Thursday, September 4, 2008

The pleasure of giving...and disco balls

I gave away some of the $50 I found on the street the other day. I dropped $5 in the guitar case of a busker in the mall playing blues on the electric guitar, then I gave $20 to a guy nearby selling The Big Issue and told him to keep the $15 change. He said "Thanks, love" and I felt very pleased with myself. I know without a doubt that spending the $50 on a new top or something for myself would not have produced anywhere near the same feeling of joy.

Practising generosity has got to be among the best ways to make yourself feel good. According to Choosing Happiness by psychologist Stephanie Dowrick, "it is impossible to reach out to other people through your emotions, imagination, concern, interest and actions without also benefitting yourself. Your world grows larger; your problems grow smaller".

Stephanie Dowrick on generosity
It takes you beyond yourself.
It brings out the best in you.
It opens your eyes to the reality of other people's existence.
It lets you make connections in the most unexpected places.
It lends itself to small gestures as well as large.
It subverts greed, fear and insecurity.
It doesn't depend on learning, privilege or status.
It doesn't depend on being religious or 'spiritual'.
It is as vital in our public institutions as it is in our bedrooms.
It is impossible to manufacture, measure, sell or waste.
It springs from a belief in our inborn goodness.
It is an act of faith that our lives matter.
It benefits our minds and bodies as much as it does our spirits.

Oh, I gave The Big Issue magazine to a friend at work since I already have it. And the rest of the $50? I frittered it away on nothing, like I usually do when I have cash in my wallet.


I love Melbourne, the city where I live, and one of the things I like the most about it is the cornucopia of culture hidden down its many lanes and alleys. I like that the City of Melbourne actively encourages art to flourish in non-descript little side streets through its Laneway Art Commissions, among other projects.

This is my favourite Laneway Art Commission for 2008.

It's a bulging wall! The red brick wall is the side of a building on McKillop Street and the bulgy bit is the artwork. It's called As it Happens and it expands throughout the day and then shrinks almost flat during the night. I saw it before I knew that it was a piece of art and it was mind-boggling to say the least, especially as the first time I spotted it, it was at full bulge and the second time it was almost flat. What the?! I don't know how they do it, but it's cool.

Today I also walked past the disco balls in Rankins Lane near my work. I love the juxtaposition of glitzy mirrorballs in a lane lined with rubbish bins.

I had worked near this lane for years without noticing the disco balls. It just goes to show that no matter how well you think you know a place, if you look, there's always something new to discover.

Anybody discovered any cool new things recently?


Anonymous said...

Well lets see if I am succesful this time, yaaaayyy!!!

Glee Girl said...

Well done, Mystery Person!

Earl Riser said...

Well looks like I am anonymous now, hmmmmm.
Cheers wayne.

Victoria said...

while in Pittsburgh i discovered fireflies for the first time. soooooooooo beautiful at dusk, if I was a kid i would have sworn they were fairies flitting around :)

Glee Girl said...

Victoria @7.58. Fireflies sound ace. Pity we don't have them down here. We'll have to make do with glow worms.

Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome said...

That bulging wall is soo cool. I could spend hours watching something like that!

When I was at university, my dad (who was a professor there) told me that he would often pretend he was a tourist while walking across campus. I'd do the same and it would make the walk much more interesting!

I still do the same and am always noticing neat little details on buildings.

Glee Girl said...

Hey Alex. I walk down McKillop Street where the bulgy wall is far more often now, just to check on it. I get a kick out of it every time. What's interesting is that it's quite high up on the wall, and it's tucked off in a little alley, so a lot of people don't even notice it's there.

Acting like a tourist in your own town is a fntastic way to get to know it better and appreciate it even more. Although I've lived in Melbourne for 15 years, I only really opened my eyes to it this year when I started regularly wandering about with my camera taking photos of stuff and paying attention to all the little plaques with historical details on them.

I've always loved living here, but it's now a deep, deep love affair. And I'm still finding cool stuff. Just the other day I noticed that there is a face carved in the intricate detailing on one of my favourite buildings.