By Tiffany Dun

Kidaman Creek on Film

“Hold wonderful pictures in your mind’s eye” – Robin Sharma

Caring for our mental health has never been more vital. In fact, mindfulness is becoming trendy -it’s everywhere. People are meditating all the time -at home, in the garden, on buses, trains, in lectures, in the library -it appears to me that no time nor place is unfit for a little introspection.  

But in all seriousness, mindfulness is a way we can survive in this new world of social separation. So here’s a couple of reasons why you should get out your yoga mats and sit with yourself, alone, for a few minutes per day:

Did you know: That the average person thinks around 60,000 thoughts per day?

Did you know: That around 95% of these are the same thoughts as yesterday’s?

This slight glitch in human functioning has led to the great, widespread impoverished thinking in our new world. Look around you. We sit inside boxes, separated from the natural world we were born into. We wear clothes and shoes on our feet which further shield ourselves from our environment -the Earth, our home. And now I’m starting to sound like a hippie, but can you see where I’m coming from?

A majority of people still think that they need to live by these “rules” imbedded into our minds by society. These rules advocate mindless consumption -of clothes, food, alcohol, cigarettes, and where have these social norms led us? To forests cleared faster than they can ever be restored, to mountains of rubbish in our oceans, rivers, and freshwater streams.

Even more worrisome, is that an uncannily large proportion of humans still act as though “global warming” were a myth, like a deity we can either choose to or choose not to believe in.

We have polluted our minds just as we have contaminated our seas and our atmosphere. Of 60,000 thoughts per day, a large proportion of these can be unproductive or negative, particularly when faced with dire circumstances. With around 57,000 of the same thoughts as yesterday’s, it’s almost too easy for our attentions to cascade downhill. What may begin as a bad Monday may shortly develop into a Friday of wallowing in a deep pool of grief and self-pity.

We are captives of our own minds, and if we don’t stimulate them, they act as a broken record replaying the same loops. And these cycles can certainly lead us to some dangerous places.

But imagine if everybody took 10 minutes per day to reflect upon their actions. To think about what made them feel good, and what made them feel not so good. We may start to notice that what makes us feel good is often fresh food, fresh air and fresh sunshine. We may also notice that indulging in unnecessary gossip, or binge watching that new show ’90 Day Fiancé’ didn’t feel quite so fulfilling.    

We are either limited by our thoughts, or we can harness them in a way to set us free. Meditation is a way we can train our minds to focus on being present and reflect upon our feelings. We may begin to see that our moods do not necessarily need to govern our actions, that we can gain control over our minds -as a rider does his horse.

A good rider will train his horse each day, will care for it and patiently watch it grow. Similarly, our minds are our horses that carry us through our realities. Through quiet contemplation, we can take the reins over our horse rather than let it run free or trample all over us.  

Further, we can recount upsetting events and feel uncomfortable feelings from a safe distance. Instead of being inside the feelings, watch them come, and watch them go. Moods are often like clouds passing. Sometimes it’s stormy, and sometimes it’s sunny. But the sky is always there.  

Stradbroke Island on Film

Your mind is like your garden. Imagine that good thoughts, supported by good people, are like spreading water and sunshine over your plants. Meanwhile, negative thoughts are like throwing a bucket of toxic waste over your precious garden bed.

Gatekeep your garden from negative thoughts. Have the courage to delete the negativity in your life, and surround yourself with humans who will help you to learn and grow into the best version of yourself. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you think.

Do you want your garden to be full of weeds, or do you want it to blossom with flowers?

By Tiffany Dun

Film: Ayla Woolley in Belgian Gardens

Life is weird to think about sometimes.

All the struggles, all of our hardships, the stress of work, studying, phone bills, $400 seatbelt fines, and what’s the point? What’s it all for?

I’m here to tell you that it’s all for nothing. Scientists and philosophers have debated about it for centuries, and most have come to the general consensus that there’s absolutely no point in life, whatsoever.

People may provide you with the illusion that life is meant to be filled with purposeful, meaningful work. And it’s certainly true that work in the service of others will make you feel as though you have a purpose.

But in reality, everything we ever do will eventually be forgotten or destroyed. The difference between the beginning of your life and the end will likely be engraved on a slab of stone as a single dashed line.

“–“ will be all that remains of your story once you pass onto your next life. And this notion, while harsh for some to contemplate, is liberating for others.

Think about it. Nothing that you can or will do will have very much significance, in the grand scheme of things that is.

I mean, perhaps your family will remember you for some time to come. Perhaps, if you are exceptionally significant, then other humans will remember you for some centuries even. But eventually, the earth will collapse in supernova and the human race will go extinct, so nothing we ever do will ever really matter, anyway.

Therefore, in logical succession I come to the conclusion that life is meant to be lived. If you look at your life now, and you’re not living it exactly how you’d like it to be, then why aren’t you doing something about it?

Why not do whatever the hell you want?

Now, I’m not advising you to go and rob a bank, or take revenge on your ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. In fact, you may not have to do anything at all. But if you’re currently feeling down or stuck, then I am encouraging you to do a self-audit. Ask yourself – what skillset do I use when I am feeling most inspired? Follow what feels good and have the courage to take action for your life.

Film: Ayla Woolley at Rowes Bay

If you aren’t living your life, then live it. If you don’t like something, then change it. Be a little selfish, and make decisions based on whatever you want to do. We live in a time when we all have the power to live in the most extraordinary way that we deserve.

So go out and enjoy your time while you have it. Enjoy the warm sunshine outside, the smell of the flowers on your street and the breeze in your face the next time you’re out for a walk.

Enjoy the view from the hill and the stars at night. (When stargazing, you can expect to see a shooting star every 10-15 minutes).

Enjoy the perfect moments and the imperfect ones too. If you feel sad, experience it, let it consume you, and know that it too, shall pass. 

Enjoy your meaningless, fruitless, and completely pointless life. You might not live for very much longer, anyway.

Why is it hard to be by yourself?

By Tiffany Dun

Yannis in the Paperbark forest by Tiffany

I had the house to myself last night, and let me tell you -things were quiet. Personally, I relish these rare moments of peace in my busy household, but there have been many a times when I have been afraid to be left alone -afraid mostly, of where my thoughts would run to.

We spend all our time together, that when we are alone we aren’t sure what to do with ourselves. We often don’t stop to look around, to wonder. In moments of stillness, we play music to drown out the sounds of our own thoughts.

This is what has become of our generation, so consumed by our consumption of things, that we are conditioned to never be happy with where we are, now.

Not only do we over consume foods, clothing, and everyday items, but we are forever in an unconscious drive for more -one that is accelerated by advertising and our social media accounts.

We are flooded with images of things we don’t have that we should buy -new clothes, a better car, expensive bags, shoes. And when we have a moment of down time, we spend it scrolling through images of others -living their lives to their fullest (or so their Instagram posts suggest).

In fact, we are so connected to one another, that we are becoming disconnected.

Today, I’m challenging you to spend a day free from all this “connection.” When you have a spare moment, notice how you may instinctively reach for your phone for comfort. Notice this, and instead, sit with your thoughts. Ponder with them. Embrace them. Relish them.

Notice the amount of time you spend using technology unnecessarily. Notice this, and then embrace the copious amount of free time that you are suddenly blessed with when you give yourself a day off.

Maybe you have time to read that book you’ve been meaning to -or paint a new masterpiece. Maybe you’ll learn a new language, practice some music, or do some exercise. If you find you have absolutely nothing to do, then go for a walk down by the river or the beach.

I’m challenging you to find solace in the peace and quiet. Spend time with yourself, because you need it and you deserve it.  

“I once read that people who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened”.”
― Robin S. Sharma 

Most importantly, remember to spend time in nature. The vastness of your surroundings will humble your soul. Even the contemplation of the smallest flower may bring you back to your inherent connectedness with the earth.

It was the many indigenous tribes who initially recognized this connectedness, who lived fully immersed with their environment. Yet today, we live dangerously far away from this life. We are so out of touch with nature, that we often forgive time outdoors to sit inside and instead stare at small screens. We watch movies or documentaries about people or animals in the natural world instead of actually living in it.

We forget that everything is interconnected, and that we are nothing without the plants and animals we consume, or the soils that provide them with nutrients.

We forget that the wind drives the currents, which drives the waves that we ride. We forget we are connected to the worms which fertilise our soils, the bees which create our honey and the birds which pollenate our plants. We forget that without all creatures on Earth play an integral role in supplying our food, medicines and shelter, and that without them, we would not survive.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein 

(What’s a motto? -Nothing, what’s a motto with you?)

By Tiffany Dun

A Day’s End by Tiffany

The Ocean Monkeys firmly believe that life’s purpose lies within connecting with and elevating other humans. We can glean so much from one another -which is why we have decided to build this website and raise awareness of the wonderful happenings around Townsville.

Our lives hold a plethora of opportunities for those who seek them. We have observed that by having important connections, one can achieve almost anything.  

Therefore, our motto is connectedness.

Connectedness doesn’t necessarily just mean with other humans, but with all sentient beings. Humans, animals, plants, trees, rocks, even bananas, we are all made up of the same thing.

In fact, did you know that we are 99% genetically similar to monkeys? 80% similar to cows? We even share around 60% of our DNA with bananas.

“Within you lies the sun, the moon, the sky and all the wonders of this universe. The intelligence that created these wonders is the same force that created you.”

Robin Sharma

As humans we often forget that we are inextricably linked to our environment. We are linked within a food web, albeit at the top, but we rely on the energy of the earth around us for survival.

In particular, we are connected to the ocean. If you think about it, we are all sea creatures. We evolved from the sea to walk on land, and still, without the sea we would not be able to survive. In fact, we are not so different from our pelagic relatives. We rely on the ocean for many things – the oxygen we breath, the food we eat and the habitat we require. Imagine an Earth without the ocean, it would probably be desolate, and look a bit like Mars.

Naturally, we humanoids are drawn to the seas. The Ocean Monkeys certainly are, and if you are reading this, then it’s likely that you are one of us, too.

Sina on Water by Tiffany

Our motto is connectedness. And our vision is that if everybody lived in a way where we could reconnect with all life, then there wouldn’t be so much unhappiness in the world.

If you asked me what life’s purpose was, I would say it’s about finding connectedness and bringing it to life. It’s about discovering what you love and having the courage to do it, and bringing all beings together in this great, wonderful world.

By Tiffany Dun

Photograph on Film by Tiffany Dun

What does the perfect world look like?

Renewable energy drives entire countries. Each and every car is powered by solar and battery. In fact, every roof of every house is coated with a solar-powered paint.

Our countries aren’t run by single individuals, who are likely to only be around (and thus plan and envision for) a few years. Instead, parliament is run by a group of diverse and educated young individuals, who work together to make decisions with the interest of the people and the earth first.  

Children are taught to garden, to build with wood and metals and to cook in schools. In universities (which are free), students work on real-life and relevant projects which make a difference in their local communities. Students are taught to ask questions, and to live consciously.

All toilets and irrigation systems now use recycled water instead of fresh water. Every person brings their own bags and containers to the supermarkets when they need to restock their kitchens. Street lamps turn on only when they sense you coming and are dimmed when they aren’t needed.

The thing is, we have all of the technologies and capabilities of making this world a reality -today. Why is it that we live in a country so rich, yet we are so behind in catching onto the ideologies of green lifestyles?

In Iceland, 99% of energy is produced by hydropower and geothermal energy. Norway is similarly run with 98% of production coming from hydropower, wind and thermal energy.

Australia, unfortunately, is lagging severely behind. Today, just over 25% of our energy comes from renewable sources, with the main contributor to our energy still being coal.

Why are we so behind? What is taking us so long?

With a plethora of land and sun, you would think we would cover more area with solar panels. With a coastline enveloped by the ocean, you would think that we would harness the energy from the waves and tides.

Some good news: The cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are now transitioning to 100% renewable energy. The rest of Australia still has a long swim ahead.

Photograph by Gina Karnisch

We are blessed to live in a world and a time where we have access to the masses. Through the internet, we have the capacity to reach and touch millions of lives.  

In our world, we don’t have to worry about feeding ourselves or our families. We don’t have to worry about finding shelter for the night -we have a plethora of time for other activities!

We, the educated class have every opportunity in the world. Knowledge comes perfectly skewered and handed to us on an internet platter. We even possess the freedom to express ourselves through language.

Thus, to most effectively harness our situation, (and in order to achieve happiness -as some psychologists would say), we should dedicate our time to some form of purpose, perhaps one even greater than us.

We owe it to ourselves. In fact, we owe it to the planet.

In this time of great decision, we hold every power to make a change in a positive direction. Either we speak up and take action now, or we sit back and watch our draconian, consumeristic administrators slowly hack down every last tree.

If not us, then who will it be?

If not now, then when?