I often ponder what a “good life” is and try to live one that is authentic to me. When it comes to defining such a thing, like most people I swim in a pond full of contradictions. It is very much a work in progress.
Compass (ABC TV) has produced a remarkable series examining this subject with three very different, prominent Australians. I could not have picked a better trio to voice many of my own feelings on the subject.
The first program features Ian Gawler. When I began studying naturopathy in Melbourne in the late 1980’s Ian was a local hero. He still is amongst those of us who share his beliefs in mind/body/spirit medicine. Listening to him talk in this episode of Compass was like downing a cool drink of water on a hot day for me. It is now over 30 years since he begun his extraordinary journey with cancer and his exploration in wellness, yet his fame has remained relatively contained. He is an extraordinary man and the driving force behind The Gawler Foundation. The foundation offers support and retreats for people living with life challenging illnesses and those who’d like to rebalance their lives.
Transcript and video of this episode with Ian Gawler is currently available on the show’s website. Though ABC programs can only be viewed online within Australia.
Gay Bilson is the subject of the second program in the series. While she is best known as a restaurateur and author, her experience of a good life is the antithesis to what she is famous for. Gay’s episode explores the role of solitude and living more modest life connected with nature. She is open and candid, welcoming to those who join her at her table yet preferring her own company. This is an extraordinary portrait of an older woman, choosing a very simple life and I like the previous program with Ian, it gladdened my soul.
Transcript and video of this episode with Gay Bilson.
The final episode is perhaps more intellectual than the others in the series. Ethicist, academic and author Peter Singer explores altruism. This is a subject not often discussed in Australia and rarely in an atheist context. The case that Peter presents is a good reminder for all of us that we live a privileged life and can use it to benefit others, if we choose to. The program is thought provoking, though I missed the heart and soul of the previous subjects.
As the videos are only archived for a limited time, give yourself a treat and take an hour or so to watch them. You won’t regret it.