Chasing Fifty Shades of Fox Glacier-Finding Lighter Lessons From the Special Shades

Have you ever heard about the famous Franz Josef and the Fox Glaciers? They are world-famous! The Wellington New Zealand Stuff news had a great article on the Best of West Coast, the New Zealand’s Wonder of the World. I am so pleased to have driven through its lushing National Parks and its breath-taking landscapes. My geographical knowledge and the history of these small towns were limited. I had to brush up on my general knowledge of Glaciers.

Aoraki/Mount Cook Glaciers in the distance from Lake Matheson. Photo Credit: Leina Isno

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (2020),

Glaciers are made up of fallen snow that, over many years, compresses into large, thickened ice masses. Glaciers form when snow remains in one location long enough to transform into ice. What makes glaciers unique is their ability to flow. Due to sheer mass, glaciers flow like very slow rivers. Some glaciers are as small as football fields, while others grow to be dozens or even hundreds of kilometers long.” 

The Fox Glacier was named after New Zealand’s Prime Minister Sir William Fox in 1872.  The Maoris have lived there hundreds of years before the European settlers arrived. As documented by Glacier Country, the legends have it that whilst they settled along the coast, they hunted and gathered up these mountains for the traditional mahinga kai as well as pounamu, the green stone. They named Franz Josef Glacier Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere meaning the tears of Hinehukatere and Fox Glacier became Te Moeka o Tuawe which translates to the bed of Tuawe. Tuawe was the Maori warrior who fell to his death while climbing with his lover Hine Hukatere as the legend unravels with the narrative. The Fox Glacier valley became his final resting place and her tears of sorrow froze to become the Franz Josef Glacier. The pounamu or green stones are popular jewellery in New Zealand.

In a post of Chasing Fifty Shades of Fox Glacier I had come through to the beautiful small town of Fox Glacier on a backpacking journey through the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. Walking along the Lakes delightful walkway, my friend Beatrice and I had a lot to talk about at Lake Matheson. It was about rebuilding relationships and recovering from grief and loss. 20200223_213832

Richard Bransons mantra of celebrating failure and not being successful is the secret to success. One must fail in order to grow and be successful. There is nothing to be embarrassed about failures. But to learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur. Or in this case academia.

One of the primary clear flows from Lake Matheson at dusk. Photo Credit: Leina Isno

But we need to fail forward with that “mindset” because it is a superhuman quality. Without this trait and quality, we cannot progress.

The science of resilience as Marcel Schwantes the Founder and Chief Human Officer (Leadership From the Core) discussed in his article was centred on the failure mindset. This is the ultimate mindset that defines most successful people. Without failure, it’s impossible to innovate and grow.

As we watched the most magnificent reflection of Fox Glacier and Mount Cook on Lake Matheson, Beatrice and I agreed on one thing. To move forward and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

On a calm day, the ink waters of Lake Matheson are a perfect mirror for Aoraki/Mount Cook, Mount Tasman and the tall Kahikatea and the rimu of the rain forest so you see two of everything. Photo Credit: Leina Isno

But how?

I believe young women coming out of broken relationship should get away. Find that space to heal from all the anger and resentment. It’s important to grief, acknowledge and deal with the break down in your own way.

Go on that pilgrimage. Do that Eat Pray Love journey. Whether it is backpacking through the stunning West Coast of the New Zealand’s South Island, doing a Contiki Tour through America or Cruising through the beautiful Caribbeans.

A few shades of sunsets from Lake Matheson from the connecting bridge-a perfect space to absorb the surrounding green environment too. Photo Credit: Leina Isno

Climb a trail in South America or work on your bucket list of seeing the Seven Wonders of the World. I bet witnessing the amazing sunsets at Victoria Falls in Africa would be exhilarating! Supporting the physical and emotional energy required to recharge should be a priority.

Beatrice was doing exactly that from Germany. Our paths crossed. I happened to be there to support her physical and emotional energy to recharge in a different light.

Its about that attitude as Schwantes mentioned too. You have to provide the outlook, the focus and the psychological support. All these can lead to personal growth.

Beatrice and I sat in a meditative space. I reflected and reminisced on how I had personally persevered to overcome a very painful breakup. I found focus through reading and writing. It led to healing and personal growth as time progressed.

Find that space to heal. Lake Matheson and the native podocarp forest. Photo Credit: Leina Isno

I created and crafted a pathway into social philanthropy focusing on making a small ripple into a niche I was passionate about. That niche was “investing in women in third world countries.” I made a commitment to give back to the international community through small tokens of fundraising. These may be small but I do believe they made a difference to a couple of international communities. The Tanna Children and the  Arawa Women funds were donated to UNICEF NZ and VSA NZ respectively.

Melinda Gates powerful quote has a profound effect on humanity (come to reflect on it);

“When we invest in women, we invest in a powerful source of Global Development.”

Resilience skill development became a recurring theme in our conversation as we listened to the nightlife along the lakeside. Its about learning and applying the techniques for problem solving. That means changing your perception. Learning to listen empathetically (we were both in that space to do that) and being able to communicate with others effectively.

Over the years, I’ve become a little more better with my communication skills (seeing English was not my first language-it is my fourth!). It was central to healing.

A way to being expressive, a way to reach out. I found I had better support from friends and colleagues who stood by me through my healing journeys.

It wasn’t easy but it paid off in the end. I was in a much better position.


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