The not so sleepy town of Swellendam, where I live, nestles against the backdrop of the Langeberg, a beautiful range of mountains. In these mountains run many streams throughout the year. There are beautiful pools that could only be designed by God. It was at one of these pools where I was quietly reflecting on the year ahead. These last few weeks have been a buzz of family, friends, sun, fun and festivities and as I sat lazily gazing at the gentleness and stillness of nature around me I felt the buzz of weeks past becoming distant memories as I attempted to shuffle off the langour of the holiday season.

I was thinking too about the wishes of happiness for the year ahead that were sent in abundance between people in mass via the various social media outlets. Through my various interactions with many people and based on my own experience, 2016 seemed to be like an unruly child, that did not play to the conventional rules of happiness. I read the plethora of comments just before the departure of 2016, which indicated that most were not too happy with 2016. Would 2017 be any different? Maybe it would decide to be different to its predecessor and provide us with more certainty, playing to our rules of happiness where all our expectations and hopes come true.

Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, we will see…this reminds me of the Chinese story which is as follows:

A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied,

I feel this story is a clue to happiness. Ego driven happiness relies on the drug induced feeling of euphoria through external events, which is followed by the opposite swing towards depression (in the most extreme cases) as there is always balance. Just look at the concept of “retail therapy” or “Binge Eating” to make us feel better, then followed by “Buyers remorse” or “Self Loathing”… that’s a large swing of the pendulum. Maybe as we take ownership of our happiness and keep it in our own hands, not giving it to the happenings of 2017, then we might see a drop in the swing of the pendulum. If there is a smaller swing then maybe it’s not so much happiness we are looking for but peace and tranquility, no matter what is happening “out there”. My one teacher used to tell me that “There is no out there”. Maybe he was referring to where I was placing my happiness at that point.

So as I recall looking at this tranquil pool filled with peace, and the waterfall that leads into it, I will do my best to “Be like water” in 2017. To be allowing and accepting in what comes my way, to be grateful and appreciative of where I am in that moment, especially where life is turbulent, and to allow myself to let go where I have no control. Waterfalls generally lead to a still pool, yet water is always on the move, out of the stillness into turbulence, only to find the next still pool. Water will always find a resting place.

So my wish for you dear reader, as it is a wish for me, in 2017, may your water find its resting place.

With Love

Colin and the DGT Team