New Year Greetings

Hello friends,
Greetings for the New Year! I hope all of you had a good holiday during the Christmas and New Year break. I had an enjoyable holiday in Queensland in the Eastern State of Australia.
This region has a tropical climate and is warm and the sea water is warm too. Australia is between two great oceans, the Indian Ocean in the West and Pacific Ocean in the East.
The Indian Ocean waters of the Perth region seem colder than the waters in Queensland. The water there is so warm, one doesn’t feel like getting out of it. It is so pleasant that one feels like staying in the water all the time. Some people say that sea water helps in reducing ones weight. I did’t believe this but this time, I was in the water virtually every day and to my surprise, I got the feeling, there is indeed some truth in it. After soaking in the salty water one feels lighter and more flexible. The salt also cleanses our body of bacterias and other nasties.  So, it is both enjoyable and also add a positive dimension to our wellbeing.
However, this year, there was a new phenomenon of the Irukandji jelly fish. It is the smallest but most venomous jellyfish in the world. In fact the most venomous creature in the world. It is very tiny and has long tentacles. We would not even see them but when the tentacles touch our body, within 20 to 30 minutes, the person gets awfully sick and their chest constricts and cause heart attack and die. Normally, it is only in the Northern region like Cairns but this year it had come to the south as far as the Frazer island. When I visited Frazer island which is famous for its dingos (Wild dogs), the King Fisher beach was virtually empty. It was a hot day and I was very tempted to have a dip but my better sense prevailed. When I was boarding the return boat, there was an army of red-shirt people who were also waiting to board the ship. On enquiry, they were in fact the storm troopers to get rid of the noxious creature!!! I felt a sense of relief that my temptation didn’t get the better me and avoid contact with the sea on that day.
In Western Australia, there is a sense of fear of the dreaded shark that might come from beneath the water and grape you but in the east there was the equally dreaded Irukandji jelly fish who may not seem scary but equally fatal.
This goes to show that our survival or existence is constantly threatened. So, we have to always rejoice in our existence and appreciate the good things we have rather than chase something which is out of reach for us.
Western Australia is still pretty pleasant but February is the time for the scorching days.
While people from cold countries might cringe at the thought of extreme heat, for the locals, it is an opportunity to go to the beach and soak themselves,  just like people living in cold snowy weather see the snow as an opportunity to enjoy themselves by going skiing in the mountains. This is the paradox in our lives.
Therefore, we have to look at things in a positive way and transform the negative things into something positive to make ourselves feel good no matter what the situation may be. It is possible because what makes our lives happy is not necessarily not only fame and fortune but cultivating positive attitude towards the challenges and face them by transforming them to our own benefit.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and hoping to see you all again!!!
Geshe La