I really loved and felt a resonance with Meg’s comments to my first blog about ‘turning sixty’ which she described as a ‘cause for reflection and wonder’ . Her thoughts about the ‘unspoken paradigms that guide the way I live’ mirrored those of Jung in his urging of us to re-examine taken-for-granted assumptions that may have served us well in our youth. ( See her comments at http://annauth.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/hello-world/#comments ).
I also related to her metaphor of ‘production’ that underpins so much of the work-orientated western world. Indeed there is considerable discussion in both the popular press and academia currently about tensions between the predominant paradigm guiding the world of work where production and performance is the main focus, and an alternative paradigm focused around meaning and relationships; where the quality of experiences rather than measure of outcomes is valued. Australian academic Clive Hamilton is one of many authors who have researched and written about this dilemma in his book ‘Growth Fetish’. His writing, with links to the Wellbeing Manifesto that challenges this paradigm, can be found on his website and are worth looking at ( http://www.clivehamilton.net.au/cms/index.php ).
I’ve been thinking about this issue through the past decade of my working life, looking at the stresses many people, especially working mothers are under, and trying to embrace a more sustainable way of working, that is nourishing of people’s wellbeing whilst also leading to positive and productive outcomes for society.
I think one step towards making any changes in the way we live and work involves awareness of the ‘now’ especially the aspects of life that are so familiar to us that they usually are taken for granted. I have used an approach in my research called phenomenology. Phenomenology is essentially a philosophy as well as an approach to studying and understanding people’s experiences. At its core, however, phenomenology is essentially a way of looking at the world. I’ll talk more about it perhaps in the year ahead, but one of the best known phenomenological philosophers, Maurice Merleau-Ponty refers to phenomenology as a way of ‘revealing the mystery of the world’ through standing back from life and looking with fresh eyes at the wonder of what we take for granted every day – our everyday experiences .
In posting a photo of what I’m grateful for each week, my most obvious choice would have been photos of my loved ones and other dear friends. Instead, I’m focusing more – at least initially – on things I take for granted – like the fig tree last week and today, the full moon. It’s full moon tonight. I’ve added a photo I took of the moon reflected on the calm stretch of water between Bribie Island and Caloundra. The sight of the moon rising over water never fails to fill me with a sense of awe and wonder. Until next time …