A week and a half ago, between the opening and closing curtains of a wedding and a funeral, I did my very first podcast; another leap into trusting the flow.
And I notice, as I begin to let go of the old, the new and unseen doors that start to shimmer and glow, subtly lifting out of two-dimensionality like magic-eye art. By softening our gaze on the very same page, reality shifts and coalesces into a new and breathtakingly multidimensional stage.
Magic, and yet nothing of the sort… just possibilities and pathways that were there all along, obscured by the shutters of mind and its fearful fastenings and locks. And so it was with this, as Julia Chi Taylor – the extraordinary soul I’ve been voyaging with through my internal seas – invited me to take part in her new Podcast series, ‘Conversations with a Bodhisattva’.
But how fascinating to watch the inner protesters rally so fast – a surging horde of banners and shouts, all chaining themselves to the shutters with unequivocal handcuffs of doubt!
‘Danger!’ they shriek, ‘Don’t do it! Don’t risk! You’ll be vulnerable before strangers, self-manacled in the village stocks!’
If the only way I can speak now is from the epicentre of my truth – from the tenderest spots still healing from their loosening thorns – then to trust to the free-flow of an interview feels like launching my leaky vessel into the torrents of Niagara falls.
I’ve already leapt with my blog, so why does this dive feel even higher? Because speech is such an instant and irretrievable creature, so different to the small woodland mammal of the written word that forages so quietly beneath life’s delicate leaf-litter. While writing can curl up and hibernate for as long as it needs, nesting unseen in the roots and thickets of daily success and strife, the spoken word shrieks with immediacy – a discharged bullet whose trajectory can’t be changed.
Am I ready to fledge, to learn on the wing, without the time to perfect and to tweak? To be a mayfly of expression, a momentary flutter in life’s skies, preserved in amber though so briefly conceived?
Of course the cinema of my mind screens me bumbling haphazardly, a clumsily-blundering daddy-long-legs of orality! Prattling hither-and-thither, shedding legs along the way, tangled in endless webs of ghastly ‘what if’s’…
What if I can’t express what I mean? What if my fluency startles and falters? What if it dries-up like roadkill under the truck-lights of immediacy?
What if I say it all wrong?
There is, of course, no such thing. Nothing to be done but release the comfort-blanket of ‘right’, and surrender instead to the simplicity of is. To turn up as I am, as raw and unadorned as a Christmas tree in February. No baubles, no lights. And trust, as Jonny once wrote, ‘Ah… but you’re decked with fairy lights all year round lady, don’t you see? How lucky I am that you let your needles drop for me’.
Something that applies to us all if we can only trust our inner lights to guide the way, instead of grasping at B&Q aisles of decoration and display. To be who we are, bare branches and all, and trust the anchor of our roots as the winds shift and sway.
And so I watched those inner protesters march the streets of my psyche, and thanked them politely for their loudspeakers of doubt. Then took the inner projectionist aside to suggest we change the music and brighten the lights…
Time to banish this dis-empowering delusion that to be worthy of being heard we must be finished and complete, reclined in our armchair of success by achievement’s firelight.
To tie a bandana on my true-self, don the 80’s crop-top of spirituality, and thrill at the speedball while shouting ‘bring it on!’ to the Rocky theme-tune!
Sylvester Stallone knew what’s what, all those years ago.
It’s not about ‘winning’; it’s the art of showing up.
And so I did.
I’ve had many surprising incarnations in this life so far; academic, nursing assistant, footballer, rugby player, au-pair, epidemiologist, fancy-dress enthusiast, ice-hockey player, circus performer, professional gardener, artistic doodler and occasional duck. But in forty years, writing is the one area I’ve most deeply yearned to express myself but rarely found the courage or pluck. And so now I’m travelling this inner journey of exploration and expansion at last, a curious cartographer of inner worlds and outer reflections in the mirrors of life, gently unpeeling layers of my created self to unearth the rich bedrock beneath. And I offer my journey here, to whoever it may reach, as a token of connection, courage, love and trust.