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change and the weather

April 12, 2011

There is a lot of change around at the moment.Earthquakes and tsunami. Governments and their people. And there feels like there is more than my fair share of personal change taking place much too close to home.

Near or far, there are days when it can be a bit overwhelming.

Yesterday I spent a fantastic day with my daughter’s year 7 class leading them through George Leonard’s Samurai Game. Forty-two amazing kids who discovered along the way that leading is difficult – and it doesn’t matter if you sought it out from the beginning or if circumstances unexpectedly thrust leadership upon you. That just living can bring its own challenges – life can be short and you rarely get a second chance so you might want to bring the best of who you are to every moment.

It is the third time the school has invited me to deliver the Samurai Game for the students and to be honest it is one of the personal and professional high points of my year. It is an honour and a privilege to serve them. The experience leaves me simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted.

And so it was yesterday afternoon that as the adrenalin wore off I found myself sitting with my back to the wind and the rain waiting for the school bell to ring so I could bring my daughter home. I had five or six minutes spare so I was catching up on email on my phone and thinking about the coming weeks. Busy weeks full of personal and professional commitments. There are more personal and professional commitments that also should be squeezed in there – but how? Things are already crazy.

The rain was cold on my back. My legs reminded me that I had just spent seven hours standing on them without a break. I was hungry. It started to rain harder …

It was right at that point that I heard it – a squeal of pure delight.

I turned to see a four-year old under a pink umbrella splashing through the rain. Her delight was in the world as it was at that moment.

Sure it was wet and cold – but that was what made it so exhilarating!

She reminded me of a similar day in Hitachi, Japan almost 20 years ago as I walked home in the rain. The University placement arranged by my Japanese Government scholarship wasn’t working out the way I had hoped, I was homesick and I was cold and wet.

The same words came to me then that popped into my head in Japan 20 years ago:

Some people walk in the rain. Other people just get wet.

For me it can often be a struggle to remember that. Things change. Things will continue to change. I think the most important question is not “How am I going to stop/slow/manipulate the changes?” but “How am I going to be with the change?” For me it is a much juicier question…

Yesterday I walked in the rain with forty-two kids for six hours and then in six minutes forgot who I am and got wet all by myself.

It took the eyes of a  four-year old to remind me that life is in this moment.

All of it.

And it is how you choose to be in this moment that makes all the difference.


For a more visual representation of this post you could check out this cartoon by Hugh MacLeod of gapingvoid fame. Ultimately we are all living the life we choose.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Beth Stubberfield permalink
    April 13, 2011 8:39 am

    Paul – brilliant post today, it really got me thinking about life. You have a special way of doing that, provoking thought and helping others to be true to themselves, I really admire that.

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