Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Escape to the Murray

Most people like to have some control over their lives and it can be scary to hand over control to others.  I'm one of those who like to know what is going on, and where I am going to be and what I am going to do, at any particular time. Accordingly, when I found out that my dear wife was secretly organising a surprise holiday for a recent birthday it took a lot of self control not to try and find out more. I think everyone who has ever run a business likes to feel in control. Usually I would have tried to weasel the information out of my wife (I didn't spend nearly forty years as a lawyer for nothing) but fortunately I sensed that the holiday and keeping the details secret were important to her and I played the game and just went along with the flow.

For the first time in my life I turned up at an airport having no idea where I was flying to. The good lady had at least told me I would need my passport and had given me a basic list of the sort of clothing I should pack. My children, who were in on the secret, gave me a birthday card with strict instructions not to open it until I was on the plane. When I did I found it contained spending money in Australian currency. Hey, what a change in life that was - my kids giving me money!

We had a great holiday in South Australia that included cruising in a paddle steamer for four days along SAs iconic Murray River, taking in the scenery and visiting: vineyards, sheep stations, riverside towns and Aboriginal historic sites.  Add to that the good company, great food and service and one could say life was pretty damn good. There are times when we all should just switch off, go with the flow, and trust other people with our lives.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Escape the Fungi Growing Syndrome

What happens when your garden is neglected and the soil becomes infertile and sour? Weeds, fungi and other unattractive nasties start to flourish. The colourful flowers, the healthy fruits and vegetables get over-whelmed and eventually choked until they die. What happens if your life becomes perpetually unhappy and unsatisfactory? What happens when you are just survivng and not reaching your full potential and you are finding that what you do an a daily basis no longer makes you happy and self-fulfilled?  In a metaphorical sense much the same thing happens to your soul or your body as in the garden.  You cease to flourish, and your soul, your personality or your inner being - call it what you like, becomes sour and you are emotionally cultivating weeds and fungi.  It's not a good look. It may lead on to despair, depression and other problems.

I had a coffee recently with a former colleague who after forty years is still practising his profession, although he hates the work.  He has convinced himself that working on for a few more years is what he should do because he is still earning good income.  He takes a lot of medication and suffers from a variety of stress related complaints. To put it simply there is not much joy at all in his life notwithstanding that he seems to have a good marriage, loving grownup kids and grandchildren.

He has reached that stage oin his working life where he is really just cultivating fungi on the soul and his work no longer makes much sense.  He goes to work often at 7am and works late.  He is not a poor man but he has fallen into the trap of believing he needs much more before he can retire or make any change of direction in his life. Meanwhile, he is living in a semi-permanent state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Don't be afraid of change.  Don't work on mindlessly when all joy of work has gone. There are other options and other choices that can fertilise and replenish the inner man or woman and bring joy back into life. Clear out the weeds in your life and let the flowers back in.