Farmers are true believers in their industry, thus leaving them emotionally and psychologically exposed. As the challenges consume us in this current drought… it is more important than ever… to reframe our way of thinking and believe we will get through this again. We must first accept we are in a drought and find a way to move forward by focusing on the important things in our lives such as our family and our health.
On Friday, my husband and I attended a Community Forum on Drought and Mental Health held in Tamworth. “The Big Community Muster” presentation covered 11 locations in 6 days and was a very informative and enjoyable event on rural health and resilience. A dedicated team entirely decked in brightly-coloured Trade Mutts work shirts attire and designed to be a conversation starter… was the visual highlight.
Guest Speakers included:
- Gerard O’Brien – RSM Australia Director. He had a comprehensive understanding of the rural issues faced by farmers in this unprecedented drought event. Gerard shared information regarding the Rural Assistance Authority drought loans and applications as well as the DroughtHub resource.
- Alister Bennett – NSW State Agribusiness Manager for ANZ. He works with farmers across the state regarding farm business financial management. Alister provided information regarding agribusiness managers and encouraged farmers to have a good open relationship with their agribusiness manager in both good times and bad.
- Dennis Hoiberg – founder of Lessons Learnt Consulting. He is an organisational consultant and a key public speaker on emotional well-being and resilience. Dennis spoke in a practical and humorous way to engage farmers interest, yet still managed to get the important message across very effectively.
The key message of RESILIENCE is not about being tough… it is about being whole. It is not about bouncing back, it is about bouncing forward. Resilience is not just about thinking happy thoughts, it is about action.
Dennis reminded us that it will NOT be the drought that breaks us, it will be minor issues in our lives. These issues will affect our relationships and health. Resilience is about being able to accept the drought situation and finding a way to move forward. Dennis Hoiberg’s book The White Knuckled Ride provides thoughts, experiences and strategies to help people become resilient.
This day was effectively presented and farmers walked away with some positive information in moving forward, despite the stress and hardships they are suffering. With a determined hope, farmers were reassured that they will get through this.
This has reminded me to appreciate all that is around us. The drought is only the situation… a situation we must move through… and we will. What is important is our relationships, our children, our families and our friends… those that we share our life journey with.
So today I will reflect on the current drought situation and share a photo from our farming property. I usually prefer to show you an old photo of green grass and happier times. But this is the situation and we are in DROUGHT… but today I CHOOSE to show you the BEAUTY within this frame.
Rural Reflection #11…
This photo is taken only a month ago and things are no better with the weather situation now. But I choose to look beyond this. I accept we are in a drought. I know finances are in a terrible state. I know feeding stock has become the norm. I know physically we are wearing out. I know mentally we need to protect what we have. So I look beyond the dry parched land.
- I see the rich black fertile soil awaiting a better season and I feel grateful that we have this soil beneath us.
- I see a clear blue sky and appreciate that I can breathe this clean air every day.
- I see a pretty pink haze, remnants of the bushfires from a distance and feel relief that farmers have protected their environment without casualties.
- I see a mob of Hereford cattle that we have managed to keep productive and I appreciate their quiet natures for breeding stock.
- I see a few Kurrajong Trees on the left and understand their environmental and feeding value on the farm.
- I see the vastness on our property and am thankful that we are lucky to live in a beautiful agricultural environment.
- But more importantly, I see my youngest son riding his motorbike to check livestock and I recognise his real passion for agriculture, his passion for cattle breeding and his passion to make our lives better.
With the stress of dealing with the drought, we sometimes overlook the most important things in our lives. We start to focus so much on the negativity and the struggles we are faced with every single day. We worry how on earth we will get through this.
But it is our husband, our wife, our children, our parents, our siblings and our friends… that we need to re-focus on. They are the ones that really matter in our lives.
I am so lucky to have a caring husband that I admire for his true passion in this industry and I value his love and support. I am lucky to have 2 wonderful sons that we have raised to honourable young men, leading their own unique lives and paving their own way. I am lucky to have a beautiful mother that has been my inspiration to make this a better world and see the beauty in everything. I am lucky to have a sister that tries her hardest in all that she does and is raising 3 beautiful children in the process. I am lucky to have a few friends that I hold close to my heart and I value their friendship and support.
We all have to look at what really matters to us and where the real value is in our lives. The love we have for our family and friends is what will get us through this drought. Let’s make a plan to survive this tough time, accept what we cannot change and move forward wherever that may be.
Rather than see the depressing effect of drought on the land and our finances… choose to focus on the real beauty surrounding us. Look beyond the surface… find the beauty… and enjoy the little things in life.
Take care, Karen.
“I cannot always control what is going on around me,
but I can always control what I think about what is going on around me.”
~ Lucy MacDonald