July 17, 2014

Dead easy

It’s an easy jog from the Olympic Pools in Newmarket through the Domain and over Grafton Bridge.  Under Grafton Bridge is the remains of a cemetery.  Most of the graves are in disarray, broken from vandalism, tree roots and the shifting ground.

Down into the gully and over a little creek and you’re at the new cycleway under construction. Can’t wait for that to be finished but I’m one of the first to run on it I’m sure. Back up the hill, more of a bush climb than a run and all of a sudden you’re at Governor Hobson’s grave. Signed the Treaty of Waitangi on behalf of Queen Victoria and six months later dead. Aged 49.

Running after the pool was quite hard for some reason so it was the end of K’Road and back.  A cold day, wet and nice to be in a hot shower and in warm clothes. Going out for exercise when it’s cold and wet is hard.  It’s definitely easier not to go out!

As I’ve said before from the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, life is short, life is dull, life is full of pain. But it’s not that hard to make something specDSC_0849ial for yourself.

And in the winter where there’s not a honey bee in sight, just rain, cold, and at Grafton Cemetery a stark reminder of how long you’re gone when you’re gone, time to give yourself something simple for an uplift.

Might be a run, a movie, time out with a friend or connecting with family.

An easy uplift for a gloomy winter’s day.

Stephen

May 19, 2014

Geloso

It’s the Italian word for jealous. There’s something much more appealing about a jealous Italian love story than the nasty everyday variety. Or may be it’s the disconnection from such an event that makes it sound softer.

I was reading a blog over the weekend on being grateful. It’s a great topic to explore and then to remind ourselves about being grateful for what we have, as opposed to being anxious about what we don’t have, or geloso of others’ things or situations.

If you read the comments on a New Zealand on-line news article, there’s a good chance that the vast majority of contributors have something to complain about. And maybe they do. But I’m sure, like all of us, they also have plenty to be grateful for, despite injustices and unfairness.

So why the complaining? Why the geloso (on occasion)? I’m not sure I know the answer to this any more than anyone else does. But in watching leaders and others I know, those who don’t complain and who aren’t jealous appear more content, more at peace, and happier.

You might say that those that display these characteristics don’t have so much to complain about, and you could be right.

But you could be wrong for yourself. Being grateful in my experience requires less energy, doesn’t require justification, can disarm, and give that most important of gifts to yourself. The freedom to move on without holding something that you most likely can’t change.

Many of the respondents to the blog I read “accused” the author of living a life without challenges. They could be right.

I suggest you try out being grateful next time you’re confronted with something which brings up the unfairness or jealousy gene. Just try it. Even to yourself, but even better out loud to others.

The weekend is a great place to start trying it out. It’s only 4 days away. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Stephen

March 15, 2014

In the mood for a cyclone

Apparently there’s a cyclone here, or is that an ex-cyclone?  So far not much bar some gusts and welcome rain.  Running from Titirangi up to Arataki this morning, it only took 500 metres, then I didn’t get any wetter.  One good thing about running in the rain is that once you’re wet, that’s it, you don’t get any wetter.

Image

If it’s cold that can matter, but this morning it was not too bad at all.  

For some reason it reminded me of being in Paris a year ago next month. Suddenly, the trip was fresh in my mind again and Hotel Coste was playing in the (now infrequently used) car. I feel a re-play of Midnight in Paris coming on.

It’s been exceptionally busy lately at work, with hardly a moment to reflect or for that matter, write a blog. And I’ve missed it. There’s something about writing down thoughts that is both therapeutic and insightful to me. A change in weather is like a change a pace, a chance to do something new, or in this case old, again.

So the outdoor umbrellas are down, the windows all closed but frankly, the cyclone hasn’t really (so far!) come to much that matches all the preparation and anticipation. But what it did do is makefor a change of pace, a chance to change direction, even for a day.

Thanks to a cyclone that put me in the mood. To write a blog.

Stephen

 

December 11, 2013

11/12/13

Seemed like as good a day as any to return for a blog. There won’t be another date like this for quite a while. Which is a bit like every day. But some days there are patterns.

I’ve been riding my electric-assist bicycle around a lot lately. Work, friends, even going to the movies. And finding I arrive feeling very alive and, as far as getting to work goes, much much quicker. I’ve also spent quite a lot less on petrol, and using the car has become like a treat.

Riding a bike in the city streets isn’t something I’d do half asleep that’s for sure. It’s full alert, defensive driving (riding) at its height. It’s liberating, fast at peak hour (especially if you find a bus lane as I am fortunate enough to have most of the way into the office) and there’s the added exercise.

And I'm loving it!

And I’m loving it!

I was talking to some colleagues at work today about the shape of one’s career. It’s not like a square paver path where each step is laid out neatly in front, but rather it’s like crazy paving, all over the place and you won’t necessarily know the next step until it’s laid out (credit to the unknown guru on LinkedIn who wrote this recently).

So why do we imagine it should be all laid out? Watch the cyclist. Rhythmic pedalling, and probably appears to the driver, give or take, like they are traveling reasonably direct. But the cyclist knows it’s a far cry from the easy (or hard uphill) journey. It’s watching like a hawk at the parked cars, checking for doors about to be opened, scanning the side roads, checking the traffic behind, watching the road, looking for potholes, avoiding metal plates and so on. It’s tiring without even thinking about the physical effort!

Have you sometimes thought that colleagues careers are all in order, one orderly step after another? And yours is chaotic, lacking direction, even meaning?

It’s partly about perception. On the inside chaos and crazy paving. On the outside, order and direction. I’d say take heart, if as you approach Christmas, and it’s crazy busy, that is just the way it probably is for everyone, and should be for you if you’re making progress in your career. If it’s too smooth and easy, it will be, and won’t be taking you where you want to. And you won’t be nearly as alive as you could be.

So on this day where the date is so ordered, with one number after another and as neat as can be, recognise that it’s a very rare and special event.

Not your everyday experience.

Stephen

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