The Dog Days are Over…

Sorry just let me stop chewing on my bone for a second and let my paws dance across the keyboard once again in what will be the second post of my illustrious career with A Mind of Its Own. And what a career it’s been so far! I’ve been undercover on the Gold Coast in order for us to write ‘Our lawyer made us change the name of this song’ and given you an expose on my life as a Border Collie in ‘Every dog has its day’ and I am now following it up with the aptly titled The Dog Days are Over…

That’s right it’s me again the pup with the power to melt your minds. Call me Socks the wonder dog. Boy or Buddy which has been thrown around way to much lately making me start to question whether my name is Socks or Buddy. Where do I begin? It’s been a troubling couple of weeks in which my family keep reminding me that sleep doesn’t come easy and my dreams are somewhat troubled. The man of the house or human as I prefer to call him as I still have plans on taking the mantle from him, is questioning whether he should take me to see the psychiatrist or not. His google search history is interesting enough when he’s not googling “Can dogs get PTSD?”. So to once again give you an insight into my life the Googling started last weekend after an event on the local beach. It wasn’t the first time an incident had occurred along this pristine part of coastline but this one really shook me up.

Let me paint the picture for you! There I was minding my own business cruising down the beach as i do whenever the humans let me free from the leash they are so fond of keeping me on while we are out of the house. I was chomping away at the waves and chasing the stick that somehow kept flying through the air behind me. I said hi to a few of my people and stopped off for a couple of games of chase. All in all I was having a really nice morning with my humans on one of my favourite beaches. Being in a playful mood I thought I’d leave them a nice present to clean up knowing they had once again forgotten to bring along poo bags and would be forced to shamefully bury it or scoop it up with their coffee cups.

As i watched my humans stoop over in shame and begin to dig a hole in which to bury my doings deep within the earth, a wicked grin stretching across my face I notice a good looking Maltese heading my way further down the beach. She was a little older but still an attractive girl. Readying myself I got down on all fours and waited for her to come closer and closer to see if there was any interest in this young pup. Her owners seemed like a nice couple, they looked well travelled and like people who had made the most of their lives to date. No doubt they had a few grandchildren and possibly even great grandchildren. But that’s got nothing to do with the story whatsoever.

So there I am waiting to see if she’ll let me sniff her butt when out of nowhere I hear and feel the thump, thump, thump of sand behind me. Glancing over my shoulder I see a blur heading straight for me like a bullet from a gun. Like the bus company that transports people around Australia and with the same amount of force, a young greyhound slammed into me. Sorry for the swearing but if humans could understand the varying pitches of my bark what they would have got is “Oh fuck!”. I immediately went to into flight or fight mode. Little good it did me as I rolled on my back trying to play dead. Wanting to take flight I freaked out at this rather rough attempt to play and cried out for my humans to help me!

I’m all for rough housing and god knows my brother Banjo cops it from me when we catch up but this was next level. My eyes darted around for his humans, nowhere to be seen. As he flipped me around and continued his frenzied attempts to play, I scurried off to use my humans as a shield. In his moment of delight pinning me to the ground, my new unwanted friend saw my potential girlfriend approaching. All of a sudden the weight pinning me against the cool sand was gone. I was on my feet again, forcing air back into my lungs as quick as I could.

A bark of warning escaped my mouth as I watched it all unfold before me in slow motion. My tormentor had now become hers as he chased her closer and closer towards the waters edge. Looking on in fright I watched as she backed further and further into the water. Waves crashed down around her at times looking like they were swallowing her whole. Humans ran in from all directions. I saw my human crash through the waves thinking he was David Hasselhoff coming to the rescue of some big boob blonde on Baywatch.

Getting a hold of the Greyhound in what became a wrestle, he held on tight like a bull rider in a rodeo as the Greyhound continued his attempts to play with the petrified Maltese. A group of onlookers had now gathered at the shoreline as the poor old lady waded into the knee high water and pulled my frightened, soaked, friend to safety and hugged her in great relief that she was ok. Scared but ok. Ambling down the beach like he had all the time in the world came a little angry man who despite my human’s attempts to be nice and de-escalate the situation was quite rude and asked and I quote “Does no one on this beach have a fucking brain?” again sorry for the swearing but it was a direct quote and couldn’t be avoided.

Much to the shock of everyone now standing around the arrogant, angry, little man didn’t apologise to the elderly couple or anyone else who’s dogs had been terrorised by his playful Greyhound that should have been on a leash as he couldn’t be controlled through simple voice or whistle commands. Storming off back down the beach I let another little bark fly at his back, that I won’t translate for you as I shouldn’t know that language at my age. I ran over and licked my human to make sure he was ok. Still horrified by my first encounter with an over zealous potential friend I sat there accepting pats and giving my humans the occasional lick to let them know they were loved.

I still see the fear in her eyes as she ran attempted to get away from the Greyhound, my fear paralysing me and my dreams haunted by big dogs chasing me. I yelp out little barks in my sleep that are no longer cute and more concerning to my human who is obsessed with finding a solution to all problems on Google. I think they’ve brainwashed him that they can do anything almost like Elon Musk has convinced himself that he’s not an arrogant dreamer who thinks he’s better than everyone else.

So humans be warned! If you fall into either category below I suggest you stay off my beach! If you are an angry human that doesn’t understand why people are getting upset when your dog is over playful and rough with other dogs and thereby terrorising them or a runner who gets angry when we (Dogs) chase after you pretty please stay away from the part of the beach where we are allowed to roam free without a leash to do our own thing! You humans have a whole coastline where you can do your thing. We dogs are given a tiny bit of space on the beach where we can be off the leash to run and play with each other.

We don’t set out to cause harm or annoy you, we are simply just living up to being man or woman’s best friend. Wanting to be around you and play is what we do. We are your constant, most loyal companions so please look after us. So from me I’ll say thanks to all the responsible humans who look after us. Enjoy your week and be kind to the beach and your four legged friends. From the team at a mind of its own, go with peace and thanks for reading yet another installment of the best blog on the Northern Beaches!

20 Dollar Nose Bleed…

Well, well, well we meet again my old friends. It’s a new week and the chance for you to once again bask in the brilliant stylings of a Mind of Its Own. This week we threw out to our fans and just like the writers at this here blog none of their suggestions were remotely serious. Expect perhaps this writers wife who wanted a piece all about herself. Instead I’m proposing she lends us one of her blogs and we’ll post it on our amazing platform? Or she can come and write a silly piece for us.

As for the other suggestions our view is simply this. We agree you shouldn’t have to pay for cheese on a kebab particularly after 1am. Fatboy Slim is the best DJ ever! Purple cucumbers or eggplant as its better known is the tastiest vegetable and public figures! Perhaps we’ll leave that to the Healing Well Co to cover. It seems like a topic they are quite passionate about it. But in public figures defence, they are figures and the are a part of the public. So I guess in some ways we are all public figures???.

So despite all the amazing suggestions we decided to go with something that crashed into us like a stereotypical Asian driver. For a country surrounded by the sea we don’t often take the time to look at beaches as anything more than a place for us to get bronzed bodies, hang ten and cool off especially in summer. Have you ever taken the time to stop and think about how you feel after you’ve taken a dip in the salty seas or are behind the wheel on your way home after a day at the beach?. So the question we thought we’d try to answer this week was whether the ocean actually has healing abilities or is it just a placebo effect?

From a scientific standpoint or medical opinion we’ve been told by (Google, Wikipedia and various other reliable sources) the internet that the ocean can we a double-edged sword when it comes to dunking yourself with open wounds. Whilst the sea is rich in mineral salts such as iodine and sodium therefore making it a natural antiseptic you do run the risk of picking up a bacterial infections. That being said we have discovered that there are similarities between seawater and human plasma the only difference being humans have one extra molecule of iron and seawater has an extra molecule of magnesium other than that it is a staggering 98% identical.

Besides being somewhat good at helping to heal wounds are there other qualities this readily abundant source of magic has? And why do we not listen to our ancestors and naturopaths who have been spruiking the oceans qualities for years like that guy in the cheap suit out the front of a Goldmark or Prouds at sale time? The Egyptians (ancient) not the modern-day guys and girls, the Greeks again ancient, the Romans all recommended the use of sea water in hot baths as a way of healing the mind, body and soul for centuries.

In fact according to several sources it was Hippocrates who first used the word Thalassotherapy (from the Greek word ‘thalassa’ meaning sea). What is that you ask? Thalassotherapy is a therapeutic use of the seawater, its climate, and marine products like algae, seaweed, and alluvial mud used in the healing of the body. So if it’s good enough for some of the great philosophers of the ancient world why do we not utilise its great gifts more often. Approximately 70% of the earth is covered by oceans/water around 60% of the human body is make up of water coincidence? We here at a mind of its own tend to think not.

We picked out 4 key areas in which being in the ocean or around the ocean can improve your overall well-being. With that being said once you read through this there is a bigger picture to look at and once again we urge you all to look after our oceans and its inhabitants. There is no point A Mind of Its Own telling you about all these great properties if all we continue to do is pollute it and damage it for the generations to come. As is often said around the office… Do the right thing! Be a man! Or woman!

The Oceans Effects on our Immune System…

Seawater or the ocean as we prefer to call it contains vital elements, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids and living microorganisms that can produce antibiotic and antibacterial effects to help promote a healthy immune system. Relating back to our earlier comment about plasma and seawater sharing similar properties, components of seawater, are easily absorbed and utilised by the human body while swimming. If you want to take up smoking we recommend sea mist as it is filled with negatively charged ions, or molecules that attach to your lungs which also boosts your immune system. According to several naturopathic doctors in addition to being good for your lungs swimming in the ocean opens pores in the skin allowing greater absorption of sea minerals and the expulsion of disease-causing toxins from the body.

Blood flow or Circulation for those more focused on the medial side…

Swimming in the ocean reportedly may help facilitate the circulation of blood in the human body, surprisingly we didn’t find anything about it helping out our four-legged friends. Now for those playing along at home your circulatory system which is made up of the heart, capillaries, arteries and veins in case you didn’t know. Carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart around your body, then returns blood to your heart again. The main purpose of thalassotherapy, or seawater therapy if you prefer to make it easy, is to increase blood circulation. Swimming or bathing in warm seawater has been proven to improve circulation by restoring essential minerals depleted by stress, a poor diet and environmental poisons.

Why pay for all those expensive body scrubs and cleansers when you can by Sea Salt at the supermarket …

Magnesium in seawater may help to hydrate and improve the appearance of your skin. According to a study in the February 2005 edition of the “International Journal of Dermatology,” bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution helps promote skin moisture. People with atopic dry skin, or dryness on the skin’s surface, submerged one forearm for 15 minutes in a bath solution containing 5 percent Dead Sea salt and the other forearm in regular tap water. Researchers discovered that the salt solution improved skin hydration and significantly reduced skin inflammation symptoms such as redness and roughness when compared to tap water. Observed skin benefits were attributed to the high magnesium content of the Dead Sea salt. So why not just go for a swim everyday if you can. If you can’t buy up the dead sea!. I’m not sure table salt will work the same but we did a little research and Epsom salts or Himalayan rock salts are the next best thing to Dead Sea salt.

The Mind and body overall…

As we previously stated the ocean has been used by many for generations to improve overall health and well-being. Swimming in the ocean activates the body’s healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as common aches and pains. Magnesium-rich seawater purportedly can also relax your muscles, reduce stress and help induce sleep. Magnesium is known depress nerves to relieve nervous irritability for an increased sense of calmness. So more on our mental state you ask? Oceans can bring a mental shift in the way we perceive our lives, teaching us about calmness, depth, intensity, harmony and open-mindedness.

Even walking on the bare foot on the sand is said to neutralise the impact of free radicals in our bodies as sand contains minerals required by humans on a daily basis. So perhaps those trips to the beach you keep putting of as you don’t want sand in the car or the kids are too much of a hassle to pack up in the car to get there should become a thing of the past. The ocean is amazing in more ways than one. The fact that this powerful beast has a soft sensitive side to it shows the symbiosis of nature.

Here at A Mind of Its Own we are sold that the Ocean is more than just a place for sports, tanning and source of food. The more time we spend on the shores and the seas surrounding this great land the more we are convinced that the ocean can heal anything alongside other methods and practices. So to answer the question of actual curing abilities or placebo effect? You be the judge, take the time and head to the beach. Until next time we’ll leave you with a little quote from our dear friend Plato. “The sea cures all ailments of man.” – Plato.

Help is on the way…

Previously on A Mind of Its Own… Colonel Mustard was killed in the library with a candlestick, who did it? Stay tuned for another fine Murder, Mystery episode of Cluedo. We told you that it had a Mind of Its Own and this week is another double dose for the fans. Yes that’s right you are getting two for the price of one without the free set of steak knives as we dive headfirst into yet another hot topic sweeping the land down under. We’ve come home to focus on a hot spot in the media, in an attempt to try to get to the bottom of it.

What could be so important that we’ve abandoned our Trump bashing campaign for the week and headed back to the beautiful coastline and seaside towns of northern New South Wales? Stay tuned as we delve into the mystery that is perplexing the nation and had our rapt attention as A Current Affair blasted out from the television set last night. We know, we know and can hear all you real Journalists right now, ACA are a bunch of has been, wannabe hacks who don’t actually report real news. We partly agree with you as they don’t really show both sides of the story in most cases.

However sitting back last night sipping an over priced whiskey our attention was drawn to the story flashing across the screen before us. When you think of major news, people normally think of murder, drugs, controversy and anything that is basically going sell. Yes sex sells but sex scandals sell even more, throw in some drugs and you’ve almost got a Pulitzer prize-winning piece. What was moving across the plasma screen before us had none of these exciting topics that would sell papers or magazines in fact it’s often a topic ignored by the masses.

Like an ostrich burying its head in the sand we often take the approach to environmental issues of, If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. It’s safe to say that the blood pressure went up, our face flushed red, hair stood on end and veins started popping as we watched our fellow Australians whine about something that is not only good for our nation, our environment and ensuring a future for the generations to come. What was it you asked?, it was something so simple, so common and so down right stupid we question what was more infuriating? The people arguing and whining about it or the fact that we were getting annoyed with them.

Plastic bloody bags! They are destroying the environment one trips to the shops at a time. So when Woolworth’s and Coles decide to do the right thing and Ban the bag what happens? We start crying about it, like little kids watching the lion king for the first time and Mustafa’s just died. To make matters worse we then take our frustration out on the poor staff just doing their jobs. What’s the anger all about? The fact that you now have to pay 15 cents or a couple of bucks for a bag you can use over and over again? or the fact that we are a lazy forgetful nation who like to whine about things for the sake of it?

For those of you who have an issue with the banning of the plastic bag as you rely on them so heavily to line your bin or take your kitty litter out. There are such things as biodegradable bags which are much nicer on our environment. Take a trip down to any river, storm water drain, beach or creek and it won’t take you long to find either something plastic or a plastic bag left behind by some inconsiderate person who has no regard for anyone else but themselves in their pursuit of fun. We can guarantee they’ll be the first person whining when their children can’t go to the beach or swim in the river due to some environmental issue.

Across the world tones upon tones of plastic waste is floating through our waterways, poisoning our aquatic species and killing mammals as they become trapped or a piece is lodged in their airways. For those of you willing to look you can see it daily on social media. Pictures of whales, seals, dolphins, fish and even penguins to name a few dying from our plastic products that have not been disposed of properly or are left to break down releasing toxic chemicals into our waterways. That doesn’t include the millions of land dwelling fauna who ingest plastic each year by accident.

We said the other day we wouldn’t preach, teach or push our opinions too heavily upon our readers but banning of the plastic bag by the major supermarket retailers is a step in the right direction. Where possible we provide you with the reason and why so below we have collated some additional information on why this is such a big step in the right direction not just for Australia but the entire world. Whilst it might inconvenience some people in the short-term in the long run it might stop our house of cards from crashing down so soon.

Plastic bags tend to disrupt the environment in a serious way. They get into soil and slowly release toxic chemicals. They eventually break down into the soil, with the unfortunate result being that animals eat them and often choke and die. In our waterways they breakdown creating microplastic fibres that are ingested by marine life. A lot marine life that you the reader then buy at the local fish monger. Like the fish we then ingest the fibres and so the vicious cycle continues.

Being a big fan of infographic pictures we’ve included the one below to give you an understanding of just how much waste we produce and then dump in our environment each year.

While we are not experts by any means it is pretty self-explanatory what will happen to our environment if we don’t start reducing our production of single use plastic and or plastic bags in general. In an effort to ensure there is a future for everyone A Mind of Its Own is fully onboard with banning the bag and supports the major retailers in pushing this movement. So to all those that are complaining their shopping is now made harder, take five and think about the alternative if we don’t make the push that even though it’s a little late in happening is still a positive step in the right direction.

Ban the bag! Stop complaining Australia! We are building for a future where we have an environment that our children can play in without fear of toxic poisoning. Until next week join the revolution and get yourself some reusable bags for your next trip to the supermarket. A special hats off to Coles and Woolies for leading the way now it’s up to the other major retailers to follow suit and start reducing plastic packaging in general. Save the whales harpoon some plastic!!!

The link below is a good overview of the damage plastic does to our environment.

https://greenerideal.com/news/environment/0613-how-do-plastic-bags-affect-our-environment/

Rattling the keys to the Kingdom…

After last week’s excitement of space camp… ahhem… Oh yes sorry we meant Space Force, we scratched our heads and wondered how we could ever top such an insight into the most exciting thing to happen to America since the Olsen twins discovered puberty and Trump asked Mexico to build a wall between them. With the world around us crumbling into a pastry chefs worst nightmare we went to the true powers of the world, google, to give us an idea for this weeks Mind of Its Own.

We thought we might find some inspiration from recent travels or something in the news to write about but it seems the world we live in (The writers at this here institution) has become a little boring over the last couple of weeks. Have we used all our best material? and like a dressmaker before the big show are left with something that looks more like a potato sack than a dress for a special occasion. Unless it’s a potato sack race then you’ve nailed it better than you ever dreamed of.

So after a lot of procrastinating, typing deleting and repeating the process we decided to focus this week on the wonderful world of dieting. That’s right you heard it here first, we are tackling diets like a fat kid on a cupcake. We’ll trim the fat, exercise your… Minds unless there is some new fad where you lose weight from staring at a screen while you read online blogs? Heck there probably is you know and some clown is making millions off it. Ok maybe not millions but he or she is living comfortably in their beachside house or apartment having never spent a day in their life at university, but all of a sudden has become suitably qualified to give, yes you the reader dietary advice.

Where to start??? Atkins, usually A comes first or should we head straight to the latest fad, what was it again? High Fat? Yeah you heard us high fat and if it’s not high fat it’s some hybrid paleo/neolithic/vegan diet where you only eat things raw. Surely soon enough we’ll just go for the foragers diet that consists of nuts and berries with the occasional feed of campfire cooked meat of whatever variety you can get your hands on. There’d certainly be a lot of lean, malnourished people in the world who would be happy with results.

Like a fisherman on the high seas we baited the hooks, cast our nets and trawled the internet to find out just how many diets are listed online. We didn’t have to go far to find sites promising to make you trim, taut and looking terrific in weeks not months just like any infomercial will promise you. Started to remind us of all the ridiculous workout contraptions that have need produced over the years. The office favourite is still the shake weight and please do yourself a favour and head on over to YouTube type in Shake Weight and enjoy the laughs.

Back to our diets from Keto, to Paleo they all have one thing in common! That would be the ultra fit person spruiking them. You can guarantee this person works out five to seven days a week, has always worked out and already eats quite a healthy diet. He or she won’t be found in the line at the local Colonel to get a bucket of the colonel’s original recipe in yet another attempt to crack the 11 secrets herbs and spices. They certainly aren’t propping up the local bar as they down their 10th schooner in an effort to out drink Macca from work who’s been talking big onsite all week as the concrete base to yet another greek monolith home is built in Carlton.

After further googling to understand terminology that has clearly been coined by today’s generation the team finally started to get a handle on the various weight loss diets available to the average Joe. We visited both mens and womens sites offering us insight into how each of the diets on offer for free, introductory prices or a fee that will have you selling a kidney just to participate and die of starvation. Confusion aside some of the diets started to sound appealing particularly when they promise better focus, control and long term benefits to the mind, body and soul.

DASH, Flexitarian, Weight Watchers, MIND, Atkins, Keto, Paleo, CSIRO, Pollo something or rather, hell even religions are offering belief based diets. Whilst some diets are clearly needed for people who are intolerant to certain things we pretty much came up with a diet for everything you could potentially think of. Remember Jared from Subway? I don’t but apparently in an effort to lose weight be dropped the Big Macs, Zinger Burgers and Whoopers replacing them with a healthier fast food option of sugar packed subway sandwiches.

Now we could give you a brief outline on each of the diets we came across but 94 pages later I fear we would have lost some of you to starvation. We know once you pick up that smart device and start reading you can’t put it down until you’ve got your weekly fill of A Mind of Its Own so we chose not to write 94 brief paragraphs outlining all the diets Wikipedia listed. It did get us thinking though that perhaps we could start a distraction diet where you distract yourself whenever you feel the need to eat. Weight loss diet fad here we come. You get your money for nothing…

94 different diets out there categorised into 7 major subcategories and further subcategories in each. It’s amazing that scientist can come up with all this information on nutrition but still haven’t come up with a way to stop world hunger. I mean if people can choose to be polopescatarians surely we can choose to combat hunger for those less fortunate and don’t have a choice in their diet due to lack of shelter, money, food and water. No, no you continue to look at your who magazine, cleo, marie claire and ponder whether you look ok based on what hollywood tells you. Does Who magazine still exist?

So here’s some friendly Mind of Its Own advice!!! Unless you need to be on a diet for medical reason or you are vegetarian either by choice or because you can’t break down meat. Exercise regularly, eat things in moderation and be happy! Things could be far worse for you. If you are reading this life is already pretty damn good for you. You no doubt have a roof over your head, power, clean water, clothes, food in a refrigerator and most importantly access to a smart device. So like drinking wisely, diet right and take the time to create your smoothie to go outside and visit nature it’s that place outside your house with trees and water.

That’s a wrap for another week! We dipped our toe in the deep end and chickened out when it came to diets. There is just far too many choices for us to decide which ones to cover and what isn’t going to put you all into a deep sleep through sheer boredom. We hope you’ve managed to digest your way through our skimming of a topic that really doesn’t hold much of an interest to anyone here. Until next week, eat, drink and be merry and if you can’t be merry be Mary…

Ducks Fly Together…

I dug out some old pieces that were written over the years and posted on various different forms of media for you guys and for us as well to ensure we are putting as much content up as possible for you guys to read, comment on or take the piss out of the team here at A Mind of Its Own. This just happens to be one of my favourite topics to talk about with people as I somewhat consider myself an expert on this theory having to practice it more than I’d like to admit.

To start out those that know me will have seen it somewhere if you hang around me long enough. I was explaining to a colleague the other day a theory that has helped me out through both my professional and amateur sporting careers. It’s something that has helped me on a day to day basis both on and off the sporting field and holds a lot of merit for those who like me can be short tempered at times.

Let’s not beat around the bush, we all have good days and bad days no matter where we are, on the sporting field, at home or at work. In the office though our patience is often tested sometimes it’s an hourly event. We all have those colleagues who try our patience without even realising it. To explain the theory right we need to go back to the beginning where I was introduced to it.

I got into coaching in my early 20’s and was fortunate enough to work quite closely with someone who has gone on to do bigger and better things than I ever dreamed of. He has done very well for himself on the world stage and can proudly say he’s coached at the top level of the sport Including Commonwealth and Olympic Games. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor to learn coaching philosophies and how to the get the most out of the athletes I was working with. He also taught me that everything in the sporting arena can translate across into the business world and help me in my professional life. I would often find myself frustrated and getting quite annoyed when results or decisions weren’t going our way or as a team we were performing well below our potential.

In my first year under his tutelage I remember the first lessons he taught me always take notes and observe as much as you can. The second lesson was that you will learn something from everyone you come across and you will mould your coaching style by adapting little bits and pieces from each and every one of them and finally using the biggest weapon you have and that is you. I’ve taken this approach across to the business world particularly when it comes to managing and mentoring staff who report into me.

I was helping out with some national league games doing filming and just getting a feel for what it was like to coach and be involved at the open age level. In the dugout before one game, I remember it like it was yesterday, I looked down at the bench to where his notepad lay open with his notes on the game, plans, plays etc. It was the first time I’d notice it but it wouldn’t be the last. At the top of the page in BIG capital letters was the word DUCK underlined twice. At the time I didn’t think much of it but over time as we progressed through practice matches and training sessions in the build up towards national’s curiosity started to get the better of me and I started to wonder why DUCK made it to the top of his page or the whiteboard before every game.

We were sitting in his office before training one day working on the training schedule for the weeks leading into the tournament whilst discussing formations, playing styles, tactics and all things hockey. Around the walls there were a couple of whiteboards that had drills and training schedules as well as individual athlete programs written up and once again there it was DUCK. It was at that point that I bit the bullet and decided I needed the answers to my questions.

Before answering my questions I was grilled on what I knew about Ducks before he would proceed in telling me anything about what is now known as the DUCK Theory and the premise behind it. So from me to you… Firstly ask yourself what you know about ducks and how you would describe them.

When you think of a duck swimming on the top of the water they are graceful, almost gliding majestically through the water but most of all they appear calm, yet under the water’s surface it’s a different story. Those little flippers are flapping away furiously to propel themselves along evenin the strongest of currents. No matter where you are, what you are doing or whether it be as a coach, player or in your everyday life no matter what is going on we need to remain professional and keep our calm. If we can’t do that then we think of the DUCK calm on the surface and furious below where no one can see.

It wasn’t until my second year coaching that I truly found the value in the duck theory in our first game at nationals there was a critical moment in the game where a decision was made that I feel changed the outcome and quite possibly our final standings in the tournament. I remember our manager at the time asking me to keep my cool which probably made things worse telling me to calm down is not the best way to make me calm or keep my cool. With 5 minutes left in the game down 3-2 with the ascendency we scored the equaliser only to have the umpire rule it to be dangerous and therefore a free hit to the opposition. I remember watching the game tape over and over that night as we planned for game two, thinking to myself that one little mistake made by the umpire had cost my team at minimum a point if not three. It was a goal clear as day any day of the week. I’d tried to speak with the umpire after the game to question the decision only to be told I wasn’t allowed to speak with the officials. That further infuriated me as a coach, I wanted answers, I wanted to understand the reasoning behind the decision most of all I wanted some accountability.

I woke the next day still infuriated over something that was well and truly out of my control and went for a run with the assistant coach in an attempt to clear my head. After doing our recovery session as a team and going through the brief for the day’s game we prepared to head off to the ground. I walked into my room to find a rubber duck, a roll of duct tape and bag of lollies shaped as ducks on my bed. Laughter came from the kitchen as our manager walked in clearly proud of her joking reminder to me that I need to convey calm on the outside even when my blood is boiling away on the inside. To me it was a reminder that I needed to convey professionalism and lead by an example.

How I react on the sidelines has a direct impact on what happens on the field. From that day on even before a game started whether it was a club match or at the representative level, if I was coaching or playing DUCK could always be found somewhere on me. It was always on the top of my notepad, written on a piece of tape stuck to my stick or plastered on the whiteboard in the change rooms.

As someone that quite often suffers from white line fever it has been a good practice in keeping my temper in check on the sporting field as well as keeping the hulk from making appearances in the office when dealing with frustrating, infuriating people who just don’t quite understand. What is it that they say? Shit flows down not up?

Using DUCK at work has saved me countless trips to the bosses office, a lot of time not having to waste energy on people who just don’t listen, understand or even want to understand what it is that you are trying to achieve. It’s also put a halt to endless arguments at home and most of all allowed me to take a breath, look, listen and weigh up the situation before responding allow me to de-escalate what could roll into a full blown Chernobyl. They didn’t nickname me Angry for no reason but since the DUCK i have managed to keep it calm, cool and collected. Well most of the time, sometimes I just get pushed off the edge and unlike the Duck I am somewhat a flightless bird in these rare instances.

I now pass the duck theory on to you all… In times of frustration think what would a DUCK do? and just be more like the DUCK on the water’s surface… Graceful and Elegant! Until next time, Duck, Duck, Goose!

I’ve got music and it makes me feel alright…

Whether it be the dulcet tones of your favourite singer or the long riffs of a guitarist slashing out a solo, music can evoke emotions in all of us we often didn’t know existed. It often starts in the extremities working its way through your body like a wave forming, than crashing on a beach only to be drawn back out by the tide to repeat the cycle. It might start as a tapping of the foot, the clicking of your fingers or the drumming of a nearby object and before you know it the beat and rhythm have wormed their way inside until your whole body has involuntarily joined in and you find yourself sounding like a strangled cat in a back alley somewhere as you sing along at the top of your lungs.

That’s the effect music can have on you!  As I started writing this blog in my mind this morning, ironically I was singing to myself, driving along in the car and it got me thinking about what my first piece should be about on A mind of its Own. With music blaring away, other drivers looking at the crazy guy either talking to himself of singing along it got me think about other people’s reactions to music and how it can lift them in some cases and in others bring a tear to the eye.

Personally I am big on lyrics, I’ll admit a catchy beat is always fun to listen to but lyrics are where I really start to enjoy music. Perhaps it’s the creative element and the aspect of empathy that music allows that I enjoy so much or maybe in some past life I was a famous musician (If i was it certainly didn’t carry into this world). Either way for me music is a tool I utilise most days to help control my anxiety and depression and help me concentrate at work when I’d rather be anywhere but there.

Music plays a bigger part in our day-to-day lives than we often think, for someone like me who thrives on routine, music is a big part of my daily routine. I don’t listen to the radio in the morning on my way to work I put on a playlist and sing along right up to the moment I park the car. In the gym I listen to my own tunes while in the background some high intensity workout song plays for the roid ragers throwing their dumbbells around as they lift more than actually should to get those Hollywood muscles pumped.

I got thinking about how other people utilise music or react to music for example having played sport all my life and thinking about athletes getting ready for the big game or race an image comes to mind of someone sitting there with a pair of Beats by Dr Dre on their head, phone in hand, eyes closed focussing while their foot taps out the beat. Does the music help them focus or does it calm their nerves and what are they listening to? For all i know they could have Britney Spears blasting into their ears. No judgement from me, I used to annoy my teammates by singing Mmmbop while I warmed up before every game but hey it worked for me…

The power of music to evoke feelings and emotions has been utilised throughout time. Motion picture from its inception has utilised music scores to set the scene for the viewer taking it from the big screen to the small screen. Where the utilisation of small instrumentals let you know something scary is about to happen or something fun is around the corner. It didn’t take long for the madmen in marketing to get on board with Brands adopting music, paying royalties to the owners that when heard associated the listener with their product or service.

I was looking at taking a deep dive into the science behind the music. After reading several articles I decided to stop, thinking about how this Blog about music could soon turn into a book if I didn’t draw a line in the sand somewhere. So i’ve chosen to skirt around the science all you need to know is there have been studies. You don’t have to believe me but if you do a google search on Music and Science you will come across thousands of articles and studies on how music affects the mind, body and soul. If I had the time I’d spell it out for you all, however between work, writing this, a novel and playing sport I feel my wife might disown me if I don’t find some time for her in all of that.

That being said there have been studies carried out that show music can cure some forms of insomnia. Shoppers tend to buy more when classical music is playing and certain music helps us work out as we tend to increase our tempo based on the beat and rhythm. The articles and studies went on to explain that white noise helps concentration levels in office environments. A litany of studies have been conducted since the beginning of the 20th century.

The articles and research papers that drew me in tended to be those that discussed Anxiety and Depression and the use of music to help combat the effects. I guess you could say I have a vested interest. The studies conducted showed music has a soothing effects as sensory pathways had to compete with pain pathways. Playing music or getting people to participate in music based tasks can be used as a distraction and is an effective among those who can become easily absorbed in cognitive activities.

This isn’t the first piece I’ve written about music and its effect on the mind, body and soul. I’ve always loved music since I was a little kid and have been lucky enough to have a very eclectic taste. I’ll thank Mum and Dad for that one. Unfortunately I was not gifted with a good set of lungs, unique dancing feet or the dexterity to become a successful musician. Although for those of you who have seen me dance you could say that it’s quite unique.

Whilst having the ability to lift people music can also send us spiraling in the opposite direction with memories they may bring of a time, place or person that is painful. What we often associate with music goes along way to showing that with memories we capture more than we often think. For example the trigger of a memory through a certain song or lyric of a song. I remember being in Scotland several years ago (OK I was a young pup so it was well over a decade ago) I was missing home, the weather was miserable, I think it was snowing, close to Christmas and I was slipping and sliding in the big white van I got to drive around for work.

After deciphering the thick Scottish brogue of the DJ a song came over the radio that immediately had a lifting effect on me as it reminded me of home and my mum, I’d love to say it was Land Down Under by Men at work being Australian but it was not. It was Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool and to this day whenever I hear I automatically think about mum. Just like whenever I hear Billy Joel I’m reminded of Dad.

I have always said there is a song for every moment, every emotion and for everyone. Whether it is a reminder of the past, present or dreams of the future music plays a bigger part in our memories and dreams than we often give it credit for. The premise of this was always to get you thinking about music and the properties behind it, how much of a role does it play in your life and what emotions and feelings does it stir within you?

I’m sure I am not telling you the reader anything you don’t already know but it does get you thinking!  Do I have my own song? Something that reminds me of me when I hear it? Or a song that is special to you? Lyrically I could pick a long list of songs that I can empathise with the artist as they pour out their heart or sing about a time in their life something happened.

If you are interested in reading more about the effect music has on our brain and body there are plenty of articles available on the net however the book ‘Why we Love Music’ by John Powell is a collation of research and information that he spent over 4 years gathering before releasing the book.   

For now I’ll take a leaf out of the Beautiful Girls book and leave you with this quote of their lyrics ‘Cause I got music and it makes me feel alright, I got this here music and it helps ease my mind, Cause I got music and it takes away the pain, Got this here music and I’ve got everyday.