Brisbane Floods 2011

Preparing for the flood – 12 January 2011

It’s been a huge few days since we first started to realise that it looked like Brisbane would be hit by another of the cyclical floods that happen every 30 to 40 years.

Brisbane is at the end of the Brisbane River, a long, slow moving, meandering brown waterway that drains much of the country from the Great Dividing Range to the west and into the north. As noted by John Oxley as the first explorer in 1823 when he sailed upstream to where Brisbane now sits, the river has no watershed to keep the flow constant but relies on rainfall from it’s catchment. This inevitability leads to periods of low flow where the river becomes a tidal stream washing upstream on the high tide and downstream on the low tide, much like we’ve had for the last 20 years of drought. He noted from the rotting vegetation high on Spring Hill and Kangaroo Point that this natural choke between these high points must cause massive floods during high rainfall.

Flood Waters

Water Creeping Up My Street

John Oxley is basically correct and it seem that the cycle of this flood is based on the La Nina oceanic temperature phenomena where the water temperature warms causing greater precipitation, including cyclones which can impact on Brisbane as happened in the 1974 flood. This cycle has lead to minor and more occasional major floods in 1865, 1893, 1931, 1974 and now 2011.

I remember well, as a 14 year old in Toowoomba, watching the black and white television images of the massive destruction and flooding that was the Brisbane flood of 1974, wondering what it would be like to experience that event, and yes even wondering of how exciting it might be to be involved – Now I know.

On Monday the 10 January 2011 a slow moving trough had settled over the catchment of the Brisbane River dumping rain on the already soaked area that had seen an unusually high rainfall. The long ten year drought had well and truly broken and now the dams were fall and spilling, a vast change from when there was but 25% in them just a few years ago. How good was it to now not to be on water restrictions and able to use water freely but this was getting ridiculous now, with rain soaked ground causing each new drop to run off filling the flood mitigation percentages of the dams and swelling the streams.

Then the unthinkable happened, something that no one has ever heard or seen before. My home town of Toowoomba high on the range at 340m above sea level, sat in a place where the dense moist air rose, chilled and dumped it’s contents on the escarpment and on Toowoomba itself. It was as if God had emptied a bucket on the town, filling the creeks, flash flooding the shops, sweeping away everything in it’s path including cars, shipping containers and people. Sadly two people died when they were trapped in their vehicles by this surging wall of water. This is what they had to deal with in the Toowoomba Flood

Then it got worse…

The water that was dumped on Toowoomba flows west to the Darling Downs causing flooding in many smaller towns, some for the second time in a fortnight but what happened to the east was of biblical proportions of horror. Continue reading

Ego = Fail

Just now I was reflecting on how Eckhart Tolle mentions about how his ego doesn’t interfere with his daily events as they would cause identification with the events around him. This identification would interfere with him doing things in the moment and cause stress and anxiety. This reminded me of the numerous times when I’ve been in fear before an event and how when I’m in the flow it always works without fear. How this stress is always ego related and how without the expectations of a new beginning I do well and if I allow my ego to get involved I always seem to screw it up.Ego=Fail

Does this mean that if I am fearful or anxious I’m identifying with the event with my ego? I think so.

I’ve always said that I have “Beginners Luck”. The number of times that I’ve done something for the first time and done it initially with ease is staggering. I remember when I started skydiving at 17 years of age. I went to the drop zone the first weekend and did my training and the following weekend I went to do my first jumps. That weekend I did four static line jumps, each and every one was copy book perfect. Everyone praised me, paying complements as to my natural abilities. Then the following week end I returned to continue and failed monumentally, moving onto free fall and tumbling out of control eventually returning to static line descendants and doing 13 instead of the usual five until I eventually moved onto free-fall again. It was even recommended that I should give it away. Ultimately I amassed 2000 skydives and became an instructor at 19. By then I was humbled by by initiation into the sport.

For a short time when I was about 30 I had a sales job using a style of sales similar to encyclopaedia selling where I had to present to people in their homes from a script and eventually close the deal. After the initial training I went out on my first day to present, not expecting any results as I was such a raw recruit and managed to sell four out of five presentations blowing everyones expectations, including mine, out of the water. The following six weeks were harrowing as I slowly started to stress and didn’t sell one programme until eventually I decided to give it away and on my last presentation I sold two unexpectedly to the client and her friend who just happened to be sitting in. I’m sure I sold on the last day because I no longer had an attachment to the outcome, the stress of achieving was removed and my ego was now out of the picture.

This has happened in all the fields that I have ventured into where the first time I do something, I do well as I have no expectations, my ego is subdued as I’m only starting and I don’t expect any results. Because I’m completely with the experience and not at all in my ego I allow anything to happen and it resolves in ways far better than I would have expected. It’s even happened with the first time I played lotto and won $35 because there is no chance to win on my first attempt and I’ve never won anything since.

The problem is that once I have the initial success, I then buy into others and my own expectations based on the past experience and extrapolate it out into the future, then naturally expect the evolvement of the good fortune into something grand. Then when it doesn’t materialise I become demoralised, think of it as a failure and it all falls apart. If I do keep at it in the long term and persevere through the negative period as I did with skydiving and my trade skill I notice that I eventually return to the level of success that I originally had but now I’ve been humbled by the experience of doing so poorly during the intervening period. I then don’t think of what I do as being anything special but think of it as something that anyone can do, as is really the case. If I can do something anyone can and often times anyone has, so why should I think that I’m anything special. This is what I find so interesting.

I seem to be blessed with some innate natural talents which enable me to do well initially but if I allow my ego to rise up even at the most basic level I come unstuck then my ego feels blighted by the failure and stress develops and a downward cycle begins. What if I don’t allow my ego into the picture? What if I simply say “this person which is me is doing this thing and it will be as it will be”? If the goal of the day is achieved or not is irrelevant. It’s only important to do the task as seems appropriate with no judgement of whether it is good or bad, which is a judgement in itself. Just let it be and not to identify with the event in anyway as being something personal.

That’s the take home, “not to identify with the event in anyway as being something personal” which has to exclude any form of ego.

2010 – The Year Ahead

Picking up from yesterdays post about 2009 and how good a year I had, I thought that it was also appropriate to consider what is ahead for 2010.

Last year I sat down with some serious consideration to goal setting and planning out my year ahead.What I hoped to have for my podcast, income, home and social life. Then as the year wore on I realised that despite my good intentions many other things were being thrown up in my path creating situations that prevented or changed the direction of things that I had set out to achieve. Some improvements some challengers but things that changed where I thought I was travelling, thereby creating a feeling in me that I didn’t have control on my life and frustration that I wasn’t able to make the goals realised as I was told would be achieved if I followed the rules of goal setting. Basically what I’m saying is that the classic western goal setting model doesn’t seem to work for this little black duck.

So as I mentioned in the last post, as I started on this exercise in May to just opt out of what is expected and make my decisions based on what is appropriate in each moment and the relative ease at which my life now seems to be evolving I’ve decided on some new goals for this new year.

  • Goal 1 – I intend to be fully engaged with every activity and make any decisions that need to be taken in that moment.
  • Goal 2 – Any time I fall into emotional considerations of the future or reminiscences of the past I’ll concentrate on Goal 1.

If you haven’t realised goal 2 is actually a variation on goal 1. It’s just that I’m still not brilliant at this and I sometimes have to remind myself to go to Goal 1.

Oh! and just in case you think this is not, or is a real goal, I don’t mind what happens anyway.

I’m just here Now.

Life is a Game
A Game to be Played
You can never Lose
You can only Win
So long as You Play. ’91

End of 2009 – Brilliant

Another year wraps up and I’ve been reflecting on it lately.

Back when I came up with the idea and started Your Story I commented on how the years were all the same and the disappointment that there wasn’t any real change from year to year, of my desire to shake that up. Now it’s now been nearly 3 years.

I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing when I started on this path those few years ago but I knew that I needed to start and see where it would go. The first 15 years of my adult life were wonderful years with a great marriage, adventure and achievements but after that it was particularly tough. Now I can say that of the last 15 years since my marriage went south these last 3 years have been the best, most rewarding and enlightening years.

When my daughter was little I used to say that I was running a one off, 18 year experiment in parenting and I’d get back with the results on whether I achieved anything when she is 18. Now that she is I think that experiment has been very successful but that is another story. Just the same as parenting, this last year I’ve been running another experiment in not planning, not goal setting but

Ian in Buenos AIres

simply going where the moment takes me. It started way back in May when I decided, just for one week to have a Societyfast. What could go wrong for one week of not buying into all the stuff of society?

As it turns out after that week I decided not to reconnect with the system and that’s the way it’s been all year since then. Now I’ve always done things somewhat my own way but this was really ramping it up. I have for the majority of the year slept, worked, danced and travelled as it’s seemed right in the moment. I’ve done my best not to project into the future and reminisce on the past. I have at times been far from perfect from achieving this and I have sometimes bought into fear and sentimentality but generally I’ve been able to reconnect after a time and just enjoy the moment. And what wonderful moments I’ve had.

In the last year I’ve only worked about 10 weeks which has caused me to live very lean but my life is wonderful and rich with friends old and new. I have a wonderful social life thanks to my dancing and all that Tango has given me. I’ve travelled yet again, this time to Buenos Aires. I’ve worked for a time with an artist and on Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where I made some wonderful things. The podcast is evolving and I’ve managed to meet and get a whole new level of guests to come onto the show. My skills have continued to improve both with audio and video while some people, though only a few, seem to like what I’m producing and keep coming back.

But most importantly I’ve discovered that if I take the time, to take no time, to just be in the moment and make decisions on what needs to be done now and follow that quiet feeling inside me that says that I should do … right now it all seems to work out. Leave my petty ego out of it and be content with whatever happens whether it’s others or my doing doesn’t matter. Instead of worrying I’m starting to have an attitude that something will happen, it’s just that I don’t know what it is. This is creating a new state of wonder, where I don’t know what is going to happen but like watching a film I’m curious and wonder what will evolve. Amazingly it’s working out different and much better than I could imagine.

Yes, what will come of the New Year. I wonder because I have no idea.

Lets find out…

3 Giggling Girls and Ian. Swidwin Trip Version 2

In a previous post for my family I edited a version of a trip from Berlin, Germany to Swidwin in Poland that I travelled with three lovely friends of mine in July 2008. That version I edited for the family taking some care to make it so as not to bore the family with my own personal indulgences. After all we have all had to deal with the interminably boring slide show or film night of someones latest holiday. So I endeavoured to keep the personal fun things out of it and just show the trip, town and countryside that may interest the family.

Well this video is a re-cut of the Swidwin trip and is that very indulgence. I make no apologies for it and it’s here for all to see but is intended primarily for the four of us.

We had a wonderful day out not exactly having any idea what we would find, intending to stay the night and eventually deciding to travel back to Berlin. This is a recap of a fun day for the four of us.

Thanks ladies for being my companions on this trip. You make it a gazillion times more fun having you there.

  • Thank you Eve for driving and the use of your car.
  • Thank you Romy for the navigation and photography.
  • Thank you Claudie for being my pillow and well… being the lovely Claudie 😉

There are more videos of my time in Europia to come. That’s the great thing about having a blog. 🙂

Serial Monogamy, Open Relationships and Polyamory

This has been reposted from Your Story where some comments are available and pre dated to reflected the time period in which it was written.

Relationships, we want them but how do we do them?

LoveIn a previous post about how relationships collapse I suggest that we move onto new relationships in a way that is serial monogamy. I suggest that it’s necessary to realise that all relationships end and it’s the disappointment of that, based on the expectations that they last for ever, that causes the suffering.

My suggestion is to come to terms with the fact that it ends, enjoy it while it lasts, grieve when it ends, heal and then move on.

Another aspect is that within the Western view of marriage we expect our partner to be all things in every way for us. It’s natural, especially as when we connect and in the serotonin haze that is created in the first flush of meeting someone, we think they are perfect, the one, our soulmate. Then they change don’t they?

Maybe we change the way we view them!Either-way we find that they aren’t everything to us in all situations. So we become dissatisfied try to change them or compromise ourselves but we’re not satisfied.

Who said that the person you marry has to be your everything, especially in the intimate personal aspects of a relationship?

Oh sorry!

The system said that!

Well guess what the system is wrong. We all get things that are important to us from other people and places, physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual. We have friends that give us things that we don’t get from our partners and within a marriage it’s accepted that we can have these relationships to fulfill us and round us out as humans. Pragmatically we allow our partner to do things that we may not quite approve of because it’s seen as good for the relationship and based on power and survival needs of the family. As the dependence on the other changes through the constant change of the relationship then the barely tolerated behavior becomes a relationship threatening behavior and the slow slide to separation commences.

The conflict is not so much in the behavior itself but in the non acceptance of your partner needing to be this way as their form of human existence. To relate to someone you must accept them as they are. If you have an issue it is fine for you to communicate it to them, even to ask for them to change but it is 100% up to them to change and to do it happily with no compromise to themselves. If they can’t or won’t change you must accept it as it is, happily with no compromise to yourself. If this can’t be done there will be conflict. Either way it’s about acceptance either a new or the old dynamic. So now everyone is happy with each others behavior and all can live in bliss.

But what if I can’t resolve a behaviour by my partner? Continue reading