Friday, September 28, 2012

Light a candle

This morning it was overcast making the bathroom dark and dingy. Instead of my usual practice of turning on a light, I grabbed three candles from the collection at the foot of the bath. Rummaging in a drawer, I found the matches and lit them, creating a yellow glow against the grey slate of the bathroom tiles.

As I stepped into the shower, I wondered why, this morning, I felt the need to light this dark day with candles. Then I realised that it was ‘a dark day’ in more ways than one. This morning I had read that police had arrested and charged a man with Jill Meagher’s rape and murder.

Which led me to consider why at times like these we resort to candles. We use candles for happy occasions such as birthdays and dinner parties. And practical reasons like during blackouts. But we also use them for candlelight vigils and to light in churches for those who have passed away. Maybe because the warm glow of candlelight is a comfort. It enables us to create beauty in a world where we have been confronted with terror and grief. The simple light of a candle enables us to reclaim some authority over the pain that would weaken and reduce us to being too fearful to leave our homes. A lit candle turns the harshness of a dark room into something softer, something we might be able to manage.

So, light a candle—for Jill Meagher; for her family; for someone you’ve lost; for yourself. But most of all, light one because you can and they’re beautiful.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The downside of being a visual learner...

I’ve known for a long time that I am a visual learner. I think it was one of the best things I learnt when I was in school because it has (generally) helped me to learn more effectively since.

I used to pin formula and other information I needed to know for Chemistry class to the back of the toilet door and around the bathroom mirror. I realised during a test that I not only knew the formula but I could picture where it was on the sheet and what colour it was written in. So now I try to make use of colour coding to help me to be organised. As a teacher, I allocated a colour to each year level I taught which was really helpful.

In another example, years ago I learnt how to sign. I recall a conversation with a friend (who also signed) which he began, in sign, by saying, “I need to tell you something” then he dropped the signing and spoke. On the way home, all I could remember was that he had something to tell me but not what it was—I could remember the visual but not the verbal information.

Which leads me to the downside and this morning’s example. Below are my pump spray hairspray and my deodorant bottles…

Suffice to say, if my head sweats, it won’t have B.O. [It could’ve been worse, I guess!]

What type of learner are you?