I spent a couple of days at a retreat earlier in the year, to spend some time thinking deeply about the next steps for Breakfast People.
I was feeling grubby about taking a couple of days away. So many to-dos, so little time. And yet I surely need to be living my manifesto. My clients are asking me to scaffold them in prioritising their lives, and stepping out of the whirlwind to identify their wildly important. Of course I want (W A N T) this for myself too. Be the change, be the change, be the change.
While I was in retreat, I tried to avoid all conversation using boss-level introversion tactics, but I was asked by a receptionist about a book I was reading [Lifeshocks by Sophie Sabbage, author of The Cancer Whisperer] and how it related to my work. I said something loose about helping people to find their own answers.
The receptionist listened, then said, “Oh, I get it. You help people with their twists and turns in life.” (A really useful metaphor, thank you, poetic stranger). She said, “I’ve met loads of people who’ve had big twists. I know one woman who gave up being a GP after a car accident to become a florist.” We talked a little about the hidden connections between floristry and healthcare.
Then she told me about her maths savant son: he’s genius with numbers but has dropped out of college with stress, and is currently doing not much, and how she’s trying to “build him back up again”. We talked about her part time receptionist job, which means she can go to university to get a Biology degree while in her 50s.
The poetic stranger then said, “It’s funny though, I don’t regret any of the twists because they led me to the turns”. She motioned with her hands, a winding path. Then said, “yes, people need to get help with that”, and showed me the path with her hands again.
My mind gremlins tell me I Should Have It All Handled before I can take time out to think, and certainly before I can work with people on their twists and turns.
But as my coach said to me: “the best teachers are the ones who are only one step ahead of you on the path”. If you want a coach who is rumbling with their own meaning of life questions – how the twists lead to the turns – then you’ve found a suitable sherpa for this stretch of your path. You can make the path hand motion again now.