When you travel, you step back from your own days....
I’ve been riding on a lot of trains this month. I am in England. As I left Brighton, East Sussex to head for Totnes, Devon, my friend Clare offered me a few copies of the New York Review of Books that keep being delivered to her flat, the previous owner having forgotten to inform them that she has moved. One of the articles I read was a review of prose poetry. I thought my newsletter this month could be a Praise Poem I came to England to accomplish two things: to qualify a small group of wonderful women to be either Thinking Environment Coaches or Facilitators, also to connect with Thinking Environment Colleagues from England and Europe, and to spend time with my longest standing friends, most of whom live here. In three and a half weeks I will have covered much of England’s South, from East to West and a wee bit of its Mid-to-North East. England is a tiny bit of land in the North Sea with a very big reach. At this moment in its history it is suffering from deep divides, polarization on a fairly epic scale. I often sound a warning bell to anyone who will listen, about the dangers of consuming the news without applying a deep level of discernment to its veracity and to its impact on one’s psyche. This seems to me to be particularly true for English folk at the moment. Through the ever-unfolding-to-me-joy of my practice of meditation, I am increasingly aware that we human beings spend vast amounts of our hours and days lost in a narrative swirl that is not of our making, that may not even be happening, believing it to be true and being driven into states of emergency by it.
So I have been relishing, savouring every morsel of this journey whilst I am here, and here is what I have been present to: The fragility surrounding the courage building that it takes to step out of the panic and into creating one’s own unique narrative. The profound privilege it is being there, listening to someone, when they take that step. The upsurge of power and freedom that comes, and sweeps through us all, when any one of us chooses their own truth over the fantasy of fear and separation. The love, compassion, forgiveness, encouragement and faith we need from those around us to do this work. The precious and irreplaceable gift we offer each other when we listen deeply, without judgement, with joy. How upsetting it can be when we lose sight of this. How we cultivate honour in ourselves and others when we recover from forgetting. How human it is to forget and how extraordinary it is that we can remember, and restore. (Thank you Ruth McCarthy).
How 20 years of separation literally melts away in the presence of friendship, love and connection – the reassurance of this fact. Time is an illusion. In our longing for belonging we have turned difference into danger. Embracing, accepting and celebrating our uniqueness is deeply connecting. We are verbs, not nouns. When we listen to each other as verbs, we listen each other’s unfolding becoming into being: this is solidarity, this is belonging. To have a teacher is one of life’s greatest gifts
Laughter is vital to flourish. Good cooks are a divine benediction. (Thank you Alexandra) Forgiveness is pretty much a given, especially when asked for.
Scaredy cats need special care and attention. They are often life’s sweetest creatures. People are generous, first and foremost. Anything else is a contortion that can be soothed and smoothed, by interest, by listening, by love. Beauty is soul-nourishing, and it needs protection from homogeneity.
When the vitality of summer green diminishes, it turns into cherry and gold. As the sun sinks lower, its light becomes more vivid.
Anger is a defense against hurt. The bravest thing is to lean in towards it in each other. People need a jolly good listening to. It is an act of deeply-rooted intelligence to ask for help. Your friends will hear it. That will heal you. Healing is what is wanting to happen. The next liberation is always just around the corner. If you don’t take sides with your inner weirdy-beardy, who will? (thank you Sophie Stephenson)
This newsletter is dedicated to my friends, my family, my colleagues (who are my friends), my students (who are my life-blood). Thank you. I love you.