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The Survival Business 13 December 2011

Gold Coast Hinterland

“No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.”
Ernest Hemingway in the movie, Midnight In Paris

We finally got to see the movie Midnight in Paris and I really enjoyed it. As well as the gorgeous images of one of the great cities of the world it kind of reminded me of the message from The Alchemist- that we have to find a way to be happy in the present. Where we are now and in the time that we have been given. And it is in extraordinary times that we now find ourselves. It is certainly a most exciting time to be alive.

The financial and environmental challenges we now face are unprecedented and it’s time to stand up and be counted. The Federal Reserve has decided to lend Europe lots of money at very low interest rates to help it with its debt problem (by giving it even more debt). The problem is that (as it has been widely reported) this money is created by the press of a button on a keyboard. It didn’t previously exist. The end result for us? Inflation (or deflation if we are really unlucky). For the rest of the world that means higher prices, particularly for food. Combine that with the fact that the world is running out of food and we better start making some preparations.

Meanwhile the food at my farm continues to flourish. The beetroot are ready for harvesting. Juicing beetroots is one of my favourite health practices. They are high in betaine to help with methylation and high in nitrates that are converted to nitric oxide to lower blood pressure.

As I walk to my front door, I pass through the herb, strawberry and herb corridor. It is now an aromatic and visual wonder. In the weekend I baked a piece of fresh local snapper in organic coconut, basil, holy basil, ginger and lime from my garden. It was served with a rocket lettuce salad that had been harvested not 10 minutes before. The difference between lettuce fresh out of the ground to that brought from a store is indescribable. Even if you live in an apartment, there are places and ways to grow lettuce and fresh herbs.

Today I brought myself a new pair of running shoes. My previous pair were worn out and had recently been terminated by my insufficiently trained border collie puppies. After feeding my animals I went for a run through the pitch black roads of the Gold Coast hinterland. It is an extraordinary experience. Millions of stars, only occasionally interrupted by the light of an isolated house. I realised I can never live in a city again. To be honest, I have neglected my running recently. I have been concentrating on my yoga and some new detoxification regimes. But that is ok. I don’t expect myself to be perfect. For most of us there is too little time at the end of the day to get everything done. I do, however expect myself to do something for my health. So I set off in one direction. I loved the first part of the run. It was fun and easy. I ran in one direction until I didn’t really feel like running anymore. Then I had to turn around to get home. The homeward journey wasn’t nearly as much fun. But which part of the run did I get the most benefit from? Yes, it’s with challenges that we get the most growth. That’s a good way to look at all challenges. And the best thing? When I finally got home. When I had pushed through the pain and discomfort, the feeling of pride at achieving my goal made it all worthwhile. Isn’t that usually the case? As Will Smith says, if you learn how to defeat the voice in your head telling you to give up, “you will learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life.”

On a side note, while running, I had one eye on the few meters of country road I could see ahead of me and one eye on the bush either side of me looking out for the wild dogs and dingoes that have been taking lambs recently. They don’t worry me. I know I’m here for a reason and I am meant to be around for a while yet. However, what I didn’t have my eye on was the giant pile of horse poo infront of me which I ran straight through in my brand new running shoes. Another lesson? Yes, sometimes shit happens. The road to recovery from illness, the surthriving from economic challenges ahead is never in a straight line. There are always setbacks. As long as we know they are always there and expect them then they don’t get in the way of our ultimate goal.

Earlier this week, a friend of my partner Jane, died in an accident overseas. He had just graduated as a doctor. It was a terrible tragedy and a timely reminder that whatever our challenges, life is precious. Sometimes Jane doesn’t understand why I don’t “sweat the small stuff.” I know why. I had 20 years in some of the worlds biggest Emergency Departments. You don’t have your hand in someones chest squeezing their heart, your fingers in their neck trying to find a trachea, the sweat pouring in your eyes while you try to find an airway to put a tube into without it uniquely altering your view on life. You don’t have to walk in to a room too often to tell someones family that you were unable to save their loved one to realise that some of the “small things” in life don’t matter at all. Love matters, health matters, integrity matters. Those I will fight to the end for. The rest doesn’t worry me at all.

So what to do to look after love, health and integrity?

  • I grow my own food.
  • I have access to my own water supply.
  • I am proactive about my health.
  • I will not eat meat from an animal that has not led a good life, raised organically and free range.
  • If I wouldn’t eat it, I don’t put it on my skin.
  • I will protect my family and people I love above all else.
  • I’m not voting for anyone who continues to add poisons to my environment.
  • I’m not going to a doctor who prescribes drugs without looking at the cause of my illness.
  • I’m not going to a dentist who fills peoples teeth with toxic metals.
  • I will never lie. Not even a small one. Because a small one always leads to a big one.
  • I am responsible for my finances.
  • I get advice from people I trust.
  • Jim Rogers has travelled the world for decades looking at the best investments. I have always enjoyed his books. He is out of paper money.
  • Richard Russell in yesterdays newsletter wrote “We are heading into an unprecedented era when goverment debt will be subject to brutal compounding. Reserve status of the dollar and its very purchasing power will be in question. In the end our savior will be gold. Gold is the only money that can not go bannkrupt.” He also writes about his son who has set up a sustainable farm 2 hours north of San Francisco. He grows his own fruit and vegetables. He has his own water and generates his own electricity. Russell writes “I told him he’s in the right business for the future, which is the survival business.” He’s right, but I’m with Daniel Vitalis- I’m going for surthrival. Surviving and thriving under any circumstance. That is the gift I give to my daughters and to Jane.

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Dr Emerson was recently interviewed on ‘Know the Cause’, the most popular health television programme in the US.

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