This woman is totally and completely mad.
Natalia Avseenko, 36, swims naked with beluga whales in freezing waters that would kill most people within minutes.
Natalia is a skilled Russian diver. Braving sub-zero temperatures, she throws caution — and her clothes — to the wind to tame two beluga whales in a unique and controversial experiment.
She goes in naked because marine experts believe belugas do not like to be touched by artificial materials such as diving suits.
However - let's be honest - it's gotta also be because it makes it all that more clickable, right?
The average human could die if left in sub-zero temperature sea water for just five minutes.
Especially up in the Murmansk Oblast region in the far north-west of Russia at the shore of the White Sea near the Arctic Circle branch of the Utrish Dophinarium!
However, Natalia is a yoga expert and used meditation techniques to hold her breath and stay under water for an incredible ten minutes and 40 seconds.
Yes, she actually did.
Pretty awesome photo, really, isn't it!
I've always loved belugas - they are just so weird and other worldly... but swimming with them naked takes love to a whole new level.
Belugas are famed for the way in which their faces are able to convey human-like expressions. Their large range of 'facial expressions' comes from them having a more flexible bone structure than other whales.
There are around 100,000 belugas in the wild.
Certainly Matrena and Nilma (the whales' names) seemed to be happy enough frolicking with Natalia.
But don't be fooled.
Because what Natalia is actually doing is helping prepare the whales for captivity!!
An area of the sea is enclosed to stop whales and dolphins getting out and instructors tame the mammals before they are transported to dolphinariums around the world.
So as beautiful and romantic a notion as it is to have a naked woman swimming with happy whales - what you are actually witnessing here is a precursor for immense cruelty.
How could anyone who professes to love beluguas help them to be captured and placed in small tanks for the rest of their lives away from their natural wild habitat?
Kind of disgusting, really.
Shame on you Natalia.
Naked yoga instructor or not - leave those beautiful creatures alone!
It is becoming more and more clear to me that the way we live our lives is not only unsustainable, short-sighted and sad, but also completely fucking insane. We spend 320 days a year or more enslaved to a desk, in an environment that is usually unhealthy and stressful, at least 8 hours a day (usually around 10). We are a mere cog in a system that we did not choose and that takes its toll on our mental and physical health every day.
I mean seriously, how many of us can say we love their job and we are really happy to spend 40-50 hours a week working at whatever drudgery has claimed us. How many of us can say that we are inspired or energized by our jobs, or that we wouldn't way rather be doing something else?
Don't get me wrong. I don't hate my job.
I simply endure it.
I work for a large company. My pay is barely above minimum wage. All my efforts get translated into profit which lines the pocket of some ridiculously wealthy CEO who I will never know. I sit hour after hour at the computer doing the same task. It requires a certain skill and intelligence and concentration. But it certainly doesn't require any emotional engagement and the only reward I get from it is the capacity to pay the rent. I spend 40 hours a week doing that. By the time I get home it's dark and I have no energy to do anything else.
Five days out of every week I give all my time, energy and humanity over to this "job"... and, you know what? I really fucking resent that. I resent the fact that I have no freedom to follow my heart; to do what I love; to work on all the creative projects I have which give me energy and joy. I resent that I don't get to see my loved ones or spend quality time with them. I resent that all my friends are too busy and stressed out with their jobs to make time to hang out. I resent that I am wasting this incredible life doing stress-ridden, mundane, small-minded things. I resent that I am getting older and my bucket-list just gets longer, and nothing on it EVER gets ticked off.
ISN'T THAT A CRAZY WAY TO LIVE?
Life is so short. So damn miraculous. This planet is so beautiful and full of the promise of extraordinary adventures. And here I am wasting my life away on a boring, contrived-desk job... just so I can pay my rent and survive.
How very sad.
And I have it easy - so many people I know are working 60 - 80 hour weeks. They never stop. Work seeps into their weekends thanks to always being "connected". Most of them work for the vague hope that one day it will turn profitable - so they can stop working. It's a carrot that is always dangling in front of their noses, egging them on, sucking away their energy, like an invisible vortex.
Isn't it disturbing that it is getting harder and harder to live a vaguely comfortable middle-class lifestyle and still pursue a meaningful life, without selling our soul to some bottom-choice career that steals our life-force away without us even realising it?
It's a weird element of our culture, that we believe we are free to choose how we live. We believe we are free to think however we think. But what kind of freedom is there in living like that? We are not free to spend our days how we would like to spend them. We are not free to sleep as much as we need to sleep. We are not free to look after our loved ones. W are not free to follow our passions. We are not free to get off this treadmill of work/buy, work/buy, work/buy ad nauseum.
As far as I'm concerned, I've never felt so unfree in my life.
Working 9 to 5 every day, 5 days a week, 49 weeks a year feels exactly like a prison sentence to me.
And the only way out of this labyrinthine rat-hole is to win the lotto.
What a grim and pathetic hope for the millions of miserable people out there.
But is it the addiction to always wanting more and the fear of not being able to actively pursue a robust relationship with consumerism that drives us to give away our freedom?
Or is it simply a terrifying lack of imagination that has us in its paralyzing grips?
Anyway - that's my whinge for today - because I came across this article, and it got me thinking.
Have a read:
There has to be a better way.
by James Adonis
There’s a clever scene in the movie Con Air in which a psychopath talks fondly of famous murderers. Nicholas Cage eventually snaps, labelling them insane. The psychopath responds:
“What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn't you consider that to be insane?”
So let’s consider it, then. Working excessive hours might be OK if it’s a job you love. But isn’t it a little insane many of us work in jobs that make us deeply unhappy? For example, a study conducted in 2013 by the Australian Psychological Society found wellbeing, job satisfaction, and work stress have “significantly” worsened in recent years. Those factors are even worse here than in Europe where the force of the GFC has been merciless.
Isn’t it a little insane the corporate attire we’re forced to wear is actually an inhibitor to performance? Research last year by a trio of institutions, including the University of Wollongong, concluded formal clothing makes employees feel less friendly, less creative, less productive and less comfortable. That last one, in particular, is perhaps responsible for the eyesore that is the horrid suits and sneakers look on public transport.
Speaking of transport, isn’t it a little insane that work schedules are such that a majority of people start and finish at the same time thereby creating congestion of a variety that, for some of us, induces thoughts of homicide? Peak hour traffic in Melbourne is now 23 km/h slower than a decade ago, and Sydney is the world’s seventh-most congested city, just behind Los Angeles. Even buses and trains are packed to such an extent they’re a breeding ground for frotteurism.
Isn’t it a little insane that people resort to shiftwork even though they’re cursed not only with unsociable hours but also a wide range of afflictions? A plethora of studies document the much higher rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart attacks, and vehicle accidents among those who work nights. That research also verifies the unhealthy habits, such as bingeing on snacks and forgoing exercise, that afflict shift workers. Meanwhile, their productivity at work plummets.
Then again, even the nine-to-fivers continue working well into the evening by an anxiety called ‘nomophobia’, otherwise known as smartphone addiction. Isn’t it a little insane that people are so hooked on these devices that any positive effects are eroded by the negative impacts? Heaps of research shows 50 per cent of us check our phone in bed, 44 per cent check it daily while on holidays, and 60 per cent work an extra 25 hours a week because of it.
Isn’t it a little insane we work in environments where bullying is a standard part of the landscape? Safe Work Australia released a report in 2012, which calculated that 7 per cent of employees had been bullied in the previous six months. That compares alarmingly to other rates around the world, which vary between 1 per cent and 4 per cent. The same analysis found bullying costs the economy $693 million a year. As a nation, we do workplace bullying really well.
Granted, this article has been extremely one-sided. There are, of course, many wonderful things about the way we work, such as the greater disposable income we get, which enables us to engage enthusiastically with consumerism. (Or, hey, maybe that’s not a good thing after all.)
So, look, I don’t know. You tell me. Is there something a little insane about the way we’re working?
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/blogs/work-in-progress/the-way-we-work-is-insane-20140829-3eiqb.html#ixzz3Bwsv4FiM
Finally, here are some great books on the topic that are really worth reading if you have had enough of the daily grind, like me!
(click on book covers below for more info and pricing).
Toni Childs was one of my favourite artists when I was a teenager - perfect for those soulful moments of intense heart ache and introspection. She is an amazing woman who has lived a very unusual and full life. Read about her here.
And in the meantime listen to this and let your heart get all pulverised and tender.
I LOVE tutting.
It's mudras for the people.
Ballet for fingers.
Hip hop for hands.
So, apparently rock balancing is a thing.
Michael Grab from gravity glue has the art down pat:
“The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”
OMG these boys make me more than a little hot under the collar ... pretty much everywhere else too.
This is the thing my teenage fantasies were made of.
"When you are walking, there is only one sort of performance that counts: the brilliance of the sky, the splendor of the landscape …The appeal of transgression, the call of the great outdoors: throwing off moronic conventions, the soporific security of four walls, the boredom of the same, the wear of repetition, the chilliness of the well-heeled and their hatred of change. The need to provoke departures, transgressions, to give substance at last to folly and dreams."
A Philosophy of Walking
by Frederic Gros
There are times when all I want to is live in a little cottage in a remote place high up in the mountains. I would spend my days wandering over hills and moors, along crags and past lochs. Allowing silence to pervade my cells, allowing nature to reclaim me in some unfathomable solitary way. But there has to be height, and lots of sky. And preferably a loch or a magical sea to rest the eyes on and maybe even dip the toes into.
I do not fear solitude. I long for it.
The ecstatically picturesque Lofoten islands in Norway would do quite nicely:
Billy Jean meets beer bottles... and the result is all kinds of great.