Bloom where you’re planted

May 26, 2014 at 8:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What a great weekend. Amazing weather, beautiful location, great company and inspiring connections.

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The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, what a backdrop. My friend had asked me a while back if I wanted to head up to Katoomba this past weekend to listen to Greg Foyster, author of ‘Changing Gears: A Pedal-Powered Detour From The Rat Race’, as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Along with the talk there was to be a 2 hour ride that took in scenery like the picture I took above. I hadn’t read the book but it didn’t take me long to say yes!

The blurb from his book explains;

‘Greg Foyster quits his job in advertising and decides to live more simply. Looking for inspiration, he and his partner Sophie Chishkovsky cycle from Melbourne to Far North Queensland (via Tasmania, naturally) scouting out ideas.

Preposterously underprepared, they are propelled by the many inspiring and eccentric characters they meet – from a forest activist living up a tree to an 18th-century woodsman and a monk walking barefoot through Queensland.

Featuring eye-opening encounters with DIY downshifters and leading figures in sustainability, Changing Gears is a jaunty adventure that explores an important question for the future: can we be happier with less?’

The talk and ride proved to be entertaining, informative and inspiring. I just wanted to take this time to reflect on some of my initial take aways;

  • Voluntary simplicity: I love this phrase that Greg uses. To me it reminds us as individuals that each of us have choices each and every day. There are many powerful influences within our lives, Greg knows many of those intimately through his previous work in advertising, but ultimately we are here to connect and make a difference, not just overwork so we can accumulate things that can complicate our lives, taking time away from what we value most.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hofmann

  • The journey of living our principles: Greg’s journey mirrors our own, as well as being real and unique to him. We all have to own our unfolding stories that play out through our daily thoughts, words and actions. Reflecting on and processing where these thoughts, words and actions are aligned is of vital importance for each of us as individuals. Our task is then to live them, while not judging and projecting our values on to others choices as they strive to do the same. We positively influence through compassionately ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
– Albert Einstein

  • Costs and value: Greg discussed various ways and examples that we as humans assess costs and value in our lives, in particular for modes of transport like bicycles and the car. As we as families, communities and a greater global village debate things like caring for our precious planet, our needs, wants and the role of luxury, and future planning, infrastructure and development, voices such Greg’s are so important to be heard.

“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.”
– Bill Nye

  • ‘Bloom where you’re planted’: This quote is the one Greg finished his talk with. It resonated so deeply with me and reminded me of what we aim to foster within our programs and ongoing communication. Life is a journey of courageously exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically, so that we can deepen connection to self, others and the world around us, while making a difference in our own and others lives. This happens right now, right here, right where we are!

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I am looking forward to now reading the book after hearing from, meeting and spending a small amount of time with Greg this past weekend. If you want to find out more about Greg’s story or ideas, visit his website Simple Lives. http://www.simplelives.com.au

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