Beginners guides


Sand at 10I’m not sure how long this post will stay up for, but it needs to be said. It’s not part of my usual repetoire, but it’s something I need to say and it’s this. It’s simply an observation or two, a bit of wisdom maybe, an admission and something significant to finish.

First, some wisdom

If someone ever tells you not to listen to them as ‘they have terrible judgement’. Take their word for it. No-one would make that stuff up. They will know from experience that they have got a number of things wrong and given people terrible advice. So listen to them, take their word for it as they have just told you they have terrible judgement.

Never do anything they advise you to do.

I’ve always felt people make judgements with the head rather than the heart. You decide what to do about things in your head but your heart will let you know how you feel about it. Some people are head people and some are heart people. I know something about this. The head deals with the logical, the heart with the emotional. What makes sense, in your head, may not necessarily be the right thing at all. I believe the head tells you what is right to do but the heart tells you what is right, for you. Sometimes it’s hard to know, or decide, or choose between your head and your heart. There is another place, inside your heart called your ‘heart of hearts’. This is where you know for sure, one way or another.

Everybody listens to the bit that works for them, that’s what makes people different. Are you a head or a heart person? I don’t know of many who are both. I’m certainly not one of them. I know which one I am.

Which brings me on to another bit of wisdom. About hearts

If you know something is wrong in ‘your heart of hearts’ and you do nothing about it, it will break your heart, one way or another, sooner or later.

More wisdom?

Always have the courage of your own convictions or you will always be at the mercy of someone elses.

More wisdom?

If you leave an unresolved situation, it is not an escape. You do not escape an unresolved situation, you flee it. The situation is still unresolved but you just fled. That is different to escaping. You escape from a prison or torment.  No-one ever started an adventure by escaping something, they were just escaping. You look forward to an adventure not escape to one.

Whether flight or escape, whichever it is, or you call it, or are doing, both only end when you find safety. Do not confuse shelter with safety.  Safety is when you feel secure, shelter is where you hide from something.  What is safe is when you feel safe, not when someone else suggests you should. Being safe and secure makes you happy, gives you peace, which sounds great, but it’s not that simple, sadly. That is a whole other examination of a state of mind. That is not one I am going to undertake here.

Nearly the final bits of wisdom, almost but not quite there.

If you think nobody listens to a word you say, you are just saying the wrong thing to the wrong people. Say the right thing to the right people and they will listen intently.

Never do anything against your own will unless it is for the greater good. Never make an adult do something against their will as that is subjugation.

As an aside, but an important one;  You can try to make children do things against what they think is their will only if you have convinced them of the sense of it. It’s better they don’t do things reluctantly because they must but instead do things willingly because they want to. Then it becomes their will as well. If you can’t get them to see the difference then there is no sense in it to the child. You’ve more parenting to do, you aren’t making sense yet. Remember you are forming a mind and moulding a character, but it does not have to be in your own image or to your own design, you are not God. Your job as parent is guidance, not judgement. Judgements will be made later on the merits of your guidance.

Neatly back to judgement and the final bit of wisdom.

Never do anything against your better judgement. You know what is right for you and your life. Trust your judgement.  You will know what is right in your ‘heart of hearts’.

Most commonly, people who take an action against their better judgement will at some stage in later life, rue what ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’. You knew at the time it was a bad idea, hence the phrase is almost universally ironic, but rarely funny.

An admission and something significant

22 years ago rather than resolve a situation I had in New Zealand, I fled it. I thought I was escaping, I fled. I constantly sought shelter. But I never found safety, where I felt secure. So I was always unhappy. I made some calls and did some things I shouldn’t have done against my better judgement and as a result I didn’t do what I knew what was right in my ‘heart of hearts’. We know how that turns out.

There has been an awful lot of life in between then and now. But I have finally found the courage of my own convictions.

I know now what to do. I know where to go. I know what my better judgement tells me and I know how I feel about what comes next. I’m going back to New Zealand. I’m going to have an adventure and I’m looking forward to it. My adventure might just be the next stage of life, but it feels like an adventure. For the first time in as long as I can remember I am going forward to a positive future rather than enduring a change in circumstances against my own will, which is another result of the fallout from doing things a long time ago against my better judgement. I’m not going to do that anymore.

I’m going to go home to do the things I know I am a good at and want to do, rather than just doing what I don’t want to do, but do, because I am able. I am going to trust my better judgement and do what I know I am not just good at, but best at. I know this in my heart of hearts and that makes me happy.

Make sense? To me it does, perfect sense. This is why I am doing what I am doing, what I should have done years ago, but didn’t, against my better judgement.

44 replies »

  1. What you say has relevance for me.
    We knew we wanted to move to Costa Rica…but should we wait to sell the house in France?

    We went with the heart…we left the house behind.

    If we hadn’t, my husband would not be enjoying reasonable health – there would have been a strong chance he would have died by now had we stayed.

    Go with the gut feeling…the heart…and the very best of luck to you on your adventure.

    • No Sheila, very hard, but not once you make a start. Yes, going home for good, but who knows what will happen next? It’s funny how things turn out.

  2. Wow Sandy that’s a decision and a half. Amazing. I wish you so much luck – rather, happiness. That makes two important reasons for us to make the trip over there some day.

  3. Sandy, I wish you loads of happiness, and I hope you find safety (not just shelter) in New Zealand. You are right, running away from your problems never solves anything, they just follow you around like a shadow. Leaving for the right reasons, as you seem to be doing, is an entirely different thing.
    Love, Jane x

  4. I LOVED the part on an unresolved situation. Because someone in my life chose to constantly flee I now sit with my heart broken. I wish you all the best and kudos to you for taking this big leap. xox

    • Thanks JustMe. Things should never be left unresolved or they will eat away. Thank you my friend for your understanding this and your kind wishes. I know how hard that would have been to say, in a way.

  5. Gave me goosebumps Sandy but I knew it would, on National Book Evening I chose to read this because there was nothing I wanted to read more. You will inspire people, they will want to read whatever you write, because you are simply very good at it and the passion comes through. We all need 2 things in life I believe, A purpose and a sense of belonging, writing gives you both so go embrace the gifts you have and live your life xxx

  6. Wow Sandy, I loved reading this. You have been so brave in finally following your heart and looking after number one. Thanks for sharing this – you have outlined how a lot of people actually feel and the situation they are in, but never have the courage to actually deal with it. Look forward to seeing you back home soon Sandy.

  7. Sounds like a HUGE decision Sandy. I wish you all the best for the future adventures and your life back in NZ. The West Coast is a great place to discover. Kia kaha. Arohanui. xx

  8. All very good words and good intentions, admirable even, but perhaps it’s not quite that simple mate. Go seek but beware greener isn’t always great. Pieter (Fiona’s friend)

    • Thanks Pieter. It’s not simple at all. I know that. I also know what the grass looks like though. It’s not like I’ve only ever looked over the fence at it. I know what I am doing. Clearly what is written here is not the whole story. But we will chat about it when I get back hopefully. Thanks for commenting

  9. Yep – good stuff, Seems consistent, You have a few fans of your writing which is also good. Just sayin…

    And families of farmers know that the grass doesn’t need to always be green to be good feed. Long as there’s enough there for the winter. You know that. Well perhaps you should consider how many head of varying species of livestock you’ll put in a paddock, or what mix of grass you might sew, what percentage legumes and how much nitrogen rich stuff you need, how much water there is, or whether you put out super this year, or what goes to seed or what takes root. But you never really know what’s going to happen because the weather is out of your control. You plan for it the best you can and tough it out. And then spring’s always a gamble because it depends on sunshine, rain, and what happens to the grass then. But in NZ it’s usually pretty consistent. Pretty good. Not much drought. Sunny sometimes, with plenty of rain. Seems like an OK place to follow your heart of hearts or your gut. Not much catastrophic disaster if you stuff up or guess wrong. You just recalibrate and get on with it.

    And you know I/m not talking about farming here – I’m milking an analogy to its fullest. Interesting times for a writer in NZ right now, so much change on the political landscape, an economy that’s a bit flat but better than most, a few “fences” to mend on the family front, and another rugby season about to happen. Hmm, that’ll do pig. That’ll do.

  10. Great words of wisdom. I believe in ‘following your gut’ (or your heart, or whatever cliché you want to use) – because it’s so true. My guy and I lived in New England for ten years after leaving our hearts in San Francisco, but my ‘gut’ told me we had to move back. And we did – and it was the best decision ever. Good luck to you!

  11. Thought of Thoreau’s “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Glad you are finding your song.

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