Did You See the Sunset Last Night?

First of all an apology. I missed sending out this blog last week. I got some calls – it won’t happen again.
Anyway, this week I am writing from Hawks nest, a beautiful little seaside town north of Sydney. They tell me not to say exactly where it is, so as to keep it everyone’s little secret. So I won’t. But if you Google TeaGardens you’ll be close.

It is truly a beautiful place, undeveloped and relaxing. We are ‘Glamping’, otherwise known as ‘posh camping’ or camping where you DON’T have to fill your car and a trailer to the brim with everything and spend hours unpacking and setting up. It’s all done for you with a real bed and an ensuite. So we are having a wonderful time. And I did something this week that I thought would never happen. I went with Helen to sit and watch a sunset. And it was truly amazing – as some of the pictures will attest.
Sunset North 2
Do you know one of the curious things about a caravan and camping park is how everyone is friendly, and waves, and takes time for a chat. It reminded me of the time in 2000 when the Olympics came to town. The whole city became like a giant caravan and camping park. Everyone was friendly and took time for a chat. Do you remember what it was like on the buses going to and from the venues. It was awesome! The whole place was a holiday camp. and it lasted for more than a few months.

Then it slowly drifted back to ‘normal’ city life. There IS a lasting remnant though, if you ever take the bus to the Olympic Stadium for a rugby game. The atmosphere on the buses is just great – much the same as it was back in 2000. I love the conversations we have on the way to and from the game. If you tried that on the number 38A on a Monday morning though, you might get a different response…

Sunset 2
And it occurred to me, as it does, that we could create a new ‘normal’. William Wilberforce, that amazing man who back in the 1700’s fought for and won the abolition of slavery, also dedicated his life to another goal – “The Reformation of Manners”. At the time it was laughed off as a hopeless pipedream. But he had a huge impact and all manner of community organisations and support groups sprung up during that time, many of which still operate today. The heart of it was about people being mindful of each other and being mindful that we live in community, and that if each of us brought that mindfulness to bear in our dealings with each other, the world we live in would be a much better place.

And that is the atmosphere in our caravan and camping park. Everyone is mindful, and that makes us kinder and more thoughtful and we take more time for each other.

You might say that’s OK when we are on holidays. And Yes, that’s true. But wouldn’t it be good to take some of that back to the city with us? and maybe take the time to stop, sit, and watch the sunset? And That’s my moment of clarity this week.

All the best, Brian.
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Perspectives … and trying to Lose Weight

I carry a bit of extra weight. OK, a lot of extra weight. I have done so for years. Rugby was my passion and I played breakaway and No.8 for years. I was fit then, and fast. And I had the appetite of a No.8. The problem was that when I stopped playing rugby, I continued to eat like a No.8 and now unfortunately, I look more like a prop. (For those who are not familiar with the terms, the No.8 is the tall, fast, thin guy at the back of the scrum. The prop is the big, slow, heavy guy in the middle of the scrum).

Front row

Anyway, for those like me, who carry extra weight it can be a big struggle to lose the kilos. I have done it all – Weightwatchers, Dr. Atkins, High Protein-Low Carb diets. GutBusters, Fit for Life – you name it, I’ve tried it. I’ve had personal trainers, personal torturers, joined gyms – tried it all. I’ve done aquarobics, where at 59 I was the ‘young boy’ in the class (that was fun!) I could go on and on. I have more books and commando exercise programmes than you could poke a stick at.

So from all that you can gather I am pretty qualified to join in the chorus of those who talk about “How HARD it is…” to lose weight! And with my background I am also fully qualified to blame my weight on my past. For many this IS a real issue.

But the other day I was involved in one of those conversations(you know…about how ‘HARD’ it is to lose weight) and as I walked away I was really challenged. When I stopped to think of all I have to be thankful and grateful for… my life is blessed, not hard. Losing a loved one is HARD! Cancer is HARD! Having your house destroyed by bushfire is HARD! Living in Iraq right now is HARD!

Losing weight, along with a host of other ‘First World’ challenges we face is NOT hard. I have had a revelation of how out of whack my perspective has been on this and a whole list of other stuff that I allow myself to get bothered by…

So my moment of absolute clarity this week is actually not about losing weight(though I think I have just completely dobbed myself in to all of you on that issue!).
It is about perspective. Is our language and our self-talk in proper perspective? Is it really ‘hard to do’? or can we make a proper, quality decision and just go do it? It may not be about losing weight. It could be about anything.
What one change in perspective can you make this week that will open up for you a whole world of new possibilities?

Have a great week, Brian.

PS: I really appreciate the encouraging feedback I am receiving about these blogs. If you think someone you know might be interested, do feel free to share this with them. BM

Cartoon compliments of shafiq-asimplelife

Go For It…Take the Next Step!

Out on our balcony last night, straining to see the ‘Blood Moon’ through the clouds, I was offered another humerous insight into human behaviour (mostly my own human behaviour!). You couldn’t see a thing because of the cloud cover, yet I spent the best part of half an hour staring at the clouds as if by just staring, the clouds would somehow clear and reveal all. They didn’t. But we did see the the moon with a slice missing before it disappeared behind said clouds, so we settled for that.

It reminded me of what an ancient prophet said a long time ago about us being guided by a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It spoke of the old camel trains that travelled centuries ago along the Silk Route from China and India in the east to the Mediterranean Sea. They often travelled by night, and in those days, without the benefit of GPS or Google Maps, they depended on the light of old oil lamps. These lamps were not much chop and at a push, would light up about the length of half a camel, just one or two steps at a time.

Camel train silhouetted against colorful sky crossing the Sahara Desert, Morocco

Then once a month, the moon would come up and they would get a sense of the horizon and refocus on where they were headed. Then it was back to one step at a time by the dim light of an oil lamp.
Yet these travellers covered vast distances, over 6,500 kms right across the top of the world. They knew exactly where they were going and it took a long time but they got there by just taking the next step, and the next…

I wondered was this a good analogy for our lives, our businesses, our hopes and dreams? A famous writer once said that the future is dimly-lit and hard to see, but the present is brightly-lit and clear to see. We can have a goal, a destination or a dream yet sometimes we hesitate because we can’t see how we can get there. And, in truth, we rarely CAN see the whole journey, but we CAN always identify the first step.

Goethe’s famous quote on taking the first step is one of my favourites:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance
to draw back.
…but the moment you definitely commit yourself,
Providence moves,
And all sorts of things occur to help you that would never otherwise have occurred,
raising in your favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and assistance which no-one could have dreamed would come your way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Begin it now.”

So my Moment of Clarity this week is to step out and “Go for it”. Even if we can’t see the moon we can always see the next step in front of us. So take that first step, get into motion. Whether it is a dream, a change, breaking new ground, whatever, “Go For It!” And, in time, like the great camel trains of the Silk Road you will get there – even if it is just one step at a time.

Have a great week. As always, I welcome your feedback.

All the Best, Brian.

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