Stuff I see, which you might not.

How To Talk To Anyone

That’s right, my friends. ANYONE. It’s a guide book of sorts by Leil Lowndes, recently summarised by Maggie Zhang on the Business Insider website under the heading: 7 Body Language Tricks To Make Anyone Instantly Like You. Uh huh.

The post highlights some of the top tips of the book, many of which seemed a little creepy to me. For example, implementing The Flooding Smile when you first meet people. What’s that, then? Apparently, it’s when you make a “big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes.” It’s meant to make you seem sincere. I think it sounds a bit messy.

Now THAT'S a flooding smile.  [image from Pixabay]

Now THAT’S a flooding smile.
[image from Pixabay]

Then there is something called the Big-Baby Pivot. “When you meet someone new, turn your body fully toward them and give them the same, undivided attention you would give a baby.” In her book, Lowndes says that “Pivoting 100% towards the new person shouts, ‘I think you are very, very special.’” Maybe don’t use this one in the office, as I am not sure that much good has ever come from shouting I THINK YOU ARE VERY, VERY SPECIAL at a new person.


[image from Pixabay]

Hang By Your Teeth is a visualisation trick that sounds more painful that it actually feels. I imagine. “To do this, visualise a leather bit hanging from the frame of every door you walk through. Pretend that you are taking a bite on the dental grip, and let it sweep your cheeks into a smile and lift you up.” It’s all about good posture. Giddy up.

And possibly my favourite – Sticky Eyes. “Pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky warm taffy,” and don’t break eye contact. “When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.” And wait for your warning letter from HR about leering at your colleagues, I guess.

Only imagine it was joining your eyes to another person's. [image from CupcakeProject.com]

Only imagine it was joining your eyes to another person’s.
[image from CupcakeProject.com]

You can check out the Business Insider post – please be assured that I haven’t included all of the highlights in this post. And if these points sound good to you, or if you would like some help in talking to ANYONE, you can check out Leil Lowndes book, How To Talk To Anyone.

You’re welcome.

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This time last year…

Sometimes I like to think back to this time last year/month/week and remember what I was doing. It’s hard to believe it, but this time last year, I was walking across Spain on the Camino Frances. My friend Steph and I were about one week into our journey and had already made some new life-long friends. These were the innocent days, before I got attacked (firstly by unidentified bugs and, shortly thereafter, by my own body trying to deal with the crazy looking bites). Ah yes, when all we had to worry about was being tired and a bit sore, the summer heat, blisters and washing our clothes by hand.

I do miss the guilt-free carb loading that came with 30 km days.

I do miss the guilt-free carb loading that came with 30 km days.

It has been nice to have a look back at my posts from this time. Such great days – beautiful places and people. And wine.

Sure, it wasn't always picturesque...

Sure, it wasn’t always picturesque… 

In case you’d like to reminisce about the Camino, or if you’re planning your own Camino adventure, I recommend this documentary by Drew Robinson: A Journey of the Mind. It brings back a lot of memories for me – undoubtedly, walking the Camino was one of the best things I’ve ever done. More for the people than for the bugs. But then the bugs showed me a different side of the people (myself included), so it really was all good.

We thought we'd need our rain gear for sure here. We didn't.

We thought we’d need our rain gear for sure walking into this. We didn’t.

The doco runs for 40 minutes, so maybe grab some sangria and tapas (bug spray is optional) before you settle down to watch it. Buen Camino!

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What Will Matter

My lovely Mom called me last week to tell me about this poem that she had seen. Apparently it was a favourite of Sister Philomene Tiernan, an Australian nun who was on board Flight MH-17 when it was shot down over the Ukraine, and it had been used at a memorial service celebrating Sister Phil’s life. By all accounts, she was a great woman.

It seems that Sister Philomene’s Irish friend – Sister Aideen Kinlen – had shared What Will Matter, by Michael Josephson,  as the two were on a retreat in France, towards the end of Sister Phil’s time in Europe. I think it’s pretty incredible that the two friends had reflected on this poem at that time, given what was to come.

I think some people may read it and feel sad at the suggestion that everything’s ultimately a bit pointless. But I guess I read it as a reminder to prioritise what’s important and try not to get caught up in the other ‘stuff’, which messes with our heads and doesn’t really matter.

[from charactercounts.org]

[from charactercounts.org]

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Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my lovely Dad’s birthday. Here is a picture of him, drawn on one of those etch-a-sketch things by my fabulous niece Lauren (I think she was five at the time).

Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat.

Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat.

There’s a quote from the book that I wrote about yesterday that has stuck with me since I read it and it reminds me very much of my Dad and my Mom. And so, for the day that’s in it, I’ve included it here. Because they really do know that this stuff matters. What’s even better, they really do live like this stuff matters. And to me, that’s pretty amazing.

[from We Are Called To Rise, by Laura McBride]

[from We Are Called To Rise, by Laura McBride]

And here’s a photo of little Pat, with his brother Jim. Pat is the curly haired larrikin on the right. And although he hasn’t worn a tie much since this picture was taken, he still has a unique sense of style. Happy happy birthday to my amazing Dad!

All dressed up - LIttle Jim and Little Pat.

All dressed up – LIttle Jim and Little Pat.


Hello again (with chimps)

Hi there. It’s been a while since I last posted. I’m not really sure why that is – time has been filled with stuff and things and to be honest, I haven’t really felt like writing. In the face of happenings in the real world, the silliness of finding and sharing everyday sparks sometimes seems so ridiculous. I mean, people are suffering and getting sick and breaking up and shutting down and doing mean things. Then again, people are also being born, getting healthy, having fun, making things, doing good, starting again, having adventures and laughing. Right?

I also know that whatever is going on, I am still noticing those everyday sparks – whether they’re funny, silly, weird, nice, scary or quirky. And now I feel like getting back into sharing them here. In case we like some of the same sorts of things and I’ve seen stuff that you haven’t. Because we could all use some sparks to make us smile or grimace or snort or make that tsk tsk sound from time to time, I reckon. While we’re dealing with all of those happenings in the real world.

To get back into the swing of things, here are some pics of the baby chimp born at our Taronga Zoo here in Sydney over the weekend. Some classic shots for the family album.

Shiba and her baby boy. [photo by Lisa Ridley]

Shiba and her baby boy.
[photo by Lisa Ridley]

The Fam.  [photo by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

The Fam.
[photo by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

And my favourite.  [image by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

And my favourite.
[image by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

You’re welcome!


I am studying at Harvard and you can too.

I was out with my lovely friend Jen last week and we were talking about our lives over a nice bottle of pinot gris. I was talking about how I’m at a bit of a crossroads and not sure what to do next and Jen told me about a course that someone at her work had told the HR peeps about. It’s a free online course that they’re trialling at Harvard University – Unlocking the Immunity to Change.

A lot of time and effort and psychological brain power has gone into the development of this course (and the Immunity to Change process that sits behind it), which seems – in a nutshell – to support the proposition that you can teach an old dog new tricks. So, when people say, “I’m too old to learn X”, or, “I’ve always been like this – too late to change now”, or, “There is no way that I can stop/start doing Y”, it may well be a load of nonsense.

Apparently, this process gives you easy steps to help focus on a self development type of goal – maybe one that you’ve struggled with for a while, but have never been able to achieve. Through the online course (which has a very user-friendly interface and lots of support – I’ve just checked out the introductory info for Week 1), you’ll be guided through the process and invited to participate in activities. There’s no pressure – you don’t have to comment on forums or submit assignments, but the obvious suggestion is that if you’re really interested in achieving your goal, you might as well have a crack at the activities that the experts provide.

Anyways, if you’re interested in this course too, you can sign up for it here and the first week of readings/activities etc starts from Tuesday.

I’m a bit of a geek and have always wanted to study at Harvard, so the online course commitment was an easy decision for this old dog. And whether you are hoping to give up smoking or join the circus or lose weight or run a marathon or fold a fitted sheet, you might like to join me.

New tricks? I say bring them on, Harvard.

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Just say yes

Yesterday, I went shopping for a new pair of shoes. Not just ordinary shoes, but a pair of soccer boots. For me. Because I AM GOING TO PLAY SOCCER. Yes, really. I’m excited and nervous and not sure what I am doing (literally, as I have never ever played soccer before). And those are pretty much the reasons that I said yes when my friend Janet asked me if I wanted to join her in a new team for mature (cough, cough) ladies.

footballThere’s a quote that I’ve seen somewhere that asks When was the last time you did something for the first time? Particularly after my Camino experience last year, it has really sunk in that the older we get, the less we try new things. Not necessarily because we’ve done them all already, but often because we feel like the time has passed to give something new a go. Maybe we just don’t see new opportunities, or we quickly say no (I couldn’t possibly do that!) because we’re scared, or it could just be the irresistible lure of that ol’ comfort zone. Boo.

My friend Jo started singing lessons in her late 30s because it was something she’d always wanted to try. It quickly became one of her favourite things. My folks learned how to use an ipad and iphone in their 70s. Aside from the occasional emergency calls for tech support (WHY HAS MY WORDS WITH FRIENDS GONE BLANK?), it’s opened up a whole new interesting world of technology for them. My sister-in-law started piano lessons in her 40s and can now play the theme song from Titanic (ok, so that’s possibly not a highlight). My virtual friend Jo (from This Sydney Life) finally satisfied a long-standing curiosity and took up crochet, attending a local class, with some hilarious results.

And so I went into 2014 with a focus on saying yes to more things – especially new things – or, at least, not immediately saying no. Which is where my new boots come in – they’re pinker than pink, with a fluoro green lining and I found it a little intimidating just prancing around the shop in them.

Uh huh.Uh huh.

I’m going to my first training session on Thursday night (it runs for two – count them, TWO – hours) and hopefully the people will be nice (and patient!) and my shoes will give me super powers and it will be fun. Whatever happens from here, just saying yes can be pretty exciting!


Remember to Flush

Last week, in an effort to broaden my horizons and learn new things, I joined in the Start the new YOU now ULTIMATE WEBINAR (their emphasis) from self-help guru and publishing house giant, Louise Hay. Louise herself is enough to have piqued my curiosity – still very active and involved in her business, in good health and seemingly of sound mind, at the age of 87. In the videos that I saw, she looked to be rockin’ some forward fashion and a pixie ‘do, with the front of her hair dip-dyed bright red.

There were a lot of experts sharing their ideas in this ULTIMATE WEBINAR – some very interesting possibilities and helpful tips for living a healthier and happier life. But it was something in the nutrition seminar that really caught my attention and impressed me enough to share it.

They were talking about good nutrition and how a big part of that is successful elimination of waste from our bodies. You know, pooping. And they spoke about how important it is that you get rid of stuff that your body doesn’t need. Then Louise spoke about the link between that and the rest of your life – and that was the zingy bit that stayed with me.

Flushing toiletLouise spoke about how some people live their lives as if they have eliminated the bad / unwanted stuff, flushed and then reached down in the toilet to retrieve the poop back from the pipes to study it. Gross. But the analogy works. Instead of letting go of things that are gone / in the past, we bring them back up to analyse and re-analyse and then analyse some more. What if I did this? What if I said that? I wonder what that really meant? All generally very unhelpful as the situation has passed.

When Louise finds herself doing this – rehashing something that has passed and needs to be let go – she reminds herself of the poop analogy by saying, “FLUSH, LOUISE. FLUSH.” If you substitute your name for Louise’s, I think it’s a pretty nifty reminder when you’re tempted to dwell on the past. Especially if it’s poop from the past, if you know what I mean. Instead, FLUSH!