I walked into the gym Wednesday afternoon to do (not teach) Body Attack. For almost two years, every Monday and Wednesday afternoon I have taught Body Attack with my daughter, Rhiannon.
I stood in the change room, and it hit me: Rhiannon is gone. I cried. I sent her a text message. I felt lost without her.
A couple of hours later, she called me. She’s in South Africa for a couple of months (her boyfriend’s family are from South Africa). She asked me how the class (Attack) was and said she missed it already. She also told me she’s sick. I want her to come home. We talked for about 10 minutes, and then she was gone.
I know she can’t come home – there’s university starting in March, in Perth, which is about 3000km from Alice Springs. Probably, she won’t ever come back to live in Alice Springs.
Which leads me to other plans…
Gary (my partner) and I are looking to buy 200 acres very close to the Murray River in South Australia. The land we are currently considering has a conservation order on it (those who know us won’t be surprised). Our aim: to have a combined yoga/meditation retreat and field studies centre that showcases alternative sustainable technologies, and a balanced, sustainable life. For Gary, it’s about creating a place not only powered by solar and wind energy, but one that also feeds energy back into the grid. He wants to create a place for uni students undertaking conservation and land management or natural resource management to be able to come and conduct flora and fauna surveys, vegetation mapping and monitoring, perhaps even experimental burning programs. We plan to create an arid zone garden that grows a small surplus of food.
My part in the vision is to create a retreat centre for small groups, focussing on meditation and yoga, with accommodation for therapists to work with small groups suffering from depression. I am also hoping to have a cabin available to writers at a very small cost to enable them to finish largish writing projects.
Our initial aim was that, although the purchase of the land would take place next year, we wouldn’t be considering any move from the NT for at least a 3 or 4 years. I wanted to hang around to enjoy my new promotion and to take advantage of my long service leave in two years’ time. (Long service leave is an entitlement that many Australian employees receive after 10 years with one company – it is 3 months fully paid recreation leave). However, Parks and Wildlife, for whom Gary works, are restructuring and it looks as though he’s going to lose his position at Watarrka/Kings Canyon and be ‘redeployed’ – whatever that means.
He’s heartbroken. All he ever wanted to do was become a Chief District Ranger (that’s someone in charge of a district, which usually comprises a few different national parks and about 15 or so staff). This he achieved one year ago. Now, he’s being told that his ‘position’ will most likely no longer exist after January next year. Thus, he is open to work in other states. And he is especially thinking about business opportunities involving the land we wish to buy -right now.
All this, combined with my recent return from a yoga intensive, has got us thinking about the future – a future that will be the present moment anytime now. I’m also reading Timothy Ferriss’s Four Hour Work Week, which -although it’s pushing a web-based, product-driven business model that really turns me off- has some useful ideas in it for budding entrepreneurs. If nothing else, it’s worthwhile reading for its time-management techniques and remote working strategies alone. If nothing else, Ferriss is an entertaining and energetic writer and the book isn’t boring.
Anyway, the point is that something is emerging for us. A radical refocus of our lives away from our lives enmeshed with government employment (albeit, being a park ranger protecting the environment and an anthropologist protecting sacred sites, we have long ago chosen to pursue our dreams and serve the greater good forsaking $$ and suburban life).
The exact shape and pace of our changes is yet to be seen – but know this. We are ready to love every moment of it.