Sunday, 11 May 2014

Capturing The Serenity

How do we capture the serenity? This is a question I asked myself whilst driving through the countryside the other day. The sound of leaves rusting in the autumn breeze. The constant burbling sound as water passes over a rocky creek bed. The ability of the emptiness to sooth the very soul, even though the temperature is still 30 degrees Celsius. How can we capture that and put it in a bottle.

Meanwhile back in reality land,  am sure if this was possible some giant multi-national corporation would have done it by now. But I am glad they haven't. Instead, somehow, we have been cocooned into thinking that virtual reality is a great substitute. Compared to watching a show about 4 Wheel Driving and actually being there, I know which I'd choose (including: alligators, green ants, mosquito's, etc).

They don't call it Alligator Creek for fun
And out here we are not scared of the alligators, believe it or not. Mostly we can see and hear them coming, if you're not in the water that is. And that's the way it is in life too. Those really big mistakes: we can here them coming, real friends warn us, we get unsettled feelings, the local environment starts to churn like the waters around an alligators tail. Of course these events can really cause us a lot of pain, even kill. What about the smaller pains we constantly endure?

Green Ants Hurt - a lot
Whilst one bite from a green ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) can inflict a lot of localised pain. The green torso contains an acid which causes severe irritation to the skin. Their colonies are in the leaves of trees woven together with a silk like substance. All very interesting I know, but the point is if you aren't constantly on the lookout for these little buggahs, BANG. Isn't it the same in life, just when we are sitting back and relaxing something, or someone, jumps up and bites us on the ass? There goes the serenity.

Can you see that tree in the foreground lying across the track? That's where the green ants were tracking. Right where you'd put your hand to steady yourself as you climbed over this obstacle. Perhaps it can be likened to a simple change in routine; where we are unaware of the potential hazards. Education and awareness campaigns can reduce the risk, but very rarely can the hazard be eliminated. 

What green ants do you have in your life that cause pain to your minds and hearts? I do not think for one minute we can kill all the green ants in the world, in your life, but with good friends we can help deal with the pain. Then we can get back to enjoying the serenity.

There are hazards all around us, so many activities we undertake are risky and therefore potentially painful. We need to refute this zero harm mentality becoming so prevalent in today's culture and accept the consequences of our actions, or life will disappear before our eyes in this altered state of virtual reality. Then we will come close to living serenely knowing that, unfortunately, whilst pain is part of life it is NOT a state of being.

Let's Drive,

Monday, 5 May 2014

Goal Achievement

So there I was; driving, driving, driving and yes even driving. A weekly tally of some 2480km, which is still only half way across this great nation. I was able to achieve all the companies business goals for the trip, so on that note it was successful. Got me wondering though, why I am often left with a list of unfinished goals when I'm at home?

Flinders Highway Is that a corner or a mirage?
Answer: Lack of Distractions! One man alone in a car, travelling for over 2 hours between country towns. So a goal centred approach to business is good, but what of the boredom in between reaching those goals? Working a plan might be someone's idea of fun, but generally I find it tedious. So let's have a look by the side of the highway.

By the side of the road these wafer thin papery flowers bloomed after the recent cyclonic rains.

For those of you who have never been into the Australian plains before, this is what a water course looks like. There are very few defined rivers/creeks as such. The country is so flat that when one area is full of water it just spreads out to another area, hence the term channel country. 

Some of these channels are not even waist deep on me.

Mt Isa Town Centre
Here is a photo overlooking the city of Mt Isa. Notice how the town is built around a giant mine and mineral processing plant? It mines all the good stuff, you know those heavy metals like Zinc and Lead. WARNING: Do not drink the water! Gee we humans can be a silly lot. 

Looking toward the horizon, those mountains in the distance are about an hours drive away. No traffic or stop signs to slow me down either. The vast emptiness is somehow calming and sheer scale the landscape, well that's why we call it Big Sky Country.

Look closely and you can see the curvature of the planet out here. It truly is amazing out here.
I hope you too are able to put away the distractions and focus on achieving your goals this week. Until next time.

Let's Drive,

Sunday, 27 April 2014

This Week

Hey Everyone,

Won't be around this week. Have got to travel, due to work commitments. 
Will take the camera and get some photos of outback Queensland for you.
Catch Up when I get back.

Really Driving,

Friday, 25 April 2014

Perspective - trilogy

Over the last two posts I have been talking about how light can bring us pain, or relive our pain. The exact same phenomenon can have opposite effects on people, even the same person. Intense light in the desert, well who likes that? The glimmer of light in the peak of a winter storm, doesn't that bring hope? Context my friends, context.

Bringing together people with disparate and divergent views on any topic will likely bring some heated debate, maybe even name calling, possibly gestures of endearment. When we approach a topic, or problem, from different perspectives naturally we are going to have different points of view. The fog of disagreement can quickly degenerate the entire discussion into a mire of jingoism serving only to inhibit our ability to listen and empathise with others. We haven't even begun integrating emotions and values into the landscape of this discussion.

Foggy Day in #Townsville
Are we driven more by our emotions, values, logic or apathy. What is more relevant?
a) on a cold winters day to know that logically if we light a fire we will get warmer,
b) to become so lethargic due to the cold that you'd rather snuggle under the dooner?
c) whinge about your pain and discomfort to the government, it's their fault anyway?
d) Pretend we can fix it later, right before the fear of death overtakes us.

Extreme examples I know, but what does it take for us to look at our lives and understand happiness is not a constant state? I know what it takes - community. Strong relationships to help others gather the wood to light the fire. Strategic thinkers who can point to the fallacies of modern political thought as short-term and ultimately self-destructive. Close friends with the strength of character to shine light into our lives and point out our misunderstandings with love and respect. 

Spin Your Web Little Spider

So is the light good or bad? Is the dark good or bad? Both exist and therefore we need to work with what we've got. The light can bring pain when it uncovers areas of hurt deep within us, yet the dark can bring joy allowing for times of rest and reflection. Conversely the dark can bring grief by shrouding issues we need to confront and light can delight by illuminating the possible.

Moss grows in damp dark conditions. Is it unhappy?

Just because you are not brimming with happiness today doesn't mean your life is shite. Don't despair because you cannot perceive hope, just do what is within your power. But most of all I hope we have the courage to shine the light from within ourselves, thereby showing respect to the world around us.

Until next time,
Let's Drive,

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Perspective - continued

The complete lack of any heat was constraining, the absence of any feeling was numbing and weighed us down like a coat made from the blackest coal dug from deep within an underground mine. The intense darkness bore down on us like an out of control freight train. Yet somehow we were unable to see beyond our pain; to contemplate our future. How could we begin to plan our next move when the pervading darkness ate away at our will to try anything new?

The darkness made it so much easier to hide from our own integrity and the cold emphasised our weakening internal strength. Our souls longed for slumber, a reversion of awareness. Anything to avoid the need for prolonged examination of our situation, feelings and hopeless desires.

Incredibly, a small sliver of light, began to penetrate through the ubiquitous blackness and somehow mesmerised us, stealing our focus. We were energised by the tiniest hint of heat emanating from the same source and an eagerness to move toward the light quickly began to overtake us. Our breath returned as we realised it might soon be at an end and our feelings of hopelessness began to subside. With half a smile I turned to you, only to be shocked to rediscover things that had been hidden from our view for so long.

You saw the look on my face and began to turn, instantly drawing these forgotten issues to your attention too. We looked at each other and in that moment knew we had to (you choose):

Rise in support of each other and move away from issues previously hidden in the dark,
Reach for another bottle of XYZ to sooth our cares away,
Turn slowly from each other, refocussing on those hidden things and shrink a little inside, or
We start screaming at each other, trying to apportion blame for the situation.

Luckily we chose to turn and run towards the light? Tears of pain and happiness now streaming down our cheeks. The warmth of our connection with each other and with the light rekindling our inner beings.  

Life can be so wonderful and fulfilling when we have good friends who stick by us through trouble and strife. Our lives are further enriched when we are that good friend. Yet the modern media in our western democratic capitalist society continually bemoans the hopelessness of governments seeking to lay the blame for all of our pain on this external system. Whilst the mass media continues to perpetrate the myth that our lot in life is not our fault, personal responsibility remains a laughable concept to many. Can you see how this attitude of blame spreading with its push to promote an external locus of self-control makes it so easy for us to argue with each other about trivial matters?

The Strand at night, Townsville

Every day the mass media is pointing out what the editor of a newspaper or executive producer of a news program disagrees with, what will whip up hysteria and ultimately what they think will sell. And they will argue all day, that they have the moral authourity to draw our attention to those things hidden in the darkness. My point is that these practices constantly focus the public's attention on what is wrong with ...  (insert trendy topic here) ... I believe this perpetuates the widespread exclusion throughout society of the habit of self-examination, looking at our own hidden issues. Fear my friends, fear of public shame and hysteria aimed at us.

So whilst other powerful influences in society continue to point toward the futile, the failures and the insipidly pointless, I hope we have the courage to point toward the light. To embrace the gentle warm glow of positivity and encourage others with our friendship, even though that appears amazingly difficult to do.

Let's Drive,