13 January 2010

Finding Value in South Africa

Wednesday 13th January 2010

I revisited the article by John Mauldin, an investment expert who sung SA's praises, for inspiration for todays musings. He reminded me of the huge number of exceptional wildlife regions and game parks, nature reserves, and lodges, forming the heartbeat of the nation, found all over this beautiful land, encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species.

Many species are under constant threat from poaching, drought and degradation of habitat and the only way to secure their survival is to translocate them to secure environments where, under the protection of recognised nature reserves or through breeding programmes, their future may be assured. Apart form their beauty there are a great deal of valuable lessons we can learn from the wildlife, especially Africa's majestic Big 5 -Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino and Buffalo. In order to survive they need to learn to adapt to changing conditions. It seems to be the only way to survive this century, for man and beast. I should, therefore, not complain about living in a 'nature reserve', a gated community myself. If animals can adapt and thrive in a changing world, so must I. All I need to do is adapt my 'brushstroke accordingly', a beautiful expression I found used by a well-known Johannesburg artist, Grant Netherlands, who is a product of King Edward VII School for boys.

When I feel like an endangered species, which I often do, (because as a white baby-boomer woman in darkest Africa, I am becoming an endangered species), I will focus on all the things that I can do rather than the things that have been taken away from me. Walking is a great example. I love walking. I find it a marvelous experience - a meditative experience - because of the beautiful landscape and the great weather. Walking allows me to be in the present moment, in the 'now', the only moment there is. The amnesic yesterday or the 'who knows' tomorrow are illusions and delusions of the ego. So my walking experience has to change as I can no longer walk alone on the beach or in the park. However I can walk in a group - it requires more effort but it also more beneficial as it improves not only my mind and body but my heart and spirit as well. It requires more planning and less spontaneity, a manageable price to pay.

As long as I focus on the beauty around me and not on the restrictions placed on me for my survival I will begin to find the value in life - not just here but anywhere in the world. Maybe I am fortunate that I live here and have to question these things - its through the questions that I can find meaning and purpose. We humans are complicated beigns, however, we have no choice - we must adapt or die. One thing we all have in common is that we soon take things for granted. I cannot take anything for granted in South Africa, and perhaps this is a very good thing ............

Bye for now .....

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