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The Simple Art of Meditation

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The Simple Art of Meditation

What is meditation? In the West meditation is considered to be quiet thought, reflection or contemplation. In the East, where the ancient art of meditation developed several thousand years ago, it is considered to be ‘thoughtless awareness’ or not thinking.

Meditation developed in India as part of a tradition of mental, physical and spiritual practices known as yoga. The purpose of practising yoga was to achieve the state of ‘self-realisation’, a meditative state in which the practitioner becomes one with the whole universe, has a feeling of total peace and tranquillity and achieves complete psychological integration.

Modern psychologists have called this state of self-realisation ‘self-actualisation’ and Carl Jung has called it ‘individuation’. It is the state in which artists, writers and musicians receive inspiration and sports people talk of being ‘in the flow’ when everything becomes effortless and spontaneous. It is also the state where healing, both physical and mental, takes place. It is a state of ‘thoughtless awareness’ in which you are able to focus on the present moment for a sustained period of time. You are fully alert and in control, but you are not being bombarded with thoughts about the past or the future.

In about 500BC in India a sage and physician called Patanjali formalised this tradition of yoga into a science to achieve the state of self-realisation which included eight branches among which were ethical restraint, self-discipline, mental focus, physical exercise and meditation. The physical exercises were called Hatha Yoga (with which we are familiar in the West) and they were designed to clear the chakras (subtle energy centres) so that self-realisation could take place.

For thousands of years people who wanted to achieve their self-realisation and experience this meditative state had to spend many years studying with a guru in the Himalayas, clearing their chakras and undergoing many hardships in order to achieve it. In 1970 Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi devised a simple method to allow people to attain their self-realisation and to go into this state of meditation spontaneously, which is called Sahaja Yoga. It takes just ten minutes but is a truly life-changing event.

Sahaja Yoga Meditation fits easily into our Western lifestyle taking just five minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night to start seeing the improvements in your life. It has been shown to have many benefits – better health, peace of mind, improved relationships and greater enjoyment of life. According to the wishes of the founder, Shri Mataji, Sahaja Yoga is always taught free of charge.

Phone 1300 724 252 or visit www.freemeditation.com for more information, and to find the Sahaja Yoga centre nearest to you. Classes are held in Canberra, Wollongong, Bathurst and Bowral in the Southern Tablelands area.

Winnunga – midwife health team making a difference

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Midwives Carolyn Patterson (left) and Debbie Howroyd (right) attend to patient Anne-Marie Quinn(centre) with the assistance of Aboriginal access worker Pam Yealland(second from right).
The Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Services Aboriginal Midwifery Access Program( AMAP) was unique amongst Canberra’s baby health services, Winnunga CEO, Julie Tongs said today.

“It’s appropriate during International Midwives and Nurses Week that the beneficial impact of the program was acknowledged”, Ms Tongs added.

“The program saves lives. It is as simple as that.”

Ms Tongs said Winnunga was blessed to have a dedicated midwifery team of two qualified midwives and an Aboriginal access worker. “The work and dedication of this three person team of Carolyn Patterson, Debbie Howroyd and Pam Yealland is much appreciated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community”.

“When the program began seven years ago it was miniscule and little known by the community. The underlying rationale for its creation was to encourage Aboriginal mothers to access ante natal care at an early stage.

“These days the community doesn’t have to be told about the program. People come to us not just from Canberra, but also Queanbeyan, Yass – and even Cooma.

“Last financial year, for example, it was pleasing to be able to say that 55 women enrolled in the AMAP program. Given that one of the main aims of the program was to encourage women to access treatment at an early stage, it was pleasing that 37 of those who enrolled presented in their first trimester. Sixteen others presented in their second trimester (12 to 24 weeks) and only two presented late in their pregnancies.

“Both of these were referrals from local hospitals”.

Ms Tongs emphasised that the team worked in ways she believed no other equivalent service in Canberra contemplated and was trusted and sought out by the community.

“By way of explanation ,clearly one of the reasons that the Winnunga program unique and particularly successful is the fact that we make sure that patients get continuity of care with a midwife that they trust. Also, because our philosophy is to provide holistic health care we have the ability to make sure that those who need other treatment receive it within Winnunga or are helped by our midwifery team to access treatment within the Canberra Hospital system.

“Additionally, we regularly have to organize transport for patients to access treatment while it is also a fact that the midwives and Aboriginal access worker more often than not come to deal with the whole family and regularly intervene and help in such matters as housing, overcrowding and other family related issues,” Ms Tongs said..

Ms Tongs added that in the 2005/06 financial year the midwifery team had:

.Attended a total of 589 antenatal checks (442 at Winnunga) and the remainder at Calvary and Canberra Hospitals
.Detected three cases of gestational diabetes (primarily due to the routine screening of patients for diabetes at the appropriate time in their pregnancy
.Detected a high rate of smokers – about 30 percent of patients
.Dealt with a number of premature births
.Seen a significant increase in the number of patients who were successfully breast feeding. Twenty eight of the patients breast fed their babies

“This is a health program that makes a difference”

THE WEDDING NIGHT

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Fred and Mary got married, but can’t afford a honeymoon, so they go back to Fred’s parent’s home for their first night together.

In the morning, Johnny , Fred’s little brother, gets up and has his breakfast. As he is going out of the door to go to school, he asks his Mom if Fred and Mary are up yet.

She replies, “No”.

Johnny asks, “Do you know what I think?”

His mom replies, “I don’t want to hear what you think! Just go to school.”

Johnny comes home for lunch and asks his mom, “Are Fred and Mary up yet?”

She replies, “No.”

Johnny says, “Do you know what I think?”

His mom replies, “Never mind what you think! Eat your lunch and go back to school.”

After school, Johnny comes home and asks again, “Are Fred and Mary up yet?”

His mom says, “No.”

He asks, “Do you know what I think?”

His Mom replies, “Ok, do tell me what you think?”

He says: “Last night Fred came to my room for the Vaseline, but I think I accidently gave him my aeroplane glue.”

A winter itching

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A female dwarf goes to a doctor complaining of an embarrassing itch in the groin area. The doctor looks her up and down, picks her up and stands her on his desk.

He lifts up her skirt and puts his head under. A little perplexed, she hears snip, snip, snip, snip. The doctor emerges from under her skirt.

“How’s that?”

“Well, it’s a lot better actually, but………..it’s still there.”

Undaunted, he dives back under her skirt. Snip, snip, snip, snip. Out he comes.

“How’s that?” he asks again more confident.

“That’s wonderful! What did you do?”

“I trimmed the top of your Ugg boots.”

Tharwa Selection Peter Filmer

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Peter Filmer, box, bowl and spoon, 2002, red gum (Eucaluptus blackelyi). Photo: Jennifer Filmer.
The Front Counter continues to promote the talent of the makers who reside in the creative ACT community of Tharwa. This exhibition showcases the work of Peter Filmer, a world renowned timber artist whose work is in major collections in Australia and around the world.

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit, CIVIC
Open: Tues – Fri 10am – 4pm and Sat-Sun 12noon – 4pm

Free

Irianna Kanellopoulou

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Irianna Kanellopoulou, Dreamscape blues, 2006, ceramic, glazes. Photo: Andrew Barcham.
Kanellopoulou presents a sculptural collage highlighting the car as an icon of desire and an embodiment of our personas, dreams and sexuality. Exploring issues of identity, displacement and transience, the work investigates the life of an object outside of its initial intent and purpose.

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit, CIVIC
Open: Tues – Fri 10am – 4pm and Sat-Sun 12noon – 4pm

Free

Decades and Diversity

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Solvig Baas Becking, Gum Leaf Litter, 1998, linen warp, wool weft. Collection of Belinda Mackay. Photo: courtesy of the artist.
In a tribute to textile artist Solvig Baas Becking, three artists, Pam McDougall, Fay Skyring and Di Landsdown join Solvig in this unique exhibition. Honouring her vast talents this exhibition celebrates the knowledge and skills that Solvig taught to Pam, who taught to Fay, who mentored Di.

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit, CIVIC
Open: Tues – Fri 10am – 4pm and Sat-Sun 12noon – 4pm

Free

2006 Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award

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Tiffany Parbs, gesture, 2005-2006, sterling silver. Photo: Terence Bogue
Beaten metals, baked enamel, carved plastics, blown glass and taxidermy are just some of the varied techniques and materials used by the contemporary jewellers in the 2006 Cicely & Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award, a touring exhibition on display at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. A generous legacy of the late Colin Rigg (1895 – 1982), a former Secretary of the Felton Bequests’ Committee for the National Gallery of Victoria, the award focuses on contemporary design practice in Victoria.

How can I rate my website?

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Being able to rate the traffic to your website is extremely useful. It tells you how popular your site is and gives you some comparision data relative to your competitors. There are a number of service providers in this space, some free and others fee paying. The two most popular fee paying services are Hitwise and ComScore.

Hitwise was founded in February 1997 as a solution to a new problem – only the large websites, such as Yahoo!, MSN and Amazon were being monitored comparatively and data on websites with a more limited reach, such as Colgate, Nissan, and L’Oreal – was not available.

The reason for this is that the methodology used by the existing online measurement companies was not cost effective and so could not effectively scale to measure a medium like the Internet. These companies simply applied the television ratings methodology (software sitting in a person’s home) to the Internet. As a result, only a relatively small number of people (10,000 to 50,000) people were able to be monitored, which meant only a relatively small number of websites (top 1000) were reported in the rankings.

Instead, Hitwise applied a new measurement method to the new medium. They realized that by working with ISP networks, (instead of recruiting individual panel members) it would be possible to anonymously monitor more people, and therefore report on more websites. Using this new method Hitwise could cost effectively and anonymously monitor millions of Internet users, and therefore report on hundreds of thousands of websites, in addition to the top few.

As a result, while many other measurement companies have relatively small client bases, Hitwise data is relevant to over 800,000 online businesses. More information can be found at www.hitwise.com

ComScore is a global Internet information provider to which leading companies turn for consumer behavior insight that drives successful marketing, sales and trading strategies.

comScore’s experienced analysts work closely with clients to identify their business objectives and determine how they can best apply and benefit from comScore’s vast databases of consumer behavior. comScore maintains massive proprietary databases that provide a continuous, real-time measurement of the myriad ways in which the Internet is used and the wide variety of activities that are occurring online. More information can be found at www.comscore.com

Alexa is a California-based free service. Alexa is a subsidiary company of Amazon that is best known for operating a website that provides information on the web traffic to other websites. Alexa collects information from users who have installed an “Alexa Toolbar,” allowing them to provide statistics on web site traffic, as well as lists of related links.

Alexa ranks sites based on visits from users of its Alexa Toolbar for Internet Explorer and from integrated sidebars in Mozilla and Netscape. Alexa is great for getting a daily snapshot of your rankings in terms of traffic and pageviews. You can build realtime graphs comparing your site with your competition (like the one in the picture). More information can be found at www.alexa.com

For most people the free information you get from Alexa is enough. If you are a marketing manager of a large corporation the depth and granularity you get from HitWise and ComScore is worth the fee.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers hits town!

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The Queanbeyan Players present the classic musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Based on the movie of the same name, this rumbustious, feel-good musical follows seven brothers as they each try to find a bride in Back-woods Oregon, 1850 ‘where there’s five men for every woman’. Songs include Bless Your Beautiful Hide, Wonderful Day, Goin’ Courting, Sobbin’ Women and Lonesome Polecat.

Held at the Queanbeyan Conference Centre from May 18th – June 2nd this show is appealing to the whole family. Tickets range from $22 for children to $27 for adults. Concession and group tickets are available. Performances on Thursday 24 & Thursday 31 May – All tickets: $20. Performance Times

Friday, 18 May 2007 – 8PM
Saturday, 19 May 2007 – 8PM
Thursday, 24 May 2007 – 8PM
Friday, 25 May 2007 – 8PM
Saturday, 26 May 2007 – 8PM
Thursday, 31 May 2007 – 8PM
Friday, 1 June 2007 – 8PM
Saturday, 2 June 2007 – 2PM & 8PM

More details and bookings from at http://www.canberratheatre.org.au/pages/event/performance682.asp or by calling 02 6275 2700

Independent living

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Now there''s a view!
Recently it seems many of my friends are moving from rental to property ownership, we must all be drifting into our 30s! A common agreement around the lively discussions on affordability etc is that the cities are over-rated and that a career that is somewhat independent of the ‘system’ holds a lot more value beyond mere financial comparisons.
I might be able and prepared to climb the corporate ladder for status, esteem and the six figure salary package that will allow me to realise my dreams, both for now and in the long term…BUT…
The trade off for buying into all this is that the one piece of security to which most of us tend to subscribe, ‘bricks & mortar’, becomes a daunting mirage on a foreign horizon. Real estate pricing in Canberra is simply outrageous! Someone was telling me recently that proportional to our income etc, Canberra’s real estate is some of the most expensive in the world. And when you are vying for a rental property with ten other applicants, rental fees also quickly become absurd. The place we rent went up $40 per week on its listed price, simply owing to supply-deman. Last month we recieved a letter from the agency saying rent was going up another $20 with an opening to end the lease, but a recommendation that, ‘given current market circumstances’ we best stay with our tenancy.
So, what to do? Well a few of my friends have turned their attentions away from the cities and to the peripheral suburbs and rural ‘hobby farm’ properties. Wow! 3 bedroom house in gorgeous sub-tropical rainforest, a walk to the local town where murals adorn many a building and there’s a band at the pub every Friday and Saturday night. Polished wooden floorboards, high ceilings, outdoor breakfast balcony, developed designer gardens, central heating, double story… the list goes on. They ended up paying another $25k more than the original listed price because another couple wanted it – $340k in all. Move that to Canberra, expect to pay $1.1m.
The catch is that they can work from home. Pete has his laptop and broadband, Anita is taking time out to look after baby no. 1 and will likely return to policy writing. When you start to make these comparisons, a job that pays only half as much but allows you to work from home can swing some impressive benefits. I think we will see a lot more of this independent living over the next few years, as technology allows us to work from wherever and greed prevents us living together. And when the property developers think they’ll snot the rural prices, we’ll just start buying blocks of land and sharing development/infrastructure costs. The modern, hi-tech, wi-fi, affordable community style housing our hippy parents envisaged for us 40 years ago.
Last night I typed in key words like ‘architect design’ and ‘waterfron’ and ‘close to town’ into some of the leading online real estate search engines – the results were amazing. I’m converted! Now, just need to figure out how to convince my boss I am more productive with a laptop on my tummy lying on the couch…

Minimising your holiday footprint

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Ecotel escape
The Seascape Ecotel has been established by the Kerans Family to provide unbeatable value in accommodation while achieving growing ecological benefits.

The Land
The Ecotel is located on what was a 19th century dairy farm. Native wildlife is being protected and the regeneration of plants encouraged.

A beautiful swimming pool amongst the bush is being restored.

The Ecotel Accommodation
The Ecotel has been refurbished to take advantage of the generous ceilings and picture windows of the original fifties design with the benefit of modern appliances.

Water and waste
Low flow shower heads have been installed and rubbish is being recycled. Liquid soap and shampoo dispensers are being used as an alternative to packaged products to reduce waste. Cleaning and laundry products are phosphate free and biodegradable and clothes are sun-dried whenever possible to reduce energy consumption. Dual flush toilets and water tanks are being introduced.

Some piping has been installed to commence landscape irrigation from the root zone when a new recycling plant is installed.

Dual flush toilets and water tanks have been introduced.

Energy
Twin wind turbines have been secured to generate power for low wattage outside lighting with some conduit already laid. Solar panels for hot water heating and solar cells and a co-generation plant for energy are planned.

Heating and cooling
The rooms are designed to achieve flow-through ventilation. Fans are provided for supplementary cooling. Heating is by strip heaters with heavy curtains to retain the warmth.

The Farmhouse
The Federation farmhouse is being renovated and features high pressed metal ceilings, ornate lighting and locally milled floorboards.

Friendly by Nature
The Kerans are keen to create opportunities for people who stay at the Ecotel to share ideas with the staff and to enjoy the company of other guests, if they choose, by using the communal facilities.

The Seascape Ecotel at Narooma lies on the spectacular south-eastern coast of Australia, within a short stroll to the beaches, bush, breakwater and boardwalk. It is:

217 kms (2.5 hours) from Canberra
345 kms (5 hours) from Sydney
696 kms (8 hours) from Melbourne
The Ecotel is a motel with a difference. Environmental features are gradually being introduced to complement its six acres of natural bushland.

Excellent value
The Ecotel provides great value accommodation.

The 18 units range from $68 to $108 with special allowances for bookings longer than 3 days. Prices are subject to change during the holiday season.

Guests can enjoy swimming in the pool in a garden setting.

Contact us anytime to make an enquiry or booking.

44 Princes Highway North Narooma NSW Australia 2546
Ph: +61 (02) 4476 2217 | Fax: +61 (02) 4476 4847

Our national costume…

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''Dressing down'' is a key part of Australian dress, according to Dr Craik
By Jacquelyn Curtis

If Australia were to introduce a national costume, what would it be? Maybe an akubra hat paired with khaki shorts and RM Williams boots, to symbolise our rugged bushland? Or a pair of togs and a surfboard, to represent our beaches and surf culture? Perhaps a Collette Dinnigan evening gown, to show the explosion of Aussie designers in the fashion world? Or maybe just casual clothes, to capture the ‘dressed down’ nature of the everyday Australians?

University professor Jennifer Craik considers this question, and the role of fashion and dress in society, in her research Manly Bushwackers or Sartorial Sandinistas: Unpicking the study of Australian fashion and dress .

Dr Craik discussed some of the themes of her work at the first Staff and Visitors Seminar for 2007.

Dr Craik explained how traditionally “the idea of fashion in Australia was somewhat of an oxymoron” with casual clothes dominating the dress of Australians.

The benefits of studying fashion and dress as an academic field was addressed, with an overview of the emergence of ‘fashion theory’ studies in Australia to show how it could move beyond a study of only practical elements.

“Much of the study on fashion and dress study has focused on the practical, not on theory,” Dr Craik said.

“And in a lot of cases where fashion theory is studied in universities it is coupled with art history, history or cultural studies across a wide range of disciplines.

“My interest is to study fashion and dress as an academic field; to examine how it is seen as a system of communication, how identities are constructed through clothes and how they are reflect social roles and status,” she said.

The seminar canvassed literature to find the ‘essence of Australian fashion’, revealing the “Australian predilection for ‘dressing down’ in casual, practical, life-oriented forms of fashion and dress”, according to Dr Craik.

Experienced sales staff wanted

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Please send resumes to john@theword.com.au