In the depth of isolation & lockdown due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, I, like. many others have been wondering; what is my purpose in this situation? What 'should' or could I do?
For me, building on lessons I've been learning...I think I need to be asking myself a different question; How can I 'be'?
My reasons for arriving at this are as follows:
At the tail end of last year I had precious care & attention from the NHS in a High Dependancy unit after having a massive stroke.
Unpredictably, my cerebral artery tore. Apparently this can happen in younger people.
Subsequently a blood clot formed which blocked the artery totally and in the space of a few minutes a great many of my braincells died. In the 72 hours or so that followed the stroke, when my condition was in a critical phase & the prognosis unknown, even as we waited to see whether my brain would stop swelling, it became clear to me, that there was doubt over what my capabilities would be if I recovered from that stage. Would I talk, walk, process information? The work I love to serve the world with is my coaching & supervising of coaches. I need to be able to listen, consider, think, feel & invite direction for consideration. It always felt like a complex way of being to engage with...and now?
On Day 3 after the stroke, I was sitting in my hospital bed dimly aware of the concern for & the conversation about my condition when I had a quiet yet clear & still 'knowing' ' that I would be well again. There was no evidence for this....but I remember the calm clarity &conviction I felt, somewhere deep within me & just under my Solar Plexus. And I believed it without question.
From that moment I have been building a relationship of curious respect with my brain & the stroke itself as together we navigate my path in the world. I refuse to hate the stroke or my brain. This is my complete life, which I accessed from that moment of 'knowing'. Later that same day I walked for the first time. Now, almost 6 months later I continue to thrive & build my life today. I'm back to running swimming & cycling.
I resumed my work & discovered that I indeed could still work, think & process effectively. How was this possible? My friend & training colleague Angela surmised that the work I have loved & been engaged with for 30 years comes from the essence of me, my way of being in the world, rather than brain knowledge, which is intact. Some might call this the unconscious, others the Soul, some refer to the divine light burning within each of us...I don't think it matters how we think about it or what name we give it. What matters is are we listening to it? .....What I know is that my work feels familiar, 'normal' for me & it feels like me. I'm still here.
People still ask me; what can you or can't you do now? I can appreciate the question & where it might originate.
I translate the wondering into' How am I being now?
And that's the question I've been asking myself during this 'Great Pause' (Julio Vincent Gambuto) Goals & targets, the things we coaches & most humans love so much are gone or changed. Any external ambition we might have or have had is at least temporarily thwarted. This will pass & then hopefully we will together rebuild a very different looking world.
How can we 'know' what will be needed of us? I get the impression from Social Media platforms that there is a surge of offerings & new ways of reaching out to wider audiences with offerings we value & may want to share. I'd urge all of us, in this time of huge unknowing...to listen carefully to that small voice, sound, vibration, feeling within you which 'knows' in the face of the unknown, what's right or true for you. If it's your call to offer your wisdom, your time,your talents... be that person. If your path through this & beyond is different from more obvious doing. please be that person & love the path of your knowing that takes you there. What if we all showed up as who we are rather than what we have or can do? I learned a hard way to trust the essence of myself & what I had stored & saved there over years. When you are being in your own elemental waters... who are you? And how does that being show up in the world to serve?
There is what we want to give..for whatever reason, & then there's what is being called forth from us...They are not the same thing always. We need to listen hard for the knowing of our unknowing & trust what we hear with out judgement or fear.
Easier read or said than done I know... and I also know that when the chips are down... we can listen!
I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"