The Recovering Farmer

Friday, September 30, 2011

When Columbus Sailed The Ocean Blue

Life is full of surprises. Many of them pleasant. Others not so much. Often times we wonder what the real meaning is behind the different twists and turns we experience. Sometimes things don’t make sense. We have certain dreams. We have aspirations. We have relationships with others who have dreams. It hurts when someone we love faces hurts or disappointments. We feel lost, confused or angry, if our plans don’t work out. We become uncertain of the future.

In my work with mediation I come across many situations where people have been knocked off course. Whether it’s a family situation, a debt situation, a relational issue, we wonder what we did wrong. We second guess. Many times we feel uncertain about what our next steps should be. We don’t know where to turn for help.

I am reminded of a story told about Christopher Columbus. It is said that when he left home he did not know where he was going. He had no idea how to get there. And when he did get there he had no idea where he was. Can you imagine how much different the story of Columbus would be if he had had the benefits of modern technology. A compass, a map, Google Earth, GPS. Any of these would have made life easier for him. Heck, he wasn’t even sure whether the earth was flat and he might sail over the edge.

Reminds me of when I went through some challenges. Whether it was mental health issues, financial stress, production problems, or relational challenges. I could have used a road map. I could have used the guidance of some one that had gone before. I could have used the help of a professional. Instead I did it on my own. I had no idea where I was going. I had no idea how to get there. And now I sometimes wonder where I am. With the experience I have gained, with many professionals I have worked with over the years, and the results I have seen when professionals are utilized, I see the errors of my ways. I should have made use of the help out there. The journey would have been easier. The end result would have been better.

That help is available. If stress, depression or anxiety is getting to you and you need someone to talk to there are counsellors available at the Manitoba Farm and Rural Support Services. If your farm is experiencing financial challenges there are free services available through the Manitoba Farm Mediation Board or through Farm Debt Mediation Services. If your family is experiencing relational issues or you would like assistance with putting together a succession plan or business plan, there are professionals available through the Canadian Association of Farm Advisers (CAFA). Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives have staff that can help with, and provide resources for, many of your needs. It is a matter of availing yourself of the help that is out there.

Take the time to explore your options. Ensure you feel comfortable with the professional you are considering. Envision your destination through establishing goals. Find a map for the journey. That way you will know where you are headed, you will know how to get there and when you get there you will know where you are. Make it as good one.

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