Friday, October 1, 2010

Musings during a long distance drive.

The Chinese have a saying “In every crisis there is opportunity”, but does that mean we have to seek out a crisis in order to find an opportunity?
Why is it that modern man seems to limp from crisis to crisis trying to find that non-existent pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
Perhaps it’s because we cannot live without the constant rush of adrenaline this quest produces? Our “fight or flight” reflexes have atrophied to a point where they no longer serve to protect us; they are merely there to enable us to separate the good times from the bad. And make no mistake, we need bad times in order to know what the good times are!
It seems to take a major change in our lives in order to realize that all opportunities needs to be seized with both hands. We tend to wait like a beggar at a street corner with palms outstretched waiting for the Universe to provide us with what we believe we need!
Ignore what any major organized religion will try to tell you, you don’t have to be religious in order to request aid from the Universe.
Spiritual perhaps, but neither is a necessity. I have been told that the difference between Catholics and Jews is the fact that the latter are born with guilt while the former have to be taught it.
But do we need organized religion to reach or dreams and aspirations?
I don’t think so! I believe in the saying “What you sow, so you shall reap”. This is not an easy credo to live by in today’s modern society. We are all reaping the whirlwind as we sow our own seeds of destruction. Wars, floods, famine and a variety of other ills of our own making are turning the planet on which we live from a heaven to a hell. Forget the fact that once the Rain Forests are gone, they will never come back. We treat our natural resources with the same disdain that we throw away leftover garbage!
Why am I so angry? It’s because I, like many of us have wasted opportunities because I did not recognize them as such. In jest I have often said that when my ship comes in I will probably be at the airport! If you want to win the Lotto you have to at least buy a ticket…
At a recent book launch I met a friend that I did a Hospice course with 18 years ago. We had lost contact for more than a decade with us each of us following our own path after we completed the course. I have to add that I did not really want to attend the book launch. But if I had not gone then Robin and I would not have re-connected. It was an emotional meeting for both of us, as I was devastated to find that he had cancer and that this once vibrant man now had to get about in a wheelchair. Visiting with him a few days later made me realize that I almost let another opportunity slip from my grasp. I was truly humbled when he gave me a 3-cd set of inspirational talks that he had done over the course of several years.
I was going to be driving back from Cape Town alone, and I told him that I would listen during the journey. I also promised that at various points along my route home I would stop and shout out his name. I know that it may sound “cheesy” but I did it and it strengthened my resolve to try and live a more positive life!
“Do not criticize, condemn or complain”: says Dale Carnegie…but we all do.
We complain about the fact that Eskom has once again started load shedding. We complain that it is too hot, too cold, too wet, and too dry. We complain when we have nothing to complain about!
We condemn ourselves to a life of negative re-enforcement and we seldom if ever praise work well done. Or initiative that we could possibly see as being a threat to our position in the work place. We criticize the Government and everyone else we can think of instead of looking at ourselves in a mirror and asking the question “Am I the best me I can be?” If we are really honest with ourselves, the answer is without a doubt “NO”…but do we try to change? No, we fall back to the safety of the 3 C’s. We can be happy in our misery because it is our habour where we feel safe.
Happiness is something that is reserved for others who we believe know no better! Are the wealthy happy? Are the very religious happy? My view is that they are not. Their stress levels might be different because they have money or belief, but I do not believe that they are happy in the child-like sense of the word.
Watch a child at play. They are totally focused on what they are doing and their faces show every nuance of what they are feeling. You could give them a box and they would invent a game around it. Give an adult a box and the first thing he wants to know is what used to be inside, and why is it empty.
We have lost our ability to play without being competitive at any level. Even at school level its win at all costs.
I would be a hypocrite if I did not take my own advice and try to get something positive out of all these rantings;
So I offer you my own 12-step plan to re-kindle and reawaken the essence of who you are or who would like to be.

1] Do not align yourself to negative thinkers
2] Learn something new every day, no matter how insignificant it seems to be
3] Jump in a puddle, run in the rain or blow bubbles
4] Call or visit a friend you have not seen for a while
5] Sit in your garden, or if you don’t have one go to a park or open space
6] Introduce yourself to your neighbours
7] Smile and say hello to a total stranger
8] Buy yourself flowers
9] Do at least one random act of kindness a week (every day would be pushing it)
10] Give yourself a pat on the back
11] Make up a dream list
12] Tell someone special that you love him or her.

It would also be remiss of me if I failed to dedicate this talk to Robin, who has helped me to re-awaken the child inside me. I honor him by committing to try to become the
‘BEST ME I CAN BE”.
Thank you Robin, your words not only kept me company during my journey but they will stay with me forever.
Robin died, in his sleep, at his home on Sunday 30 August. He was surrounded by those who loved him.

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