Winter is upon us. After six months in the South Island we fled to the North driving ahead of an extremely cold blast from Antarctica We reached our wintering site near Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty, on the shortest day and set up our van for a long stay. When the ancient pohutukawa trees along this shore begin to bloom we will once again follow the sun to the rugged mountains of the Southern Alps.
Migration, change, the journey as a way of life is what we chose years ago… the freedom of the open road. But you certainly don’t need a campervan to enjoy the journey as a way of life. It’s not about big wheels carrying you into new and exciting places; it’s about the ever-turning wheels of the questing, creative mind and the compassionate nurturing heart. It’s about where your truth takes you.
Tough stuff visits all of us. We have a wonderful friend who lives by the mantra… I try to treat everyday as a holiday… and holds fast to that as best she can come flood or famine, and knows both from time to time. And another who says… I don’t work; I play, because I live my passion. Thus speaks the artist, healer, teacher, scientist, carver, baker and candlestick maker. Mind, heart and spirit bring us to the truth of our journey; many are the paths that open for us.
There maybe little depth for you in what I say because I have no idea what issues you face today. I write from this space because I once again seek the way ahead. Sometimes we have to pause to see where we are, pause to take in the view; the short one embracing all that’s close and the long one that reaches to distant horizons. Once again I have to redraw the map that guides me through.
Change is the constant in life. When it strikes with power it’s an opportunity to examine the journey anew. If the way ahead seems confusing, stepping aside, pausing and trusting, allows the trail to open to you. There is never just one way through.
Recently I received a remarkable five-page email from a friend who committed herself to a three-week, mid-winter, Outward Bound course at Anakiwa. While the youngest participant was aged 27, she was 65. She endured days of extreme cold and sweeping rain; long nights in the open, climbed rock faces and abseiled down, dived deep and didn’t drown. She was pushed to and beyond her limits, but thrived.
Easy you say! No, while reasonably fit because she worked at that before the course, this challenge took her totally out of her comfort zone. An elite athlete, no way, but a grandmother with something to say to herself. It was all about the power of attitude. She summed that up with these words by Charles Swindoll.
“Attitude to me, is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.
“It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break…
“The remarkable thing is that we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past; we cannot change the fact that certain people act in a certain way. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is for you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”
So the dream-maker and the map-maker, which are of all of us, meet from time-to-time to chart a course that brings direction and completeness to our lives. We live in an exciting age where hope fills our days.
P.S. Two years ago we published two books, which came out of talks I’d given in New Zealand and the USA. As we are coming to the end of that print run I thought I’d mention them for those who missed their release and might be interested. In these novels I’ve used the story approach to share ancient Waitaha lore that I believe still has great relevance today.
Only a Hut in the Mountains reveals the impact the Moon has on our lives everyday. It’s a powerful unseen force that was understood and harnessed by many indigenous peoples long ago. It also explores the gifts passed down through time by all our ancestors: it helps us to understand why some are drawn so strongly to crystals and stone, and to tap into the strength of the Stone People: it opens doors for those whose heritage lies in the world of the Water People, the Bird People, the Tree People, the Fire People, the Whale and Dolphin People and many others that are embedded in our DNA. It also ventures into Quantum Mechanics to explain the Cosmos in cutting-edge ways.
I waited 20 years to write Where the Octopus Waits. It opens doors into tragic events in our distant past that ask much of our understanding and compassion today. When I received this knowledge I knew it had to be held close until the time was right to share it. Song of Waitaha was the elders’ answer to a need: to share some of the hidden history of the past to begin the healing of the past. They said… while we cannot change the past we can heal the past if we face the truth of the past. So I chose the timing, having accepted that responsibility. It was difficult to write; I stopped, set it aside, sought the advice of Maori wise ones who gathered close, then completed the task. Readers say it is an engaging and enlightening read. Enough said.
Arohanui. Kia Kaha! May we be strong in our truth!
Barry’s most recent Youtube upload: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRFrlIDkkjM