A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. – Mahatma Gandhi
I wanted this blog to be anonymous. Primarily because writing it wasn’t about what we were doing (I am certain that there is going to be enough and more publicity about that to come) but how it was getting done. However, guess I have to give some of the characters names just to make them easier to refer to. So, let’s call the man I met Mark.
The conversation with Mark over brunch was one of the strangest that I have had in a long time. The correspondences and equivalencies in our life: beliefs, ambitions, and objectives; was uncanny. However, I felt that Mark had been much braver than I had in his relentless pursuit and expression of his truth. I expressed my admiration and wondered whether I could use him as a shining example of how much development you can produce in yourself if you stick to which ever process you decide to use to develop.
As luck would have it, I was asked to find a speaker on the subject of resilience for the group of people that I was working with during Mental Health Awareness Month. I immediately thought of Mark and messaged him asking if we could have a quick coffee after swimming the following week.
What I had intended to be a quick coffee ended up being a two-hour discussion about what Mark had been doing recently. On his journey for his truth to be heard, he had been involved in an extremely challenging process which, despite the best efforts of the other party, had ended with an outcome that was deeply unsatisfactory to him on a mental, emotional and spiritual level. Never satisfied with process “done badly” Mark had researched who in the world knew about “Best Practice” for this process. Mark had told me the previous week that he had reached out to the guy – Will, an academic in the United States – “cold” emailing him for more information. He updated me that they had exchanged communications, shared a lot of information about each other’s stories and had cooked up a plan to scale the process that Will had spent many years refining.
As mentioned earlier the purpose of this blog is not to chronicle what we are doing but howit was getting done. At coffee, as Mark was telling me about the beginnings of his new adventure with Will, I had a “Damascene Moment” – a complete change of vocation as a result of a revelatory experience which overturned any previous commitment that I had. Almost before I realised what I had said the words “I want in” had popped out of my mouth. Mark looked pretty surprised and asked me why? I told him that what he was doing was completely “on mission”. When he asked me what mission was that? I replied, “to save the world!” As if it wasn’t completely obvious, but then corrected myself and said “to heal the world”. My Damascene Moment had all at once shown me a Path that I had never before imagined, but that I knew I could be beneficial to, and would be amazing for me to participate in too, and I was going to trust my intuition that it was exactly what I needed to do next.
Tribe: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
I am really fortunate to have been surrounded by my social tribe for many years now. My support network is comparable to none – they are literally unbelievably awesome. I am privileged enough to have at least three people that I could call “if I ever woke up with a dead hooker in my hotel room.”
I have not been so blessed with people I have worked with. I have only ever once before in my life, worked with someone from my tribe. It was the best fun ever. I hadn’t realised quite how important it was to work with your tribe until the beginning of this year when the job that I was in, quite literally made me sick. After several years in healthy remission, my body suddenly decided to grow a new cancerous tumour that I can only attribute to working at the wrong job. It was a shame really. It could so easily have been the right job, had the leader, who I had thought was my tribe, stuck to the mission. However, he got distracted off the Path, as is so easily done.
As much because my doctor told me that if I got sick again I would most likely die; as because I had finally learned the lesson that: whatever work I did next needed to be “on mission” and undoubtedly with my tribe; I took a moment before rushing headlong into my next money making gig. Little did I realise that my subconscious desire to find my tribe to work with, would be the driving force behind the particular adventure I find myself in.
This adventure really started about four months ago, when I seemingly randomly met a man while I was looking for somewhere to live. I say seemingly randomly, because I adamantly don’t believe there is such a thing as coincidence. From the moment of meeting him I knew that we were connected, but I wasn’t at all sure how. His girlfriend coincidentally came from the same village in the United Kingdom that I had spent the last eight years of my life living in. She was also a filmmaker, as I had been, and she had also experienced some of same sorts of health issues that I had. This made me wonder if it was something to do with her?
Even though I didn’t move into his apartment, I knew that our paths would cross again, as much because he belonged to the same swimming club as I did, as anything else. When I found the apartment I did move into, it didn’t have a bed, and as a consummate recycler I went looking on one of the Internet local classified ad sites to find one. Coincidentally, listed was the spare bed from the man’s room. I messaged him and asked if I could buy his bed. Still thinking that the connection had something to do with his girlfriend, I told him that they should both come over to dinner at my new place (around the corner from his apartment.)
We exchanged a few interesting text messages trying to pin down a date for dinner. He told me that dinner probably wouldn’t happen until after he got back from a retreat he was going on. He really hadn’t come across as the sort of guy that went on retreats (he had a background in Mining Technologies – you really don’t get much more down to earth than that!) He particularly did not come across as the sort of guy who would go on the kind of esoteric retreat that he told me he had signed up for. I was intrigued. Maybe the connection had something to do with the retreat? I, myself, was designing a retreat for someone else later in the year and I wondered if I had something to learn from his experience.
Time passed. After the retreat, I was travelling, then he was travelling, then I was travelling again. I saw him at a distance at the swimming club as I was rushing off. Then in the same week I had two unmistakable signs from the Universe that I needed to get in touch with him. I like to think that when the Universe is giving me a nudge in a certain direction, I pay attention, so I messaged him, and we arranged to have brunch after swimming the following week. Brunch was four weeks ago, and I can only describe the speed at which our relationship has developed as one that only occurs when you are in flow.
“Strangely enough, it all turns out well. How? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.” (Shakespeare in Love)
I used to work in Paris, where everyone goes on holidays in August, and for the lucky few, for the whole of August. So even though today is a Sunday, in my head, summer is over and term starts today.
Funny thing though, at time of writing, I am actually in Australia, where today was the first day of spring. However, spring, like the new term, is all about new beginnings which is exactly what I intended for this blog. To chronicle my new beginning, on the next stage of the journey.
My new beginning related to finally shedding the last vestiges of my childhood. Not physically (I have been hanging around in an adult body for many years now) but because for seemingly the first time in my adult life, I am taking responsibility for my own happiness and stopping looking everywhere else but myself for some one or some thing to “look after me.”
Like so many, many people, I grew up in a physically, mentally and emotionally unsafe environment and I have carried that pain around with me, unhealed, for the whole of my life so far. I explored every kind of physical, mental and emotional avenue to try and find a “fix” truly believing that the healing would come from anywhere but inside myself.
Today, I not only realised that it was me that was going to have to heal me, I even began to see the path towards how I might be able to do that. I wanted this blog to chronicle my journey. I know that the journey will end in peace, because this is what I have chosen, so clearly, and without hesitation – so this story already has a happy ending.
So I would like to invite you to join me on the road, in the hope that my adventures will assist you on your own road. It’s time to let go of anything that isn’t peace, move on and live my best life.