Thursday, 14 October 2010

Lessons from a Chilean Mine

So, what now?  

Florencio Avalos had just escaped  from a dark, sweltering hole in which he must have assumed he would die.  But now he had a chance for life, and  his response was salutary:

"I've been buried for 40 years of my life.  The truth is I'm going to be living more, along with my wife and daughters". 

Death sheds light on what's important about life.  Just as sorrow deepens our capacity for joy, we need death to remind us to live.

When I tried to imagine what I would want to do in this situation I realised I would worry less about happiness or stress or image, and more about life.  More work, better work, more attention to friends, more present with clients, try more, fail more, live more.

Yet in the humdrum of daily routine it's easy to wander through our days largely on autopilot.  We don't notice the autumn trees.  How we disconnect from others over time.  How our jobs, roles, identities can steal time from us.

"Welcome to life."   Those were the words uttered to each miner by the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, as they arrived at the top of the mine shaft in the narrow and battered pod that hauled them.

Well, welcome to life.  What now?

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