Category Archives: Insights

Take the road less travelled – Why it’s good to scare ourselves

I got back from a holiday in the US a few days ago and it was one of those trips with a before and after –  I left as one person and returned another.

It was a bucket trip list; over my 53 years I’ve traveled widely but every time I had plans to go to the USA something always seemed to happen. But there is nothing as persuasive as a cold Wellington winter’s night, with the wind smashing against the walls like a berserk toddler while the rain pounds sideways against the windows.

Continue reading Take the road less travelled – Why it’s good to scare ourselves

What’s your problem?

Typical corporate problem-solving session
Typical corporate problem-solving session

Whenever I get stressed about a work-related problem, I try to remind myself that most of what I do really doesn’t matter. After all, if some content I’ve written has a typo or spelling mistake then it’s easily fixed. After all, I’m not a pilot or air traffic controller and my mistakes don’t result in a flaming wreck at the end of the runway or debris raining from the skies. Continue reading What’s your problem?

When adults wage war, children perish.

Elie wiesel

 

 

 

 

 

 

The refugee crisis across the globe is heartbreaking. The devastation, loss and slaughter of millions of people is sickening, but what I find even more sickening is the smug indifference of the vile politicians who could do more to help and aren’t. They are as bad as the psychopathic monsters fuelling the conflicts. The adage that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it has never been truer. Continue reading When adults wage war, children perish.

An easy place to live

IMG_20150717_084304
Yeah, the view from my balcony.

I love Auckland – it’s a great city in summer but in winter it has days when the  endless ceiling of drab grey skies is seemingly only broken by icy blobs of rain and a sharp wind that sneaks under your clothes and chills your bones.

I tend to go into  semi-hibernation, sleep work sleep, broken only by the dreary daily commute to work. It was on one of these blah days – get up in the dark, a long tedious drive home in the rain, when everyone in Auckland seems to forget how to drive and the radio presenters seemed more inane than usual, that I got a Skype call from a friend who had moved to Queensland.

Continue reading An easy place to live

Kodak moments

The beautiful moments that make up a life
The beautiful moments that make up a life

A question often asked is: “What if you only had five years to live?” Or the favourite of job interviewers everywhere: “Where do you see yourself in five years time?” A lot can happen in five years, a lot can happen in six months or even a week. But what if there are no options left, what if this is it? Today is your last day, no more one day I’ll learn a language, climb Mt Kilimanjaro, or do a skydive?

Continue reading Kodak moments

Who am I really?

Gardenia bud

We live in illusion and the appearance of things.
There is a reality, we are that reality.
When you understand this, you will see “you” are nothing.
And, being nothing, you are everything.
Kalu Ripnoche

Valentine’s Day beckons, and, like all single folk, I am meant to be either moping around because I am on my own, or celebrating the fabulousness of being a single gal by going out and treating myself to all sorts of indulgent goodies.

I am, however, not doing that. Instead I am going to my friends’ wedding, and I couldn’t be happier about it as they are a lovely couple who give me hope that true love exists because of the way they care for, and connect with, each other. It will be a delight to celebrate this day with them

Besides, it’s just another day – sunrise, sunset, stuff in-between. Like most things in our lives, the meaning it has is created in our heads – it doesn’t really exist except as concept. For example, even though it is February 14 here in New Zealand, on the other side of the dateline it is still February 13 – Black Friday. We are in the same time/space continuum but two very different meanings are given to this time and place – because – well just because somebody said so.

One of the hardest concepts I’ve found  to grasp in Buddhism is the concept of ego and self. That our ego is a construct of our mind and is an illusion. So in same way that Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, yet Saturday the 14th romantic even though it is the exact same day on earth, so is our ego or sense of self  a construct that we have build over the years from experiences, memories and predisposition.

So what if we let this all go? What if we could release the ego and embrace who we want to be without being held back by the artificial construct we have created about ourselves? It is a powerful freedom – not that easy but surely worth a try?

Perhaps one way to look at this is when, in one of my favourite episodes of Seinfeld,  George Costanza decides to do the opposite of everything he has ever done. Because, why not? Who says we have to be the way we are, who says it has to always be done that way and why can’t we be whatever we want to be?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlYGardenia bud

Four seasons times two

Dad
Your absence has gone through me / Like thread through a needle. / Everything I do is stitched with its colour.

Soon I will be 50, and it surprises me how fast that age seems to have arrived. As with all lives, I have had a wealth of experiences – fun and foolishness, love and loss, mistakes and right turns, rich and poor. But the hardest experience, and one I think we all shy away from, is the loss of those we love. As I get older, I’m more aware of my own mortality and that of the people I care about. Grief and loss are like so many things, unless you have been through it yourself, it is hard to understand. I was talking to a friend who recently lost her dad in similar circumstances to the way my dad died – a painful slow illness. It is agonising to watch men who have been the big strong guy all your life dying by inches – and it is painful to lose a parent. They are not meant to die, that isn’t the deal, they are meant to live forever.

My friend is now on the first part of the journey of grief that I went through, and it is one of those things that no matter how much advice and comfort we seek from others, it is a road we travel alone.

I was once given some advice by a psychologist that all loss and grieving takes at least four seasons times two. Each season in the first year brings a cue and a memory that we have to face – the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first anniversary of an special event – winter, spring, summer, autumn – all carry a moment and a memory. Then the second year is the beginning of healing – the second time is easier – the loss less painful, the memory special.

Grief is painful and hard – you just want it to end, the tightness in the chest and throat to go away, the sorrow and the tears. But it does go away, and now I understand that it is all part of the process. We grieve because we loved, we cry because it hurts, and as time passes, the memories transform and become not painful but tender and we change with it. It is life.