No White Flag (even though I may have sand in my shoes)!

Tihei mauri ora, if you have ever head a Maori orator speak you will be familiar with this phrase.  Loosely translated it means the breath of life, like the first sneeze that a baby has as it takes its first breath.  I have witnessed this first breath as I have also witnessed manawa kiore, or last breath.  The first of these two is a rare and wonderful privilege.  The second of these is quite different.  A rather strange subject you may think, first and last breaths? I was out for my walk tonight and took a brief sojourn through the old cemetery in our town, nothing more forlorn than a headstone saying nine days old.

It got me thinking, a little about life and death as I walked, and then two minutes later a car pulled up on the other side of the road, something was not quite right. Next minute there was loud shouting and cursing, a full on domestic in the car, I noted the registration, called the Police and decided it was time to intervene.  Just as I walked towards the car it drove off at speed.  My mind flashed back to the Woman in South Auckland and how she was calling for help and no one came.  In this case no one was calling for help.  I didn’t feel very vulnerable, I had a decent Maglite baton torch on me and I had called the Police already.   But in the end I did not have to do anything.  The Police are following up and I will probably never know the outcome of my decision not to mind my own business.

The thing was I made a decision. Indecision has been crippling me in some ways for the last year. I dropped the ball with weight and fitness under the stress of a pretty torrid personal situation, added to that is severe ongoing pain.  But I still could have made a decision.  I was listening to Dido last night and there were two songs that stood out to me, Sand in my shoes and White flag, both talking about a love lost, well that is not my narrative tonight, I don’t want to go down that road at this time, perhaps another night, but the theme that came through was no surrender.

It reaffirmed my decision around life in general.  If I live a life of quiet acceptance, crawl back into my shell, allow the weight I gained to stay and increase then I have gone down with my ship and waved the white flag.  I had lost my urge to write and the writers block seemed to be there except for the fact that I had not tried. I had made a couple of desultory attempts to  write a blog but I hadn’t sat down and hammered something out.  No poetry has fallen on to my slate for a long time apart from one small commissioned piece, but that has been a self imposed hiatus, (awaiting publication of my book) put on hold as other things took more priority .

The thing is this, we can become consumed by our battles in life, overwhelmed by the unfairness, the harshness, the lonely nights and the numbness of feeling alone.  Tiredness was eating at my heart and soul.  But doing nothing is not an option. You see doing nothing is an act of deviance it is the cruel mistress of mediocrity and I will not have that curse upon my lips or life. I am sure that sometimes I  will make the wrong decision and my hope and prayer is  that in doing so I don’t bring any hurt or harm and anyone else.

I can’t make any long term decisions at the moment and I guess that is kind of de-focussing and disappointing, but I can plan for the day, the week the year, beyond that who knows.  The awful reality is that none of us know what tomorrow brings us, we can organise our lives as much as we want, have our lawns manicured and our cupboards as tidy as we want but in the end things can change in an instant.


2 responses to “No White Flag (even though I may have sand in my shoes)!

  1. Ngaire Phillips

    Dear Paul The brother of a friend of mine died last week Only 56 years old. Apparently overdid a return to exercise. You NEVER know what’s around the corner. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with short term goals. From little things big things grow (to quote Paul Kelly).


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