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DAY 65: Performing a cleansing ritual

4 Nov

I BOUGHT a bundle of sage from Newtown in a fit of Jetstar Blindness. This is when you buy destination-appropriate things that are then totally inappropriate back in your own town. Like thongs in Melbourne.

I asked Google for a few spells, but then Jessica – who knows her onions – told me not to make an actual spell, as it may come true in the most unnerving way. Like if you want to attract a bloke he might end up stalking you, or if you ask for a plane not to crash into the ground, it might crash into another plane instead – that sort of thing.

Apparently it’s okay to just cleanse the house with the sage, though. It might, at least, cleanse that mysterious ‘spare room smell’ out of the spare room before Mum and Dad come over from Pomgolia, or the Mr Thumpy smell out of the laundry. I’m a bit suss about the previous owner, actually. I found weird shit in the attic, like banished, framed pictures of a woman with an ’80s ’do; cartoons ripped from the newspaper pasted inside a cupboard; sponge effect paintjobs all over the ceilings; and seemingly endless collections of bean bag beans. Put them all together, and what have you got? Exactly. Well dodgy, huh? Let’s cleanse.

Sage tea helps me keep my temper at special times of month, but bizarrely, burning sage smells completely different – like pot, as it turns out – so I’m going to have some explaining to do to my parents, and I was hoping we’d finally got past all that.

Keeper? Only if someone creates an awful stench that needs to be got rid of.

DAY 58: Learning The Secret

28 Oct

“Everything happens for a reason.” OOF.

“It is what it is.” OOH-YAY.

I’m as vague as the next old dear, but even I need a bit more direction than “throw it out to the universe” as a roadmap to run my life.

Still, according to the Oprah-endorsed The Secret by Australian Rhonda Byrne, everyone from Plato to Shakespeare to Beethoven to your next-door celebrity Scientologist is in on a magical formula to get everything you want, so I’d better jump onboard quick-smart.

The Secret is essentially the law of attraction: visualise brilliant things happening to you and those brilliant things will be helpless to resist speeding towards you, like “iron filings to a magnet”.

A quick email around the office instantly conjures up three copies of The Secret, although everyone groaningly insists their copy was pressed upon them by some chump. Sure. I take one down to the beach for a peruse – not for an extra spiritual experience, but so nobody catches me reading it.

Opening the book at random, P59 explains how to visualise yourself thin. Even though you may have stuffed yourself stupid on a Greek fatfest the night before (see Day 57), “food cannot cause you to put on weight, unless you THINK it can.”

You can also think yourself well and think yourself a million bucks. Don’t be anti-something, be pro- its positive opposite. And don’t resist! I’m confused, though… how does ‘visualising’ what you want differ from ‘fantasising’, which I’m already doing every waking minute? All that’s brought me is a tendency to not hear a word you’re saying.

Look, maybe there’s something in this. A ‘positivity can’t hurt, and people around you seem to prefer it’ sort of something. When I was a child, home life was a cacophony of tuts: Dad’d get started and Mum would fall in, and now we’re all at it. On trips away, tension would do a Mexican wave around the car at the bloody unfairness of it all, whatever that was.

“Are you sure?” Mum had a tendency to ask doubtfully of any great idea, before forecasting impending doom. Hence my current constitution: C’mon life, you bastard, give it to me with both barrels – you know you want to.

So anyway, let’s see what we have here.

Funny – I’ve always been told I’m NOT the centre of the universe, yet here on p46, within a jolly metaphor about Aladdin’s lamp, it clearly says: “You are the Master of the Universe, and the Genie (that’s the law of attraction, or the Universe) is there to serve you.”

I’m advised to “place an order” to the Universe by writing it out on a piece of paper in the present tense.

Step two is to believe that it’s already mine. I guess I already do this when I go shopping. I look at a dress and imagine myself parading down the street wearing it, looking fine, with my hair bouncing around. Talking of which, this afternoon at the hairdresser I plan to visualise my hair looking glossy and brown, despite having previously bleached the fuck out of it.

Of course, The Secret does have itself a get-out clause. You’re to believe with “complete and utter faith”. So I guess if you don’t get the hair you wanted, your faith was lacking. You infidel.

That’s essentially it, although there are about 200 other pages. It’s pretty repetitive. I’ve written my thingo down, so I’ll let you know how I fare.

Keeper? Can I really expect positive results when my fingers are itching to type out cynicisms for your delight? (“Come on, you fucker,” I snap, when my predictive text turns “fuck” to “duck” while writing this entry on my phone.) I am doubting my commitment, which means I’m doomed to fail. How convenient.

I come from here, Rhonda. Do you really think the universe can be arsed?

DAY 48: Staring out to sea

18 Oct

IT’S weird staring out to sea when not cast adrift in some existential crisis. Right now I’m feeling well anchored (as opposed to wankered: see 2008), but I’m keen to practise my new mindful skills and see if I can do bugger all for half an hour.

While my mind goes a-wandering and dogs come a-sniffing, I’m still pleased I manage to stay put. I get uncomfortable flashbacks to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, though, in which the protagonist sits by the sea one day and slowly loses her mind. I had to literally chuck the book away when I re-read it a month back, as though it was going to contaminate me this time ’round.

Keeper? Yes.

DAY 36: Asking the oracle

6 Oct

SOMETIMES it seems I’ll do anything to avoid getting my driving licence. The runes on Day 20 were a bit negative about the likelihood of me ever learning, so I’ve decided to ask the oracle if I should get a motorbike licence instead.

Keeper? Defo – I love this oracle. Imagine what a lunatic it would be if you gave it a few sherries.

DAY 35: Super Philosophise Me

5 Oct

I'll be the judge of that.

OH HEY! CHECK OUT THE NEW BLOG: THE SNAKE OIL SKEPTIC!

ALWAYS in need of guidance, I put out the call for toilet wall philosophies I can live my life by. I’ve marked in red the ones the most pertinent ones that I’ll have to tattoo somewhere on myself in Latin.

Here we go.

Make every decision knowing it could be your last – Stacey

If you look like you should be in a band, be in a band  – Michael

Everything in moderation; especially moderation – Helen

Never let fact ruin a good story – Stacey

Clutch and Henry Rollins are the only religions worth following – Stacey

If you fuck it, you fix it – David

Never eat anything bigger than your head – Rick

They who hesitate are lost – Ben

You can’t turn shit into strawberry jam – Libby

This too shall pass – Libby

You’ve only got one shot, do not miss your chance to blow – Eminem (via Cheryl)

Try everything but line-dancing once – Mr Doman (Although, I can actually line-dance, for shame)

Design your own life based on what you’re about and who you are – Miss Kimberlina

Mama is always right – Cheryl

Keep on movin’, don’t look back – Lou

Whip it. Whip it good – Jessamy

Be kind. You never know when you’ll be applying for a job from that prick – Lou

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience – Atticus Finch (via Cheryl)

HTFU – Cheryl

Change the things you can and accept the things you can’t – Jacqui

Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything – Mikey

Shit ALWAYS works out – Mikey

All truly great thoughts come from walking (or shitting) – Mikey

Ask yourself: Is that a helpful thing to think? – Esther

There is only one thing worse than being talked about. And that is not being talked about – Oscar Wilde (via Jessica)

Always remember, ITS NOT A KIDNEY! (Based on the premise you’re not delivering organs for transplant, so relax) – Lani

If at first you don’t succeed, retreat quietly in case anyone sees – Sam

Walk softly and carry a big stick – Tal

Winning may not be everything, but losing isn’t anything – Ben

Always better to regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven’t. This is also true if you replace the word ‘thing’ with ‘one’ – Alexis

You’re a fucking rapper, fucking rap – music mogul Lyor Cohen (via Mikolai – “I feel this quote can be applied to any career path / occupation / thing that you say you do”)

Sometimes your knight in shining armour is a retard in tinfoil – Mikey

If at first you don’t succeed… perhaps failure is your style – James

Life’s a joke: you either laugh or you don’t get it – Michelle

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy – Michelle’s mum

Never believe your own press – Tal

Repent one day before you die – Tal

A bloke in a country pub once said to me, “I don’t need to believe in God because I believe in me…” I’ve used it ever since – Brendan

Don’t try and solve serious problems in the middle of the night – Tal

Just do it (great marketing slogan) – Lara

Life’s too short to drink bad coffee – 65 Degrees

Less qq more pew pew (means less crying more killing things in computer games) – Tiger

It will get better – Sam

The time is now – Sam

Remember, no matter how crap your life is, there is always someone worse off than you – unless of course you are that last person, which would really suck balls – Mike

My dad mentioned when I was about seven: “A dirty mind is a joy forever” – Mike

Try make at least one person smile every day. If you can’t do that, think of something that makes you smile once a day. If you can’t do that, then shut the fuck up you miserable bastard and stop ruining it for everybody else – Mike

The more it scares you, the more obliged you are to do it – Tamara

Respect the apostrophe – Tamara

When life gives you lemons, grab some tequila and have a party – Quirky Gal

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all – Lou

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people – Eleanor Roosevelt, (via Lou)

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it – Marcus Aurelius (via Volk)

Keeper? Yes.

 

Add your pearls of wisdom in the comment box!

DAY 33: Tree wailing, tree hugging

3 Oct

THE last year’s been a bit challenging, truth be told.

At one stage in deepest, darkest winter, every time I passed beneath this big tree on the home stretch, something inside would crumple and I’d have a sob till I got to my front door – at which point I’d pull myself together for the sake of the rabbit. It was like some strange sort of Enid Blyton phenomenon; like its branches were a magical portal between the daytime and way-past-someone’s-bedtime. It got to the point where I’d light a cigarette just before I got to the tree, so that I could at least have a nice fag while I was sobbing.

Hang on … let me just wait for this wave of self-pity to pass… (fans face)

Today on the way home I decided to sit down under the tree and wrench the headphones from my ears.  There was a strange low moaning from the branches – and no, it wasn’t me. “Loam loam” it sort of went. I picked out four different bird songs, and the late-afternoon light did quite moving things I will not attempt to describe here. I don’t reckon there’ll be any more wailing beneath the tree. Particularly now daylight saving has come into play and the curtain twitching will be in full force.

Keeper? Yes, will dust off a book on birds.

View from the tree of another tree I'm quite partial to.

DAY TWENTY: Getting the internet to read my runes

20 Sep

I RECKON only the cosmos could know whether I’ll ever pull my finger out and learn to drive. I decide to let the randomly generated runes of Facade.com give me a clue. Promisingly, I’m dealt Raido, the rune of riding. Less promisingly, it’s reversed.

Anyway, here’s a very good – probably the only good – song about runes.

Keeper? Nuh.

DAY SIXTEEN: Asking strangers to pray for me

16 Sep

“HOW can we pray for you?” queries the form on Pray For Me. After you type in your worries and press send, it’s forwarded to a network of churches across Australia, members of which will duly mumble in your name. (Begone, cynic – it doesn’t follow up by asking for your credit card details.)

At first I thought this must be a service for non-believers having a bit of a waver – when we were kids my brother would occasionally instruct me to pray for things, being the rogue church-goer of the family as I was – but no, seemingly it’s for Christians who want that extra oomph.

There is no celestial choir when I press send, or even an email receipt, so it’s a slightly anti-climatic experience. All we can do is sit and wait.

This passive aggressive little number was on the feedback page:

I have sent several requests to you in recent month’s so I am not sure what this one was for. But I will let you know: I lost my job (I had asked you to pray for a witch at my office) I didn’t purchase the house that I was planning to buy for my mother as settlement day was the day I lost my job. However, I do believe that no matter how bleak things look, all things work together for good for those who love God. Bless you all

Keeper? Praying for my brother’s soul may feel more rewarding.

DAY EIGHT: Getting tea leaves read

8 Sep

"Can you see the little man in the boat?"

THAT dickhead at the station owes me sixty bucks for sending me the wrong way and costing me half my appointment, and I’d go back and tell him too, but I’m too busy being given the flick by cab drivers who don’t like the cut of my jib or the look on my face as I shake my fist at Chapel Street and the world in general.

Finally I make it to ye little psychic shoppe half an hour late, after a quick duck into a 7/11 thanks to the intolerable stress of it all (I am always buying new packets of smokes at times like these, then leaving them half full in a drawer somewhere when I quit again the next day. I have about 15 open packs at home). The psychic shoots me an appraising — slightly mocking, I thought — look as the dreamcatchers jingle on the door behind me.

“Mercury retrograde, darl,” she cuts me short, flicking through some goddess cards and laughing merrily at the appearance of Lilith, goddess of pmt.

“Did you just say pmt?” I gasp. Still, she had a one in four chance.

I drink from my dainty white tea cup and then, under instruction, turn it upside down on its saucer and swizzle it anticlockwise three-and-a-half times. The psychic scoops it up and peers into it eagerly.

She makes a delighted noise. “You’re going to China,” she ejaculates, turning the cup this way and that. “For trade. I can see lots of junks.” She looks up at me for confirmation and I try to disguise “doubtful” on my dial.

“There’s a man in a boat,” she continues. “Possibly a Chinaman.” She guffaws. “Look at his brim hat and galoshes. He’s wearing a great big raincoat.

“He’s completely rudderless,” she lectures of the bandy-legged boatman. “Do not invest in this boat. He’s surrounded by driftwood and look — he’s got a geisha watching over him.” The psychic points out a face with Princess Leia-style side buns and I feel unreasonably jealous.

There’s more — “Do you live alone? (Sinisterly) You’re not alone” — but intuition tells me the reading is over when the psychic segues into a long soliloquy about Princess Diana.

Keeper? Well now I want corroboration from another psychic, of course.

DAY ONE: Meditation

1 Sep

ACTUALLY, this experiment comes straight from the steel-capped toe of a swift dumping – you know, the kind that leaves you thinking you can’t do anything anymore, whereas you used to be able to tie your shoes and go to work quite capably.

Hence, I must do everything.

So, meditation.

I’d speed-read a tome on the train called Meditation in a Hurry, or Hurry Up and Meditate, or Oh Come On, How Hard Can it Be, or something, and I’m going for an elementary exercise that focuses on breathing. Something deep inside’s been stopping me from attempting meditation till now, as though it would be betraying some fag-stained fibre of my former self that I should be true to for some reason. As a family, my clan scoff heartily at serenity and seeking spiritual planes, which will come as a surprise to no one who’s ever come round for a barbecue and left four times over the limit and strangely despondent.

Anyway, the breathing’s all right – I hardly get distracted at all, although I’m only starting with the recommended ten minutes. I’m disappointed I don’t reach the dizzy heights Elizabeth Gilbert does in Eat Pray Love, where she’s warbling around in a netherwordly vortex like she’s in some late-night rage video, but to be fair she did put in the hard work. Even so, I feel like I’ve tapped into the godly feeling I revered when I went through my religious phase as a kid… which morphed into an attributing-godlike-qualities-to-unsuitable men phase… which morphed into a desire for the comforting arms of alcohol and pharmaceuticals. I’d better keep close tabs on this one.

Keeper? Yes.