As I write here today I am sat in the midst of the Hollywood Hills, sunshine state of California – its heaven – I am staying in heaven, actual heaven and my friends and clients across every piece of the pond have been so generous and supportive in getting me here. So a huge thank you to you from the get go – you all know who you are and the piece you played.
But what I’d like to talk to today – what I’ve found in being here is the healing that I’ve been overlooking at the start, at self – and silence is proving a great teacher within this process. Silence is – not always soft and gentle and meditative – she can be over bearingly loud and she can make your brain scream for her to shut up. I guess that’s why we feel the need to pack our day with more and more noise – that need to connect is so apparent – but sadly not in its truest form – not with people but to them and to the ‘things’ we work tirelessly to ‘own’. That need to connect has caused us to tether – tether to unrealistic, unnatural unsavoury harbours. Cling with every breathe in our body to the pier - when our boat, our every being wants to explore and EXPERIENCE life and even when we’re in that experience, in that beauty – stood nose to nose up close to life as picture perfect – our mind and our ego? well she/he – they’ll always try and shore us up, tether us back to where we feel comfortable, safe in the fear or our lack of greatness – where we think we belong – because we’re so scared that if we actually switched on and stepped fully into ourselves, properly looked at life through our own eyes that we may fail at it - that someone is going to walk into this perfect shot and say ‘uh excuse me – you have no right to be here’ but you do.
So what do I tether to? I tether way back in the shadows to the fact I am ultimately useless, no good and will never make a place for myself in the world – that other people are more rightly deserving and that I should help lift them up at the expense often of myself – now don’t get me wrong I was born to help and I LOVE helping others – it’s what I am meant to do – it’s what I am doing, this is coming from a place way before any of my work came anywhere near the table. What I’m trying to get to is that I (like you) can only avoid myself for so long. I was a chubby teen – I felt so uncomfortable in my skin and all I wanted to do was be my sister. I tethered to it. She was the great one – I would take mediocrity without a second thought. So its here I must make an admission – how did I get to that – how did I tether to this? How did I conclude that everyone else was much more important than me? Ok here goes; I am in fact terrified of myself. Who I am, what I do - There I said it… now it’s your turn ;)
When I was 11 years old my grandfather ‘visited me’ and told me that he killed my grandmother (cue high drama!)– Now I’ve never met my grandparents and we never spoke of them, I’ve had invisible friends since I can remember and I still do now… so when I approached my mum and told her with excitement the news that I’d just received I was somewhat shocked that she didn’t embrace this revelation with such excitement – well of course she didn’t – here is an awkward, 11 year old looking her in the eyes and telling her some painful truths that she spent 20 years plus trying to bury. I had no right to waltz in there and break her heart like I did that day – pull up the pain in such an un-responsible fashion – who the hell am I to do that? Excitement faded – fear kicked in. Especially after my mum told me explicitly that ‘this was just not true’ – now I am a scientist – so I question everything, especially myself. The chatter in my head? Well I self diagnosed that I must be mad and life got pretty dark and cold from there on in and for some time - this was a heavy place for someone of that age to go to – to question and question and bury and bury and bury…. I know it was a blessing, perhaps the biggest one I’ve ever had. So getting back to it, that point I’m trying to stumble to - rather than finding myself – I started looking and creating someone else to be in the cold light of day. I decided there and then to switch it off, turn myself off – turn off that voice (as best I could), turn off that wonderful feeling - because the last thing I wanted to be was different and weird like the kids at school so often said I was… so I tethered to ‘normality’ – and my role model for that – the girl who I naively back then thought had everything – my sister.
My untethering from ‘normality’ has been an 11 year process in itself - it transpired some years later that my grandfather Eric, a wonderful man (I know you’ll believe me when I tell you this) did in fact kill my grandmother Lily– he faced into a life long battle with a sever mental illness and she reached her edge and was set to leave him - he grabbed out to her in love and in doing so caught a nerve in her neck that sent her to a great long place of sleep. In that instant, in that tethering he had to her – that fear of loss - he grabbed out and changed my mums life forever at the tender age of 21 and then in turn mine.
I am not afraid now to write here that I may be a bit different, I have had a very full life thus far – (I am now in a place that I am acceptant and happy with that – we’ve made peace me and me) – what I’ve loved in this journey of discovery time and time again is that we all our. I am self-conscious, kooky a bit mad (as my boss kindly refers to me) and I love love and I am not afraid to admit it, not if it helps other people realise the same. None of us our cookie cutter perfect as we’d try to fool ourselves to believe - so we need not tether ourselves to all the things we believe hold us in perfection – people, places, things…
We all have the ability to connect and by that I mean properly with life, YOUR life - if we allow it – that’s what we are so craving, that place where we feel, like PROPERLY feel – and for ourselves – not feel what we’re told to because it makes people feel more comfortable (by the way it doesn’t – people are much more comfortable if you show them you inner dork from the get go!) – We need to feel (again properly) that joy of life that comes with being unique, being the truest version of you – warts and all - and not just look in on the best bits over and over- that is mind numbingly BORING - nor must we tether to the people that ‘bring out those best bits in us’ (remember they too a reflection of you – so that awesomeness? you already own that and in your own way!) - We’ve got to hold that joy, that uniqueness in our hands and feel its warmth daily. We mustn’t allow our minds to tell us that in the next 30 seconds that joy in life will fly out the window - tell it to jog on when the mind cries ‘close your hands tight shut LIKE NOW – quick before it gets away’ – cause all you’ll do is suffocate it – squash it – keep it prisoner and look in on it every couple of weeks just to see how its going – how its surviving and that’s just not life.
SO go and be you – and allow those you love the self same gift – let go of the rope and stop pulling yourself into a place you needn’t be - or attaching yourself to the ideals of another cause you’re so scared they’ll leave if they see ‘the real you’ – go and grow – accept every piece of you and do it lovingly – rope burn hurts, so why inflict that on yourself when you have the ability to set sail in to life trusting that you’ll charter the course to your greatest abilities in your own way and in your own time.