13 December 2010

Ian Gawler Blog – 2010 in Review

Many will know I retired from the Gawler Foundation at the end of 2009.The intention was to stand back from the work I had been immersed in for the last 30 yrs., to reconsider how I could be useful, and at the same time, allow TGF to function independently.
So this week a more personal blog. Happily TGF is flourishing while I have had a good break, attended some great retreats, rewritten a book, thought deeply about the future, spent a bit more time with family and friends, revamped the garden and explored cyberspace.
The year started with my nephew and Godson, who lives in Copenhagen, marrying a delightful Danish woman.
Then the first of the year’s retreats with Sogyal Rinpoche’s annual teachings at Myall Lakes. The opportunity to be with a genuine teacher who provides authentic teachings is very precious. The Tibetans have been studying the mind for centuries and Rinpoche knows Westerners well. His wisdom and clarity continue to inform all that I write and do and I will share some of the key points in future blogs.
March and April were for completing workshops committed to before retirement. It was particularly poignant to present at Lionel Fifield’s Brisbane Relaxation Centre. Lionel invited me to present my first ever public workshops there in 1984 and I have spoken there every year since. So it was fitting and moving to give the last workshops in this cycle of my public life at the new, relocated Relaxation Centre.
On return, the rather curious experience of Ruth going off to work at TGF, and me being very definitely at home.
Now some will know my first 60yrs were spent personally avoiding computers. Not many people these days retire from an office based job never having had a computer on their desk. I did! While TGF is fully computerised and I engaged in planning and developing their use, my aversion was pretty strong. For one thing, I love the tactile and creative energy that flows when writing with a fountain pen.
Anyway, this time away was motivated by an urge to rethink my work and how I could be most useful in the future, as well as to explore new possibilities. So actually it has been a treat learning to type and to use a computer, to set up a personal website and to start this blog. Then aided by conversations and guidance from our youngest son, friends who are seriously into IT, and others who have offered to help, there has been the chance to learn about and explore emerging technologies. Lots of mind-blowing possibilities that I continue to contemplate.
During July/August, Ruth and I were fortunate indeed to travel to retreats with Rinpoche at his Irish centre Dzoghen Beara and the French centre Lerab Ling. Also, we spent time on the mystical and peaceful Christian meditation space known as the island of Iona, as well as at Thich Nhat Hahn’s Plum Village. On return we stopped in Bangalore, India where two good friends looked after us particularly well and escorted us to visit Sai Baba in his Puttaparthi ashram.
This was an extraordinary trip; even moreso because Ruth’s back had been becoming increasingly painful and incapacitating. Back home, tests revealed a prolapsed disc, surgery ensued, followed by a rapid and complete recovery. What a blessing! Surgery is fabulous when it works, which is pretty often.
People often ask if I miss my old Veterinary days. I remember them well; loved working as a Vet, but what I do miss is the surgery. My oldest daughter has just finished second year Vet and it is great fun talking with her about her course and to see her being so successful in her studies.
Next week, some of the insights from the retreats and contemplation time; as well as some possibilities for 2011 and beyond.
Also, on a practical note, we are changing to a more automated database and in the process the email advice for the last two week’s blog posts may not have reached everyone. Therefore there may be some reading to catch up on if you are interested.

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