…the moon is amazing…

How good is it when the moon is amazing and you can’t even photograph it because when you try with your phone camera the glorious miracle that is the moon looks like it could be a dirty street light or something, and there’s nobody you can tell and you just have to look at the moon and think “it’s just me and you kid, and you’re blowing my mind”.

And you know that lots of people, all around the world, are looking at the same moon and you know their lives are full of different things and some of them are sad things and some of them are happy things and some of them are old faces peering up and some of them are young faces peering up and you might one day meet some of those faces. In fact they might even change your life forever, but it’s statistically unlikely that you will ever know even the smallest percentage of them, and if you ever do, you’ll never know. But maybe your phone camera is better than mine.

~ Lorin Clarke – The Big Issue #542

Lorin is fast becoming my favourite columnist.

the metaphorical fish bowl

peter-steiner-you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be-no-limits-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9167805-8419447

“You’re supposed to read this cartoon, and, being a sophisticated person, say, “Ah! What does this fish know? You know, nothing is possible in this fishbowl.” Impoverished imagination, a myopic view of the world — and that’s the way I read it at first. The more I thought about it, however, the more I came to the view that this fish knows something. Because the truth of the matter is that if you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, you don’t have freedom. You have paralysis. If you shatter this fishbowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction. You increase paralysis, and you decrease satisfaction.

Everybody needs a fishbowl. This one is almost certainly too limited — perhaps even for the fish, certainly for us. But the absence of some metaphorical fishbowl is a recipe for misery, and, I suspect, disaster.”

~ The closing to Barry Schwartz’s TED talk on the paradox of choice

I get paralysed by endless choice.

We’re upgrading our car at the moment, out of necessity, and limiting ourselves to wagon models meant there were a lot less choices (since everything is SUV) which made it easier to choose.

Same goes for renting a house. We’re satisfied as renting provides both financial and physical constraints to what we can spend and do to our place. We can’t spend more on the house than our rent, and we can’t do anything we want to the house, there are limits, and we like those constraints: we feel free.

the real world is full of triggers

Ash is scared to walk out those doors. Rehab is one thing, but the real world is full of triggers.

There are loads in the house where he’ll be living, where there are still holes in the walls from his fists.

“But now every hole I’m patching up, it’s patching up an old scar.”

He believes in AA’s 12 steps.

“I’m not one to believe in too many things, but these steps have actually given me a pathway. Instead of going right, I’m going straight. Before it was just like a figure eight, I just kept going around and I always kept coming back to the same point, which was daunting.

“I’d seen psychiatrists, psychologists and all that, but until I came in here and saw things clearly, it was very scary, very scary. I was only in survival mode, I was just getting by. I wasn’t living week by week, I was living day by day.”

Now, too, sobriety will be a daily proposition.

“I don’t think I’ve felt like this for a long, long time. I’m happy but scared at the same time, but I know we’ve got a brighter future. I’ve just got to keep the faith, as my nan would say. I’m doing it for my kids just as much as I’m doing it for myself.”

A well written insight into alcoholism and rehab for addicts; well worth reading.

half the confusion in the world…

After Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, in temperatures that sank to 70 degrees below zero, he emerged convinced that “half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need.”

public spaces can be okay

In the children’s hospital recently, there was a man in a suit with a straight back and pointy shoes rushing to catch the lift. He was clutching a large stuffed meerkat. With their straight backs, big eyes and anxious expressions, he and the meerkat seemed related. He patted it absently in the lift, but caught himself doing it and stopped. One floor up, a kid with a prostethic leg got in. “I really like your meerkat,” he said after a minute. “Thank you,” said the man. “You’re welcome,” said the kid. “Nice eyes.” Public spaces can be okay.

Lorin Clarke in The Big Issue #535

i’m not really a straight-cut potato

“I’m not really a straight-cut potato, I have a couple of curves to me. I also had a few difficulties growing up, but it’s always about never giving up. I’ve always thought that if you look at the brighter side of life and focus on something positive; you might be able to work out the answer to a tough situation.

Thankfully I don’t have any addictions. I try to help people going through homelessness and addiction by giving them support. Sometimes reminding them to look on the light side will help them out. Once you care for people, the goodness that it brings out of them – the kindness and respect – shows. Once you show love it mirrors back, it’s pretty cool.”

Jacob S sells The Big Issue on the corner of Pitt and Bathurst Streets, Sydney

when we start these things…

“WHEN WE start these things, in that gloriously alive state of vulnerability and excitement and hope, we can see so few pieces of the puzzle. We are primed to believe in the goodness of people, and truth as the default position. We want so much that we turn our heads away from the flaws and the oddities. Don’t look, we think, they do not matter. We are complicit. And once immersed in intimacy, extrication can seem impossible. This is the human condition in the effort of love.”

Stephanie Wood reveals a remarkable story about how she was tricked into love by an unknown man. 

;

“I got my tattoo about a year ago. It was my first, and I got it after I was diagnosed with depression. It’s a reminder to keep strong and positive when I am having a bad day. The semicolon tattoo is a badge of pride for those experiencing mental health issues. It represents a pause rather than an ending. When I look at my tattoo, it inspires me to try to be happy, and to keep living every day.”

Caroline sells The Big Issue in London Court, Perth. 

selling the big issue…

“Selling The Big Issue helps me buy my groceries and sometimes shout myself something like Subway. It’s good to make extra money, but the social side is what I enjoy most. It’s not just customers, but the local community that you get to know. I have met local police officers, courier drivers, security guards – all sorts of people who are regulars around the city. I like the community feel it has.”

Luke M, who sells The Big Issue at James Place in Adelaide.

my favourite quote

I was recently asked to for my favourite quote and it took me a while to remember this one. Recording it here for quick reference!

“One must never miss an opportunity of quoting things by others which are always more interesting than those one thinks up oneself.”

— Proust