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Lessons from a chainsaw

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It’s not everyday you almost cut your leg off with a chainsaw, is it?

Since my close encounter with the blade of that awesome beast I’ve rediscovered there are two types of people in the world. Not quite the glass half empty, glass half full, but a take on that. Those that believe I’m lucky and those that respond with ‘How awful’. Roughly 40/60.

And it’s been an interesting thing to watch. Because what I’ve noticed is that those people with predisposition toward seeing the good in life apply the same to me. They see me as lucky. A massively deep wound across the knee but miraculously I didn’t hit either bone or any major blood vessels. But then there are those people who have a predisposition toward the negative. And their response is always about how terrible this injury is.

The triage nurse probably put it best. Waiting for 5 hours in a fair bit of pain is not the way I normally like to spend a Saturday evening. And I don’t think the hospital staff would have taken too kindly to the bottle of red (I would have preferred to be enjoying at home with friends) as medicinal. But as she said when we enquired about the wait, you don’t want to be in there behind the closed doors. Why? Because the people in there are much worse than you. Take the guy who busted his leg with the bone sticking out. Puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it. They want to put a sign up in emergency only the hospital won’t let them. Something to the effect of ‘If you’re still waiting, be grateful, because it means you’re not dying’.

In the days following, I have learned even more. I could have cancelled the gig in Adelaide and stayed at home for instance. But with nothing to distract me I’d only have felt every throb for four days straight. Much better to be out doing the things I love to do. Of course I had to explain my leg elevated on a bar stool. Bit hard to ignore. But as it happens there at the gig we had a woman trained as a nurse offering to help me dress the wound each day. Armed with compression bandages and sterile dressings she dressed my leg each day as only an expert can. What an incredible gift. But the thing I am most in awe of, is that she spoke of how much she valued the opportunity to give back to Mary and me for the things that she had learned over the last five years and how it had changed her life. I am truly humbled. If I’d stayed at home and moped I wouldn’t have received this gift… and nor would she.

How lucky are you?

Getting some perspective

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Listening to the news is bittersweet. While I love to stay on top of the latest and greatest, there are the stories that break my heart.

Take this week’s tragedy. Two young boys found wandering on the highway after seeing their dad killed by a train. To know such pain at only 5 and 6 years of age. Who knows how they will process the trauma of that.

What I do know is that they will never be the same again.

And it puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it. You know, those first world problems we all worry about. They pale into insignificance, don’t they. And as painful as it can be to hear these stories, if we stop to process the gravity of what other’s have to deal with, it can help us to be so much more appreciative of all that is right in our lives. Grounding us once again in the now which is the only place to really be. Helping us get clear on what’s really important. Connecting us, one human being to another.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to shape a person’s destiny. I have to trust this is true for these two little boys.

So as you send this family your loving thoughts, take a moment to gain some perspective on the big and small things that may be troubling you and give gratitude once again for all that is good in your life.

The Game of Life

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Sometimes it’s the splash that gets in our eyes. And we just can’t see clearly. Can’t see what’s happening right in front of us. Or why things are happening the way they are. Not just our beliefs blinding us, but life’s unfolding. And I find it always helps to get another perspective.  To distance ourselves so we can see things more clearly from different angle.

I learned this lesson years ago when I was coaching a kids water polo team. And I just couldn’t understand why the kids couldn’t understand what I was saying. Couldn’t see what I was seeing. It went a bit like this. There I was in the stands watching the game unfold below. But the kids had a different perspective. They were so highly involved down in the game. Going through the motions. Surrounded by waves of water. Trying not to drown in the process of scoring goals. Sounds a bit like life, doesn’t it.

And then one day it dawned on me that I had to show them the game as I was seeing it. So I got them all out of the pool and up in the stand. All save one kid.  I left him in the water with instructions to do his thing. And in that moment everyone could see what I had been seeing. ‘So that’s what Steve’s doing!’ And it all became suddenly very clear to them.

Would it surprise you to know those kids went on to be runner’s up in the School Boys State Knockout? How’s that for performance. Second out of every high school in the entire state just by getting a different perspective.

Where do you need to shift your focus?

All Cocked Up

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So we have this rooster. He’s kind of adopted us. A runaway from the farm next door. Not surprising. The farmer pens him up, clips his wings and shoots him with rat shot trying to keep him from straying. And they reckon nature’s harsh. Besides, our hens probably look much happier. And so for the past month or so he has ventured over despite the ensuing punishment. Not much point in trying to send him home, he only comes back the next day. Roosting in the trees at night. Cleverly avoiding foxes. And he doesn’t bother us. In fact the girls seem pretty happy about the new arrival. And he’s quite the pretty boy.

Well last week, he decided our place was home as he put himself to bed with the girls. Half his luck. Quite a harem. And we decided it was time to sort this out once and for all. A casual visit to the neighbour and we offered to buy him a new rooster. It seems he had been traded in for greener pastures. But to our surprise the neighbour didn’t want a new rooster. In fact, he was just about ready to end the rooster’s days on earth and send him on to those greener pastures in the sky. It turns out he was just bringing him home any way he could because he thought  the rooster was bugging us. But truth is we weren’t bugged at all.

And I often wonder how often we get the story wrong. Make the wrong assumptions (would it be appropriate to suggest we go off half-cocked so to speak?). And it’s only in looking back we realize that what we thought was the case was really something else entirely. Well it almost ended in tears for the rooster. A near miss. He’s one lucky guy.

Is there a situation in your life you need to get clear about? Maybe now’s the best time of all….