Leaving home and coming home – its a recurring theme for me at the moment as I write this I’m sitting in the garden of my brothers house in rural Essex, a place where I was brought up till I was eighteen until I went away to university in the north of England.
Since then I have visited infrequently and usually for family occasions so it wasn’t the right opportunity and timing for reflection.
I think about how it felt to be growing up as the eldest in a poor single parent family. My dad who was Irish raised us, and had gone through life stymied by poor education and a hard upbringing. I am proud of my Irish heritage, but I also knew that somewhere in the struggles to make ends meet, he didn’t want for us what he had gone through. Amidst all the responsibilities for domestic duties, two brothers and a sister and schoolwork I had a deep understanding that there was something different out there. He was as I have only just come to see, a guide for me in his own way. At school I had one teacher who believed I could do well and get the qualifications I needed to go to university. Learning, good teachers, guides and leaving home proved to be the key to beyond and the transitions waiting for me.
Good teachers and guides have been a recurring theme for me throughout my life, and now I realise in the most unlikely of places. During my career I believed that my role was to create the right conditions for people to grow and flourish, but gradually I realised that I also had a responsibility to myself and to make sure I grew and flourished. After all how could I expect anything less of myself than I did of others.
Since leaving full time work I have continued to support others to grow and flourish and now I am increasingly conscious of the way in which the past, present, and the future interweave. It feels like I am constantly leaving and coming home, so on some days I trust a lifetime experience, knowledge, and skills and then in a second I’m back to relying on my instincts and senses again. Exciting and unsettling at the same time.
The words of the Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön ring true for me, ‘Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realise it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about.’ William Bridges writes that ‘it is when we are in transition that we are most completely alive.’ So I’m involved in the workshop and the Third Act and Amara collaboration because it continues my lifelong enquiry into what I am still going to do with ‘my one wild and wonderful life’. So join us at the workshop I would love to have the company of other explorers in this known and unknown territory.
Written by Annette Hennessy, Associate of Amara Collaboration. Annette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org