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Saturday 28 February 2015

The music and the moments

A light early morning drizzle comes to rest gently on my face. I close the front door and breathe deeply. Pressing play, my short journey begins. I take the shortcut though the passageway towards the common. ‘No Doubt’ come playing out of my earphones. It seems that lately
 I’ve been listening to this album on a loop. In years to come, I wonder if the memories of now will come flooding back the second I hear these songs again.
An old lady comes shuffling along in the opposite direction. With a half-full shopping bag, she looks up at me. We catch each other’s eye, and for a few seconds we are connected. Her face is gentle and kind. And in our fleeting moment together, we smile. Everything seems to suddenly stop. Then, as she slips out of view, I wonder what she has experienced in life: her hopes, her dreams, her lessons.
I am lost in my thoughts as I continue onwards.
I see the man at the bus stop holding his son’s hand - I think of my dad. I see the lady pushing a newborn baby – I think of my friend. I see the guy who looks like someone I once loved – I wonder where he is now.
Flashes of moments come and go in the drizzle - a Saturday morning stroll through my past.
And as I arrive at the small supermarket, I wonder where my new friend is - the man who sells the Big Issue, with a face that could light up a room, is not there. Maybe I will see him next week.
I suddenly smile thinking about all the people in my life - the people who have been there right from the beginning, and the ones who will be there right at the end.
And then there are those who I have yet to meet…

Saturday 21 February 2015

On Guard

It would definitely shatter a bone, or two. The heavy iron end would smash through anything that got in its way. The protruding spikes were blunt and weighty. A shiver runs down my spine as I picture how many people have been on the receiving end of its deadly blow. 
Next to them sits the beautifully crafted rifles. Delicately decorated in Mother of Pearl and ancient ivory, it is hard to imagine that something so aesthetically pleasing was made to kill.
There are silver daggers, steel swords, and pocketknives, all designed to swipe and chop and slice and stab.
Gazing through the glass case, which protects the protective armour, I admire the craftsmanship of the smooth metallic suit. Every piece hammered and shaped perfectly to fit the contours of a man’s body.
As I continue walking around the armoury room of the Wallace Collection, I am suddenly struck by a thought: for all the ways we protect ourselves in war - the shields, the armour, the heavy weaponry - what about the everyday? How do we protect ourselves against the many other dangers that lie in wait?
There are times in life when I could have done with an emotional coat of armour myself. I would have made use of its thick steel skin as a heavy defense – that way my feelings would never have been hurt, my heart never broken, or my self-confidence severely battered.
Life can be messy and disorientating sometimes. But as long as we love ourselves with all our imperfections, and protect our heart by keeping it open, that might just be all the armour we will ever need.

Saturday 7 February 2015

Been there...

I’ve seen it before. I’ve sat at my desk with a hot ginger tea. I’ve watched the steam swirl up and out of the blue mug. I’ve turned my head to look out of the glass: the same grey sky, the same cold breeze blowing through my open window.
With the same words written on the page of my orange Moleskine, in exactly the same order, with the same blue ink, everything seems to stop.
I’m lost in space, unable to orientate my body.
There’s nothing extraordinary about this moment. It is just a moment - a speck of living.
But I’ve been here before, witnessed everything in minute detail: my steady breath, quickening heartbeat and an energy spinning up my spine.
There’s something unsettling about this flash of déjà vu. And at the same time, quietly reassuring, familiar.
A million possibilities come flying out of this twice-lived moment.
I can’t help but wonder what I would do differently if I knew for sure what was coming around the corner? Would I change my words, my actions, my hopes?
As much as we want everything to be perfect, life is also about making mistakes. Without them, we would never grow. We would never look at ourselves and never find our inner strength. Sometimes we live and learn, sometimes we don’t.
There are mistakes that make us kick ourselves, and mistakes that cause us to cringe.
And then there are those that take us to another place entirely – a place where whatever happens, we know we will always be ok.