The Recovering Farmer

Friday, April 27, 2012

Make It A Good One

As all of you know by now, the house we bought borders on a golf course. Some people think we planned that. Or should I say I planned that. We didn’t. It just happened that way. As part of the move I also closed my Brandon office. We decided that I would work out of our home for the time being. We developed the office on the main floor. Now when I look out my office door I can see through our living room windows and see the golf course. Needless to say it is a distraction. As an avid, some might say addicted, golfer that is only natural. So it does happen that I will occasionally sneak out for a game. At this time of the year the course is usually empty so it can happen quickly. At, least that is how I justify it.

Of course, as soon as I start playing guilt hits. For some strange reason that is when I remember what I needed to do. Just as strange, that is when the cell phone starts ringing. Why? It didn’t ring all morning. I know you are asking, why do I have it with me? Assuage the guilt? Can’t bear the thought of being “out of touch”? So it does not take long and I can’t even concentrate on the golf. As many of you know, if you can’t concentrate, your game will go downhill real fast. Then it is no longer fun. The score suffers, you get frustrated and the more frustrated you feel the more guilty you feel. What a vicious circle. Slowly, but surely the sun does not feel quite as warm. The breeze a little cooler. Your legs a little more tired. You feel like quitting. But you’re so far from home you can’t just quit. Never mind that there is no easy way to get there. There is bush. There is a river. There are other homes. It becomes a dilemma. So I hurry through the holes. Take short cuts. And when I get back home I don’t really feel that great about my game.

How often do we treat life the same way? Too often, I say. We get caught up in the busyness. We don’t take the time to enjoy. Always feeling guilty that we should be working. We should be doing more. Always concerned we might be missing something. Guess what? Many of us are missing out on life. I saw a quote recently that went like this. “When you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round”. (Ben Hogan, world renowned golfer said those words.) How true. We only do play one round.

My golfing buddy, the one recovering from surgery, seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to my golfing. He seems to know when I sneak out there to “hit a few”. I tell him about my game via text messaging. When I complained about a few shots last week he texted me and challenged me to enjoy each shot, even the bad ones. I knew he would give anything to be out there. His words resonated with me. And as I thought about that, thought about life, thought about Ben Hogan’s quote, I realized that I needed to slow down and enjoy. Not only my golf game but life as well. Sometimes, in life, we do hit bad shots. But, like golf, we also hit some good ones. And the good ones are the ones that keep us going. Get us looking forward to the next shot, the next day, the next challenge. And here is hoping that I get to play all eighteen holes. Make it a good one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Write a Blog

It’s a project that started in June, 2010. Not sure why. Started on a challenge. When the Recovering Farmer website was developed my computer guy asked me how often I was going to post. He suggested that I ensure that the posts would be regular. Otherwise I would lose my audience. He was thinking once a month. I was thinking once a week. There were topics coming to mind that I knew I would have inspiration to come for quite some time. I never realized that two years later I would still be at it. There have been times when I just simply could not think of things to write about. Many of those times I found a lack of inspiration for almost anything. Work was tough. Keeping up with relationships was difficult. Life, in general, was a drag. Very often I would wait till Friday and then quickly write down some thoughts. Often I felt they were disjointed. Never very confident in my writing.

Someone asked me lately why I did it. I explained that it had started out as a challenge. In fact, if memory serves me right, the same person asking the question was the one that threw out the challenge. I would like to thank her for that. (you know who you are J) It has been something that has brought back some semblance of sanity to my life. It has given me reason to sit back and think about things that have happened in any given week. It has made me take note of special moments. I have also noted moments that were not particularly uplifting. It has given me reason to pause. It has provided a break. That special time when I put pen to paper. I always feel better after having written out my thoughts. It helps me overcome. It helps me practice what I preach. Some people journal. I write a blog. Perhaps that is why I sometimes feel that they only make sense to me.

Through the years I have also had many people tell me that they read my ramblings. There have been a few that submitted comments. So often when I have felt that perhaps it’s is time to call it a day, I hear from someone that is being helped by the blog. That encourages me. It is like I have always said. We help each other. Occasionally someone will suggest they have had a chuckle over some of my thoughts. It is good to laugh. Others have related to some of my experiences as they have similar ones on this journey we call life. Experiences. That is what it’s about. I heard someone say that “experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want’. I like that. Although it makes me wonder whether I ever got what I wanted. I seem to have a lot of experience. Perhaps that is a good thing. Read another quote that suggested “life is the crap that happens while we wait for the moment that never happens”. I think I prefer the first one.

I recall vividly the day I wrote the first one. So much has changed in my life since then. Sometimes when I retrace my steps. When I read what I wrote last week, last month or last year I can’t help but smile. Sometimes I feel that the blogs are a cry for help. Whether it’s for life. Whether it’s for my work. Or whether it’s for my golf game. Other times I notice that my life seemed to be in balance. And perhaps, that is what it is all about. Noticing a change. A positive change. And that is what will keep me going. At least one more week. Make it a good one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let It Be

I have spent a lot of time mediating in the last few weeks. That should come as no surprise. After all that is what I do for a living. I have had a few people ask me lately how I can deal with such emotional situations on a daily basis. It’s obvious, right? You seldom require a mediator when things are going well. Most of the people I deal with have experienced negative events in their lives. So talking to these people exposes me to a lot of negative energy. I have been very fortunate that I have been able to leave this negativity at the door when I get home. A few years ago a psychologist told me that whether I realized it or not I was ingesting a lot of the emotions I see in other people. He referred to it as toxic. He said it came with the job. I sometimes think of what effect my venting or unloading has on people. And yet talking “about it” helps.

Having said that, there are times when I feel frustrated. Many of the situations involve power struggles. Big corporations against individuals. I get frustrated when it appears that there is no consideration given to the human side of the story. But because my role is one of maintaining neutrality I have to try to achieve understanding. This can be difficult. So there are times I will get emails that do upset me. Trying to settle disputes via email is not conducive to achieving that understanding. I was traveling from Brandon to Winnipeg this week when I got one such email. I know. I was driving. I shouldn’t even have read it. But I did. And it got me thinking. It got me upset. I felt helpless. Unsure of myself. But I also knew that I was not going to solve the problem while I was driving down the highway. I finally switched on the radio to get my mind off the problem. Guess what song was playing? The old Beatles tune, Let It Be. What a timely message. Let it be.

I became curious as to the story behind the song. It is quite interesting to read about the inspiration Paul McCartney had when he wrote the lyrics. It seems that he was having some struggles in his personal life. A struggle with drugs and alcohol. It was prior to him meeting his first wife Linda. He was lonely. The story goes that he had a dream one night where his mother appeared and said to him “Let it be”. He took a lot of solace from that message. He found comfort. In those simple words he found the message; “be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow, and it will work out okay”.

It worked for me that day too. Without really knowing the lyrics. Without knowing the story behind the song. Those three words gave me comfort. They helped me come back to the present. Find the center. Breath. Take control of my thoughts. I still wonder about the irony. The timing. Switching on the radio and hearing that song at that time. If you really think about it, it happens often in life. We have moments where we get subtle messages. Messages that give us pause. Messages that give us clarity. It’s a matter of hearing those messages. And when life is getting to us. When we are caught up in “life”. We need to “let it be”. Make it a good one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Is Tiger Back?

Writing about golf in March? Bizarre. The weather this winter has been unbelievable. I went golfing two weeks ago. No jacket. Since then the weather has not been conducive for golf. I did have a tee time last weekend but never did go. The temperature dropped to 3, winds were gusting to 60 km/hr, and there were rain showers. I don’t think so. My buddy called me a wuss. (actually it was worse but I can’t print that in this family friendly blog) I suspect he would have, given a choice, preferred golfing to what he is going through. He is the one who has just had cancer surgery and is now in recovery mode. This weekend looks a little more promising.

I never thought I would write anything about Tiger. Never been a fan of his. His personal debacle over the last few years added to an existing dislike. However, this past week Tiger did win a tournament for the first time in 923 days. Considering the amount of tournaments he won previously this was an anomaly. He has experienced significant personal issues. He has had physical issues and he has had to make swing changes. It has been interesting to watch his journey. In the past, whenever I watched golf and it was obvious that Tiger would win, I would quit watching. It became nauseating. This time it was different. I knew he was not infallible. So I kept watching. Hoping for a meltdown. It didn’t happen.

As I watched him win I have to admit that I, begrudgingly, admired him for the comeback. He has faced incredible adversity. Yes, I know, most of it self-inflicted. He has persevered. He has practised. This is not about his personal life but rather about his golfing abilities. I recall a few years ago that I did a presentation on stress management. Part of my presentation usually involves my personal story. I have shared how my wife has suggested to me that she has been married to a number of different husbands. The reasoning behind this thought is the changes I have gone through. I was a different person for periods of time. Some of those “husbands” have not made very good partners for her. Financial stress, addictions, and depression wreak havoc on relationships. After the presentation a certain gentleman let it be known he was quite upset with what I had said. When I pursued that with him he drew a comparison to Tiger Woods and his non-marital escapades. Not sure I get that. I had shared an experience with the group that was personal, tragic, and emotional. He likened me to Tiger. I know this gentleman does not get it. So be it.

I have struggled with my golf game over the last few years. Just not been able to remain consistent. It has been frustrating. I have sometimes felt like giving it up. It started when I was having mental health issues. Financial issues were consuming my thoughts. Just as I was beginning to recover from that I faced some health issues. I developed cataracts. I experienced a retinal detachment. Not easy to golf when you have numerous eye surgeries during the course of the summer and the doctor says no golf. Not easy to golf when you’re blind in one eye. Next time you are putting close one eye. It was actually humorous. Not for me, for the other guys I was with. But, thankfully, that is behind me. There is something to be said about modern medicine. I can see. With both eyes. No more excuses.

There is also a correlation to be drawn with our personal lives. Many times we face hurdles in life. Often times they appear to be impossible to overcome. Often times we cry out “why me”. And yet we do overcome. We persevere. We hang in there. We move on. There is hope. There is relief. Now I have to take that to heart and practice my golf. Perhaps I can win again. Tiger did. Make it a good one.