Last week, in the middle of my funk, I was at the station and the big screen was showing a picture of my old friend Colin Vearncombe -I was his team leader for a year on a landmark course. Colin sang “wonderful life”. It’s the only one he’s known for , but has become iconic . Colin has very sadly been in a car crash and is in a coma which he is not expected to recover from.
Far from putting me in a worse mood, it was exactly the kick up the backside I needed to remind me that I am alive and have so many reasons to be grateful.
On Friday we had a full day’s offsite training for the hundreds of people who work for our company and one of the sessions was called “how to be brilliant”. It wasn’t actually about how to be brilliant but about how to be happy. Whilst people around me were acting like planning for your happiness, practising gratitude and chosing to be a 2%er – one of those upbeat people – was news, I learnt only two things. One that you have four minutes in order to make a lasting impression on someone’s day and the second that I take all my training and learning in this area for granted.
I went up to him afterwards and said I felt there was something disingenuous about the “paint on a smile ” school of positive psychology and that I preferred Jung’s idea that when you are miserable you should invite it in, look at it, process it. He agreed with me that it was over simplified but he had only had an hour.
Then we went on to have the best evening. Me and my team swept the board for awards including innovation of the year and I also won Business Leader of the Year.
2016 is my year.
Some of us human beings leave things just that little bit incomplete and not quite the way they should be, as we are determined to scupper ourselves in leading as full a life as possible. If that mild irritation for that thing which always looks a bit messy or that picture which was never hung straight, were to go away, if everything were as it “should” be, then what would we fill our heads with?
I decided in the last quarter of 2015 to make my house the best and most inspiring space it could be. I ordered new carpets which could not be avoided as the old were stained beyond repair. Since the beginning of the year, inspired by the japanese art of tidying – if it doesn’t give you a spark of joy or isn’t useful get rid if it – I’ve been filling bag after bag for charity.
I’ve probably got one more full day of work before I’m done but already my house feels like a different place and it’s made me think about my general way of going about life. My ex husband used to call me “pig” – not just because of my eating habits – but because he imagined me truffling – rushing from one area to the next sniffing around. I know some might find that offensive but it is quite a good metaphor really. My rush and slap dash approach is my greatest strength and weakness.
I get lots done, know lots of people, work fast and am quick witted. The teverse is that I’m untidy, eat too fast (and too much) overspend, can be indiscreet, am impatient and don’t manage my money or my career.
I am on lots of drugs now – for BP, sugar, cholesterol and wonder at this lack of care I’ve shown for myself and my home.
Part of the relief of having him in my life was that I am aching for someone to look after me. If there were someone to support me as he promised , I would be happy to stay a truffling pig with that person who loved me nagging me about the house and my health.
It’s avoiding responsibility I know.
I can’t wait any more. I have to be it all to myself – but that makes me feel sad and unlucky right now.
My recent stay in Cornwall gave me the chance to finally vent my anger about what he had done to me over the previous year.
I was alone in the mud, wind and rain talking to myself.
I’ve never been good at anger.
Wanting to be liked, with a father who was quick to fury – which terrified me – the tin hat was the Landmark Forum’s insistence that I am entirely responsible for my life. I look at things from every point of view.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t GET angry .
Far from it.
I’ve always had what my friends call my nuclear war head moments – but it isn’t clear pure anger – it’s irritation, snippiness, sarcasm. It’s talking to everyone about what’s happened apart from the person who has pissed me off. It’s talking to myself.
I don’t express it clearly to the person who I am angry with – mostly in case they won’t like me, or will respond with something worse.
This year I committed to myself that I would express my anger. Yesterday I got cross with someone at work who did something behind my back because he knew he would have struggled to get my agreement. I told him very clearly that he didn’t have the authority to promise what he had promised, that he had deliberately cut me out and that he had handled it badly. I felt good that I had expressed myself so clearly.
It comes with confidence. It comes with age.
I have a lot to do with people around 10 years younger than me through work. I share my dilemmas, my sadness, the areas I am still working on myself. Yesterday I was out for lunch with one of them. She’s in a muddle.. I clearly saw that the last ten years have given me perspective which she didn’t have and I advised her.
Have I finally reached the age of wisdom? Does it ever fully come?!
In 2015 I learnt to climb and managed a 10m wall earning £1200 for charity.
I started a women’s network in my industry in which every event so far has been hugely over subscribed.
I cried more than I have ever cried.
I drove myself and my daughter around italy and Sicily by myself.
I (and my team) grew the audience for one of the things I run by 43% and another by more than 100%
I went naked on the beach for the first time (sorry for the image;))
I met lots and lots of new people, made new friends and grew my online networks by over 1000 people.
I had lots of holidays and reconnected with old friends.
I spoke in front of lots of large groups.
I went blonde.
I had an affair.
I got my heart broken
The train put me in a right spin. I had no idea that it terminated in the arse end of beyond place where he lives and where I have never been. A train he also catches. I was surprised given how far I thought I was “so over it” at how much it put me on edge. By the time I reached my tarot reader I was already in a bit of a state and close to tears.
So, I get tension headaches have problems with my stomach and there is an old man (perhaps my grandad?) who has passed over, leaning on a garden fork saying I should eat more tomatoes.
I don’t get headaches but I do get jaw ache from grinding my teeth.
Ah yes it’s somewhere in the head.
My stomach is like iron and my digestive system very robust.
Ah but the solar plexus is the seat of the emotions perhaps it’s emotional?
One of my grandads was super intellectual and would not have known one end of a garden fork from another, and the other was in a wheelchair.
So far so much tosh.
However she also said (with no clues) that I over processed things intellectually – was very left brain, that my recent heart break (I did tell her I had had one) was profound as it was a twin flame connection. That there was something secretive about it, that whilst he wasn’t with me any more he still loved me but that my relationship with him was not going to work out as I hoped. The envy card showed up. Once I had said he was married she said that was not me but was his wife who is envious of the connection we had. That he loves her but is not in love with her. That he will eventually leave her but it will he too late for he and I.
She also saw my daughter, without my saying anything about her, as having her head stuck in a book and being incredibly smart and wise.
A few lucky guesses?
I definitely gave her clues. But the smallest clue and she intuited correctly.
So the big question – was it helpful?
Well I need to mull on that for the next few days. But there were some things she was very definitive about with no leading from me. They were extremely similar to conversations with my work coach earlier in the day.
Both of them were insistent that I needed to slow down and focus on my body and what it needs and be more present to my emotions. That I needed to get some space for myself away from the frenetic treadmill I am on with work and a very active social life.
The reader was insistent that I allow myself proper tine to heal. She said I would probably not meet anyone this year and should make this year about me and using my right brain more.
She say it would be new beginnings in 2017 for me. She said there was most definitely a whirl wind romance which would provide a lasting loving connection in my future. She said the person in my future I would come as a big surprise to too.
She also saw new work where I would grow something and be well recompensed for it but that I didn’t need to try too hard as it would just come along.
When the two psychologists to whom I recently mentioned that I was going to have my tarot read, were hugely interested and jealous I was surprised. Where does spiritualism fit into a scientific agenda?
So for my sceptical friends, yes, I’m sorry, I am travelling quite a long way to get my future told tonight…
Those of you who have been here from the start know that 8 years ago, I had a reading in Australia when I was at a very low ebb and it gave me hope. I’m not at a low ebb any more and I am full of optimism about the future – but I am curious….
This woman transformed the life of a friend of mine (who I will stay with tonight) . She told her to dump the loser who was using her for the odd night of nookie and to focus on having a ball in the present, because there was someone in her future for her. She’s gone from depressed and hopeless, to shiny.
I was discussing this with another highly intelligent, geeky and atheist friend over a very good steak last night and he said that they work because they are a mirror held up by an objective outsider. And it’s always more powerful hearing things from a stranger. So when my best friends tell me I’m attractive and a great catch it’s not as credible as the woman I just met saying I’m Wonder Woman, or the guy down the pub saying I’m a nice looking girl.
I wonder what she will intuit about me?
Hampton court palace – round the corner from me
It isn’t just that lots of people I know had a bad 2015, it’s the fact that for many of us it was our worst year EVER.
Never have the 4 or 5 people I’ve spoken to about this, been as keen to start afresh in 2016.
What a great human invention is the New Year!
Even odder, for all of us, it’s not been about the normal New Years’ resolutions – get fit, drink more water, get a new job – but about a shift in Being. Perhaps it’s the new mindfulness trend playing in the background but I and my fellow “2015 was a wanker” friends all report more peace, gratitude and resilience since the new year started.
The Landmark Forum says “you can have anything you want for yourself and your life if you create it as a possibility”
This used to puzzle me. But I now see it is about a way of being – which in turn will spark changes in action.
So there is an exercise you do to create possibility in which you get present to the impact the complaint is having on your life. So it might be your crap marriage.. The fact that putting up with this is costing you all joy, satisfaction, love. You feel as low as you can about it…..Out of that you create a new possibility which might be, let’s say, love and connection. Living into that possibility might mean you tin your marriage or work on it. It’s a way, I suppose of creating a mini breakdown for breakthrough.
In conversation with a good coach things can transform in an instant, a simple click. Then it’s just keeping it alive through action, commitment and systems.
Transformation occurs through breakdown. The caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
That’s what my fellow 2015 was a wanker travellers have experienced. The worst moments have given birth to a new way of being.
Breakdown for breakthrough.
Yesterday, David Bowie died. As a conservative, convent educated girl, Bowie puzzled me and left me cold as a teenager. What was wrong with a nice short back and sides? Why constantly change your image like that? Odd. Just odd.
As I’ve got older, I now understand the attraction of playing with one’s image, the comfort in experimentation with all sides of yourself. Indeed my recent heart break prompted a huge image change for me – from red hair and natural make up to emulating Marilyn – all blonde curls and red lipstick.
Sometimes I stare at myself in the mirror and hardly recognise myself.
Damn I look hot 😉
Marilyn said that well behaved women rarely make history . It seems true to me. Many well behaved and very bland men (yawn), get to the top – you only have to look at boring David Cameron….but women are required to have something about them… Women who make history are challenging.