15.4 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Keeping your glass half full

Latest News

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Other News

Remembering and Healing – the Northern Rivers peace effort

The community of Lismore are invited to join events organised by the Remembering and Healing (RaH) group over the weekend encompassing ANZAC Day.

Byron Bay wants Byron Baes to back off

Faster than speeding reality TV producer, members of the Byron community have swiftly mounted a multi-pronged attack against the proposed ‘influencer’ based Netflix show Byron Baes.

Rise and shine!

Early morning starts are not a usual routine for chefs at the Ballina RSL Club. March was an exception when Chef Halie Welsh rallied some staff and friends together to take part in Ian Thorpe’s Laps For Life charity. A team of ten hit the Ballina Pool at 7am every day during March to raise funds For ReachOut’s Laps For Life challenge. 

Head-on crash car traveling in wrong direction

Police say that two men are in hospital after an accident on the M1 overnight, when emergency services responded to reports of a crash involving two cars near Clothiers Creek

Flawed plan

Kai Beijerbacht, Mullumbimby For those of you who haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the...

An insult, Poppa

From what I can understand, Poppa Veet Mayo’s letter seems to imply that this latest COVID scare is a...

I am one of those relentlessly optimistic people. In the bleakest times I have always remained hopeful. Things will get better. I have always known that. It’s tattooed in the core of my being. It’s the cornerstone of my resilience – how I survived a childhood marred by domestic violence. Even at it’s worst I chose to believe that things would change. And they did – my father died, and my life got better. That’s pretty fucking awesome confirmation from the universe of your mindset. Although part of me always wondered if my positive mindset killed my dad.

In the mindset/beverage analogy, my glass is always half full (probably why I drink too much). Being a positive person in a COVID-19 affected world is quite a challenge because things keep going to shit and I think, oh well it won’t be that bad. And then it gets a bit more shit, and I think: it will be over soon. And then it’s not. For positively framed people like myself COVID threatens to disrupt my world view. Could my mindset be broken? Are we forsaken? Is all hope lost? Is the government really trying to control us? Is Bill Gates really trying to eliminate 15 per cent of the population with a vaccine? Is the vaccine just a 5G chip? Is the whole novel coronavirus thing just a scam to up the price on rescue dogs? And what breed exactly is a sheeple?

Forget the conspiracies, and the health impacts, there’s something far worse! This corona thing is a major mojo disruptor. Until Mr Putin comes galloping forward to save the world, bare chested, with his vaccine. Or perhaps the Oxford October release will save us. Not that anyone around here will be lining up for the vaccine. We have a ‘whooping cough season’. Now, I guess, we are going to have a ‘coronavirus’ season as well. I don’t believe in unified elite evil forces out to destroy ‘us’. I just can’t live believing that deep down people are evil. It seems to me to be a darkly suspicious mindset that positions us as enemies of each other. I believe that even in the darkest times, in the worst of days, that eventually good will prevail. Naive? Perhaps. But why would you choose to think otherwise? Do we need some serious mindset reset?

I suggest regular morning mojo injections. Also known as a sunrise. I don’t believe in god, but if I did, I would be very impressed by this daily re-imagining of hope. Every morning, when I walk the beach, I am greeted with the same show. It’s simple, but effective, and as a performer it reminds me that if you’ve got good schtick, then stick to it.

This is what happens: It’s dark on arrival. The darkness for me symbolises the uncertainty – the sense of bleakness and loss. And then, we start to see a glimmer. A cloud will catch a little shimmer. Slowly, right before your eyes, things will change. The light is coming. In this show, the light is hope. It’s having another crack. It’s the potential for change. But it’s not there yet… it gathers momentum – and then pop, the sun bursts up from the sea – a bright burning orb! The clouds rejoice, and god, or Bill Gates, or whoever orchestrates that impressive morning show fucks off for another 24 hours.

This is my favourite time of day. There’s this softness that exists between light and dark. If ever there was the potential for magic, this is where it would happen – in the changeover. This is where my belief is reborn. This very ordinary daily re-imagining. Every sunrise is like a thumbprint – it’s unique. Every new day, in its repetitive mundanity, has the potential to be different to the last. It’s that simple. That is the landscape of human hope. Optimism restored. Just don’t look at Facebook.

Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

Vehicle sanitisation stations roll out

Enhanced safety measures for point to point transport such as taxis, hire and rideshare vehicles are being rolled out in Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore with the opening of three free temporary vehicle sanitisation stations.


Dili facing double disaster

The capital of East Timor, Dili, is reeling after flood waters swept through the city on the weekend, leaving at least 27 dead. The President of East Timor, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, described the floods as a 'great calamity'.


Northern Rivers COVID restrictions lifting at midnight

NSW Health has confirmed that COVID-related restrictions for the Northern Rivers will be lifted at midnight tonight (Monday 5 April).


COVID testing encouraged in the NNSWLHD

On Easter Sunday afternoon the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) has thanked the community for coming forward in large numbers for COVID-19 testing, with more than 10,000 tests conducted in the region in the past week.


Face masks for Ballina and Byron businesses

As masks become harder to find across the Northern Rivers following the latest COVID-19 health alert, NSW Health has provided masks for business operators in Ballina and Byron Shires.


UPDATE: Thousands of COVID tests conducted across northern rivers

The Byron Shire community and visitors have come forward in large numbers for testing following the alert of two COVID positive visitors coming to Byron Bay last weekend.


Two new COVID testing clinics for Byron

If you are not feeling well or have flu lime symptoms, even if they are mild, the Northern NSW Local Health District is asking that you get tested following two positive COVID cases that travelled to Byron Bay last weekend.


COVID: infectious sisters visit Byron Bay

As Brisbane prepares to go into another three-day lockdown Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says it is a necessary measure to stop the UK variant of COVID which is highly infectious.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Most importantly, Mandy… is that we take time
    to care for & listen to others. Should the light
    truly ‘go out’ for someone we never managed
    to say ‘I should have apologized for being a
    rat (or whatever) or, “I was irrational” – & ‘now
    I feel your hurt.’ Are we capable of admitting
    our own faults? The early morning sun’s new
    day will be a better symbol of what our planet
    people were about. Well, that’s my mind set.
    Time to look at who we really are without the
    bull dust.

  2. Just a little tip to readjust your Pollyanna mindset,
    “expect the worst and you will never be disappointed” as for “But why would you choose to think otherwise? “that is just a reality check Mandy. It doesn’t matter a s4!t that there are lovely, well meaning people out there, the unfortunate truth is they aren’t all evil there are just about six billion too many of them, the planet is choking on them.
    We are the virus that is killing the planet and it will never get better, and that wonderful glimmer of sunrise is just a harbinger of melanoma and greater excesses of our man (and woman)-made Global inferno.
    Not afflicted with Christianity myself , but at least they have been expecting Hellfire and Brimstone and believe they deserve it. So Cheers, G”)
    So “always look on the bright side” if you like, it doesn’t matter. Cheers G”)

  3. I think expecting the worst (and even planning for it) can be done simultaneously with hoping for the best. The former, on its own, might stop disappointment for sure but also turn you into a miserable old kill joy. Hoping for the best, far from a rejection of reality, at least guards against a do-nothing, give-up mentality.

    If, along with Hanrahan, you believe ‘we’ll all be rooned’ – and what’s more there’s nothing we can do about it – then I’d rather spend the time left with upbeat people than boring curmudgeons (especially those who think cynicism is the safest way to appear wise)

    I’m with you, Mandy, there is always an aura of huge potential in every morning. Carpe diem! ☀️

    There have are also been huge advancements made of recent years with melanoma treatments.

  4. One of my most prized possessions is a little rock. It sits on a small table by the back door onto the verandah. I bought it about 30 years ago at the Bangalow markets. The words painted on it read “My day begins with gratitude and joy.” I notice it every morning as I take my dawn coffee out onto the verandah look at the view of the tree, creek and ridge and say to the Magpies “It’s a beautiful day.”

  5. Nice to read of your optimistic outlook Mandy. I’d much rather be around people like you!
    We know some people who believe in all sorts of global conspiracy theories, spend hours online looking for “the truth” (as they disregard the usual news channels) then act like they’re a cut above the rest of us with their knowledge, all the while expounding what’s really going on in the world…so depressing to listen to. Can’t spend too much time in their company.
    Love your night to dawn theory!
    So, I’ll drink to your glass half-full! Cheers!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.

You Donne good

Liz Levy, Suffolk Park I’d like to thank whoever decided to reprint John Donne’s beautiful poem ‘No Man is an Island’ on the Backlash page. I...