The hardest thing about leaving our old house was saying goodbye to our beautiful garden. During the final few weeks we were there I was perhaps the only person in the UK grateful that the weather was so bad – I could avoid going in to the garden and therefore avoid reminding myself of all that I would miss about it.
After we moved I was careful again to avoid my feelings about missing the garden. Once more divine intervention meant that as the rain beat down, I could happily tell myself that even if we were still in the old house we wouldn’t be spending much time in the garden anyway. Hurrah for British summers!
And of course we have this beautiful new roof terrace which is now arranged with the most gorgeous pot plants. And no demanding lawn to mow or flower beds to keep tidy or leaves to rake in the autumn … Yes, those annoying sad feelings were being kept nicely in check and under control.
Yet sometimes despite all my best efforts those feelings would come bubbling to the surface.
Soon after we moved I was at a training weekend learning to be a TED talker – we were asked to get in the zone where we felt most centred. Instinctively I crossed to the window. Spread out before me was a lovely park planted with tall trees – the kind of friendly trees that I would see when I looked out of my office window in the old house. The kind of trees I would call upon to inspire and guide me when I prepared for my coaching sessions. I loved that view.
As I prepared to speak to the group, my tears fell and for once there was very little I could do to stop them. When my turn came I instantly abandoned the talk I’d spent the past two days planning and spoke instead about how I miss the trees and how I miss my old home. I know that I have never spoken so truthfully from my heart. It was very cathartic.
Of course now instead of rain beating down, we find ourselves in the middle of a heat wave. Finally there is no avoiding it – the sun is out and I can no longer hide inside and ignore how I feel. Cautiously I venture on to the roof terrace and explore whether it could be possible to – if not love -then at least come to have some affection for this new outdoor space.
Tentatively I settle myself on to the squeaky new rattan furniture purchased in the sale – it feels good, relaxing in fact. I prepare an impromptu picnic lunch and we eat it under our new umbrella and imagine we are in a smart restaurant. Sure I can’t run back and forth to the kitchen to add more items to the table – but is that such a bad thing? I regard the dazzling array of plants which have travelled with us from the old house – they are flourishing in their new home. And despite the intense heat of the sun there is a soothing cool breeze up here.
But more than all of that – I realise there is a whole new perspective here as well. Yesterday evening as the sun set and the sky glowed a gentle, warm red a flock of birds hurried past calling to one another. In the distance planes swooped down to Heathrow and in the gathering dusk even the tower blocks unexpectedly gained a certain beauty as individual windows lit up.
I break off writing to go see a client and as I walk down the mews I think again about the trees and what I miss about them. And I think about the fullness in my heart and all that I want to tell you about loss and grieving and the hope of renewal. And I also notice the ache I was feeling is less painful. Could it be that some of my angst is alleviated by sharing my feelings with you?
Suddenly I have a realisation. I recall that whenever I am asked in a coaching or training session to go to a place in myself of groundedness and safety, a place where I can call home, I don’t look within myself. I go towards the window and look up at the sky. That is what I was intending to do when I was in that training weekend. But my mind and body were so full at that moment with what I was trying so desperately hard to avoid, that I think I could not see the sky. I could only see the trees. I could not see the sky for the trees.
Or perhaps the trees were demanding, even insisting, that I should remember them and give them full respect and reverence for all they had taught me.
I look up to the sky. It is where I reach for when I coach my clients. I see it as a place of freedom and transcendence. Where dreams and aspirations dwell. When a client allows me to travel with them through the portal to the sky it is there I feel we can do the best work. The work which will allow them to free themselves from the limitations of their circumstances and strictures and boundaries and soar towards their biggest, most powerful, most magnificent selves.
I realise that without my even noticing, I have been handed a gift. I can climb the stairs to the roof and access the sky whenever I want. I can commune with where the birds fly, notice the clouds scuttle past. I can check out the seasons and feel fluctuations of the weather on my skin. I can actually step in to the place which for so long I have regarded as a virtual home.
How surprising life can be and how many lessons there are just waiting to be discovered if only we open ourselves up to them – especially if we are honest with ourselves and others and express what we are truly feeling.
Sometimes it can be difficult to name those feelings even to ourselves. We know we feel something but it can be so painful or uncomfortable, it feels safer to ignore what is going on inside. Or perhaps we are just not ready to lean in to those feelings, to truly experience them.
Sometimes we need a friend or maybe a coach to share things OUT LOUD with so we can make sense of our world and discover the rich wisdom that lies beneath those uncomfortable sensations. And sometimes just writing things down is a brilliant way to explore what is going on for us.
If something is going on for you right now which is producing emotions or sensations you can’t quite acknowledge or explain, please share with us, even if you would rather they would just go away. Perhaps in the telling you, like me, could not only embrace them but find the gift in them too.
Also, what does home mean to you? And if you have a ‘home’ place where you go to feel centred or grounded, inspired or safe will you share what it’s like for you there?
If you would like to search for the gift in your feelings please email me at and we can start the conversation.
Wow Rona – I felt so touched reading that – I am in awe of your ability to look at yourself with such compassion – there’s something immensely loving and gentle in that whole piece – thank you for the gift of you.
Thank you so much Louisa. It feels good to know it touched you. It was emotional to write. x
Loved reading that Rona – and having witnessed you when you told us about your love of your garden on that TED weekend. You have a wonderful way with words and hearing them OUT LOUD is your gift to us – thank you.
I also love the realisation that you now have access to the sky and how joyous that is – makes me think of how often what we are seeking in right in front of us – we just have to be open to notice it.
Thank you so much Tony for the kind words and for the lovely wisdom x
“Blue Sky Thinking” Rona Stylie!
I agree with the others – this is a truly heartfelt post. I’ve read it and re-read it – and finding myself feeling heightenedly emotional at the moment, I felt the tears flood down my cheeks when I first read it.
Home – both actual home and “internal” home – that home we find within ourselves (or don’t) has been on my mind very much at the moment.
I’ve moved many times within this past 10 years. I’ve adapted to all that’s been thrown at me. Time spent alone and time spent surrounded by legions of housemates!
And yet even when surrounded, even with many people to say hello to you and have a joke with, a flirt with, a gossip with, a beer or glass of wine with – there is that nagging sense, when I stop shouting it down, of loneliness and aloneness. Of where’s MY home? A kitchen and a bathroom of my own. A place to entertain MY guests. A place decorated to MY taste – MY decor …
And then that teeny word MY – which reminds me I’m on my own and I DO NOT LIKE IT! well sometimes I do but overall I want a home with someone else in it with me. Home, partner, family, community, love, affection, tenderness, warmth, fun, laughter, tears, cuddles, caresses, sex, intimacy. Nice garden! Connection. Belonging.
All of this is “home”. The internal and the external – the self, the soul and the scenery. And the sky. Love what Tony said.
Looking forward to viewing you on a TED talk! That’s one of my ambitions also. Was the course with Ginger or something different?
You write so well Rona – your opening sentence immediately drew me right in. Brilliant writing, Silently OUT LOUD xx
Annie, thank you so so much and especially for sharing so honestly and truthfully of yourself. I think many people would identify with what you say – that in itself is a gift.xx