When visiting Mkuze Game Reserve in South Africa, I spent a few hours sitting with a friend in one of the hides overlooking a small waterhole. It was amazing to sit there listening to the birds and the sounds of the bush and to watch various animals come to drink. Most of the animals would emerge from the trees, walk down to the water’s edge and drink in one smooth movement. But not the big male giraffe. Time and time again he prepared to bend low to drink, only to quickly stand up again alarmed by some sound or movement. I watched fascinated as he tried over and over again to drink, never feeling quite safe enough to make himself vulnerable to do so. After about half an hour I felt quite desperate for him and rejoiced when he finally bent down fully and got a drink.
The lesson here is that feeling safe is critically important to all beings. Without it we cannot thrive. A feeling of safety is essential to us and to our ability to perform. The greater the feeling of safety, the more we can take risks. and the more we can develop as individuals.
Depression is the most common complaint of individuals seeking mental health care. By 2020 depression will be the 2nd most disabling health condition in the world (Lopez et al., 2006).
Alarming statistics perhaps and yet what is more alarming is that many people are not even aware that they are suffering from depression. They are not able to recognise the signs and symptoms of depression in themselves or others. This lack of knowledge is causing unnecessary suffering and it’s important that we change this state of ignorance and educate ourselves so that we can:
Before attending a conference for the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa, I took the opportunity to visit the Kruger National Park with many of the international guests who had come to South Africa for the conference. Like so many foreign tourists, all they wanted to do was see big cats – leopard, lion and cheetah. I too, have rarely seen leopard in the wild, so was as eager as they were. As luck would have it, however, we saw everything except cats! Our disappointment was compounded by a conversation I had with a young German doctor, who was with me on a walk one morning. He had seen almost nothing but cats! Three leopards, as well as lion and cheetah. But then later, when I thought about it, I realised that while my group may not have seen what we were hoping to, we had still had a wonderful time, and had seen many other magnificent animals.
The lesson here is that it’s not about having what you want, but wanting what you have. If we are always looking for something else, we may easily fail to notice and appreciate what we already have. Celebrate the here and now!