Posted in: Food for the Soul on Sunday, June 9th, 2013

“There is more stuff in the world then ever before. Stuff you can touch. Stuff you can think. Stuff you can use and consume. Stuff you can know with all your senses. The growth of stuff is out of control. It is now being creatd by means of an unstoppable, exponential chain reaction. Stuff has become a major threat to freedom and happiness. It destroys nature and peae. It steals time and space. It fouls beauty. It is relentless, virulent, invasive and addictive. Stuff makes you exhausted and mad. There is too much stuff! The following common statement can be taken very seriously: ‘I’m stuffed and the world is stuffed’ ” ~ Michael Leunig ‘Wild Fragments’ Penguin Books ISPN 0 14 300353 4

Having downsized our life to fit in a 34ft boat I can agree with this sentiment. There is too much stuff. We had too much stuff.  Stuff we had accumulated over a decade of working, wanting, spending, working, wanting, spending. Rinse and repeat. It’s so easy to get stuck in the cycle of consumerism. Big brands, the media and anyone with loud enough voices tell us we need, so we buy and in order to buy we work and rack up debt.  It’s only since I stopped did I realise how little sense the whole system makes.  It’s designed to keep us distracted.  Distracted, fat and happy, sated on the honey of our consumerist society.

Now don’t mistake me for a nutty, anti-government, ‘bring-down-our-capitalist- overlords’ hippie. I’m not by a long shot. I still want stuff, usually these days it’s boat stuff, but the desire for shiny things, shoes and pretty clothes remains with me. It’s just with less money i’m forced to evaluate whether I really need the things I want. Most of the time I don’t. And surprisingly to me I’m happy with out them.

I think in life as with make-up, perfume, accessories and colour blocking, less really is more. Less stuff is better for us and its better for the environment.


The Mexican Fisherman

Posted in: Food for the Soul on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Image Source: http://susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/saudi-man-dies-saving-american-child.html

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long” answered the Mexican

“But then why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer everyday. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.  You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long will that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American. “And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”asked the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

Okay, I had a headache today and phoned it in with this post. Some of you may be aware, but I wasn’t, that this story has been reproduced on blogs too many times to count. Some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking ‘not this old chestnut again’ and to those people I apologise. To everyone else I hope you enjoyed this little bit of zen and find some meaning in it. It was sent to me by a collegue after I had applied for a VER and helped me decide to be the Mexican fisherman and chase wealth of a different kind. 


From the ocean we came

Posted in: Food for the Soul on Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Image source - http://freeaussiestock.com/free/Queensland/slides/1770_rocks_water.htm

I sat and reflected on this beautiful passage, and I thought of the living oceans inside of me and how lucky Ben and I are to be able to return our lives to the sea.