Sunday, 27 February 2011
As the bus trundled slowly towards St Pancras station, a million thoughts pulsed in and out of my mind like a beating heart. It’s funny how one memory leads to another, to another, to another. This snowball of recollection was brought about by being minutes away from a reunion with an old school friend who I hadn’t seen in a while -‘a while’ actually being a decade and a half but who’s counting?
My initial thought was that I wouldn’t recognise her face in the crowded coffee shop filled with people taking refuge from the hammering February rain. How had we both changed? Were we completely different people or still fundamentally the same? Would she even recognise me walking in now with my sodden jacket and dripping hair? I thought about how we vowed to always be friends no matter what...
We all have so many incarnations in a lifetime that sometimes we don’t see the changes happening right in front of our very eyes. Just as every single cell in our body regenerates, the same is true with our experiences, good and bad. Life has a habit of throwing things at us and we all deal with challenges differently. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes the choices I make are flawed but never the less, make me the man I am today.
We can’t stay the same. It is the nature of being. Everything changes and everything grows whether we like it or not.
I guess the secret is in the acquiescence of that. Rather than fighting the metamorphosis we can accept that it will happen anyway and make a conscious decision to fashion ourselves into the person we want to become.And yes, she did recognise me.
Saturday, 19 February 2011
When I was little I used to sit there in my maths class, staring into the distance towards the airport and watch as the planes lifted gracefully into the sky one by one. How I longed to be on them. To be going anywhere, I wouldn’t care. For me, flying equalled freedom, an escape.
Fast forward to me sporting less floppy hair, I find myself sitting in Gatwick Airport eating scrambled eggs, remembering those reveries.
There is something I love about airports. The smell of sweet leather and sanitising liquid mixed with jet fuel, the constant hum of chattering passengers and clinking cutlery and the allure of the Herb Ritts-esque Eau de Toilette posters in Duty Free promising a life of sun, sea and oiled abs (I make a quick mental note to start swimming again before my mind wanders).
Being an avid people watcher (and no that is not the same as being a nosey parker in case you were wondering), I love to observe. I think about the individuals surrounding me and their personal journeys through life. What brought them to this moment in time? Where are they heading and what will they find?
Being in this environment never fails to be a sensory feast for me and always triggers a myriad of ponderings.
Every day, we are faced with challenges and opportunities that ultimately change our lives forever and I can’t help but wonder how my journey today is going to shape mine and all that it means.
Once in a while it is important to stop looking up at our destination board and take a deep breath. It is, after all, just a journey.
Let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.
Have you ever been on a journey that has changed your life? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Monday, 14 February 2011
It’s that time of year once again when most of us turn our attention to all things lurve.... Whether we are happily married, joyfully coupled or blissfully single*, we can’t help but think about love and what it means to us. It may be our partners, pets, jobs, clothes, families or iPhones which all feature prominently under this umbrella or a trillion things in between.
Love lifts, expands, engulfs, swirls and ignites. It shines a light in a world filled with pain and suffering and gives us a glimmer of hope....a shining beacon of loveliness.
I have always been a champion to love, fiercely defending its existence to the cynics. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard people declare that the world is an evil place and that everyone in it is wicked! In their reality that may be true. For me, the whole experience is amazingly different. I witness on a daily basis, beautiful, random acts of kindness everywhere I go...... I see the woman picking up a fallen scarf and running down the street with flailing limbs, shouting to reunite it with its unsuspecting owner, and the hand extended to help an old man off the bus, and the smile given to the Big Issue seller sitting on the floor surrounded by crumpled magazines. All of these things prove to me that we are surrounded by love and if we only open our eyes, we will see how brightly we shine.
To everyone who has it or is still searching, I wish you all the love in the world!
(*not leaving out those who are not so happy in all of these things)
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Right, that’s it! Go and sit on the naughty step and have a long, hard think about what you’ve done!
Okay so while we are sitting here for a bit I wanted to ask you something. Have you been here before? I have. Many times! Not for refusing to eat my greens or for being cheeky or even for not tidying my room (the floordrobe I have is a walk-in by the way). The step I am talking about is the place we go to voluntarily to punish ourselves. The space in which the internal monologue throws all the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s in our face and tells us how stupid we were. We mull it over until our head hurts. All of that self flagellation leaving deep red marks on our backs and conscience.
So when will we give ourselves permission to get up off the step and forgive ourselves? Crime and time done! Finito!
It seems that out of habit the naughty step has become our home from home. Like a self-imposed prison of guilt which we have refurbished to make the whole beating ourselves up experience more comfortable.
We miss out on so much by looking back at things we may have said or done. If we can’t make things right, then it’s time to draw a line under it, move on and vow never to do that again and congratulate ourselves for being one step closer to becoming a better person with a more open heart.
Right, times up. You may get off the naughty step and come back into the room. All is forgiven. Now come and let me give you a hug!!!
(Thanks to my beautiful niece Renn for being the best model in the world - you rock angel)
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
I have something to tell you. It’s time to embrace who I am and be proud of it. I am what I am. No more hiding. Yes folks, here it comes, the proclamation, my coming out.....I am.....a football fan! (Cue tumbleweed and cawing crows). There, I said it. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my repressed shoulders.
Some of my closest friends have found themselves disconcerted with my new revelation and I have noticed them on more than one occasion looking at me as if I am a Cylon.
Secretly though, I have always enjoyed watching the world cup every few years but once the golden accolade has been thrust into the air amidst the flashing lights of the photogs , I put that part of me back in the closet and patiently wait for the next time. So this year I actually started watching it on a more regular basis.
There are many things I like about the game and am starting to see the occasion in a much more spiritual way. On a superficial level I never cease to be amazed at how wonderful the human body is. The combination of speed, balance, flexibility and timing is awe-inspiring to all those sedentary beings that bear witness to the spectacle.
Watching each game now, for me, is a weekly reminder of how connected we all are on this rock whether we like it or not; A celebration of life here on Planet Earth. The Stadium is filled with song and cheer, all synchronised to perfection to make.....well a bit of a din really but let’s skip over that.
The waves of energy flying around like an electrical impulse, touching each and every beating heart and elevating emotion till the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
It reminds me how important it is to have a goal in life; something to aim for. Without that, we are just a bunch of streakers running across the pitch.
It reminds me to always get up quickly if I fall and not be afraid to take that leap of faith to the left hand corner.
It reminds me to look around and see who is on my side, the team-mates who are there for me no matter what.
And it reminds me that if something isn’t working, it’s time to be flexible, fearless and fabulous!