My work for the day – teaching drama at a school for children with special needs – was unexpectedly cancelled this morning. Dressed, teeth-brushed, bag packed with puppets and magic wand, and about to head out the door, I received the message just in time. I turned around, climbed back up the stairs and clambered, not quite into, but onto, my bed.
I thought about all the things I could do with this surprise time; write the remaining copy for my website, write a blogpost, stick my head above the parapet of social media land… so many options! And then this quote came to me”
Whatever happened to cloud gazing?
Good question. I can’t remember who asked it but I’m sure it was someone wonderful and a bit crazy like Roald Dahl or Einstein. And so I allowed my head to relax into my hand as I lay, elbow propped up on my pillow, and gazed out of the window. At 6am the light had been a stroke of pink, but by 8am it had dulled already, as if the sun had forgotten the task of lighting the day and was preparing to sink into another night. Early February clouds meandered lazily across the sky and I felt I, too, could quite easily forget that it was time to get up.
For the last month – with our New Year and then the Chinese New Year –and the year of the galloping wood horse no less! – my inbox has been under attack from all angles – It’s your year! It’s time for change! How are you going to show up differently in 2014?! Instead of being inspired by these well-intended message I have felt at increasing odds with the message they carry. Not because I don’t believe in change. I love change! BUT, I personally think we have got the timing of things ALL wrong. This is a terrible time of year to set resolutions, especially if they require actions, which is pretty much the point. The darkness, the stillness, the feeling of waiting in the trees and the earth – it just doesn’t lend itself to new beginnings… yet. Change is hard, and I think we’re making it harder for ourselves by picking the depths of winter to try to manifest it.
I looked at the tangle of branches outside and the tiny buds that have been there for about a week now, imperceptibly growing. In a month or so they will suddenly blossom, exploding with colour onto the stage of spring. But until then, all the work that is happening is inside, like within a mother’s womb. The intense energy packed within can be sensed, but not seen.
I feel an affinity with the buds. This winter – though short (I only arrived home 3 weeks ago) – has been full of inner work for me. The process of creating a website – of deciding and designing how, exactly, I want to step onto this world wide stage – the biggest stage I’ve ever dared to stand on – is, well, terrifying. To say, in words and colours and energy and symbols – “This is me. This is what I stand for. This is what I will stand up for. This is what I believe in. This is why I’m here.” – it’s big. But I know it’s time.
I wanted this website to exist before now, but Hannah, the amazing designer from Further Bound, was booked up for 6 months. I knew she was the one, and so I let go of my hurry, and waited. And, like all actions that come from a place of deep knowing, the result was perfect. It will be ready with the first flourishes of spring. I love that Hannah is living the energy of travel and freedom as she creates, and that in creating she supports her spirit both with joy and money. I think we came from a similar bud, she and I. In stepping up and following her dreams and making them a reality simply by deciding to do so, by deciding that anything less is simply not good enough, she paves the way for others to ask – what else is possible in my life?
Hannah has created a website that is so beautiful, graceful and full of space and breath – words I had noted down when I first decided I wanted a website, but not sent to her. (I was in Thailand when the process began, and my A3 ideas pad had not made it along for the ride). She also re-created, like an intuitive web fairy, the ingredients and essence of my vision boards (again without seeing them). But most importantly, despite me sometimes wanting to portray myself a certain way, she always tuned in to something truer.
It’s not quite ready yet, and neither am I. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a sheer cliff face, and I’m so glad that mid-way through this process, we changed the image of a falling feather to one of a soaring eagle.
So, if you’re not ready for resolutions yet, relax, and do the inner work instead – be quiet and still like the buds, feel the energy stirring inside, and listen out for when it’s time to break into spring.
And don’t forget to cloud-gaze.