In this year of building my ‘dream home’, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many people from all walks of life…the wonderful tradesmen rushing frantically to keep abreast of the building boom; the welcoming shopkeepers trying valiantly to meet the physical and emotional demands of high and low trade; the searching unemployed and the restless underemployed; the recent ‘down-shifters’ re-creating an occupational dream, and the growing group of ‘greys’ trying to fight off the dis-eases of much spare time, bodily changes and that dreaded winter/spring cold!
What strikes me the most in this beautiful place of Denmark is that many of us either don’t have the time or energy to enjoy much of the stunning beauty and bounty of the environs. We are so busy or bored with just the everydayness of life, or with the overwork that is the modern day plague – ‘affluenza’. This ‘work-speed cycle’ is contagious, taking over our lives and communities. Australians now work the most hours per capita of any other nation in the developed world!
So what is the cure? How can we let go of demanding more, or our fear of less or loss? Simply – choose happiness not ‘possessions’ – be they money, busyness, status or even the need to overhelp. Choosing health and creating happiness first is not easy. It means consciously deciding to live with what is really important and valuable in our lives…simply Love. I learnt this very well from my father who in his years of dementia became more simple in needs and possessions. All he wanted was to feel loved and be connected with those he loved. Father died recently and I sang to him at his hospital bedside, ‘And I love you so,’ an old Perry Como song. He left peacefully.
“And did you get what you wanted from life, even so?
What was it that you wanted?
To call myself beloved.
And to feel myself beloved with the earth.”
(Raymond Carver, in his journey with cancer)