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What are we so afraid of?

Do we wait for the waves to hit us, or dive right in?

I feel the loss of her leaving. I am bereft. I am missing something. Is it a bit of me, gone with her in the car with her as she drives off? It’s dawn, and she has gone back to real life, whilst I stay here alone in this little house by the sea.

Someone told me once that two people in a relationship are like a seesaw. Sometimes you have all the power. Other times it’s in the hands of the other. There’s a time of balance too, where you both meet each other in the middle. All of life happens on that seesaw and we learn from the other what we most need to know. These things are not always easy to accept.

Here, by the sea, as I gaze out into the mist and the endless shimmering blues and greys, I know the possibilities of this relationship are endless. But it’s not that easy is it? We keep going down the same old paths. Stuck, in a maze, never getting around the next corner. Step into that imaginary maze now, as you read this. Can you feel that same sensation, too? Suddenly you make the right turn and know you’re on the path to the centre. It feels joyous. You feel elated. Yet a moment later, you make the wrong turn and find yourself back where you began. Those joyous feelings quickly turn to frustration and disappointment for what could be, what could have been.

Is it fear? Is it stubbornness? Or are we just still utterly blind to the possibilities, to our own possibilities of what we could be, alone and also together.

What are we so afraid of?

The dim murmur of a distant boat tracks through the depths of the sea and comes to join me, reverberating under the bones of the house where I sit. It unsettles me, shaking things up on the shelf beside me. Shaking me up. It acts as a reminder of my responsibilities. All the things I ‘need’ to do. Ultimately each one is cleverly designed to distract me from understanding who I really am.

We fill our lives with distractions to avoid connecting. Never really feeling too deeply. Switch the radio on, make a call, look at the phone, find something to do. We are living our lives on the surface of the ocean, never brave enough to dive in. Too afraid to feel the joy, the pain, the vulnerability deep inside of us. Are we all much the same? Never allowing love to fully take us, envelop us, test us, throw us about. Feel. I mean, really feel.

A long time ago a shaman told me that the world was speeding up. He wrote an anonymous book about it called Vision. The book was written in 2006, but the force of this really picked up pace in 2012, the point which some said would mark the end of the world. Others called it the Age of Aquarius.

But it wasn’t the end.

It was just the end of one era and the beginning of something new. The shaman told me that this new era was like a wave coming. And if we held on to the old ways, it would be like standing on a beach, attempting to resist a wave heading right for us.

How many of you are still standing upright as that wave hits continues to hit you, holding on so tight, in utter denial of what is really happening. Bound to feel its full force and might, you crash and get left behind as the wave carries on without you.

I headed out of the little house and into the sea at the end of the garden. In amongst the swirl of the tides converging, I found that if I was brave, if I let go and felt the force of the wave, rather than resist it, I could ride with it. I could embrace and harness the power as it washed through and over me and took me with it. Together, our energy was in flow.

Later, from afar, I watched the sea further down the coast. Some waves hit hard concrete walls that were built to block it from striking the houses nearby. The crash was deafening as each wave hit the wall with full force and flared high up into the air, nowhere to go. Yet in another part, people had designed a series of rocks. Here, they still hit hard, but washed through and in-between the stones. Its power was greatly diminished, the impact far less.

Why do I miss her so now, yet last night I felt so alone beside her. Why do we get stuck in a cycle of hurt, retaliation, and frustration, unnamed needs not met. It becomes a vicious circle of doubt and self-protection.

Today I am not at peace with myself. Perhaps it’s easier to be on my own. I embrace that thought now, as I sit here with the unknown pain. Someone once told me it’s much harder to be in a relationship than to be on our own. Harder, because we’re always facing ourselves in the other, continually meeting and confronting our shadows, our love, our losses. I believe that’s part of the reason we unconsciously choose each of our partners. They act as a mirror, held up to our reveal all our shadows. It’s maddening.

I convince myself I am good alone. But I wasn’t always. I kid myself it’s easier. When I am alone, I get up early and write. It helps me to make sense of all the things in my head. Getting caught up in all those thoughts going round and round, instead of looking up and seeing the beautiful ocean that’s right there in front of me. Until then, until I look up, I am going nowhere fast and instead of riding with the wave of life, I sit blocked in my resistance and in my hurt. And when we do this, it prevents us from seeing all beauty and the love that surrounds us. We become clouded in a never-ending circle of emotional pain, re-living old wounds, from the womb to the grave if we’re not careful. “What about me?” we scream inside our oh-so-crowded minds.

What about me?

As I contemplate this life, this adventure, I look ahead to my yoga mat. It’s calling me. Inviting me to all the possibilities it offers. Like a magic carpet, it faces out to sea and boldly states ‘Carpe Diem’. Seize The Day.

Last week after a 20-minute practice, I took out my pack of angel cards and shuffled them hopefully. You may find that odd, a bit mad or silly perhaps? Yet there are days when I find it hard to calm my mind and find it reassuring to reach out for some help, a kind of confirmation that I’m not getting it all entirely wrong. It’s a one way of connecting to myself and to the intuition that so easily gets drowned out. So I take my cards out on days such as this, as a way of feeling that connection again.

I decide on my card and pull it out. It says ‘playfulness’ and brings with it an immediate smile and leap of faith. I read the write up on the card and smile more deeply. Today is an instruction from myself, to myself. To have fun, be childlike, smile, be joyful, to not hold back. It has such a huge effect on my day, like a magic wand giving me permission to be myself again, to be playful and happy.

Is that silly? Drawing angel cards may sound nonsense to you, but we so often need someone else’s permission to be all of those things. When I run a Street Wisdom workshop, I see it in action with the participants, particularly when we’re running a session for teams within organisations. Giving people permission to take 3 hours out of their day to wander the streets and connect with themselves has a profound effect. It invisibly sets them up with a contract to simply ‘be’. No pressure to do anything but wander the streets alone, with just a few simple, mindful instructions such as ‘slow right down’ and ‘be drawn to what attracts you’.

So why can’t we do that ourselves? Why do we need permission from others, or from a pack of cards? Why can’t we give ourselves permission to just be? To contemplate, laugh at ourselves, feel the deep joy and adventure that life presents, be more authentic, be kind, connect more deeply with others in every interaction we have.

I’d like to re-live some of my days. The ones I’ve messed up. I’d like to re-play those ‘what about me?’ days, where I’ve stood, waiting for the sea to hit me like a rigid Angel Of The North. If only I’d drawn the playfulness card on those days, too. Or drawn the card that reminded me to be more vulnerable and open. To notice the beautiful flower in all it’s stages of life. I’d like to re-live those days where I never looked up and saw the beauty and the love that surrounded me.

A part of me is missing as I see her drive away. But today I know, as I put my swimming costume on and dive playfully into the delicious early morning sea and allow the waves to wash over and through me, that I will find myself again.

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