2009.....what a year!
It was a year of loss, of hardship, of trial and tribulation and coming into the end, on this the last day of the year that was, and about to head out to have a fine glass of syrah-grenache with my best friend Kent, I am tired...
Tired as at the end of a hard days work, when you know that you couldn't have practicably done more than was done.
And so it's a time to reflect...
2009 was a year that challenged many of my beliefs about myself.
The economic crash showed evidently some of my misplaced confidences of youth...and in doing so made me even more empathetic to the plights of those who have been less fortunate in life.
It showed just how much we need to constantly 'be' to live each day as if it's our last, and to not rush forward, with eyes only for the future with time, time our most wonderful currency slipping through our fingers to never be recovered again.
And in saying that it also showed that there are times when we truly must sow the seeds that will lead to a future bounty to reap. And that sowing is not always easy...in fact it can be a battle, a battle though that makes us stronger, assuming always that we don' let it blind us to the moment, and close us to the magical wonder that the day holds. Most of all we need to confront the work steadfastly but not let it guard our faces to the smiles that should come as naturally as the snows in winter and the blooms in spring.
I lost much in 2009, it was a year of financial hardship for many and I was not immune to that. It was a time to tighten belts - but again this held a kernel of blessing, and many turned away from materialism and began to appreciate more simple pleasures - a moment with friends, a walk in the forest...
These losses though are merely the window dressing to life's ups and downs...the losses that strike most are those of the ones we love. And in 2009 it was the loss of my dear Uncle Dexter, a loss I still feel each and every day, who was a Grandfather to me, and for whom I wrote this eulogy:
"I was born in the winter of 1979 in the shadow of great men..
I was named en homage to my grandfather, who I new only by reputation and by the tales of men's men, and Clifford Dexter Harvey - my Uncle, my friend, my mentor.
As young boys we find 'home' embodied in the arms of our mothers and test our limits and we define our boundaries against our fathers but we find our first true friends in our grandfathers.
These buddies, these mates, these teachers and role models were for me my grandfather Maurice Chandler and Dex - who filled the role for me and Charlene and for Dad that was left vacant by my grandfather.
I spent summer holidays and weekends staying with Dex and Betty.
Their place was like a fairy tale setting for me. A huge garden where I could be a general on a battlefield or a hunter in the woods.
That great house with it's nooks and crannies that became fox holes and forts.
And my fantastical meanderings were sparked by the tales of hunting, fishing and the army - the things that shaped men like Dex.
We were fuelled by the abundant feasts that Bett invariably laid out. Nothing has ever tasted quite so sweet as the beans out of Dex and Betty's garden and in my years of travelling through over 20 countries the finest gastronomic delights pale in comparison to a home cooked meal with Dexter and Betty.
I couldn't have wished for a greater role model.
So much of what I have done in my short time on this earth has been driven by my desire to make them proud. To be a man in the mold that they threw. And I think that's why I have at times wandered and explored and sought my fortune and my path far afield.
It's reason why I have competed in strength sports and the pugilistic arts - because these men - Grandad, Dexter and Dad fought and struggled to give us what they never had.
I know that it's the reason that I have stood up after being knocked down in life, on the street and in the ring.
I remember one occasion where I was laid down by a glove and on hitting the canvas there was but one thought in my mind - and that thought was of family. It was of the warriors who have gone before me and toiled for us. Dexter was the epitome of that for me. And so I got up - because he would have done the same.
Greatness is often measured in the ligthly shifting sands of fame and wealth.
But greatness is built by the stones of things far more real. The stones hewn by a life well lived.
Greatness is not created nor demonstrated by a life of ease and doing what is easy. It is defined by doing what has to be done, by standing up and being counted. And doing these things with honesty, loyalty and humility.
Greatness is built by this and tied together by the mortar of love. Something that Dexter gave and in turn received in abundance. He had the love of his life in Betty. The love of his family, who revered and still revere him. And the love of friends and colleagues...not to mention that of all the neighbourhood children who also became the surrogate children of Dex and Betty.
Dexter though was not one to talk of credo and virtue. He was too humble and his was a life of action.
So much of where I stand today is due to the lessons I learnt from Dex.
Greatness is certainly not measured in stature for, for as we know Dexter was not the tallest of blokes!...
But his shadow is cast long.
I remember whilst growing up, that virtually every time I would see Dex and Betty that Bett would comment on how big I was getting or how fast I was growing (for a Harvey that is!) and Dex would invariably tell me, with a gleam in his eye; "One day you might even be as big and as strong as your Uncle Dexter!"
And I hope that I can one day Dex....
I try to this day to be even half the man that you were, half the man that you still are in the hearts of everyone here.
I love you Dex - I stand in the shadow of a great man."
And although this loss...and others cut me to the core...and continue to do so, it was also a year of wonder and a year of growth...
I feel on reflection that as a practitioner and more so, simply as a 'person', I have evolved perhaps more this year than any other.
The struggles and the long hours have solidified and fortified my resolve. I've regained my 'hustle' and I know that having come through adversity before and always stronger, wiser and more caring, that this will be no different, and leaves one with a bursting energy for 2010.
There has also been a strange acceptance...We all have times when we feel that we are not quite at ease withing our skin. And in 2009 after taking stock I realised that there was a disconnect in my practice, and in my life.
And that 'disconnect' was the divide between what I did as a nutritionist and natural therapist, and what I believed in a spiritual sense.
And so a spiritual (some may say esoteric) bent began to permeate my work.
Whilst always backed with a scientific rationale I learnt more, studied and integrated energy healing, mind-body healing and spiritual counseling into my practice...with absolutely astounding results!
I had thought there was something missing from my healing practice and I feel now that this adventure has opened up avenues to healing that provide the final 'pieces of the puzzle'!
In this year I feel that I have also come to peace with much, not least of all a peace with God. Not a construct of God that someone has built up. For no matter what we each perceive him to be God is love...(The truth in simplicity!)
2010 holds much - A new venture, building existing businesses....2 new books! There's much to be thankful for, and much to look forward to!
Have a great New Year everyone! Live, laugh and LOVE....because if you don't what's the point of it all!
'let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love'