April 27, 2012
At the end of the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” the character played by Dame Judi Dench implores us to spend our lives, no matter what stage we’re at, in doing those things that matter to us, that give us meaning and purpose.
I’m writing this on the plane after twenty four hours in Dunedin. Tonight is a function, tomorrow a half marathon and at least two more trips in the next 10 days. In between there are reports to finalise, emails to respond to and an over full week ahead. Sound familiar?
I’m not the most relaxed flyer but some seriously concentrated conditioning over the last three months has gone a long way to cure that! But the flight, if nothing else, gives me time too breathe and relax. And think about purpose.
I try to live with purpose and meaning for those things that matter to me and try to ensure that those things take priority. Right now I’m finding thinking about purpose incredibly difficult with the intensity and pressure of multiple works obligations.
I console myself that the work is of course part of my purpose. Which it is. But it ain’t everything.
So I’m giving myself two extra flights to wish my Mum a happy birthday in person. She’s 81 and living in her Marigold Hotel with Dad as they should be!
Now that’s something that matters.
April 1, 2012
I woke up early this morning for a Sunday and even earlier ‘cos it’s the end of Daylight Saving. I read quite a bit at 6.30 this morning from Zite – the on-line magazine you tailor to suit your interests (and prejudices too no doubt!) – including a piece about happiness and the need for us all to play without a goal. Like kids do. And on your hands and knees sometimes.
Martin Seligman, the author of “Authentic Happiness” is quoted as saying the three pillars of mental health are love, work and play.
I’ve seen an awful lot of work lately, come to think of it I always have. Why do we work so hard? Or you might think work so poorly that you have to spend way too much time at work. Which could be true. Work can be play of course and can bring satisfaction.
If, on the other hand we’re working hard for money because we believe at one level that that will bring happiness then it might be worth thinking about Martin Seligman’s other work on positive psychology. He talks about three life states: the pleasant life (things) the good life (discovering our unique strengths) and the meaningful life (finding a meaning for our life greater than just us).
Money gives us the pleasant life. Work gives us money. But neither can give us the good life or the meaningful life on its own.
An extra hour gave me some play, a hint of the good life (whether it’s any good or not I’ve blogged again!) and even some time to reflect on meaning.
I’m loving the extra hour!
March 21, 2012
On 30 June last year Duncan Meek made a terrible error on the Southern Motorway in Auckland and collided with the Fa’aeteete family van. Mr Fa’aeteete was killed leaving Mrs Fa’aeteete instantly widowed with a son, a daughter, granddaughter and another on the way.
I admit to reading the news and being somewhat immune to it all. It’s not often I feel particularly moved but the story in the NZ Herald about Duncan Meek’s sentencing and Mrs Fa’aeteete moved me.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine,” Mrs Fa’aeteete told the court. “If Petelo was here he would say that it’s done. Learn from it and don’t do it again.” She continued: “We met with Duncan Meek. His monumental loss of concentration had dark consequences – it caused the death of our beloved Petelo. His remorseful demeanour left me no option than to live by Petelo’s legacy to be forgiving.”
Mrs Fa’aeteete hugged Mr Meek in court, cried and told him to not do it again.
Where did Aida Fa’aeteete get such strength to forgive? I don’t really know, but probably in part from her late beloved Petelo. I’m sure Mr Meek’s remorse had something to do with it too.
Mrs Fa’aeteete is a remarkable woman who shows extraordinary leadership. The courts are full of revenge dressed up as justice while we have the people, the will and the resources to truly move on with justice that restores peace through forgiveness and being heard.
We can all learn from Mr Fa’aeteete, more so than she thinks possible I reckon. Such powerful actions, unplanned and genuine. She get’s the last word today: “My husband was a forgiving person. I will forgive Duncan once, I just hope he learns from it. If we achieve that, and he doesn’t do it again and if someone else learns from this, then that’s more than enough for me.”
February 8, 2012
I’m slowing getting used to working up high. I didn’t think much of it at first but after three weeks I’ve realised that there is something about working in a high-rise that gives me a different sense. Something not quite right at first.
I headed off on foot to return a DVD to the local video store tonight, then continued almost all the way to Mt Eden Village through the back streets. It’s a beautiful summer’s evening – someone was practicing the piano with the window open, a young man was watching a movie on his laptop on the balcony and Grandma’s (she’s getting a lot of airing in the blogs lately!) old house was looking tidy and calm. A peaceful warm night.
I’m tired in the evening nowadays, learning the ropes at my new work is taking a lot of energy and walking tonight up to the video shop had unexpectedly good consequences. Simple really, I felt grounded.
I often walk on the waterfront and it’s grand, great views and you never tire of it. But a walk around the streets was something very special. Summer, local people, crickets, and that simple feeling of being connected with what’s around. This could be the good old days of Summer 2012 finally upon us so don’t miss it. And it’s yet another moment, when feeling not quite right that I’ve found peace in a simple connection.
Just a simple walk.