Christchurch and Conversations (Day 93)
Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Christchurch, a place of new growth through the scars, bashes and bruises of the 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and injured several thousand which happened 7 years ago.
We parked the car and within a few minutes came across The Cardboard Cathedral. This was built after the earthquake as a transitional building whilst the decision was made what to do with the severely damaged Cathedral. I’m not sure the decision has yet been finalised 7 years later. Bureaucracy at its best eh! Back to the #CardboardCathedral, It was built using 96 giant cardboard tubes on 8 shipping containers forming the walls. A magnificent sight. I wonder how this design came about and how long it will last.
We roamed around, looking at the new and the severely damaged building and came across #C1Expresso that has made its home in the old High Street Post Office. Tim popped to the little boys room to see Hans Solo on the Men’s, Princess Leia on the Ladies and r2d2 on the disabled toilet door. Fantastic.
As we had no plan, we decided to play left/right game where we would take it in turns to decide which direction we would walk. Tim kept saying right, which was taking us, in my head, further out of the city. I realised that I was having expectations and Tim was just playing the game! It was fun, we came across the Memorial Gate and then could hear brass music. There to our right was the 50+ Brass Band playing by the river. Both Tim and I played in brass bands in our youth. In fact Fairlop Brass Band, connected to my Primary School, is still in existence with some of the same members from over 45 years ago! Off to the Botanical Gardens and then Robin, who we met 2 years ago in India called us. “Let’s go to the beach”.
We drove to his and Jenny’s pad. Great place, simple, clean and stylish. They have very generously invited us to stay. Jenny very quickly realised why Tim and Robin get on so well; same mad warped humour. Funny, there are lots of similarities to Jenny and me, our love of spreadsheets for one.
What a great evening we had, Chatting, much laughter plus putting the world to rights – or wishing we could. Both Robin and Jenny are Doctors, passionate about making a difference to people’s lives – this may be a cliché but it’s true. The subject of education came up. How can we educate young people to have more resilience? They are hearing of many cases of children as young as 14 being given anti-depressants and mainly because they just haven't the resilience to cope with general life’s ebbs and flows.
One of the big issues in the western world is that we are conditioned to seeking external pleasures and think that this will make us happy. Even Facebook notifying you with its orange circle on your smart phone and the slight pause when you click, raises your expectation for pleasure, increasing dopamine levels - our “reward” hormone. We then want more, thinking that these momentary feelings of pleasure is what life is all about. This is how addictions are started, needing more and more of these short lived moments of happiness.
However, real happiness, or what I call Joy, deep inner joy of being alive is internal. We don’t need any external stimulants to be happy and joyful. There is such a misunderstanding in the world about Joy. I wrote in my book that up until the mid 1800s, people believed that disease came from bad smells, because they didn’t know about germs. An innocent misunderstanding. When we understand that our experience comes from the inside, from us, from our thinking, innate wisdom, and that we have a blueprint of contentment, love and peace, wow- what a different that will make for the world. Less suffering, more well-being, less stress, more peace.
It was wonderful to chat and listen to Robin and Jenny. They could explain the chemical changes that #Pleasure-v-Happiness has on the body. Too much dopamine causes a reduction of Serotonin which can cause mood disorders and depression.
So much enriching conversations: education, the deleterious effects of social media on children, pleasure v happiness, climbing, New Zealand, and of course, how could I forget - that stimulating conversation about a study that dogs poo along the north-south alignment - riveting!