Last week was one of those weeks when you are left dangling over the edge of life wondering what will be. A natural collision of events and happenings tested my soul and reminded me of the importance of living in the moment.
We won’t dwell on my car crash of a health review except to say that it taught me once again to be thankful for what I do have. We will, however, take some time to consider my daughter’s experience as she left her university life, her friends and her lovely man behind. It is not the specifics that I am preoccupied with; rather the reality that it is time to move on in life.
For many years I have seen this as a scientific process but I fear I may be alone in that view. There is something locked deep inside me that allows me to re-invent myself on a regular basis and walk away from situations, people and places. The science begins in the random nature of this urge to move on. I can be happily moving around in my understanding of my present when the strong urge rises within and within days I have started to map out a completely new route bearing little resemblance to my old ‘present.’ The scientific process kicks in through careful and rather calculated analysis of factors in my life that I need to leave behind. The rather clinical outcomes always shock me as I move away with greater ease than I could have imagined.
The scientific source of this process belongs to genetics I fear. I am absolutely my father’s daughter in more ways than I believe to be helpful. My late father had an enormous capacity to walk away and begin again with new ventures, people and places and I appear to have inherited it. Some might argue that this is a behaviourist model rather than a pre-disposed genetic necessity. For that to be true though I would have witnessed much more planning and attention to detail as the urge begins to creep up on me. There is no creeping. It arrives in a flash moment and its power is such that I feel compelled. It is the compulsive element that dictates the new story as it unfolds.
My Buddhist teacher tells me that it is due to a grounded understanding of attachment where I do not let attachments dominant my being. I am not so sure about that although I have come to appreciate the need to keep attachments in a sensible place in my soul. I thank Buddhism for that.
Whatever the process the reality remains the same; I can walk away from most things, people and places in a heart beat and I never look back. As I watch my daughter re-setting her life for a temporary summer of working to save for her postgraduate experiences to come I can see a clinical edge to her behaviour. Despite missing the people and the place that was her university experience there is a strength that is underpinning her that I recognise. It is an accepting strength that understands that this is where she is for now so she needs to make the best of it. Her youthful determination to carve out an existence where she can have maximum impact with critically endangered species has been tempered slightly by people she now holds very dear. This is also true of the small city that she lived in for the past three years that also inhabits a special place in her heart. The science is simply as it is in the knowing. It is knowing that these changes must be made and in the knowing that this summer stepping stone will lead her a considerable way towards one of her fundamental dreams.
Buddhism reminds us not to over-analyse our dreams for fear there will be no time to dream and I like that. Perhaps my father, my daughter and myself are fortunate in that we can shed a skin and move into new territory with little fear except for a nagging nervousness. Of course the opposite might be true. It might be that we are not fortunate in that we never realise that comfortable feeling of being settled. I am not sure there is a right and wrong here but there is a fundamental difference.
In the acceptance that it is time to move forward the transition can be stressful. My response to that is to not get ahead of myself. I capture the moment more forcefully and let the future come to me rather than me to it. That rather philosophical outlook has stood many a test through the years. Believing in the theory that I love what I am doing now but it could all change very quickly seems to navigate me well.
So moving on in life is a complex and often demanding process which is best taken in bite sized chunks. I have a feeling that my Buddhist teacher knows more than me and understands that the dream will come into focus just as I need it to. He has also observed on many a time that I only stay as long as I am useful then I walk away. That is something to ponder further.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of working one to one with individuals who need to move on in life. We use mindfulness and intuitive journaling as tools to make the changes necessary in a purposeful and uplifting way. These tools seem to limit anxiety and lingering making the shedding of our skins much less painful. I am quite sure I will continue to refine this process for the rest of my days but, fundamentally, it is a process that I have considerable experience in and some success with.
Time presented me with the opportunity to finally offer that service as part of my e-courses portfolio and place it on my website. In little over a month we can shift the parameters of your life and place you in a new thinking space that allows moving on to become a joyful reality rather than an anxious fear. Offering this one to one service has always felt like the most enormous honour as we link arms and move forward into a dream that is to become a reality. In order for this to be achieved though we need to change the way we think. This is where my years of experience in mindfulness plays such a strong part. Following an initial diagnostic tool I am able to respond to your thinking and establish a new pathway that feels less like leaping in the darkness and more like a gentle drift in the new direction. Mindfulness is a huge area but I have expertise in a couple of significant areas and this is one of them. The other major success has been working with people with chronic illnesses to change the way they see that illness and, ultimately, themselves.
So this week my worlds collided as my GP and I grappled with the new realities and I stepped up as a mum to support my daughter as I should. In both cases mindfulness work proved invaluable and strengthened my belief that this is a useful thing I am doing. It is important to me to be useful.
So as my portfolio of e-courses/workshops/retreats grows I am settled in a reality that they all speak well of me. They draw on years of study and research flavoured with real and deepening personal experience. Maybe I am just of an age when I feel the need to share more widely?
In moving on in life we do, indeed, need to shed a skin while learning the science of living in each and every moment. I know many people who live their entire lives in their future negating the present as largely irrelevant. That is, of course, a great shame but I have done that so I know how easy it is to do. Despite retraining my mind to live in the moment I still dream and my current dreamscape is full of a vintage caravan, that I will call Ella, as I trundle around the country selling my wares and offering sewing workshops. It is a dream I love and it is also a dream that I hope to realise. For now, though I am standing right by my daughter’s side as she sheds a skin and redefines her daily occupations while keeping her dream alive and well.
I am proud of her but then I am always proud of her. I see my father in her and know that she will be absolutely fine.
Speak soon. xx