It’s the big ‘dry’ in Sydney after no significant rain for months. Vegetation is drooping, the sports fields are like concrete and everything is tinged brown. Nothing new for the farmers ‘out west’ for whom these conditions can be annual rituals, but maybe a bit new for some of us who haven’t experienced the same harsh climate conditions that Australia can sometimes throw at us.
For me, it’s been a time of new obsessions – the rain gauge, the rain forecasts, bushfires, how much water the washing machine uses on different cycles. Because…… I live off the town water supply and depend on rainwater for everything. Unfiltered, unadulterated rain off the roof that tastes great and costs nothing. Usually. But now we are in a scarcity situation – there has been no rain, the water tank is slowly emptying and there is no joy in the forecast for the next few days.
Although I really would like it to ‘bucket down’, I’ve also noticed things through this experience. I’ve noticed how easy it is to take things for granted in our modern, first world lives – the lights come on when needed, the car starts first time, the internet works (maybe!) and water runs from the tap. I’ve also discovered how easy it is to save water when you have to, with a few adjustments to expectations and a change in habits: how often do you pile clothes in the washing machine because it’s easier than hanging them up, without actually assessing if they are dirty? How much water runs down the plug-hole while you wait for the shower to warm up? How long is enough to get clean in the shower? (Not long, really!) How often do you mindlessly turn on the tap and let it run to get hot water or cold water, or tepid water to suit your immediate but not very important need?
We’ve cut our water consumption in half in the past two weeks. (I have to say my 17 year old son is helping by willingly sacrificing showering – at last, the perfect excuse!). Amazing what you can do when you pay attention and think about what you are doing instead of taking it for granted that the tap will always run.
Got me to thinking about all the other things we might be taking for granted and how a little mindful attention can make the world of difference. How much power are you using? How much food gets wasted on your watch? Are you recycling everything you can? Do your purchases reflect need or want?
Extend this to your work setting and take this as an invitation to reflect on how lucky we are to have the opportunities and privileges that we do. Give yourself a moment to honour the things we take for granted – a coffee on the way in, the team who produce work for us, the colleagues who care enough to challenge and test us, the opportunity to test our mettle and stimulate our brains, to have some fun, to earn our living. And on the days we grumble try and keep hold of this perspective, guard against complacency and thank our lucky stars that we have endless problems to solve.
STOP PRESS – rain, only 1ml but promising. “Teenage son report to bathroom immediately”