‘Orlando’ the novel by Virginia Woolf, chronicles the adventures of a character through many centuries and changes, through time and tide. Orlando learns to live by changing location, situation and even gender; moving on and letting go, each time…
As a coach one of my fundamental roles is to support my clients to let go of many things in their lives too – the behaviours, emotions and situations that do not serve them… It’s a lesson that I have to keep learning too…
I was driving to a party last night anticipating who might be there, what hugs there would be, and all the positive possibilities of the evening ahead of me.
I’d already been through the negative thoughts… That I might be on my own, that people might not talk to me, that they’d judge me in some way, shape or form… Yes all those old moths of pessimism had already flown around my brain. They are old adversaries those moths, so they flapped about a bit in my head, until I realised that they were blocking the light and then opened a window and let them fly away… Tonight it was actually time to be a (social) butterfly, colourful and free; not doleful and regretful.
So that’s me – patterned as both moth and butterfly: with dark thoughts worn by default and positive ones through choice and practice…
There have been many such moths and butterflies flying about my world in this month of August 2015. Curiously it has been an unprecedented time of meeting up with old friends, of sifting through my past and thinking about what I will compare, treasure and let go of in my life.
One of the first coaching experiences I ever received was to map out my past life and soon it became apparent that there was a very clear pattern which I repeated over and over… Up to that point I clearly had not learnt my life lessons and so occurrences, relationships and more had to be repeated again and again in my life…
Sometimes I feel like my quietly unconventional life has been created to give all my friends a real life soap opera to watch from the side lines. But when I sit down and analyse it there are a number of recurring themes and one of them is around my relationships.
As a friend, you will find me loyal, lazy, loquacious and prone to making you laugh, either by tickling your funny bone with my observations on life, or by recounting with sardonic self- mockery, its ups and downs. I must admit that I prefer the laughter to the loathing, and the self-mockery to the self-pity which will also characterise my chatter if I am not careful.
And encountering so many people from both my recent and distant past was an interesting introspection, not just into myself and those I was reunited with, but also about the absent friends who we discussed and dissected, or else dismissed.
Making my way to yet another reunion this month, I realised that this is the umpteenth time in just a few weeks that my past and present have colluded in this way, and rather than this being a curiosity, I am seeing a synergy – a coming together of some ancient alchemy, a pattern of occurrences that have coerced into a concentrated continuum of time, all neatly packaged into a yellow box named (the month of) August.
As always I start to see two views… The first being that this is simply is a random sprinkling of events, which by coincidence have happened in a late summer month, when anniversaries are created and then repeatedly celebrated; or that is what the moths would have me believe…
Or, secondly that a special ‘butterfly’ energy has bought all these latent happenings into my life right now, all clustered around this time, because there is something I need to learn / to change / to do / to heal / or some other onwards action I have yet to fathom.
Interesting… for now is most distinctly a time for change in my life, for re-evaluation. And I go through many such minor metamorphoses in this spinning span of living I inhabit, but now I know, this is a major one and I have to treat it differently – to listen, to think, to re-calibrate – where and who I am.
So I stop… What are the patterns here for me and why would all these reunions cluster around my consciousness at this particular time?
So many things in my life are shifting and changing right now and it is as if the past has come back to anchor me, so that I can start to reappraise and reapply myself – looking backwards, so I can move forwards; for somehow I have been stagnating, under the guise of surviving, and I know that what I am (being and doing) right now, is simply not enough…
So I am thinking through this month’s gathering stories, for me to see what the patterns are, then trace them back to whatever it is that I need to remember and to learn…
One of my many reunions this month was with two of the flat mates I shared rooms and lives with at university in Newcastle upon Tyne, long ago, as a teenager turning into a young adult. I was simply excited just at the thought of reliving that part of my past.
The most delicious aspect of that anticipation though was the thought of seeing my old friends again. We’ve rarely kept in touch in the decades since – for any number of reasons – mainly circumstance, scattered geography and that we all simply got on with our lives in other ways and with other people…
Yet I was so excited to be seeing them again. They said they both felt that too. On the train to the North, I started texting them both and suddenly my phone was buzzing and fizzing with all our messages criss-crossing the country, as the delicious build up to our get together.
It was a clear, gorgeous happiness to see them both again and to hug and to chatter as if it had been days, not years, since we had all seen each other. I love that particular currency of the past, one that we can spend again, not having expended our friendships and memories and now being prepared to keep investing that into the present.
On this occasion we three had a few hours together and it was wonderful. I felt ridiculously happy. We laughed so much in that small parcel of time we had. We asked questions of each other that only close friends could and we listened to and accepted all the answers.
I found it fascinating that we were now evaluating the time we had together (back in the day) and each other with the perspective of distance. We had all changed and yet we were all the same in so many ways. It certainly opened new windows and nuances of knowledge for me… Of how I was perceived then and now. Of the things that I never even realised about myself – about what I bought to the mix of our relationships and what I bring to life, in every way that you can frame that concept. It was fascinating for me to ponder on how the past can shape us, or more interestingly how we (you can hear the cliché coming here) actually shape our past – and can choose to respond to our time travels in a positively meaningful way and learn our lessons from them.
And this was just one in a circle of get-togethers, where I met old friends, went to parties, celebrated with and chatted to long lost friends. I’ve always found it so hard to let go of so many people in my life – whatever I did to them or they to me. And sometimes I have just walked away and shut all the doors.
Much as I have consciously wanted to keep so many of my connections, life does not allow for that. We don’t have room for all of them physically or emotionally, and likewise they for us.
In this past month there have been hugs, laughs and much nostalgia. There have been questions and spaces too, where former friends created a gap, which the rest of us closed in with life and talk and eating and dancing and walking and carrying on with what we have in front of us.
At the beginning of the month I craved (to give and receive) silent forgiveness, to look into eyes of friends long lost as well as the ones re-found. But it didn’t happen that way, I didn’t get all the fairy tale endings that I planned, greedy girl that I am.
But still I got to celebrate a wedding, an anniversary, a couple of birthdays and the simple act of catching up and catching my breath – taking stock of the things I have, rather the things and people I have missed.
And that is always the key for me – delving into the gratitude of what I have, then filtering out of the thoughts that make me bitter or regretful and choosing to let them go. And that often means having to let go of people too, for any number of reasons…
I can see broken bonds with those absent friends or I can accept that I have brilliant memories and so many life lessons learnt. With that acceptance comes a clear (head) space which is liberating and gives me the air and creativity to push on and plan.
And whilst all these things are churning on in my life, I realised too that I have an urge to clear out my house. It feels like it is stuffed with baggage and rubbish and materialistic crap. I want to clear the space and free myself from things that no longer serve me and in doing so I make a choice about what few things stay with me too.
What is now surplus to requirements was once a treasured possession, a sought after object, or a thing of greedy joy and so I will celebrate each and every piece of bric-a-brac, of clothing, of anticipation, of duty and let it go, with love. And the same process applies to the people in my life. No doubt along the way there will be some memories and if it comes to choosing between the moths and the butterflies, well that’s easy – today I choose to fly with colourful wings, out in the day light.
I have wanted to hang on to so much in my life, but there simply isn’t room for it all. I don’t need it all. I don’t need all the things I have possessed and I don’t have space or time for everyone who has crossed my path, to walk the whole way along it with me.
Now I can see the metaphor and of course realise the metamorphosis that I am going through. It is clearly time to cleanse, choose and change.
I teach letting go techniques to my coaching clients and in doing so, learn to let go more myself, always analysing, then learning, accepting and moving on…
I’m letting the painful things in my past go, with gratitude for all the lessons I have learnt. In this crazy, amazing life I lead, last night I was dancing and singing in a hot and happy crowd; today I am quietly pondering the notes and the steps; and then of course, just what it is that I will do with tomorrow.
Then the moths are gone… And it’s time to fly, again, free…
Yours – then, maybe when, and always,
With love and laughter.
PS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of love in its’ gore and glory? This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live. In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including Hive (paperback and Ebook) and Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)… Or you can ask your local bookshop to stock it or order it in…