A Cranky Magpie and the Bossy Birds

Does this guy look cranky?

I see a sort of ill-tempered look of frustrated entitlement in his eyes, but then it might just be me. He has been sitting outside my back door, singing up a storm for two hours now; hoping that I will come out yet again and proffer another morsel of mince for his impatient enjoyment.

Earlier this evening, a large group of cockatoos swooped over the house, screeching and squawking and demanding my attention to the empty seed tray.

Birds here in Brisbane can be raucous and demanding.

And it is all my fault.

It took me a year to entice the birds into my yard.

First I put out seed in a tray and it stayed ignored until the rain swelled the seeds into a soggy mess.

When ducks wandered across the garden and closed in on the house, I threw them some bread until they flew off in a startled huff.

I left honeyed milk for the lorikeets and it dried up in the sun.  

When spring came and the magpies brought their insistent young to the house and accepted our proffered meat morsels, I was ecstatic. I fed them every time they came around, excited to see them.

Soon the magpies told their friends, and we had butcher birds catching meat in mid-air, cockatoos congregating for noisy parties by the seed tray on our lawn and galahs and lorikeets flying in for a quick bite. Even the ducks brought their babies by for some bread. I looked forward to my grandchildren visiting and feeding them too.

I loved it but here is the problem.

While the birds are sitting outside my door waiting to be fed, they are not learning to hunt and forage for their own food. I have set up an expectation. What happens if I go away for a few weeks? Could any of them die?

 Sometimes we have relationships in our life like this. We want to help and maybe even should help, but not for too long and not for things people can do themselves. We take away their agency, their growth, and maybe even their dignity.

Children especially, need to learn to clean up their own mess, fight most of their own battles, and be accountable for mistakes.

It makes them stronger and more resilient. It makes them happier people.

Is there any relationship in your life where you are helping someone into dependence? Is anyone taking away your power by doing too much for you?

Maybe it is time to consider a small change.

I still love feeding the birds but I will cut it down to once a day. Hopefully the magpie will stop sitting around looking cranky and drop by just once a day with his biggest smile. Maybe the cockatoos will stop being as demanding and go back to being playful.

That would make me happy too.


Don't "Think" too much.

Like many people, I have entire conversations in my head that no one else knows about. I examine past events in detail so see if I could have done better. I speculate on the possible reason for the grocery clerk to be short with me, and I justify my actions to no one in particular.

To some extent it is helpful. Sometimes I learn something, but more often it is just noise in my head. Sometimes I have such a rich internal life that sometimes I forget to notice what is around me.

I drive on auto pilot, arriving at my destination without any memory of the trip. I put down my keys while thinking of something else and then can’t find them. I eat a whole block of chocolate without noticing because my mind was somewhere else.

What a waste.

Studies suggest that living in the moment is important for happiness. If you are always thinking of something else then it is hard to enjoy the here and now, to enjoy the smell of new washing, the detail in the clouds, or the smile of a friend. Minutes, days and years go by and we fail to make the most of them by being here in body and in spirit.

One time I was trying to explain one of my random musings to my long suffering husband. He listened patiently and then said simply “don’t think too much.”

With these wise words in my head, I stopped second guessing the situation and just let it be. My stress levels dropped instantly.

To you, my good friends who read this blog, be mindful..

Enjoy the moment, savour the simple pleasures, relish the opportunities, and be thankful for each minute.

It will make you happier.


Happiness is Dropping off a Cliff.

Last weekend I dropped off a cliff.

I was attached to a yellow rope, a green rope, and a bright blue harness. It was as safe as these things can be but it was so scary I almost froze. Before I could go down, I had to back over the edge of the cliff and stand on a small ledge while I was fastened onto the ropes and then lean back into thin air and drop.

It was supposed to be abseiling, but in my case it was less like sailing and more like a crab scuttling over uneven ground in slow motion. I placed my feet carefully on each small outcrop, took jerky steps, and held on to the rope so hard my hands hurt.

I was so awkward that the instructor thought I was in trouble and stopped the descent. I was left hanging against the rocky cliff long enough to forget the danger and worry what my ample thighs looked like from below.

As I landed, my knee hit the ground before my feet and I landed in a heap, but I was exhilarated. I felt three feet taller.

Doing something tricky, scary, or challenging is a great way to improve happiness.

Is there something adventurous you can do this week?

Here are a few ideas.

Make adventure a priority. Even though I am as busy as most people, I left the house renovations and garden weeding for another day. I will remember this forever. I wish I had done more of this with my children when they were young.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities for adventure. I saw the brochure for this activity at the local shopping mall and booked it straight away.Abseiling was just part of the adventure. The activity took place on a mountain with panoramic views of other mountains. Double good.

Be willing to take the first, sometimes scary, step, and do it quickly. I had left my bag at the bottom and suddenly I needed to get down and find it fast. Without enough time to think too hard, I just stepped over the boulders and into position without much time to think. A few of the other ladies in my group waited too long and never made it to the edge.

Don’t give up. After my drop, I watched some of the men bounding down the rocks like sideways kangaroos. I want to turn my crab crawl into a bounce. I want to go abseiling again one day.

I encourage you to find more adventures to be part of and maybe you too will have more bounce in your step.

Inspiring Thoughts on Happiness

and how to bring more happiness into your life.

Some of my other blogs are about My Travels in Oz, House Sitting and Writing Blogs. See Below

  • http://travellerinoz.blogspot.com/
  • http://www.squidoo.com/house-sitting-free-accomodation
  • http://www.squidoo.com/design-elements-of-a-blog
  • http://www.surprisingaustralia.com/
  • http://onlineincome-thetruth.blogspot.com/