Mixing business with pleasure.
My office plants.
I am managing director of a corporate, my office at the center of this pillar of capitalism is a table in the garden. The stereotypical office most people think of happens not to my thing, in front of me is Kevin, a spider, sitting patiently for dinner in the middle of a beautiful web. The corporate director usually has the benefit of a secretary to keep blood sucking parasites at bay, I have Kevin, this spider is great against mosquitoes.
Instead of the sounds of fax machines, photocopiers and cellphones, I have Pebbles meowing for a treat. Where there should be a drink vending machine is a bottle of water I share with this cat in her water bowl.
Every office has its romance, two pigeons in my office are doing it again in noisy fashion on top of the roof. I do not think there has been anywhere these pigeons have not indulged in x-rated liaisons in the garden, it is most distracting as I file accounts ready for the tax people.
In any office at the center of corporate capitalism you get visitors all day long. Amber the fox walks in, sniffs and then disappears into the bushes looking for a mouse.
My second important teacher is my subconscious.
The subconscious is like a playful beautiful butterfly half hidden in the shadows.
The cryptic philosopher Heraclitus offers my mind a testing puzzle like Socrates says a deep-sea diver looking for pearls in dark waters. This quest to unravel the mysteries Heraclitus coded in his metaphorical observations from nature is my current passion both in waking life and in dream.
My first teacher is nature, because it was from nature that Heraclitus built his philosophy, my second teacher is my subconscious. We are only aware of a small fraction of the mental activity going on in our brain, most which happens in the darkness of the mysterious and dreaming darkness of the subconscious.
Last night my second teacher helped me solve a range of puzzles relating to Heraclitus via a series of dreams. I quickly recorded and translated the dreams, finding like the deep-sea diver my pearls.
For my readers benefit I record some observations about this second teacher, our subconscious. Your brain records your dreams in short-term memory, they vanish from memory rapidly, you have moments to record them on waking before you forget them. Dreams deal with subjects of the last 48 hours of waking life. Dream code is relative and unique to the individual, you won’t find translations of your dreams in a book, such tools are useless. Remembering and translating the code of your dreams comes with practice and experience. The subconscious like nature is playful, it will take a theme, question, or problem then play with it from many angles, thus you will get a series of dreams on the same pattern in the night. A strong clearly defined problem results in a clearer targeted response from the subconscious in dream. The human brain is a pattern processing machine, it processes, plays, builds and communicates in patterns. Your dreams often works with the same types of metaphorical code as you use in waking life, know this code, you will know what your subconscious is saying.
Most people sleep a third of their lives away, so it is worthwhile using such time as an opportunity to learn about and work with your subconscious in problem solving.
Nature is stronger than humanity in any struggle.
Nature is opportunistic taking advantage of any situation to live, grow and procreate. This young starling in Colchester is a member of a species that successfully uses the roof structures of town houses to nest in.
Walking in a location called Hilly Fields in Colchester with my camera I met a fellow visitor who remembered the place as an empty set of fields for cattle during the 1970′s. Over forty years later Hilly Fields is woodland, and it is hard to imagine this place now with no trees but grassland for cows. Nature will quickly take over a place and return a wasteland to a living chaos of rampant plant and animal if the opportunity arises.
Even in my garden I see the procreative power of nature. I can mow the lawn and four days later it flowers and fast growing vegetation cover the lawn again. I remove the so-called weeds from the paving stones in the same garden, but days later the same plants emerge again. In battle with nature over my garden, nature is winning.
There is a wonderful set of photographs showing how nature has run wild in Detroit in the USA, which was hit hard by the economic chaos from 2007. People have abandoned whole neighborhoods in Detroit, and nature has taken advantage, a metaphor of the power of nature against human civilisation. It is highly unlikely humanity can kill off all plants and animals on planet earth, there will come a tipping point when it becomes unsustainable for humanity to survive as a species, and nature will from the remaining plants and animals create tens of millions of new versions to replace the losses. Detroit is a perfect metaphor of natures strength against humanity, a lesson to heed unless humanity wants to experience Detroit across the face of human civilisation.
Connect with nature in a tent.
Nature is ready to meet and play with adventurous campers.
I write this in a thunderstorm in a tent. I feel secure as the wind seeks to send me off like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The rain beats its drum upon the tent canvas, as the beast roars its war cry in flashes of white across the heavens.
It is hot. My relief from the heat is this tent, many times cooler than the poor people living in their over-warm houses tonight. It was so warm I worked in the garden this evening. There were large orange “Day Lilies” nearby making me nervous, they close their flowers at night making sudden jerky noises, but I fail to catch their movements, just their quivering in the still air. My imagination runs wild, they will pull me in amongst them and eat me.
The times I camped in winter I find it is easier to warm this tent, and stay warm, than the larger space of a room, or an entire house.
Camping in nature comes with certain expectations. You will be sharing your space with the local wildlife. I get used to the spiders, ants, beetles that take up residence, the spiders even have built nests in this tent for their babies. I occasionally leave the tent in place so long some plants grow along the guy ropes. Be prepared for visits from the local animals, which recently for me included foxes, frogs and hedgehogs; they all are curious and like to share your home comforts. Also, expect surprises, nature is playful: foxes chewed through my guy ropes one night so that the tent fell down on me in a rain storm; a falling tree could have crushed me last year; I woke in flood water a month ago; I have a regular sport chasing out various creatures; I suffer from collisions from passing, mating or fighting animals. Just now, in the rain, frogs are hopping on and around the tent.
Camping has helped me connect with nature, you cannot help but learn the harsh and beautiful faces that nature presents. Unusual and unique adventures await the camper. It is a beautiful experience to wake up as the first bird sings the new day in, followed by others into a full dawn chorus.
Placing planet earth at the heart of a business.
My experiences in nature directly impacts how I run my business. My relationship and treatment of planet earth is no different to that I have with my oak saplings.
Summer, I camp a lot. I often evict wildlife from my tent, this morning it was a grasshopper. Sharing life intimately with wild creatures gives you a different outlook on life compared to most people.
In the garden I note my oak saplings are growing fast, needing larger pots. I have cared for these oak saplings from acorns, of the original thirteen acorns, eight survived to grow into oak saplings. Caring for wild things changes your viewpoint.
I watched a video over the weekend about the relationship of the neolithic builders of Stonehenge and the River Avon, how they held the river as sacred, a source of all the animals which they hunted that came to the river to drink. The reverence for water, the landscape, the animals of the Stonehenge builders is the same as that of the cave painters of Chauvet twenty-thousand years earlier who painted a stampede of animals coming out of a vulva-like water source in their cave.
I discover my values and personal insights from how I react to what I see and experience in the world around me. I reacted in anger at the greed and vanity of money investors in business ideas in the US reality television series Shark Tank on YouTube. I reacted in dismay at the wasteful stupidity portrayed in a video on consumerism: people queuing for a week to get hold of the latest iPhone, whose only enhancement from the last was its colour; IKEA marketing telling consumers to throw out perfectly good possessions; Apple designing a new type of screw on its smartphones in order to prevent people repairing damaged phones, thus encouraging waste; the extensive scams brands go to called obsolescence to make objects the consumer buys break quickly increasing waste and needless replacement. The contempt the modern economic paradigm has to this planet is at odds with our human ancestors, and at odds with my worldview.
I am part of a new business paradigm, where I can compete against rivals on equal terms with innovation and clever strategies, but where I care for the planet earth in the same manner as I cared for the grasshopper this morning and my oak saplings. In thinking on these matters in the garden this morning, my garden fox Amber appeared, yawned, then went to sleep in the sun.
Ignorance and working against nature has harmful consequences.
Cows are dangerous. Every year in the UK a walker dies because of their ignorance and lack of respect of cows.
My ability connecting with nature is the result of seeing nature for what it is, and acting in harmony with nature. The story of polar bears reinforces my point.
A student from my town of Colchester travelled with others to Svalbard Island in Norway known for its population of polar bears. First ideal is knowing that polar bears are dangerous you keep away from their territories unless it is a matter of vital importance; these students went for the fun of it. Second ideal is knowing the danger and being prepared for it; these students had no night watch, their trip alarm set in a triangle rather than a rectangle, their gun needed a paperclip to work. A student died in a polar bear attack, and injured four other members of the expedition. The polar bear died of its injuries. Had people respected nature a polar bear and humans would have avoided death and injury.
The video below is about polar bears and huskies working in beautiful harmony. The owner of the huskies respects the polar bears inherent wildness and works with nature, using fire crackers to educate the polar bears to keep their distance from him at all times.
The joy of knowing nature and self are one.
The butterfly and I enjoyed a common connection in the sun on a fallen tree – we became one.
Sitting upon a fallen dead tree, one that could have but did not kill me when it fell in the storms last year, an orange butterfly flew and settled next to me. Here we were, butterfly and I, enjoying the warm sun sitting on the same tree trunk like two people on a park bench. The butterfly would after a time fly away returning later to sit next to me. In this moment I shared something in common with this butterfly, different species, but living on and coming from the same planet earth.
Another day it is raining, I huddle under the garden conifers eating raspberries, watching the clouds empty their water upon a thirsty garden, my cat Pebbles sitting at my feet. Out of the fallen branches two little mice played, oblivious to me and the cat, which did not seem to notice them.
For many people there are degrees of separation from nature, us and them. For some like me, Ubuntu, I am because we are. There is only connection, the animals and I are one.
Camping in the rain, a knocking at the tent door. I looked out of the tent, I looked into the eyes of a frog, which then vanished into the rainy darkness.