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?