Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Leopard Quest....written in May!

I am always amazed at how the universe places us where I need to be. Not necessarily where I want to be sometimes but where I need to be. This month I have been reminded on several occasions that we are all connected and nothing happens by accident - everything happens by design.
Just this weekend I was in St Lucia - well a game reserve just north of there on my leopard quest (have I told you that this is the year I AM GOING TO SEE A LEOPARD IN THE WILD) I went to a place called Leopard Mountain Safari Lodge - not a leopard in sight - but what a fabulous place and I saw a deceased giraffe - a first!
I went out on several game drives and was placed with an older couple who were keen bird watchers.
I have to admit that I find 'twitchers' a little irritating. They are usually fussy, meticulous people who record everything they see and these were no different - the little book was out and Estelle had a clever device that played the bird's call too. I was there to take photos and find THE LEOPARD and I sat impatiently listening to Estelle's  twitter in the leopard free veldt! 
Over the couple of days I learned that this same couple had been married for as long as I have been alive and that's over 60 years! I also learned that Estelle had been in a microlight in April - a treat for her 87th birthday ad her 89 year old husband booked as well in case she got scared - I was beginning to like Estelle and Bill. But is was on Sunday as we stopped for our bush coffee break and we got chatting about family that I realised that our encounter was no accident. I asked how many children they had and Bill said three and at the same time Estelle said four. Our ranger looked from one to the other and Estelle explained that one of their children had died - a daughter had committed suicide thirty years ago. So here we were two women with more in common that we thought - drinking coffee in the bush in peaceful silence reflecting on our loss. I remarked that a woman who has lost a child will never say she has one child less - I also tell people that I have four sons. I also know what it takes to tell someone openly that a loved one has committed suicide. When faced with that question, "What happened?" You have to make a choice in that instant - do I tell the truth or do I invent an illness instead and perpetuate the stigma around depression and suicide. 
So the universe looked down as two bereaved mothers hugged one another by a watering hole in the middle of the bush on a beautiful Sunday morning.
What else has happened during May - Well I have anther group of learners who I will be seeing monthly for a whole year and we got along famously. I am always surprised how little young people know about what is happening globally - they don't read the local news never mind the international news - they think news is whats happening on Face Book. Learning requires that reading takes place and in my line of work - facilitating leadership and business skills - learning means knowing that we don't exist in isolation and need to understand things globally like when someone hacks into the Internet in USA and causes a global IT threat then that affects you, your bank, your privacy, your safety, your job security. your family. I watched them discuss this animatedly and thought - Yes, I have been given this group for a reason - I am here to bring light - to open their eyes wider to business challenges and to encourage them to be curious. One of them is permanently attached to her phone which has a dodgy battery so its plugged in for charging 24/7 which means she exists with a cord length of a power point - SAD. I am trying to pry her away from her phone by encouraging her to report to me on the colour of the sky, what the sunrise looked like and encouraging her to feel paper pages between her fingers occasionally!
I met a lovely group of ladies when I enjoyed a paint effects course - we were all relaxed and chatty until a paintbrush was put in our hands - then we all froze - frightened to do the wrong thing! I reminded myself and them that this was going to be fun and we were there to play with paint - so we did!

However I am not always the teacher! I am here to learn too - I asked myself every evening "What have I learned today?" This month I can say I have learned:-

  • That its foolish to believe that giving up is a sign of weakness - sometimes its the strongest and most courageous thing that you can do. Although I am not ready to give up on my leopard hunt yet!
  • That I need to take a playful approach when trying new things.
  • That when you affirm others - you in turn will be affirmed. 
  • That there are some idiot drivers on the road and there seems to be more of them as you drive northwards .......
  • That not everyone who speaks like a gentleman is one! 
  • Giraffes can die of natural causes and when they do they vultures come to them in hundreds!
  • Leopard 'hunting' is frustrating ....but fun!

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