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This is the beginning of the rest of your life!

When all hope is gone, return to living in the NOW!!

Gerry Cinnamon, in my opinion, is a modern-day prophet. The Rumi of the music world. Wise beyond his years, deep as the ocean and inspirational beyond measure. His lyrics are filled with so many golden nuggets that have lifted and guided me along the path of enlightenment on many an occasion.

It was announced yesterday that Gerry Cinnamon has “rescheduled” his July gig at Hampden Stadium. I was (and still am a little bit) devasted about it and it has been a tough blow on my global pandemic emotional rollercoaster. Now, I know that is not that important in the big scale of things – hundreds of thousands of people are losing their lives, often alone and without the proper send-off that they deserve. Please hear me out, however.

The Gerry gig gave me HOPE. A hope, belief, trust and a knowing that this was all eventually going to go away in a relatively short space of time. I get that we have been made to stop, get off our respective hamster wheel, reflect, learn our lessons and after all this the world would start turning again and we would all merrily get on with our lives after a couple of months of lockdown.

This does not look at all like it will be the case judging by the amount of things that are being cancelled for months to come.

This is how the Gerry gig would have played out in my mind.

Its Saturday the 18th July 2020 and I have woken up naturally after a beautiful, restful nights’ sleep with a huge smile on my face and an inner knowing that it was a gorgeously sunny day outside. I would turn to see if Craig was awake and he would turn to me with the same happy, excited smile. We would ahem “cuddle” and set ourselves up for a good day.

Craig would get up and bring me a coffee in bed before taking Dusty Dog a walk and I would lie in bed doing a bit of meditation and journaling before heading downstairs to make eggs and toast for everyone’s breakfast.

The kids would come down, every single one of them in a brilliant mood and we would sit at the breakfast bar with Gerry songs playing on Alexa, enjoying each others’ company. The kids would be all excited as they were going to the caravan with my Mum and Dad and their 3 cousins (2 human and one of the furry variety). The chat would be about swimming in the sea and who was having which body board.

After breakfast the kids would get ready and Craig would take them and Dusty Dog to my Mums and I would head to the shower and then the hairdressers where I would get a funky festival style done in my hair. My hair has recently coloured following lockdown and I have my bright blond and vibrant purple peek-a-boo underlayer going on. The chat in the salon would be flowing with a lot of customers also heading into Glasgow for the concert. As we sit getting our hair styled we would discuss how we were getting through, where we were going beforehand, whether we were sitting or standing, who was supporting him and how excited we were for this first outdoor gig after lock-down. We would say how it was going to be a BELTER (the name of the song which launched his commercial career for all the non fans). The bubble of happiness, connection and excitement in my stomach would be growing and growing and I would be feeling this palpatable buzzing force of positive energy coursing through and out of me. It feels amazing.

Back home I would do my make-up and get dressed in a cracking new outfit bought especially for the gig. Bought from an actual real live shop which I went into without fear of touching anything or being terrified of getting close to another human being who was not in my family. No longer under the watchful eye of a poor shop assistant who had the remit added to their job description of only allowing a certain amount of people in to the shop and give anyone who does not follow the flow arrows and try to buy more than 3 items of anything a warning.

Craig and I would complement each other on how great we are looking – we are both feeling amazing. The excitement and happiness goes up another notch. As we leave the house we would say lock up saying our usual “You got the Key?” “to which one of us would sing “I got the key, I got the secret”. Cheesy I know, but it keeps us amused.

We would head to our local town where we would meet our “Festival Buddies” – our besties who we go to most gigs and festivals with. There would be cuddles, kisses, the chat would be flowing, more cuddles, kisses and general sending of the menfolk to the bar for drinks. We would be loving life, loving each others company – in our own wee festival buddies bubble. The excitement-ometer would go up another level. Woooooo hoooooooo.

On the train heading through to Glasgow we would have as us Scottish folk call it “a carry oot” – which is basically alcohol which you drink outside or take to a house party. There would be snacks (of the healthy and non healthy variety) and someone would always start a sing song. Obviously singing Gerry songs. I would look out the window mindfully taking all this in – experiencing feelings of deep connection and gratitude for my life, for my family and friends and for the shining of the sun. It is magical.

On our arrival in Glasgow we would head to the stadium, taking in a few pubs along the way. Meeting old friends and making new ones – everyone in a BELTER of a mood and everyone out to achieve the one thing – to have an amazing time and make fantastic memories.

Up ahead Hampden would come into view. A glorious vision against the backdrop of the sun starting to lower in the sky. The excitement and expectation would be building and building in all of us – everyone can feel it and everyone is ready for the gig of their lives!! We all enter as a collective, grab a couple of beers each and walk down the stairs onto the pitch. We find an amazing spot with a cracker of a view of the stage within an easy distance of toilet and bar facilities (this is vitally important as anyone who has ever been to a gig with me will already know).

The sun is going down, dusk has settled, the support act is finished, the air is filled with green, blue, pink and red smoke from smuggled in flares and then it starts…………

Dum de dum dum de dum de dum.

The opening chords of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. The song that is ALWAYS played before Gerry comes on. The Excite-ometer is off the scale, everyone is taking deep breaths trying to keep a lid on the euphoric experience that they are having. No-one needs to say a word – we all know what’s coming and we are ready for it. There is knowing smiles and meaningful looks all around and as we all finish singing Sweet Caroline, the man himself walks onto the stage…………………..and starts…………

“This is the beginning of the rest of your life
You better start movin’ like you’re running out of time
The realisation coming over your mind
That it should be a canter
If you could just find the answer
You know it could be a canter
If you were just a wee bit less of a wanker
More than half of the time”

Except all that isn’t going to happen now is it? To say I was gutted is an understatement. This has been my Mecca, my light at the end of the tunnel.

And now it isn’t.

I gave myself the full day to be grumpy, withdrawn and sad – leaning into the feeling that all hope is gone as opposed to denying, deferring or supressing it which are my previous, go-to, default choice of actions.

I went to my bed in the huff. In bed I did what I always do during my dark days. I ask the Big Man for help and assistance in learning whatever lesson I am meant to learn. At this point the girls came up and climbed into bed with me, very bravely given my mood, to cuddle in and make a “Mummy Sandwich” with me in the middle.

At the side of my bed is an old photo of me in a frame – a photo of me as a small girl about 4 or 5. I am in a playpark, on a climbing frame. I have a beautiful blue dress on and the biggest smile on my face. Charlotte reaches over and picks this up and hands it to me asking me lots of questions about it.

When was it taken?  Who took the photo? Why was I wearing such an awful dress? And for what reason was I wearing socks with open toed sandals? In the way that only Charlotte does.

After answering all her questions I looked deep into little me’s eyes and saw, maybe for the first time or maybe just a reminder of what I already knew, complete and utter HOPE shining out of them.

Hope for an amazing future filled with endless possibilities and excitement.

It hit me then that I can’t possibly have lost this hope that I was born with simply because I wasn’t going to get to a live concert for a while.  I also hit me that I kept a hold of HOPE and belief during all the major challenges and knockdowns that I have faced and overcome over the years.

I remembered that I was born with hope and a belief that everything will work out well in the end and I remembered this when looking at the picture of little me that. My insight was, and is, that whilst it is lovely to look forward to things in the future, you cannot and should not attach everything to it.

You should not put all your eggs in one basket as they say.

And just like little me had hope and belief that the future would be filled with endless possibilities and excitement, so does 45 year old me. What is different is that little me was completely and utterly happy having a blast in the present moment – having fun in a playpark.

And then I had another insight which was despite all my mindfulness training over the years I had moved my attention from appreciating, accepting and being grateful for the here and now and was looking too far into the future – a future that despite the best laid plans is never guaranteed.

With that realisation, in that very moment – my focus shifted and I looked at what was happening in the here and now at that moment. I was in the middle of a gorgeously tasty mummy sandwich with the most incredible daughters that anyone could ever ask for. I was surrounded by love, I am connected (albeit) virtually most days to my festival buddies and I have hope and belief that Hampden in the sun with Gerry headlining will happen – exactly when it is meant to.

So thank you Big Man for that valuable lesson – the lesson of living in the NOW.

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