent to our ‘middle finger,’ yet everyone she met appreciated that she meant no offense. Iran gets few tourists yet Iranians love guests, which I’m sure made passersby all the happier to receive her.

In addition, its interesting how people in the smallest of Iranian towns, have taken the effort to learn English, American at that.

Click here for the producer’s FaceBook page and info on when the completed film will be distributed.