These are the good old days part II!

I bounded up the stairs just now at home having returned from the movies alone. At my farewell lunch with colleagues from AUT just before Christmas I was taken to blog about the good old days. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris explores both the glorious beauty of Paris and the good old days. On his midnight strolls through Paris whilst visiting with his fiance and future in-laws, Gil Pender, a screenwriter and budding author,  travels back to the good old days. He finds himself mixing with Hemmingway, Picasso and others. Okay, so it’s not real, but hell, you don’t go to the movies for reality!

It’s a delightful romantic comedy and I can’t believe it took me so long to see it. This week I started my new role at PwC. There’s been grief from parting and finishing and wondering whether I was living in the good old days these last few years. Now I know I was for certain.

In the last year or so I’ve come to know a very special man, the poet Sam Hunt, and now be privileged to help him to find more places to perform to those that would appreciate him. He offers much to those seeking to find their grounding and understand their moral compass. Beyond Martin Seligman’s pleasant life of material pleasures, beyond the good life of maximising capability and achievement to the meaningful life characterised by connectedness to a greater whole.

I am not sure yet why I am connecting these diverse events – the good old days, Midnight in Paris, Sam Hunt and the meaningful life, but it’ll come as we continue.

I don’t always have it, but I have enough of a sense of the meaningful life to value it, want it and know that it is my key to happiness.  I’m honoured to have such a reputable firm as PwC take a chance on me to make a difference for them and add value both to them and their clients. I’ll try my best to do so.

Midnight in Paris reminded me to treasure the meaning I already have, and the meaning I am once again starting to build in a new place.  But starting new isn’t really starting new. It’s building on what exists and all the meaning I have built in leadership development, before that in investigation, and more recently connecting with Sam, is part of that base.

It was scary, but now it’s exciting and much more connected. Whatever you do, connect it with what brings meaning. Otherwise, why do it?

There’s a line: meaning for happiness. Maybe that should have been the title of the blog.



10 thoughts on “These are the good old days part II!

  1. Nice blog Stephen. You have touched on the true meaning of life: ‘connectedness to a greater whole’. It has many definitions but that’s as good as any. PWC should be grateful they have someone in the ranks with an understanding of oneness.

    Most corporations are desperately hanging onto the old paradigm of profit before people, and profit above everything else. As the consciousness shift ramps up, it is going to be a real challenge for the corporate world to maintain this philosophy which lines pockets but has a large emptiness to it. Organisations are going to need people that can bring things back into balance or they won’t survive when the world wakes up, no matter how big and well known they are or how much they pump into greenwashing themselves.


    1. Thanks for the kind words David. I hope it’s a great year for you. I’m planning to run the Wisdom Retreat again this year and hope you’ll be the valuable part of it that you were in November….


  2. Great to hear you writing about the importance of the meaningful life, Stephen…money, material possessions, and achievement pale in comparison to the sense of meaning that comes from connectedness to a greater whole. Glad to hear you’re taking that perspective to PWC and thanks for the reminder that this BIG PICTURE perspective is what gives life its ‘juice’. – I’ll need to check out Sam Hunt as I’ve not read his poetry before. I Love the David Whyte quote too.

    We’re in transition now – having left our old home – housesitting at the moment – not sure what the next move is – and living in each moment – allowing life to unfold – keeping our eyes on the bigger picture!

    Here’s to a happy, healthy, and meaningfully connected new year 🙂


  3. Good post. I have seen Midnight in Paris twice now, and enjoyed it even more the second time. I have noted how the audience does not leave straight away, how it makes you feel good. It is a very hopeful movie, and very existentialist, very Sartre, notice that Gil’s fiance is named Inez! I also can’t but help think of Roquentin and Nausea, possibly the writing of the novel. Ah, meaningfulness.

    Your connection with Sam Hunt is profound. He was the opening act for Leonard Cohen, another profound magical evening.

    I am reading a short book by Robert Solomon called “Introducing the Existentialists; Imaginary Interviews with Sartre, Heidegger and Camus.”

    The following extract may interest
    Heidegger: ..Infact, idle chatter defines our whole modern existence. No one knows how to think anymore. Even our language has lost its ability to allow us to think.

    RCS: This is why you think poetry is superior to philosophy?
    Heidegger: Poetry is philosophy. It is language refinding itself.

    and the interview continues.
    Keep watching movies and keep on the path.


  4. Fantastic! There is something very powerful about that phrase, “the good old days” , what it means or meant. The stories and perspectives. And equally powerful though challenging to acknowledge these as the good old days. Thanks


  5. Great post Stephen – I like the linkages. I’ve always liked Sam Hunt and his poetry and how he is defined by his own words and not those of others. Meaning is the fronteir that poets just love to find and go beyond – boldly. If you haven’t already you should have a look at David Whyte’s poetry Here’s one of my favorite quotes from him that sums up poetry and the search for meaning:

    “The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back for the poet once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. The discipline of poetry is in overhearing yourself say difficult truths from which it is impossible to retreat. Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.” ~ David Whyte


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