This blog is all about what I learnt from hunting with my Dad. Life is one giant metaphor, so I discovered as I noticed that I was writing this blog in my head while wandering through the bush that day.
My dad is marvellous. He is 75 years old and he loves to hunt. Yes, hunt through the bush with his dogs. He hunts for the pleasure of being in nature, and for the wonder of getting his own food from the land when he does find what he is hunting for!
This particular day my Dad invited me to go hunting with him.
What do I most love about hunting with Dad?
Well, it reminds me that there are NO excuses for not doing what you love and for achieving anything in life. Why and how do I get this lesson from hunting with my Dad? Well, at 75 years old, he is well ahead of me scaling up scrub and prickle covered bush, crawling through gaps in the undergrowth, climbing over fallen trees, bush-whacking in every sense of the word and he hardly draws breath as he does it. Age is no limitation. He loves it and it loves him and nothing stops him from getting out there and embracing every bit of the experience. Seeing him in his element makes me joyful in every cell of my body and it reminds me of how I feel when I am writing or coaching others. I get the same joy from my own life passions.
It reminds me that we all have different joys in life, and our only decision is whether we embrace and follow our bliss, or not. He loves to hunt, and so he does. I love to write and so I do. You love to ____ and you do? Fill in your own blank.
Here's some other things I learnt and love from my hunting escapade with my Dad:
If you go hunting with my Dad, I will tell you the one thing that you definitely want to know before you head out. He will assume, by your very presence there, that you are capable. He will not turn around to see if you need help, he will not hold back the prickle bushes so you can get through, he will not treat you like you are not capable of whatever the cliff climbing, river crossing, bush-whacking adventure requires of you. By your very presence there with him out hunting, he assumes you to be 100% capable of taking care of yourself. How many times in life do we not get treated that way, or not treat ourselves that way? Too often I would suggest. If he turned around to check on me and help me, I hate to admit that I would probably embrace my fears and behave less capable than I really am. But he does not, and so I carry on and embrace all my abilities and in that moment I am a hunter too. I'm not a girl that is out with her Dad for a walk, pretending to keep up. He perceives me, and treats me, as all that I can be, and so I am all that I can be. This is a lesson for us all, in how we treat ourselves and how we treat others.
Another lesson I learnt is that to get good at something, we do it a lot and the act of doing it a lot gives us the experience to refine our skills. As I'm pondering “How the heck does he know to go in that direction, and how come he knows that this is the right direction when all I see before me is a thick blanket of scrub and no obvious way through?” The reason he knows is because he has done it a million times and he knows how to read the land, his intuition and his experience tells him what is the best way to go ahead. No compass is used, no maps are used. He just looks at the bush, he looks left/right/up and down and he trusts his instinct. This teaches me many lessons. To get good at something we do it a lot and that repetition allows us to become excellent at our chosen passion (reminds me of the lessons that Malcolm Gladwell shares in his awesome book Outliers). It also teaches me that our instinct is a large part of what makes us successful at something.
And yet another lesson I learnt, as I followed my Dad to what was now a sheer cliff face falling away to a creek below, is that sometimes you come to a dead end and have to back track to find a better way through. He didn't suggest we jump the ravine, he didn't moan about having come in a direction that left us stranded in a position that didn't get us home the easiest way, he just admired the scenery and tracked in a new direction, enjoying nature in the process. He followed his nose, so to speak. Sometimes this happens in life, ending up in a dead end. What are you going to do? Complain about it or enjoy the scenery and try a different path?
Oh, and not just that, but the learning life lessons started way before we left. As I donned my gear to get ready to go out, Dad took one look at me and asked where my wet weather gear was. Note to self – be prepared for your adventure (hunting adventure or life adventure, whatever adventure you are on). I thought I was ready with a coat, but alas he pulled out a bright yellow High-Visibility vest for me to wear, the kind the guys on the side of the road wear when doing roadworks. Safety first! Be prepared for any adventure, go out on a limb, take on your passions with passion, yet do so with a bit of preliminary knowledge and know that you won't have all the answers before you start out, but a little awareness can go a long way to making your adventure more comfortable.
Onwards! Don your ‘high-vis' vest and head out on YOUR adventure in life!