I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my world. It may be a little different from the norm. But it is the life of my conscious choosing. It works for me and allows me to find fulfilment through service and simplicity of living.
At the age of twenty-five I had a highly stressful and challenging management position in customer services with Bell Canada. Each of the three men who’d had the job before me ended up in the hospital with a stress-related illness. During my annual physical with our company doctor it was found I had high blood pressure. Remember, I was only twenty-five. A few months later I headed off to the Middle East as an advisor with the international arm of my company. I began to travel. My perspective changed and I haven’t worked nine-to-five since.
I do what I love. So does my wife, Lucia. We don’t own much and nothing owns us. We have the freedom to listen to the spirit that calls in the night and whispers sweet melodies at dawn. We love our life, our family and each other. We love this place we live in and the community of friends with which we share our lives. We’ve needed to sacrifice a few material possessions and the financial buffer we’d had earlier in which to pursue our dreams. We wouldn’t have done it any differently. We are so lucky!
The following is a synopsis of last week’s experiences for me.
March 7 to 13, 2010
Sunday was a wonderful day out for Lucia and me doing walks in the beautiful world-renowned Bay of Islands which is just a little over a one hour drive from here. A link to a post describing that day is here.
Monday was a day of writing and included a visit by a talented and sensitive young man who had been unjustifiably threatened with dismissal at his place of work. The rest of the week entailed drafting a letter of support for him to his employer and numerous calls by Lucia and me to sort this mess out. For two hours in the afternoon I joined a small group of people practicing old-time songs to sing at a fundraising dinner for Far North Hospice coming up on Saturday night. Lucia and I closed out the day with a beautiful walk on the beach together and were treated to an amazing sunset.
Tuesday began with Lucia’s weekly yoga class attended by a group of local ladies, a visiting man from the UK and me. After spending an hour-and-a-half giving a Touch for Health balance to a client/friend, it was time to address the computer. For the next few hours I was engrossed in formatting my new book. It’s quite a satisfying and exciting exercise to see the words begin to look like a book with page numbers, chapter headings and the like. One can see the conclusion to the months and months of creative writing taking a concrete form. I also continued to tweak the new book cover I’d started the week before. In the afternoon I spoke on the phone with a friend in Arizona whom I’ve interviewed in the past. He’s a deeply sensitive and creative individual and it was this conversation, together with the one with the young man the day before that inspired me to write the article entitled How to be Sensitive, Vulnerable, Creative and Safe in an Unfeeling World.
The day finished with a journey with friends into Kaitaia for our weekly session of Scottish Country Dancing.
Bottle Nose Dolphins in New Zealand's Far North
Wednesday’s highlight came at two o’clock when Lucia rushed in from her walk on the beach to get me. An excited group of primary age children staying at the Christian Youth Camp here had the privilege and pleasure of playing with a large school of dolphins right by the shore here at Coopers Beach. I quickly got into a bathing suit and jumped in with them. What a buzz! There was a pod of approximately 15 adult dolphins rounding up kowai, a local fish. The dolphins took turns out from their feeding work to entertain the kids (of all ages). We don’t often have the dolphins so close to shore so this was a special treat. For these city children the experience will never be forgotten.
Wednesday evening saw me on the radio for a fascinating interview about mental health and healing in the modern world. For more on that see the blog and interview here.
Thursday afternoon I was invited to attend a class for homeschoolers with an Italian operatic singing ORFF teacher. ‘What, dare say, is that?’ you ask.
Carl Orff (1895-1982) was a German composer and educator who developed a unique approach to music education. Orff defined the ideal music for children as “never alone, but connected with movement, dance, and speech—not to be listened to, meaningful only in active participation.” Orff said, “Experience first, then intellectualize.” Based on this ideal, the Orff approach builds understanding of concepts and skills through connecting students with the music by experiencing it on all levels. These levels include speech/chants, movement, singing, drama, and by playing pitched and unpitched instruments.
The above paragraph was copied from http://www.classicsforkids.com/teachers/training/orff101.asp There is a wealth of further information on that website.
I will see about having the teacher, Lilia, on the radio soon. I’ll let you know if this comes to pass. Below is a clip to give you an idea how Orff works. I have to say it was a lot of fun. It was like Brain Gym to music. The children did better than me!
Thursday evening I walked along the beach and turned inland to a friend’s place for a couple of hours of chanting, followed by meditation. One friend, a talented semi-blind musician originally from Switzerland, recently returned from an extended stay in India. He shared some new chants with us, accompanying them on his harmonium. The friend, Shelley, who hosts these evenings each week, is a skilled and talented homeopath who is currently studying two books outlining new remedies (nosodes) for diseases carried in meat. A nosode is a remedy consisting of the product of some specific disease administered in minute doses for the cure of the same disease. I’ll have Shelley back on the radio in June to bring everyone up to date on these new challenges to people’s health. Here’s a link to a previous interview with her.
Friday began with my usual walk on the beach but it began a little later than usual because I’d been particularly productive writing first thing. I met a man, a retired local farmer, on the beach and leapt immediately into a far-ranging discussion. I realise it is this kind of chance meeting that give richness to my life. For me, freedom is having the time to honor the synchronistic encounters that occur regularly if we have the eyes to see them. Simplicity of living is by no means dull. It is exciting in the nicest sort of way. There is a feeling of joyful expectancy that doesn’t go away.
When heading out for my afternoon swim, a man warned me that there was a huge shark that had been hanging out by a buoy around which I swam most days. He said it was twice his size and said he wouldn’t swim because of it. I asked if was a Bronze Whaler and he replied in the affirmative. These sharks come into our bay each summer. I know of no one who’s ever been hurt by one. I went in for my swim but I must say I did stay a little ways from the buoy. It was a wonderful, refreshing swim. I saw no shark.
Saturday, I walked into Mangonui, our picturesque little fishing village to go to the weekly market and to pick up some bread from the local bakery for our daughter, Asha. On the way home I stopped at a roadside stall to buy some lettuce and cucumbers. The owner/gardener picked the produce while I followed them around. How’s that for service? They even gave me some seedling lettuces and bok choy for our garden. We had visitor in the afternoon, and then Lucia and I attended the forty-fifth wedding anniversary of some lovely friends who’ve recently moved here from the U.K.
I had to leave a little early in order to be on time for the fundraising for Hospice at the local lawn bowling club situated just around the corner. The singing went well. The place was sold out and over $2000.00 was raised for Far North Hospice. It was a successful evening, even for the diehard cricket fans watching the television screen in the corner. The Kiwis won a test from arch rival Australia. By the time I walked home along the beach under a starry sky at eleven o’clock I was more than ready for bed.
I was up early writing most days. And, of course, each day began with yoga and meditation and a walk and was highlighted in the afternoon with a swim. For more on my daily routine check out this post.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my discourse as much as I’ve enjoyed the actual happenings. I’d love to hear your comments.
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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.