Sunday, May 22, 2016

An enforced pause to the busy



Another day, another year, another flight. The long haul from Sydney to San Francisco. It’s like a salvation. Locked in to a seat for 15 hours without the ability to manically run around like an idiot trying to do a million things at once. No external access to anything. No ability to do any of the tasks on the extensive list of things to do. Life has been crazy. Busy. Busy. Busy. When I think of the Zen that Buddhists seem to aspire to, I feel that I couldn’t possibly be further from that if it was a conscious effort to try and be. Three full time jobs is the way that work feels. A day job, albeit of unknown potentially limited duration. But seemingly I’ve done a good job and they want me to continue on for another year. It may happen, or it may not. A software company that needs my attention and efforts to make it all work. An IT consultancy company that somehow has been going for over twenty years now. Most businesses fail and go broke in less than two years. I’ve grown a business that has bought me a house and provided for a nice lifestyle for over twenty years now. But it’s always about the next year. What does it hold? What will become of us? Will there be enough cash to support the life that our family is used to? And does it really matter if there isn’t? Young mouths to feed. A footy addiction to support. As well as a few other addictions. A boy who is not yet five to add to the teenagers in our midst. A beautiful wife with struggles of her own. This child rearing business is a major task in itself. So much that a parent gives of themselves to the child. Usually with no real acknowledgement back. I know well, because I am a non-acknowledging child myself. This life business is complicated. But then, perhaps I am overcomplicating what actually should be quite a simple task. Living life. On top of the work, I have these last three months been a full time student, having started a psychology degree. It has gone to the top of my list of important pursuits of my life. It took me nine years of the 80s to finally get a three year degree through the flurry of parties, but this one I feel in a hurry to achieve. It feels a worthwhile pursuit to move towards possessing a skill that will help me to help people. I work in a field currently where people mostly wear corporate masks. I look forward to a time where financial reward becomes less of a priority and I can start to be seeing people as part of my working life when they are being their true self. I’ll be able to hang up my own corporate mask at that time too perhaps. Somehow in this period of excessive busyness I’ve also become a maths teacher for Jazzy, spending two nights a week doing lessons with her, trying to help her navigate her way through year 12 maths, while she’s actually in year 10. She was going to throw it in. But now she’s gutsing it out. Putting in great effort. Showing the incredible fighting spirit that is truly at her core. I’m proud of her turnaround and happy that I’ve been able to contribute. Whatever will be. I feel a strong need to be actively involved in my children’s education. I guess that’s how I’ve ended up on both of their school councils, somehow being president of one of them. I feel strongly that my major role as a parent is to try and help prepare them as best I can to make their way in the world.

I don’t think that this level of busyness is particularly healthy. But what to do? Too many of the work related options are of unknown quantity. Any one of them could fall over into dust at any moment. So I grab them all. And it fills a great deal of my time. Is there enough time left for me? And for me and Tori? And for me, Tori and the kids?

My forest is my salvation. I live in a beautiful place. I get to walk along the river most days. Unless I get too consumed in the other.  Breathing in the heady smell of eucalypt. The clutter all washes away and resumes perspective. All the many blocks of my life feel to fall into place like a successful game of Tetris. Watching rosellas flitting around the trees. Laughing with the kookaburras. Searching for that elusive shy wallaby. Or even more evasive koala. But always the river. And the trees. Every day the path looks different. Changes in the weather. Different creatures to walk amongst. Sometimes a flurry of damsel flies. Occasionally an echidna. The promise of snakes, but so far, apart from the odd ones I come across that have met an unfortunate demise, they too remain elusive. At my favourite clearing, there is qi gong. Some meditation while taking in the rocky cliff across the river. Qi to my belly to nourish my soul. A perspective of how little of all of the other actually matters, though like many, I have a great propensity for building up its importance. These days, after the qi gong, on the walk back through the forest, I often call my good friend Bruce and send him my forest vibes. He has a battle of his own at the moment that he’s taking on admirably. He is in mortal combat with stuff going on within his own body. And he is going to win. There is no other choice. He is unsurprisingly resolute. Brave. Strong. My heart goes out to him. It always has. It always will. I love you Bruce. And I’m looking forward to us kicking back with a slim and looking at this period in the rearview mirror.

This life business. Many people do it tough. What is it that makes it so? It should be as simple as one foot in front of the other. Having shelter and food on the table. Everything else should be a bonus. What makes it so complicated?

How fantastic it was to get up north for a week and visit Paul and Linda and their wonderful crew. Who says you only have one soul mate? I have many. I feel fortunate of that. Kindred spirits. I’ve always felt that these guys are just like us, living a parallel existence. Beautiful people. Paul always reminds me how much I love playing music with somebody else, rather than hiding away in musical isolation. Playing guitar together drunkenly into the wee hours. Playing with complete sobriety and purpose through the next morning. Playing on my own in his presence. He makes me feel like a real musician. I guess I’ve been playing guitar for more than 30 years now. I suppose it’s time that I accept my level of competency. There’s no better emotional release for me than playing guitar. Perhaps excepting putting down a whole lot of rambling words on a page and spewing out my thoughts. That seems often to do the trick. If you’ve made it this far and actually read them, then you know what’s going on for me at this stage in my life. And if you have, I thank you. I know that I have people around me who care. And for that I am truly thankful. I might put my seat back now, take another sip of the surprisingly good Qantas economy class shiraz, listen to some music through my noise cancelling headphones and drift off to thoughts that don’t make it to the page. After all, there’s nothing else to do. Thankfully.