As I was in that delicious transition state between sleep and wakefulness this morning, where consciousness and subconscious have a little ‘chat’, my musing mind was full of gratitude for some of the wonderfully supportive and inspiring people, that have come into my life over the last few months.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so supported and nurtured, both professionally and personally, as I do now.
A good support network looks after you in the rough times, but also provides the security, challenge and reassurance for when you want to push the bar and stretch yourself into something new. I don’t think I’d ever properly ‘got’ the idea that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend most time with, and still think it’s a bit of a flawed statement.
But what I am really beginning to understand is what happens when you open up to a new circle of people – they can completely change your perspective on what’s possible, and help you become familiar and comfortable with concepts that once felt alien or ‘not for the likes of me’.
Now, there’s an important point here – this isn’t about just being open to anyone; I’ve really trusted my gut and instinct about who I feel a connection to, and how much I trust them. And in welcoming the new, it doesn’t mean dropping the old (unless they are relationships that drain and hold you back), but a fabulous new synthesis of connection.
For some reason, it started to make sense for me when I thought about my childhood and my parents approach to eating out. It wasn’t something we did very often – for us in the 1970’s a Little Chef seemed exotic, and going out for a pub meal (scampi, or chicken in a basket) was a maybe once a year cutting edge treat. And not many people we knew ate out often either.
However, when I was 17 I went on holiday to France with my then boyfriend’s family and was introduced to the most wonderful cuisine and dining experiences, and to them it was no big deal. My world and perspective on food and the possibilities was blown wide open (to the extent we had a little foodie blog for a while), and over the years met more and more ‘foodies’.
I’m feeling a little bit like that now after The One Retreat. My world of possibility has expanded massively, but most importantly I feel well supported as I explore that new world. The empathy, understanding and connection to others as they undergo a similar journey is nourishing and protective.
You will know of my forestry links and how I like to use trees as a metaphor for our personal growth journeys; I was amused to be sent this extract from a recent Forestry Commission staff news letter:
“Trees are masters of empathy and communication. Quelle surprise. Scientists have found that when attacked by insects, trees can flood their leaves with chemicals called phenolics. These noxious compounds are distasteful to tree pests and can even impede their growth. Once a tree is attacked, it will ‘signal’ to other nearby trees to also start their self-defense, before they are attacked”
The power of community, even in trees!