Love is a Curious Thing. It manifests in various forms, with unadulterated degrees of intensity. One minute it can blindside people and the next, totally captivate your senses. As a journalist, I’m inherently drawn to exploring the sociology of human consciousness, and how we as a society, approach this unrelenting topic of ‘love.’ For those functioning independently, what does this word mean? Is it a coveted feeling or a desire to be satiated? And for the collective of couples, does it have a similar or completely different proposition? I also wonder, does it wane and became diluted with time and space …
Using the frame of ‘Love’ I’m currently investigating themes within this topic. The first is this series, called ‘The Pursuit of Knowledge” and centres on education. I’m enamoured by the adage ‘Knowledge is Power’ and, subsequently, how people mesh their love of learning with the love of their life. Irrespective, of whether the love is for him or her or another – hence, how do you then study and maintain a relationship?
Last year, when I was single, women who nurtured their marriage and academic education fascinated me. I asked Tania Sheward, a former BBC journalist, (with her husband for ten years), ‘How do you study and maintain a relationship?’ With both an undergrad and postgrad degrees, her philosophy is simple, “my relationship grows as a result of everything I learn.” Sheward advised, “the key thing, is the sharing”, and “trusting each others judgement to know when to stop – when to disconnect – and focus on time together.” This, she revealed, keeps their relationship healthy.
Elodie Silberstein, a French-Australian installation and performance artist, is also married, with a ten-year-old son. As a PhD applicant, setting boundaries is crucial. “It’s all about optimising time at work, and time at play.” Her home studio is designed so when her creative endeavours end, she closes the door and leaves. For Silberstein, it is about being ‘present in the moment’ with her family. “One of the issues I have, is not to be there physically – but to be there emotionally.” She also focuses on sharing, letting her study “become a family adventure. When I did a one month artist residency in Tokyo, they came and we spent one & a half weeks together.”
On the flip side of the coin, I wanted to know how single women became self-taught, and asked Terri Ann Daniels, self-made ‘Automation Specialist’ and founder of The Noise Method, ‘Why are you addicted to learning?’ With no formal education per se, she advised getting out of her own way, allowed her mind’s natural state to learn. From the moment she arises, being in a state of flow optimises her performance. “I believe my mind is a sponge, that’s its core purpose. If I have done anything [in my life], it is to try to get myself into a rhythm.” This helps inform her day, and enables her to stay “conscious in the moment.”
Life balance coach and communications specialist, Jess Ball, is a “student of life.” With an undergrad degree and Masters in coaching, she believes that, understanding yourself first – is a crucial step in learning. “I’m not just talking about knowledge from a text book, or what someone has told you, but what comes up from inside you, self-teaching – being our own parent.” As a former talent manager for high-profile acts in the entertainment industry, she has learnt to hold her own. “The more self-aware we can all become, the more there will be a different level to relating to people. I believe we are all here to learn how to relate to each other.”
There is certain poignancy to her thoughts and an empowering intent. “I am paying forward the gift of self-knowledge and self-awareness.” She adds, pausing for reflection, “even though that is immeasurable, I can see the direct reflection in front of me. Especially through my clients, and other people in my life.”
As readers, and especially for females, these women want you to to know that as a woman, study can become an integral part of your life. Whether you are in a relationship, or outside of a relationship, it is possible and essential, if you feel that need. Honouring your quest for knowledge, creative pursuits, or stimulating your intellect and stepping into your worth, is attainable. These vital elements, can help you live out whatever your purpose is. LOVE of education is a truly an all encompassing thing, and potentially the greatest type of love to push humanity forward. These women show – it really is based on sharing knowledge.
The 10 reasons I’m more compelled to write, more than ever.
September holds a number of significant events for me. The arrival of my long, lost friend the sun, a birthday, the impetus to spring clean and typically, a myriad of celebrations with friends. The tangibility of the weathers emotional warmth is measured through these moments, my own personal barometer you could say.
Last month, Mercury – and typical of his nature – decided to send my Virgoan brain into overdrive. To give you context, last year I elected to put my mental acuity to the test and pursue an adventure in freelance writing. True to my former-perfectionistic nature, I set the benchmark higher than an Olympic pole-vaulter could deftly contort over. My hallmark of being born under the ‘communicator’ God, saw me leapfrog into a plethora of projects. Crash-landing elegantly each time, gripping the pole and staring at the sky, breathing a sigh of relief I’d made it. Here’s the insight: much like a pole-vaulting athlete, I embodied speed, agility and strength. The one important element I *convinced* myself I lacked: technical skill.
For close to one year, I refrained from taking off in my writing, because I, the true Earth sign I am, had feet stuck in terra firma. My position of sprinting down the runway, all that kinetic energy – replaced, with becoming a world-class spectator. For 12 months I just sat with the memories of mastering the fly-away – a position highly-emphasised by novice vaulters – where you push off the pole, face the bar and just focus on your arms and legs not knocking the bar over. I didn’t actively leverage any golden moments to ‘swing up’ and over. Freelance writing appeared to be a sport this maiden couldn’t master.
Mercury – the tricky Roman prankster, certainly gave me a shake-up. They came to me in 10 different shape-shifting forms:
- The SBS documentary series Living with the Enemy
- The BBC documentary series Toughest Place to be a …
- Katherine Viner’s lecture @ Uni of Melbourne [The Guardian Editor-in-Chief]
- My lecturer, Mark Pearson [Professor of Journalism and Social Media, Media Law teacher]
- My lecturer, Guy Healy [Freelance Journalist, Styles & Genres of Journalism teacher]
- The blog ‘31 Dates in 31 Days’
- My ‘breaking news’ experiences; as a consequence I almost subsequently broke
- Myanmar opening up it’s doors (next year) to former residents children
- My singer friend, Ajak Kwai – we are part of World Writing Group project
- My journalist friend, Tania Sheward – ‘failure is not an option’
Each offered a magnificent prism into the world of journalism. Reigniting a desire to start clearing my hurdles, and standing (or vaulting) for the reasons I elected to turn my life-upside down to become a journalist for. Apparently, it is not unusual for elite athletes to carry 10 different types of poles to competitions. Factors like length, and how solid the poles are became important at that stage of the game. It can make or break effectiveness. It’s a poignant analogy, and provided me with the forward motion I needed. Now, I’ve set my standard and taking steps to adjust my approach. It’s time to clear new storytelling heights.
This post heralds the start of a personal journalism project I am doing, entitled ‘Love is a Curious Thing.’ Each month I’ll be exploring themes centred around this and incorporating my images. The topic I am currently researching: The pursuit of knowledge.