Use the sum­mer to re­flect, rest and plan

Sunday News - - WELLBEING -

AS the alarm goes at 4am, my mind, body and brain are re­luc­tant to stir. I wake my kids and we dress up­warm to get into our Taka­cat dinghy. The mo­tor is slug­gish to start aswe head across a re­mote Ste­wart Is­land beach un­der a full moon to look for kiwi.

The beach is cov­ered in kiwi tracks, the stars are out and there is not a cloud in the sky. As we sit, watch and­wait re­flect­ing in our thoughts the eastern sky bright­ens with the ris­ing sun.

We were shep­herded here by a pair of oys­ter­catch­ers who did not want us near their nest. We re­treated as their calls be­came less and they and us could re­lax and await the ap­proach­ing dawn.

As we sit, my daugh­ter com­ments that ‘‘every sen­tinel be­ing is the cen­tre of its own uni­verse’’. The flock of gulls that were drink­ing from a sandy stream may have been think­ing, ‘‘I had bet­ter get home to the chicks’’ or ‘‘I need to drink more wa­ter’’ or­what­ever was pass­ing through their con­scious­ness.

I won­der what the tiny fish I no­tice in the salty sea feed­ing in the shal­lows are think­ing. The strong twisted south­ern ra¯ta¯ stand­ing sen­tinel for hun­dreds of years look­ing at the same view, the only chang­ing view is the weather and those that cross its path. They know noth­ing of Don­ald Trump, my­mort­gage or plumb­ing is­sues.

Be­ing away from the of­fice on these sum­mer hol­i­days gives us a chance to re­con­nect with the na­ture that we have be­come dis­con­nected with. A chance to chill out and re­flect, rest and plan. To take no­tice of other sen­tinel be­ings and how we re­late to them. While all sen­tinel be­ings may be the cen­tre of their own uni­verse, not all have in­sight. In clin­i­cal medicine we use the word in­sight.

It is the abil­ity to re­flect on how our ac­tions af­fect oth­ers. How our be­hav­iour may im­pinge on oth­ers and cause rip­ple ef­fects. It’s an im­por­tant as­pect of our con­scious­ness and a tool to see where we fit in, and how we can add value.

As the moon sets on 2018 and the sun be­gins to rise on 2019 it is time to re­flect on­what a year we have had, some of the high­lights and some of the things we could have done bet­ter, how our sen­tinel selves have im­pacted on oth­ers and in­sight into our thoughts, feel­ings and ac­tions.

What will we do dif­fer­ently in 2019? Most of uswill want to be fit­ter and health­ier and many New Year’s res­o­lu­tions will be made and some will be bro­ken. As our thoughts cre­ate our feel­ings and ac­tions, con­trol­ling your thoughts is the key to be­havioural change.

In 2019 in­stead of say­ing to your­self I have to go to work, I have to ex­er­cise I have to take my dog for a walk, try swap­ping the word ‘‘have’’ to ‘‘get’’. I am lucky I get to go to work, I am for­tu­nate I am­able to ex­er­cise, I am grate­ful to get to walk my dog. There are many who would TOM MUL­HOL­LAND love a job, can’t ex­er­cise and would love to have a dog.

Feel­ing sorry for our­selves can im­pinge on our well­be­ing, feel­ing sorry for oth­ers can im­prove it. As the moon sets over the in­let and dinghy it’s time to head to the boat and the new day and the new year that awaits. Dr Tom Mul­hol­land is a GP with 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in New Zealand. He’s cur­rently on a mis­sion, tack­ling health is­sues around New Zealand.

Be­ing away from the of­fice in re­mote Ste­wart Is­land has given Dr Tom Mul­hol­land a chance to re­con­nect with na­ture and re­flect on his year.

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