In the eye of the cyclone – blogging live from Vanuatu

Coming to you live from a cyclone – this is RPT News! :-)

In my last post I wrote about the incredible joys of living in a tropical paradise. I forgot to mention the cyclones (that’s a hurricane for our American readers).

This isn’t our first cyclone here, but it seems to be the first where we are right in the “firing line” as it were.  We live in Port Vila, that’s the black dot right in the middle of the map.

The cyclone “proper” isn’t expected till tomorrow, but today’s winds did more damage than the last 2 cyclones combined.  Huge trees fell around our property. Most of our pawpaw and bananas are gone, but luckily they regrow fast. The mangoes seem fine.

Should you wish to track our cyclone progress, the tracking map is here. Please, do not worry about us. We live in a concrete “castle” built to withstand much worse.  The animals are safe. Pity only our trees and the gardening mess we’ll have on the weekend. Well on the bright side I was wanting to move some trees and re-landscape for a permaculture garden.  Looks like the digging up part of the job will be done for us!

Apart from the novelty of blogging to you from the eye of the storm, there were a few issues I thought might engage your interest today.  My thoughts are:

  • that wherever you live, life is about compromise; and
  • why I’m not going to mention the cyclone to my family till next week.

Compromise

No matter where you live, life is about compromise. In the wonderful reader comments and debate on my last post, our readers debated and discussed the relative merits of living in the city or escaping to paradise.  One reader seemed concerned that by living in paradise we are separating ourselves from our mission.

I would have to disagree. I feel that whatever our calling is, we can live it anywhere, in fact it will probably find us!  Of course for this to work, you have to be flexible and dynamic.  After all, aren’t those almost synonyms for freedom?  If you are rigid in how you perceive your duty (whether it’s spiritual or personal), then paradise isn’t for you. (I’m cheeky enough to add: not in this world, nor the next one!)

Moving to paradise has been a compromise for me. I had to leave my family and friends behind in Melbourne. I miss good coffee (my wonderful Saeco expresso machine died within 2 weeks of arriving here, I have been detoxing for months…). There’s no shopping (saves me a fortune on the wife’s VISA – ssshhh!).  Flying anywhere except other tropical islands is a time consuming and relatively expensive exercise.  These are compromises. On the other hand, well I think I’ve told you, life here is heaven.

On a spiritual level, I am convinced that your purpose finds you, and compromise lets you live your life where you feel most connected and at one.  Vanuatu is sacred to me personally on many levels, and I know without a doubt that I can fulfil my purpose(s) here just as well as anywhere.  That’s largely thanks to the internet of course which means that I can still learn, and help people, from here.

Family

I thought the family angle was an interesting one to open up for discussion.  I mentioned that I’m not telling my family about the cyclone till next week. That’s because they have a history of massively over-reacting to things.  HEre’s some anecdotes to illustrate my point.

During the last cyclone (a few weeks ago), I sent my dad email updates twice a day to say we were fine, and I gave him the all clear when it had passed.   About 5 days later I sent an email about the piglets born in my garden (mother and bubs are doing well thanks), and my dad wrote back “what are you doing birthing piglets in the middle of a cyclone?”.  Five days after the all-clear was given to him, and he had the website tracking map to monitor it and everything.

My conclusion was that parents (for all I know this is all parents) go into a panic when there is a perceived threat to their child and they don’t know how to restore that panic level to zero.  The part of the brain that should hear “I’m fine” switches off, and panic mode remains well after it’s due time.  Merely being told “it’s fine now” doesn’t do it. I don’t seriously think I would be any different with my own kids…  are you

My dad has always been like this, but I thought that sending him the meteorology website link would empower him to reassure himself that I’m fine.  Apparently not.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that parents mean well (most parents, most of the time). I’m just not going to feed it. I think there’s too much of the gene for drama in my family at the best of times.

So this time, I’m not going to tell dad about the cyclone till it’s passed.  Why make him worry?

(In case you are thinking “what if someone in Simon’s family reads his blog today,” all I can say is “it hasn’t happened yet my friends!”)

Your comments please

Let’s keep the discussions going. What do you think about compromise, especially in relation to where you live and living your purpose.  Have you ever been in a cyclone?  What’s your views on family and worry? Do you hide things from your family to manage their emotions?  Whose responsibility is it really if they stress?

A reminder again that your comments are your way of “paying” for content on this blog, if you find it interesting, educational or just a good way to pass the time. If you read this blog, please take 3 minutes to leave a comment about what you like or don’t like, agree with or disagree with, like to see more/less of.  Comments can be anonymous.

blessings

Simon

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9 Comments
March 8, 2011 in Thoughts For the Day
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9 Responses

  1. Simon, I fully agree with your position. There’s such a “joke” – “We learn how to speak for the first three years of our life, to study how to keep silence for the rest of it.” Sometimes it’s more useful to simply keep silence then to tell people anything that could make them worry. Especially if there’s no danger for themselves.
    It’s your personsl right, freedom and responsibility to keep silence when you like to. You don’t need to be accountable – it’s very low state with zero responsibility.
    The one and really powerful reason to keep silence in this situation is that worries of parents couldn’t help you anyway, but their thoughts about danger can (and will at least partially) matherialize it. And damage from cyclone could become much stronger then it could be without that thoughts. Also any of such thoughts never help them be more healthy.
    So telling them about cyclone is quite irresponsible, for there’s no obvious positive results but a lots of problems instead.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi Simon,

    I totally agree with you keeping the cyclone news at a minimum right now. It’s natural for your family to worry but their worry won’t help the situation. Over the years, I’ve kept a LOT of stuff from my family (mainly my dad) as an effort to protect him from worry. Was that my responsibility? No but I chose to live that way to make myself feel better. And hopefully make him feel better too. As a mom of a teenager who lives in another state, I have come to learn that I really can’t protect my kid, no matter what. No matter how much I worry. No matter how much I “mother.” All I can do is set him free and know that he and the universe are in charge.

    A couple weeks ago, I met a mom who helped solidify my new understanding that we cannot protect our children, no matter how much we try or worry. She shared the story of having a premenition (sp) that her son would be injured by a ditch that was on their land. She was so fearful that she had the land altered so he would be safe. Due to altering the land, that made it clear for him to run out in the street where he was hit by a car. Her worry did not save her son from an accident, only changed a stage for a different one.

    What that tells me is that we have absolutely NO control over our kids, our family, our friends. Only control over ourselves. Since then, I have made great strides to simply let my kids “go” every day with love.

    As far as making compromises and leaving family to live where your heart follows, I have done this on a “safe” level. That being, I live within a two day drive from my dad. I want to move to an island too but do feel conflicted in leaving my grown children “behind.” This is something I am sorting out as I build towards my dream. In the end, I believe we all need to follow our hearts when it comes to separating from our families. One a positive note for being away from family, you have better places to vacation and great reasons to get out and explore the magnificant world we live in. Otherwise, we could get stuck in a rut and never stretch.

    [Reply]

  3. Renee Hawkins

    I live far away from mine and my partners family, and that’s just the way I like it;) But, yes it comes with a compromise- no family to babysit when Gav and I want some time out. No one to step in when we need help with sick kids or when we are too sick to be looking after the kids. When we were faced with a major health crisis a couple of years ago, we contemplated moving closer to family. That thought lasted about two minutes- even in such pain and distress, the thought of giving up our way of living and the happy life we had created was too strong and won out.
    And I totally and wholeheartedly agree that no matter where you are on planet earth (and beyond), your purpose/mission will find you. And the Creation Consciousness that I believe in lets me have my cake and eat it too, which means I get to be a decider in how I want my life to look and feel, and when I get clear on that, all of the universe will help to line it up for me.
    As for worry, I surprise myself with how much I can let my daughters go in life with trust and love (within safe boundaries- hey, I’m a mum still, I have to add that covet;) As for when they are teenagers… well I reason I am going to need some help on that. If they get up to half of what I did……………oh my, but I survived…just.
    And thankfully, it is only my mother in-law that really worries about us, but she more than makes up for the rest of the family. So we don’t tell her anything, otherwise it just gives her another reason to pray for our salvation, and she absolutely does not need a reason.

    [Reply]

  4. Freedom an making compromises
    Hi, it was just before I knew about this last article that I thought about freedom and decided to leave a reply. Now I see your thoughts about compromises and thats maybe the same direction: “Freedom” depends always on your personal point of view. I asked my wife some days ago how she would feel living at Vanuatu. She answered: I would feel like how can I escape from that little island. So freedom is a feeling and it depends on which circumstances are more important for you to feel free. Having to live in a castle to be safe of Cyclones might not make all of us feel really free;) To live in the place where I live at the moment was a big problem for me because I felt imprisoned here. Since I found a very cool house for me and my family only 200 metres away thats completely different and my whole life has changed. But all of the positive changes in my life happened after doing levels 1 to 3 of RPT. So thanks Simon! And 200 m can be as far forward as 20000 km. Good luck to you and I hope to hear from you after the cyclone again!
    Gerhard

    [Reply]

    Simon Rose Reply:

    Hi Gerhard
    You make an excellent point about how changing 200m can be as good as 20,000. It’s all in the perspective. If you feel trapped somewhere, change it. It doesn’t have to mean crossing the world.

    It’s funny what you wife said about feeling trapped on an island. Again it’s such a trick of perspective. I wonder how often your wife actually leaves your little town? I know you have Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia, Czeck Republic, etc, all just a few hours drive away, but how often do you actually leave your town? Probably less often than we leave our island. My point is that “Trapped” is completely in the head. The mere fact that I can’t get in the car and drive somewhere else doesn’t mean I’m trapped!

    > Having to live in a castle to be safe of Cyclones might not make all of us feel really free

    Ah my friend, I realize that this is one of those “Lost In Translation” moments. You actually live in a country with castles. Beautiful ones. Whereas in Australia a man’s home is his castle. The word has a totally different meaning. It’s not “Schloss” it’s “home.” My home is made of reinforced concrete that can withstand an earthquake or cyclone. Apart from that it probably doesn’t look much different to any home in your country! So funny that you would feel trapped in a “home.” It’s great that you speak English so well – but it’s so funny when we have these moments! Even when I am in America or England, speaking Australian, I get into so many awkward moments as my students can tell you.

    I think everyone outside of Australia should watch the Australian classic movie “The Castle” to understand our mentality better:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118826/

    cheers
    Simon

    [Reply]

    Gerhard Maier Reply:

    Hi Simon,
    so I think I found my Castle too! You`re right, my wive doesn`t move away very often. But that´s what I wanted to say: It`s the FEELING of being free or being trapped. Maybe some of us can feel free nearly everywhere like Diogenes in his barrel. I think I should work on that! Bye, Gerhard

    [Reply]

    Dmitry Yeschenko Reply:

    Fully agree with your position, but a liittle comment. It seems to me that Diogenes not felt free everywhere, but in his barrel. It looks like it simply was his own “castle”.

  5. Hi Simon

    I haven’t been on the site for a while so caught up on some of your recent postings. Very interesting and thought provoking.

    In answer to the question above “What do you think about compromise, especially in relation to where you live and living your purpose.”

    I don’t really know this answer. I have looked at it for quiet sometime but never really get an answer. Is this because I choose not to listen, or is it just clearly I don’t get an answer. Hmmm any help, support, or advice would be greatly received.

    M x

    [Reply]

    Simon Rose Reply:

    hi Monica, I’d love to help. I’m not really sure what you are asking. Do you feel forced to compromise, or that you cannot compromise?
    best wishes
    Simon

    [Reply]

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