Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Big Ten: 10 - Never Give up

"Never Quit. Don't ever, ever quit. Recognize that stopping now, regrouping to try a new approach isn't quitting. If you quit you'll regret it forever." Rudy Ruettiger.

There is a story of a man named Aron Ralston, a mountain climber. Aron lived for the wilderness, to be out there in the wild, alone and climbing. The more remote the place the better, such was his desire for solitude that he often wouldnt even tell anyone where he was going. 

One day he was climbing in a remote part of the Utah desert, as he put his weight on a lose boulder it came crashing down into a crevice, crushing and trapping his right arm. Miles from civilsation and with only a backpack of equipment, Aron was trapped in that crevice for days.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

As Time Goes By

"How we spend our days is how we spend our lives." Annie Dillard. 

If you walk along a river bank on a summer’s evening you may be lucky enough to see clouds of Mayflies, sparkling gold in the evening sun. 

It’s an amazing spectacle, thousands of tiny creatures in constant motion, dancing almost rhythmically in a celebration of life.

Life is short for the Mayfly. After months or even years as larvae at the bottom of the river, the winged adult finally emerges from the water’s surface.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Courage and Vulnerability

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.” Madeleine L'Engle.  

For some time there has been a question percolating away at the back of my mind. That question was about how to reconcile the contradiction of vulnerability. 

In the Western world we are taught that vulnerability is a weakness. Individuality and self-sufficiency is highly prized and aspired to. 

That belief is reflected in so many areas of life. More and more we live in cities of millions of people but locked away in self-contained apartments. 

We don’t speak to our neighbours. We put up fences and trees so we can have our privacy, we don't want to be seen. 

We need protection. We don’t let people know what they really mean to us in case they don’t reciprocate. Power is everything and to be vulnerable is to be powerless.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Porters of Tangier

"Though the barriers of life seem formidable, we find when we challenge them that they have no will."  Robert Brault.

A few days ago I returned from a small village in the mountains of Morocco. What I found there was an incredible amount of beauty – in nature, in the immaculately painted houses and most of all in the people. Their warmth, hard work and recognition of the oneness of all of us as human beings was amazing.

However, one of the things which had the biggest impact on me wasn’t found in the mountains but at the port while waiting for a ferry to cross back into Spain.

At the entrance to the port there is a very long drag of concrete steps which leads to an overpass. To board the ferry you must make the long steep trek with your luggage. In the centre of the steps there is a slope so you can push luggage carts up – if you’re Superman that is.

Here’s what amazed me. Waiting there at the port for every ferry was a small band of porters.