Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I lived in Griffith, NSW, for the first 12 years of my life. Until I was 21, I lived with my family near Wagga Wagga, where I completed University. I then moved to the city to begin my career. During this time unbeknownst to me I was cultivating three gifts that have helped to support me throughout my life. In Griffith, we lived five miles outside of “town” on a rice farm. It was a very carefree existence where I spent lots of time exploring and playing with my brother, sister, cousins and family friends. My mother had a love of animals, so we spent many hours adoring and looking after our dogs, cats, “poddy” lambs and calves, rabbits, horses, a donkey and even a pet kangaroo!
When I was twelve, we moved to an idyllic wheat and sheep farm, just 14 miles from Wagga Wagga. It had beautiful tall gums trees, abundant wildlife and set on gently rolling green hills. We were very fortunate that we went to a well respected public high school which achieved good results allowing many students to achieve their dreams and goals.
Alongside this, I continued to live a carefree lifestyle in the country, surrounded by the beauty of nature. At the front of our property was an expansive lake with an island inhabited by swans, ducks, and geese. By this time two peacocks, two emus and chickens had joined the family! Most days, a beautiful sunset over the rolling hills transitioned us into the evening.
Most of our holidays we visited Manly, a beautiful seaside destination in Sydney, Australia, The time in Manly gave me a great love and appreciation for the beauty and vibrancy of the city, where I live today!
Growing up in the country gave me a sense of space and stillness. Some years ago, My husband and daughter (then two), went on a forty day trip to Peru. One of the American Guides observed that a deep sense of peace and contentment radiated from me. I attribute this to my years in the country where I naturally felt that way.
While living in Sydney, I incrementally lost that sense of contentment, until one day I got a wake-up call!! I lost 16 points on my license in a year (I was caught by speeding cameras driving five km’s or so over the speeding limit). I got the lesson that I was travelling through life too fast and not fully appreciating what was around me. I was given an ultimatum by the Road Traffic Authority to either drive perfectly for a year or to lose my license for three months. As I had three small children at the time, was working and studying—I desperately needed my car to get from A to B, so I chose to drive perfectly for a year. This taught me to slow down and to tune into “life” again. I used this as a huge GIFT to return to my natural state of CONTENTMENT. I have now trained myself to feel calm and content even in Sydney’s busiest traffic!
About ten years ago I caught the ferry from Mosman and then a bus to the inner city where I had an appointment. At the time my young daughter was with me in her pram, and we sat down behind the bus driver. He said to me “you are from the country aren’t you?” At the time I was a bit surprised—I wondered “how could he tell—was it the way I looked or did I have a ‘country’ accent?” I later told this story to my sister—a seasoned city bus traveller. She said, “Did you say hello to the bus driver?” I said, “of course I did!” She said, “well that’s it, that’s how he could tell you were from the country.” I realised that the second GIFT I had received from the country was FRIENDLINESS.
Growing up in the country gave me a great appreciation of beauty and nature. The idyllic rolling hills, the gentle nature of animals cemented in me how joyous life is. What I have learned is that we can appreciate beauty anywhere, anytime. Even in the most extreme “concrete jungle” there may be the beauty of a leaf, or a smile, or we can connect to our inner sense of beauty. My third GIFT was my innate appreciation of the BEAUTY that is is all around us all the time when we choose to focus on it—it is our true nature.
The three gifts contentment, friendliness, and beauty are within us—a way of being.
Tune into your inner contentment even when everything around you is busy and chaotic. Be friendly to everyone you meet—hellos, thank yous, and smiles, connect us to others as they are part of the language of love. Appreciate the beauty that is all around you all the time, in your environment, family and friends.
Discover the path to peace and happiness with Deborah’s course, here.