How to live more full


Embrace the larger picture. You are a small part of a large Cosmos. If you harbour egotism you will see less of the outside world and more of yourself, which is very limiting. If you harbour arrogance you are not open to new opinions and ideas, which admittedly includes bad ideas as well as good. Remember, there is infinity beyond us, or more than we can experience in a lifetime.


Set goals, both short term and long. There is much satisfaction in being able to mentally tick off goals on a list. If you have something tangible to show for the goal, all the better.


Don’t let others make you decisions, but be mindful of how your decisions affect others. If you are spiritual, pray about each choice, large or small.


Serendipity is the accidental discovery of something fortuitous. If we look for one thing and find something else, then rejoice in the good luck.


Don’t sweat the small stuff. There will be things that go wrong. Sometimes we bond with somebody over a shared misfortune. The connection with others is probably worth more than the misfortune cost us.


Jealousy is a destructive emotion and only the result of something wrong inside us. Perhaps jealousy of an unfaithful lover is legitimate, but this should probably be given a different name. Most of what we term jealousy is envy of another’s success. Be glad of other’s legitimate success, and appreciate your own. Never


Endeavour to be as healthy as possible. Eat well, exercise, and find how to get a better night’s sleep.


Avoid exposing yourself to cheap junk, gossip or trashy entertainment. Find things that truly engage your interest. Look for classic literature, classic films and classic Television. Cartoons more than a generation old that have remained popular are worth watching; they have proved their appeal by endurance. By contrast, cheap Saturday product promotions are not doing you any good. The same goes for music. If people are still listening to songs a generation after they were released, then there must be some substance in what’s there. There are countless classics, you will find at least some that you like.


Enjoy people and develop social skills.


Pursue creativity, even when you work. There is nothing wrong with conventions if they work, but there are always other options. And todays conventions were creative new ideas at some point in the past.



Collectables are products specifically made for collecting. They seem to appeal to some fundamental part of our nature, as early civilizations collected beads, clay figurines or other objects that only had aesthetic value. Some collectable items do have a possible function, such as cup, and others are also toys that are important for developing children. But the for most part a collectable has only aesthetic use.


Some collectables started out a promotional items included with other commodities. The cards included with cigarette packets were an example of this. These played in the urge may people had to form a complete collection of cards. As the buyer was never aware of which cards was to be included in a pack they had to keep purchasing in order to have any chance of obtaining a complete set. As the purchasers already smoked there is no sure way of knowing how many cigarettes were sold on account of the cards, but the cards later became so popular in their own right that they were sold without accompanying products, or with just a token piece of candy.


Many collectable toys started as free giveaway products with fast food or breakfast cereals. But the business side of this is multi-dimensional. Collectables can be tied to films, TV programmes or any aspect of modern pop culture. The collectables sell both the item that they accompany and the cultural source of their image. Films many also benefit from advertising exposure on cereal boxes even when the consumer does not buy that cereal. The situation benefits all involved with the collectable, with the collectable perhaps later gaining value beyond this advertising origin.


As the collectables rarely have a function use, or contain materials of any worth, their value lies in their both cultural significance and their availability. The most valuable collector’s items are rare and tend to date from a time when their potential value was not recognized. Early products from Disney or early comics from famous characters command a high price, largely because nobody thought to retain them. Paper recycling during the war was also a big issue.


Collectables represent the ultimate in supply and demand price fluctuations. They are not necessary for anything, and have no value other that what we put on them. They have a vague historical value, but do not really add to our knowledge of the history they connect to. They are mere representations of ideas or ideals, and we might only be attracted because we want something tangible for the ideas or memories that we have.




More than a few people use coffee to get them through the day. But caffeine is not great in larger doses, and a few individuals find is causes them problems. There are alternative if you want to keep the coffee at one or two cups per day.


  • Chocolate – Possible the most misjudged substance of the last generation, we have spent years been blaming chocolate for tooth decay and weight gain, only to find it wasn’t at fault. The coco powder in chocolate is now known to prevent tooth decay, and those who eat more chocolate tend to be lower in weight. Avoid sugary varieties, but eat some high coco powder chocolate for an after lunch pick-me-up.
  • Cacao – chocolate’s precursor. This is the unprocessed version of chocolate, with even more nutrients and antioxidants. Buy it as a powdered drink or eat the nibs. It tends to be unsweetened, but super healthy. Consider this uber-chocolate.
  • Maca – This comes as a powder. Mix it with the cacao for a steady energy hit. It seems to improve mood and long term energy. You will need to use it for a few days to get results. Start with half a teaspoon a day, and increase if there are no problems.
  • Beetroot powder. This increases the nitrate (which becomes nitrite) in your body, which is great for heavy work. It takes a few hours to work, but try adding it to breakfast (in juice perhaps) and see the results.
  • Ginseng – Possible the best stimulant on the list. Ginseng initially had a reputation for providing fast energy. In truth is provides endurance, which is far better. Instead of a quick hit of energy followed by a slump Ginseng allows energy levels to remain steady for hours.


L-Theanine is not a stimulant, but it works well with stimulants because it has a calming but not drowsy effect. It is the ingredient (along with a little caffeine) that makes green tea effective. Try a little L-Theanine with some moderate stimulants.


Of course all stimulants should be avoided before sleeping. And a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best sources of energy.



If we are in better physical and mental health our lives are better. This doesn’t remove life’s challenges, problems and losses, but it does allow us to better handle them. Being healthy means thinking more clearly and feeling more alive.


Chia seeds- there are more than a few of these so called ‘super-foods’ in the press. These seem a little overrated; even as they do contain several healthy compounds they are not all that different to other food we already eat, or should be eating. In many cases these come from areas of the world where there were some deficiencies in the local diet. The individuals who ate Chia seeds and Goji berries got the essential ingredients that the rest of the population was lacking; hence these products goat a great local reputation.


That being said, adding Goji berries and Chia seeds to your diet is far better than taking supplements. And they might actually do something we haven’t yet discovered.


Olive oil/flaxseed oil- a generation or two ago we thought that all oils were causing health problems and acne. The truth was that we ate the wrong types of oil; rather like putting the wrong fuel in a car. Any oil that stays solid at body temperature seems to be an issue. Good oils like olive oil or flaxseed seem to be necessary for good health, and help get rid of the bad substances. Use them in salads and for cooking, though keep the temperatures low, because oil breaks down if it is too hot. Google to find the ‘smoke point’ of each oil, and cook under that temperature.


Coconut oil has received a lot of press lately. It is natural, stable at high cooking temperatures, and seems to have no end of health benefits.


Cinnamon: This seems to help concentration and stabilize blood sugar levels. We only use a small amount, maybe half a teaspoon per day, so it is quite cheap.


Raw cocoa powder. Chocolate has significantly risen in reputation as of late. Despite our earlier misconceptions it has no real link to weight gain or acne. And its antioxidant content is very good for us. Raw cocoa powder is the super healthy, unprocessed version of chocolate powder. Without the added sugar or fat this raw cocoa power is a great source of energy and antioxidants.


Spirulina: A form of algae that is full of vitamins and antioxidants. Add a tablespoon a day.


Beetroot powder: This is another additive that seems to be good for a lot of things. The fact that it lowers blood pressure is reason enough to add it to our diet.


Some, perhaps all, problems in life are a symptom of a meta-problem. If we can fix our underlying health problems we find that a lot of other issues are easier to handle.




Violin School

What makes a good Instrument?

It is easy to say the performer is more important than the instrument, and there is some truth in that. At the same time a faulty instrument will sound bad no matter who plays it. We need to be rid of the mindset that says one single thing is responsible for a good outcome. We need the both the worthy instrument and the hands that play it.

If you are violin player and looking for an instrument, if you have outgrown the hired one you have been learning on and are looking for a permanent replacement, here are a few tips.

  • Are there any cracks in the wood? This is reason enough to look elsewhere. Sometime a well repaired crack can save a violin, but any crack near the soundpost and the all is lost.
  • The Purfling (the line around the edge of the body) should be a legitimate groove, not something painted on. This groove prevents edge cracks spreading to the body.
  • Check to see if there is a soundpost, the piece of wood inside the violin between the front and back. Without this the instrument is cleverly compromised.
  • Do the strings all play at an equal volume? You don’t want to get in the habit of compensating for any peculiarities of the instrument.
  • Does the instrument stay in tune? This is not easy to assess unless you can spend time playing, and factors such as humidity and new strings can mislead you. Still this is an important consideration.


This is the real thing that sets the cheap instrument apart for the expensive ones. Unfortunately there are many factors at play here. A miss positioned soundpost will ruin the sound of an otherwise excellent instrument; an average instrument will sound quite good if set up by an expert. Recognizing a good instrument that seems bad because of a poor setup is quite a difficult task.


Second hand instruments can go either way. There are some good instruments that would make a good buy, but you will need an experienced player or teacher to tell the good from the bad. Sources like eBay can sometime be good, but you really need to examine the instrument first. Look for eBay listings that say ‘local pickup’ as this will let you try the item first and not be stuck with postage costs. Music and violins schools are occasionally a good source of decent instruments.


Brand names tend to be reasonably good bets, and have the advantage that they can be taken back if there is a legitimate flaw. At the same time there are some excellent violins made by small family companies. Google brand and model names and start reading as many opinions as possible.


If you are serious about playing then this is one time it is permissible to stretch you budget a little. When you buy the instrument you will be using it for a long time to come. Unlike electric guitars or some other instruments you will not be adding anything over time; with a violin you are buying a final product. If you’re still a teenager try combining Christmas gifts from a few relatives and put this towards the best instrument you can afford.  Else, remind yourself this is a long term purchase and put some time and research into things before spending some hard earned money.

If you are having violin lesson be sure to ask your teacher about purchasing a new instrument. Occasionally they might know someone willing to sell.  It’s worth spending a violin lesson learning about instrument mechanics and what to look for when making a purchase.





  • Violin Lesson
  • Violin School

A few Health Benefits of tea

People in China, and much of the world, drank tea for the pleasure of the experience. Yet there have always been those who claim it has health benefits; a third century medic named Hua Tuo claimed bitter tea helped one think more clearly. More modern studies in Japan link green tea with longer life and better health, especially in women, though it is unclear if other dietary factors are at work here. Most probably tea is part of a healthy lifestyle.


Green tea contains Catechins, antioxidants that prevent cell damage. It also seems to improve blood flow, blood pressure, stabilize sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Rumours of weight loss seem unsubstantiated, though it is preferable to calorie heavy alternatives. Claims that green tea helps prevent cancer have a small amount of support, but nothing is conclusive. No one is claiming it has a negative effect.

One of the best things about green tea is how little it is processed. Processing tend to remove some benefits. Green tea very much retains its ingredients and positive health aspects.

For best results green tea should be steeped at 80- 85 degrees Celsius.


Black tea has been popular in Britain for many generations; the British Empire introduced black tea to India and Ceylon. It seems to have a subtle but steady benefit for stress, concentration, immunity, digestion, blood-flow, and bone development. It seems to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer slightly (though these are still open to further study), but the 70% reduction in type two diabetes seems valid.

In addition to a lack of calories and the many antioxidants black tea also seems good at reducing plaque in the mouth, preventing tooth problems.

Black tea needs to be made at a temperature as close to 100 degrees Celsius as possible.


Pu-erh tea is a Chinese variety of fermented tea, sometimes available online. Unlike some teas which claim to be fermented, but are actually only oxidized by enzymes within the plant, Pu-erh tea is truly oxidised by the action of yeast and other substances.

Pu-erh has a long history of claimed health benefits, but only in the 20th century did studies suggest it really did have some benefits for weight loss, cholesterol reduction and triacylglycerol levels. Its levels of theanine and caffeine are low, but the combination of the two seems to help concentration and relaxation.

In China, Pu-erh is something of a gourmet item. A great deal of importance is placed on the quality of the product. The better quality teas seem to have then greater health benefit.

The caffeine content of tea tends to be between one quarter to one half the caffeine content of regular coffee.

It is possible that some of the historical health benefits associated with drinking tea came from boiling the water. Boiling helped in areas with contaminated water, so drinking tea was preferable to unboiled water. The fact that many other beverages were also boiled yet did not have reported health benefits tends to undermine this idea.

Visit your Chinese tea house in Sydney for a fine selection of various teas, or buy from our online Chinese tea store. Wholesale Chinese tea is also available online.

IMC Cleaning Services P/L – House Cleaning

IMC Cleaning Services – House Cleaning Bondi

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