I’ve been going back over my journals, tracking the trails and the storylines which I have been navigating. I’ve been keeping journals since I was 11, and in those pages are the many layers of me where the iterations a life moves through are laid bare. Next year I am approaching a significant birthday, turning 40, and to move fully forward I am in a phase of looking back, narrating the threads and weaving them together so that I can use them to lay the next part of the track.
The journals are in many ways a blessing. Here is evidence, here I can see entrenched or repeated patterns. It is bringing delight to reencounter the moments in my life when a person entered it, opening a whole new door, a new love, or a new trail.
What strikes me is that the seeds of what I am doing now were laid a long time ago. The blank pages help give voice to the inkings of ideas, and slowly, with time and circumstance, the right seeds start germinate and take root.
Below is an extract from a journal in 2012. Back then The Trailblazery was just emerging through my collaborations with Kathy Scott and Ciara Cavanagh, and, with hindsight, I can see that the impetus behind Thrive School was also making noise. It has been rumbling in iterations before, and here, I see it again.
From my journal, in 2012
The birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling they’re given wings. Rumi.
As I read the above I also thought of a beautiful video called ‘Murmuration’ – which has been doing the internet rounds. It captures a flock of starling on Lough Derg, a place on the river Shannon I spent many a day during my teenage years.
Every time I look at it, it takes my breath deeply away. It reminds me of the beautiful power of the natural systems and the importance of gathering. Making their ‘great sky circles’ together, the birds make their falling and their swooping into a game of dance.
There has been a bit of falling and swooping for myself of late. When trying to put new and fresh things out into the world, and at the same time fulfil a social need, there are inevitably mistakes, and falls and stumbles as I negotiate the hurdles. Juggling lots of projects it is hard sometimes to keep track of all the balls, let alone not let any fall. Admittedly I feel I’ve let some fall recently. Just like the physical act of juggling, juggling projects is a skill- one which I’m ever trying to learn. It is project management, time management, energy management. With each project come the element you are familiar with and then the ones you are not. And sometimes you have to learn how to anticipate them. But with each new thing comes new falling, and new learning. Each time a ball falls, the learning is about picking it back up honestly, exploring why it fell and putting it back on track. And, as projects expand there is a growing realisation that one person can’t physically hold them all, or at least all at the same time. Which brings me back to the Rumi quote, and the footage.
In a sense I am realising the wings we are given are the support networks we build around us- the people I can call upon to bounce ideas with, curl up with, share the highs as well as the lows. They help to take me though the rough and the tumble and they are there for the climb. At the top, they celebrate. But that support network doesn’t just miraculously happen- it takes time to build, nurture, coach, and support. It is about finding the right people at the right time. Creating that network and support is a core theme of my own work over the last few months…
And so it evolved.
The journals are offering me a gift- to see what was calling then, and reenter into those callings to see it they are still there, how they have transitioned and what they are calling for next. They help me to see that yes, I am on the right track, no matter the great swooping and fallings, for this is a game of dance, with the birds, and the flock, and the great circles in the sky.
Time, I believe, is not linear, but circular. We are in a spiral of growth, introspection, extroversion, expansion, contraction and spin. There are times for inwards, and times for outwards. So, my friends, you may not have journals, but you do have memories. Maybe take a quick glance over your shoulder, stop at a particular place in time, and check in with yourself then. What was calling? What was emerging? And how is that showing up in your life now? Are their callings which want to been seen again, or given voice to?
May the grace of the falling and swopping birds be with us, and all the expansive possibility of the sky.