Who Am I?
Defining whom anyone is are just words that can somehow pigeonhole the infinite nature of who they are and the possibilities they contain. Nonetheless, in the West we have a habit of pigeonholing to make sense of our world. We have a need to break down our world and how we perceive it in neat little packages. For those who require this I will do my best to describe ‘who I am’ and ‘what I do’.
I felt from a very young age that I was here to do more than just exist. That maybe, I was here to have greater purpose than that. At times I have had glimpses of this purpose, and other times the light hasn’t shone so brightly.
As a child and a teenager I wasn’t so interested in rational academic subjects like mathematics, but gravitated more to the creative fields of art and biology. I knew back then everything that a child needed to know about all the animals and plants around him. I was not so interested in toys. Instead from the age of 4 I would wander off into the bushland beyond my parent’s house back fence in Greystanes in Sydney’s western suburbs. This was back in the 1970’s when bushland was being replaced by brand new residential developments. Only one house down there was a few acres of vacant land that was always filled with puddles brimming with big fat tadpoles and in the evening the chorus of frogs. To me growing up here was heavenly. It felt like one long hot summer of melting in the sun and exploring the nature that surrounded me.
I think my early childhood sowed the seeds to my thoughts and ideas as a adult.
Ok, let’s try and use some labels to help those who need them.
I see myself as Heartist.
A Heartist is a creative who sees possibilities when others may see only problems. They are heart-based beings and highly intuitive.
I am able to interweave a myriad of connections based on minute bits of information and gut instincts t come to conclusions quickly. This often frustrates my wife and myself as I then need to slow down and show the not so apparent connections of things and how I came to my seemingly illogical conclusions. This is heart-based ‘thinking’ based on ‘feelings’ which is very different to ‘rational’ cerebral based thinking that seeks to find ‘facts by breaking down things in what we do ‘know’ and don’t know. Some may say this is a more feminine way of thinking, I simply see this as something inherent in males and females, rather than buying into the male/female destructive dichotomy.
Designer and Author
Seeing connections and things differently means that I have been able to make a successful career as a designer and author of numerous books.
As a designer I see my role as being a ‘problem solver’.
For instance, a client comes to me to want to open a hairdressing salon. By understanding their needs, those of the Landlord, site specific conditions and restrictions, the consumer and a myriad of subtleties, through an organic process I am able to weave together a tapestry we call design.
As an author, I feel a sense of an excitement as I embark on an idea and the journey that reveals itself along the way.
It is like traveling without to far distant places that existing in my mind and in this quantum soup that I pluck ideas from. I find the mind very fascinating and by following one’s intuition there are aha moments when the heart and mind are working in complete harmony to create a symphony of ideas that take my breath away.
A lot of my books are ‘gift books’ or gifts from the heart. They are meant to be given to one other to create and strengthen our connections and ‘relation-ships’.
Change Maker and Activist
It is often through slowing down and connecting with nature that I feel I am able to recharge. In those quiet moments of contemplation and letting go are when ideas flow. Nature and the beauty and inspiration it provides also physically sustains us. Yet Western society has in general lost that connection with our natural world. We have destroyed much of our planet’s natural world and we are beginning to see the consequences of hundreds of years of disregard to the Earth and the processes that sustain us. The more time I have spent in Nature the more I appreciate ancient and indigenous cultures and the way they revered and respected the Earth that gave them life.
We are ready to experience a fundamental paradigm shift in our thinking.
It will take courage to challenge ingrained ideas and institutions in how we view all living things. We are beginning to see the new beginnings of this in the recognition of the Rights of Nature and some historic legal victories. We need to begin to see the intricate and infinite connections of everything on this planet.
Animal Rights and the Rights of Nature
We have an Animal Rights movement that champions the rights of animals to be treated humanely. We have environmentalists that speak of protecting our natural world. I think we need to go one step further and look to those ancient and indigenous cultures and fundamentally change the way we see our plant world. Every tree s sacred and life-giving. Yet we have for too long in Western cultures created a hyper-separation from plants. We see them as the lowest form of life just above animals. We see them as resources to be exploited. Inanimate soul-less objects, rather than the sentient beings that they are and that scientists are beginning to ‘discover’ and what ancient humanity have always known.
This sounds like hippy dippy peace loving and leaf smoking tree hugger ideas, yet this is the kind of thinking that we need to bring fundamental change in our world. Being a heartist is feeling the truth, and seeing through BS of how we have been taught to see the world. Being a heartist is about giving. Part of my income I use to help reforest Madagascar and help the people who call this island home out of severe poverty so they too can have the opportunity to experience prosperity that we take for granted.
One of the greatest challenges of our modern world is to curb our addiction to ‘stuff’.
We are literally killing ourselves softly with our love of creature comforts and materialism.The internet online shopping trend and large shopping malls have made it even easier to be able to accumulate even more and more stuff at a faster rate. Additionally, things become ‘obsolete’ quicker which see us throw away more stuff always wanting the latest and greatest gadget or appliance. This is unsustainable and combined with social media which accelerates the need to consume it is creating great misery in society.
We have more than any other society before us and yet per capita we in the West are the unhappiest.
Again, answers to our future lay in our ancient past. Even in my ancient past 🙂 I look back at my childhood where I had enough but wasn’t too interested in having many toys. I was fascinated with the natural world and learned to value experiences over possessing things.
Being a ‘Minimalist’ has become a trendy hipster byword for an ascetic lifestyle.
The ascetic lifestyle and reading about the people who have followed this path has a calling for me. Many cultures and faiths incorporate ascetic philosophies in their teachings. By slowing down our lives and allowing ourselves time to reflect we begin to understand that what we do really ‘need’ to be happy is very little. In fact, as the veil of illusion begins to lift we start to have a great sense of gratitude for the little things in every moment.
Life In The Slow Lane
Living life in the slow lane is a place that I aspire for after spending many years in the headlong frantic wave of wanting. Incorporating elements of asceticism into our lives allow us time to develop more spiritually as well as create a greater connection with others including all living things in the Earth. Retreating into Nature on a regular basis allows me to slow down and appreciate my life and the Earth and all living things.
I hope that you are able to be inspired by the blogs and information on my website and be a facilitator for positive change in your life.