Yesterday was a day of firsts: the first official day of our first seminar in our brand new Centre in Hendon, North West London. Joy and excitement were the order of the day amongst all 25 attendees. Our new home seemed extraordinarily bright – in both a physical and non-physical sense (what a blessing to have natural light after working in a well decorated but artificially lit basement for so many years!).
As we hung out in the lovely garden and settled into our surroundings, the realisation hit me hard that ten months ago, when the seed of this current reality was first planted, all I could see was gloom and doom.
It all started with a conversation. One of the harshest I have ever encountered. It felt harsh not for any particular reason other than that’s how it showed up in my experience.
This conversation set off a trajectory of changes in my work life that felt like free-falling off a cliff –kind of exhilarating, kind of thrilling and kind of terrifying depending on where my head was at any given moment. And it was all over the place for a while. Yet, throughout this time, I felt continuously held by a strong presence of compassion, hope and freedom.
Following this conversation, I had a momentum of crystal ball, into-the-future thinking that conveyed various options and prophetic visions – none of which depicted this beautiful new home and the laugher, joy and learning that was encountered today. Unsurprisingly, this perfect day didn’t feature in any of my projected thinking into the future.
We can never know what we will think and feel and therefore experience in a future moment.
Even our best shot at guessing can never encapsulate or accurately pinpoint that exact moment in the future. Yes we can visualise freshly baked bread coming out of the oven, but it will never fully capture the authentic taste and smell as the bread actually emerges from the oven and melts in our mouth.
The “conversation” was always going to lead to this moment today. But life needed to be lived during the ensuing ten months. There were no short cuts. I have not yet seen a way to fast forward living (other than playing imaginary games in my mind). But in truth, we are always where we are. There is no other place we can be.
Increasingly over the last year I have caught myself limiting my future from the present and then falling back into reality. It’s like waking up from a dream. Helpful!
On Friday night, I had yet another real-time learning moment of this. I stayed up all night with my just-turned eighteen-year-old son. He had a dislocated shoulder but we didn’t know that at the time. My son was kindly replacing our kitchen lights when the chair he was standing on broke and collapsed. The doctor who saw him shortly after his ill-fated fall hadn’t picked up on this as my son bravely (or my husband would say, stupidly) manoeuvred his arm into positions that belied its capabilities.
After giving him two mega doses of sleeping pills and two not for the faint hearted pain-killing drugs (I still have a stash of meds left over from the neurological illness I encountered three years ago), he still didn’t sleep a wink. And so, for a split second as we sat and chatted and bonded into the early hours of the morning in the presence of his excruciating pain, I began to project into the future.
“I better make a plan for the first day of our seminar as something is very wrong with his arm and I will probably have to go to hospital with him!”, was the kind of projection I am talking about.
And then it tapped me on the shoulder. The folly of fast forwarding in my mind. And I found myself back in the present moment; a moment where I don’t know if I have ever felt so intimately connected to my son.
And today? His shoulder was popped back into place by our good friend (who doubles as an experienced A & E doctor). And while the saga of his arm looks like it could still run, I was fully in attendance at our seminar. As I was always going to be.
So I am finding myself a little more present more of the time. For it seems less and less practical to be living somewhere that has yet to come to pass in time and space. It’s funny how we miss this simple fact. Even when we think we know it.
And I look forward to all the living that will take place in our little sanctuary over the coming months. I have no doubt it will be a hub of immense learning, living and loving for all who enter its doors.