PHEW! It has been some time since my last blog post and I write this with a bit of trepidation. Let me give you a snapshot of how this came about because I have realised that standing in your truth and telling your STORY is what brings shifts to you and the world. I write this in a bit of shame as a person, coach and facilitator steeped in the nuances of STORY and yet have been stifled in this chapter of my own. So, here I am, opening up to this story, this story of anger, frustration, sadness, love and release…
Do you remember the very FIRST time you encountered the ocean. I use the words ENCOUNTER deliberately as I feel the encounter is richer than the word of say ‘seeing’. Encountering the ocean or any event incorporates all the senses and intuitive feelings. My encounter was: INTENSE. I remember the sight at first, mesmerising movement water in dance wearing fabrics of green with accents of soft white trimming. The dance having a rhythm so ancient and primal that I could feel its SOUND vibrating through me. The FEEL of the sand underneath and the soft silk on my feet was the perfect invitation to its vast dance floor. The salt in the air served as a fragrance so intoxicating that you cant help but be LEAD deeper inside its arms, into the folds of its garment. I remember looking down and seeing my feet slip deeper into the sand even though I hadn’t taken a step.
THEN the sound increases in tempo and my feet are lifted and I ventured further, the water swirled and a twist started in my stomache, exhilaration but also a sense of fear for being swept entirely into this new world. Can I TRUST this? Can I let go?
THIS is what I have been working with and STILL am. Since my new beginning into the world as a coach, writer, poet and single the world is like that ocean: vast, seductive and full of promise and treachery. I have been stepping tentatively into this and then BAM! I am caught in a wave with a strong undertow. I am now twisted into myself and feel betrayed by the hurt from something so beautiful. I have been trying to SIT with the pain and suffering not only of my separation from my partner and the world I knew but confronting the themes attached to it from all my previous ENCOUNTERS with the world. In this sitting with suffering I have read a lot of reflections from different bloggers and authors. What I found was that it was all written retrospectively. THAT’S when I sat up. What stops us from sharing and writing IN the suffering? Not TRYING to make sense but to reveal the process of suffering as it happens. This is my leap of faith… sharing this space with you, with the world
If these thoughts seem disjointed to you I invite you to SIT with that sense of ‘what IS he saying”. WHY? THAT’S the encounter with suffering I am facing, the sense of disorientation being swept up in this wave, trying to find my feet again and then realising that it is too far out to put my feet onto ground and needing to tread water and let GO of the land and find something else in the water.
In this time I have done a lot and realising how in some ways so little. When going through a pivotal event in life it can throw you. Mine as I have described before was the separation and ending of a relationship. This dislodgement opened up possibilities and hurt. I have started writing again, fell in love with poetry and actually recited this to an audience. I have been involved in a beautiful experience with LeadSA to facilitate a process of unleashing the potential of young leaders in SA. I have been engaging with my beautiful family in Coaches for Freedom (CFF) and grappling with the issues we face as people, coaches and society. I have been pushed to connect more to people and test my ability to trust and have been enveloped in a love truly profound. THEN….
The undertow… finding people moving on without you… wondering about being dispensable and then realising that we all ARE dispensable and sitting with THAT. I don’t mean this is a way to be depressive at all… Listening to Ram Dass and Eckhart Tolle I have been realising that it’s my Ego that’s holding on to ‘mattering’ to others. I have ben playing with what LOVE truly means and got my answer in my journeying through various encounters and reading and feeling.
I have also been looking at death and its effect it has on how we live. At this point you might be sufficiently confused on my trail of thought… welcome to my feeling in the ocean at THIS moment… seeing the land I left and trying to find a new land and realising that treading water could be JUST what I need. I have been thinking about death in a broad sense: physical death, psychological death, relationship death and so on. If you haven’t already I encourage you to read the Pulitzer prize winner Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death” that deals with this much more eloquently. Basically what I am curious about is the preoccupation with death and the rituals we ‘perform’ with it. From a physical stand point I have been looking at the need to bury ore cremate and have specific actions and psychologically the 7 stages of grieving. What are we hoping to RECEIVE from this and what are we OFFERING into the world from this? Similarly what rituals do we unconsciously fall into when dealing with deaths?
My legs are starting to ache as I paddle through the bobbing of the ocean and there is this point, the tipping point of do I let the pain consume me, do I push on or perhaps relax into this and TRUST my SELF to do what will serve it best….
You see we have also been faced with extreme exposure to prejudice and broader societal implications with the Orlando shootings, Nice and and and and… ALL of this truly left me stuck and still stuck in a sense….
On the OTHER side of this I have been touched by love in a new way. I have witnessed the true kindness of people to give without the need for reciprocity. I have experienced times of being HELD, not in the physical sense but in a psycho-spiritual sense. To all my friends that have opened this up I thank you and to me I say: that’s it! (how often do we applaud ourselves?)
I will leave you with this poem that I wrote entitled “Lost and Finding” and this incredible video of a dance routine that exemplifies my encounter. I feel that I (and we) are in a process of continual losses and findings and am starting to feel that its not particularly needed to lose and find but to be present and appreciate the CONTUNUAL losing and finding and developing a new relationship to THAT. So here I stay…. Treading water, tasting the salty tang on my tongue… feeling my heart beat… feeling the rhythm of the ocean and paying attention to the voice beyond the noise in my head
PS: I was very tempted to go back and edit this piece but have actively decided NOT to as it would detract from allowing the encounter to speak for itself in all its absurdity, complexity, beauty, sadness and love. Also the poem contains some profanity so perhaps not for the tame at heart or young readers